Monday, February 25, 2013

Why Those Who Start Running Don’t Stop

For some reason today I was trying to remember my earliest memory of running. I don’t mean running while playing freeze tag or Ghost in the Graveyard when I was six, but running when I actually “went out for a run.” I think my first “real” run was when I was 13. My dad would get up and run in the early mornings a few times per week, and one day I went with him. I can’t remember how far it was or what we talked about, but I can remember that I couldn’t believe anyone could just go out and run for miles at a time and not stop or throw up.

This got me to thinking about how runners get their start. It seems like there are four camps:

#1 - Those who ran track and/or cross country in high school and college and never stopped. These tend to be the ones who know a lot about form, pacing, from years of being coached and from years of racing.

#2 - Those who started running during college or just after as a way to manage their weight, get regular about exercising, socialize or simply try their first long distance race. Then they got hooked.

#3 - Those who got married, had kids, maybe got fat, were searching for their identity, wanted to get into shape, wanted focus (could be all or one of the above), and then decided to start running in their late thirties to fifties.

#4: Those who started running because they needed healing from trauma, loss or illness.

Today #4 really resonated with me.  I read a detailed story about Fauja Singh. If you’ve ever heard of him or seen his picture, you have not quickly forgotten him.

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source

Fauja Singh is best known for being the oldest person to ever run a marathon. At the age of 100, he ran 26.2 miles at the 2011 Toronto Waterfront Marathon in 8 hours and 25 minutes. As always, there is a story behind the persona that we see in pictures and interviews. I guarantee you there is a lot about Singh that would surprise you.

  • He ran his first marathon at 89 years of age
  • He could not walk steadily until he was almost ten years old due to weakness in his legs
  • He showed up for his first marathon training session in a three piece suit (my favorite bit of trivia)
  • He trained for only 10 weeks for his first marathon (2000 London Marathon. He ran a 6:54)

So, what brought Singh to running at such an old age? Intense and insurmountable grief. In 1994 (at the age of 83) and while living in India, Singh watched his son be decapitated in a freak accident. A piece of sheet metal flew off of a building and hit his son, killing him immediately.

Running became Singh’s salvation, his distraction. “When running, Fauja realized he thought only of his next step.” He reports feeling connected to God as his anger subsided and his grief lessened.

I think no matter how we got our start, there is a reason we haven’t stopped. We are all looking for that escape into a life a bit outside of our cubicle or office walls, our homes, our relationships, our relentless negative thoughts – a way to boost ourselves mentally, a way to make our bodies stronger, a way to feel a sense of accomplishment we may not feel anywhere else in our lives.

We don’t have to experience the level of trauma that Singh did to feel the relief that running can bring. Some us start our runs with our demons, our anger, our sadness, our heavy thoughts, our insecurities bearing down on us like a hundred pound weight. With each step, with each mile, the burden gets lifted slightly. By the end of our run, the lightness takes hold and we find ourselves rejuvenated, relieved, new.

No matter how we got started running, I think this is why most of us have not stopped.

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source

What motivated you to start running? I started because I needed a goal outside of parenting and a part time job. I had just turned 40 and had two young kids. I wanted something of my own. I found that running gave me back my confidence and made me feel alive.

What’s kept you running? I love how it lifts my spirits, how accomplished I feel afterwards. I love how strong I feel when I run. It’s hard for me to get this same “high”  anywhere else.

SUAR

72 comments:

  1. started running while looking for something to do while my kids played basketball. There is a track above the basketball courts so I could watch while I ran. Then I found that I could actually run still. I did run some in college for exercise but nothing since.

    Now I NEED to for my sanity. I NEED that outlet of being by myself (or with other like minded adults), fresh air, and just thinking of that next step. I always feel better after a run. Always.

    It's good for what ails ya. :)

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  2. I started running for a combination of reasons... In HS I was too uncoordinated to play other sports. (Learned in my 20s that I needed glasses!)

    After college, I wound up in an unhealthy marriage. Training for my first tri & then marathon helped me keep my life together when other things were falling apart.

    Now I just run because I love it. :)

    PS
    Love the insight about Singh showing up to his first running session in a suit!

