Why did I choose running later in life for physical activity when I have never been a runner before?
When I was in my mid-40’s, I needed to make some changes for my health. I had high blood pressure and needed to lose weight. In the past, I had tried going to the gym. It just did not work with my schedule and having six children. For many years, I used exercise DVD’s in the living room, but I was ready for a change. I also wanted to get outside more. So I decided to start running. I found an app for my smartphone called, Couch to 5K (C25K). I figured that was a good place to start. I talked to my family, and when I started out the boys would go with me and ride their bikes while I alternated running and walking. Mostly, I was walking. I enjoyed my time outside in the evenings with the boys. There are so many options for exercise, but once I started running, I was hooked. I have been running for more than three years now, and I have no plans to stop.
Benefits of Running
In the past three years, I have seen many health benefits from running. My blood pressure is lower. I have lost weight. My cardiovascular system is in better condition. I can tell this with my lowered resting heart rate. My asthma and allergies have not been as troublesome since I started running outside in every different kind of weather you can imagine. (With suffering from asthma symptoms, I had to learn to breathe properly.) My endurance in doing everyday tasks is better. I have more energy. I sleep better at night. My children are active with me, so I am passing on a legacy of healthy habits. My diet is healthier, since my body requires proteins, vegetables, and carbohydrates to fuel my level of activity.
Another benefit of running has been the friends I have made around the world who are also runners. I have made running friends online, and I have made many running friends in person at group running sessions and races. There is something special about the racing community. They are a friendly bunch for the most part. When I have participated in races, I am always encouraged when someone shouts a word of encouragement to me. By the same token, I shout words of encouragement to runners along the way, too. I have heard it said that even when you first meet another runner, you are already friends. I have found this to be true. Runners share a bond.
Running has allowed me to challenge myself mentally and physically. Running is hard and fun all in one. I don’t allow myself to set limits on what I can accomplish. I have run in races from a 5K to a marathon. There is a lot of training of the mind and body to progress from running 3.1 miles to running 26.2 miles. Three years ago, I could not imagine that I would run a marathon, and now that I have run two marathons; I know that it is possible. If you asked me how I trained for a marathon, I would tell you that I did it one step at a time. I trained over many months. I ran on days when the weather was not optimal. I ran on days when I did not feel optimal. You never know on race day what the weather will be or how you will feel. This fall I ran a half marathon in very windy and rainy conditions. That was what the weather was on race day. I could not change it, but I could go out prepared for it and give it my best. That is exactly what I did. It was a rolling hill course, and every time I was going up a hill, it was blowing rain in my face. Those conditions made me stronger mentally and physically.