For Valentine’s Day, 14 things I love about running

Even though I’m not really into Valentine’s Day, I couldn’t pass up the chance to write about my love of running. Even though I enjoy running all year — more so when it’s nice out — what better time to put together a list of reasons?

For this Valentine's Day, I wrote about why I love running. (Vanessa Junkin photo)
For this Valentine’s Day, I wrote about why I love running. (Vanessa Junkin photo)

1. The people. OK, I’m pretty sure I’m biased about this, but runners are some of the best people. I have met so many cool people through running, people that I likely wouldn’t have met without it.  And in the theme of Valentine’s Day, I even got to know my now-longtime-boyfriend better through running.

2. The finish line. Crossing the finish line of a race is an amazing experience. Whether it’s the accomplishment of meeting a new personal record, finishing a long or new distance, or simply just knowing that you finally get to be done running after a hard effort, the finish line is pretty awesome.

3. Eating or drinking after a run. I’ll often look forward to what I’m going to eat or drink after a run. I somewhat regularly indulge in a coffee smoothie from Rise Up after a long run, or on a cold run, it’s nice to get a hot chocolate. And then after the really long runs, it’s fun to just eat, because, hey, you just burned 1,500 calories or so — maybe even 2,000.

4. Personal records. In running, everyone gets to compete against themselves, and that’s the beauty of personal records. Whether you know you’re outmatched in a race or in an age group or not, competing against yourself can even be more rewarding. For one of my hardest-earned PRs, I didn’t even place in the age group that year — and I did place in the age group when I got a slower time in other years.

5. Spending time outside. What better way to enjoy the great outdoors than on a run? I will note that at least for me, this applies more when the weather is nice.

6 A sense of accomplishment. Whether it’s finishing a new distance or just waking up early to get in a run before work, there are plenty of times when a runner can feel accomplished.

7. Tracking mileage. I love tracking my mileage. I get to celebrate milestones, it’s a way to motivate myself and I can compare my mileage to past years.

8. Meeting goals. This goes along with feeling accomplished, but running is a great venue in which to set and meet goals, such as a certain amount of distance or a new PR.

9. Exploring. I love using running as a way to explore new areas. I feel like I always see more when I’m on foot, and it can make the run more interesting to be in a new place.

10. Competition. It’s always exciting to be at the start line of a race and see what you can do that day. For me, it’s fun to see how well I can do in my age group as well as how well I can compete against my past times.

11. Social time. It’s fun to talk during the run and catch up with friends. It makes the run go by faster.

12. A fun way to exerciseOf course, it’s healthy to exercise in some way, and I really do enjoy running.

13. Inspiring others. As far as I know, I have encouraged or inspired at least a few people to run. Just by running, or by posting a picture of a run, or inviting someone to run with you, you could be encouraging others to get involved.

14. The online community. The online running community is great. Whether it’s Twitter chats or the Rehoboth Seashore Marathon Facebook group, there are always people online who will share your love of running.