I will never forget the first time I went out for a run. I was in high school, and had a rare argument with my parents (about something silly, to be sure). Frustrated, I headed out the door not knowing what I was planning to do. I started to run. Not far, and not fast, but to this day, I can recall the sense of clarity that it created.
At the time, I was a dancer. That run was an isolated moment during that season of life.
I married my college sweetheart after finishing graduate school and we rescued Nellie – a sweet pup that came with lots of energy. My husband and I were both working demanding jobs, and I felt it was my responsibility to exercise our pup before leaving her cooped up all day. And so, I ran. But still, it wasn’t a passion. It was a way to exercise the dog – and myself – efficiently, before heading to the office.
Nellie is 13 now. She can’t run with me. Little Ruthie has taken that role now, and still I run. All this time, I have used running for stress relief, weight control, efficient exercise…functional reasoning. But today, running is so much more. It is mine, and it is a passion.
My titles include mom, entrepreneur, PTA president, race organizer, preschool ministry coordinator - and runner. Three years ago, my BRF decided we would run the Disney Princess HM together. Rather than argue, I started to train.
It was in those miles, run simply for the joy of running, that I discovered I am a runner.
Since then, I’ve laid down thousands of miles, taken almost 30 minutes off my HM time, found muscles I never knew I’d been blessed with, and become more thoughtful and contemplative. Yes, running is stress relief. It is weight control. It’s a way to exercise my active dog. But it’s also an important part of who I am.
In a nutshell, I run…
– For the challenge
– Because the bar can be pushed farther and farther, and I enjoy chasing it
– Because I’m a risk-averse adrenaline junkie
– To hear myself breathe
– To think
– For an appetite
– Time for myself
– For music pumping in my ears
– For prayers in my mind and heart
– For ideas and creativity
– To be a good listener and friend
– To be listened to
– To feel strong
– To feel sexy
– To push myself when I feel like quitting
– To race
– For the tears of joy at the finish line
– For the sun rise
– To be on a trail
– To know that my family is proud of me
– To be an example of perseverance and health for my children
– To be proud of myself
– To ward off the diabetes that plagues my father
My family and friends know that I am a runner. While I don’t talk about it constantly, they know that I’m up early and running or training. They see that on holidays I’m wearing sweaty running gear and a big smile (not pajamas) at breakfast. I share my love of running by taking friends (and even my husband – when he’s agreeable to it!) with me, and by running with my children and encouraging them. I love to encourage others, and running is a perfect vehicle.
It may not be that I am a runner at my core (though I suspect that may be the case) – it is because I am a runner that I have found the core of who I am.