Our recent Holiday Gift Guide includes stories from members of our communities who are Spreading the Joy of Movement. We’re blogging them here as well so we can Spread the Joy Inspiration! This story is from Deb Swanson and how she found her “Runner’s Happy.”

“Hi. I’m Deb and I don’t like running.” Sounds like an introduction to a 12-step program, but it is basically how I introduced myself every time I started a new running season. Until a year ago. All of the sudden I realized I had been running for about five years and, if I really didn’t like running, why did I keep coming back? For the joy of it! Yes, running can be joyful!

The first time I realized I like running was not when I was running, but minutes after I finished. It felt good. And it felt like I could keep running. I’m not sure that it was a “runner’s high,” but it was definitely a “runner’s happy.”

Recently, I realized again that I like running when I was chatting with the women in my running posse. We all agreed that we might be tempted to skip a run if we were doing it by ourselves, but because we were meeting to run, we showed up. And we enjoyed both the run and each other’s company. I also realized that I like running when I found myself looking forward to the next race, the next challenge, the next adventure.

I am not fast or thin. A half marathon is my longest distance. But I like how healthy it makes me feel to be out there pounding the pavement three times a week. And I miss running and my friends when I can’t make it. “Hi. I’m Deb, and I realize that I really DO like running.”

-Deb Swanson, Holland