Running For My Body, Mind, and Soul

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Two and a half years ago, I was on vacation with my family in Michigan and set off on a run. It was a beautiful day with a gentle lake breeze. My kids were napping, and I felt the freedom to ease into my workout that day. At the time, I had a one-year-old and a two and a half-year-old, and it had been a long time since I felt ease and enjoyment in my workouts, especially my runs, which I used to hold near and dear. I decided to go with that momentum and ran every day we were in Michigan that summer.

When we returned home, I posted on my local moms Facebook page looking for running partners while my boys were in school on Tuesday and Thursday mornings. From there, I was connected with the St. Louis Mother Runners page, and ultimately to a group of moms who were running in my area several mornings a week. I began running with them, and my love for running and morning workouts reignited. One of the other moms in the group was training for a marathon so I put in a lot of miles with her as she prepared. As November came to a close, I looked at my running log and realized I had run 100 miles. December 2017 ended with 116 miles logged. So I set a goal; I decided I would run 100 miles each month for the whole year of 2018. When 2019 came along, I kept running. This past month, I completed 108 miles and my 25th consecutive month of at least 100 miles a month logged. While I cannot say it has always been easy, I can say it has always been worth the time and effort. 
 
I have sworn several times that I am done running and will instead invest my time in strength training and yoga. I have complained about the weather and early morning wake-ups. I have had bad runs that felt like torture and sore muscles that I could not seem to stretch out. At the end of the day, though, I cannot quit running. For me running is physical, mental, and spiritual. 
 
 
While there are days I loathe running, these are the reasons I run: 
*To clear my head. I never listen to music while I run and typically only listen to a podcast half the time when running solo. My running time is the time I spend clearing my head and thinking through whatever is going on in my life.  Running is my therapy as I fixate on the good and talk myself through how to handle the bad. 
*To connect. Running is the time I have to spend connecting with nature, my loved ones that have passed, and a being bigger than myself. I find myself full of gratitude as I take the time to connect with the world and people outside of myself. 
*To get my heart rate up. I have always been one to exercise and value physical health. I enjoy the feeling of a good sweat and the importance of maintaining a healthy heart and strong muscles. 
*To spend time with friends. I have made some genuinely great friends through running. It turns out that when you spend hours a week simply moving your bodies together with nothing to do but chat, it’s easy to form a close bond.
 
As a mom, I find the number one reason I run is to be a better mom. I have had to recognize and come to grips with the fact that I am more mentally clear when I have the opportunity to move my body before I face my day. I can meet my kids with more grace and patience when I have found the time for my morning endorphin release. When that early morning alarm sounds and I consider lying in bed just a bit longer, I typically picture my kids. I imagine how they will want and need me shortly, and for the remainder of the day. I envision my patience, or lack thereof if I chose to stay in bed. And I get up. And I move my body. Because I have found that the extra 45 minutes of sleep holds nothing to the mental clarity, personal connection, friendly encounters, and endorphin release of that early morning run and as a double whammy, my kids benefit too!
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Katie is a Des Peres mom of two young boys, Trace (2014) and Henry (2016). Katie stays home with her boys most of the time but also spends a bit of time away as a high school lacrosse coach. Katie enjoys connecting with other moms to run, meet at parks, explore new restaurants, listen to live music and discuss books. Katie and her boys can be found enjoying many activities around St. Louis including the Science Center, Zoo, Magic House, Museum of Transportation, Urban Fort and Frisco Train Store, but what they enjoy most is just being outdoors. They have tried many of the parks around St. Louis City and county and also love hiking trails at Laumeier Sculpture Park, Powder Valley and Shaw Nature Reserve. Katie and her family love all that St. Louis has to offer for families of young children and can most often be found taking advantage of all of the many opportunities.