Background-38 years old, mother of two young children, wife, elementary teacher, fitness instructor, Girls On The Run coach, runner.
Why I run can be summed up easily…for mental stability! It is the only time that can be “my” time.
I started running in college to get out to plan (I would write papers in my head while running) and get in a good workout that was inexpensive. It turned into running my first marathon in 98 (Vermont City) and has continued since then. I’m not a fast runner, my children can attest to that since it was their cute voices screaming at me from the double jogger to speed up! I prefer an endurance challenge, which is why I have run tons of races, many marathons and even my first ultra (last November).
As a busy professional, when I’m not with my students, I’m with my children. Carving out a few days a week when I can head out to free my head is essential! As my husband says, a happy wife…a happy life! As mothers, we are always taking care of others, whether it’s supporting your husband (by holding down the fort at home) who is out of town on business, driving your children to their activities, or giving a motivational speech to a full class at the gym. It’s nice to just worry about yourself for an hour, once in a while.
Yes, guilt is part of this equation…should I go or stay? I holler out before I leave, “Don’t worry. It will just be a short one”!
I love running. That is at the heart of why I run. I tell my students to dream big, believe in yourself, and work hard. Many things in life will catch your eye, but only a few will catch your heart, pursue those! I am honored to say that I have done that (and will continue to be that role model for my children and students), and enjoy every aspect of my life because of it!
If you can’t get in a run during the week…red wine helps!
My fourth grade students and I researched heroes from history who showed great resilience, confidence and perseverance in the face of great difficulty. We, on a smaller scale, are working on the habit of mind-perseverance, when we are doing tough work. To help us remember, each of us wrote a letter to ourselves to reflect on when we feel like we can’t do something. Here is my letter:
Unstoppable-by Mrs. Randall
How does one realize the power of positive thinking? How does possessing specific qualities, help me overcome obstacles? These are questions I am asking myself, so that when life throws me a curveball, I can handle it. Remember when…
Pop! The pain searing through my left calf muscle, made me feel as though I had been shot. This Charlie horse was beyond anything I had ever experienced during a run. A rookie mistake. I should never have stopped to pee 18 miles into a marathon. The stop and go didn’t work well with my body. It was fighting back and fiercely, I might add. With each step I felt my left knee cave in as if I would fall at any moment. The crowd roars, thinking all is well and I just need to pick up my pace for a few miles. I scan the smiling faces looking for anyone eating a bag of chips (salt is what the body needs when cramping). Nothing.
I begin to turn against myself (big no-no when competing in an endurance race). Why was I so stupid? Why didn’t I pack a salt tablet? Why was I being such a wimp? These negative thoughts were taking over my mind and in turn, attacking my body. I started to slow to a snails pace. I was losing momentum. I turn a bend and see other strong runners stop to stretch, wince in pain, walk with an aching limp. I, for a brief moment, tell myself that is what my body needs.
No. I snap back to reality. I’ve run enough marathons to know the stages, and that my body can handle this. However, my mind is still reeling from the constant pain in my leg. I can’t break out of my negative pattern. Wait, did I just say “can’t”? No way! I am drawn to the person next to me. He is screaming at me from his wheelchair. His buddy, who is pushing him, is also screaming at me. At first I can see that he is a wounded soldier with one arm and no legs. I scan up to his face and his words take shape in my mind. “You’ve come this far! Don’t you dare give up now!” Wow! How is it that one moment can be life changing? This was my moment. How could I complain about a little cramp, when he was persevering after an accident so horrific? It was the slap I needed.
I gave each of them a high-five and pushed out a “thank you”! Two miles left, a necessary attitude adjustment and the mirage of a salt-lick brought me to the finish line. What happened in those two miles that was different? Positive self-talk. I could have said, “No magic potions, no fairy dust, no one to do it for you. Just me, I will push you , show you, how to put one determined foot in front of the other. That’s what I will do. I am inside you…I’m called your inner strength. Dig deep down and find me.”
Instead, I simply repeated, “Yes you can!” over and over again. Say it, mean it, believe it. So simple, yet essential no matter what your age or hurdle you must overcome. Don’t forget this when life gets hard.