Let’s get physical

to get all the benefits

When I started running in high school, the physical benefits were the last thing on my mind.

My parents were forcing me to participate in a sport, and I didn‚Äôt know anywhere else where I would be able to see boys running without their shirts every day. Plus my neighbors ran, so it gave me a ride home other than the big yellow bus ūüôā I quickly learned that, while the boys did run with their shirts off, and I was getting physically more fit, running was about so much more than that.

I had a little bit of clarity in my life – I was more focused in school, I slept better at night, and I had a strong peace of mind throughout the day. Most importantly, I also found some of my best friends once I joined the team. Not those casual friends that you talk with at practice and forget about when you leave, but those friends that you can call crying at 2 am, or that you can show up unannounced on a Friday afternoon. These are people who challenge me, inspire me, and help me stick to my goals. My teammates and their families became an extension of my own family- they are the first ones I call when I succeed, and the ones who are there to pick me up when I fall.

When I continued running through college, I experienced the same external benefits from running. After college, I was worried that I wouldn’t be able to find anywhere where I would be able to find those types of friendships. And while I still had my college and high school friends, they have all scattered around the country to live their own lives. I felt stuck being back so close to my hometown, and I was not sure what I was going to do to find new friends, or how to get my life back in order. I tried running on my own, but I could never really get it to stick. Work would get in the way, or I would get sad and stop. Plus, it was difficult to challenge myself to continue to get better, when I had fallen so far behind in my training.

That is where LAUGH came into my life. I realized that many of those same crucial parts of my life didn’t have to disappear РI just needed to go back to the beginning. When I first started to find order and clarity in my life, it was as part of a team. When I joined LAUGH, I realized it was another team, for the new stage of life I was in. I had something to look forward to, blossoming friendships, and a newfound sense of confidence Рall were sorely lacking at the time. So now I post the question, what about you? What non-physical benefits have you gained from being part of LAUGH?


13.1 Reasons

Why I Ran A Half Marathon

I am not a journaler or writer! I am definitely not a runner, but here I sit sharing a blog post with you about running. I knew God had an amazing sense of humor when He called me and my two good friends to lead a running group!

This post for me is about reflection and realizing when you get distance from a situation or an event, you can see God’s hand at work. When I think of the story of LAUGH it really goes back to the year I turned 40. I decided to journal goals that I had set for myself. I called it my¬†Get Out Of My Comfort Zone¬†Goals¬†for my 40th year. The last goal on my list was to run a half marathon. Last summer, I found the long lost journal while unpacking a few boxes (yep, I still have unpacked boxes from our move 4 years ago). ¬†I sat in disbelief as I scanned the pages. Disbelief because I could see LAUGH being created as I wrote about this journey for my 40th year.

I had forgotten I had journaled 13.1 reasons I was running a half marathon. I enjoyed rereading them so much that I thought I would share them with you. I’m typing this just as it came out of my journal.

April 15, 2010

Over the next week, I will journal 13.1 reasons why I trained and ran a half-marathon.

1¬†– It’s my 40th year! I did decide to set a few “get out of your comfort zone¬†goals for this 40th year. The last goal to go on my list was the 1/2 marathon.

2¬†– I was invited by my dear friend Melia to attend Run Camp last year. My thought, “No way! Are You Crazy? I’ve never run before! Every Saturday for 13 weeks? No, No, No! The seed was planted!

3¬†– I decided I wanted to “Age” not “decay” thanks to the book, ‘Younger Next Year For Women‘.

4 РMy kids are watching everything I do so I wanted to give them a few better examples than the not so good ones.

5 РI bought $100 shoes, $200 Garmin watch, $150 in wicking material running clothes, $36 in Smartwool socks, $75 for 13 weeks of Run Camp and $35 for the entry fee for the race.

6¬†– I’ve become a person of great intentions and poor follow-thru. I needed to prove¬†I could finish something I started.

7¬†– Being a wife and mother I have put myself last on the list for many reasons. The training for the half marathon forced me to put myself first. Things were put off or just didn’t get done because I had to get my run in.

8 РOf course, I would lose weight! I was sure the pounds would fall off! NOPE! I officially weigh 5 pounds more than when I started.

I stopped here because of emergency gall bladder surgery 6 days before the race?

9 Р I had to take revenge on my gall bladder since it decided to cause my body so much havoc 6 days before the race.

10 – I began to enjoy the training. The social aspect of runs with my girlfriends and the solitude of runs alone with me and the Lord. I enjoyed dedicating a mile to prayer for my kids, friends or other family members.

11 – I used my training as an example to my kids. As Max was learning to ride a bike this summer to the girls trying to perfect a cartwheel. They would get upset that they couldn’t do it right the first time. I would explain to them it took me 13 weeks to be able to run 13 miles, I couldn’t do it the first time. I can tell you they are tired of hearing it.

12 – I bought another $100 pair of running shoes, $40 race registration fee, two $70 per night (thanks to my dutch friend Melia) hotel stays, $20 ferry ride to Mackinac Island for my first 1/2 marathon.

13 – I don’t want to become complacent at 40, that this is as good as it gets. I know God isn’t finished with me. I just had to be willing to step out (no pun intended) in faith and stretch myself with a difficult goal.

13.1 – Maybe there is something stirring in your heart a goal, a dream you’ve been contemplating and now you have said to yourself, “If Jen can do that, I can do__________!”