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Why I Run: Valeri Pappas

by jen on August 20, 2012 · 1 comment

in Why I Run

Meet 38 year old Valeri Pappas from Boulder, CO…. she wrote this “Why I Run” when training for her first marathon…. I checked Cool Running for her KBVCM results and am proud to say she did awesome!

I started running years ago out of sheer laziness.

Putting on my sneakers and getting out my front door was about five less steps than packing a gym bag, driving to the gym, waiting to get on some sort of apparatus at the gym, then driving home, etc.

It was just easier.  And I found the results to be far better than what I had attained at the gym.  Amazing, really. I have joked that in my life, my happiness is inversely proportional to the size of my behind. The smaller it is, the larger my happiness. It sounds crass, but I bet there is more than one female out there who would agree with me, perhaps begrudgingly.

That was years ago, before I had a child, and gained 40 lbs. I’m 5’ 2” (and ¾, but who’s counting, really) and I have a small frame. So gaining 40 lbs was, shall we say, somewhat noticeable.  Once I came (crawling) out of the sleep deprived hole of the newborn phase, I found it very difficult to put together any sort of exercise routine on top of working full-time and mommy-ing.  Around the same time, I was also confronted with a pretty heavy set of circumstances in my personal life.

So, while I started running, again, out of laziness, I found I have kept running to stay sane. 

A few years ago I turned to running to combat the stress I was feeling from my mother’s cancer diagnosis.  I would arrive in Raleigh, North Carolina, to see her when she was going through treatment. She would nap a lot and I would head out the door. Always warm enough to run there, even in December, and I would take off with no mileage or pace or destination in mind. I just knew I needed to run. When she got really sick, and I was flying in from Denver every other weekend, I would pack a carry on with one change of clothes so I could always fit my running gear. There were a lot of tears on those runs that I didn’t want my mom to see. I needed to do it for myself, for her, for the crappy situation we were in.

Faced with another difficult crossroads (along with the above-mentioned added poundage) in my life, you would think I would have immediately turned back to running, but it took me a while to get there.  It doesn’t sound like rocket science, but for me, it was still a lesson I had to learn, again, from the days I chose to stay in bed instead of get up and out the door.  I don’t know if it was the memories of the tearful runs in Raleigh—more likely it was more of the sheer laziness, but  I had to learn it again: the days I put on my running shoes are the days I manage my stress the best. The days when I don’t feel overwhelmed.  When small setbacks are just that. 

I run because I feel powerful.  I feel clear-headed.  At this point in my very first marathon training, I honestly cannot believe what I have been able to do, and I feel satisfied.   While I have gotten myself into trouble sometimes in my past with my “I can do anything” attitude, in general it has served me well.  I lost it for a while, right when I needed it most.  Running has given it back to me.

{ 1 comment… read it below or add one }

1 Jessica Sanders August 21, 2012 at 1:41 pm

This is an amazing blog post – so happy to have read it. It’s amazing how running can empower you and even change your life – I know it did for me as well. Sometimes, when things feel out of control, a long run is the only thing you can control. Thanks for sharing this – as a runner, I really appreciate it!

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