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  3. Full confession: I started running in my late 20s. I started having debilitating panic attacks and didn't want to take meds. Drinking wasn't helping me either. Once I really got into it and went through counseling, I never stopped, except to have my kids and surgery a few years ago. Running gave me discipline and focus, something I had sorely been missing in my life. I have been running for over 20 years now. Running defines me, makes me happy, makes me feel strong. If I can run, I can do anything.

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  4. I started after college and ran, literally, for a season...then the weather changed and I didn't run again until I was married, had 3 kids, and no job...I was 35. The stress of giving up myself to be a mom made me fat and unhappy. I decided one day to run. 9 weeks later, I found out I was pg after 6 years of infertility. I stopped again, but this time THAT was just for a season. I began running again at 5 weeks pp from a c-section.

    I can't imagine giving it up again. It's my me time, my God time, my time to work thru stress and unfairness. I haven't lost a ton of weight (I blame that on my love of foods), but I'm hoping to stave of diabetes thru exercise and I'm toned more, so it's okay. I love the people I meet when running, my online friends are there for me when I need them, and I'm there for them. And when I'm ticked at my kids, a good run keeps them alive and unbeaten!

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  5. I started running as a way to keep active after college sports were over (I played ultimate frisbee). My husband had started running, and convinced me to push my runs a little further.

    I keep running today, because I am amazed at what my body can do and love the feeling I get from it. I also love having the time with my own thoughts. Running has really built up my confidence in myself and my perseverece.

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  6. I fell in love with running when I was 11 yrs old. My whole life I feel like running has been my thing that I can do and no one can take a way from me. It has been my salvation in many hard life circumstances. Everything from teen angst to the death of a husband. When nothing in life seems to be working, I can run. Running is cathartic and makes me feel free.

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  7. I started running in my late 20s, partly because my friends were doing it, but mostly because I was tired of being the "fat one". I'm going through a slow running phase, but I can feel my need to run coming back. It makes me feel strong, reminds me that I don't have to fit into anyone's perception of me (I've never been athletic, I hated sports at school and avoided it like the plague) but mostly it just makes me happy.

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  8. I started running only recently. I lost my mother to cancer last November and when I came out to her with my two children to spend her last few months in hospice with her my husband left us for another woman. My grief was overwhelming and I literally just needed to get away. Running was my answer, it was just me and my thoughts and the fresh air.
    I continue to run because I love how freeing it is but how accomplished I feel. I recently participated in my first duathlon and have never had something to be so proud of! I am running in my first 1/2 marathon this summer and hope to run a full marathon within the year.

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  9. I've been a Hiker since I was about 17 years old. It helped me stay in shape but it is just so time consuming. So at 45 and very much in need of losing 25 lbs I took up running. I hated running. It was boring and sweaty. I started running with friends who talked and told stories and it was much more tolerable. I think it took me a year before I looked forward to running. I have since transitioned to trail running which brought me back to the mountains and back to my love of hiking. Lets face it, I have to hike the hills and run the downs and flats. I now love running. I am where I want to be with my weight. I feel strong and confident. That is why I still run. Oh and running is now more time consuming than hiking ever was :)

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  10. I started running when my sister said she signed up for Jingle Bell run. It was a 5K and I thought maybe I could do. I never was a "runner" really didn't know what I was doing but I ran it. Then I got pregnant with my 3rd child and felt I need a good excuse to leave the house, alone. I mean who could deprive me from going out my front door to exercise? Then I realized I didn't really suck at running and I wasn't the fastest but I could do it and it was really hard but I go the "gosh, I could never run a half marathon" from people... so I kept doing it. Granted, I've been sidelined by injuries, I've hated it at times, and I hate the weather in WA state for running.... but I know that it makes me feel good so I keep taking that step outside to run.

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  11. Honestly, I started running because I thought "I'm training for a marathon" would be a cool way to introduce myself at parties. :S
    And even more honestly, it's just never occurred to me to stop...

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  12. I started running around 8 or 9 with my dad (1974). We'd run local 5K's and 10K's. I have been running ever since - it is still my favorite form of exercise. Have run all distances, except ultras! Slower now than I used to be, but can still go long.

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  13. At 52 I started by walking. I cursed and grumbled the whole 20 minutes. Then I started running that trail, then the itty bitty hills, now I run because I can. I don't really enjoy it, but i enjoy how much healthier I am. Before, my body was falling apart. 20 months later...If it falls apart now (just turned 54), well i did my best! I ran 8.7 miles last Sat. and i feel awful, but I also feel so very very thankful!

