Just about every runner has experienced "runners high" at some point and most of us have seen the physical benefits of running as well. But for many of us, really getting into running can be a life changing experience. Today I want to talk about peoples changes and share my story with you.
There's a full transcript below this video if you'd rather :)
(this is not verbatim but its close)
Hey Everybody. I'm assuming that by now, you're pretty familiar with Google Auto Complete.
I am actually very fascinated with it.
The other day, I was searching for something, and it popped up "How Running Changed My Life".
To me, this struck me as really interesting it's really cool that Google is sharing with us this data. Right? There's millions of people searching every day, for different things. They're sharing back with us, "Hey, here's what your friends, your neighbors, here's what the rest of humanity is looking for."
It's fascinating to me, to see it pop up, How Has Running Changed My Life, which really got me thinking a little bit about, well "how has running actually changed my life?"
We'll talk a little bit more about that later.
It did strike me though ... Why are people searching for this?
I mean, obviously, we all know, the benefits associated with running.
Right? It actually does improve our mood. And then of course, there's the wonderful things, like studies showing that we tend to have less disabilities, and tend to live longer, than people who leave a sedentary lifestyle.
What's not to love about running?
Again, why does that phrase have so many people actually searching for it?
Because obviously, by definition there, you're gonna end up getting somebody else's story.
The thought that comes to my mind is with all of us being very, very social creatures and very connected, really want to experience some other people's life experiences. Maybe you need that extra bit of motivation, for why you get out there.
What does actually come up, if you do a search for, how running changed my life?
Of course, you're gonna see a ton, and I do mean a ton of body transformation stories, about, "Oh, I lost 50 pounds. I lost 60 pounds."
There's a story of this Texas teacher, who lost over a hundred pounds. Stories of friends going in together, and as a group, losing multiple hundreds of pounds. Obviously, all wonderful and great stuff, and not really to be unexpected.
You do get another side of stories,which I find fascinating,
around, people recognizing that there was something missing in their life, or that they were running away from something bad in their life.
Stories of people, who were stuck and had recently had somebody pass away, or their job was terrible, or they broke up with somebody, or in a few cases, all of those above happening, and then literally trying to run away.
In the course of doing that, becoming, obviously tired, cause they weren't experienced runners, but then feeling that runners high that we can, that exhilaration.
And so, realizing that maybe, they need to be setting a goal on something they can be running towards.
Likewise, there are stories of recovering drug and alcohol addicts.
Who, maybe started running, as part of a way to run away from whatever demon it was, that was causing their addiction.
Whatever turmoil it was that was in their life.
Over a course of time, kind of transforming more towards, "No. This is now that goal, that thing that I can run towards, instead of ..." Cause, they're dedicating that part of their soul, that running requires, your complete attention, when you're trying to set these type of long distance achievements.
Parallel to that, there's lots of stories about attitude shifts,
the scientific fact really actually does improve people's mood, and their productivity, and their overall creativity.
I know that when I'm going on a particularly long run, especially if I don't take music with me, is when I tend to have some great ideas, well, I think they're great anyway for things that we can do, both at work and around the house.
And you know, in today's world, where appearances unfortunately, a good chunk of everything how you feel about yourself, is really important.
Going out and doing these runs will, obviously as it improves all of those other aspects that we talked about, help improve your mood, and your self esteem, and your body confidence, and everything.
My personal, favorite stories though, that you see, when you actually go in and Google "how has running changed my life", is these people who now have a sense of belonging, they didn't have before.
Talking about how they've discovered that the running community is a family.
And that everybody comes together, and really supports each other, and becomes a tribe-like mentality of where we all celebrate each other's success with Medal Monday's and things like that, that you see all over the place.
And then also, saying, "Oh no." Everybody commiserating when somebody hurt their knee, or their ankle, or something else happened in their life, non-running related, all pulling together and supporting each other.
I personally get to see this on a daily basis, in our little, private Facebook group for the Mbio Runners, who are part of our 30 day challenge, and seeing, you know, we've been doing this 30 day challenge now, has gone for a year and a half.
Seeing everybody in that group, who's really kind of become this, virtual running team, that really supports each other.
We've had people that have been setting new records for ... Personal records. We don't have anybody setting any Olympic records, or anything like that. New personal records, along with other people, who are commiserating about the fact that they had to have knee surgery, or something like that. There just in there, kind of cheering on the rest of the team. It's just, very uplifting.
Anyhow, at the beginning of this, I talked about the fact that this did kind of get me thinking a little bit about, what does running actually mean to me?
How has running changed my life?
What lessons have I learned from it?
If I look back at that a little bit ... Now, I did a lot of running in college, in what have you, but my adult, if you will entry into running really started in 2009.
At the time, I was working for a company that was based in Hopkinton where the Boston Marathon starts.
I had the opportunity to join their running team and raise money for an awesome charity, that was there, and get to run the Boston Marathon.
Sorry to all of you who are trying so hard to Boston qualify. It's weird I know, but my first ever marathon, was actually the Boston Marathon, since I was going in and supporting that great charity.
I can say, without a doubt, now that I've run a lot of other races, there really is something special about Boston. Just amazing.
The way the crowds are there, and how everybody supporting you. I had time, about six months to simultaneously learn how to run a a marathon, or get myself back into marathon shape, would probably be more accurate way to put that, as well as, get to know these wonderful kids for this charity that we were supporting, and raise money for them.
I'm proud to say that it was very successful.
We raised ... I personally raised over 5,000 dollars, that go-around. The team as a whole has raised, just tons of money, has raised a ton of money for this particular, particular charity,
Well, you've seen it before, if you've been watching my videos, or reading the blog. You know that I try to put lots of links in to support that particular group. There'll definitely be one for you, for this one as well.
