why i started running

I used to hate running.

I’d start, run a couple feet, maybe a block, then stop.

It really bothered me. I’d put it off on how I could only do competitive sports. And I’d quit.

I hated that quitting part, but I was so good at telling myself I couldn’t do it so I believed it.

And then last fall when I was in the emergency room being diagnosed with anemia and exhaustion I made a goal. Well, a goal after two doctors and my nurse reminded me of how run down I was. (Read -> I thought I was Invincible)

Take care of me.

I’m not really good at it at all. Just not. I’ll put myself on the back burner ALL THE TIME. I’ll think to myself that I’ll get to taking care of me tomorrow. Or the next day. Or next week. And those days would NEVER COME.

But after I moved I made a commitment – to me.

Not to my work, my kids, my friends, but to me.



Get healthy again.

Sure it may seem like running was about outer health, but it wasn’t. It was about my mind. About proving to myself that I could do something that for my whole life I CONVINCED MYSELF I COULD NOT. 

I just kind of needed to get to this place in my heart and mind that proved to me that I really was strong and could do something that I wasn’t sure if I liked. And it was hard. The first times running I could barely breathe. It was either breathing or my legs – but I just kept going. Day after day, my friends.

I ran.

And with each step some of the baggage that I’ve carried with me forever – self worth doubts, shame, worry, anger, sadness, doubt, anger – began to fall. It’s almost as if with each foot hitting the ground I was releasing pain and gaining strength.

So today, today when I ran what I never thought I could run I realized the power in deciding to fight for oneself.

Are you doing that?

Are you fighting for you? Or are you putting you on the back shelf? Just like I did?

It might not be running. But find something. Find something that challenges you and pushes you and makes you stronger. I didn’t realize how tired my body had become and how I had started believing the lies I was telling myself about taking care of myself someday.

You know, when I had that IV shoved in my arm and doctors frantic around me in October I knew that I forgot me. And it still took me almost three months to start taking care of me. Without guilt. So I know that you might have guilt – guilt about all the things that you could do, should do, didn’t do, forgot to do, need to do – but all those things? THEY WILL BE THERE WHETHER OR NOT YOU TAKE CARE OF YOU.

So this is my challenge to you.

Figure out what you need to do.

For me it was running.


And here’s the greatest thing – the stronger I become the more determined I become and the more I know just how much I lost myself. And today as I was running past the spot where my asthma just months prior stopped me I remembered the journey and celebrated the pushing through. Because sometimes that is so hard. It’s scary to fight, scary to change and it feels so lonely. Those first steps, they are the hardest.

But you need to start.

Sweet mom, today is your day.

I’m cheering you on.

And if you happen to run, perhaps one day we’ll have a FindingJoy 5K and I might get the honor of running next to you.


ps. No GUILT. None. My kids are so proud of me when I return. Remember, when you take care of you it creates more for them. So guilt? Kick it to the curb.

10 Responses to “why i started running”

  1. April 3, 2017

    Laura Reply

    I totally get this. For me it’s kickboxing. My narcissist ex husband was living with another woman within a month of our separation. He told me he would destroy me and set about making my life a misery. I was heartbroken and ill, suffered with awful anxiety and lost a huge amount of weight. I took up kickboxing which I’d tried years earlier. It pushed my body but it made me feel strong and learn to trust in my body again. It was also the only time my thoughts weren’t consumed by him and the wreck my life had become. I made new friends and my confidence grew. That was two years ago. I’ll be taking the exam for my black belt next month and I now teach the beginners class a my club. At times I was exhausted by grief, by the work of raising three small children alone, by life in general but I made myself go and I would always feel better. It really has been a lifeline for me. I hope others find the motivation and the confidence to just try something new. Start where you are with what you have and just keep going xx

    • April 6, 2017

      Rachel Marie Martin Reply

      I have thought about kickboxing. I have dealt with a narcissist too and it amazing how much pent up energy there is inside.


  2. April 4, 2017

    Deb Reply

    Love this! – and congrats to you! I finally decided to put myself first for an hour a day – 3 times a week with a trainer. I started in January and it’s now April: I feel energized. I feel healthier The scale doesn’t show many pounds but my clothes are falling off me. I am more
    Confident, I feel happier i and better than ever. My family notices how great I am doing. But honestly I did this for me. My trainer empowers women of all
    Ages and sizes to be healthy and strong: we are squad chicks.

  3. April 5, 2017

    Michele McGrade Reply

    Rachel. It is uncanny how you touch upon everything I am feeling and going through. Thank you a million times over for uplifting and motivating me. I am a mother of 3, 45 years old, exhausted, and completely beating myself up day and night. You are what gets me through sometimes. Just need you to know the difference you make and please keep writing as it is so wonderful to know I am not alone.

