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Last updated: March 17. 2014 10:39AM - 346 Views
Natalie Szrajer Contributing Columnist



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I’ve never been a runner and I’ve certainly never been an athlete. Those were two phrases I grew up with and believed.


Frankly, it was easier to just go with the flow and focus on other interests. Studying and burying my nose in a book came naturally to me. Don’t get me wrong – I enjoy reading and constantly learning but I always wondered what it would be like to play a sport, run a marathon, or be a cheerleader.


Well, on March 1, I squashed that whole “I can’t run” mentality and ran my first 5k. It’s no marathon but baby steps pave the way for bigger accomplishments.


Running is an activity that anyone can do. I’ll vouch for that because I was always someone who detested the idea of running. It looked boring, painful, and pointless. However, I kept seeing people run across the Lake Murray dam and they seemed so calm. I witnessed friends, who were serious runners, complain when they couldn’t run.


So, I downloaded a couch to 5k (C25K) running app to help me ease into running. I started off rough and while I’m still working my way up, I have seen my progress. There were days I didn’t want to run but I pushed myself.


Two words come to mind when it comes to running and they apply to anybody in any situation.


Perseverance and endurance.


When it comes to achieving a goal, these are two important characteristics to maintain. I’m not saying that people who have succeeded at their goals haven’t wanted to quit or felt hopeless and defeated at times. However, they pressed on towards whatever their goal was.


There’s a reason I’ve fallen victim to the runner’s clique. It seems like an endless cycle but after I run for a while, those endorphins start to kick in and I just feel happy. I always think about that infamous quote from Legally Blonde in which Elle explains how endorphins make people happy and happy people just don’t kill their husbands. My husband likes it when I run.


However, on to a more scientific basis of endorphins.


Endorphins actually trigger a positive feeling in the body, similar to how morphine makes one feel euphoric, according to WebMD. This is why runners often refer to having a ‘runner’s high.’


When people run or perform any sort of exercise, their pain is seemingly diminished which is why they can persevere through a brutal workout or long run.


The following also results from running, according to WebMD:


• Stress reduction


• Higher self-esteem


• Lowered depression or sadness


• Improved sleep


• Stronger heart and bones


• Improved muscle tone and strength


While these results are great, it’s also important to be consistent. Nothing destroys a goal like inconsistent plans. Press on and keep going.


Now that I’ve ran my first 5k, I have other goals to chase that are exercise and non-exercise related. It’s tempting to throw in the towel when life throws a curveball – or series of curveballs. Crossing that finish line put a greater sense of accomplishment in me and I don’t want to lose it.


There’s a bigger immediate obstacle I must conquer and that’s the Insanity workout. This should be interesting.


Let me know what obstacles you’ve overcome and how you’ve pressed on towards a life goal. I’d love to hear from you.


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