Now, if we kind of fast forward a little bit, right,
That was my entry into running, and it just kind of got me back into it. There was that team and camaraderie-built thing around the charity itself.
If we fast forward to 2013 ... At this point I've run a variety of other races and what have you, but you know, most of my friends still know that I had run Boston. When the bombing occurred that year, I was back in Texas, and may not not be a huge surprise, here in Texas, the Boston Marathon does not make television, normally. Obviously, it did that year.
I was at home, working, and all of sudden my phone started exploding.
Just text message, text message, text message, emails, calls.
All these people asking me, "Are you okay?"
And of course, I had no idea what was actually going on at the time.
That is a very weird and surreal feeling, to have a whole bunch of people suddenly worried about whether or not you're okay, and you have no idea why they're worried about you.
Needless to say, I immediately called the respite center, and checked on, and fortunately nobody associated with the respite center was hurt, in any significant way, physically, anyway.
And so, I immediately volunteered to run for the charity again in 2014.
That is probably where I had though, the most profound experience that I had with running.
Getting ready for the 2014 marathon, was tough for me.
I actually broke my toe a couple months, before the marathon, cause I had the crazy idea in my head, that I should go do one of those obstacle course races, and broke my toe, on one of the obstacles.
Loved it though. Lots of fun. I highly recommend it, even though I got hurt.
I really wasn't in the best of shape.
My oldest daughter, actually flew up with my wife, to watch me run the race.
That particular day, it was hot. I mean, not Texas hot, but way too hot for running a marathon.
The combination of the heat, the fact that I wasn't in particularly good physical shape, from the broken toe, or whatever, it was a rough go that day.
I had a miserable run. I mean, the beginning was kind of fun, cause it's always fun, right?
The run itself was horrible, but the crowd was just so amazing.
Everybody there...that whole weekend, when you're walking around, if somebody saw you with a marathon jacket on, or something like that, everybody was coming up, and just excited that we'd come to the city, like we'd actually done something cool, by just showing up.
Of course, got to meet with the folks from the charity, and I'd raised a bunch of money for them again, which was awesome.
Towards the end of the race, I was just done. I came up, out of that hill, right towards the end, with about half a mile to go, and I saw my wife, and my oldest daughter there, and I just ... I lost it.
I was bawling there, with just like, half a mile to go towards the end of the race.
I was just so spent, and I was walking, for the most part at this point.
I started hobbling along, and kind of kept going, cause obviously I was gonna finish the race.
You know, we're past the six hour point, at this point, which is obviously ridiculous for somebody who's running Boston.
I finally turned onto Boylston Street, and I could see the finish line, but I was done. I was totally spent. I could not possibly go on.
This group of kids. I say kids. They were probably in college, but ... Starts screaming for me from the side, to come, to come over.
I go over to these kids, and they all grab me and they hug me from the sides, and they were just screaming,
"You've got this.
You've got it.
We love you.
You can do it."
I felt like I sprinted the rest of the run down Boylston street to the finish line.
Now, truth of the matter, I was probably hobbling miserably and looked terrible, and what have you, but I was on cloud nine.
I was so excited. I felt so energized, and so loved by these people, who I've no idea ... I wish I had some idea of who in the world this group of kids was, cause they meant the world to me right then.
And so, it's those kinds of experiences that really kind of touched me, when it comes to running.
You know, being able to get, tap into that, kind of raw motion of energy. Right?
And now, I get to share this with my wife and kids, as well, so my kids run some 5k's and things like that. My wife and I have done some halves, and 10k's together. It just kind of brought us all closer together. It's why we have our 30 day challenges and things like that, in that group, cause I really want to share that with as many, many people as I can.
I think that running teaches you a lot of really important lessons.
One is, that if you want to be good at something, no matter what kind of talent you've actually got, you're actually gonna have to put some effort into it.
It also tells you that, literally If you keep putting one foot in front of the other one, you are eventually gonna reach that finish line.
Right? Don't quit. Doesn't matter how miserable I felt back in 2014. I finished that race, because I just kept putting one foot in front of the other one,
Which brings us back to another important life lesson, that you do need to pace yourself. Right? In life, or in a race, right? If you take off running way too fast at the beginning, it's gonna make finishing that much harder. That also helps us to find what our goals are, right?
I think that running above, just about any other sport, highlights the fact that the best, and really the only definition of success, is the one that you set for yourself, right?
My definition of success for a particular race could be that, I just want to finish. Right? I just want to prove, for example, that obstacle course race. I just wanted to prove that I could actually do that. Right? That I could make it through. It didn't matter, if I came in first place, or last place, or anywhere in between. Success for me was finishing that.
Other days, success might be, "I want to set the fastest time I've ever done personally" on something.
I think finding stories like this is probably why so many people are searching for how running changed my life. I don't know if this story helped you at all, or you were even remotely interested in it.
That's my story.
That's how things fit with me.
I think the last thing that I'll say on the, what running has taught me, is that, while running definitely isn't the answer to all of life's problems. There's no doubt about that. It will help.
It will improve your mood. It can improve your body. If nothing else, it can help you find some other friends out there, to support you and get you through there.
Running by itself isn't the answer, but it will help you.
Anyway, leave a comment down below. Let me know how running has possibly changed your life.
As runners, we’re lucky. We don’t require expensive equipment or special sports pitches to practice our favorite form of exercise. Plus, it’s free!
What we do appreciate are a few things: a mild climate, plentiful routes, tracks and trails, a supportive local community of runners and perhaps some company.
Ever wondered where in the U.S offer these wonderful qualities and are the best cities for runners? Well, now you do.