    With warmest regards, Michele McGrade, Queens, New York

    • April 6, 2017

      Rachel Marie Martin Reply

      You are so welcome, Michele. I am so glad that I encouraged you. I appreciate your comment too. 🙂


  4. April 6, 2017

    Cari Reply

    I am also a runner.

    I turned 30 last year and committed to run 30 miles sometime during the year. I did it at the end of last October. It was so hard and I am so glad.

    I haven’t run a step since. I wanted a break. Then it was winter and icy. Now I’m trying to become an author. I have two little kids, 1 and 3. It feels impossible to find the time right now to run. I have too many other things to do. I don’t want to get up at 5 am. I’m too tired and worn down by bedtime to lace up and go at 7:30. Logistically, training for my 30 was a nightmare. I didn’t see my family for hours every week with 3 midweek training runs and hours-long runs on the weekend.

    I also have never felt better in my entire life. Physically. Mentally. Emotionally.

    I am trying to walk with the kids more. Walk to the park. Walk my daycare kid home. Walk the dogs. Something. I know that this is only a season. Last year, running was my #1 hobby priority. This year, it’s writing. Someday, before I ever know it, I won’t have to be so choosy because my kids will be older and I won’t be so needed. Someday, things will be different. Today though, today I need to make that choice. It’s a hard choice. We always have to make such hard choices.

    Good for you. Way to get out there and pound the pavement. Life feels clearer during and after a run. I’ve never regretted a run. I’ve never come back wishing I hadn’t gone out. We do have to take time for ourselves. Even if we’re not fast. Even if we never run a marathon. Even if we never run a race. Even if we just get out and run a little bit further than we did last week or last month. Even if we never run a little bit further.

    It’s easy to set ourselves in the background thinking that doing something for ourselves will be burden when the reality is that those around us who love us are proud of the hard things we do. My friends and family are so excited and proud of my author journey. The ones I’ve told about my running sacrifice are sad for that, but they support it. The hardest part is letting go of that expectation. Everyone simply expects I’ll start running. It’s hard to admit that it probably won’t happen this year, at least not in any real meaningful way. Maybe I’ll find something that will work, but maybe I won’t.

    Life is about choices. We all make them. Good for you. Good for you for choosing you. You got this. Running is a game changer. It’s a life changer. And sometimes just a little bit of change is all we need. Carry on.

  5. April 7, 2017

    Teresa Reply

    Rachel – WOW! Finding this post could not have been more timely! I am a 53-year-old mom with three children still at home. They are ages 17, 13, and 11. I have left my narcissistic husband twice and made the mistake of coming back yet again. The atmosphere in my home is so negative and stressful. I am so overwhelmed trying to keep my children encouraged. I know all this stress plus homeschooling has taken such a toll on me. When I turned 53 last month I had a wake-up call and became totally motivated to concentrate on ME, and every aspect of my life. I am doing what makes me happy and makes me feel better, physically, mentally, and spiritually. At first, I thought I was just being selfish and self-centered. But I have realized that not only do I need this but my kids need this too. They are encouraging me in this journey of self-awareness. They are so wonderful! As soon as the weather turns I plan to start running, well walking at first lol. I have never liked running. I tried it a few times. But this is something that I have always WANTED to do. I thank you so much for your honesty and encouragement. This statement is amazing and wonderfully encouraging, “And with each step, some of the baggage that I’ve carried with me forever – self worth doubts, shame, worry, anger, sadness, doubt, anger – began to fall. It’s almost as if with each foot hitting the ground I was releasing pain and gaining strength”. You are awesome <3
    Thank you!

  6. April 11, 2017

    Julie Reply

    Thank you for the encouragement. I’m not faithful enough to running to see ahh improvement but I am proud of myself every time I will myself out there. Maybe in another season I cabn devote more of myself to that hobby, but for note I’m glad to just get out there!

  7. May 9, 2017

    Denise Reply

    I am the queen of stopping and starting. Training, yoga, running, the gym, diets…. never sticking to anything. I joined a running club last year and ran a 5k after 12 weeks of training. I did ok, 40 minutes, but stopped after the 5k. Always citing never enough time, always something better to do but this April I started to run in earnest. My previous training hD me running by miles, this time I started by minutes. 20 minutes, 22 minutes, 25 minutes. Pushing a little bit more each day. Shedding the fear, the anxiety,, building the strength, the confidence. One step at a time and one run at a time.
    Thanks for your story for you inspiration, for acknowledging we can fail but have the ability to start over with each new day.

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