I love this saying, not only because it's written on the running medal display plaque my amazing wife recently made and gifted to me, but because running has definitely changed my life. I never had the desire, nor the motivation to run until after moving to Boston in 2009. Seeing the Boston Marathon take place every year on Patriots' Day inspired me to start thinking about running, but while in poor physical condition, running was not an option for me. So, I joined a gym next to my place of work and started walking on a treadmill during my lunch breaks. I then started walking outside, around Boston's financial district and up Beacon Hill. I started walking up stairs; I even walked up the stairs, to the top, of the Bunker Hill Monument. I started feeling so good that I started running up stairs, and then eventually after feeling stronger and in better physical condition, I decided it was time to give running a try. My first run occurred in 2015 and literally lasted for around 10 seconds. The next day, I noticed how great I felt and decided to run again. I instantly fell in love, started running as often as I could, and noticed how great it made me feel.
Today, I run nearly every day and as a person that frequently experiences depression, anxiety, self-doubt, and addiction, seeing the Boston Marathon finishers every Patriot's Day was a blessing in disguise for me. Every year, I become excited to see what the next running season brings me. The feeling I experience on the day I sit down and decide which events to sign up for can be described as the feeling a kid experiences on Christmas morning. I respect the art of running and I appreciate all that it has taught me over the years. Running has introduced me to a wonderful community of like-minded people, it has taught me to show compassion and respect toward others, it has taught me more about the neighborhood I live in, it has taught me to respect nature and how we (people) impact it, it has introduced me to trails, it has taught me to observe bird migrations, it has taught me to learn more about myself and my body, it has taught me to feel strong and gave me confidence, it has taught me to appreciate simplicity and to be humble, and it has taught me to find my inner peace.
For me, running is a passion, a passion I will never take for granted. That is why I use my passion to give back and show appreciation. These days, I pick up trash while I run, I raise money for charity by tracking my miles and organizing social media fundraisers, I host free social group runs, I volunteer for local running events, share my personal stories on my Vlog/Blog, I sign up to be an ambassador for my favorite local running organizations (Eugene Marathon, Terrapin Events, Nuun Hydration, etc.), be a guest speaker at non-profit events, and help empower others with the gift of running through coaching and free services for underprivileged youth athletes. It's true that one run changes your day, but many runs (especially daily) can change your life!