Believe it or not, there was a time in my life when the R word was not mentioned at all at home or with friends. The only time we used it was when mommy would RUN errands, or we RAN out of fresh milk, or I wanted to RUN away from nasty clients.
If you gave me P10 for every time I said the R word last month though, I would probably be able to get myself new running shoes. RUNNING rolls out of my tongue every hour of the day. If I am not thinking about it, then I am doing it. It’s taken over my shoe cabinet, closet, pantry, refrigerator, calendar, inbox, social life, marriage, and family life.
I bumped into an old friend yesterday and, even if I had not seen her in years, the first thing she says is: “Hi Marathon Mom!” Blame that on facebook. Even my co-parents at school just ask me about running all the time: “How do I start?” or “Where are the clinics?” And, pretty soon, I’ll forget what my real name is and use “TBR” instead.
Running is definitely a big part of my life. It keeps me fit and healthy. It gives me a goal to work for. It provides me with my daily dose of sanity and peace amid all the to-do lists, meetings, and errands to run.
But, is it my life? I would be happy to report that it’s NOT. I can skip a run in a heartbeat if the kids had homework. I can miss a race for a family event. I have a happy family, work, other passions, non-running friends, and a life outside of running that make me feel complete.
Perhaps the best gift that running has blessed me with is this: It serves as a constant reminder for me to live up to my fullest potential, to become a better person. That if I just commit to do some good in running—whether it’s to run four times this week, lace up even when I’m tired, or help a newbie runner run her first 5km—then that positive move inevitably and naturally flows into other areas of my life. That if I push myself to run that last kilometer no matter how stiff my legs are, I am actually doing myself some good by overcoming my weaknesses and achieving the impossible.
If it happens that I find myself getting cranky because I missed a new PR or angry because of a flawed race, or I note that I may be getting over competitive, then I take a deep breath, go out for a good slow run, and remind myself about the beauty of running.
I run to live. And it’s never the other way around.