Menifee Mom: It's Time to Just Get Out There and Run

By Karen Thomas

Winter is officially over (well, what was supposed to be winter, anyway!) and race season is in full swing.

I used to think that races were for runners who had a natural ability, were fast, and trained hard all the time. But I've learned that most of the participants are average people, often moms like me, who started running to get in shape.

I signed up for my first race because I had a group of friends who were going to train for it and it was the perfect opportunity to cross something off of my bucket list. At the time, my only goal was to complete the race. I never thought it would turn into a hobby. But once I got through the pain (yes, I will admit to some pain) of training and experienced the thrill of crossing the finish line, I could only think about how much I wanted to do it again!

Yes, running is a bit addicting.

It's now been almost two years since my first race. While squeezing in runs during the week and waking up early on Saturday to get a long run in before a busy day with the kids can be difficult, I continue to do it. Let me share with you why I run and why, if you have any desire to be a runner, you should give it a try.

1. It's Convenient and It's Free: Well, not completely free. You do need a decent pair of running shoes and if you sign up for races, there are entry fees. However, there is no gym membership to pay for, no driving to the gym, and no limitations as to where or when you can run. Just step out your door and get going! In just 30 minutes, you can be done with a great workout.

2. You Get Time to Yourself: I love to listen to fun music while I run, but I also will turn on podcasts that let me think or inspire me. Sometimes I just leave the headphones off and use the time to sort out my thoughts. With our busy lives, we all need some time to do just that.

3. I Have More Energy: OK, there are times I come home just dead tired. But most of the time my days are way more productive when I start with a run. It just gets me moving and often the momentum gets carried throughout the rest of the day. Plus, being in better shape gives you more energy.

4. A Sense of Achievement: I think the hardest part of being a mom is feeling like you never accomplish anything. You finish the laundry only to turn around and see the baskets filling up again. The dishes never end, there is always food to be prepared, and there are always messes to clean up. But with running I can set goals, track my progress, and when a race is over I can feel like I actually achieved something tangible. Yes, motherhood is rewarding in more ways than I can count, but sometimes a mom just needs something she can accomplish that is hers alone and completely within her control.

5. Social Time: OK, so this contradicts reason No. 2 a bit, but I also love to run with friends. Short runs are generally time for myself, but the best part of a long run is being with friends. It's great to get together with other moms and solve all of life's problems while completing a 10-mile run. I really could have used this when my kids were all little!

Despite the true enjoyment I now find in running, the thing that really keeps me motivated are races. Once I'm signed up, my training takes on new meaning.

So find a race that interests you (a nightime glow race, a mud run, a color run, an obstacle race, or even just an ordinary 5K or half marathon; a quick Internet search will yield tons of options), con a friend into signing up with you, and get going! If you want to stay really close to home, the city of Menifee hosts a 5K and half marathon in May as well as an annual Veteran's day race.

So what are you waiting for? Get out there and run!

Karen Thomas is a stay at home mom of four daughters, has been on the PTA board at her kids' school for four years, and is a volunteer at her church, in addition to her activities as a volunteer soccer referee, a piano teacher, and a runner. Her column will appear here every other week. Comments are welcome.


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