The Impact of Running

No, I’m not talking about the physical impact of running. When I took up running, I had no idea just how much it would affect my life. As my family and friends know, I don’t do anything in a small way. Go Big or Go Home, that’s my mantra. Running has not been any different. Sure, it started out small and cute.
Diet: I’ve completely changed my food choices based upon my running. My body needs specific nutrients to be able to do what I want it to do. If you had told me eight years ago that, I would give up cake, bread, and snicker doodles just so I could run farther than 26.2 miles, I would have laughed hysterically in your face. Nevertheless, that’s exactly what has happened. My diet has slowly morphed into what it is today, low carbohydrate (less than 50 a day). At first, I just started to eat healthier, fewer fats and sugars. I tried to make a conscious decision about what I was shoving in my mouth knowing what I had already put in there that day or week. I noticed that I was more aware, less likely to overeat or choose cookies over fruits. I also noticed that the cravings for those things dissipated and then were gone. I don’t eat much processed food anymore. I eat a salad every day. I make my own bread from almond and flax seed flour. And I feel great all the time. I have energy that doesn’t roller coaster. My weight is stable, and so is my mental state.
Parenting: Running has provided me with wonderful insights into parenting my two boys. I know that things don’t change just because I want it and ask for it. I need to have a training program and follow it to its end. I know there will be good days and bad days. I know there will be challenges in the form of mountains, boulders, weather, wild animals, and strange people that appear along my route. I also know that I choose how to deal with them or not. If I choose to deal with it, I become stronger. I know I need rest days, and when I’m hurt, I have to take the time to heal, learn why it happened, and come up with a prevention plan. I know that sometimes in order to get better, faster, and stronger I need to recruit my supporting muscles and cross train.
Social: I have grown closer to my friends over the last four years that we have run together than ever before. Being locked in a van with five other people for 30 + hours running relays builds bonds of love and affection, just like any traumatic experience. Just kidding. No really, the bonds are unbreakable after ten relays and the trauma is easily forgotten. Running has also created friendships I would not otherwise have had because people like to know what is wrong with me to make me run 100 miles, morbid curiosity. It gets the best of us all. I’ve also become closer to my parents since becoming a runner, which is one of the greatest gifts because my relationship with them has not always been great. They are my number one and two support teams in all of my running endeavors.
Professional: I do a considerable amount of thinking about the families and children my professional decisions affect while I run. I compose opening statements and closing arguments. I go over possible outcomes and strategies to help put families back together. Running has also given me a chance to connect with at least some of the foster kids through a running group. I would love to start a group for the mother’s in residential substance abuse programs in the future.
I don’t believe that there is a facet of my life that running has not touched. Some people try to tell me that running as much as I do is harmful, and I’m sure there is research out there that supports their arguments, but so far, running has done right by me, and I intend to keep putting one foot in front of the other until I reach the final finish line in life. Run to live. Live to run.

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