A 5'3 Perspective


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Why Do You Run?

Whenever people find out I am training for [a second] half marathon, I usually am asked the question “why running?”. My typical answer: it is a great form of exercise that requires very little equipment and subsequently, my dad is an avid runner – it’s in my blood right? Although these responses are true, they aren’t the only reason behind my need to pound the pavement for hours on end. With each training run I am learning so much about why I have chosen to make this activity such a big part of my life.

Let us rewind a little. I have always been an active person. Gymnastics, competitive figure skating and dance, soccer, track and field [for a very brief stint], cycling, fitness classes – you name it, I’ve done it… as long as it doesn’t involve hand eye coordination. Typically I excelled at the sports I tried, but running was different. It was such always a challenge for me, both physically [due to shin splints and asthma] and mentally [because I couldn’t understand why it didn’t come easy].  I’ve run on and off my whole life, 5 km here 10 km there, but never with any consistency. After a few runs I’d give up because I felt like I wasn’t fast enough/going far enough/strong enough – whatever the case – giving up was the easy option, and that is exactly what i did.  I vividly remember sitting out of the “beep test” during gym class because of my shin splits, but in all reality I could have put up with the pain, I just didn’t want to fail. For some reason the idea of being a runner was one I just couldn’t push aside. I knew I wanted to make it part of my life – I just didn’t know how.

This year I made a commitment to give running one last chance – if I didn’t enjoy it or find pleasure, I would move on. I signed up for my very first half marathon to make sure I had a goal to work towards and devised a training plan. If there is one thing I am good at, it’s sticking to a schedule. As you all know – I did finish the 21.1 km. The sense of accomplishment I felt crossing the finish line was like nothing I’ve ever felt before. I truly believe that moment turned me into a runner. ellepottsie half marathonNow that I am training for my second half marathon, I find myself thinking more and more about the answer to why I run, especially when I’m out on long runs. I’ve probably drafted this blog entry several times in my head – it just hasn’t made it to the keyboard. I’ve come up with four honest reasons.

I RUN…

…because it makes me dig deeper and push myself harder than before. Knowing that I gave each run my all and left everything I had out on the pavement makes me feel accomplished. Running is a competition against yourself, not anyone else. PRs will come and go, but the feeling you get when you finish a run is out of the world – it make take months to get to a point where you feel a runners high, but eventually you will and it will make everything worth it.

…because it makes me feel like I am part of a community. As someone who spent a lot of time in individual sports [figure skating and dance], I have a hard time excelling when I am part of a sports team. I just seem to shine brightest when I am on my own. With running it is different, I am a solo athlete, but there are always others out training that I can wave to and smile at along the way. I also love talking about running and training with friends [both online and in person]. For me is the perfect combination of group/individual.

…because it forces me to make time for myself. I rarely run with friends or in a group because I enjoy being able to take a break some socializing. It doesn’t matter if it is a long or short run, the monotony of the activity allows me to get lost in my thoughts and I can listen [to myself] without any interruptions or judgement. I honestly believe running has given me the opportunity to evaluate my life and my goals while making me a more patient and kind person.

…because I can. Running has made me appreciate what my body can do. Maybe my legs are bigger than I would like, but they are solid and strong, and they can carry me through long runs. I am learning to love myself for who I am, not who I wish I could be.

Now it’s my turn, why do you run?

xo Lauren


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Fabulous Finds Friday: The Under Armour What’s Beautiful Campaign

If you follow other fitness bloggers, you’ve likely already heard about the new[ish] Under Amour What’s Beautiful campaign. Designed to redefine the  female athlete, the brand has created a website filled with physical and mental challenges for women to conquer. Upon signing up, you will set a goal (or goals) for yourself towards, and then you proceed to work towards absolutely crushing it. The women taking part in this endeavor and seriously strong and driven. They exude confidence and help empower each other. It is an amazing community to be part of and no goal is too small to set. Since I joined the challenge I have been trying to new things and pushing myself harder than ever before. Under Amour has created a healthy and friendly competition for ladies who want to take their fitness to the next level. The What’s Beautiful campaign is a continuous challenge, it is about sharing the journey and push beyond our comfort zones.

Here are a few of the challenges I have completed:

Written Validation Sweat It Out Community Throwdown Mile MarkerTo join the challenge head over the the Under Amour What’s Beautiful website, register, define your goal(s) – which you can update at any time, and start completing challenges! Once you complete your registration you can begin to follow athletes (friends – my profile can be found here) and join teams of ladies who are working towards a similar goal. If you stand out as one of the top performers, you might just find yourself on a plane to Costa Rica courtesy of Under Amour to attend a 4-day yoga and surf retreat – but for me, this is about pushing myself to be the best I can be!

What are you waiting for, now is your time to shine. In the words of Olivia Newton-John, “let’s get physical”!

xo Lauren