Steppin Out

Posted on February 24, 2012. Filed under: Running | Tags: , , , , , |

I prefer to run alone, before dawn.  Down deserted sidewalks or streets, preferably near fields and woods, with only the fireflies and stars as companions.  I don’t even like streetlights.  For me, there’s something about running alone in the dark that’s invigorating, fulfilling.  Joyful.

Selfish.

At least that’s the way it struck me recently.  It seems like everyone I talk to lately is struggling with their health.  Maybe they have high blood pressure and need to get it down.  Their life could be on overdrive and they’re looking for a way to manage stress.  It might be that they’re tired of waking up tired every day, barely able to drag themselves out of bed, and they just want to feel good.  Or maybe they need to drop a few pounds—for their own self-satisfaction as much as for their health.

Where do they begin?  It can be overwhelming to even think about joining a gym.  Intimidating to take the first step on a run.  Easier to stay where they are, status quo, good as any other day.  Same as yesterday.

I’ve been thinking about all the times I joined a gym.  And didn’t go.  All the runs I started.  I got dressed and put on my shoes, at least, even if I didn’t quite make it out the door.  All the times I tried and failed to even begin.

So how did running finally stick?  Someone invited me to join her on a run.  More than once, in fact, before I finally accepted.  I’m glad I did.  Running with someone else gave me hope and confidence.  It held me accountable first to her, then to myself.  After awhile, I discovered that accountability to self is what comes first.  That’s what integrity is, isn’t it?

How many people have you asked to join you on a run?  Why not ask someone today?  You know that neighbor who’s been eyeballing you each time you head out the door, looking after you wistfully as you stretch?  Maybe he’s a closet runner and doesn’t know it yet.  Maybe he’s a heart attack waiting to happen but doesn’t know that yet either.  Maybe he’ll turn out to be a good friend.

Set a new goal for yourself, a challenge.  Once a week, ask someone new to run with you. And when they say no, ask again.  See how many people you can introduce to health, to joy—to running.  You might just make a new friend. Or save a life. You never know. Someone saved mine.

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