What I’ve learned about myself: Five gifts of running

There are many reasons why I love to run.  The reward is sweet in so many capacities.  You are probably thinking through the reasons in your head right now.  The escape, the mind-body connection, the feeling of fitness, the challenge of new distances and new paces, the community of friends, the health benefits, the opportunity to see new places.  There are endless reasons why we love to run, and any one of those reasons would be enough to convince us to set our alarms at ungodly hours and push ourselves to the point of pain.

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My husband just ran his first marathon and I couldn’t be more happy!

Now that I am in recovery mode from my surgery, I have plenty of opportunity to think about running.  Don’t get me wrong, I’m thankful to be able to cross train, but both running through pregnancy and now taking a break for surgery have taught me to enjoy every mile. One of the biggest gifts of running is that you can go out on a run and learn something about yourself that you didn’t know before.

These are a few of the things I’ve learned lately:

1. I can set goals and achieve them.  I’ve qualified for Boston twice now, and I know how to follow through with a training plan.  I don’t let discomfort or inconvenience stop me.  I know how to get things done and have discipline.

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Qualifying for Boston at the Kiawah Marathon in 2014

2. I can do hard things.  Like natural childbirth.  My running experience gave me the confidence to follow through with my birth plan, and I am so grateful that running gave me that gift. My body ran a 50 mile race right before I got pregnant and it also kept on running through pregnancy.  Pushing out a baby was an extension of doing hard things, but I’d already proven that I was tough enough for that.

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I had a great, natural delivery, and running helped give me the right mindset and toughness to push through.

3. My body is strong, and strong is the new skinny.  Feeling strong is so much more empowering to me than feeling skinny. I don’t care what the scale says, and that’s pretty liberating. I want to eat healthy to fuel my body properly, and I want to exercise so that I can run far and run fast.

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I love incorporating weights into my training.

4. Being passionate about running makes everything in life more rewarding.  I have something that gets me excited every day.  I love to read books on running and listen to podcasts on running. I’ve got a dimension in my life that goes beyond just waking up everyday and driving to work.

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Running with Cadence is my all-time favorite!

5. Our bodies can do incredible things. I am so much more in tune with my body because I am a runner.  I enjoyed pregnancy and postpartum recovery more because I felt connected to what was happening.  Running helped give me energy and ward off postpartum depression during the early baby days when I wasn’t getting nearly enough sleep.

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Don’t be deceived.  It may look like she likes to sleep, but she really is a party animal at night.  🙂

So, what have you learned about yourself through running that you didn’t know before?

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