The revolution is nigh!
Next Tuesday, the running rEVOLUTION begins its fifth year of helping women learn to run or run better through ten weeks of educational lectures and run training.
Begun and continued by a band of volunteers, the running rEVOLUTION is a bit of a miracle. That first year, our wildest dreams were that 20 women would join. We were blown away when 102 ladies arrived ready to run. The run rEV’s service to runners of all levels and its entirely positive atmosphere is a rare achievement that has made a pivotal difference in many lives.
The run rEV taught me to run after 40 years and numerous coaches had failed. I remember the butterflies, the negative self-talk, and the previous failures that tried to keep me from meeting the running challenge. I also remember the acceptance and true caring demonstrated by the run rEV coaches that helped me to succeed. The toughest thing I had to do was show up.
As I begin my 5th year of the run rEV, first as a member and now as a coach, I have been overwhelmed with excitement. I am not exaggerating. Getting together to sweat it out with the ladies of the running rEVOLUTION is something I look forward to immensely all year long.
To me, the running rEVOLUTION is a kind of Brigadoon…a mythical destination that appears briefly to allow connection with incredible folks and the achievement of things thought to be impossible. It is a retreat to a land of perfect support and caring right in the middle of a life often lacking such magic.
Once we become adults, we are so busy getting by that we don’t take many opportunities to forge new bonds of lasting significance…to make lifelong friends. Each year of the rEVOLUTION, I have met amazing women I now consider to be my closest friends. We have created the kind of deep bonds most often formed in childhood or as a result of surviving hardship together…and indeed we have. Together we have outrun our demons and by doing so, gained confidence in ourselves and trust in one another.
As we run, we share mantras, instructions, and insights told by those who first helped us to endure. When we pass on this information, we always repeat the names of those who told us. Uttering the name of our teachers and friends while sharing their wisdom honors those who went before and creates a legacy for those to come.
Names, knowledge, laughs and shared loads are the stitches of the running quilt that draws us together, warms us, and guides us through the twists and turns of life. To me sometimes, it seems that each dotted line on the highway could stand for a person, a moment, or an insight found while running. I like to think that stitch-like lines painted along the asphalt hold us together – not just in our immediate community – but bind us with runners the world over.
When the run rEV reappears, we will come together with our dreams and our fears, trusting the group to smooth the way. We come for many reasons, but when we begin to truly run, we understand that our reasons are the same.
We run for ourselves. We run for our families. We run for those whom we have lost and those whom we hope to find. We run to gain confidence and to lose stress. We run to inspire. We run to play. We run to compete. We run to relax. We run to balance our minds and our bodies. We run for community. We run to be alone. We run to meet challenges. We run to create crystalline moments of beauty so strong they never leave us. We run for our lives.
If you are a woman lucky enough to live within driving distance of Warren, Pennsylvania who seeks her own Brigadoon, I hope to see you this Tuesday evening for the start of something truly wonderful.