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What Running Means to Me, An Old Fashioned Essay

06/30/2011

I haven’t run since Sunday. It’s Thursday. I am already ready to lose my mind. Running is my outlet–my sanity–and although you can get those same feel-good exercise endorphins from any sweat-session, nothing can substitute for the feelings I get from running.

Sometimes when I run, I just completely zone out and enjoy the quiet. I can hear my breathing, my feet hitting the ground, the birds, the breeze through the trees. But there are no kids yelling, no tv blaring, no phone ringing, no dryer buzz announcing another load of laundry to fold. This quiet is heaven and the reason I don’t run with an iPod–why disturb this serenity with Katie Perry or whatever Top 40 artist is on my playlist?

Sometimes when I run, I make to-do lists and mentally organize what I need to get done. This can range from packing for a family trip to planning a Girl Scout meeting to making my grocery list. I compile the list of bills I need to pay, what supplies Mady needs for her school project, and plan for which kid needs to be at what activity and when. After these runs the chaos is (temporarily) gone and I feel more equipped to handle the craziness of each day.

Whether a quiet run or one filled with sorting and arranging, when I am out pounding the pavement I am able to compartmentalize my emotions. Things are put in perspective and never seem as bad or as overwhelming by the time I’ve worked up a good sweat. So although running brings along other benefits such as weight control and cardiovascular health, for me running is first and foremost about mental health. It is my time. My time to decompress, to unwind, to release. And while the medals and trophies I sometimes get at local road races are fun, they are not why I keep putting one foot in front of the other.

It is difficult to truly articulate what running means to me and what an important role it plays in my life. It is my stress relief, offering me both peace and quiet and peace of mind. When I am running my body feels strong, and I reinforce the valuable life lessons of endurance, dedication, and fortitude. I gain self-confidence and learn to be mentally tough. I set the example for my children that it is important to take care of your body and live a healthy lifestyle. But most importantly I teach them that with hard work you can achieve your goals. Running makes me a better wife, mother, daughter, sister, friend. Running makes me a better me. And now that I’ve started fundraising for Roswell Park Cancer Institute, running has become even more meaningful because I am using my passion to help others.

I know that this break from running is very temporary. And I know that taking this break was a smart decision given my history of overuse injuries. But it still doesn’t make me miss it any less, especially right now when my anxiety levels are higher. Aside from the usual stressors of moving–home inspections, appraisals, closing costs, et cetera–the daunting task of packing the house in less than a month while getting the kids set up at their new school and finding new doctors, a new grocery store, a good cup of coffee is enough to make me go ham sandwich crazy without my runs!

“I run because it’s my passion, and not just a sport. Every time I walk out the door, I know why I’m going where I’m going and I’m already focused on that special place where I find my peace and solitude. Running, to me, is more than just a physical exercise… it’s a consistent reward for victory!” -Sasha Azevedo

Today’s Workout:
Stationary Bike (Strength Intervals level 8) 45:00/12.4 mikes
Butt Bible Lower 2 33:00
Sit-ups 10:00

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One Comment leave one →
  1. Susan Dlugolonski permalink
    07/01/2011 10:14 AM

    Very inspiring!

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