Running can be soothing to body, soul

By Anita Doberman: Columnist

I have always played sports, but never particularly enjoyed running. In college, I tried to join the track and field team, and gave up after the first day of practice. I thought it was too hard.

Perhaps motherhood has increased my pain tolerance, or military life has made it imperative that I learn to live with discomfort — not knowing when or where we will go next, having hubby gone at the drop of a hat — but in the last few years I have come to love running.

As the mother of five children, I don’t have a lot of free time (really, none), but running has become my “mommy time.” When I put on my running shoes and hit the road, I momentarily forget about my children, my husband, the pets, the house, the long deployments and the constant moving. I am working hard and pushing my body to make it to my goal, be it three miles — as it is right now, after the birth of our daughter Livia, a few weeks ago — five miles, even 26 miles. When I am done, I feel great and ready to get back to being mommy to my children and honey to my husband.

Running is also portable, something crucial if you are a military spouse. I can run anywhere we live as long as I have a good pair of sneakers and determination. I have come to love this sport not only because it’s great physical activity, but because it mirrors life.

Sometimes I can go for a great run, my feet are fast, I am not even aware that I have knee joints, I am light on the road and I can go for long stretches without feeling out of breath. These runs reflect the days when everything seems to work. The kids are acting well, I am getting along with hubby. The mail only brings good news and the house is clean.

Other times, my feet are slow — actually, I feel I have stones instead of feet — I cannot stop thinking about how much my knee joints ache, I am heavy on the road and out of breath. These runs mirror the days when nothing works. The kids are acting terribly. Hubby and I are fighting. The mail man only brings me bills to pay, and the house is a war zone.

And, if any of you ladies is looking for a good way to lose a few pounds, remember, it’s hard for your husband to complain when you’re taking care of your health!

Who knows, some time in the future, I may even run a marathon. Or, maybe I’ll just stick to my three miles of blissful solitude.