My big love for running began when I was going to school in Hawaii. I took a general fitness education class that required us do some kind of moderately intense physical activity for at least 30 minutes a day for 5 days a week. The “easiest” activity for me was running.
I started out with running the required 30 minutes a day, but by the end of the semester I was running, at times, for more than an hour. I had not only developed the habit of running regularly, but I had learned to love it. Of course, running in beautiful Hawaii surely made it a little easier. I also found that running helped me de-stress. I remember after a couple of intense weeks of finals, I took a particularly long run to help me relax. It felt so wonderful. I felt like I could just run and run and run.
I ran fairly consistently during my college years. Then, with marriage and 4 children, my good habit sort of fizzled out. Particularly when, after my second child, I discovered I had some sort of knee problem which only allowed me to run for about a mile with out pain. That was very discouraging. I tried other kinds of fitness activities, but nothing gave me that “super high” feeling that always came from running. I tried strengthening my legs and knees with exercises, I switched to lighter weight running shoes, and somehow, just in the last year or two, I was able to overcome the knee issue and run longer distances again. It felt so good to run again, and I did not want to take for granted the ability I had regained to run longer distances.
I am not very good at achieving goals, but this year I decided to run a half marathon, something I had never done before. With the support of family, and especially a good friend who ran the long runs with me and encouraged me along the way, I was able to accomplish that goal on May 2, running the Pacific Northwest Half Marathon. After all the long hours of training, it felt great to be able to run that long of a distance!
The greatest benefit, however, came as I trained for the marathon. Making this goal forced me to be more consistent with running. It forced me to follow the training plan so that I would feel prepared to run the race. That was very good for me. I had to get up and run even when I didn’t feel like it.