From Birthday candles to Birthday km's
Last year for my 27th birthday, I ran 27 km with my friends Adam, Nina, and Lach! Last year I ran 26 km, and this year I'll be scouting out some 28 km buddies.
For those of you that haven't already realized, I enjoy running! I enjoy getting around on my own two feet, the feeling of achievement with every step I take, and the mental clarity it provides me. I enjoy having the time to listen to an audiobook and think. I enjoy running with friends, running by myself, up mountains, around parks, and through cities. In the sun or rain. But mostly, I love the feeling after I've run and showered where I feel smug that I've done something good for myself, putting one step in front of the other.
Following are all the many reasons I love to run and why I plan to run my age in km's every year!
Mental Clarity & Zen
It's a great time to think, process and plan. When it's just you and your own two feet, you plod along at this consistent melody of thud thud thud. It gives you lots of time to think and process or to listen to your favorite audiobooks. Slowing down if I need to do particularly deep thinking.
Going for particularly long runs also does something great to relieve stress in me. I loaf around for the rest of the day but feel zen inside. I feel satiated that I've completed something great for me, a sense of accomplishment and tranquility.
It Feels Great to Feel Fit
It's just a really nice feeling to know you are fit and healthy and that you can outrun a stalker or sign up for a 47 km adventure with friends the next day (both happened). When I am fit and healthy, I also feel much better mentally; I feel much less sluggish and far more energized for life.
According to a meta-analysis in the British Journal of Sports Medicine, running participation is associated with 27%, 30%, and 23% lower risk of all-cause mortality, respectively, compared with no running. Analysis showed no significant dose–response trends for weekly frequency, weekly duration, pace and the total volume of running, suggesting that consistency is more important than quantity. (British Journal of Sports Medicine, Is running associated with a lower risk of all-cause, cardiovascular and cancer mortality, and is the more the better? A systematic review and meta-analysis)
Another literature review (a study of many studies in the research field) showed that all-cause mortality decreased by about 30 to 35% in physically active as compared to inactive subjects. Eleven studies included confounding risk factors for mortality and revealed an increase in life expectancy by 0.4 to 4.2 years with regular physical activity. This review also looked at the difference between different sports and showed consistently greater life expectancy in aerobic endurance athletes (e.g., running, cycling) but inconsistent results for other athletes. (National Library of Medicine, Does Physical Activity Increase Life Expectancy? A Review of the Literature)
Achievement and progress every year
I am excited about running an additional 1 km every year because it means every year is one little bit further. It means every year, I am setting myself a new, slightly harder, yet hopefully manageable challenge. Who knows what year I will make it to, though I know some 80-year-olds are running 80 km! I'll aim high. By posting this publicly, I'll have a much higher sense of commitment to my goal. So thanks for your social pressure and support from reading!
Consistency - Not just breaking records
You can run almost anywhere with running shoes (and a sports bra). It's simple and effective, just one step before the other. No matter where you are, you can generally go for a run. I enjoy occasionally getting faster, breaking records, and running further, but it's not what drives me. I run with consistency in mind, with the hope of many more years to go on my feet. Knowing this, I don't aim to always beat my PB; I strive for consistency, and that's why I am running my age every year from here on out. I want to continue putting one step in front of the other for as long as possible. I want to live a long, healthy, and enriched life, and running is a way to point me in that direction.
Getting Out the Door
Running's not for everyone, but it's great for me. Though I love running, and I have since I was young, I'll be the first to admit that I too often struggle to take my first steps out the door. It's easy to make excuses for why you aren't going today, especially for the non-routine among us (and I have a natural aptitude for being non-routine). By setting a goal for my age every year, I am focusing on consistency, not speed, and creating a commitment to putting my shoes on.
Women weren't able to run Marathon in this Era.
Often when I put on my shoes, and I am reminded that women alive today were told not to run. Kathrine Switzer was the first woman to run the Boston Marathon as an officially registered competitor in 1967. She entered the race under her initials, so to avoid the officials noticing she was a female. Once she started running, the race official tried to tackle her to the ground, but luckily she managed to run away. That was only 55 years ago! I feel thankful to her and the others pushing for women's rights, and feel empowered to run.
Running with Friends
There's something magical about running with a group of friends. You feel like a pack of animals running along together, like a pride of Lions, a cackle of hyenas setting out across the savanna, giggling gleefully together for your silly, nonsensical adventure. So I hope that every year I run slightly further, and I get to enjoy this with friends, new and old.
Why I want to Run my Age every year
I believe running is truly good for me and wonders for my mental health and clarity. Though I am also not very routine, I know it's easy to run out of steam and lose a habit. I want to run the distance of my birthday every year, commit to a long-term goal, and be fit and healthy for the rest of my life. To continue pushing and challenging myself and always have something challenging me a little more every year. Every year this will be my Birthday treat to me, one km more each year.
After a long run, I always have this feeling of having been on holiday, I've spent a long time just thinking, and it provides this sense of mental clarity like no other. What more could you want for a birthday treat?
Want to join me for a 28 km run next year? Send me a message! Why do you like to run?