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.
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.