My Personal Running Testimony
As promised, I feel that it is both relevant and necessary to publish my own personal running testimony. Thinking about my running history actually makes me laugh, putting it into words however has been more difficult than I thought. From my first running experiences when I felt tremendously inadequate to the present day when I face each run as fresh start to build strength, release stress and reach new goals, I can honestly say on so many levels, I have come a long way!
Some people perhaps are either biologically predisposed to be runners or may become runners as a result of their surrounding environmental factors. Neither happen to be true for me. My first running experiences per se came during 7th grade track in Junior High School. I remember actually being excited to wear the school issued heather gray track suits because it meant that belonged to the team. After school, we stretched as a group then ran from the Jr. High up and around the city swimming pool and back. I don’t remember how far it was, just that I usually ran with friends and we had fun doing it but didn’t really care about distances or times.
When it came to the track meets however, I started out running the 200 meters but didn’t have the speed to compete at that distance so the coaches had me do the high jump where my most memorable moment came from the meet where I knocked myself out with my own knees trying to bring them up high enough to clear the bar! Needless to say after that point and not having shown much speed or skill on the track or field, I became a cheerleader for my remaining Jr. High and High School years.
During college, I ran occasionally, most often in the spring to get out and enjoy the change of seasons and to clear my head for a study break or procrastination tool when I should have been studying. Between my junior and senior years in college, I lived in Colorado with my Aunt for the summer, just as a change of pace. It was that summer that I grew to truly enjoy running. I could head out along a trail that followed a stream with the mountains always in sight and it gave me such a feeling of freedom and awe for the natural surroundings.
The summer after I graduated from college, I completely blew out my right knee, it just popped and I remember not being able to straighten it out at all. After surgery, I wore a huge black brace for weeks and then actually could run again without pain, but found that I favored that knee and so I turned instead to using the StairMaster.
It wasn’t until after the birth of my first child that I really returned to running more regularly. I had decided early on that a good jogging stroller would be an essential piece of equipment in our family. With the reclining canvas and the super-sized bicycle-style tires, it seemed like a hammock on wheels – what could be better?! It must’ve been just that relaxing for our son too as I would run along the trails in our neighborhood and he would usually just sleep peacefully in the sun. During that time we lived in a Northwest suburb of Las Vegas, really at the foothills of the mountains, where the desert vegetation and the jagged edge of the mountainous horizon made me feel truly blessed to run amidst God’s painted landscape.
Shortly before our second child was born, we moved to Sioux Falls, South Dakota, not far from where my husband and I had both graduated from college. In mid-December, our daughter was born and that Christmas, my husband surprised me with a treadmill! It was the best gift imaginable for a girl who had previously held a very social job in a city where the sun shines probably 360 days a year, who had now become a snowed in, stay-at-home mom with a 15 month old and a new born! While I truly did love being home with my babies, we set the treadmill up in our basement with the kids Lil’ Tykes picnic table, Nerf basketball hoop, and ride-on toys and it became playground for all of us and sanity saver for mom on those cold winter days.
After having two babies in less than two years, running really wasn’t at all like I had remembered. I realized that while I thought I’d be able to just hop on the treadmill and go for a run, my body had changed quite a bit and simple things that I had taken for granted before (like bladder control) would take some time to retrain/regain! This was when I started my first training log. It was as basic as it gets, a blank piece of white paper on which I would write the date, time, distance, pace and calories burned after each workout. This served two basic purposes: First, I could see how consistently I worked out. Second, I could see if I was making any gains in performance: time or distance. I still have that piece of paper and it is completely filled on both sides with my workout data. It is in my “Motivation” file and it serves as a reminder to me that every step forward is a step in the right direction!
Since then, we have moved a couple more times, I (sadly) sold my treadmill on a rummage sale as one of our previous homes didn’t have a place for it, and we have had a third child. When we were stroller shopping for our new baby, I again insisted on a jogger and she and I have put some miles on what I now refer to as the Cadillac of baby strollers! It even withstood a week in Disney World this fall with our 6 year old taking a turn due to tired little legs!
We now reside in Minnesota and I have enjoyed running outside more than ever! Being able to truly appreciate outdoor running I believe may have quite a bit to do with where you live. Again, I am so fortunate to now live in Minnesota where both deciduous and evergreen trees line the paved trails that run in and out of my neighborhood and along the golf course about a mile from our house. Minnesotans for the most part, are very active outdoors in all seasons! Throughout our community there are incredible nature parks and trail systems as well as several organized races. Being just outside the Minneapolis/Saint Paul metro area, there are countless organized running opportunities.
I am able to connect with running again not only because I live in a beautiful place to do so, but because my husband has been incredibly understanding and supportive of my desire to run. We have been blessed to enjoy the luxury of our local YMCA where the equipment is top notch (for inclement days) and the staff are positively motivating. But more so early on a Saturday morning before we start our weekend together if I head out for a run, he is there to greet the kids when they wake up and get breakfast going. He also surprised me this year just before Christmas with a Nike + sensor for my shoe so that I could track my running data in a much more technical way than my old plain paper log!
While I have tried to explain it to my husband, I can’t really put it into words, but he can tell a difference in me when I have a great run. And now after this lengthy post, I don’t feel as though I have adequately testified exactly why it is that I run. I can tell you that from the time that I committed to my first 5K, finished under my targeted time, have beat my own times at every race since then and now continue to set new goals for time and distances – running does this for me: It helps me to believe in myself and achieve my untapped potential. It helps me to release anxiety, find serenity in the world around me and challenge myself in ways I never thought previously possible. It motivates me to share this feeling with my husband and children and other women who have yet to discover their untapped potential!
So I put forth the challenge on a daily basis: Go Running Mom! I meet that challenge with an eager spirit – and I hope that you will too!Tweet