Valentine’s Day is drawing close once again. While I’m not a mushy-gushy kind of girl, I do relish the opportunity to really think about the great loves of my life. I’ve discovered that running has only enhanced those loves. Magnified them and intensified them.
Running has not only made me a better mother, but has helped me put into perspective what I truly value and what I want for my own girls as they grow into their own.
So, to start this month of devotion, I feel it appropriate to try to put into words why running is so vital for me as a mother.
To my daughters:
I love to run. That’s no secret. Your whole lives have revolved around weekends at races. You weren’t born to a mother who wakes up early Saturday morning to make you waffles. Your mom wakes up early to do a solid 16-mile run around the lake. In my defense, we often do waffles for dinner. They taste better then anyway.
Some people have called me selfish for taking those mornings for myself. For traveling to races on weekends. Some of the reasons I run are selfish. I feel better when I sweat. I feel better when I have a few miles to myself to gather my thoughts and listen to nothing by my own feet and heavy breathing. I like how my clothes fit better when I make time to run.
But I also run for you.
I run to show you that girls are strong.
I run to show you that muscle and power are beautiful.
I run to show you that taking care of yourself is important.
I run to show you that when you are healthy, you are happy.
I run to show you that joy isn’t paid for with money. It’s paid for with sweat.
I run to show you that determination does pay off.
I run to show you that anything worth having is worth working for.
I run to show you that the things we sacrifice aren’t really a sacrifice after all.
I run to show you that you are in charge of your path.
I run to show you that sometimes hard work hurts, but that doesn’t mean we quit.
I run to show you that self-worth comes from inside.
I run to show you that the world is full of interesting places and people.
I run because I love you.
I cheered you on at the starting line of your own races a couple of weeks ago in St. George. You both crossed the finish lines with huge smiles, pink cheeks, and sweaty hugs.
My heart burst with pride that day. Not because you won a medal or beat a certain time goal, but because of the sheer joy I saw in both your eyes as you realized you had just done something wonderful.
You may never run another race again, but I hope you find something that does for you what running has done for me.