June 3rd is National Running Day....

So plan on lacing up and getting out there, and your little dog (or kids) too!

Running is not always (usually not) easy for me, but I so appreciate all the benefits I have gained from it, physically, mentally and emotionally over the years. Today I ran outside (in the shivery weather..grrrrr) with my kids and as we ran I realized that they would not have been out there experiencing the thrill of conquering space with just their skinny little bodies, or the satisfaction of improving their mile time, or the endorphin rush that carried them through the rest of the afternoon, if I had not made the commitment to running over the years. It now comes as a very natural thing for them to join in too, and I am so delighted about that, it is one of the few things I can freely acknowledge as getting right as a mom.

Likewise I'd never have gotten my own rear in gear if my dad had not challenged me to a half marathon when I was 17. I was a semi-professional couch potato up until that point. I had enjoyed playing field hockey in previous years, but felt no great connection to fitness in general. If I did exercise, it was merely the means to the end of skinniness.

Training for and running that first race was a watershed moment for me. It took just two months and to use one of my dad's fondest phrases, it was character building. Suddenly, I recognized my abilities and I felt in control of my destiny, both gifts that had eluded me before.

Years later, as I laboured hard, bringing my first child into the world, I visualized running that first half marathon. During the toughest points of transition I saw my nemesis, a long, baking hot dusty hill that had brought me almost to my knees, but not quite. This visualization was so powerful for me that I was actually moving my arms and legs in running motions at one point during the hardest contractions (amusing and disturbing to those observing me). Just like I'd reached the top of that hill (with a lot of prayer) I knew I could make it through that labour. (Pitocin, no pain meds, hard-core man). And I did.

Since then, running has given me fortitude physically, but more importantly it has also helped me to access the emotional iron woman inside of me when the situation warrants it. Running has taught me what it is to really and truly "dig deep", to keep going even when every part of me is screaming with fatigue and pain, even after I have hit "the wall".

Running has also taught me what it is to have the burden of fatigue, emotional pain and a fuzzy head relieved. It can be a hard task-master bent on toughening us up, but it can also be the ultimate release- lifting us up above the cares of the world and letting us fly, for just a little while.

I am so grateful to be able to pass that gift down to my kids, and that they are healthy enough to receive it. I'm grateful that slow as I may go, I have been blessed enough to be able to run, jog, shuffle and limp through all of these years. I fervently pray I will be allowed to do so for many more. (Cursing about it 80% of the time ;)

Long live running!

What's your relationship with running? Has it helped you through any tough times in your life?

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Jennifer said...

Running is for emergencies. Lol

Laurel @ Ducks in a Row said...

I'll be running 6 miles tomorrow - love it for numerous reasons. It's a cheaper exercise, you don't have to be physically gifted, mostly it is more mental. I LOOOVE that!

Steph said...

Cool. I didn't know there was a day dedicated to running. It makes sense that it would be in June though. I got my run in today and it felt great. I enjoy running for many reasons and hate it for so many others, but all in all, it's great exercise and it helps me push myself more than anything else (except maybe my personal trainer!) :P