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  14. I started running after doing a 5K at church 2 years ago. That one was not serious but it was fun and I wanted to do better on the next one. I got hooked on the thrill of racing. I have done countless short races, 4 halfs and one full. I have always enjoyed walking and even tried 'jogging' a little years back. But I am a full on running addict now. I am 48 and hope to run forever! I'm currently recovering from overdoing it. :)

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  15. Initially I tried to start running at the age of 21. I was living at West Point Military Academy. My first "day" run took me through the quad right as classes let out. I ended up dry heaving in a bush. And that was the end of my running.
    Fast forward to age 39 and I was trying to lose weight. I had been road cycling and a gf talked me into a sprint tri. With a 40 on my calf (aging up sucks) and being passed by men, woman, young and old, equally, I finished. I hated running. Until this past year when a lung capacity test proved I needed an inhaler.
    What a difference a breath makes. I ran my first 10k in October. Yay me!

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  16. I LOVE LOVE LOVE this post!!!!

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  17. I LOVE LOVE LOVE this post!!!!

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  18. I’m a number 4. Reeling with the loss of a relationship, I just came home from work one day and decided to go for a run. That was almost 5 months ago and I haven’t stopped for more than two days since. In three weeks, I’m running my first half marathon, and I feel awesome about that. Great post. Of course its his beard that powers his running.

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  19. I was solidly a #2. (That sounds weird.)

    Why keep going? My community is in my running family. Running makes me feel strong. It's a legal high.I'm a calmer, smarter, saner person when I do! :)

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  20. I started running because I'd always enjoyed being active, but I never really knew what to do with myself. I never played sports well enough to keep playing them, and one day I was walking on the treadmill and I got a bit bored. I started running and found that it was actually pretty fun.

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  21. I started running a year ago. My twins were 3 and I just felt like I need to find ME. I had a few pounds to shed but it was more for my sanity and just to give myself some quiet time. Running has allowed me to regain my identity beyond Lexi and Lyla's Mommy.

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  22. I was in camp 3...got married, popped out a couple kids and by 32 I was fat (over 220lbs) and disgusted with myself and my life. Found bootcamp classes and some running friends who coached me. I'll be 36 this year....I will NEVER stop.
    I am a better mother, better wife, better friend, better ME when i take care of me.
    :) Love this post!

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  23. Great post!!! I want to read more about that guy--he is an inspiration. I started running for 2 reasons. I was overweight and had gone from bodybuilder to lazy fat Mom in a matter of years....and a friend of mine had run a 5k, and I was darned if she was gonna do it and I wasn't. One of those "If SHE can do it, so can I!!!" I started training, and 2 months later ran my 1st 5k. I did 5 more that year and shaved my time down by over 6 min.

    Now I keep running bc I consider myself an athlete again. It is my lifestyle to go to the gym and to run. I know I have to set goals/races for myself so I will put in the work and time to be ready. It makes me feel alive. And it's a cheap antidepressant. It has made me more mentally strong and made me appreciate life so much more. Now I'm pregnant again and attempting to do a few more races before this bebe is born and see how fast I can get back into shape after. It's a whole diff perspective this go round!

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  24. I started running not long after I gave up competitive bodybuilding. Running is the antithesis to bodybuilding. ANY cardio more taxing than a brisk walk is the antithesis of bodybuilding. And I needed to try something completely and utterly different because I was burnt out mentally and physically from the stress of getting ready for a show. So I tried running. Which I hated at first. But because I am competitive with myself, I just kept going. When I realized that I was a little bit better each time out, I was hooked! And kept at it.

    Now, I keep running because it is my time all to my selfish self. Well, and my dog, who shares all of my runs with me (and keeps me safe). I do not train for races (I have never run, nor do I ever plan to run, a half or a full). I just run for me. To feel the wind on my face and to watch the world go by, to free my mind, to set my day, to unwind from a fight with Hubby, and to prove to myself that I have a strong and durable body.

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  25. I was late 20's, just decided to run a half marathon for fun. That was almost exactly four years ago. Later I took advantage of the social aspect, joining a running club. I think I enjoy that as much as the running now!

    I think Fauja Singh is my hero. Such a classy and gracious guy, with an enviable ambitious streak.

