Yesterday I made sure to celebrate National Running Day. I began running just about a year ago and was so happy to learn that such a holiday exists! I had been running for the past 4 days in a row, so it wasn’t that I needed motivation to run, but rather it was motivation to keep on running!

I run to feel alive. To feel connected to my mind, body, spirit, and the world around me. I run to prevent stress and to not stress if I want to treat myself with a specific food craving—as long as I indulge in moderation.

I have really become committed to eating cleaner and have really seen a change in my body. Getting that totally fit body that I am reaching towards means hard work in the gym—a mix of cardio and weight training, with a primary focus on eating healthy. It’s so true that abs are made in kitchen!

Being committed means putting in the hard work. It means not hitting the snooze button. Early morning workouts get your head in the right frame of the mind for the day. I find that I am happier and less stressed. Your metabolism is boosted so that you burn more calories throughout the day. So I made sure that I woke up early yesterday to get that early workout in. I knew that later on I would enjoy another run with my mom, but this run was “me time.” I was able to get lost in my thoughts as my feet guided me.

I started at 5:38 a.m. and ran 2 miles at an average pace of 11:45. Still over my 10-minute goal, but instead of focusing on time, I focused on enjoying the run and getting my body moving. I still worked up a sweat and that is all that matters. I have learned that you don’t crush a goal overnight. It takes hard work, but more importantly the dedication to get there.

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I am currently reading “Spartan Up” by Spartan Race founder Joe De Sena. The book is not about strategies on how to conquer a Spartan Race, but rather to have that Spartan mentality that stretches across all aspects of your life.

The book talks about your frame of reference. If you only know pleasures, you will succumb to pain. Spartans endure through pain. They (myself included) willingly sign up to push their physical and mental boundaries for no set reward other than a finisher medal and a sense a pride. The real reward is during the training process when you accomplish small goals and become a stronger, better version of yourself. I have learned that I could push through anything.

This is why I love running so much. Never did I ever think I could run 13 miles, let alone at one time. But I did it. I learned I could do anything I put my mind to.

So even though my legs were sore, I was still excited to get off of work to run with my mom at Clove Lakes Park in Staten Island. New York Road Runners gave us awesome bandanas and I got to make my own bib! My active lifestyle has inspired my family members to be active, so running with my mom always makes me feel so good. She is 49-years-old, hired a personal trainer and tails not too far behind during our runs. I am able to do tempo runs where I can speed off ahead and then jog back to her and repeat.

It was my first time running at Clove Lakes and I loved every minute of the burning in my legs from the hills! The trees hung over us like drapes, providing the perfect amount of shade. Three ducks glided in a row in the water. Families walked along the trail, trailing behind their kids on bikes, smiling ear to ear. I felt as free as those kids.

I followed some of the Staten Island Athletic Club runners, which made me push myself the first mile—10:57!!! Overall my average pace was 11:41 min/mi and we did 2.2 miles.

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How did you celebrate the day? Why do you run?

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