Running, Health, and a Good Cause

I am not a fan of running. My theory has always been that there is a reason people run, and it’s not good. You would only find me running if it involved some sport – like basketball or soccer – or chasing after my niece as she defiantly ran toward a busy parking lot, trying to reach her before a vehicle did. Then late December in 2010 while at dinner with one of my closest friends, we began talking about some things we’d still like to accomplish in our lifetimes. I can clearly remember her saying “I want to run a 5K… And you’re running it with me.” Well, considering my feelings toward running, I made her commit publicly: we both posted that we were running a 5K together in 2011.

It just so happened that my workplace provided us the opportunity to sign up for a state-wide fitness challenge for free. This challenge focused primarily on daily steps and minutes of exercise, and each department created their own teams to compete with each other. It was so much fun seeing co-workers jogging in place at the copy machine just to log more steps. Well, lucky for me the organization running this challenge provided a Couch-to-5K (C25K) program. With a 5K in 2011 looming in my future, I thought this was the perfect opportunity to, well, run.

I’m so glad I did this program. Not that I couldn’t have figured it out on my own, but there were others in this group progressing in their ability, their endurance, their motivation. If I didn’t keep up with my program, I would let the group down. We were a group of strangers who were best friends and teammates once per week.We encouraged and challenged each other. And I started to like running. Started.

So my friend and I ran several races those first couple years. We chose races that were raising funds for various causes: assisting homeless, pet rescue, mental health, breast cancer awareness & research. And all causes we supported. In particular, we ran the Gloria Gemma 5K. This race is the largest fundraiser for a local community support agency, the Gloria Gemma Foundation. In fact I had been involved with breast cancer awareness walks for many years, beginning around 2007 if my memory serves me right. I walked for many years for the American Cancer Society’s Making Strides walk as the captain for “Millie’s Team.” I walked every year, rain or shine, with the exception of two. The first that i missed was the year my mother-in-law, Millie, passed away from metastasized breast cancer, though we continued to fundraise. The second was last year, when I really did not feel the connection to these causes that i used to have.

I also became more involved in fundraising for Gloria Gemma Foundation. The yoga studio I teach at formed “Shelly’s Harmony Bees” after our friend and college passed from metastasized breast cancer as well.

So why am I sharing all this, you may ask? I want to start running again. I had to put my running on hold due to a couple of injuries (completely non-running related). And yes, I want to run again. I still dislike everything about running, with the exception of how I feel at the end. I feel that my body is strong. I feel confident. I feel growth in my abilities. I feel healthy.

Because of this, I feel drawn to start my own C25K group. We aren’t going all hard-core crazy. Just committing ourselves to support each other, and in doing so we are committing to supporting ourselves. I am not a personal trainer, but I will use proven tools to facilitate our meetings so that we may progress in our fitness goals together.

A friend, and the organizer of the first 5K I participated in, told me: as long as your run across the start line and run across the finish line, you are a runner. What happens in between doesn’t matter.

Information and planning sessions will be held in March. C25K meetings will begin at the end of March/first week of April. We will be looking to participate in the Gloria Gemma 5K as the runners of “Shelly’s Harmony Bees.” Participation in this group is free, though donations will be accepted to support the fundraising efforts of “Shelly’s Harmony Bees” Info session dates are listed below. I hope to see you there.

Jai Bhagwan and Namaste!


Information and Planning Sessions to be held at Santosha Yoga Studio, 275 Reservoir Ave, Providence, RI.

Sunday March 4 10:30-11:15am

Wednesday March 7 6:30-7:15pm, 8:45-9:15pm

Saturday March 10 10:00-10:45am

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