“May you have a long beautiful life.”

A week ago, #brightorangeshoes became a place I could use to explanation why I run. My first post expressed that running takes the place of a whole lot more than physical exercise. Lately, I have been experiencing a push-pull momentum with just _brightorangeshoes in flowersgetting my shoes on. A pull to keep sitting on the couch relaxing and a push to get a breath of fresh air, but I still manage to make it out on the pavement. There has to be something more, but what?!

This time of year my free time is cut short by a plethora of other commitments. My job is at the peak of peak season, holidays are every other weekend, half of the family birthdays fall between March and June, and I am in full swing in a continuing education certificate program; yet I still use the only free hour I have to pull on my #brightorangeshoes and run. I decided after I set into my route today that it must be for love.

I read a while ago in Runner’s World blog that running can make people live longer. This one particular article was about an older man who was developing alzheimer’s but would run every day with his companion. The fresh blood and oxygen kept his mind from deteriorating at the normal exponential rate and well into his 80 he was still able to hit the streets. It has almost been a year since I read that article on the bus ride home but I still remember it because it hit close to home.

Both sets of my grandparents have been affected by memory loss diseases such as alzheimer’s and dementia. When my grandpa’s diagnosis first became real to us grandkids, it was too late to make memories and then in a blink he was gone. A few years later my other grandma showed similar symptoms but seemed to be affected more slowly, which was harder to watch and even hard to lose. Today, history seems to be repeating itself with my remaining grandparents and if there is anything I could do to make these years their happiest I would.

I know in life there are no take backs. If I were to May you life a long beautiful lifebreak my leg or pull a muscle, I can’t just decide to have a do over and not break my leg or pull a muscle. I believe it is the same with my mind and body. There are no take backs, and I will get out of my body what I put into my body.

The human body was created to run. In Born to Run by Christopher McDougall, he explains that the human body was built to “out run” our prey with our endurance and eventually our prey would overwork itself and die (in my own words). The average person doesn’t regularly run, or walk even a mile on a normal day. We wake up, get ready, get in our car, drive to work, sit at our desk, walk to our car, drive home, sit at home, then sleep and repeat. This routine is denying us the ability to get out of our body its true potential.

Watching people close to me struggle with primary functions such as walking, and remembering makes me ache. I know there is nothing I can do to change where they are now. The only things I can do are run for them and bring their legacy with me. Before my grandma passed she wrote me a card that ended with “may you have a long beautiful life” and that is just what I am trying to do in my #brightorangeshoes.

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