TheraFit PT: Balance and Running

THE NEWSLETTER ABOUT YOUR HEALTH AND CARING FOR YOUR BODY

CHALLENGE ACCEPTED: THE ENDLESS ADVANTAGES OF RUNNING

Running is a popular form of exercise and one of the oldest sports. Running is good for your health, it helps breathing, heart health, muscle strength, and burns calories. Running keeps one fit and active and it relieves stress. Running is not just a sport or form of exercise to me, it’s a lifestyle. For me, running is a form of moving meditation, it’s my time to really get away and be with my thoughts. I run because it helps me clear my head, allows me to focus, and makes me feel in control. I like feeling the air on my skin, my heart beating in my chest, breath going in and out of my lungs, my muscles contracting, and just moving. Running makes me feel strong and gives me confidence in myself. It has challenged me to do things I never thought I was capable of doing. I started running in seventh grade when I joined the track team. I was placed in the 2 mile event because no one else wanted or was willing to run it. I remember my goal at the first track meet was to just keep running and not walk the full 8 laps around the track. I surprised myself that I was able to do it and thought to myself that it wasn’t so hard. Of course, I did practice for the event. I went onto join and run on the cross country team in high school. Some of my greatest running memories come from running cross country. I liked the challenge of seeing how far I could run, the excitement of running different courses, pushing myself to improve my time, and the camaraderie of being part of a team. I knew after running high school cross country that I would one day want to run a marathon. I continued to run after high school and began to run multiple 5k (3.1 miles) road races. My love for running continued to run deeper. During college, my dad started running due to being advised by his doctor to start exercising. He began to run 5k races. Even though I was away at college, it was fun to get to talk training with my dad and schedule races that we could do together. At one of the races my dad over heard myself and a friend talking about how we aspired to one day run a marathon. Shortly after that race my dad informed me that he had signed both him and myself up for a marathon. I guess I need to start training was my thought. Up until that point the furthest I had ever ran was 8 miles and had never done a race longer than a 5k (3.1 miles). A marathon is 26.2 miles, which is a lot longer than a 5k. I enjoyed training for that first

marathon. I appreciated having a goal to focus on and feeling the sense of accomplishment when completing further distances on my long runs. People would often ask me when I was training for that first marathon if I would do more than just the one. I remember being afraid to commit to more than one not knowing how I would feel or even if I would be able to finish. I ran my first marathon June 2003 the Sunburst in South Bend, IN. My goal for that first marathon was really just to finish, and I did. After that first race I was hooked. I had heard about a race at Disney where you run through the different parks and thought that sounded like fun. My dad and I signed up for the Disney marathon which was that next January in 2004. While training for Disney we decided to run the Chicago marathon which was in October, 2003. Talking to other runners we heard about the 50 state club were you run a marathon in each state. You have to have completed at least 10 marathons in 10 different states in order to join the 50 state club, we had 3 down in less than a year. We soon did our first 10 states and joined the club. It just seemed like a great way to combine my love for running and get to travel. After graduating from PT school in 2005, I moved to Alabama and running races in different states was a great way for me to get to meet up and see my parents, who live in Michigan. Since that first marathon I have ran 37 marathons in over 31 different states. Running has lead me to do things I never thought possible. I have completed 2 ultra marathons (distances longer than 26.2 miles). I have finished 3 full ironman triathlons (2.4 mile swim, 112 mile bike, and 26.2 mile run, yes all in one day). I qualified to represent Team USA in the worlds triathlon competition in 2011 in Beijing, China. I’m still working on completing my goal of running a marathon in every state. My next race is coming up April 27th in Denver, Colorado. This will only be my second race running in high altitude so I think that is going to be my biggest challenge. I’m excited to get to visit a new state, run in a new town, and cross Colorado off of my list once I finish. Running is something that can be physically exhausting but mentally and emotionally recharging. Running has allowed me to challenge and push myself. I love a lot of things about running and racing: the adventure, the challenge, getting to see new places, and feeling the accomplishment when I finish. There is no greater sense of satisfaction than what you get from setting a personal goal and conquering it.

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