The purpose of running has changed for me many times over my lifetime. As a child, running was simply a way to get somewhere faster. I see this in my children now. Why walk when you can run? As I became involved in sports, running was part of the game. I never had to think about it, I just had to show up for soccer practice or a basketball game and off I went.
The first time I ever had to consciously make myself exercise was in college. I didn’t have built-in workouts anymore. No more practice, no more traveling squad, no more cross-country team. All of a sudden, running was a way to stay in shape. At first, the transition was difficult. How far should I run? For how long? Inside or outside? For the next thirteen years of my life, I fell on and off the running wagon. Throughout that time, I bounced from intramurals to weight-training to exercise classes to treadmill running, but I never found my stride. I ran in a few races, but ended up looking like this at the finish line:
Look at me compared to Angela who looks like she could run another 3 miles with no problem.
In August, I started the couch-to-5K running plan if only to be able to complete this year’s Turkey Trot without looking and feeling like I was about to die. I am such a rule-follower that I planned to follow the program to a T no matter what. But then, during day 2 of week 6 it happened, I hit my stride. I was supposed to run for five minutes then walk for three, but I felt so good after five minutes that I just kept going…for 25 minutes! Since then, I feel like I have my running groove back for the first time since I was a freshman in high school. I no longer dread running as a way to stay in shape, but I actually look forward to running.
I can’t believe I’m going to say this, but running has become my reward at the end of a long day of mommying. It is my time to jam out to music with my feet hitting the horse trail. My time to challenge myself and see how far and how long I can go (on Friday I went for 43 minutes!). My time to feel refreshed and new so I can give the best of myself to my family. I am so glad I gave running another try. At this stage in my life, it’s exactly what I need.