I run to be strong, happy, and for a tight tush. Sue me.

Two years ago this week I began running. It started with a hard look at what I was and wasn’t doing and the realization that I needed to change something. I had passed the 40-year milestone and being out of breath by the time I got to the top of the stairs wasn’t on my life goals. Nor was feeling frazzled by a sometimes over-scheduled and hectic life. I needed an outlet.

I enjoy yoga and Pilates and they are both great exercises as well as stress-relievers, but something was missing. I wanted to feel invigorated, challenged, and strong. I admit that what drew me to running initially wasn’t any sort of desire to prove my athletic prowess. A lot of it was pure vanity. My tush needed a lift and every female runner I knew had a great one. Yes, I looked.

It began with id="mce_marker".99 spent on iTunes to buy an app that claimed to be able to take me from non-runner to 5km running goddess in 9 weeks. I believed. I followed along even when I wanted to tell that smug Australian chick – the in-app coach – to jump off the nearest cliff every time she told me, “You’re almost done the running part. Only 60 seconds to go.” Didn’t she know that by then I would probably have stopped breathing and fainted? What I lack in athleticism I make up for in tenacity and I stuck with the program. By the end of the 9 weeks, Australian chick had become my BFF.

Enter another voice one year later. An old friend who double-dared me to stop being such a pansy and up the ante. Join her in a 15km run. She assured me that with 3 months to train I would be more than ready.  She’s a marathon runner. I’m not. She coached me and we virtually trained together. I cursed her out during my training runs more times than I’ll ever tell her. But I believed.

I blindly followed along and when race day arrived it was, as my tween would say, EPIC! I totally rocked that run. Sure, there was the 70 year old man who passed me, and never mind the Kenyans who finished 15km in the same time I ran 6km, but I wasn’t last – I’m competitive so this matters to me – and I ran the whole way. One of the best feelings…I had my own cheering squad that day. The kids, my nieces, brother, mom, and D were there to watch. And at the finish line there were tears. Mine. I was overwhelmed by the accomplishment.

Then we went on holiday and I did not run a. single. time. In fact I didn’t run much again until autumn, and then it was short 5km maintenance runs with no pushing. I injured my foot and knee during that time and then winter set in. No excuses because winter this year was more of a whisper than a shout, but I admit that I was too lazy to get geared up like this every time:

Winter runs were few and far between and there was more chocolate eating than there should have been. I took a good look in the mirror a few weeks ago and saw that my tush was starting to respond to gravitational forces once again. My solution to overcome the downward slide was to register for another run. This time it’s a ½ marathon at the end of May. My coach/friend sent me a Long Run schedule and I’m following it. I know if I don’t I’ll never make it and that is not an option. Also she scares me a little.

Today was a Long Run Day. 8km. Not a big deal really. I’ve run this distance countless times, but this afternoon was a struggle from 2km on. Every step had to be calculated. Every breath I took analyzed. I finished by sheer force of will because I had to. Because I am a runner.

I may lapse in my training schedule, I don’t run marathons, and I’m not a lean, muscled powerhouse like I see in the adverts for shoes and gear, but I run. I love it. I crave it. When I’m driving and I see people running I get envious. Sometimes I have crap runs. Usually I have good runs, but any time I run it’s a great run because I can. Running makes me physically stronger and mentally calmer. It’s exercise and meditation all at once. I am a happier wife, mother, friend, and daughter when I run.

It took me years to find what worked for me and along the way I tried many things. This is what I know…you must find something that makes you stronger, more balanced, and energized, in whatever capacity you can. This is not a push to make you run, but maybe a push to make you find your *thing* if you’re still looking.

What’s your thing?

 

Kat @ jackstrawlane

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