By Johnna Dominguez
Ever since I’ve started running races longer than the 5k distance, I’ve gotten so many awed looks and comments. But even though people may think I’m a “more serious runner” now, the truth is that anyone can be a runner. You just have to step back to think about why you would want to do it in the first place.
We've asked Catholic women what keeps them returning to the pavement or trail day after day. Spoiler: None of them involve the words 'losing weight.'
I run as a witness to the unborn.
“I run every day as an offering and prayer to others. I run for the conversion of souls, souls of purgatory, for my future children, and family. If it wasn’t for that then I wouldn’t be running at all.”
-Denise Espinoza, Life Runner
I run to destress.
“Running is one of the few times I have for silence. I use some of it for prayer, but also for brainstorming. As a screenwriter and novelist, I’ve broken many stories and solved many plot problems while running.”
-Adrienne Thorne, Thorne in the Flesh Reviews
I run to get some me time.
“I often feel the struggle of finding time for myself, and running is my me time. I love the sun on my face and time outside to breathe it all in.”
I run to remind myself of what I am grateful for.
“Running gives me enough time to clear my mind and see that I am just a mom trying her best to be faithful.”
-Ceci Escobedo, Catholic Fit Moms For Life
I run to think clearly.
“If I don’t run regularly, the ‘this must get done or else’ swallows me alive and I have little energy to accomplish the tasks needed in my vocation – caring for my husband plus eight small (or not-so-small) ones. My runs are mini retreats where all the chaos of the day’s ‘musts’ gently floats to the back burner of my brain and my more contemplative, creative, life-giving side takes over. God speaks to me in the sunshine, the silence and the sweat!”
I run to remind my body of what I am capable of.
“Running, over a long time and a lot of effort combined with a lot of prayer, has taken me from judging my body by what it looks like compared to other people, to what it can do today that it wasn’t capable of yesterday, or last week, or a month ago. It reminds me that God created me good, and that I can cooperate in that goodness.”
-Brianna St. Amour
I run for dedicated prayer time.
“Running is the one place I can be completely focused on God’s presence in my life, from the beauty of the natural world around me to the blood pumping in my veins. Every breath is a reminder of what God has given me. It takes me out of myself and more focused on Him.”
-Ginny Kochis, Not So Formulaic
“As a mom of three, running is one of the few times I have alone. My favorite is praying prayers of thanksgiving and praise. It really helps a lot with loving my body and who He made me to be.”
I run to remind me that I am wonderfully made.
“While dealing with infertility, running kept me from hating my body that just wouldn’t work. Running reminded me that my body could do amazing things.”
“Running allows me to care for the great gift God has given me in my body. If I am to use my body to serve Him, I need to be grateful for it and take care of it as best I can. So running is itself a kind of prayer. It build physical strength, tests my mental endurance, and teaches me to lean on Him when things get challenging.”
Want more running advice? Find tips on combining running and your prayer life, as well as a community of Catholic women, over at Catholic Women Run.