First grade teacher Susan Schorr shares why running has become a way of life for her and the lessons she has learned from trying something she never thought possible.
Why do I run? For a lot of reasons, really. When I started working to get fitter a few years ago, a friend suggested running. I replied that I was NOT a runner. Despite being an active child, I never participated in an organized sport. However, her remark got me thinking…why not? Sure, I was 49, but never too old to learn something new, right? So I downloaded "Couch to 5K" and struggled to run a block,let alone a 5K. I was determined not to give up, so I kept at it with the prescribed walk and run intervals. Eventually, my running time surpassed my walking time and I was discovering something about myself. Yes, running is physically difficult, but there is a great satisfaction when completing a run.
By the time I ran in the St. Michael’s 5K, I was hooked! The excitement of being part of a race with so many people is something I have never experienced before. What’s more, the sea of people of all shapes, sizes, and ages was at once humbling and encouraging. There were Athletes Serving Athletes (runners pushing disabled persons wishing to take part in mainstream events), 70- and 80-year-olds, moms with strollers, and even a blind woman participating.
One year after my first 5K, I was running my first half marathon at the St. Michael’s Running Festival and that was all she wrote. I found being a part of something larger than myself and feeling the energy from all the other runners so inspiring. After the race, I called my family. My daughter Sydnee remarked that she knew I could do it because I was an athlete. Me? An athlete? I NEVER considered myself an athlete. I was so touched by this comment and proud that my daughter (a phenomenal athlete herself) saw me in a light I never would have seen myself in before.
I enjoy running every week and crave it when I cannot get a run in due to a busy schedule or extreme weather. I find that it centers me and gives me the time to think and unwind. It is absolutely therapeutic. Am I fast? Certainly not. But that is not why I do it. And that is okay by me.
Just as we teachers encourage our students to try something that they may think difficult, adults could benefit from the same risk-taking. Yes, there will be failures, but there will be triumphs as well. Victories are not only measured by medals and trophies, but by the personal sense of accomplishment and pride in your own growth. Remember: you do not need to be better than everyone else. Just try to be the best you that you can be.
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