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  26. GREAT post! I can't wait to read the full article you linked to.

    I started running with track throughout high school and hated it...but then I never stopped and now I can't live without it. Running my first marathon was like that line from the movie American Beauty when Lester says, "It's a great thing when you realize you still have the ability to surprise yourself. Makes you wonder what else you can do that you've forgotten about."

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  27. I started running in 2011 as my New Years resolution. I did it and I kept going for so many reasons. I can eat more calories, I can brag about how many miles I do, it's a way to build conversations with others since not everyone wants to talk Chanel & Prada ect. Plus it's a way/excuse to not spend so much time in front of the tv.

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  29. Initially, I started running because it was a mandatory form of cross-training during the winter for rowing in college. I hated it at first but grew to enjoy it. I picked it back up again after a decade of chronic pain because it reminded me that I could actually MOVE again with less pain. I hope I get to do it again some day :)

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  30. hey! my last blog post was about fauja too...the first time i heard about him, it was so, so inspirational...and reading this article and the full story of his life made it all the more amazing. truly, a gem.

    i am camp #3...i was a terrible runner in school..always the last to come in on our runs, always super slow. i would run sporadically in my 20s but never stuck with it. in efforts to build a career, i was a slave to my job and became an overweight, miserable, out of shape workaholic. i hated who i was becoming and one day, inspired by a friend, started going to a bootcamp where there is a lot of running. i signed up for my first 10k and was hooked...then moved to halfs and in then in 2011 i ran a marathon...truly one of the proudest moments of my life. running is now a part of who i am, as much as my eye colour, height, personality or hair colour. running and being healthy has given me a sense of confidence and happiness that i've never had before...running makes me very, very happy! :)

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  31. Have always run... I can remember running as a kid: Mom, time me I'm running around the house!!!

    Now I run around the mountain, and I have my own watch...

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  32. What an incredibly inspiring story about Fauja Singh! I have heard about him but not a lot of details. So cool!

    I fall into category #1, but I wouldn't say I knew much about form...until I got injured and corrected it. Ha!

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  33. I love the story of our fabulous Fauja Singh! He makes us Canadians proud. I hear he is now only going to run short distances - like a half now that he is of an age. HA!
    I was a beginner runner for a couple years. A fairweather runner to be sure. The major grief and heartbreak drove me to run. And honestly the only thing that helped me not want to die or be so utterly depressed (yes i KNOW that sounds overly dramatic!!!) was running. Dropped 40 pounds in 7 months ... and am now a runner! I get bitchy if I don't get OUT THERE! it changed my life for the better.

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  34. I fall into the 3rd group, although I was forced by my mother to run track for one year in jr. high and I hated every step. I had 'weak ankles" and never ran a day after 7th grade. Until I got married, had my daughter, and found myself chubby and out of shape. I bought a jogging stroller, and vividly remember the day I became a runner. I ran one block (down hill). Within the year I was able to run a few miles. It wasn't until after my son was born that I started entering 5ks. After that first race I really caught the bug and pretty soon I was winning age group medals (in very small local races) and I've increased my distances enough to run a couple half marathons and my endurance enough to run a VERY hilly Warrior Dash this past summer. In my family I am known as "the runner" and it feels GREAT. High- fiving my kids as I neared the finish line of my first half marathon was one of the happiest and proudest moments of my life. My kids have run a few races themselves too, which is awesome.

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  35. I started when I stopped playing sports midway through college. I knew I had to do something, and going for a run seemed like the best way to stay in shape. I continue because I just can't stopped. I tried to take "a year off" to do other things, but that just made me want to run more. My motivation, speed, and routine changes, but my need to run continues.

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  36. My dad inspired me to start running. he always ran and has done many marathons and ultras. I've been running for nearly 32 years now. It's in my blood and I live running. I will never live without it.

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  37. I fall into the 3rd group.
    I started running in 2007 at the age of 48 to lsoe weight.
    I soon found myself adicted to running.
    When I ran my first marathon I remember the elation that I felt when I crossed the finish line.
    Along the way I have maintained a 60 pound weight loss.
    Art
    http://fitatfifty-art.blogspot.com/

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  38. I was priviledged to see Fauja out on course in Toronto, 2011. It was awesome. He has a possee that he runs with and it's great. I originally started running with my dad when I was a kid, he wanted to lose weight. He bought a book on how to run and we did a run/walk. I didn't really run again until I was 43 (2008) when again I started with a friend who wanted to lose weight. This time it stuck and I've been running ever since.

