Why I Run.

A few weeks ago, RunnerGurlz on Facebook sponsored a contest for a free entry to The Chocolate Race at the end of the month. I half-planned to do the race anyway so I decided to try to run for free. Last week, I received a message saying that my piece one.

So, here it is: my entry winning piece.

I wasn’t always a runner – but I had a runner’s passion. I ran off and on through school and university but, by the time I was ready to be serious about my own personal fitness and exercise, the aerobic scene won hands-down. Let’s face it, aerobics were far more social, entertaining (this was, after all, the eighties) and I could wear cute little outfits. If female runners had the great gear that we do now, I might have stuck with running.

Eventually, I grew tired of the aerobic scene and bored with the cardio equipment in the gym. I needed more. So, once again, I laced up my running shoes and started up again, registering for the Pointe de Pointe, a 10K race, in Toronto. My training consisted of two runs and, needless to say, my legs ached for days after the race but I felt such a feeling of power that I had to race again. And, I knew that if I wanted to race, I had to train.

Since then, running has provided me with an ongoing feeling of strength and power. Sure, I go through periods of not being motivated like everyone else but the positive that comes from my running outweighs those moments. I can run and, usually, I run well. That earns the respect of my family (well, perhaps not my mother who still doesn’t quite “get” it), friends, neighbours and co-workers. That same feeling has led to my confidence to meet strangers in the running community, people whom I would never have met, and this has led to some great, long-lasting friendships.

Running is not just power, though, it is empowering. While coaching my school’s cross-country and track teams, I often share my experiences – the good and bad; this helps kids to believe in themselves as runners, and that carries over to their non-running lives. As a parent, my running makes my children understand the importance of setting goals and making a commitment to achieving them; my 9 year old rides with me on almost all of my runs (he trained with me during last year’s half-marathon training) and that has given him confidence in his own athletic abilities. My husband and many of my friends are following my example and have started running or power-walking, depending on their health. Being able to support so many others in their own fitness goals is truly empowering.

That enthusiasm and energy that others experience comes right back to me; it drives me to push myself harder, to set higher goals and to chase them. With so many great things about it, why wouldn’t I run?

I wonder if this means that I’m a sponsored athlete? Perhaps a shirt with “Sponsored by…”? Better yet, how about one with “Powered by Chocolate”? That’s definitely my kind of shirt.

The next time you’re on Facebook, check out RunnerGurlz’s fan page. And, let me know what you think.

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