Why I Run

by Jen Lee Reeves on September 20, 2011 · 2 comments

in 2011, Running

Thanks to Jessica Kohler (@jessicathinkies) for taking this picture!

Running is a big part of my world right now… And I realize I never really write about it. I figured it’s about time I let everyone know what I’ve been up to outside of my kid and work world (and the many activities we do each week).

A friend of mine talked me into trying to run in January 2009. She pushed and pushed me. I even joined a gym that month. I complained, I moaned… I didn’t really like it. But I like a good challenge. And after she taught me how to power through a mile, she convinced me to race in a 5K on Valentine’s Day 2009. We bundled up and I gave it a try. I loved the challenge… I felt proud. I had accomplished something I hadn’t considered I could do the month before. I started taking Body Combat classes at the gym. I was finding ways to incorporate work outs into my life on a regular basis.

I pushed through and kept running in 5K races here and there. I tweaked (at least I thought tweaked) my knee during my first 10K race late in 2009. I ran in my first marathon relay – close to 9 miles – in April 2010. I was ready to conquer my first half marathon.

That was the plan until I collapsed during a training run and discovered I’d been running on a non-existent left knee ACL. It had ripped apart years before I even started running. I had days where it hurt, but I just lifted weights and moved on after a few days. I guess I was in denial. My physical therapist says it’s because I’m very, very tough. After I discovered how messed up I was… I knew I had to fix it. I actually like running and didn’t want to lose it.

Why?

Because it’s challenging, it’s healthy (to a point… it isn’t healthy with a messed up knee), and it’s one of the few things I do for me. January 2009 was a turning point for me because I had been SO focused on taking care of the kids’ needs, I had lost any focus on myself. I wasn’t taking good care of me. I wasn’t showing my kids how to be a healthy person. I was a cranky, exhausted wife. I needed something to clear my head and find “me time.”

I’m now more than a year post-ACL surgery and I’m a little more than a month away from running in my first half marathon. I’m running in the Rock n’ Roll half marathon in St. Louis. I’m not raising money (even though if I had put more thought into it, I probably could have). I’m not training with anyone. I’m just doing this for me. Hopefully the kids and Randy will be able to be there to watch me cross the finish line. But they don’t have to be there. This is one of the few things I do for me… and even though my training is starting to take a bit longer than usual on the weekends. (I ran 9.5 miles Sunday and it took at least an hour and a half – I didn’t actually time myself today since it was rainy out.) But the kids and Randy are understanding. They seem to notice I’m committed to making this happen. I’m lucky to be able to sneak in the runs during the early morning weekday hours and the late afternoon weekends. I’m also lucky to have a family that is okay with me taking “me time.” I know I’m a better parent, spouse, friend and co-worker because I’m taking a little time three to four times a week to push myself.

I run because my healthier lifestyle feels better. I run because I want my kids to see how exercise can fit into a crazy, busy life. I run because I can do it anywhere (unless it’s really icy out) and anytime.

{ 2 comments… read them below or add one }

Kami September 20, 2011 at 5:08 am

Jen–I feel much the same way about running. After Colby’s accident, I definitely lost some focus on “me.” Colby provides a lot of inspiration–when I get to a point where I don’t think I can run anymore, I just think about all the obstacles he has had to overcome (which so far he has seemed to do quite effortlessly). I never dreamed before I would ever take up running-but I think I discovered it at the perfect time.

Jen Lee Reeves September 20, 2011 at 6:17 am

Congrats on your first 5K Kami! We really do have so many inspirational people to think of when our run is starting to feel too tough! Another thing I didn’t mention was the connection runners feel with each other! it’s a great loosely constructed understanding of support to each other!

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