Thursday, August 4, 2011

Why do I run?

The first post of my new blogging journey, here we go! While out today, running up my 4th hill repeat with the hot sun beating on me, my heart pounding in my chest, sweat dripping down the back of my neck, feeling the burn in my quads, my thoughts to myself revolved around two questions: (1) Why do I run? and (2) Why am I not writing about why I run?

I'll get into item #1 momentarily, but clearly item #2 is the reason behind this blog. I love writing, and I certainly have a LOT to say on the topic of running. While I'm not an expert at running, I'm no beginner either. My long journey as a woman who has struggled with health, weight management, and all the insecurities that come with it has led me here down the path of becoming an athlete. I'm proud of my accomplishments, I've established strategies that work for me, and I have my sights set on a future of being fit for life. This blog is primarily a chance for me to document my journey, and doing so for me to hold ME accountable to myself. But I chose a blog format because I thought that in writing my thoughts down publicly, perhaps readers may better understand me, they may relate to my journey and maybe even find wisdom in my words that can help them in their own health and fitness goals.
So question #1: why do I run? I don't run to lose weight. While I'm proud to report I've lost 120lbs over the last 3 years, I didn't start running again until I had already lost about 90lbs. The last 30 were not necessarily because I was running. As I'm training now for my next half marathon, I am running more now than I have in years, yet I haven't lost any weight in the last 5 months. While I may blog about my weight loss journey from time to time, and while my fear of weight gain offers some motivation to stay active, running for me is connected to so much more. Here are the real reasons why I run:

1) I feel the most ALIVE when I am running. When I run I am fully aware of the components that make me a living being: air in my lungs, a beating heart, and muscles working hard. And I feel a connection with the great outdoors where I am running within. It's a celebration of the life I've been given to enjoy.

2) Running gives me a sense of accomplishment. I can test my limits and challenge myself to new ones through running longer, faster, higher, and working toward a goal distance at an upcoming race where I can seek community with other runners.

3) "Running releases more than just sweat" - words I find so much truth in, found in an advertising campaign for Asics (see picture on the left). Running is incredibly meditative and cleansing for the soul. It's an opportunity to reflect on life and spend time with oneself. For me, it's a healthy option to release any negativity I may be experiencing. It allows me to break away from insecurity, fear, stress, doubt, and all the other "stuff" that act as barriers to living positively.

4) It feels great! Perhaps I am a bit of a junkie for the runner's high. But surely there are worse addictions in the world. No workout in the world (that I'm aware of) produces the same feeling as a good long tempo run.

Anyway, I hope you will join me in this blog adventure. Perhaps you have a running or fitness goal yourself and I can help you (either indirectly or directly). Or perhaps you might enjoy reading about an everyday person just like you who is attempting to do extraordinary things. Either way, thank you for reading my very first post.


  1. Awesome post Zahida! I feel pretty much the same way about running :)

  2. Thanks Shira! I'm glad you feel the same way. Not surprising considering how great running is. Please follow my blog (if you want).

  3. Awesome first running blog, Zahida! I will be looking forward to reading both of your blogs now!

  4. I'm thrilled about your new blog, Z!! I will definitely be following - this came at a great time in my own life and I am sure you will inspire and reach many people through this venture.

  5. Zahida, you are so talented! You run, you write well and you're such a great artist! You summed up my own reasons for running perfectly!