Why do you run?

People often ask me why I run, and they especially want to know why I'm continuing to run competitively after college. People run for a wide variety of reasons... I want to hear from you. Why do YOU run? 

I run...
-Because it brings me joy - There's nothing quite like that runner's high that you get after a good, hard run. I run for the joyful, euphoric post-run endorphins that no amount of alcohol or drugs could ever create.
-Because I like to go fast - I love the feeling of FLYING down a hill full speed ahead or rounding the curve of the track at maximum velocity, going as fast you physically can.
-To explore - I can't think of a better way to see a new city than to run it. While on foot, I've explored the ins and outs of Washington DC, Buenos Aires, Las Vegas, New York City... You can see so much more of a place while running than when walking or driving! Also, running has taken me to some pretty beautiful places; for an especially scenic run, try Lands End in San Francisco or the Pacific Crest Trail starting from Sugar Bowl - two of my favorite runs! :)
To explore
-For health - Running keeps me fit both physically and mentally. The hour spent outside (except for those rare treadmill days) allows me to take a break from my busy workday, stretch and move my body after sitting in front of a computer, and clear my mind from any stressors. Whether I'm running on a bright sunny day or through rain showers, I feel healthier just for having been outside, in nature. Running brings me peace of mind, body, and spirit.
-For fun! - I'm a social person and love running with other people. Runs are so much easier when done with company! My favorite way to spend a Sunday is to go for a long run with my best friends and then all go out to brunch. The best of friendships are built while traversing hills and getting lost on trails together. To me, teammates and running buddies are like family.
For fun
-To eat! - I am a foodie who loves a good meal. I like to bake, cook, host dinner parties, and try new restaurants. I run to keep my inner fat kid at bay :) 
To eat!
Yum, yum

-Because I have unfinished business - I'm continuing to run after college because I know I haven't reached my athletic potential. I've still got so much to explore with my running and so many dreams still to chase. I'm not ready to be done competing yet... which leads me to my next point:
To compete
-Because I'm competitive - I like to compete and I like to win. Whether it's a board game or a track race, I hate to lose. I love the purity of competition and seeing who is the best on any given day.
-Because being a runner is part of who I am - For years, being a runner has been a huge part of my identity. Throughout my life I've been known as "the runner." From the nerdy junior high kid who ran all-out in the mile in P.E. to the college athlete, running has defined who I am. I'm also a daughter, a sister, a girlfriend; a student, a teammate, a friend. One day I'll hang up my spikes and end my competitive career, but I won't stop running til my body gives out on me. I'll always be a runner.

I'd love to hear from you - why do YOU run?