Why do I run? Similar to many others, I have struggled with making healthy food choices and incorporating a consistent workout schedule into my life. In 2014, I made getting healthier and prioritizing exercising one of my New Years Resolutions ... corny I know! But I began setting goals for myself.
I soon established a schedule of running and Crossfit into my life as a means of getting healthy. Running was not something I enjoyed at first but with time, I embraced it and it became my “me time”. It became the time carved out in my schedule to focus purely on myself and destress from work or personal issues while jamming to my favorite music. This time to reflect helped me to feel more at peace, and make running a consistent part of my routine.
My new healthy hobby also helped me learn more about myself, as I set out on long runs and got a chance to reflect on the reasons I got into fitness. I soon began to increase my awareness overall of my strengths and weaknesses. I can’t begin to describe how running has helped me become the person I am today.
In my fitness journey, I found another love - Crossfit. Crossfit, a high intensity interval workout that incorporates teamwork and group activities, gives me the functional strength to run faster while running gives me the aerobic endurance to push through crazy intervals (known in CrossFit as “WODs”). I love seeing how my two favorite workouts complement each other and help make me stronger overall.
Diving into the fitness world and seeing the things my body has been capable of has helped me deal with issues regarding my body image. I often felt that I did not measure up to the images of beauty that I saw on TV or in magazines. This impacted my self-esteem and the way I viewed my body. However, once I started to observe my gains, and achieve more fitness goals, I felt empowered. I gained a confidence in what I was able to do, with less focus on what my body looked like while doing it.
I began running at first alone, then with my sisters, which made consistency a challenge. I started signing up for races to hold myself accountable for training and keeping up with the sport. I was lucky to have a cousin, Jonelle, who recommended Harlem Run. The nurturing, social aspect of Harlem Run has helped me to make running a consistent part of my schedule.
The Harlem Run Monday and Thursday Night Runs have helped me move out of my comfort zone while striving to become faster. I’ve also learned how to simply enjoy the experience and make friends along the way. My Harlem Run experience has strengthened my journey towards simply enjoying running as a therapeutic way of fostering a stronger and more aware ME!