Saturday, August 14, 2010


I was recently interviewed by Dave Tiefenthaler, the creator of a great running website,

One question in particular really struck me, mostly because I hadn't ever really stopped to think about it before: Why do you enjoy running so much?

I'm a big fan of asking why. I think understanding the reasoning behind what goes on in this crazy world of ours is crucial to developing as a human being - to gain knowledge and to be able to form your own views/ideas/opinions. I'll never say no to a little kid who continues to ask, "why?" because I think that little kid represents an inquisitive way of life we all need to buy in to! One of my favorite quotes (yes, I know I have a lot of "favorites" ;) ) is "it's what you learn after you know it all that counts." (John Wooden) The smartest people in this world simply never stop learning and acquiring new information... never stop asking "Why?"

So it is with this thought that I delve in to the question of WHY I love to run.

For the purpose of brevity, here's what I told Dave in my interview:
It’s the “runner’s high,” it’s the constant improvement and goal setting that can be made, it’s the connections made with other runners who share the same passion for the sport…. I think I could go on and on. Basically, I feel that running, along with God, family, and friends, fulfills me as a person!

However, never one to be short-winded, I couldn't help but feel like my answer was incomplete.

With my passion for running, I can't believe I'd never really thought about/addressed this question before. This was honestly the first time I'd straight up been asked that question! I can imagine with all the raised eyebrows and blank stares I've gotten from people (can't count the number of times I've wanted to yell, "TAKE A PICTURE!") just in my own hometown that many have wanted to pose this question to me long before this, but surprisingly it's never really come up.

So... over the past couple of days as I've been out on my runs, I've taken some time to... really dig deep to get to the answer in its entirety!

I love and have loved a lot of things in and about my life. I love God, my family, my friends, my dog... and I have loved sports for a very long time. Prior to St. Norbert, throughout all of high school, I absolutely, positively loved the sport of basketball. I spent endless hours in a gym honing my jumpshot. But, there was always something about it that... ate at me. Like I was always searching for more. Never once did I feel content about where I was at in my basketball career. And that became especially true as I began as a collegiate basketball player at St. Norbert. Suddenly I was quite honestly in over my head. Sitting on that bench that season made me come to the realization that there had to be something more out there for me; something that could reward me better, put a smile back on my face more often, and give me a much greater feeling of contentment.

Running. It became my escape from the basketball court - it was a refreshing break from the screaming of coaches and the stresses of being in over my head. It got me through that disappointing season because, as I quickly began to realize, it brought me happiness! When I got out and ran, it didn't matter that I had failed to step on to the court for even a single minute earlier. It was something only I, myself, could control. And I liked it. I really, really liked it.

By the end of basketball season, I was up to running for about an hour at a time. I never knew how far I'd run or even how fast -- I'd simply go by feel. Looking back, it's very refreshing to note this, to know that I fell in love with running in its purest form - not even a watch many days, just a t-shirt, shorts, and a pair of running shoes.

So why would I ultimately decide to put the sport I was in love with through all of high school on hold for-- running ? Well, the next big reason is the success that would follow as a result of the hard work I put in -- continually running, day after day. I medaled at our Indoor Conference track meet about 2 weeks after basketball season was over with. It was at this moment I knew I'd found a sport where I could finally get out of it what I put in to it. And I LOVED that feeling.

The other part is at that Conference meet, I realized I was with a group of people like me. I instantly found myself able to fit in to their conversations and relate to who they were as people. I finally felt like I belonged at St. Norbert! And I LOVED that feeling.

And now, looking back at the "beginnings" of my running -- now nearly 4 years ago!! -- makes me smile. I've had my fair share of ups and downs throughout my running career thus far, but remembering how that fire/passion for running was first lit makes me set aside all those troubles and simply recognize how much joy it's brought in to my life.

And in 4 years, that like of running I found during basketball season, turned in to a love, and then a passion. I started meeting more runners like me via Twitter (shoutout to @steeplcreepr & @sastewart11 who I've formed an unbelievable connection with!), sharing experiences and feelings with them -- and that became another reason why I love running. I truly believe runners have a connection with one another unlike any other athletes in any other sport!

How about that constant challenge running provides? As a goal-oriented person, I love that running is there everyday to present a challenge. Sometimes that challenge can just be to lace up those shoes and get out the door! But there's always a better time or a longer distance you can look to build towards. Running is without limits! "Running is a big question mark that's there each and every day. It asks you, 'Are you going to be a wimp or are you going to be strong today?'" :)

Then there's that feeling, that only real runners know -- that runner's high. It's that burst of energy you somehow get at the end of a long, long run... it's that feeling you get in the middle of a race that helps you beat someone you never thought you were capable of beating. It's that incredible feeling you have as you finish your run or race or workout -- a feeling of euphoria that can't even really be put in to words! It's not something that happens all the time, but when it does, it's the perfect reminder of WHY we run. :)

So, there's a more complete answer as to WHY I love to run. I love the freedom, the simplicity, the high, the people, the challenges, the successes, the happiness, the contentment, the improvements, and the life lessons associated with running. And there are some others too -- the cool gadgets (Garmin watch!), the ridiculously expansive and seemingly endless array of running shoe & gear choices available, the awesome flurry of websites devoted to fueling your passion for running that have popped up over the last couple of years (see this Running Times article!) and the obvious health benefits associated with running... but these, to me, are added bonuses. When you talk about the LOVE of running, it all goes back to those first few months I began running -- when I ran because it felt good, and because it helped me meet people I could actually relate to. I love running because it has fulfilled me in a way I never knew possible. And it will continue to be a part of my life for as long as possible.

I'd love to hear your thoughts on WHY you love running. Leave me a comment below, shoot me an e-mail at or tweet me!

Till next time... Happy Running. Don't ever forget what made you fall in love with this terrific sport. :)


Some great quotes on why we run (you didn't actually think I'd only provide only one or 2 quotes in a blog post, did you?? ;) ):

"We run, not because we think it is doing us good, but because we enjoy it and cannot help ourselves...The more restricted our society and work become, the more necessary it will be to find some outlet for this craving for freedom. No one can say, 'You must not run faster than this, or jump higher than that.' The human spirit is indomitable."
-Sir Roger Bannister, first runner to run a sub-4 minute mile

"Running is the greatest metaphor for life, because you get out of it what you put into it."
-Oprah Winfrey

"You have to wonder at times what you're doing out there. Over the years, I've given myself a thousand reasons to keep running, but it always comes back to where it started. It comes down to self-satisfaction and a sense of achievement." - Steve Prefontaine

"I always loved was something you could do by yourself, and under your own power. You could go in any direction, fast or slow as you wanted, fighting the wind if you felt like it, seeking out new sights just on the strength of your feet and the courage of your lungs." - Jesse Owens

"I run because it's so symbolic of life. You have to drive yourself to overcome the obstacles. You might feel that you can't. But then you find your inner strength, and realize you're capable of so much more than you thought." --Arthur Blank

"Running is not, as it so often seems, only about what you did in your last race or about how many miles you ran last week. It is, in a much more important way, about community, about appreciating all the miles run by other runners, too." --Richard O'Brien

I'd also love to hear your feedback on the interview I did with! View the interview in its entirety here. Thanks again to Dave, creator of Tips4Running, for asking to do the interview! It's an honor to be featured on such a great website/resource for runners!

1 comment:

  1. Thank you again Jenny. Great post. I think it's very important to explore "why" we love the things we do.

    - Dave