It's time to lace up those running shoes and hit the road. I'm introducing a new section on my blog and issuing a challenge to you! Use hashtag #runwithdara on social media.
Everyone deserves to give themselves a gift every now and then. While there's something to be said for a rockin' pair of new shoes or a fabulous necklace, there are certain gifts that touch your soul and keep on giving well past their shelf-life.
You see, today is my birthday, and this post...and the introduction of this new section on my blog...are gifts to myself.
Running is the thing I do for myself, early in the morning, with my wonderful friend and running partner - before the emails start, before I start working down my to-do list, before I dive into recipe development for the blog, before the pressures of the day steal away any chance of "me" time.
There is something I discovered along the way, after many footfalls, after piles of clothes drenched with sweat and even tears, after enough miles to take me home to Vancouver and back again. It is this:
Running is more than just moving my body from A to B.
It's community, it's friendship, it's self-confidence, it's mental fortitude, it's physical strength, it's pure elation, it's my sanity...
Running took center stage in 2012 in the most horrifying way, with the bombings at the Boston Marathon. As many of you know, we were there to watch my husband cross the finish line and cheer on the other runners, including my friend Cindy. I told our story in A Personal Account - The Boston Marathon: Grieving...and Looking Ahead. Since then, I haven't written about the experience again on my blog. It has taken some time to heal, but I meant what I said in that post. We are looking forward and finding the positives that need to be dug out from beneath the surface of a tragic event.
We will be returning to Boston again in April, to cheer on my husband and all of the other runners who are coming out strong to run the marathon. The running community is strong.
And with the turn of the new year, I am laying down my own running goals. What do I want to accomplish this year?
That's where this new section, Run Like a Girl, comes in (you can find it in the dropdown menu under Tidbits in the header above).
And that's where you come in.
I want you to join me. Do you need to run a marathon or even a 10k race to participate? Of course not!
"What if I've never run more than a block?" you ask. That's okay!
If running has never been your thing but you'd like to start, be sure to check out Cindy's post on my blog, How to: Train for a 5k Run. She breaks down everything you need to know, from choosing shoes to resting your body. Cindy was the coaching brains behind the Red-Faced Runners Challenge that we did with an amazing group of food bloggers.
When I first started running, I couldn't run for more than 2 minutes without walking or gasping for breath. It's a process, and each run or run/walk moves you closer to your goal.
I've learned a little something over my running years.
There's no such thing as a bad run.
That doesn't mean that every run feels great. In fact, sometimes you'll question why the heck you're doing it. But each step makes you stronger, both mentally and physically. And those hard days make the easy ones feel so good!
A little over a year ago, I ran my first marathon and then proceeded to fall away from races altogether.
I need a goal again!
As I work towards a half-marathon in June (I'll be accompanying my 12-year old son, who has resolved to run his first half-marathon) and my second marathon in the fall, I'll be writing about my experiences each weekend.
And I would love to hear about your journeys. We can be virtual running partners, if you will.
This is not a place for comparison, only for support. Whether you made it around the block for the first time without stopping, or you are training for your 10th ultra-marathon, we can all support and learn from each other.
And of course, I'll still be posting several recipes each week to help you fuel your bodies and feed your families.
So, what do you say? Are you in?