I don’t remember my very first running race. I have a photo of myself as a little girl, maybe 7, wearing homemade terrycloth running shorts, a tucked-in tee shirt and knee high socks. I was holding a medal around my neck for placing in the 440 yard run in the junior jaycees track meet. I looked happy.
Turns out running still makes me happy. Back then I ran because my parents told me I was running in a track meet. Today I run because I choose to run! After 40ish years of putting one foot in front of the other at a pace faster than walking (that’s my definition of running), I have narrowed it down to three things. Food. Sanity. Body Love.
I love to eat. In my opinion eating is more enjoyable after a hard workout. I sometimes plan my post-workout food even before I start the workout. There was a year when I vowed to eat a burger after every race and I made sure it happened. The burger vow resurfaced when I was pregnant, but that was a different kind of endurance event! I am currently 98% vegan, so I don’t dream about burgers unless they’re veggie burgers (my latest fave is Dr James Rouse’s Sunflower Burgers). I still love how exercise and fuel go hand in hand.
Run This World podcast episode suggestion for foodies:
Before races, I would engage in the old-school “carbo-loading” philosophy which I still stand by! I love how Chef Nick’s passion and curiosity show through in the menu, but I love even more how Noodles encourages us to customize and if you don’t like your meal, they want you to bring it back and make you something else. I had never thought about the chef behind the restaurant. Chef Nick is an artist. I love the idea that I’m eating food dreamt up by someone who so passionately cares about what he is creating.
I run to free my mind. All of my best ideas happen while I’m running. Not while I’m swimming or out on my bike. They happen when I’m in that partially meditative state on the roads or trails. It usually takes 20 minutes. That’s my magic number. The amount of time it takes for my mind to clear all the junk of the day and simply be open. The idea of Skirt Sports appeared to me while running. I decided to create my podcast while running. I dreamed up my non-profit Running Start while hiking (running’s little sister). Running = freedom.
Run This World podcast episode suggestion for free-thinkers:
Sue is the original Forensic Death Investigator. She came before death was sexy. Before Law & Order and CSI. She and Quincy could have been friends. Sue had a long career analyzing death. She was one of the first people on the scene and her job was to help determine how death occurred. She learned a lot about the details of death, from a scientific and analysis standpoint. But it’s what she learned about people that left a lifelong impression on her. Sue was sometimes the person who had to notify others that their loved ones were gone. She witnessed so much pain, suffering and emotion on the job. And through it all, she learned important lessons on how to LIVE more fully because the one great equalizer for all of us is death. As you listen to her EIGHT life lessons, you will definitely find something that applies to you. And if nothing else, Sue will get you thinking!
I’ve been an athlete my entire life. Of all the sports I’ve done, running connects my body and mind more than any other. When I was a kid, I struggled to accept my body just as it was. I wondered why my legs were bigger than the other girls, not realizing that those thighs were actually taking me much farther than the girls I was comparing myself to!
It wasn’t until I was racing as a professional triathlete, in my 30s, that I finally realized something important. My strength is my strength. Those “big strong thighs” were a huge asset on the toughest courses. I started to love and appreciate my body for what it is, not trying to change it. I wish I could have come to this place of love and embraced my body just as it is much earlier in my life, but I’m here now!
Run This World podcast episode suggestion for body acceptance:
Years ago Mirna was on the fast track to an early grave. Working two jobs, with a toddler in tow, not sleeping, not exercising and not taking care of herself finally took a toll. After a wake-up call on the Interstate, Mirna needed to hear some tough words from her doctor. Namely that she wouldn’t be alive to watch her son grow up if she didn’t make some big changes.
Enter running. At over 300 pounds, getting started took humility, persistence and a long-term approach. Her first mile took almost 18 minutes. But she stuck with it and over time, running became more than a way to lose weight and get healthy. It became a sanctuary that made everything else in her life better too.
So in honor of National Running Day on Wed, June 7th – What do you run for?