Friday, April 10, 2009

The More You Run...

I have to admit, I've been puttering around with runs of 3,4 or 5 miles lately. Just enough to get the blood flowing and yet not real solid training for me.

Today however, I had to go to Culver City (5 miles one way) and so I decided to strap on the backpack and run!

It's a few hours later and I am still flying high! Mentally, emotionally and physically, I'm on a cloud 9 ride.

Sometimes as a runner we get caught up in everything else and forget just why we run in the first place. Yes, there are obvious health benefits and that is something I can truly appreciate (heart attack May '08). At the same time its so much more than just that.

Running relieves stress, increases your metabolism, helps your body create endorphins (I like to call them the "happy" chemicals) which in turn stimulates overall good feelings. I find myself much more powerful, enthusiastic, outrageous (in a good way) and empowering when I am running longer distances regularly.

If you are a new runner just getting started, I know that it can seem a daunting task to consider even running three miles and yet maybe that's just because the "carrot" you're after isn't compelling enough.

At some point in our lives we have got to commit to something even if at first it seems like we're climbing a mountain. We all start somewhere. I remember, five days after my heart attack I was chomping at the bit to get out and go for a run. I had a mission and I was going to achieve it no matter what!

That first run was a whopping 1.57 miles and took almost 30 minutes to complete and yet I did it! Having run marathons, it would have been easy to get discouraged. I mean here I was celebrating completing 1/20th of a marathon like I'd just done the whole thing!

It took weeks and even months to get my distance up over 10 miles again and yet through perseverance, I made it. But it was more than just commitment that kept me going. After every run, the feeling of health and vitality and the bump in endorphins had me looking forward to the next run.

And then there was that other "Carrot". On January 11th of 2009, I retraced the route I was on when I had my heart attack and "Conquered My Demons!"

It was the longest single run I had done since March of 2008's LA Marathon. And it sent me soaring!

I guess what I'm saying with all of this is running (or walking) gives us so much more than just the perceived health benefits. That's not down playing the cardiovascular and weight management benefits. If those alone aren't getting you through the tough walks or runs then find a better carrot because they will take you to places you've never experienced before.

The pure joy that comes from running is inspiring, contagious, empowering and incomparable in its power!

What ever level of walking or running you're at, I encourage you to get out there and be consistent. Put in the extra effort when you feel like giving up or backing off. The rewards will be worth it!

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