Sunday, August 12, 2012

Health and Fitness: The Benefits of Running & Why I Love Running.

It seems that since I have embarked to running outdoors, I am experiencing life in a brand new facet.

I am falling in love with running each day and what's more, I am falling in love with life and with people. I used to run on the treadmill and envy people who run outdoors. Don't ask me why, I just did. I see runners as people who are free, bold, who take charge and make no excuses.

So one day, I finally made up my mind and made babysitting arrangements so that I could go running. I have 4 kids. 9 years old, 7 and 5 years old and a 6 months old. It takes some planning but it's worth the effort and the time away.

With each run I have tried different paths and environments and I have noticed that I have a preference for natural scenery versus busy streets.

                                           Relaxing in front of the Tennessee River.

I am becoming more curious about trying new things like trail running, water rafting....did I say water rafting?  Funny that I said that!Years ago I would not have pictured myself doing such things but yes...running is changing me!

I am growing mentally and inwardly seems like. I am more poised and I seem to enjoy "being in the moment" more than ever. My patience seems to have grown as well. Well, most of my friends think I am a pretty patient person because I have 4 kids and homeschooling; but it seems to me that I am more patient than I used to be.

Running also makes me appreciate my body and my health more than ever.

Running is now a bond between my husband and I. My husband Brandon, has always run, and couldn't live without running. The first time we ran together he was not just proud that I ran a full hour without complaining,he was proud that I was running with him. A passionate runner, his dream was for me to share this experience with him.

Brandon and I have been running together at least twice a week for the past 4 weeks or so. I get frustrated when he challenges me because I have never been a competitive person but the feeling of completion is so worth it!!! In addition to the great feeling of completion,it gives us quality time together.

Running allows me to find inspiration from so many people.

A lot of times, we would run past a restaurant and the look of diners, create a certain sense of focus inside. A focus to keep running instead of giving in to the enticing smells coming from the restaurants.
Many times we run past people who, judging by their physiques, need the encouragement to get a hold of their health. I would say a silent prayer, wishing that we would be an inspiration to them, just like many runners have been to me in the past.

With each run I get more motivated or actually...more committed. I think that motivation was what I needed to run the first time. Commitment is what keep me running now.

Commitment is something beyond motivation and an example of it was showed to me during my run yesterday. While I was running with my husband along our Riverpark, just 20 minutes into our run I noticed a woman in a nice athletic outfit that was stretching. She was pretty and seemed to be from a different country. As we kept running a tall ( and handsome) athletic man, with curly hair and a build upper body greeted my husband. He might have been about 6'2". My husband is 6'5". I smiled at him and we kept going then come running in our direction this short athletic woman, focused, with a beautiful complexion and nice red-black hair. She seemed to be in her 60s but boy oh boy she was getting it.

So my husband and I exchanged comments and look of admiration for the older woman and we and kept running. On our way back on that path, the short older woman was doing push ups!!! NO JOKE!!! And guess what? The beautiful young lady I spotted initially was next to her doing Jumping Jacks while the tall man who had greeted my husband was with them, stretching.
They impressed, inspired and motivated me. But what I learned from them is this. THEY ARE COMMITTED about their health and exercising.

We kept going, I enjoyed running over 4 different bridges that each gave me a different perspective of the River, the Riverfront, the city and the Sun. We thanked God for the breeze that was much needed, and once we finally stopped, 4 miles later, I was happy to live this moment (and happy to get some water).
Water with lemons and strawberries.

It was fun watching people enjoying their lives, admiring a bride and groom in their wedding attire following their photographer for some great shots, listening to the music in the distance (there was a free concert somewhere below the bridge), watching boats travel along the River and laying on the grass facing the water.

                                                       Chattanooga Riverfront @ Ross Landing.
                                                 Outdoor concert by the Chattanooga Pier & one of the Bike Stations.

Cooling down and stretching while facing the Tennessee River allowed me to meditate on a few things.

I was happy, relaxed, excited, opened to more, calmer inside...RUNNING gave me that.

A woman,who was  passing by with her husband, told Brandon that our spot was a great spot for Yoga. Well, we don't do Yoga, but she was right, it was a great spot for stretching and for reflecting.

Walnut Street Bridge, longest Pedestrian bridge in the world, and the Tennessee River.

View of Coolidge Park and the Northshore area across the Tennessee River
A Water Taxi on the Tennessee River below Market Street Bridge.

I am hooked to running. I can't see my life without it. My husband now laughs at me because I love it so much that I can't stand missing a running date. He would tell me " now you see how I feel when I don't run". Running is like stress therapy for him. He gets annoying and easily irritable ( and easily irritating) when he goes days without running. It's is way to de-stress!

I don't think running is therapy for me but it certainly seems to grow me and calm me in ways I never experienced before.
Chattanooga Tennessee's Market Street bridge & the Tennessee River.
I am so excited and looking forward to seeing  how much RUNNING will change me. Oh Running has helped me fit better in some of my clothes but I must say that right now, my greatest excitement is how running makes me feel better " in my own skin". I think I am becoming a better person. I feel it inside...

I took all the pictures after 8pm, somewhat distracted from my stretch you might say, but I see so many beautiful things along my runs that I wish at times that I could just stop and take some pictures.

What about you? Are you a runner? What do you love about running?

Thanks for stopping by and reading my story please share yours here or on the Facebook page "Healthy can be done". You can Follow Goodhealthdiva on Twitter.join this site and Like the FB page.