Mid-Week Musings: How Running Changes Lives

Hi all! Happy middle of the week! 🙂

So, I’m in several running related groups online and in my community, and often times there are people who share their stories of what got them into running.

I love hearing these stories. 

On one outlet, a man gave his testimony on how he was a recovered drug addict who had often lived on the streets and been in and out of jail and rehab for most of his life. It was in his most recent stint in prison where he picked up running and decided that when he got out, he’d run a 5k.

And he did.

He acquired a new addiction in running and found support (unsurprisingly) in the running community. Later on, he found himself in unfamiliar territory, on the first place podium. He found he was actually pretty good at this running thing.

The support in the online forum where he shared his story was so positive and it just made me thankful that there are places for people to go to get help, inspiration, motivation, positivity. With so much bad stuff happening in our world, it’s comforting knowing there’s hope around us despite it.

I had recently read in June’s edition of Runner’s World magazine an article where the author spent some time with prisoners in Oregon. The prison holds monthly seasonal runs and an annual half marathon for the inmates and it has become a cherished day for them. For many, it is all that they have to look forward to. For others, it’s what helps them become better people when they leave. (This is an online article in RW–different than the printable, and this is a separate article specific to the Oregon prison runs.)

As I’ve coincidently read several pieces related to this topic lately, I’ve learned that there’s quite a few places where people who are in positions of need can get help. There’s an awesome website called Racing for Recovery where people with addictions or recovering from one can get help and use running as a form of positive rehabilitation.

I’ve mentioned the I Run 4 program where miles are run for those who can’t. I think this is also a great way to help recover by helping others when those with addictions think they can help no one, as is often the case.

A simple search on google “race for recovery” brought up several pages of races devoted to the cause. There’s something about running for a cause you can really relate to that is extremely motivating and gratifying.

I’m a daughter of an addict. And while my dad is in a much better place in his life now, the choices he made early on influenced his relationships with people in his life, career paths he could’ve taken.

There’s help out there–on the pavement, on the trails, on the track.

Sometimes it is okay to run away from something.

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I hope everyone has a great rest of the week! Friday is closer than you think 🙂 ❤ , helly

–Do you know someone who could benefit from programs like the ones I mentioned? 

–What other programs do you know of that people who need help could benefit from?

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5 Reasons Spectating is an Awesome Sport

Linking up today with the DC Trifecta ladies Mar, Courtney, and Cynthia for this week’s Friday Five. Thanks for hosting!!

I’ve been doing a lot of this lately, spectating, and I have been having a blast!

Before I begin, last Saturday I was the official spectator for my blogging buddy, Hailey@StridingStrong  at a local 5k. She’s pure awesomeness.

I hadn’t met Hailey “in real life” but we’ve chatted quite a few times in the past year trying our best to get together. We live in the same freaking city! But, we kept missing each other. Until last weekend.

She told me she’d signed for this 5k. This was big news as Hailey doesn’t race often–not like someone else I know (Oh Helly…).  I shockingly hadn’t signed up and figured this would be the perfect chance for me to meet her and see her run!!

I’ll be using her race to explain:

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1.) A different point of view

This girl. Amazing.

She’s tiny, soft-spoken, (gorgeous), and just the sweetest person ever. BUT, holy wowzers can this girl run!!! Hailey is probably one of the nicest people I’ve ever met yet there is a fierce strength about her. The Hailey I spoke with pre-race and the Hailey that toed the start line were two different girls. I was able to snap pictures of her before and after that caught this transformation.

Don't let the beautiful smile fool you--that girl is fierce!

Don’t let the beautiful smile fool you–that girl is fierce!

A beast.

Beastmode.

Seriously one of the reasons I love spectating…

Like I mentioned, not participating in the race let me see it and the runners in a different light. These weren’t people I was running against, these were people I was admiring, studying, revering.

I spoke with Hailey pre-race and she said she was nervous. I definitely get the pre-race jitters too but seeing her, someone who does what she does very, very well, nervous reminded me that fast people are human too. Just because they’re good at what they do doesn’t mean they don’t experience anxiety.

Since I wasn’t getting ready to start a race, I was really able to see the different emotions on the runners as they began the race. From the ones who were at the very front, fierce and determined, to the ones starting from the back, at ease and jovial–it was really cool to watch.

2.) Part of the crowd

I got to meet Hailey’s family–her brother drove an hour to see her run and her mom had been at the same race the year before. I liked that because I wasn’t participating, I was able to see the support group, the people who motivate Hailey.

Same thing with the rest of the crowd. I knew I didn’t have much time to mingle. Hailey would be back under 20 for sure. But I chatted with some of the race volunteers, other spectators who were watching their sisters, moms, co-workers. I would likely never see these people again, but for that morning, we had something in common.

3.) No pressure

There was no goal time for me except making sure I was at the finish to see Hailey cross. The thing about spectating that is probably the most enjoyable (for me anyway) is that there is no pressure looming. I’m simply there to support. Of course, if the race doesn’t go well for whomever it is your supporting, there’s slight pressure in making sure they’re okay, that you do the best you can to comfort. But there is no feeling of frustration in not having met a goal.

Hailey crossed the finish line in 17:55, meeting her goal of sub 18 and 5 seconds away from her 5k PR she’d set in college. First female overall.

Like a boss.

Like a boss.

She said it was progress. (Love that girl.)

4.) The Signs!!

had to make Hailey a sign. I mean, I just had to. And the English teacher in me had to take advantage of Hailey’s name. Students, what is my sign an example of?

Alliteration! :D

Alliteration! 😀 (It even says: Love, Helly for good measure!)

Every time I run a race, one of my favorite things to do is read the signs of the spectators. They’re so many good ones!! I don’t know about you, but I’m always thankful of those who take the time to make them. They help out more than I think spectators know.

5.) Free

Free fun. Free inspiration. Free motivation. Free learning. Free experience.

So much you take away–all for free.

The first runner over all crossing at 15:35

The first runner over all crossing at 15:35

I hope you all have a good weekend! ❤ , helly

–Do you enjoy spectating races? What’s your favorite thing?

–What do you notice/enjoy about spectators while you’re running?