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The Courage to Run

Warm sun… breeze off the water… rolling waves… sand… vacation. That was my week last week in the Outer Banks. (Of course, there were 11 other people in the house and debates about what should go in which car, what time to leave, what to eat, etc. Skip that and focus on the sun and sand.) Vacation is time off, sleeping in, and relaxation.

“Look – there’s a 5K on Wednesday morning. You should get up and run it.” (Enter the voice of my mother.)

Many, many years ago I was a sprinter. I wasn’t Olympic-bound, but I held my own. 20 or so years later, a girl finds herself trying to run more than 400 meters at a time. Sometimes it feels illogical, other days it hurts. And then sometimes, the high kicks in and I feel like I could run for days.

So, vacation morning dawns and I’m up and dressed and on my way to a 5K. In the crowd – the tall, lanky, serious guy who was clearly born to run 5Ks. Let’s not ignore the woman with “26.2” TATTOOED to her calf. And then me – the recovering sprinter.

The thing is, the running is more than just exercise for me. The running is, dare I say, metaphorical. It’s about claiming my ability to try something different. I was a sprinter. I was never a distance runner. Now, I get to be A Runner. It’s about having the courage to not be first or the best, but to be whoever I want to be.

Ellen DeGeneres asks it best: “Who am I and how do I want to live my life?” We all need to ask that. The running is about wanting to live my life courageously, focused on not being better than anyone else – just being a better person than I was yesterday or the day before that.

Be brave and courageous and boldly ask yourself, “Who am I and how do I want to live my life?” Then lace up the shoes and take off running into all of the possibilities. (And, if like me there is still a bit of a competitive sprinter inside you, listen to the voice in your head that tells you that you can totally take the girl with the “26.2” tattoo – you’ve still got a little kick left at the end of the race.)

 Ifeoma Aduba, Director of Public Advocacy

Courage: A Woman’s Place acts bravely and boldly, notwithstanding fear.*

*excerpt from the Values Statement of A Woman’s Place

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