Running is good for your soul.
Posted by Kathleen
I think it goes without saying that being overweight brings with it a lot of mental extra baggage alongside the physical : lack of self-confidence and the fear of trying something new being two of the biggest – at least for me anyway. On beautiful days I used to find myself green with envy at the people running alongside the beach, down by the Charles River, even through the busy crowds of downtown Boston. They seemed so motivated and so dedicated – alone in their own little world with their headphones and their running shoes and their cool runner gear. Oh yeah, absolute and total envy.
As I spent a good part of my summer huffing and puffing up and down the sidewalk it seemed like running would never come to me. I’d be in the middle of my Couch to 5K app, swearing at the voice that was taking too long telling me it was time to walk and thinking “Why did I want to do this again?” It didn’t come after my first 5K, or even my second. But the day that it did… was glorious. A light shined from above (probably just a street light) and suddenly I understood. While not every run is a glorious, life changing event- there have been enough “good runs” to make me incredibly grateful for what I’ve found. Running gives me a place to clear my head when I’m upset, an outlet to focus my frustration when I’m angry, and a confidence I never knew I had. Consider me hooked.
Becoming a runner has done wonders for me. And I felt like I needed to pay forward. Some “running karma” if you will. Enter Back On My Feet, a nation wide non-profit that uses running as a way to help people who have experienced homelessness gain confidence and eventually self sufficiency. With a little research I found out that not only is there a Boston Chapter, but that one of the groups meets not far from where I live. After scrolling through their website I signed myself up for an orientation as fast as my little fingers could type.
I now join the BOMF group one morning a week for their run. I won’t lie, it’s often tempting to roll over and sleep for an extra hour when my alarm goes off at 4:50am. But I think about how much running has changed my life. And while a weight struggle is in no way comparable to the experience of being homeless – running can help instill a lot of the same values in both kinds of situations: confidence, perseverance, strength, and hard work.
So I roll out of bed, lace up my sneakers, and head out in the dark. It’s great being a part of a group of runners who range from marathoners to newbies – it’s a truly diverse group of people brought together through this one common bond. While I wasn’t able to join the residents who ran their first road race this past month, I’m beyond excited to run beside them in the B.A.A. 5K in April.
Want to learn more about Back On My Feet or curious how you can get involved? Click here.