Run Happy!

By: Marie Morgan

For many runners, the primary motivation to start running is to lose weight—that is the main reason I started running. I wanted to lose 50 pounds and knew running was a good way to burn calories, and a way for me to reach my goal. Little did I know that at the time, running had much more to offer me!

The beginning was tough, but as a former high school swimmer and softball player, I was familiar with hard work and with not giving up when faced with a challenge. Over time, I became more and more comfortable running, and eventually decided to enter my first race to further challenge myself and face some fears, with hopes of increasing my motivation to keep running. I loved the feeling of that first race—the nervousness, the self-consciousness, and the desire to run as hard as I possibly could. When I finished, I felt as if I had won the race! It may not have been pretty to others, but for me, it was a life-changing event. I did it, I was capable, and I was motivated to keep running and race again.

I didn’t forget about my weight loss goals, but after I started racing, weight loss quickly slipped down a notch on the list of my primary reasons to run. My motivation quickly turned to working hard and working smart while training to improve my finish times, my overall fitness, and to have as much fun as I possibly could.

Over time, the weight came off, my ability to train hard improved, and I received great support and advice from family members and other runners. Seeing incremental improvements in my race finish times was exciting. It was very satisfying to see my name inch up from near the bottom of my age group—that was more fuel for my fire! I remember the feeling of checking race results and seeing for the first time that I placed in the top three of my age group. I hope to never forget that feeling.

Whether it’s a 5K, a marathon, or any distance in between, the sense of accomplishment, the euphoric feeling, is like nothing else I’ve ever experienced. With what seems like an ever-increasing number of runners racing in the U.S. in an increasing number of running events, and with more and more races selling out soon after opening registration, it doesn’t look as if I’m the only one hooked on running.

For some, the more miles, the more years one runs, the more likely boredom or burn out will set in. For the love of all that is good about running, it’s important to change things up, set new goals, and go outside of your comfort zone. Until 2008, I was pretty much a lone runner or one that would go out occasionally with a friend or two. In the winter of that year, I joined a group to train with. Today, I’m a stronger, smarter, and faster runner. I was also happier than ever—I met my future husband and some of my closest friends while running with a group. Nearly two years ago now, my husband and I, along with some of the best people and greatest runners that we know, started the PR Fitness Run Club of Ann Arbor—again, a new high in my enjoyment for running, and even more for sharing it with friends as we welcome anyone who wants to train to improve or to simply enjoy the run.

I have come to know running as part of me. Running helps to keep me healthy, strong, and is, in a way, my therapist, my religion, and a great way to keep in touch with friends. Most of all, running makes me happy.

I was recently reminded of how important running is to me when, due to a non-running related medical procedure, it was necessary for me to take some time off. To put it lightly, my absence hit me pretty hard. Even though temporary, not running brought about a change in my mood, and not for the best. It’s possible that the serotonin that is released during running that helps to elevate the mood was missing—I had been running consistently, year-round, for so many years, that I thought I was just a happy person. I knew running made me happy, but I didn’t know that taking a break would bring my happiness down a bit. No running with friends, no racing, no solo hard workouts, no fun, but only temporary. I’ll be back!

I started running to lose weight. I run today because it helps to make me healthy, strong, and happy!

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  1. […] are “vague and can be difficult to achieve.” But who doesn’t want to be happier? Check out Marie Morgan’s “Run Happy” Fitness Other piece from our October/November issue, as well as one of my own recent blog […]



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