Running: My Personal Pacifier
Running is my Personal Pacifier. Take it away for me and I’ll kick, scream and cry. My personal pacifier has been with me through the good, the bad and the ugly. It has helped shape and soothe my mind, body, and soul.
Ocean Avenue in Carmel, California is a divided road that cuts through Carmel East to West. The streets are lined with small shops, art galleries restaurants, coffee shops, and the feeling of a small European village. This hilly street leads all the way to the Pacific Ocean. 25 years ago, a twelve year-old blonde would huff and puff up the hills with her bright yellow Sony Walkman rocking out to a mixed cassette. That girl was was me.
My running journey started as an overweight child trying to lose weight and become accepted by my peers. It continued through high school as I gained confidence, built endurance, and realized it was a beneficial way to condition for basketball and tennis season. I pushed myself to run further, and eventually extended my runs along Scenic Drive, the best running path on planet earth (in my humble opinion). Everywhere you look, a postcard view to stroll, breathe deeply, watch the ocean and daydream.
Fast forward to college, my personal pacifier was with me during the unhealthiest time in my life, but it is an important part of who I am today. Struggling with an Eating Disorder, I used my pacifier to “run off” food. Knowing this was not the healthiest way, it did it’s job during my low points in life.
As I overcame my unhealthy habits, I knew setting a goal to focus my time, energy and channel a new routine was imperative. Run a Marathon was a bucket list item of mine, but I thought it was way out of reach. After modifying my way of thinking to handle a new challenge, I signed up for the Los Angeles Marathon. For once, I had a plan to follow to increase my strength and speed, instead of just run “off” food.
During motherhood, running has been my pacifier, not only to decompress, but also to get my body back in shape after two pregnancies. Some frustrating parenting struggles have been the inspiration of my best runs. Moms, if you’re looking to add running to your to-do list and start taking care of YOU, apply these running tips to get started.
Unless running or your own personal pacifier is damaging your health, don’t let anyone take it away from you. Follow your passion, live your life according to what feels right. I’ve had trainers and coaches say DON’T RUN; it’s bad for your body. DON’T RUN; you will lose muscle. Only sprint and do intervals, DON’T RUN long distances. I’ve had coaches try to take running away from me, but it never worked. In my eyes, running is exercise. “Exercise may be the most important component of a healthy lifestyle, but like any powerful drug you’ve got to get the dose right,” states James O’Keefe, MD, and Director of Preventative Cardiology. Exercise–in moderation–can reduce your risk of many diseases, obesity, and premature aging. Working out can promote and boost your mood, just don’t overdo it. My two cents, how about YOU do what makes YOU feel good in the moment, just get the dose right.
Over the past 25 years of running some of my closest friendships have been built, toenails have been lost, and lifelong memories have been created all by putting 1 foot in front of the other. Sometimes I think my personal pacifier is lost, but I have just misplaced it. I continue looking and I find it right where I left it. The beauty of running is you can pick up where you left off, with just a pair of shoes and a little motivation.
Although my goals have shifted from weight loss to mental and physical health, running will always be a part of me. Running is where I do my best thinking, let go of my worries and write blogs in my head like this one. I’m not defined by it, but I can turn to a few miles in the fresh air to blow off steam, sweat, and snap out of a funk. At the end of the day, running makes me feel alive. It’s my momentary escape from the world that leaves me more prepared than ever to tackle what life throws my way.
From a young girl running the scenic streets of Carmel, California to a mother of two running the lakes in Chandler, Arizona, my personal pacifier has kept me sane. I am thankful that running has kept me grounded and taught me to live by my own rules. Whatever your personal pacifier may be, don’t let anyone try and take it away.