Women and Running
Today's guest blog post is by Carissa. She is a Certified Personal Trainer who has completed 5 marathons, a triathlon and many other races of varying distances. She is a community and ministry leader with a passion for helping people realize all that is possible for their lives. “Many people make changes when they are moving away from something bad instead of toward something good. Do not wait for your circumstances to force you into changing your diet, working out, lowering your stress, improving your sleep, etc. Choose wellness for yourself today.” I ran my first marathon in 2009. My goal was to challenge myself through the rigorous training process and finish the marathon. When I crossed the finish line, my immediate thought was, “there is more to come.” I didn’t realize at the time what that meant. However, years later I realize that idea had less to do with running and more to do with my life in general. Rather than list my achievements, I want to focus on women athletes. According to the National Sporting Goods Association, since 2004, total running/jogging is up 70%. “Females in the 25-34 age category lead participation totals with more than 5.6 million in 2013, and since 2012, more women run than men in the USA.” (Source: Running USA--2014 State of the Sport-Part II: Running Industry Report) Why this huge spike in women taking up running? The reasons why people start running are varied. Setting personal records, being handed another medal and the SWAG isn’t what keeps us women in the sport. We have realized there are greater results of running. To begin with, running boosts self-esteem. During the training process we are constantly setting and reaching goals. Whether it is to finish 1 mile or more, when we complete what we set out to do, it gives us a sense of accomplishment. Additionally, our bodies feel good and look good. Not to meet society standards of how women should look. Rather, to look and feel like the best “you” possible. Along the way we don’t always have great days. Whether there is injury, fatigue, emotional or mental issues, all of us will experience moments when we are not at our best. Through running we learn to overcome obstacles, challenges and adversity so that we can keep moving forward. Running also builds community. Women are highly relational. However instead of working with one another women can put one another down and make other women feel like they aren’t good enough/don’t fit in. Instead we should be encouraging one another and inspiring, especially the younger generation, to be more than what society dictates. Women runners are fantastic about coming along-side those who feel “less than” and helping them to feel empowered to “be more.” Women runners also boost the economy. We like to look and feel our best even when all sweaty. Oh, I mean, “glowing.” Our gear doesn’t just stop at a good pair of shoes. We like cute apparel, hair accessories, jewelry, sun glasses, etc. After all, we aren’t only running. We are expressing ourselves. As a result the sporting goods industry has responded. Also, many women-owned businesses have been started. Such as www.athleteinspired.com While we like to spend money, all things considered, running is one of the more affordable sports. Again, it is easy to splurge on various items and entrance fees into races. However to take up the sport of running a good pair of shoes is the only must have. The positive effects of running are not only seen on the individual level. Running positively impacts family and society as a whole. When women feel well, they do well. Everything from taking care of their children, to their career, to relationships with family and friends, is enhanced. This is not some strange phenomenon. Our current culture screams to women: Buy more! Have more! Look like this image! Yet the truth remains the same: happiness comes from within, not from without. So when women feel good about who they are, not what they have or do, they are happier. And everyone around them benefits. When runners choose to compete, it is satisfying to know that many of the races benefits charities locally and nationally. Many runners not only race at events. When they help out at these events, they assist other athletes and promote volunteerism. So run encouraged women! No matter what your skill level or what you have on, you are all beautiful…you are all inspiring…you are all valuable…you are all changing the world for the better! Thanks Carissa for your insight! You are so inspiring! Keep rockin' it! You can contact Carissa at Email: firstname.lastname@example.org if you have any questions!