The Chasqui Blog
Following with our "Meet our Ambassadors" series, Seattle-based runner Danielle Hathaway shares with us how she started running and how it became an essential and unique part of her life.
As a teenager, running for me was always punishment or conditioning for gymnastics or soccer. Kind of like doing laundry- just one of those things that you need to do in order for life to be orderly- but you’d pay someone else to do it if you could. I was fast, but not the fastest. I had endurance, but not like the cross-country kids (or so I thought at the time). I didn’t really see the point in just going out for a run without a purpose. Who runs just to run? Crazy people, that’s who.
It wasn’t until my freshman year at Oregon that I started running just to run around. It was my first morning in the dorms. I was up earlier than the entire campus and I had no idea where my classes were, or even where to find the cafeteria for that matter. I put my shoes on my feet and a campus map in my pocket and headed out. Instead of going out and killing myself, I went out to simply explore. I had a purpose, but for the first time in my life it wasn’t for physical fitness. This was my first paradigm shift in my approach to running. Running became an adventure instead of a workout.
Danielle loves running several distances, from half marathons to 50 milers.
They say that running is largely mental and because of this, I believe you need to have an additional reason to run other than physical fitness to get the most out of the activity. Once this happens, running goes from a scheduled recurring event to a lifestyle. How far and how fast you can go on any given day is, for the most part, what your mind tells your body to do. Running ceased being painful for me after I stopped thinking of running as running miles in a certain period of time and started thinking of running as adventuring. To me, this is ultimate freedom. It’s freedom in knowing that I can put on my shoes and go a great distance on my feet and see things that others are too busy to see or miss because they are stuffed in a car.
Since college, I have lived in 6 different neighborhoods; all were explored on foot before in car. Even on my visits to my hometown of Rockford, MI I re-explore my old neighborhood and the surrounding area on foot and see something different every single time. It’s weird how even going down the other side of a street can change the experience of a route you’ve ran countless times. It’s amazing how much mileage you can log with this approach. When traveling, this is a fantastic way to explore a city and genuinely experience the culture.
This is one fierce Inca Runner!
This is why I chose to run the Inca Trail with Inca Runners and why I’m an Ambassador for the program. It’s adventuring and exploration at it’s finest. When I head to Peru, my job is to put my shoes on and carry some water. The rest of the details are taken care of for me. I haven’t even thought about how long the total or the daily mileage is for the event. I am there to experience one of the oldest trails on the planet on foot.
Races and events are fun, but this is the true meaning of running to me. Get out, explore, enjoy, be present in the moment and take it all in. What better place to do that than in Peru?
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