Most people that start running/exercising do so for a reason. Health, weight, in support of someone else, to reach a goal, and so on.
I personally believe that the story of a runner is what makes a runner. The story of a person is what makes the person. This post is not for runners only. It is for anyone out there who has ever started any sort of exercise or fitness program. Even if you aren’t currently exercising, you can contribute. If you ever have exercised, started a fitness program, began running, or anything similar. We all have something to gain, and to give, from this.
Throughout my years as a runner, I have been a witness to, and have heard about so many amazing stories out there! For example:
A friend who doesn’t run, trained for and ran a breast cancer 5K for her sister with breast cancer. My mother, trained for and ran a ½ marathon on her 55th birthday!
My first marathon I ran was one month after the attack on 9/11. One guy, who was not a runner at heart, ran the entire marathon holding up a full size American Flag. His brother had been killed in the attacks. We all ran the marathon wearing the name of someone who had been killed that day. Instead of a loud band playing fun songs at the starting line, all 4000 of us runners stood in silence and saluted the flag as the National Anthem played before the gun went off. There was not a dry eye there.
The stories inspire. The stories motivate. The stories keep us going on the days we don’t want to put those shoes on and go. The stories are what make us start in the first place.
I have a story, actually I have a few. My story changes depending on the phase of life I am in. I will share with you, but only if you will share with me. Allow me to get personal. ;)
I began running out of having nothing better to do. I was always active up through High School, and when I got to college, I found that if I wanted to stay active, since I was not longer able to do things with a team, I had to find something I could do myself. So, I started putting one foot in front of the other and went from there. I ran to stay fit and to be healthy. With some major coaxing from some cousins and trained for and ran my first marathon that year. I got hooked.
A while later, after I had been out of the country for a while doing a service thing, I was back to square one. I hadn’t run in five months, I had gained weight from the food we ate in Ecuador, and I had to start all over again. This time, my reason for starting, was to gain back what I had lost. I had a really bad experience my last week in Ecuador that left me in a mental mess when I got home. I had lost myself in a way. Running and God were my way back, and each step eased my pain and allowed me to work out the whirlwind of fear, unease, and confusion swirling inside of me.
A short time later I ran to overcome. As a result from that experience in Ecuador the last week I was there, and with the weight gain, my self esteem hit rock bottom. I developed an eating disorder. It was getting pretty bad by the time an angel friend of mine got help for me. I was using my control over food, or lack of, to gain control that I felt was lost. Through God, therapy, a loving and supportive family, and running, I became whole from that terrible disease, and learned to overcome. I ran my second marathon with a healthy and whole mind and body that year. It was a big deal to me.
Then, life went on. I got married to the man I love. Mary was born, and before I knew it, running was a thing of the past. I didn’t think that running and pregnancy would go well together, so I stopped. Then Sam came along. After I had him, we moved to California. Very far from family. Life got busy with the two kiddos, but the kind of busy where you do so much but don’t get anything done. I started to feel overwhelmed, lonely and unhappy. Ben gave me a pair of new running shoes for Christmas that year. What a man! They were my answer. I started running again, and oh the joy it brought to me! The freedom, the endorphins and the release of all that frustration! And at that time I ran for sanity, peace, and release. I completed my third Marathon a little over a year later.
I got pregnant soon after that marathon, but 16 weeks into the pregnancy, we lost our precious baby. Because of the way I lost the baby, complications in surgery and an illness I contracted in the hospital, I was not able to even stand up, much less run. I was told it would take 6 months for my body to get back to a good blood level. I decided one day as I lay there on the couch crying for my baby and crying for my sick body, that I wouldn’t let it beat me. I would overcome this, get my running shoes on, and show them who was boss. Because of God, I was able to begin jogging again three months before the doctors thought was possible. I ran to prove to myself that I could choose my attitude and the way I would handle what life gave me.
I got pregnant soon after, and 9 months later William was born. We moved from Colorado Springs 7 weeks after that. Needless to say, that once again, running had been put on hold. A month after living here in Utah, I found that I just flat out missed running. I had learned to love it. Now, I run because it is what I love. It makes me feel good. It rejuvenates me. It keeps me healthy. It makes me set goals. It gives me something to look forward to. And let’s face it, it keeps me sane. Disclaimer: I absolutely adore my children, they are good kids. And my husband is wonderful. I am happy with my life. As a young mother, it can get stressful though, that is where the “running keeps me sane” comes from.
So, that’s my running story.
The reason for this post, was not for me to give you all of life history of my running, it was to lay it all out there to make it more comfortable for YOU to share yours. We all have something to gain by those who are willing to give. Give us your story. The comment section has lots and lots of room.
Even if you aren’t exercising, but have a goal to start up soon, tell us about your goal! A goal not written down is a goal that probably won’t happen. So write it down here, among friends.
What motivates you? What goals do you have? Who has inspired you?
We all start somewhere, and that somewhere is with a story, a purpose, or a goal.
Share with us, I dare you!
Up next….Where do I begin?
Advice and how to’s when it comes to starting up running program.