When I Run, I Feel Free

This post is sponsored by Mizuno via Fitfluential, all opinions are my own. 

I started running when I was eight-years-old when my Dad would take me out on the track at my elementary school and I would practice my 1-mile times. Moving onto middle school I then practiced my 1-mile times in PE class and I remember loving that after-run feeling, even though I was tomato-faced and sweaty profusely after each run, I loved the feeling every time. I continued running on an off throughout high school and into college. Anytime a stressor came up in my life I would run as much as possible and I would use running as my escape in my sometimes turbulent home life. When chaos was around me I would choose to lace up my shoes and run. I began to fall in love with running and filling my free time between hitting the pavement and swimming. I've run in countless pairs of shoes and I go through pairs pretty quickly. When I was fitted for running shoes in a running store I learned that I'm a neutral runner which means that my feet pronate inwards when I run which could potentially cause more injuries and shin splints if I'm not wearing proper neutral running shoes. I was grateful when Mizuno asked me to review their new Wave Sky running shoes. I literally feel like I'm running on air in these beautiful shoes and with proper amounts of stretching and lots of comfort, my shin splints have dissipated and I've noticed a huge difference in the amount of time and miles I can run. This is my first time trying out Mizuno's and I'm grateful they sent me a pair to review. If you're in the market for new running shoes, I highly reccomend checking out the new Wave Sky if you are a neutral runner. 

Running for me is so much more than the physical benefits I get from it. When I'm hitting the trails with Roxy, my furry, tail-wagging 34-pound running partner I feel free. I'm able to take time out of my day for myself and be with her outdoors in the sun doing something I enjoy and reaping all of the benefits from it. I struggle with generalized anxiety disorder and I tend to overthink and fear everything. Running keeps my mind in check and helps keep me from going over the edge. If you struggle with anxiety then you know that it can completely take over and keep you from doing normal, everyday tasks. I'm also a hypochondriac and running helps keep my irrational fears from taking over my mind. I listen to my feet hitting the ground and I hear the birds chirping and the wind whistling through the trees. I hear the dirt crunching beneath my feet and the other runners and cyclists around me. I breathe with the rhythm of my feet hitting the ground and instantly I feel calm. With my anxiety disorder, I find I function better outside in nature. We are building a deck in our back yard for this exact reason. So that I can write and work outside because I feel less anxious outside. I believe that's because anytime something chaotic was happening in my home growing up, it always happened indoors. When I'm outside, I'm free. When I'm running, hitting the trails, letting my feet dictate where I go and how we head on the zig-zags of the trails, I'm in control and I'm free. My dog and I have done this so many times that she knows when I need to rest and I know when she needs water. She knows when I want to go faster and I know when she wants to explore new territory. Running helps me feel confident in my own skin and helps calm my mind. When I'm outside I notice I'm more mindful. I'm more mindful of my reactions, my thought process and patterns and my emotions. 

I also notice that on the days I run my reactions are different and my stress levels lessen. I feel better overall and the serotonin levels in my brain seem to function better. It's been scientifically proven that some people with generalized anxiety disorder are missing the chemical that keeps anxiety levels in check. I have to work ten times harder to keep my thought patterns in check and to not let my mind go to the dark side. I consciously have to rehearse positive thoughts in my head to keep me thinking negative thoughts. Running helps because during and after each run my serotonin levels are higher and I feel better. I run for so much more than getting abs and strong quads. Sure, those aspects of running are great and I'm physically stronger for it, but the mental aspects of running benefit me far more. 

Do you run? Do prefer running indoors or outside? Comment below and tell me your favorite ways to lace up your running shoes and run.