By Charlie Apigian, 2017 Special Kids Race Director
I like to run. No, that is not accurate; I love to run. It is part of my everyday routine and something that I look forward to doing, regardless of how busy I can be. When my friends and colleagues find out about that I am an avid runner, I normally get the same questions and comments about how they hate or choose not to run, and by the end of our conversation, I always get the same question:
“Why do you run?”
So here is a list of my 8 reasons for why I love running and why you should love running too.
8) It feels good to be in shape
Might as well get the obvious out of the way, but it is true. I always tell my friends that I try to be in shape where I can run a marathon tomorrow. When I run up 3 flights of stairs, I am not going to hyperventilate.
7) The runner’s high
Believe it or not, there is such a thing. It can come in many shapes and sizes. For some it is a great feeling as they stride through mile 2 of a 3-mile run. For others it is usually around mile 6, just after feeling a little down, the endorphins start to kick in and you feel like every step can get a little faster.
My favorite runner’s high is probably not special for most runners, but it is the ability to keep putting one foot in front of the other when you should have nothing left. I decided to run 40 miles on my 40th birthday and raise money for my favorite charity; Special Kids. When I reached mile 32, I had run out of water, my knee hurt pretty bad and I was contemplating quitting. But, I just kept putting one foot in front of the other, and soon I felt a nice groove and made it to mile 40. At certain times during those last 8 miles, I really felt that my legs were on cruise control.
6) Nutrition becomes strategic
When you expect to run later in the day or early the next morning, you start thinking about what foods you can eat and how to fuel up correctly. Now, I have to admit, my prerace meals have changed over the years. I have been known to eat a salad with a beer for a pre-race dinner, yeah I know a little different. But, at least I am not eating that donut at work when I plan on running later in the day.
5) It is a social outlet
There is nothing better than meeting up with your friends, running a few miles and then having a beverage or two. Some of the best conversations that I have had are with friends on a run. There is no better time to talk than with your friends in nice scenery and quiet time for 30 minutes up to 4 hours. Friends of mine know that if you run with me, I will be a chatterbox.
Give a running group a try. In Murfreesboro, there is Boro2Square, Boro Breakfast Club, Boro Divas, and many more. You can also contact Fleet Feet to find out about groups and programs.
4) It feeds your OCD or Type A personality
If there is one thing that allows you to control one aspect of life, it is a training program for an ultimate goal of a marathon or even a 5K. Several of my friends will talk about how they have to run 18 on Sunday to keep on pace with their training program. This may be appealing for some, but for many the accomplishment of these small goals is extremely satisfying.
3) You only are competing against one person: YOU
For most of us, we are not going to be close to the faster runners. But, I can always compete against myself. Last year, I may have run the Special Kids 15K in a personal record, but this year I have a chance to beat my own time. This can be accomplished by just training harder and smarter, which is fun to figure out.
2) A sense of community
There is no better feeling than standing with a few thousand runners at a race ready to start. The wonderful sense of community that is part of a race is infectious. Each person there has their own story and their own reason for running, but you almost feel like the entire town is there with you. I am always amazed at how many people can be present at a race, even in Murfreesboro. For the Special Kids 15K/5K, we have had over 2500 runners, at least 200 volunteers, and police and medical volunteers. It is a sight to see when the cannon goes off from the Stones River Battlefield.
1) It is just fun
I stopped running for goals a long time ago. I run because it is fun. It is fun to run with friends, it is fun to run with my dog, it is fun to run alone and listen to a good book, and it is fun to run in a race with 3,000 of my closest friends (all runners are my closest friends). Some of the most beautiful places that I have been are because of running and some of my best times that I can remember have to do with running. I can always tell the crazy story how I got lost in Sewanee and ran 30 miles instead of 20 (yes this was crazy). I can tell of the time during a trail race when I was so tired that I thought a bird was talking to me and telling me where to go. I can also tell you of the time that I went running with my two youngest boys and each step felt like I was passing on the tradition of running.