Tuesday, February 7, 2012


Image credit: DarkMatter (Flickr)
Six months later, I'm still running.

I've come a long way since July. I can run an entire 5K without walking. I'm getting a little faster. And sometimes I find myself trucking along with a loose, easy stride, not counting the minutes, just enjoying the act without really thinking about it. You know, like a real runner.

But I have to admit that I don't always love the actual run. I still feel pretty slow and awkward most of the time. The weather tends to be either too hot or too cold, plus too windy, too rainy, or too humid.

What I do love is the way I feel after I finish. It seems like the harder the actual run feels, the better the endorphin rush is at the end. Plus I get this great sense of accomplishment when I go out and get it done. Also, people saying, "Hey, have you lost weight?" isn't too shabby either.

Still, despite all of the medium and long term benefits, I sometimes have trouble making the right this moment decision to get off the couch, put on my sneakers, and get out there. I don't always win the battle. What gives me the extra push most days is that there is always some sort of running event looming in the near future.

It turns out that you can run a 5K pretty much every weekend if you want. I have done three so far, with another one planned for later this month.  For me, they are just the right distance -about as far as I normally run, but with the added motivation of an official clock. Plus when yet another lady with a jogging stroller zooms past you, you feel encouraged to step up your game. They get a little bit easier every time. So now I'm ready for a new challenge!

Last year my friend Jennifer asked me if I wanted join her and some others for something called a mud run. I laughed at her and the idea of running that far. This year I came back bashfully to ask if she's participating again.

That's how I got signed up for the 2012 Jacksonville MS Muckruckus on March 25. It's a 10K run on a muddy course with a bunch of obstacles. I'm honestly not sure exactly what I'm getting myself into, but I'm feeling motivated to step up my distance and my strength training to help me through. Being part of a team is an extra challenge- I don't want to be the one dragging along a mile behind everyone else!

I admit I have a bit of an ulterior motive in telling you about all of this- part of the requirement of participating is that I have to raise $100 for the National MS (Multiple Sclerosis) Society.

MS is a pretty terrible disease, and it's not that uncommon. It basically damages neurons, which interfere with the brain's ability to communicate with the rest of the body, which affects movement (click here if you want a better explanation from the Mayo Clinic).  The disease is progressive, and there is no cure right now, only treatments to slow the progression and control the symptoms. You have probably met someone in your lifetime with a diagnosis of MS.

So anyway, if you have a few extra dollars laying around and would like to support this great cause (and help a girl out), here is a link to my fundraising page.

So long for now, KISS (keep it simple stupid), and try signing up for something that challenges you a little.

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