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  39. I started running when I was 15 yo, to chase a boy. By the time I figured out that he was a wrestler who only ran when he needed to drop weight, I was hooked and he was a distant memory. That was 25 years ago, and I've never looked back. Running has become an integral part of my identity; it's gotten me through low times (the death of a friend, post partum depression) as well as highs (becoming a marathon coach, running a 5K with my 4-year old daughter). I met my husband at a marathon post party, and although it isn't in his blood the way it's in mine, he totally gets why I eat, breath and live running.

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  40. I started running in 2010 as a way to cheaply lose weight. Then, I had a goal. Now, I do it for fun and have goals to keep me motivated.

    I love how I feel afterwards like I can accomplish anything.

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  41. I think I'm definitely a blend of reasons #2 and #4.
    I'm still new at it, and while I'm still learning, I am definitely hooked. I initially started and quit because of yo-yo weight and health levels. I picked up after experiencing life-altering events and needed an outlet. For me, a run would start out with a thousand thoughts until I was left with just one: keep running. In the beginning of those days, I would feel so liberated by the run I just completed that I would cry. Not sad tears, not happy tears, just tears of having let it all out.

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  42. I started when I was an awkward 11-year old who had tried lots of other sports, dance, etc., and was terrible at everything! My stepfather signed me up for a little "kids mile" event that his company had sponsored, bought me a pair of shoes (pink! with velcro!!), and I had a great time. I loved it instantly, and have been a runner since. I trained for my first marathon as a form of distraction and healing from my first real heartbreak in my early 20s ... and THAT love affair has burned brightly ever since. Thank you for a great post, and a nice opportunity for reflection.

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  43. I started running as a challenge to my husband - I wanted him to get more active, so I thought that both of us signing up for a 10k and doing a training team together would be a good, friendly-competiion way to achieve that.

    He hated it, I got hooked. I haven't stopped for many reasons, but mainly because 1) I love the way it makes me feel; 2) it's a great way to meet new people; and 3) let's be honest - vanity. It's the only thing that has ever helped me lose weight and I'm not interested in gaining it back.

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  44. I started running after 9/11. My husband deployed on September 20th. I had a 6 month old and a two year old, and I thought my husband was going to die. I had a lot of support, but the only place I could be alone was at the gym (with the gym daycare) on the treadmill. The more I ran, the better I felt. My husband did not die, thankfully, but I never stopped running. I've since come to think of running as a gift from God.

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  45. Shortly after I turned 30 I had a cancer scare that turned out to be endometriosis. I spent about 6 months in abject terror of my own body--every sensation felt like a herald of doom. At some point a few months after I had surgery for it I started to really spiral again, to worry constantly that I was dying. I had been into yoga for years but yoga just made me pay more attention to my body in ways that ended up triggering anxiety. My husband has always been a runner and I'd tried it off and on for years, but this time I went out and tackled it with determination and it absolutely saved my relationship with my body. Six years later I have no endometriosis problems, far less anxiety, and am much, much stronger both physically and emotionally. I'm definitely one of those in the "running saved me" column.

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  46. "I came to running late, after college, for vanity's sake. I've never been particularly fast. I started running because aerobics and machines bored me, and because I didn't have to go to the gym to do it. I liked running because it was hard. I loved the calmness that came as a byproduct of running. I ran because I didn't have to do a lot of planning ahead. I could just run out my door and go as fast or as far as I wanted."
    ~ From a post on my blog a few years ago: http://www.ultrarunnergirl.blogspot.com/2009/12/pr-at-veterans-day-10k.html

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  47. Growing up I never played a sport because it seemed like in every sport you had to run a mile beforehand to warm up and I could not run a mile. I was always afraid of running because I thought I couldn't do it. At 41, another mom at my daughter's preschool said she was going to try a couch to 5K program and wanted to know if I'd be interested in joining her. I did and now at age 43 I can go out and run 20 miles. I not only found something I love to do, but also gained a great friend!

    I continue to run because I know now that I can! I love trail running and the feeling of running through the woods. I learn a little bit more about myself everytime I run.

