While I love to exercise and believe fully in the positive power of movement, I have never been a “natural” runner.
I played soccer for 16 years and did my fair share of sprints, suicides and laps, but it was never easy for me.
When I found myself out of shape and unhealthy towards the end of grad school, the first thing I did was lace up my running shoes.
Not because it was what I WANTED to do, but because it was the easiest means to an end.
I didn’t have a gym membership, I didn’t have much time and I didn’t own any weights.
So I figured I would run and just see what happened.
I started by running five minutes down the block away from my house. Then I turned around and ran five minutes back.
The next week I added a few minutes.
Then a few more. And a few more.
I hit 30 minutes total and was jumping for joy. I hit 40 minutes and didn’t even know who this “non-runner” girl was anymore.
It still wasn’t easy and it sure wasn’t pretty, but I was hooked. I would continue to run on and off as a part of my workout routine for the next 14 years, culminating in a half marathon in 2012. I then got pregnant and, thanks to a very long and tough labor, now have a bladder prolapse. While my running days aren’t over necessarily, they are very different than they once were.
But I still love that feeling of lacing up, starting my music and GOING.
There is just something so empowering about taking those first steps and knowing that it’s just you and your body. There is no counting of repetitions or following instructions. No weights to lift or machines to figure out.
You start to move with the rhythm of the music in your headphones, and you relish in the feeling of those first beads of sweat forming on your brow. Yes, you may have to walk or take a break. (Or many breaks if you are like me). You might end up with 10 amazing miles or just 1 crappy mile.
Either way, for that period of time, you were strong and in control and no one could tell you what to do.
That is the power that running – and exercise as a whole – has over us.
This October I’m excited to be a Role Model for If Girls Ran the World, in order to spread that strength and love and power to women and girls all over the globe.
Studies show that society benefits as a whole when women and girls feel supported. Our world changes for the better when women and girls have access to health care, education and balanced meals.
Unfortunately, that isn’t always the case in our world today.
Women and girls are desperately underserved, and If Girls Ran the World is doing something to help that this October.
From October 1-October 31, 2016, If Girls Ran the World is encouraging women everywhere to walk and run around the globe to raise money for various charities that support women and girls everywhere.
That’s 24,901 miles. Together.
The best thing? You can run or walk from anywhere!
There is no race you have to enter or start time you need to make.
If Girls Ran the World puts it this way:
“Join us as we collectively and virtually run around the world raising funds and awareness to empower girls globally. Whether you run once or everyday, raise $10 or $10,000, your time, effort, energy and voice will change lives and build communities all over the world.”
Here are the ways you can help and contribute this October:
When you register, it’s similar to registering for any other race, except you don’t need to get a bib or show up anywhere at 5:00am :). You will choose from one of the charity partners and set a distance and fundraising goal. Then you can invite your friends to join you in the fun!
I’m giving away two registrations (each worth $25) at the end of this post, so keep reading to enter!!
If you don’t want to register yourself but would like to contribute, please consider making a donation through the Jessica Valant Pilates fundraising page for this event. I’ve chosen The Hunger Project as my charity partner, as I agree strongly with their mission: “To end hunger and poverty by pioneering sustainable, grassroots, women-centered strategies and advocating for their widespread adoption in countries throughout the world.”
You can run or walk. You can jog or sprint. Run wherever and whenever! Track your miles through the apps Strava or MapMyFitness during the month long virtual challenge to add to our collective progress.
I would love for you to join me on this incredible journey! I have pledged to run 10 miles, and even those won’t be easy for me :). I still deal with a bladder prolapse and I am recovering from surgery, but, whether I walk or run or crawl, I will get to those 10 miles!
You can, too.
I am happy to be able to giveaway two registrations to If Girls Ran The World! Each registration is worth $25, and can have wide reaching effects on women and girls across the globe!
To enter, follow these instructions:
- Write a comment below telling us why this is important to you and why you would like to run
- Follow @jessicavalantpilates on Instagram and comment on today’s post using the hashtag #ifgirlsrantheworld
- Share this post on Facebook and tag Jessica Valant Pilates so I can see!
I can’t wait to run with you in October and support women and girls everywhere!