Article Written by: Stefanie Ozga

Sometimes you just have to go back to the beginning... remember your WHY. Remember why you love running. Why you slog through the miles with shin splints and burning lungs just to chase that eternal PR. Why you can't wait for race day even though it's the most nerve wracking morning stepping onto the course and thinking "just start the damn thing already!" You need to remember the runner's high feeling you get when it feels like your feet are starting to lift off the ground and you could run forever. Remember the energy of the crowd or the sweet solitude of a solo run after a crazy day and the weather being spot on. Remember the elation of finishing your first half marathon and realizing you are still alive and could probably run another one again.. in maybe three years.
The reason I'm saying to remember why you run is to get through the tough days... the training days that suck all of your energy. The races where you DNF. The blisters you get on your feet that sideline you for days and you start going stir-crazy. The tears that flow from having to stop several times during a run because you can't breathe. Your Why is what gets you through those days. I got some good advice the other day from my boyfriend who runs half marathons: "Get out of your head and just run!" It's so true. I get in my own way. I focus on the pain in my legs and lungs and not the joy of my sport. So today while doing my intervals at the track I tried to focus on the beautiful weather and the fact that I could run more of those one minute run segments than I thought. I am happy with my pace of 13:23 today because it's been better than my 15:00 minute miles back when I started my racing journey. I am in the process of training for the Pittsburgh 5K in May - a race I will be attending with said partner who will be doing the half. I am excited because this will be our first running adventure, but I am also nervous because I don't want to let him or myself down if I don't PR. But I can't dwell on that... I need to remember my Why and just run the best race I can. I know that I'll have my biggest cheerleader there waiting for me at the finish line. I think about all of those runners of the Boston Marathon two days ago who toed the line for 26.2 miles from Heartbreak Hill down to Boylston Street knowing that it took a hell of a lot of grueling training days, guts, and heart to make it to the finish line. My congratulations goes out to every one of them - the elite and the novice because on Patriot's Day they all remembered their Why. Let this be your motivation the next time you lace up