Today is  National Running Day in the US – a day to celebrate why we all run! I really enjoyed reading through the “I run…” badges on this website – they inspired me to bring the celebrations across the pond by taking a moment to reflect upon the many reasons why I love to run, in the context of my runs this week…

I run…because I love to explore! 

I spent my bank holiday weekend in Oslo – although not quite as interesting and beautiful as Stockholm, in my opinion, and by far the most expensive city I have ever visited, this lovely, relatively quiet city was full of enough lush green parks and forests to make this runner very happy! As I have discussed many times before, I try to run wherever I am in the world – it’s a great way to experience a new place and inject some excitement (and often more challenging terrains/conditions) into my training.

In between sight seeing and eating my way through Oslo, I was able to squeeze in two 7-mile morning runs. Here are details from my second run on Monday, which started at my hotel in central Oslo and included a park surrounding the Royal Palace (Slottsparken) as well as a much larger park surrounding the famous Vigeland sculpture garden (Frognerparken). These runs were awesome – the sun was shining, the parks were incredibly peaceful and teeming with fragrant lilac trees, and there were enough hills to make me feel like I had done at least some preparation for this weekend’s trail race, the 17km Kentmere Challenge in the Lake District.

Here I am in Slottsparken later in the day, nestling in one of the many lilac trees!

I run…to soak up the sunshine!

It’s a gorgeous day out today, which to me means it’s a crime to exercise inside. So, instead of hitting the gym for an interval or tempo treadmill session, I celebrated the presence of actual sunshine in London this morning by putting on my brand new pink and black Saucony Omni 9’s and going for a great 6.25M fartlek run along the river. Running in new shoes AND in great weather is such a brilliant feeling!!

I run…to EAT!

I love food (who doesn’t?!), and although I try my best to maintain a relatively healthy, balanced diet and cook on a regular basis, I certainly don’t deprive myself of anything (sweets!) and regularly eat out. Tonight, for instance, I have a fun evening planned with E, starting with dinner at one of my favorite Italian restaurants in London. Having logged over 6 miles this morning, and simply because I am active on most days, I can get away with indulging a bit more than the average, inactive person. I of course have to be careful and not get too carried away with what I like to call my running for cupcakes reasoning, so that I don’t negate all of the efforts of my hard training. However, when I have completed a challenging run or, better yet, a great race, I swear – food tastes infinitely better, knowing that I’ve really earned it!

I run…to connect with others! 

As referenced above, I’m running the 17km Kentmere Challenge this Saturday in Staveley, up in the Lake District, as part of a fun weekend I helped organize with E and six of our friends. Half of us will be running (/walking) the 17km event, while the other half will do the 10km event. It will be the first time in AGES that I’ve done anything with a group of friends, as well as the first time I will be racing with other people (as in, actually running with them). I’m excited – as much as I LOVE my solo runs and races, I also really enjoy my social runs and recently I’ve been trying to do more races “just for fun” to take a break from worrying about my times. We chose this event because it’s fairly chilled out (with the Challenge, you can run or walk it), it’s in a beautiful part of England, and of course it’s an opportunity to hang out together – at the event, in our cute B&B in Ambleside, at the Drunken Duck for an awesome post-race dinner, during a hike the next day if any of us can still move after surviving the mountainous trails…Should be a fun, active and relaxed weekend!

As you can imagine, my list of why I run goes on and on…but I will spare you the rest. Happy running!!