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Running for the health of it

After running the half marathon, deciding to run a 5K can seem like no big deal. But sometimes the emotional barriers can make 3.1 miles feel like a marathon.

/Chelsie Wyse

About Gazelle Girl Half Marathon & 5K

The Gazelle Girl Half Marathon and 5K began in 2013 as the first women’s­ only half marathon event in Michigan. The run, organized by Gazelle Sports, connects women through movement, achievement, celebration, friendship and fun. Proceeds from the event will benefit Kent County Girls on the Run, Grand Rapids Opportunities for Women (GROW), the YWCA and Women at Risk. All organizations are dedicated to empowering women of all ages. Learn more about the Gazelle Girl Half Marathon’s charities HERE.

Last spring, I did something I never thought I would do: I trained and ran my first half marathon. As someone who used to hate even the word "running," this was one of the most challenging things I've done. This year, I will run the race again- but only 3.1 miles of it.

In April, I will run the Gazelle Girl 5K, not the half marathon. Physically, this sounds much easier to accomplish than 13.1 miles, but mentally it is not.

"You ran a half marathon! Running the 5K is like backing down," I think to myself. I'm a person who loves challenges. I like the feeling I get during and after I overcome them. So when I decided my schedule only allows me time to train for a 5K this spring, I felt a little like I was cheating.

I continued to feel this way until I learned a fellow friend and a long-time experienced runner decided she, too, would be running the 5K. Granted, her reason for doing so is because she had recently undergone knee surgery. However, I thought if someone like her can learn when to back off and respect her body, I could do so, too. After all, isn't the point of being active to enjoy it?

Maintaining a healthy lifestyle, for me, is a constant ebb and flow. I do really well for a few weeks and then I do not-so-well. I catch myself getting frustrated and disappointed each time I slip up. But isn't that why it's called a journey? We don't ever arrive to the "finish line" of a healthy lifestyle and say, "I don't need to work on myself anymore!" If that were true, there wouldn't be programs like Weight Watchers or Jenny Craig. These programs, along with group exercise classes, exist because we need support to keep going no matter where we are in the journey.

As I begin to train for the 5K, I will not look at it as a failure or a step down from where I used to be. It is simply where I am at in my journey. Life ebbs and flows. The important thing to remember is to just keep moving.

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