I'm fast approaching my two-year "runniversary" and it is hard to imagine what the past two years would have been like without running. I practiced real estate law in a crummy real estate market. The BP oil spill terrified & damaged my community. Finances are tighter than ever. My children aren't babies anymore. My business went under. In sum, my world has been a scary and challenging place over the past two years. Most of it is completely out of my control, and that is something I have a hard time accepting.
Running helps me maintain my Zen. It's not just the endorphins, although the Runner's High is a very real and very lovely experience. When I run, I am forced to put away the phone and the computer and the kids, and just be. I can focus on things that have been bothering me, and I can gain perspective. Or I can just focus on one foot in front of the other, and forget about my problems for an hour or two while I enjoy the beauty of God's creation.
Running has given me a new sense of identity. Before running, I defined myself as a working mother/wife and an attorney. Being a wife and being a mother are the most beautiful and important roles in my life, but they describe my relationships, not who I am. Being an attorney was a big source of pride for me, but I never fully identified with or enjoyed the career. Something about running just clicks with my soul. It is more than just an activity that I enjoy. And it is something that is all mine.
Running is something I can control. I love sitting down and planning my training schedule, considering all the different schools of thought on training, tracking my target race paces, setting goals. I can get frequent gratification, whether through racing my fastest half-marathon or watching the sunrise on a slow training run.
Almost as an afterthought, running keeps me fit. I may not rock a bikini like I did at age 20, but I am strong and I have a body that is capable of doing things I never dreamed. Running 26.2 miles? Been there, done that, can't wait to do it again!