Running was something I never really gave a chance in the beginning. It was my least favorite workout. I’d run for a few seconds, be super exhausted, and call it a day. I had more excuses than reasons to run.

After a close friend persistently encouraged me to start running with her and after seeing (and participating) in online running communities, I gradually fell in like with running. A few short runs led to consistent runs and then eventually longer runs. Next thing you know, I was in love. And as with anything I fall in love with, I become engaged and start to crave something bigger. Only a few months into running, I started training for my first half marathon — Rock ’n’ Roll San Diego.

I started running races because I wanted to take my running to the next level. I wanted to add a fun purpose to my running. I didn’t want it to be about getting fit or losing weight. The idea of accumulating medals and completing my first half marathon and marathon seemed like a fun yet realistic challenge. But after I crossed off my first marathons and acquired tons of medals, I felt purposeless again. I didn’t have much of a reason to run, but a part of me still wanted to continue. So I thought harder and realized the reasons that got me started were completely different from the reasons that kept me coming back.

When I took a break from racing, I felt disconnected from my friends and distant from the running community. It then hit me. Running wasn’t all about setting and accomplishing goals or earning medals. It was beyond that. To me, it was more about friendships and community.

Why I’ve been running with the Rock ’n’ Roll Marathon Series for four years (and counting):

  1. Goal setting — every new race is an opportunity for new goals.
  2. Travel — it gives me more of a reason to explore new cities and in a very unique way (running through the streets).
  3. Continually build on mental stamina — every race is a chance to learn more about yourself and develop mental power.
  4. And most importantly, the people — there’s something about runners. Their positive vibes radiate grit, support, motivation, and drive. Who wouldn’t want to be surrounded by this energy?

So far in 2017, I’ve been able to run San Diego, Seattle, and Chicago. Each race had its unique goal, a different travel experience, new mental discoveries, and new or stronger friendships. I keep telling myself that I’m done running races, but every year, I do it all over again.