Thursday, January 28, 2010

A Winter's Run-Reflections on Why I Still Run

The sun was out yesterday and despite the 30 degree temperatures, my daughter and I decided that it was time to get outside to do our cardio workout. I had been riding endless miles on the recumbent bike this winter and she would do cardio workouts via cable TV. We are so grateful to have these resources available to us but there is nothing like getting out and running in the fresh air and sunshine. As my daughter set a healthy tempo, I would alternate between running and walking. It was brisk with a headwind but knowing that we once ran a marathon - and not just any marathon - the Boston Marathon, twice around Jamaica Pond was nothing. I noticed the contrast between running in warmer weather in Florida and experiencing the cold of New England. Joints ached but my stubbornness prevailed and we ended up doing 3.2 miles in just a little bit over 45 minutes. My average heart rate was 141 with a peak of 157. My target heart rate is 115-140.

While I was running many thoughts went through my head. Why am I doing this? Why do we still care about our time? Damn it's cold out here - how did I train in temperatures even colder than this? Why should I run a half marathon again? And then the answers became clear. When I first spoke the words that I was going to run the Boston Marathon for Spaulding Rehab hospital I had no idea that I would fall in love with running. I did not know my body was capable of running. During those very early training runs where it was such an incredible effort to run for a minute, I had one goal in mind - to cross the finish line of the Boston Marathon. So why keep running? Why remain in a training mode?

Yes, I would love to run the Disney Princess Half Marathon in 2011 (and I'm still praying about which charity to run for) but I want to maintain my health and fitness best. I want to inspire other middle aged women to get off the couch and join me in loving their bodies no matter what physical shape they may be in. Everyone has to start somewhere. It is so easy to look at women who are in 'perfect shape' or hear stories of women who are running 10 minute miles, lifting so many pounds and doing so many sit ups and push ups and then to use that as intimidation and self denigration. I know because I always looked at others and felt I could not measure up. I was intimidated, ashamed, embarrassed, and loathed my body for what it could not do.

But today I celebrate what my body can do! I am grateful for every step I take. I am grateful for pain free moments and trust that I have the strength to cope with whatever pain I may be experiencing. I know I can go within and visualize and bless each cell in my body. I watch the slow transformation as I go through the strength training exercises prescribed by my physical therapist to strengthen my core, cervical spine and upper body. I embrace the soreness and give thanks that I have the luxury of time to take exquisite care of my body. I give thanks that I do not have to find time to fit in workouts but can schedule them at my convenience. I give thanks that I can go outside and experience the beauty of a New England winter day - the silence on the icy pond, the barren trees, the muddied ground trusting that beyond the appearances nature is preparing to burst forth with renewal in just a few short months. So why do I still run? Because I am blessed to be able to run, because I love my body and want to give it the exercise it needs to stay healthy, because I want to inspire others and because I want to be a shining example of how, with God, all things are possible.

Reach in and reach out to someone you love this Valentines Day with an original poem from New World Greeting Cards.

While you're there be sure to order my book of inspirational poetry, "New World Greetings:Inspirational Poetry and Musings for a New World". Remember I donate 20% to Spaulding
Rehab's Polio Fund. It's a wonderful way to say "I love you" to that someone special.

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