It's been almost a year to the day that I started running seriously. For years, I ran 2-3 miles at a time to supplement my other workout regime, either weights or yoga. Last year, I bought a new pair of running sneakers and started tacking on the miles; I'm running (or at least planning to run) 13.1 miles this coming Sunday in the Philly half-marathon.
As I look back over this past year, I realize how much running has influenced my life. I used to worry so much about accomplishing "stuff" during the day. When I stage manage a show, I work A LOT but when I'm not doing a show, my days are my own for the most part. Oh, I have to get the kids to school and dinner on the table but the in-between is up to me.
So I'd worry that I wasn't busy enough. Everyone else talked about their hectic lives and I'd think, "What is wrong with me?"
Running has changed that perspective for me. Slowing plodding along, one step at a time, trying to get closer to the goal: life isn't a sprint to the end (at least for me), it's one step at a time. So now I worry less about how much I've accomplished and I worry much more about what I want to accomplish: I run, I volunteer, I bake and sometimes I clean and I'm doing just fine.
I don't compare myself to others either. I've run a few races in the past year never worrying about how anyone else was doing. I'm running for me; to see how I can do. And, I'll admit it, I'm rather proud of my quiet little life when I'm not doing a show. I have time for my kids, time for fun, time for...running.
Part of this new attitude I owe to the book Born to Run by Christopher McDougall. It's a wonderful book, really well written, and I highly recommend to anyone who likes a good read (even the non-runners). He really expresses the joy and simplicity of running and why people love to run. He also de-bunks a lot of running myths such as: running hurts, people shouldn't run, you need certain gear to be a good runner. Running should be low-stress and so should life. I hope we all find that something that helps us in our everyday life. It doesn't have to be running, that's just what worked for me.
I'm still a slow runner (and I think I've gotten slower as I've upped the miles) but I run and I bake and I love it. So in honor of the book and the hobby that has given me a new lease on life, here's a video of someone who has clearly found something he loves to do; lucky for the rest of us, he's pretty good at it.