When I was in the 6th grade I had an amazing math teacher, Mr. Joseph. He was fun, made class interesting, and was the junior high cross country coach. I had so much fun in his class that I signed up for Cross Country right away when I could as a rising 7th grader. I was so excited when conditioning started…running was like magic to me, but I couldn’t understand why. Once we got a few weeks into practice though, I could see that the older kids were pros. It was intimidating. I dropped out.
Fast forward to spring of that same year and tryouts for track came up. I knew there was something about running but still couldn’t put my finger on it so I went out for track. That was my fit. I could ease my way through the miles of conditioning, and when race days came…I was a sprinter. 100M, 200M, 4×1, 4×2. It was great! The running also kept me in good shape for dance and soccer. Of course at that age, I didn’t realize how beneficial it all was to me.
Track, soccer and dance kept me going through high school. It’s just what I did. Then I graduated and everything stopped. No more running, no more days upon days of dance, no more soccer. Needless to say, the lack of physical activity caught up with me VERY quickly. I would have given anything to have only gained the freshman fifteen. I was living at home, going to school, working, and performing in plays…very little time to even consider taking care of myself.
The summer before my freshman year though, I started jogging up to my BFF’s house
and back. It was then that I started to understand what running did for me. I could actually feel the stress drain from my body when I was running. It was like therapy. It felt good to work up a sweat. It felt good when I was done. I was so relaxed and happy.
As the years have gone by, running has remained my major form of therapy. Through ups and downs, marriage, children, and changes in jobs, everything…running has always been there for me. I never actually realized how apparent it was until we were out of town for a dance competition last year, my mom, my little one and me and I brought my running shoes to the hotel. I hoped in the treadmill while mini me was swimming with friends and Mimi was watching her in the pool. I could see her too since the treadmill faced out into the pool area. Someone said something to my mom, and her response was “she has just always been a runner.”
I am not one of those lucky peeps with a “runner’s body.” I am not long and lean, but I am strong and healthy. I have done some races and am continuing to challenge myself with more, and adding on to the distance. I look forward to my runs. I can tell when things are getting bad and I need to lace up. When I need to just run away from it all and find my happy place. My zone. My husband started running with me when we were first dating and has kept on going. He isn’t as interested in the longer runs, but does the 3-5 miles with me when he can. Even my eight year old is training for our first family 5K.
I hope I can always do this. That I am always healthy and strong enough to lace up and keep moving. That is why I keep going. That is why I HAVE to keep going. This is for me. I can run with people or just have my time for me, and I always end up better on the other side, running away from the stress of everyday life.
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