I wish I was a runner.

I just finished a half marathon and was able to hit a PR at the ripe age of 33 years old. The number one comment I get after posting about it or talking with people about running is “I wish I was a runner.” Every time, almost every one says those exact words. If it’s not those words, its “I have no idea how you fit it all in.”

I also work full time running a financial practice. I have children ages 1.5, 4, and 7  – two of whom have sports activities three days out of the week. My husband travels frequently and when he’s not out of town for work, he leaves before we get up and gets home during or after dinner time. Please hear me, I’m not a trying to toot my own horn, I want you to know that I have put running as a priority in my life for my own well being – physically but honestly, more so for my mental health.

It appears to me over the years that people assume that running has come more naturally to some or that maybe people are just just a born runners. Maybe they think this because I have been doing it for awhile and maybe it’s because I’m thin. But this is not so!

Running is and always will be a struggle – a wonderful struggle that I have come to love. Running is like marriage. It’s really wonderful to have a partner for life, but man, they annoy the crap out of you! Marriage, just like running, highlights ALL your damn weaknesses, and it flaunts those weaknesses and brings them to light every single day. Yep, that’s running. It is wonderfully rewarding and freeing, but also super annoying and difficult as all get out because it’s just you and your weak little body and your even weaker little mind. Let’s be frank, more than likely, your weakest muscle is your mind, not your body. So here is my plea – if you want to be a runner – go after it.

Many know my story. I was 40 lbs heavier than I am today and in my freshman year of college. I started running because I finally made the commitment to myself to break my addiction to food and lose weight. I was too embarrassed to work out in the BSU gym so I ran in the historic neighborhoods off campus. I had a $5 stop watch from Walmart and an old red pair of cotton shorts from Old Navy – the only pair that fit me at the time.

I specifically decided three times a week at a certain time that I would go run and for the first time in awhile, I stuck with it. I ran 5 minutes on my first run, and I’m guessing at an 11 min pace and then I walked 25 minutes. Each week I would add one minute of running until I got to 30 minutes straight. I’ve been a runner ever since. That was 14 years ago. Now let me clarify lest you have an image of Kate Hudson running effortlessly in her Fabletics after a few months of running. Nope. It took about three years to slowly lose the weight.

And so for the last 14 years I have run semi-consistently, but there were also years when I wasn’t able to do much. I’ve never run during my pregnancies and I’ve had three of those. I described the craziness of my life earlier and with COVID happening there are so many times I missed a run. So. Many. Times. But I just keep going. Remember, running is like marriage – you have to commit and if you miss a run that is just life, I just keep going. I try and fit in a different run or I just give myself grace and go with missing a week of runs. I mean, what are you gonna do?

And here’s the amazing part – I love running. If you aren’t working out (running or not) you are missing such amazing benefits! I don’t mean your health. I mean your emotional state. Running is therapy. It is the only time a this women’s brain just gets to a point of only thinking about one thing – breathing, steps, the ground I’m looking at. And if you’re lucky like me, you get to run and hang out and vent and laugh and sing with your dearest friend on your runs. During the pandemic, running especially saved my sanity. In the end, it’s not a question of how to fit it all in, but how would I ever survive without fitting it in?! I’ve also run off baby weight. I’ve run off emotional eating weight. I’ve run off stress and anxiety. I’ve had really terrible runs and really great runs and runs that started out terribly and then ended great and all the other versions in between. If you want to be a runner, what are you waiting for?

This soap box of a blog is going to end with a challenge to YOU. Yes, whomever YOU are, YOU CAN BE A RUNNER. It will not be easy, but it will be an amazing journey. I challenge you to set a specific time two or three days a week where you cannot make an excuse to not get outside and run or run/walk. If you’re here in Muncie – look me up and I’ll go with you!

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