Run for your LIFE.
Recently, I ran a 5K. The Color Run to be precise. This isn't just another running story though, or a blind pitch for fitness.
It was two days before the race and I realized that we have no childcare for the time of the race, and (small detail) neither my husband nor I has been running at all. Not even a little. Neither of us in probably a year or more at least, and before that very minimally if at all. When I signed up in February at early registration I thought it was a great thing to motivate us to train together.
Fast forward through the spring, the creation of a new business, selling a house, renting a house, and buying another house in the space of 6 weeks, and the long story short is --- we didn't get it done. Okay, no big deal. We could find someone to watch the kids, and walk it. Not the worst thing.
We found the childcare, and I am so convinced we will walk that we even ride our tandem bike to the race. We wait through the anticipatory revelry and inevitable swag giveaways, and finally - we're off! Sad start, sore muscles, low motivation. But after a short distance, lots of encouragement from my husband, (and one color) I decide to ACTUALLY TRY to run. Why not? I am approaching 40, I am in relatively good physical condition, and I have no major injuries or illnesses. I run. And I keep running. I go through the next color and the next. Then I find myself telling my husband, "We might get tired, but I think we should finish this thing without stopping". He agrees. We blaze through the finish line, not fast, I will grant you, but well ahead of the throngs of people, and in stride.
Realization: this person I am who always said she can't run? SHE CAN RUN. I am not great at it, I am not fast, but I finished a 5K RUNNING with no training. Biggest accomplishment? I didn't stop.
Fast forward to one week later, which was a few days ago. It's Labor Day, we have been working really hard on our new house/half acre yard for 3 days, and I am mentally and physically spent. I told myself I would run again after that race and I haven't yet. So, I don the obligatory gear, grab by phone and some headphones, turn on a Spotify playlist, and take off. Slow going. Tough start. But after I get a stride, I cover a route that is about 3 miles, just over the distance we finished at The Color Run.
As happens a lot for me when I exercise (and a primary reason why I should engage in solitary exercise). I start to have some really lucid ideas about what is happening in my body, my mind, and my heart. I start to realize that I should run just because I am able. To celebrate my life, my health, and the life and love I have been given, even by those who aren't with me anymore. To run for all of those who cannot do it for themselves. The depressed, the suicidal, the ailing, the angry, the hungry, the injured. To acknowledge that I have almost made it to 40 in a better body than I had in high school or college, with more mental and physical faculties than I ever expected to have. I know so many people who struggle with depression, feelings of worthlessness, feelings of helplessness. Maybe if I focus on this one thing, just one day at a time, I can help defeat that energy in the world. Maybe if some people decide to join me, we'll defeat even more than that together.
My goal for now is modest. I will run at least once a week to honor myself. As I build strength and endurance, I may add days and runs that focus on another person whom I am honoring. I will remember my good fortune, and my hard work, because you don't come this far and in a healthy body without a fair amount of effort. I will notice my small failings and weaknesses, but I will not focus on them, nor will I let them sideline me. I will run even when I am tired.
Why? I am running for my life. Because I have a life. A healthy life. A happy life. A blessed life. If you want to join me, I gratefully accept your company and the challenge. I will celebrate your life with mine in this effort.
Run... for YOUR LIFE.