What's Your Why?

What's Your Why? - Virtual Fitness Challenge Blog | Run The Edge

When our friend Andy Clarke posts in our Facebook groups, we know that it will inspire everyone to get involved. Last week he posted the following:

"Why did you do it Wednesday" - Why did you start your fitness journey? Why do you love to run/wog or walk? Why do you want to go farther? Why do you want to go faster? Tell me WHY!!

For me it was only about the fitness benefits and then I met all of you. I have enjoyed this group so much and enjoy trying to help others as best as I can. It is also great for killing time when your kids are grown and out of the house!!

Here are just a few of the awesome comments we received from our crazy inspirational Run The Year 2017 members:

Leave us YOUR "Why" in the comments below!

“My why... I want to be healthy and here for my children when they are grown. I was on blood pressure medication for 15 years because of my diet and inactive life. I started running 7 months ago and I’m off all my medication and feeling incredible. This group has pushed and motivated me to be better everyday!  ❤

— Melanie Venanzio

I began 2 years ago to better my overall health since there is a long history of heart disease in the women of my family. I've lost several aunts, grandparents, and my dad to heart disease. The walks turned into runs then races. I found this group and have never looked back, and never felt better. I had no idea that day I went for my 1st intentional walk that 2 years later I'd have a marathon under my belt, be training for a 2nd, and become a half fanatic!

— Brooke Johnson Richards

I lost my mind, clear and simple. Well, the running part. My fitness journey started a million years ago with gastric bypass. I lost 150lbs. and then became stagnant and put about 70 of it back on. In 2011, I saw a picture of me with my baby girl and I just couldn't take it any more. It made me cry.

I started walking around the block on my breaks at work. My break walks turned into lunchtime walks and then turned into me pushing myself to go further and further, pushing myself to try to go faster. All of this turned into doing a 5K, then a 10K then a Half (one and done) and then more Halfs then challenge weekends. It was just non-stop for me. It has truly become an addiction.

— Gretchen Keith

It's something I can do for me. When I hit the road or trail, all stress leaves and I feel alive. I prefer to walk/ jog alone. It's the one time of day that I can breathe and feel no stress. And this group? Simply amazing support. All levels of fitness. Everyone building on community. It's a blessing to have found it.

— Linda Radtke Greeneltch

I was tired of being tired and overweight. I'm a nurse and I felt like a hypocrite when I told people how important diet and exercise were. I'm 48 and want to age gracefully and try to avoid as many health issues as possible. It was just time to make a change.

— Kacy Shafer Desmonds

I don't run, I walk. Why? Because it's good for my mental and physical health, because I am getting stronger every day, because I get to see more joy around me, and because of all of you. I am so humbled to be part of this group, so inspired by all of you, and hope I am helping others in the group as well.

— Kate Thomas Noer

I've always been active but I started running seriously during grad school when I noticed that all the other social workers went for runs on their lunch breaks to burn off the stress of the day. I tried it. It worked! That was the beginning of the running madness for me. When I turned 50, I gave myself permission to run a full marathon. That was a slippery slope! I'll be running my 4th in just a few weeks! 

A big reason that I keep on being as active as I can is that there is a significant family history of Alzheimer's Disease on my maternal side. Out of 7 deceased Aunts and Uncles and my Mom, 5 were diagnosed with Alzheimer's. I'm currently undergoing genetic counseling and may end up being tested, but will most definitely be involved in a research study of some kind.

Some people think that's brave. I think it's a way to give back and hopefully impact this awful disease before my children or grandchildren have to deal with it. In the meantime, I keep moving, eating healthy (most of the time) and enjoy challenging myself to see what this 53 year old body can still do. ?

— Rebecca Colyer Gale

“Fitness and this community of awesome, inspirational people!! Love my RTY FAMILY!! ?

             — Linda Schamerhorn Johnson

I was a runner when I was a kid and got away from that as an adult. The pounds packed on and I started running in the hopes of losing weight. I struggled because I didn't understand how poor diet choices were outweighing the running I was doing, (you can't outrun a bad diet) and I was trying to go too fast.

With that and bad knees I would quit several times. About two years ago, something just clicked for me while running at a slow pace and I actually enjoyed it and it didn't feel as challenging as it had before. I started running races and it became almost an obsession for me.

I had about an 8 month run streak going, and was training for another half when I suffered a bad ankle injury last summer. Mentally, not being able to run and some other things have sent me into a deep depression that I am just now starting to dig out from under.

For me, running was a chance to be outside with my dogs, to test my abilities to go farther and improve my time (albeit slowly), and to clear my head. Even after a crappy run, I ALWAYS felt better.

