Today’s post was submitted by Nicole of Running While Mommy.
In July 2011, I ran for the first time ever! I had planned to be done after I finished my first 5k. But, here I am today, training for my first half marathon, and really, I am still surprised. I thought I would tell you why I started to run and how I ended up becoming a “real” runner.
I actually thought running was silly. I didn’t understand why people would want to run so far and sometimes in bad weather. It made no sense to me. I am lucky to live in a beautiful and very healthy area. I have seen people run, bike and walk along the main drag and beach for the last 8 years. And it didn’t matter what time of year or how cold it was, people were always out. I am also surrounded by friends who are runners, some bikers and a few brave souls who swim too. I was asked on more than one occasion to run with them and I just laughed it off.
This brings me to this past summer, 2011. I was in the kitchen making mac and cheese for the kids, and I felt lost. I was sitting there day dreaming about what my life was like before husband, kids, house, etc. I was a flight attendant and used to travel all over the world. It was the most exciting job I have ever had and it enabled me to see and do things I wouldn’t have had the chance to do if I stayed on the ground. That is where I met my husband. I knew that this was the man I would love forever. Two kids later and I have everything that I want. I would change very little, just one thing—to figure out how not to put me last and do something fun and exciting, something I said I would never do.
Why do we say “Oh, I could never do that”? I think mostly because we are scared of the unknown. What if we fail? What if we are not as strong as we think we are? We have all been there and have feared those things. What makes us different is when we can say, “Yes I can! I will give it my all and not give up!” That is what I said to myself that day making mac and cheese. I just needed to find the thing that I wanted to try.
I went through a list in my head and had a hard time coming up with something. There weren’t too many things that I said I would never do. I jumped out of an airplane, got a tattoo, ran with the bulls, sang karaoke. You get the picture. The one thing about all these things is they are usually one time things. I wanted something that would last a little longer.
I saw an ad for the first Citizens Bank Newport Pell Bridge Run, 4.2 miles long. I wanted to conquer that bridge! I discovered the Couch-to-5k plan and off I went. I also signed up for my first 5k. It was recommended that I do one before I go the longer distance. I got through the program with no problems and found that I was looking forward to every day that I was supposed to run. I also discovered that I was feeling really good. I mean REALLY good. I was happy and calmer. My head was clear. When I was running, I was able to think and found that I liked that time by myself. When I crossed the finish line of the 5k, I was thrilled and I wanted to do it again and again.
“Yes I can! I will give it my all and not give up!”
I had the same feeling at my next race and running over the bridge was just so beautiful. This was my original goal and I did it! I knew, however, that I needed to keep going.
I feel that there are inward or outward benefits to running. Well, the outward may be a little obvious. I feel and look better, it’s that simple. The inward, however, is what really keeps me going. My head is clear and I know I am exactly where I want to be. I became stronger, not just for me but for my family. I know they look at me and are proud. My husband was surprised at first, but now he knows this is what I need and he supports me 100%. My kids think it is neat that I run and my daughter thinks she is a runner too. It is super cute. When we go over the bridge, the kids say, “Mommy, its your bridge!” Yes kids it is. And I think when it comes to the kids, you can talk to them until you lose your voice. They may pick up a few things you are saying, but it is the example they will follow. Monkey see, monkey do.
I found that I was not alone in feeling lost. I wanted to reach out and help women that needed it. I was being motivated by blogs and running Face Book pages. I was shocked at how strangers could get me up and out and run! I wanted to do that too. I started blogging first to keep records for myself, but soon people actually read what I had to say and the comments were all positive. I decided that I wanted to help get women out there and do what they love. I wanted to motivate, but I also want to be motivated by you. We all have dreams and I want to see you make those dreams a reality. You don’t have to be a runner or a mommy to read my blog or like my FB page. You just need to want to live your life to the fullest.
What may challenge you is different for all of us. Some of us want to climb Mt. Everest, some may want to bungee jump. Others may want to learn a new language or how to sew. For others it is a marathon. For me it is a half marathon. Lets all voice our interests and challenges out loud and lets give each other a virtual high-five when we get to the “finish line”.
My family gives me purpose, but now, so does running. For me it is learning that I am strong and can still be my own person while raising and taking care of three other people. But I also love that the races that I have done so far and the ones coming up are all for special causes too. Cancer, heart disease, the homeless and less fortunate to name a few. I feel it is important to give back to the community and now I can run and do it at the same time.
The bottom line, I run because I can and there are those that can’t. I run because it makes me strong. I run because it keeps me sane. I run because it shows my children that they can do anything they put their mind to. I run because I love my husband. I run because it has brought me closer to my friends. I run because I want to show other people that you don’t just have to sit on the sidelines and watch. I run because my parents always told me I can do and be anything I want to. I am a wife, mother, daughter, sister, friend, and now I am a runner.
Run strong, think big!
Running While Mommy