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  48. I was one of those who ran in high school, college and have run ever since. I can't even think of myself as someone who would never run again. Running is as much a part of me as my eyes!
    You are right, it does help with a sense of identity!
    Plus, running has gotten me through numerous deployments (on the part of my husband), loss of loved ones and just normal daily stress!

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  49. When my husband and I were dating he wanted me to run with him. He litterally would hold my hand and drag me behind him. I hated running! In my early 30's we tried again, and I would go by myself, 3 miles 3 times a week. Then I went back to work and stopped running. 3 years ago, when I was 40, I saw an advertisement for the Woman's Half Marathon, liked the bag and signed up...then thought, "Crap! Now I have to run again."

    I started running for the swag bag but continue running (and now love it!) because I am addicted to the medals.

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    Replies
    1. I forgot to add that I love to go out and be by myself, not worry about the kids, husband, dogs or anything else. I have a sense of peace when I am out on the road.

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  50. I started running as a way to lose weight and feel better - I was a stay at home mother 3 1/2 years ago with 2 little boys (my older son is severely intelluctually disabled). I knew that if I didn't lose the weight and get into shape, I would continue being miserable.
    Running has turned my life around - I am so very grateful that I found it. Learning that my older son was disabled was very hard for my husband and I. I credit running with helping me heal a bit and making me into more of an optimist. I really view the world differently now, definitely in a better light. I feel like it makes me stronger, physically of course, but also mentally. I can handle adversity much better now.
    I am not fast and don't run many races (an occasional 5K for charity or my son's school). But the joy it brings me is irreplaceable.
    I keep running because it's my therapy - I always feel better after I run, no matter what. I started running at 39 years old - I will turn 43 in few months and am in the best shape I've ever been in.
    I will continue running as long as my body allows me.
    I LOVE your blog and your humor - thank you!
    Kristen

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  51. I fall a little bit into a couple of categories. I ran when I was younger - late teens. But then life got in the way, I went through a whole heap of crapola, and I got fat. Really fat. I remember to this day my OBGYN walking into the exam room with my chart that had the word "OBESE" written in big black letters across the top.
    I didn't run to lose my weight, though. I had some strange fear of it. I lost over 100 lbs by diet and a lot of walking, aerobics (good old Denise Austin and Kathy Smith tapes. Yes, TAPES), and pilates. Then, after the birth of kid #3, I found myself in a "maintenance" mode and I was bored. I fiddled around with various workout fads, and kept up my fitness, however boring it was.
    I started running almost a year ago (March 26th to be exact) to conquer my fears of "I'll look stupid", "I'm too old", "I'll just get hurt", and honestly to find that something MORE that I'd been missing not only from my fitness regime, but from my life. It only took that first week of c25k to realize that I'd finally found it. And those fears? pffft. Yeah, I may look stupid. Yes, I'm no spring chicken. And yes, I've experienced shin splints, black toenails, muscle soreness, etc. But every mile that ticks away on my watch/phone is another middle finger I throw up at all the "I can'ts". I'm in the best shape of my whole life - and that includes high school. I want to run as long as I possibly can.

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  52. I'm a #4'er. What an amazing story.

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  53. I love your post, what an amazing story, and also love the comments. I also think that a more shallow reason for keeping at it and not stopping is that it's easier to keep with it than it is to get out of shape and start up again! After running for conditioning in high school (accompanying soccer and field hockey) and then getting grossly out of shape in college and my twenties, I started running again last spring for reason #4, after my father passed away, but now there is no way I want to get out of shape again and have to start over! Those are the days when you feel like you're going to die, just doing C25K!!!

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  54. When I started running, at 27 years old, it gave me a feeling of pride and strength I had never been able to find before. It was easy to become addicted to that.

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  55. I love this man! After reading about him I had to change my answer to the question: "if you could invite any 3 people to a dinner party, alive or dead, who would it be?" He is definitely on the invite list.

    He is incredible!!

    I fall into #2. You summarized it perfectly.

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  56. I started running last year because of what I saw at a marathon finish line (that my boyfriend also crossed). It wasn't because of your #1-4 reasons. And it wasn't until I was bit by the running bug and running regularly that running began to teach me about myself - emotionally and physically. Over the past year it has helped me heal a lot of things that haven't really had closure within myself. All of what you said above is true. Singh is a freaking amazing man!

