It’s no secret… I love running! I don’t remember exactly when I first discovered that I loved running, perhaps it was when I ran cross-country in grade school? Or the rainy day I ran my first road race (Texaco Mile in 1986)? Or when I was a middle distance runner on the track team in middle school (I ran the 400m, 800m, and 1500m). My mom might even say that my love of running started when I was a toddler. I’m not a great runner, but from the very first moment I could run, I ran: In every single picture I have of me running, I’m smiling my fool head off:
I’m very thankful that my 6th grade friend (that I unfortunately lost touch with in grade 9) showed me that running is something that can be done anytime, anywhere and that it wasn’t just something to be done as part of a sport, or a school physical education curriculum. She and I were on the cross-country and track teams together, so on weekend “playdates” she and I would go run. I’m sure we probably didn’t come up with the idea to run on our own either – I can see us bugging her mom to take us somewhere or to entertain us and her mom saying something, “Why don’t you girls go practise for track?”. I don’t think we ran all that far (maybe 2 or 3 km), but it was definitely a contributor to that AHA! moment when I realised that running is something I enjoyed and that I could do to stay active and healthy. Running brings me great happiness, but that’s not all it’s given me over the 30 + years that I’ve been running.
- Goal Setting Skills (Dedication and Perseverance)
The first half marathon I ever ran was in memory of my grandmother. She had recently passed away and I wanted to do something to honour her. I had suffered from two stress fractures from earlier running attempts and friends and family told me that perhaps I shouldn’t run anymore, but my grandmother always told me that I could do anything I wanted to do, so I signed up for a half marathon. Not knowing how to train for it, I picked up John Stanton’s book “Running: From Start to Finish” and followed the training plan in it. By following that plan I not only gained endurance I also learned how to set a goal, set a plan, and follow the plan. I also learned how to be dedicated and to persevere. It all paid off with a very successful half marathon. I felt a great pride and sense of accomplishment at the end and I couldn’t wait to train for another race!
- Friends with Similar Interests
I find as an adult it can be difficult to make friends other than work friends, or the casual acquaintance of your children’s friend’s parents. We’re all so busy with our kids that it’s hard to find activities to do that are just with friends. Running has given me a common bond with many other adults and has led to the development of some great friendships. There’s nothing better for getting to know someone than a two-hour training run! I’ve also gotten to know a few other local runners and triathletes through blogging events and through networking through other runners.
- Body Confidence
Running has taught me that my body is so much more capable of doing things than I originally thought. As well, wearing running skirts and tank tops to run in the summer has helped me to accept and love my cellulite, spider and varicose veins. I used to be ashamed of my legs, but as they’ve gotten stronger from running I’ve learned to even like them! I no longer wear skirts or shorts only when I run, I wear them all summer long!
- Self Confidence
When I was young I was painfully shy, but I’ve pretty much grown out of it. There is nothing more empowering training for a marathon and then accomplishing that goal. With every run I’ve become not only stronger physically, but mentally. Running has given me confidence in everyday life. Maybe to non-runners that sounds ridiculous, but there is something about going out there and testing your mental and physical limits that helps you get a strong sense of who you are and what you can accomplish, and what you quickly find out is that your body can accomplish so much more than you think it can, and that fact I find truly amazing. The other day I even gave a 1 hour presentation – something I never ever would have volunteered to do in my younger pre-running days!
This one is pretty much self-explanatory so I don’t want to say too much to about it except that I rarely get sick, and when I do I recover very quickly. I’m confident this is due largely to running, I know that if it weren’t for running I’d be much less active.
All in all running has given me a lot of reasons to continue doing it for the rest of my life!
Thank you running!
What is your soul-mate exercise?