Race day is quickly approaching! How is your training going?  Are you ready to lace up your shoes on race day and give your best performance? I’m usually chomping at the bit to get out the door for my runs, but I hit a rough patch a few weeks ago. I was just tired. I’d entered the part of training that requires several hours on the trail on the weekend, and I just wasn’t sure why I was choosing to get out of bed at 5:00 am every Saturday to sweat to the point of near heat exhaustion week after week. But I kept checking the boxes on my training plan until one Saturday, I was running with a friend, and suddenly it all came back into focus.

I run with a few girls every Saturday morning. We’re all at different points in our running journey and often train for different events, but we enjoy spending this time together. This particular Saturday, a couple of the girls were out of town, so it was just “Sarah” and me. Sarah has largely been an interval runner but has been working towards running a half marathon without intervals. On this run, Sarah tackled ten miles without a single interval. We’ve told her countless times that interval running is still running, but she set this big goal for herself, and I was so excited to be a part of that big milestone in her journey.

After sweaty high fives and a water break, I headed back out to finish my last few miles. As I ran, I was reminded of the things running has given me.

Running has given me friends. For years I neglected my own needs as I ran my kids to and from their activities. I poured into my students and children, encouraging them to pursue their passions, leaving no time for my own pursuit. Now I make time to run daily because I love it, and on the weekend, I prioritize a group run. And those ladies have become my dear friends. We share our lives as we run the beautiful trails of central Iowa.

Running gave me back my health. After being diagnosed with Ulcerative Colitis seven years ago, I spent several years on and off prednisone trying to get the condition under control. But those years took a toll on my body and mind in many ways. The most noticeable impact was extreme weight gain. At each doctor visit, I’d see the scale move upward by nearly ten pounds. On the inside, I felt like I’d lost control of my own body. I started running a few years ago to lose weight and realized I loved how it made me feel. I felt strong again. I felt in control of my own body again. I felt capable of doing hard things. I’ve experienced several flares in my disease since I began running, but those feelings keep me running. In those moments, running reminds me that I’m a fighter.

Sarah will likely never know how much that one run meant to me. Watching her set a big goal and chase after it reminded me that I don’t HAVE to run every day; I CHOOSE to run every day because it gives so much back to me. If you’re struggling to get out the door as we approach race day, take a minute to reflect on that question. What has running given to you?

by Jamie Logan.

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