I am hoping to start running - walking again if my ankle will allow it (stupid thing always swells up after a few days and hurts to walk on) and hopefully get back to completing races and maybe doing another half before the year is over.

— Erica McGraw Hampton

“I want to be healthier and feel better.

            — Melissa Wall

My why Wednesday is because I fell off a mountain, (at least that's what my daughter calls it)....destroyed my ACL, tore my MCL, and fractured my bone. After surgery my physical therapist said I should try running. So I did. Once I saw positive results, I stuck with it. 2 years now...I'm slow, but I go!

— Wendy DeSando

My why...it's hard to explain really...there are so many reasons...it started initially though because Paul Ladd was being deployed overseas. All the fears of what happens if he doesn't return and what are we waiting for and all those life changing realizations hit...we decided to train together although separate for the Disney Half Marathon for his return.

And seriously, how could I not get out there while he was over there risking it all...my first race was alone in Boston. It was the inaugural Run to Home Base 9k and it couldn't be more fitting. He was able to get a call out to me while I walked the empty streets to Fenway and I'll never forget the emotion and quiet.

We were blessed and he came home, we ran that Disney half and from then on it’s been a mental love/hate relationship. Why do I do keep doing this...because every year even with setbacks I am a little bit stronger...a little bit wiser...I hope to reach my goals and am so grateful to my RTY family. ?

— Lisa Ladd

“I quit smoking and needed a healthy replacement.

            — Erin Alexander

I found running a long time ago... about 30 years ago. As a child, I was very uncoordinated and one of the last to be picked in gym. I discovered running in 7th grade gym class and found out I was actually ok at this. I ran track and cross country in high school.

I then continued running just on my own. I ran a few races locally. I ran a marathon when I was just pregnant with my son and then a half a few years later on my daughter’s first birthday. I then stopped running races but ran two - three miles most days to keep sane which I still do.

In 2014-15, I started getting bored and needed goals. One of those goals was to run a second marathon. I ran the Hartford marathon and raised over $2200 for the LLS society.

After that, I said no more marathons. I was volunteering at a race in my home town in November 2015 and saw a new goal. Run 169 towns in Connecticut! I ran my first official race with them on New Year's Day 2015 and now as of today have run in over 80 races..... I have 79 towns as of now... and have made friends with people across the state. A great decision on my part!

— Stephanie Shaughnessy

My why? A very good hearted, but blunt, student with Autism asked me when my baby was due. That started my fitness journey and it was perpetuated by reflecting on my parent's health. There are many ways I want to be like them...but following in their health footsteps is not one of them. High blood pressure, cholesterol, depression exasperated by reclusiveness...no thank you. Also...my Dad has Alzheimer's and, while I know some of the cause is genetic, I can't help but think some is environmental/behavioral. If Alzheimer's gets me via genetics, so be it but I want to treat my body as good as I can incase there are other triggers.

— Danielle Ott Springston

Why do I do it? Because I was fat, bored and had almost no friends. Seriously, though, like a lot of you, I’d had a rough patch. I was very unhappy with having to move back to the US. I’d had the perfect 30-something-year-old life: living in the middle of a major metropolitan city, dinner and drinks all the time, watching major sporting and cultural events, being out and about doing things.

So I move back and then my father was diagnosed with a terminal illness (idiopathic pulmonary fibrosis). He defied odds in that he made it *much* longer than any of the doctors expected, with numbers that made him dead on paper. And while we were all glad we had him as long as we did, it was still quite a drain watching someone with full mental capacity take 15 minutes to walk 7 steps, and then not be able to walk at all because it cost too much in breathing.

Anyway, a while after he passed last September, I realized how far out of control I’d gotten and how much I was *not* like that person I was in Melbourne. So in January, I started the long crawl back to someone who will eventually be able to do 10k in an hour and 20 min again. And I have met loads more friends in this group! It’s a struggle when I don’t see the scale move at all in two weeks, but reading about all of your successes and failures gives me hope and makes me realize that while running can be a solitary sport, we’re all in it together.

— Kathleen Smith

Why do I run? It's love affair that started in JR high. We've had our difficult times and split up a few times but we always get back together. Nothing makes me feel this good, well almost nothing. ?

— Connie Goedert-Edward

I started running to lose weight. Now that I'm pretty close to my goal weight, I continue running because some days, it's the only hour I get to spend with my husband! It's something we enjoy doing together and it's "us" time that we won't get any other way.

— Sarah Piper

“I have to be honest and say I don’t love to run. But I do love the feeling when it’s over. ?

           — Danielle DeVito McLaughlin

Words by Run The Year 2017 members, our #RTYfamily
Photo courtesy of
Stephanie Shaughnessy

What made you start walking or running? What makes you push yourself to train harder, go faster, or inspire a friend?

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