What if I told you that running can contribute towards healing in various ways? Getting out on the road or on the trails helps me not only clear my head, but invites me into a space where I can dream and think.
Some people love to kind of ‘zone out’ when they run. But, for me, the joy comes in taking in my surroundings, pushing myself a little bit, or even taking it slow when I need a recovery run. The pleasure then grows when I allow my thoughts to wonder. I’m an ideas kind of girl, and they come at the strangest moments such as tackling a hill or exploring new areas on a run.
Memories are priceless
Friends make life so much more enjoyable. Better yet, is running with friends. For me, it’s not about the distance or speed but rather the shared experience. Healthy relationships are a core value for me, and running invites us all to share a moment and make a memory. When I think back to my most memorable runs, family or friends are always in the picture.
I remember running the Meiringspoort half-marathon with a friend and sleeping in a refurbished ox-wagon the night before. Then, I think about friends coming from Port Elizabeth to run the Gun Run half-marathon with me. We trained separately and came together for a fun girls weekend. For one of my friends, it was her first half marathon, and the thrill of crossing the finish line together made it all worthwhile. Another race that I treasured was when my husband and daughter, Emily, ran with me after I raised money for a charity. She and I ran in a red tutu – these memories are priceless.
Running can help you conquer your fears one step at a time
Running means more to me than merely lacing up my shoes and getting a cardio workout. It helped overcome my fears. Just over three years ago, Emily, Matt (my son) and I were in an armed robbery in our home. The men tied me up and proceeded to ransack our house. However, the trauma remained long after they left. Even though I knew I was safe, I didn’t feel safe. As a result, the continual adrenaline in my bloodstream from being on such high alert started to affect my health. After consulting a doctor, I was advised to go for hard 5 km runs. I had always enjoyed running but struggled to maintain a level of fitness due to the emotional effects of trauma. And so, I started pushing myself a little bit more on the road. I took it slow at first, built up my strength and found that running hard for a season ushered a type of healing in my life. What I discovered was that the adrenaline from the stress that we all experience has to go somewhere. If it isn’t worked out of your system, it becomes detrimental for your health. Running can help you conquer your fears one step at a time.
Running inspires me to live a fearless life because it continually challenges me
So, when I feel the tensions mount, I make sure I go running. But, it isn’t just therapeutic, getting a good workout has many physiological benefits. Running can help improve your cardiovascular health while helping you lose weight. Running boosts the brain’s serotonin levels, dopamine levels, and endorphins resulting in a natural high and who doesn’t want that? For women, running provides an added bonus because it is a weight-bearing exercise that stresses the bones just enough to help build more density, it helps us as we age. I’ve learned first hand that becoming a runner has worked wonders for my emotional and mental well-being. It reduced my stress, the effects of trauma and anxiety too. Running inspires me to live a fearless life because it continually challenges me.
I have also learned that I am a better wife, friend, and a more relaxed mom after going for a run. As a Balega Impi Ambassador for 2019, I resonate with this brand. Impi is a Zulu word meaning “warrior.” We are all warriors because each one of us has had obstacles that we’ve had to overcome. Like John Bingham said, “The miracle isn’t that I finished. The miracle is that I had the courage to start.”
So, climb out of bed, lace up those shoes and start by putting one foot in front of the other. You never know where it might take you.
I’d love to hear from you why you love running? Or inspire you to start running so please reach out to me at firstname.lastname@example.org
Read more about Mandi on her blog https://mandihart.net
For more about Balega socks go to https://www.shopbalega.co.za/
Balega is sponsoring socks for the winners and a spot prize or two at this year’s Women For Change run on 1 June 2019. Look for Mandi there and come and say hi to her.