December 12, 2013
Those who know me know I am a fanatic about running for a myriad of reasons. Talk to me for 10 minutes and I guarantee running will somehow come up in the conversation. If you are a runner, I will talk all night long if you don’t abandon me which, despite my wonderful personality, actually happens. Some of you may also know that my mom died from breast cancer over 15 years ago. This has been why I have always been a huge supporter of the Race for the Cure; it allows me to combine two passions that are part of my core. Though I must admit I wish that I, nor I imagine anyone else for that matter, never had to even concern myself with breast cancer. It would be a much better planet if the cure was simply discovered and breast cancer was eradicated. But until then it is about education and preventive behavior to help at least reduce the risks.
That very notion brings me to the point of today’s blog. While checking out my timeline on Facebook I saw a post from Runner’s World sharing an article on how running has been linked to reducing the risk for women getting breast cancer. 41% less of a chance to be be exact. The amazing thing is it doesn’t even take that much effort to reap these benefits, just under 5 miles a week. This is not the kind of commitment that requires a woman to drastically adjust her lifestyle to accommodate ultra marathon training training milage or anything.
I know most of you that read my blog are runners already and 5 miles of weekly running can be knocked on Monday morning before heading to work. If that is the case, on Tuesday you will be reducing your risk of heart disease, Wednesday you will be lowering your blood pressure, Thursday you will adding around 3 years to your life, Friday will put you in a better mood (a recent study showed that running can have comparable results to antidepressants), Saturday you will be preventing losing your mind. literally (exercise reduces age-related mental decline) and on Sunday you will be letting youself splurge on cheese sticks and wings as you watch football (preferably the Lions or Steelers). If you look at it collectively, that is a pretty solid week of accomplishment.
Since most of you are already runners, let us look at this as an opportunity to encourage those around us to run as well. My daughter Emma (her middle name is Jane after my mom) did her first Race for the Cure when she was still in her mom’s womb. Her next in a Baby Bjorn, then baby jogger, then walking before eventually running on her own. She was an excellent runner through 5th grade when the brilliance of Arizona cross country with their August through October season and afternoon meets in 108 degrees soured her on the joy of running and instead converted running to a slow-roasted toaster torture for her. I have been trying to get her off the couch and away from Netflix ever since without much success. In PE she is always one of the top milers, she has to do running as ocnditioning for badminton and softball, but running for the joy of running has long since went dormant in her being. So I was excited when she texted me a picture of some cute Nikes she wanted to start running again. While I am probably not going to run to Runner’s Den or iRun and buy the $135 pair she wants before she demonstrates her commitment to running at least a couple of times a week, I am going to get her a cool pair to get going and encouraging her to knock out at least 4.75 miles a week. I have even offered to run with her on Saturday morning though oddly she doesn’t seem as keen on the idea as me. In addition to a fierce independent spirit, I want the only similarity that Emma ever shares with her grandmother to be her name.
So during this holiday season I encourage everyone to look around and see which of your loved ones you can get out the door and run a little. Lets take it upon each of us to help reduce breast cancer (and many other health issues) in any way we can and to make our loved ones healthier. Besides, runners are just cooler people.