What is your favorite wellness activity?
My favorite wellness activity is running.
How long have you been doing it?
I started running after the birth of my third child about 11 years ago.
How did you get started?
I had 3 children in 4 years and was having trouble finding time for fitness activities. That’s when I discovered that there are races at Walt Disney World. Disney has always been my happy place and I thought that if I registered for a race, it would scare me into doing the training. I had never even run a 5k but I signed up for the 2011 Walt Disney World Half Marathon. At the time I could barely run a mile but I found a community of people training for the same race and some of them were newer runners like me. I participated in online forums where we would support each other’s training. When I crossed my first finish line, I immediately signed up for another race!
How does this activity impact your mental, physical, and / or emotional well-being?
Running has had many positive impacts on my life. The most obvious is the physical fitness benefits of exercising several days each week. Exercising also improves my mood and sense of well-being. Running races creates an amazing sense of achievement. In the past decade I have run more than 20 half marathons and I’m currently training for my 9th full marathon. I’m not a “natural” or fast runner but I know that just crossing that finish line is an incredible accomplishment. I’m truly proud of my running achievements. More important than the physical fitness has been the incredible community of runners and the close friends I have made through running. Runners are some of the nicest and most supportive people in the world! I have become part of an amazing group of friends who live all over the country and yet it feels like this group is truly my family. We give each other unconditional love and support when we need it most.
How does this activity bring wellness to your life when other activities have not?
When I do my shorter, mid-week runs, I usually run by myself. This is when I spend time thinking and clearing my head. Even if I have a “bad run,” I come home with a sense of purpose and a better mood. Since I usually run before work, it sets me up for a good day. When I do my longer training runs, I usually run with my partner. He and I use this opportunity to spend time together. We talk about everything from our relationship, to the kids, to work, to worries, to hopes and dreams and plans for the future. It is truly our special time together.