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Thursday

7 Ways Running Changes Your Life


1. It changes your perspective on what you think you are capable of. 
Before I ever started running, I fully believed that I couldn't run. Like, that my body wouldn't physically do that unless under extreme danger. The first time I started running as an adult was back in the autumn of 2013. I flew from North Carolina to Tennessee to do The Color Run 5k. I was so nervous before that 5k and thinking, "I don't run. What in the world am I thinking?!" After completing it, the sense of accomplishment; doing something I believed was impossible for me, it was overwhelming. In a good way! Was I tired? Yes, but did I die? It made me set more goals. Harder goals. You are more capable than you give yourself credit for, so say goodbye to self doubt. Positive thinking is your new normal.

2. It changes your body, especially your legs.
I've always had large muscular thighs. {What thigh gap?} I also have lots of cellulite {sexy}. However, the more I run, the more amazing my legs look. This coming from someone who wasted 20 years with anorexia and bulimia. I basically hated on every inch of my body, so this is a big deal to my self esteem. My legs are getting more toned and I love it. My legs are healthy and strong and they propel my body forward. I thank God that I have the ability to run. 

3. It changes your body image.
As mentioned above, I had quite a time with eating disorders. It wrecked havoc on my self esteem and body image. My legs are stronger. My lungs are capable [with assistance of my inhaler]. My heart is healthier. All of that is enough for me. I don't have to look super thin. I'm healthy. Having better health and being active actually does wonders for your body image. When I was deep in my eating disorder, I was constantly comparing myself to others. Was I as thin as that other girl? Do my thighs have a gap like hers? With running, I'm more focused on competing with myself. Heck yeah, I just shaved a minute of my mile run! And let's not leave out the importance of endorphins. In the words of Elle Woods, "Exercise gives you endorphins. Endorphins make you happy. Happy people just don't kill their husbands. They just don't." Exercise is saving the lives of husbands. Boom. 


4. It changes your health.
On May 29th, 2013, my 29th birthday, I got horrible news from my doctor. My heart, liver, thyroid, vitamin levels, cholesterol, everything was out of control. I was close to death from not taking care of myself. Still trying to cope with post partum depression after the birth of our third baby, my weight had soared to 230lbs. I had never weighed so much in my life. Six months after I started running, at my very next check up, I was down 60 lbs. I also had excellent vitals, low cholesterol and my triglyceride levels were unbelievable. My doctor actually asked if I was a runner or training like an athlete. He said he usually only sees these types of numbers with athletes. Boom.

5. It changes your wardrobe.
I don't even know exactly when it all started to transform. Somewhere along the way, my wardrobe went from regular clothes to at least 97% workout attire. Stacks of compression leggings, tank tops with running quotes, yoga pants, race shirts and baseball caps galore. Oh, and all of my socks, save one pair, are compression socks. The one pair of socks are knee-high, bamboo hippie tie-dyed. Because, tie-dye.  I realize now that since I run almost everyday, I don't really care if I almost always look like I am on my way to the gym. It might surprise most that I used to have a fashion blog. Back when I wore legit fashionable clothing. NOTE : this also expands to running apps, gadget watches, flip belts, music playlists, running shoes, training schedules, googling hydration tips for long distance running....

6. It changes your tribe. 
Your tribe is the people you surround yourself with. If you're a new runner, you become instant BFFs with another new runner. Most of the people you hang out with are active in some way. Why? Because they totally get you. And they know the struggle of wearing that sports bra for three consecutive wears because it keeps the girls in line better than the others. They don't judge you for rambling about the races you're hoping to do and how you totally PR'd on your 5k today. Your tribe can also include your family members. My kids and my husband love to go running with me. My younger daughter has gotten the running bug and will be joining me in a couple 5ks. We have a stronger mother-daughter bond. 

7. It changes your relationship with God. 
For me, I often listen to upbeat worship music when I run in the mornings. I can't even tell you what a difference this makes on my day. I try to get my Bible study in [First 5 App, and Bible App] before I go for a run. If I oversleep, I make sure I read my Bible when I get back. The worship music helps me to focus on God and to push through any [reasonable] pain. I also sometimes go without music, listening to the rhythmic sound of my running and marveling at the world He has made. The sunrise, the singing birds, the trees, grass...it's all worship for God. 


What are you waiting for? GO RUN. Just try it. I never EVER thought I would run for fun. Or even run in fear. Seriously, "Fat Amy" was my spirit animal [see pic above].  I used to say that I would totally be the first person to die in a scary movie. But now, I'm focused on being running ready for a zombie apocalypse. You know, just in case.

I know there are more ways that running changes your life, but my favorite number is 7. So please, if you're a runner, share in the comments ways that running has changed YOUR life. Also, welcome to my Tribe. You rock. 

Aloha, Jane

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