I can always think of a million reasons why not to run. I am tired. A cup of coffee and scanning Facebook sounds better. Or at night, a glass of wine and the time to unwind beats out pounding the pavement. But when I do make time, and get into the rhythm, running is my therapy. It is my time not to be a mom, a wife, an employee or any of the other hats we all wear every day. I am me, and I feel more free.
Not to be too dramatic, but in some ways, I do feel like running has saved me at times in my life. I needed the boost of adrenaline and endorphins. I needed the extra confidence to speak in front of a crowd (a thought that used to terrify me!). I needed to feel better about my five-month pregnant body. I needed to burn off anxiety, or anger or pain.
If you are new to running, you may think it is too late to start. Don’t! There are so many great, supportive groups. There is no fellowship better than a group of runners. I recently found Fleet Feet Sports in North Scottsdale, when I was training for the Disney Half Marathon presented by Cigna. They do weekly group runs in the beautiful area around the McDowell Mountains, and are completely welcoming to runners of all abilities.
The best way to make running a priority and hold yourself accountable is to sign up for a race. In the Valley, there are so many great options this time of year. Pick a race that is close, suits your style and go for it. There are many online training programs to help guide you; a classic is the Hal Higdon program.
For me, running helps me better manage the craziness that is life. I can’t control many of the things that happen each day, but I sure can stand to be more patient and understanding. With three kids, there is always someone crying or upset. I can’t control that. But I can take a step back and control my reaction, which tends to be more level-headed after a run. I am not running away from my kids (well, maybe sometimes), but running toward a better me.
Would love to hear your running stories, or whatever activity it is that keeps you centered!