What running means to me

 As a young adult in my 20's I started to really notice  how unhealthy the women in my family were.  They were all obese and my mother and grandmother developed Type 2 Diabetes resulting in my grandmother needing to have her leg amputated. Learning about proper diet and maintaining my weight suddenly became a priority for me. I did not want to experience the quality of life that I saw my mother and grandmother experience.


Woman running on paved path

 I was not athletic as a kid. In fact I hated to sweat so I avoided any activity that would cause me to. However I came to realize that exercise was a necessary component of weight control and optimum health. At age 23,  I joined a gym and started taking aerobics classes. A few years later,  when I was about 30, a friend challenged me to run a 10K race with her in Santa Cruz. A trip to the coast sounded fun so I accepted, started running and finished my first of many sweaty races.

That was 35 years ago. I still run. Because I can. I was never very fast and now I am even slower. But it doesn't matter. I keep running because of all the things it does to make me a better me:⁠

-My blood pressure and heart rate are lower now than when I was in my 20's.⁠
- I have pretty good looking legs for my age!⁠
- It gives me energy to do other things I love like run after my granddaughters and my dog.⁠
- It's the best stress reliever I have found.⁠
- I have had many good laughs with friends when we run together. What a great way to start the day!⁠
- You can multi task when running: My best friend and I planned an entire women's retreat during our weekly runs!⁠
-It's a great way to explore a new place when traveling.⁠
- Sometimes when I run alone, it may be the only time of day that I can be alone with my thoughts. Which is why I run early in the morning. Its quiet and often I get to experience the sunrise.⁠

woman running through finish line with arms up

⁠But there have been some unexpected benefits of running:⁠
- Running gave me the confidence to challenge myself in other ways. I learned to swim in my 40's and started cycling.⁠
-It's taught me discipline. Its not always easy to get up at 4:30 in the morning to run in the dark but afterward, I feel so much better for the rest of the day.⁠
- It has taught me that its ok to be physically uncomfortable and I have a better pain tolerance now.⁠
-It's made me stronger, mentally and physically.⁠

3 women running through finish line

Although I do other forms of exercise, running will always be my favorite. When I look back over the years, I realize what an impact running has had on my life. I believe that running has helped shaped me (physically and mentally!) into the person I am today.⁠ What a gift!⁠

Do you have a favorite form of exercise that has impacted your life? Please share in the comments.


Be well friends!


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