I have started running many times in my life. By that, I mean I have started a running program or routine more than once. More than twice. Probably more than 8 times in my short 30 years. I have quit for so many reasons, some silly excuses (too cold, too hot, I just want to watch that show tonight,...), and some perfectly understandable reasons (pregnancy #1, pregnancy #2, injuries,...).
But I have started again each time, even though it may be years later. To feel healthier. To reach a healthier weight. To lower my cholesterol. To have more energy. To keep up with my children's activity levels. To have time to myself. To think. To pray. To set a goal and achieve it. To have fun. To prove to myself that I can do "impossible" things. To increase my endurance.
As I have learned more about running and my body in particular over the years, I have had an easier and smoother journey starting back up each time. I know how to breathe so my side stitch doesn't make me give up. How to stretch and work on my stride to ease my illiotibial band knee pain. How to start out slowly so I don't burn out and hurt myself too soon. How it feels at the end of a great run. Where to find the best shoes for my feet. Where to find help when I'm hurting. And how to keep myself motivated to continue when the couch keeps calling my name.
As of today, I have not run in 5 days. In that time, I was up most of the night for two nights helping two mothers bring two beautiful new babies into the world. As I doula'd my dear clients this week, I was so thankful that I run. I helped a laboring mother walk up two steps at a time for 6 floors, twice, and wasn't huffing and puffing like I would have 5 months ago. I helped a laboring mother walk briskly around the hospital floor, and didn't have to think about whether I could handle another circuit. I had the endurance to rub a laboring mother's lower back for almost 5 hours continuously. And then I had the strength and energy left to come home to my family, just in time for dinner and bedtime.
I am a runner because it makes me a better wife, a better mother, a better birth doula. Running gives me the energy to live my life well.