In September 2016 I ran my first 5K. It’s now December 2016 and I’ve lost count of how many I’ve run. For some reason, I’ve really connected with running these past few months. I have never been a runner (except for a short time in college when I took a running class one semester), so this has all been rather surprising. I’ve seen this addition to my life as a gift – the right element at the right time.
The other day, someone said to me, “You’ve been through so much change lately with a new job, new home, new church – and now running. Is this kind of a way to distract yourself?” What a great question! It got me thinking of the reasons why I run…
- I tend to stay in my head most of the time, so running helps me become more aware of my body – to actually feel my limbs, my back, my hands, my feet.
- It’s showing me that I’m stronger than I think. So much of running is mental. If I speak self-defeating words to myself, running is harder and more painful. If I speak encouraging words to myself, running is much more fun and I can go farther. That awareness is overlapping into other areas of my life.
- It feels great to be active – especially in the winter when I usually struggle mightily with depression
- I’m encountering a thriving community of runners for the first time. They are enthusiastic and connected.
- I’ve been able to see so much more of my community by signing up for 5Ks all over the Chicago suburbs.
- Running as been a great stress reliever and I sleep better at night.
- I can use my running time to listen to audio books. I don’t have other time in my days to listen to audio books or podcasts, so it’s like “bonus” time.
- I’m feeling strong and I can see my progress as I continue to run.
- I love having a hobby that is improving my mental and physical health.
- It’s been fun to compete at 5Ks (who knew I was so competitive?!). It’s helping me to stay motivated and keep running and improving.
- It’s been fun to see different 5Ks – big and small – and the various things that event organizers have done to make them unique.
- Even though I don’t really do fundraising for these 5Ks, each one raises awareness and funds for excellent organizations. I usually feel like an “outsider” looking in on a strong community, unified by a great cause. So inspiring!
- I know that some people use their running time as an opportunity to pray. While I don’t specifically pray while I run, I regularly feel great gratitude to God for the ability to run and the gift it has been to me.
It’s still amazing to me that I’m running for the first time at age 42. I know it isn’t for everyone, but I guess it’s never too late to experience something new. It can enliven the mind, body, and spirit.
When was the last time you did something for the first time?