PAY IT FORWARD:  Three Generations Running Ahead

Paying Running Forward –  A 30 Year Journey

 

At the young age of 7, I recall my father going out for his daily run.  And I noticed this was his regular routine, just like brushing his teeth.  In fact, there was not a day he would miss.  Just like attending church this was a part of his life.  Running was his other religion.  And each time the door would close, being left behind, I felt like I wanted to be part of this special religion.  Because doesn’t every little girl look up their father as the idol in their life?  I most definitely did and in fact still do as an adult.

 

But looking back, I remember the joy in his face when he returned from his run and I knew I wanted a part of this incredible club of stress relief, elation and fit therapy.    

 

After my persistent requests (which I was good at without being a nag), my dad finally gave in and let me start out with just a half mile but in a few short weeks this turned into several miles.  I not only felt good physically but mentally I felt stronger, like I could cope with life changes, dilemmas and every day in a more positive approach.  Running was beginning to change me.

 

To more completely capture these feelings, I came across Sri Chimony, a world-renowned marathoner, coach and poet.    One poem by Sri Chimony I think perfectly expresses the change running made in me:

 

When your soul’s qualities
Come forward and start manifesting,
Then not only your world
Of outer running
But also your world
Of inner running
Will acquire a very special significance.

 

With each strike of my foot, I felt inner drive to keep up with dad, do my best and I just believed that I could do anything because I was with my dear young dad.  And from this bond together, I found my own niche and running became my eternal love.    My father was my coach and mentor.

 

Sri Chimony captures beautifully the relationship of a coach to a runner:

“Who is my coach?
He who inspires me
Before I run.
Who is my coach?
He who aspires in the through me
During my run.
Who is my coach?
He who corrects and perfects me
For a better future run.”

 

As the years passed I found there was nothing I would rather do than go for a run.  I later ran in high school and then went on to run on a full scholarship in college.  I have played many other sports through the years but no sport felt as liberating and enjoyable as running.  This became my escape to a paradise like no other.

 

Running also became my inner release to all the rigors of life.  Running became my problem solver.  So often I would return from a run and feel like I solved world peace (or at least a disagreement in the family).  Running gave me more energy and running made me feel alive in every sense.

 

Who would of believed it but I have run 33 marathons as a result of this passion!

 

Today at the age of 37, I am raising 4 children, 3 of which already run with me.  It is a pay it forward passion because running did so much for me that I wanted it to be contagious. I also wanted the running DNA given to me by my father to be passed through to my children,

 

Believe me, I understand that many of you may not have had a father like mine.  However, I also know that many of my friends and peers became runners through other mentors at school, church, or community centers. If they can do it, so can you!!

 

If you are thinking of running, it does not have to be intense; it is as easy as putting one foot in front of the other.  So please do not be intimidated, you may find a friend in running as I did and it can become a passion of yours also. You are the driver in control of how long and how far you decide to go.  I promise you that you will feel stronger and happier if you stick with it.  Additionally, you could even notice your health markers improve.

 

Who would not want to feel their best and if you can achieve this from running, why not?!  Running deserves a fair place in your repertoire of athletic pursuits.  Why not test out your legs today with a little run?

 

 

If it’s one thing I learned from my 30 years of running… it is this: It is all within you.  All you just have to lace up your running sneakers and believe in yourself!

 

Did you know that  90% of your running strength is in your head?  So believing is way more than half the battle!

 

With that I wish you the inner strength, motivation and positive energy to go the extra mile or even a half a mile to embark on the amazing journey as a runner.  With each strike of the pavement you will learn more yourself and enjoy the journey of life.  So happy running!  Hope to run into you!

 

Tara

Tara Zimliki is a nationally recognized weight loss expert, personal trainer, health coach, health writer and founder of Tara’s Bootcamp, the Premiere Bootcamp of New Jersey. Tara also runs her own blog, funfitmama.com