I walk in the door from my evening run, red-faced, sweat drenching my clothes, and breathing so heavily you would think I am trying to blow down one of the pigs’ houses. My husband always stares at me and asks the same question, “why do you enjoy this again?”

It is true, on those tough runs I have found myself asking this, but then I complete that hill that has been kicking my butt and it all comes rushing back. There is so much I love about running and there is a whole community of runners out there who will agree that there is nothing really comparable to a great run.

The Runners High: Oh, the magic of endorphins! Every time I get out there and pound the pavement, there is a rush of endorphins to my brain that is similar to any synthetic high people search for.

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Energy Boost: When I am having a disaster of a day and my mood has everyone in my family running for cover, my husband usually nudges my running shoes in my direction. The combination of fresh air, accomplishment and physical exhaustion pull me out of my funk faster than a whole bag of my favorite candy.

Free Therapy: Whether I need to clear my head or work through a tough problem, running gives me the opportunity to be alone with my thoughts. Some of my biggest worries can be resolved on a good run and I don’t owe a dime to anyone after.

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Stop and Smell the Roses: There are so many beauties in everyday life that we miss because we are heading to that next appointment or rushing to our next task. I get to literally stop and smell the roses when I am out on a run and I find that I appreciate much more of the natural beauty that exists around me because of my time spent outdoors.

The Challenge: We spend most of our lives never truly testing our physical limits, but running changes that. I can compete with myself every day I set foot outside and I can find that I am capable of far more than I ever thought possible.

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We Runners are a Unique Breed: There is something to be said about the community of runners. While we are a distinctive breed of athlete that some may find to be a bit weird, we share a passion for fitness that bonds us all as we jog past each other on the street. I enjoy my weird running buddies and find that the community is what keeps me going at times.

The Mood Lifter: In addition to those wonderful endorphins I mentioned earlier, your brain is flooded with dopamine (a mood enhancer) post-run. It is no placebo effect that you are feeling after you log your miles, you are truly getting a mood boost every time you hit the pavement.

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I Take My Gym With Me (and it always changes): Half the struggle of working out is getting started and that is only made more difficult when you have to spend the time getting to your gym every day. My gym is right outside my door and it is one of the most beautiful gyms you will ever witness. Oh, and the bonus is that my gym is completely free!

Fun for the Whole Family: One of the best perks about running is that almost anyone can do it. Your whole family can enjoy a good run together and many families are starting to compete in 5k or 10k races on a regular basis together.

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Good Excuse For “me” Time: As moms we often feel bad for taking anytime for ourselves because we don’t feel it is a “good enough” excuse. Because of the whole list of benefits of running there is no reason why running isn’t a good excuse for moms to take a break.

No Matter How Slow You Go, You Are Considered A Runner: Running is not an exclusive activity. There are a myriad of different abilities, but whether my mile takes me six or twenty minutes, I am considered a runner. I love a club that lets everyone in!

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Why Wouldn’t I Love To Run? I could make a list of 500 reasons why I run, because I thoroughly enjoy it and it keeps me healthy. So next time my husband asks me why I do it, this will be my answer.