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  57. I am in group #2 - I did my first 5k race at age 18, fresh out of high school. I needed a sport and sadly I wasn't good enough (devoted enough is probably more like it) to try out for college sports. So I did a 5k race through my gym and said "Hey, I can do this, plus it's all about me!". Now, 7 years later...still going. Although, it is about time I do a full marathon! I keep putting it off!! I'm not getting any younger ;-)

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  58. I started running to dislodge writer's block, persue a healthy lifestyle, and to define the path of my life. Also, I like the fact that people didn't associate me with running, and frankly neither did I at first. I love the contrary defiance of it all--as a former stripper and recovering addict turner runner, I have 3 half marathons, a handful of 5k and 10ks under my belt since I began running last year and another 6 scheduled for this year. I like the chances (second or third) we all get to define and shape who we are and what we become.

    I love that fact that anyone can be a runner, once you lace up those shoes and get out there you become part of the tribe, the runner's tribe. It's a heady place to be.

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  59. I fall in to category 3. I was 45, normal weight, but my blood pressure started going up. The doctor told me to exercise or I'd have to take meds. So I joined a gym. I'd get on the treadmill and would walk but I'd watch the runners. Then one day I found the Couch to 5k program and I was off. I loved it. This was "mine". I had spent my whole life raising kids (5) and taking care of everyone and this was something that was just about me. I never felt so accomplished as when I crossed that first finish line with everyone cheering for me. Now I'm turning 49. I have 2 grandbabies that are the joy of my life. My husband runs with me and has lost 105 lbs himself. We've run 5k's 10k's and several halfs together. I still love running and how strong and powerful I feel. And my blood pressure is perfect .

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  60. I fall somewhere between 3 and 4. I started running to help raise $ for AIDS awareness here in San Francisco. I was still in my 20s, but maybe searching for something outside of what had become my normal day-to-day routine.

    Fauja is an amazing story.

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  61. I started last winter after having walked the final 5K at two sprint triathlons the summer before. I still walk some, but I'm coming along. I've tried to keep going, but I do find that it is still easy to find excuses. Dreaming of the day it sucks less - even a tiny bit.

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  62. I ran in high school. And not in college. And not during my child/pregnancy years. In 2010, I had a bad back accident. In 2012, I finally went through treatment and had to get back to running -- for health, for weight, for sanity. So I'm a "I ran once and returned after kids and a back injury in my early 30's." (My form is horrible because I wasn't a distance runner in high school.)

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  63. I don't leave a response, however after browsing through a bunch of comments on this page "Why Those Who Start Running Don't Stop". I actually do have some questions for you if it's allright. Is it simply me or does it look like a few of these responses come across like they are left by brain dead folks? :-P And, if you are writing on other online social sites, I'd like to keep up with everything new you have to post. Would you make a list of the complete urls of your public sites like your twitter feed, Facebook page or linkedin profile?

    Take a look at my blog post - dumbbell set with rack

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  64. i started running while recovering from taking care of a dying friend. it was after a year where i lost 4 people. i was always intrigued by triathlons, so i just started running. i had a great time (after the first 8 weeks - and kept going ever since.
    running keeps me balanced.

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  65. 3 and 4 but you should of added to #2 or made a #2 in between. Those that used to play another sport and needed something competitive. I went from couch to marathon in 50 weeks. I could have done it in about 35 weeks but with less success. Started at almost 210, now under 160. Also lost my father-in-law 6 months before I started this and was probably the most down and depressed I had been in my life. I've been following your blog since I started running and it is the main one I read. runacerun.blogspot.com

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  66. I'm a number #0 that has morphed into #4. I started running because my dogs were really enjoying the sport of agility but I found that I was winded by the end of a 30 second run around the ring. I started running in my blue jeans because I didn't have any running clothes. I'd stop running any time I saw a car coming because I didn't want to be "caught" running. Last year I ran a half marathon.

    Now I run not only for the health of it, but for the mental health of it. I'd much rather run for the head clearing benefits than to train for a race.

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  67. My first real run was 2 years and 5 months ago.. at the age of 42. I decided to run a 5K. I wanted to run it.. so I started running every day.. 1 mile per week until I built up to running 3 miles.. and I never stopped.

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  68. no one is reading any other responses...it's all I I I I, me me me, my my my!
    gawd.

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