Never stop running…

Yesterday I was running on the treadmill after work. It was a tough run. I was exhausted after my weekend, and I just wanted to crawl into bed. Yet, because I felt like I should keep at it and stay focused on what is important to me, I changed into my running clothes and got onto the treadmill. Why you might ask? Why do I push myself so hard, when maybe I should have changed into pajamas and snuggled onto the couch?

My answer would be dedication. If I gave in, than tomorrow it would be that much easier to give in, and the next day and the day after that. Yes, I definitely take days off from running, but they are few. Usually my off days are when my brain can barely utter a word, or I feel like complete ass, and can barely stay awake, otherwise my butt is dressed and ready to run, and usually…usually I am better for it. The run gets me out of myself, out of my day, what I still have left to do, and allows me to breathe in and out, and let it all go.

Running is my therapy. Some of you might already know, but I usually run on the treadmill and read books while I run. I read and enter the world of another individual’s life through a memoir, or the world of make-believe through a novel. It means 50 minutes to an hour a day that is not about what happened that day, or what is left on my to-do list, it is just about my feet going, the sweat dripping, and the characters that are spelled out before my eyes.

Yesterday though was tough. I was struggling to continue, I wanted to run upstairs and jump into a steaming hot bath, relax, and close my eyes. The thoughts that kept coming to me were: “This is hard.” “You have had a long day and weekend, just quit.” And then I realized, these are just thoughts. You are not a quitter. You are dedicated. You get on that treadmill each day because it inspires you, it feels good, and your thought is clear afterwards. Often you find that solutions to problems come to you when you run and you were not even focusing on them.

I hope I can continue my dedication to running as I grow older, when pregnant, with a newborn, and with aching knees, because it grounds me. It makes the world right. It invigorates, inspires, and fuels me. What fuels you?

Does Exercise Makes You Smarter?

I recently read this article in Fast Company titled: “Working Out Doesn’t Just Make You Stronger, It Makes You Smarter.” There are great infographics involved that help to tell the story. The article really made me think. I am not that old, but I do remember what it was like to grow up without a television. I am not going to go on and on about how I had to walk 5 miles to school (I did not have to), but I will tell you that times have changed and I do not think it is a good thing. We used to be outside, get dirty, play in creeks, ride our bikes, the list goes on. We did not sit in front of the television for hours during the sunlight portion of the day. We used our bodies, worked our muscles, got scraps and burns and war wounds. We were ACTIVE!

These days between televisions, video games (um Angry Birds can suck you in for hours), and not to mention iPads kids have so many excuses for not going outside. Their brains are highly wired for the mechanical. Yes, they learn lots of great problem solving skills, competition, and how to find their way around a computer, game, and app. What I worry is that they have lost their creativity. Whatever happened to getting lost in the woods and playing tag? Does that bore the minds of today’s youth? It sort of scares me. The statistics in this quote from the article are shocking:

“Children–who should be buzzing about with so much energy that we have to ask them not to exercise–aren’t moving around that much anymore. (Ironically, part of the problem is the diminished role of phys ed in many public schools.) Only one in four children get 30 minutes of daily exercise, and by the time they’re teenagers, only 12% are getting their daily recommended amount of physical activity.”

Only 12% of children get the daily recommended amount of physical activity. Only 12%. What are we going to do to change this? As mentioned in the above article, exercise stimulates brain cell growth. I like that. It is a quick reminder that we need to move to think better. I believe it. I feel more clear and less sluggish when I have worked out, when I have moved. I am sharper, clearer, and ready to tackle the issues in my thought.

Parting words from the article today: “Fitter Body, Fitter Mind.”

Happiness = Eternal Stench of Running Clothes

Happy Friday! What do you do each day to get exercise? Do you sit in cubicle hell all day, or do you have the ability to move around, stretch, and have an active day?

I spent most of my life NOT running. Now I cannot seem to get enough of it. I want to go everyday and usually I do not want to stop when I need to due to other obligations, or because I am wiped out. I crave it. I often think about what would happen if I had been enamored with running earlier in life. Why did it take me so many years? Did I think I would not be good enough? Did I think it would be too exhausting? I cannot remember, all I know now is that I cannot imagine my life without running in it.

It is not that I did not have encouragement. A very close friend from college ran daily, often winning races and hiding the trophies in the back of her closet. She was a badass (and still is) but never wanted to talk about her race wins. She would often come back to our room for a quick shower before dinner completely caked in mud and gloriously happy. What did she already understand that took me years to wrap my arms around?

The key for me is the euphoria I feel when I finish a run. I feel pushed and stretched. I feel like I am being responsible for my health and taking care of myself. I feel like I have had an hour to myself. I feel content. While my husband would prefer to not smell the stench of my running clothes hanging in the bathroom, he obliges because he knows how happy it makes me. The stench = hard work, dedication, accomplishment = happiness.

Do you have a daily exercise routine that makes your day balanced?