Run For It

Today I ran the Orange County ½ Marathon and I am on top of the world. I ran with my friend Jeannine and we reduced our time by 8 minutes since our last race. We both felt an exhilarating sense of accomplishment. We have been training for months, had to register and pay in advance, battle SoCal traffic, and wake up at 4:00 am to negotiate a crowd of 15,000 other runners at the start line. Are we crazy? No, we are runners. But … why do we bother?

I have been a runner most of my life – never a champion, but steadfast. I had a poster on my dorm room wall in college stating, “The race is not to the swift, but to the one who keeps on running.” I have kept on running, and it has benefitted me immensely. I never gave it up for anything other than pregnancy or prolonged insomnia. I joined a running club as I recovered from depression 11 years ago, and it has produced profound blessings. With the support of the group, I have run two marathons and six ½ marathons. I run most days of the week, in the morning before work (but after coffee). Most importantly, I finish every run happier than when I began. It jump starts my day and ratchets up my endorphins. In my opinion, it is better than any antidepressant; it is not only free, the side effects are actually positive!

Someone recently asked me when I started running and why. I pondered for a minute and remembered: it was the summer after I turned 6 years old in Minnesota. Pam, my best friend from kindergarten, had moved into a newly built home ¾ of a mile from my house, down a long dirt road. My purple bicycle with the banana seat couldn’t forge through the thick sand. I had to walk. But, it took too long! I soon learned that I could get there faster if I ran. This left us more precious time to build forts, play monopoly, or roughhouse with her English Springer Spaniel “Jingles”. When I ran home (to meet my 6 pm dinner curfew) I noticed something else important: I gained a sense of wellbeing and a pleasant mood after running. I loved that feeling.

It has been 42 years now, and I have kept on running. Sometimes it’s a solitary and interior experience; other times it’s about camaraderie and community. Yet, in all its forms, running has helped me recover from pregnancy and childbirth, manage the strain of parenting young children, prevent and overcome depression and anxiety, face the daily stress of full time work, and adjust to the changes of the empty nest phase of life. Maintaining a comfortable weight has been another advantage – and no small miracle.

Being in a running club has enhanced my motivation and provided connections to other goal-oriented people who want to be healthy. My fellow running club members each have a unique story about what this sport has done to improve their quality of life and to overcome some kind of adversity. Their stories are varied and truly inspirational. For me, it is both a habit and a discipline which supports my balance and overall wellness. I plan to keep on running.

Clear it with your doctor first. Then, I encourage you to try it too – whether you walk, walk-run, or run. Regardless, you are getting outside, breathing fresh air, and moving. This all contributes to holistic health. If you like the support of a group, you can find a local running club on “meetup.com”. Get going now … run for it! You will be happy you did.

 

 

7 Comments

  1. Hi Lisa. Enjoyed reading your blog again. I agree about running. Wish I could still do it. Had to give it up due to two foot surgeries. Renee still runs and enjoys its benefits. Thanks for sharing!

  2. Lisa Goodwin

    I’m glad you are enjoying my blog Dave. You are a faithful reader! Sorry to hear about the foot surgeries, and hope you have found some replacement activity. I imagine swimming is an option. Of course, any type of exercise will produce excellent benefits. Be well!

  3. What a great idea to think about where the roots of your running passion started! Isn’t it amazing how these passions are lit when we are so very young and stay with us!

    I remember being about 6 or 7 perhaps and my Father challenging me to a race down our street. I ran as fast as my little feet could take me and he and I laughed to whole way. He won by a hair and didn’t let me win. We raced often and he never let me win. I really appreciated that as it made me faster and stronger and kept our laughter going all summer long. I am also not the fastest at all, but carry the message he gave me that it is about making myself stronger and enjoying the fun of the journey that makes running worth it!

    Thanks for sharing your passions and memories with such honesty Lisa. It is healing for us readers!

    • Lisa Goodwin

      What a beautiful memory of you and your father. Thanks for sharing it Meredith. Very important lessons he taught you, not the least of which is to continually improve, enjoy each other, and laugh!

  4. Jeannine Thomas

    All day today my thoughts wondered back to Sunday’s race. I felt a great since of accomplishment as a crossed the finish line. It was extra special completing my goal with a friend.

  5. I have enjoyed walking, but never running. Where I grew up we walked up streets lined with citrus orchards and tall pine trees. One of my favorite things in life!

Leave a Reply

%d bloggers like this: