For the Love of Running
Finding Your Reason to Run
By Ayeesha Green
Running is as natural to me as breathing. Growing up, running gave me my identity as the middle child coming from a family of five other siblings. I was determined to carve out my very own space. I wasn't the eldest, the youngest, the only boy, the favorite or the smartest. So, running was it. Fact is, while in high school, running kept me from getting into serious trouble. And while in college, running reconnected me with the man who would become my husband, and my rock.
I never thought I’d be running miles for days, for weeks, for months, and for years. This is my third year of long distance running since giving up the sport in college. Every Tuesday, Thursday, and Saturday, I start my day with a run. Often times, when my boys who are professional athletes, are home, they will run with me up hills, on the track, the street, and the trail. They always ask, how far? And on a rare special occasion, like yesterday, my hubby will run with me. I enjoy sharing my sport with my family.
For some reason, I can’t seem to get enough of running. I talk about running. I dream about running. I read articles/blogs on running. I write about running. I’m also a co-ambassador of a running group, Black Girls RUN!
. To relax, I study running videos of the elites, the Kenyans, and one of my favorite novice ultra runners, and YouTuber, The Ginger Runner
. He makes amazing videos
with the consistent motto, “Train, Race, Beer.” His YouTube channel
digitally takes its viewers to beautiful untouched locations around the country where humans can only get access by hiking, walking, jogging or running.
Running and all the stuff that goes with it are significant parts of my life. I have a dresser filled with running gear, and a space in my garage filled with my running shoes, and other stuff. I love the rituals of running, filling my hydration bottles, packing my running bag, plugging in my electronics, laying out my gear, looking at and purchasing new gear, setting my alarm, getting up, and the after run yoga. The rituals are important to me, and I find myself taking part in them most days.
I’ve also discovered that runners have their own sense of community, language, and for some, their own look (ultra runners with long beards and skinny bodies looking like Forest Gump). This might sound bias, but I think runners are some of the coolest people around. We’re very encouraging, outgoing, and patient. We’re quick to offer a head nod, thumbs-up, or a slight smile, acknowledging the pleasure and pain that we’re feeling.
Runners will even run up next to a total stranger and start a conversation.
Recently, I had a young boy do that to me after I told him to tie his shoe. His floppy shoestring was getting on my nerves. He stopped and tied his shoe, caught up with me, then introduced himself. We ran and talked for about two miles before he caught up with his family who was also running.
So last week, I decided to return the favor to a woman who passed me on the Town Lake Trail. Without much effort, I caught up, but didn’t pass her. She looked like a nice person in her pink top, and blonde floppy ponytail. She didn’t seem to mind that I rolled up on her. I asked how far was she running. We decided since we were running the same pace, that we’d run a few miles together. Her name is Leslie, she just turned 40, and she is training for the 3M and Austin Half Marathons. I think it’s the endorphins that make us so friendly.
The physical aspect of running is what I’ve tapped into the quickest, however the mental needs work. I love the way my muscles burn, and seem to expand or get bigger. Pain meeting pain to knock out the pain! When I’m at my best, I feel like a finely tuned machine especially when my lungs expand and my heart rate increases while running up a hill or pushing myself to the point of total exhaustion.
Sometimes during my runs, especially when I’m alone, I experience this thing that I like to call leg-riding. My body goes on autopilot following the lead of my legs, free-running in a rhythm and at a pace that’s primal. I can’t control it. I can’t slow it down; body, mind, and spirit are in sync tapped into something special.
Running really soothes my internals, it helps me to resolve issues and it balances all the uneven spaces. I'm grateful that I was able to rediscover my sport, which today has given me much more than just my identity. Happy Running.
About Ayeesha Green
Ayeesha Green is running fanatic who would rather be on some trail spying on deer, or laid out lat on her yoga matt than anywhere else in life. However, in life, she is a wife, and a mother who is dedicated to bringing health and fitness awareness to those around her. She is a former collegiate runner who rediscovered her love of running after 22 years. She uses her past experiences as a runner to inspire and boost the confidence of other women in her role as co-ambassador of Black Girls RUN! Austin.
Leave a comment
Comments will be approved before showing up.