No. 6: What do you like to do, just because?

Gianna after running her 10-mile trail race

I've never been "good" at running, but thats not the point...

Last weekend I ran my first ever race: a 10-mile trail run in my hometown. To some, this may seem like a small feat. Compared to the athletes running the 50K that day, it was a small feat. But I wasn't racing to win and I wasn't running to compare myself.…As cliché as it is, I run because it feels good to me.

I remember the first time I went for a “run.” It was the 8th grade and I decided to join track for the spring season. I had never run before and I was quite shy at the time, so looking back, I have no idea what inspired me to sign up.

On the first day, we were instructed to run the path from the middle school to the high school, two laps around the track, and back. Five minutes in, my lungs felt like they were burning out of my chest. I quickly fell behind the entire group of kids, picking up the tail with one other lone soldier (we quickly became friends). By the time we made it back to the middle school, I felt like I was dying. My face was beet red and I could barely walk. Who knew running was so hard?!

But you know what happened that season of track? I didn't quit. I stuck with it. And slowly, the runs got easier. Sure, I was losing pretty much every race, but at least it got less and less painful. Running started to feel good.

That foundational season of track has stuck with me ever since. I kept running through high school, college, and through the pandemic. I never took it seriously and I never even really tracked my distance or pace. That part didn't matter to me. What mattered was the simplicity of throwing my shoes on, some headphones in, and off I go on into my own little universe of runners-high bliss.

My relationship with running changed when I moved to a small town on the Olympic Peninsula a few years ago. I didn't feel as safe here running alone in my own little universe, compared to the other places I've lived. Feeling limited, I lost motivation in my running. So for over a year, my shoes collected dust.

Something had to give. I began meeting some friends in the community who also liked to run. And for the first time since track in the 8th grade, I started running with other people. They helped me find some routes I even feel comfortable running alone. In addition, some of them were training for marathons (shoutout to Emily, owner of the best bakery ever, Buena Luz!). This, in addition to my partner Kory's bike racing, inspired me to download Strava and begin tracking my pace and mileage. And then boom, before I knew it I was running farther than I ever had before.

Hence, when I saw a 10-mile race happening in my hometown, I felt propelled to sign up. The first few miles felt slow but before I knew it I was at mile 8.5 with less than two to go. Next up? A marathon!

My question for you:

What do you like to do just because it feels good?

My suggestion for you:

Do more of that!



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