My name is Kim Cowart. I am the mom of two beautiful girls. I am the wife of a curly, red-haired bowling math whiz. I am a daughter. I am a sister. I am a friend. I am a fitness instructor. I am a jig-saw puzzle addict. I am a former high school English teacher. I am a Cancer, although I have no earthly idea what that means. I am a cyclist. I am a voracious reader. I am an organizer and master list-maker. I am also an avid runner.
I love running. Not in the way I love my kids or even the way I love half-melted vanilla ice cream swimming in hot fudge. It’s a different kind of love. Some would say I’m addicted. Some do say I am obsessive. Maybe they’re right, but I don’t think so. I’d like to say I’m committed, dedicated, and most importantly, loyal.
Running has given me more than I could ever give it.
When I was lonely, running gave me best friends. The connection made between two runners is unique. The bond is strong and these friendships have saved me many times.
When I’m confused, running gives me clarity. It doesn’t always give me answers to my problems, but it usually helps me put those problems into perspective. When it seems that everything is going wrong at work, I can go for a run, and urgent problems seem manageable and temporary.
When I’m upset, running gives me peace. My husband can always tell what kind of day I’m having by which shoes I’m wearing when he gets home. He can bet that if they’re running shoes, my day has been less than stellar. But he also knows if I can just have thirty minutes alone on the road, my mood will be manageable and temporary.
When life is chaotic, running gives me structure. No matter where I am, I can run. My family knows Saturday mornings are my long run mornings. That’s not to say I’m not flexible, but I always get it in, one way or another. Even if that means waking up Christmas morning at 3:00 am to run 16 miles on the treadmill before making our early morning flight to Disneyland.
When I am sad, running gives me time to work through the sadness. When my grandpa died, it was during my long runs that I really grieved. I had kids, a job, and responsibilities. But my runs were my alone time. I could reflect on those memories I had with my grandpa, reflect on his struggle through Alzheimer’s, reflect on what his life taught me, and even sometimes cry.
When I feel incompetent, running makes me feel successful. There are days when it seems that my children would have fared better had they been raised by a band of gypsies. There are days when I’m sure they would prefer to be raised by said gypsies. I know what I teach my children today will shape who they are tomorrow, but tomorrow is a long way off. Sometimes I just want a little instant gratification. Whether I run my fastest mile, or simply finish a big 20 mile training run in the wind and rain, every run is a success. Small victories keep me going.
Running doesn’t get jealous if I choose to leave it behind for a while and ride my bike. Running doesn’t take offense if I take a break. It’s always there, no matter where I am. For those reasons, I will always be loyal to running.
I am Kim and I am a runner.