I started running my senior year of high school.  I had avoided running like the plague and dreaded the required P.E. mile run every year. So who knows why I thought running would be for me.  Maybe it was because a college-bound boyfriend broke up with me and life sucked.  Who am I kidding, the end of a relationship at any age has a tendency to suck.  I turned to running as a way of processing my feelings and hammering out my thoughts.  While it didn’t bring the guy back, it did make me feel a whole heck of a lot better.  I found that suddenly I was running every day of the week, even popping out of bed when I couldn’t fall asleep and into my running shoes because I had missed my run that day.  I was lucky to live in a smaller town, with trusting parents, as my 10p.m. runs were some of my favorite.  Running remained my primary coping skill through my undergraduate and graduate program.

I’m awkward.  I’m slow.  I’m clumsy.  These days I run anyway, arthritic knees and all.  I tell people I run for my head and my heart, which is the truth as I don’t particularly crave a run these days until I’m actually out doing it.  The challenge running has always given me is the label of being good or fast or a winner.  Other people talk about racing and PR’s and I say, “Well I finished without walking so high five”.  While I’ve never cared to be fast or a winner, I have cared that other people determine my worth by whether or not I walk, need to slow down, or almost trip and fall.  While running, it has been a constant challenge to keep my self-esteem in check, not letting others viewpoints affect my ability to run, race and have fun.  I stuck to 5k races over the past ten years because I let others determine my worth when it came to racing.  Reclaiming my worth, I will run my first 10k in 10 years this spring and let me tell you, this mental breakthrough has been totally awesome!  While my feet and knees don’t feel like my 18-year-old self, my mind and the rest of my body do, now that I am running for me and only me. 

Achieving balance.  Conquering esteem.  Running for an overall health win.