By Kari Fuller
Why run or walk?
Everyone has a different reason for running.
Running is a social activity. Some love to be active with other people. It's what leads them to put their feet forward to even get to the start line. Some people talk the entire run. Some people listen. Some can solve the world's problems in 6 miles or less. Some get their problems off their chest and can go to the next race in life. A group of my friends decided to run a half-marathon together a couple years back and had the spouses babysit the kids and cheer on them on. This encouragement led to more spouses running or walking in the next years' race. The whole group was pretty sure the spouses decided to run because of the excitement of the race and not the idea that they were left behind to babysit.
Running is about that next goal. A friend of mine has the 25K River Bank run as her next goal – maybe a marathon next year. Will her body keep up with her goal? Will the challenge of time allow her to continue training? Will she be able to fit in the training? There are aches and pains in running. We get home from work tired, and then there is dinner to make and kids to help. There is also the example she is showing to her kids that exercise is important enough to set aside time to do. She is showing the kids she is choosing to be healthy. She is showing the family that she has a goal, will work hard to accomplish it and will try her best.
Running is about using pent-up energy and getting more energy. The brain is fuzzy. The day's events, problems and the to-do list swirls through the brain. What to do now? Sit on the couch? Watch tv? Do Candy crush? I don't feel any better a half hour later. After 30 minutes of running, and then a quick shower, I can continue with the day. So many times, the run was a hard to do, but then the energy increased after the run. The endorphins, the runner's high, the satisfaction of that day's accomplishments makes the brain felt clearer. I accomplished my run; I can accomplish anything. And that night's sleep is so much deeper.
Running is about getting the pet out of the house. The dog needs to be run. I have a 2 year old Labrador Retreiver and she loves the run. If I run 3 miles, she probably run 6 miles. We are lucky to run on country lanes, forest paths, and farm trails. I can let her off the leash and she GOES RUNNING. The joy in her body language and her uplifted ears tell me there is nothing better than this moment. We find a stream or a deep puddle and I see her swan dive into the center of the water. She gets out, shakes off, and continues... I swear there is a smile on her face. Joy, pure joy.
Running is about feeling strong. When the muscles are worked, I feel as if I can accomplish anything. I can do it. The run felt hard, sometimes I had to walk, but that is ok. I felt great yesterday, and today the run didn't feel so good; that is ok too. Tomorrow will be better.
I run to keep the body in check. Eating wonderful foods leads to a not-so-wonderful body shape unless intervention occurs. Running is my intervention. Without chocolate, I would enjoy life a little less and that is not ok with me. There is heart disease, osteoporosis and cancer in my extended family. I can exercise and do my best at keeping all those things at bay. No, I never struggle with aching knees from running; some people do. Yes, I definitely struggle with an aching back and hips. On the other hand, I would struggle with those parts of my body if I didn't exercise.
Running is about adventure. When running with my dog, I see lots of deer, turkeys, sandhill cranes, the beautiful sky, the breath of fresh air, the gorgeous sunrise or sunset. I find a new tree limb down over my trail. I find unusual things, good and bad. I found a hammer and dry wall trowel I can only imagine bounced out of someone's truck. I found $1.40 worth in can deposits. (I always tell myself to run with a bag but I don't. If you find a few cans by your mailbox, I found them on the run and didn't was doing a little cleaning.) I find trash. I find clothes from other runners discarding their extra baggage. I find dead animals and give them the wide berth like they will suddenly come alive. I find snakes in my path and jump high up and way over. I can only imagine what a nearby person thinks when I react after seeing a snake.
This year is Camp Henry's 2nd Annual 5K Trail Run and Walk sponsored by Celebration! Cinema. It is the Saturday before the 25K Riverbank Run in Grand Rapids, so our event is a great taper race if you are already training for the Riverbank Run.
One of the many goals of Camp Henry is to ensure campers have a chance to experience life-changing activities. The Camp Henry 5K Trail Run provides scholarships for the campers or school visitors who need a chance: A chance for adventure, a chance to use energy, a chance for life changing experiences.
Camp Henry's 2nd Annual 5K Trail Run and Walk sponsored by Celebration! Cinema is on Saturday, May 7th, 2016 at 10am. Join US!
About the Author: Kari Fuller
Kari is a devoted runner, wife, and mother. She is actively involved at Westminster Presbyterian Church, Camp Henry, and in the Grand Rapids area communities. She is currently volunteering her time to coach track and field and share her love of running with the next generation. She lives with her husband, Chris, two daughters, and their dog in the NW Grand Rapids area.