Why I Run: Jan’s Story 1


The story I had planned to share today is not quite ready. When i put put a twitter call for submissions, Jan replied. She wrote, “if you ever want to hear from a slow, slightly overweight runner/ walker who has never run any races, let me know.” and so I did. That is the beauty of this series. Every story is unique, and incredible in its own way. We who strive to call oursleves runners unserstand that it’s not just about running. If you have a story to share, click the link above, Why I Run.

If you were to bump into me at the grocery store, I am confident that your first thought about me based on my physical appearance would not be, “Oh, she must be a runner!” I am 47 years old and a bit overweight. I look much more like a team mom than a runner. In fact, I have a hard time calling myself a runner at all. Wannabe runner? One-day-maybe runner? Runner/walker? Those terms all seem to fit me better. Even though I hardly look the part, you will find me running through my neighborhood – slow, red-faced, and breathing hard. People have asked me, “Why??” Some things are hard to explain, but these are a few of my reasons.

    I Run to Get Rid of the Poison

Some days when the pressures of life seem overwhelming, I just wish I could run away from it all. Of course I can’t run away, but I can run. I’ve found no better therapy than lacing up my running shoes and hitting the streets. There is something about breathing deeply that releases the emotional poison inside – anxiety, resentment, frustration, anger, uncertainty. The deeper I breathe, the more poison I can release. I am a better person after 30 minutes of huffing and puffing. I feel calmer. I am a nicer mom. I have a better perspective on life. Running is great therapy!

    I Run for Time Alone

Alone time is hard to come by when you are a single mom with three kids and a job. With just a little bit of juggling, I can usually find a way to claim a little time of my own either early in the morning or late in the evening. For just a little while, I can tune the world out and reconnect with myself. It’s a great way for this introvert to recharge her batteries.

    I Run for My Kids

If for some reason I can’t get away alone, my kids grab their bikes or scooters and tag along. I might not get alone time that way, but my kids have a blast and they see that exercise is a priority for their mom. Either way, it’s a win.

    I Run Because I Can

I am the youngest of three children. I lost my sister three years ago to cancer. I watched the disease rob her of her physical strength a little at a time. It broke my heart into jagged pieces. My brother battles multiple sclerosis. He is as strong a man as I’ve ever known, but he cannot run. My body may not be thin. It may not look like an athlete’s body. But it is, for now, a strong body. I don’t know why I drew the healthy body card and I don’t know how long I will hold it. Regardless, I do not ever want to take it for granted.

So I run. Or more accurately, I run awhile, walk awhile, and run some more. Some days I do it for therapy. Some days I do it for fun. Some days my speed and endurance are good (for me). Some days I just hope no one is watching me too closely. Some days it feels like heaven. Some days it feels a lot more like hell. It doesn’t really matter as long as I get to run.

Jan Roberts Culpepper is the mom of three children: Anna (20), Gus (9), and Mia (8); is the caretaker of the cutest puppy ever, too many cats, and a few wilting plants; and is a PC(USA) pastor in Charleston, SC. She hasn’t run a single race (yet), but she has completed two MS Challenge Walks, each one 50 miles in 3 days. She hopes to complete a third MS Challenge Walk next spring. You can find her blogging at Simply Jan, on Twitter, and on Pinterest (Jan Culpepper).