Ah, sweet summertime! The season for running, right? Maybe not for everyone, but it is for me! Summer means not worrying about whether it's going to be too cold or icy or dark when I want to run, and that makes my life a whole lot easier! You see, I love to run. I get a little down in the winter when the weather throws wrenches in my running plans left and right. So, summer and I? Summer and I are happy running pals.
Why I Run
Besides the fact that I think it's just plain fun, I love to run (ooh, fun and run, I rhymed!) primarily because I know it's important for my health and well-being. And that means it's important for all of my life, since all the parts are connected.
It's good for my mental health, emotional health, and physical health. It's basically just good for me all-around. I like other physical activity and forms of exercise, too, but running holds a special place in my heart for some other reasons, too.
Running helps me be the best version of myself, and it often reminds me of what's important in life. Did I lose you there? That might seem like a bit of a stretch at first, I know.
But running gives me an opportunity to step back from my work, relieve stress, listen to some positive words or music, and just breathe. It helps me let go of the little things that I thought were big things because I was too close, and it helps me see what really matters and stress less about the other stuff.
Whether I listen to music or podcasts while I run is a debate, but I always find something encouraging, uplifting, or just upbeat to keep me going and make me feel good, no matter what kind of attitude I had when I stepped out the front door. It's like hitting a "reset" button on my soul.
Running is what allows me to clear my head when I've hit a wall. I can't tell you the number of times I've been stressed out trying to cross everything off my to-do list and keep all my plates spinning, only to find that when I step away from my computer and my phone and lace up my running shoes, that I can breathe again.
Getting out of the house and doing something else with my brain and my body releases the pressure and allows my creative ideas to start flowing again.
There's just something about getting out in nature, surrounding myself with things that I had no part in creating, things that I have no part in maintaining, and just being.
And while I do just run for fun most of the time, I also enjoy participating in races-- particularly those that raise money for causes I'm passionate about, like hunger relief. It's the best of both worlds-- running for exercise and fresh air, and fundraising for nonprofits I care about.
Causes I Run For
In the past, I've run the Fill Their Plate 10k, and it was a blast! I ran with my cousin, who's typically my running partner for all my races, and it was a great race! The best part, though, was knowing that the money we raised went toward providing food for hungry kids. Even though it rained all morning before the race and a bit during the race, and even though we had hills and multiple laps around the same loop, we had a great time because we were outside, running together, and supporting a cause close to our hearts. Who could ask for a better way to spend a Saturday morning?
I also use an app called Charity Miles, which allows me to log all of my runs and donate a small amount each time to an organization of my choice (among the options in the app). I always choose Feeding America because I believe in them and the cause they're fighting for. It's a great way to not only get in a regular workout, but to know that every mile I'm logging when I get out and run is also earning money for charity. It's a win-win!
My family also has participated in the annual Thanksgiving Day walk at the Mall of America that supports Feeding America, and I really have loved that new tradition. We've only done it for a couple of years, but it has been such a blessing for us.
There aren't too many outings that we can all do because we have a large group that spans a wide age range, and doing activities in the winter is difficult with little ones. But on Thanksgiving, we're all about giving thanks, spending time together, and giving back, so going to MOA for a charity walk is a great way to do all three! And then we eat our weight in turkey and mashed potatoes, which rounds out a wonderful day!
Having a deeper motivation than just winning a medal or getting a great time on a race makes a big difference for me-- it's what motivates me to keep training and going during the race when things get tough. Knowing that I'm doing my little part to support worthy causes is what keeps me racing!
I'm so grateful to live in a place where I can run outside for a good portion of the year, and to have the opportunity to participate in races that benefit worthy causes and help others. It's exercise that not only helps me and my health, but also helps others! What more can a girl ask for?
Are you a runner? Is there some other kind of exercise you enjoy? Do you like to enter races or support causes that are close to your heart? I'd love to hear of some other causes! You can share them in the comments.
For more on nonprofit fundraising, check out Eventbrite!