I’ve been running pretty much since I can remember. I remember running on the track team in grade school and how my lungs would ache on those chilly mornings in West Virginia. I remember the sheer thrill I would feel as a kid when running with our dog through our neighborhood and how happy our dog looked. I remember running to stave off the freshmen 15 in college. Then I remember getting shin splints during one run in college and almost crawling back to my apartment, followed by the agonizing pain I felt when all of my leg muscles seized up in the shower. I decided to take some time off running at that point and I did not run again for about four or five years. Then I realized how much I missed running and I decided to train for my very first 5k. The race I chose was on the 4th of July in North Carolina. Being young and naive, I didn’t even think twice about running through the heat and humidity that envelopes the North Carolina summers. Fortunately, the race was in the evening, but I remember it was still extremely hot and humid even after the sun had gone down. It was during that summer that I remembered why I run. It’s not to stay in shape or lose weight. It’s not so I can eat whatever I want and not gain weight. When I run, I feel free. I feel alive. Sure, there are times when it’s painful and not much fun, but I know when I’ve finished a run, I will feel satisfied that I’ve put my all into that run and I have done my best. I run because I love it, quite simply.