This is a guest post written by Emily Malone from Daily Garnish.
I’ve been thinking a lot recently about how my relationship with running has evolved over the years. Many moves, new running routes, a new baby, getting back in shape, another new baby, a new business, and more – and running has been with me in some capacity or another through it all. And yet I wonder, what has kept me running all of this time?
I’ve dabbled in hot yoga, been a regular at barre classes, and my current love is Lagree pilates. I’ve gotten into hiking, I live to be out in the water on a kayak or paddleboard, and there was a time many years ago that an ideal Sunday involved a 20-mile bike ride. And while interests have come and gone and changed, I’ve always continued to lace up my running shoes.
And I think I know why. It makes me happy.
When I was in my twenties and my peak physical shape, running was an amazing challenge of new distances and new speeds. I raced against myself and my community, always seeing if I could go faster and farther. I took great joy in new accomplishments and personal bests, and I shared many happy memories with great running buddies – the pre-run dinners, the side-by-side slog through many miles, and of course the celebratory cheese fries afterward. And nothing says happy like cheese fries.
Now I’m in my mid-thirties and life looks a lot different. My running buddies are often on a leash or in a stroller, but they support me just the same. When my kids get up too early and are already fighting before breakfast, running provides me with space to hear myself, fresh air to calm myself, and energy to give others when I’m ready to walk back in and embrace the chaos.
Prior to having kids, I was never a morning runner. I’d run after work, or in the middle of a Saturday afternoon. And while I don’t think I’ll ever stop dreading that first beep of the alarm, there is something so magical about running through my city while the rest of the world asleep. These days, I even look forward to those 6 a.m. runs on a Saturday, because it means I get to smell the salty sea air and see the sunrise over the mountains before the city lights up with activity.
In my current stage of life – being a mom with two young kids – running is more important to me than ever. I can’t do it as often, and I’m slower than I’ve ever been, but it brings me more joy than it has in years. I am so grateful for that bit of solo time, and I love learning every little in and out of my neighborhood as I cover it on foot. I am constantly renewing my love for Seattle and the Northwest, as I see it from different hills, trails, and views around the city. I went for a beautiful sunset run with a friend the other day along the waterfront, and at one point as we stopped to take in the view, I said to her, “Can you believe we got here on foot?”
One of the reasons morning runs have become so important to me these days, is that it starts my whole day on a positive note. Short or long, fast or slow, any run gets me fresh air and energy that I can pour back into the rest of my day. I am a better mom, because I am happy. I am a better cook, because I feel healthy. I am a better wife, because I feel supported by my husband, who has never, ever asked me once to skip a run.
And as summer slips away and Seattle turns drizzly and dark, and it’s so much harder to get motivated for those miles, I’ll remind myself of the happiness that running helps me carry through my days. Because even on my wettest, coldest, hardest runs – I have never once regretted being out there.
So here’s to tomorrow’s 5:45 a.m. alarm, and a healthy, happy start to the day. Because I know if I run happy, I will live happy too.
Emily is the blogger behind Daily Garnish, where she writes about food, fitness and fun. She currently lives in Seattle, Washington with her husband and two boys. She is a culinary arts graduate, nutrition facts lover, vegetarian chef, marathon runner, country music maniac, failed dog trainer, barre fanatic and loving mama.