You’ve always wanted to try but have shied away. You see the pictures of your friends and family holding race bibs and posting about their latest training run. Why does it seem so hard to just start running? Trust me, I’ve had this conversation in my head many times. Do I want it? Do I want to be a runner?

I wanted it. I ran in high school for fun but in the 15 years since – my marriage, work, and family took precedence. About five years ago I decided it was time. I signed up for my first 5K. The race was six weeks away. I researched training programs on-line, running routes, shoe recommendations, and local running clubs. I quickly learned running can be an individual sport and a great group sport. I ran on my own and with a running club.

I eased into running knowing I wanted it to be something I would stick with after the infatuation faded. When one route became easy I upped the ante. That first 5K led to another, then another, and I found myself craving the time I carved out for running. I ran not just to prepare for a race but because I wanted to run.

Not every run is a good run. There have been plenty of times I missed my goal or just completed a training run. But each time I make my body win over my mind and finish, my workout it feels like a victory.

I’ve left running a few times in the recent years, but always come back. There are months I run 100 miles or more, and months I don’t break the 20 mile mark. I used to focus on constantly increasing my speed, and now I’ve settled into running my pace and finding my happy. Truth be told, the first five minutes of most runs I question my sanity, but by the end of mile 2, I’m into a groove and peace settles over me.

Melissa Burkart, a local teacher who recently competed in the Olympic Marathon trials shared the following with me. “I run to breathe. Every day I run for a different reason but when I finish every run I feel the same thing… and that feeling is simply breathing. It never will be a sacrifice to care about yourself, to do something powerful for yourself, to rescue yourself. Running is not a sacrifice it is a gift. It’s a sacrifice to not run when you have the ability to do it.”

Since that first 5K I’ve racked up many miles in 5Ks , numerous 10K and 10 milers, seven half marathons, and one marathon. My medals hang in the bathroom as a daily reminder of what I have and CAN accomplish. All because one day five years ago I decided to sign up for a 5K.

Just do it. Get out there. Believe in yourself and put your feet to the pavement.

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*disclaimer : Consult your healthcare profession before beginning any exercise program.

JoyHedding

Joy aka Evil Joy is wife to one Dr. Evil and mother to four children she often refers to as spawn. Joy is a snowboarding fanatic and loves to share her exploits - snowboarding and otherwise - on Instagram. She currently spends copious amounts of time taxiing her children from one place to another. Frequently funny, always honest, and occasionally serious Joy blogs about everything from dealing with messy teenagers to navigating life after PTSD. Joy has been published in the anthologies "Surviving Mental Illness Through Humor" and "Only Trollops Shave Above the Knee" and featured on Sammiches and Psych Meds and In the Powder Room.

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