I ran my first 5K on the 4th of July. That was the farthest I had ever run without walking or stopping (or dropping). There are so many things I could say about how much this accomplishment means to me. In fact, I’ve developed writer’s block over it (you may have noticed I haven’t blogged in a while). So perhaps to make it even possible to write about this, a list of reasons “why I run” has emerged. I need this list when my alarm goes off at 5:30am, when my hips or knees, or ankles ache, when self-doubt creeps in. I’ll share it with you, and I hope it gives you inspiration to do things that are good for you.
1- I didn’t think I could. In grade school, I was the slowest kid (I thought), the last picked for field day teams. It felt like I was running in quick sand. I broke my ankle many years ago and dealt with pain for more than 10 years before I woke up and had the pin removed, but lots of scar tissue remains. Running is the last thing in the world I thought I could do.
2- Because I can. Cheering on my husband at triathlons over the past few years, I came to realize how many people are in the race even though they don’t have two legs or two arms.
3- I am grateful for my breath. I used to smoke, and thank God I don’t anymore. I used to get winded when I played chase with my kids. Now I am only out of breath when I have had a long, hard run, and I know it will return when I rest for just a few minutes.
4- Running is liberating. It melts away fear, anger, frustration, sadness. Just leave it on the pavement.
5- It’s good for me. Obvious, but true.
6- I can put my body to work for a greater good. Cancer, diabetes, the homeless, abused children. In the face of insurmountable odds, sometimes I run to give hope to the hopeless.
7- It’s faster than walking. I’ ve walked many 5Ks, starting with the famous Race for the Cure. I still love to walk, but I also love getting the race done and getting to the party at the finish line!
8- My daughters are growing up in the race culture. They are either doing fun runs (we’ve had them on the courses since they were 3 years old) or cheering on my husband or me. They know that anyone, any size or shape or age or gender, can get into the race and finish strong.
9- I find strength in my runner girls, a group of women I didn’t even know a year ago. One of them pulled us all together to start running at 6am, 3 days a week, in January… brrr! Most of us had never run with any consistency, if at all. But there we were. I started out needing others to pull me along, then one day I found I was pulling others along. Together we are setting goals, celebrating success, and encouraging each other.
10- I run for me. Taking care of others is so good. Taking care of me is necessary… and good.