WHY DO I RUN? by Beth Moriarty

beth  mountain








Beth Moriarty is the Director of Residence Life and Housing at Bridgewater State University (BSU).  Beth is also an adjunct faculty member in the Student Affairs Counseling Graduate Program at BSU.  She has worked in the field of Residence Life for over 30 years.  Her top 5 strengths are Learner, Relator, Input, Individualization and Achiever.  Beth is an avid reader, and she enjoys spending time with her family camping, hiking, going to the ocean, and watching the World Championship Boston Red Sox   Beth started running just 1 year ago, she hopes to have a long running career ahead of her.


I’ve always been active but I would not describe myself as athletic.  If someone told me I was going to run a 5K, I would have bet that person a million dollars that they were wrong.  Running was never something that was on my bucket list.  So then why do I run?

Four years ago, I had back surgery for two herniated disks.  On the day of my surgery I tipped the scale at over 200 pounds.  After one year of debilitating back pain, inactivity and eating to make myself feel better, I was not in a good place.  The surgery was a success and I was determined that I was going to focus on being healthy by eating right and exercising.  It has been a long, slow journey.

The day my surgeon cleared me to exercise I was ecstatic.  I planned to walk a mile . . . I actually went about 500 feet and I had to stop.   I burst in to tears; I knew that day that this new healthy life style was not going to happen overnight.  I kept at it.  I walked daily and little by little I increased my distance.  I lost about 15 pounds that first year and I was frustrated with my lack of progress so I joined Weight Watchers and I kept on walking.

That fall my son’s Boy Scout troop planned a hike up Mount Monadnock in New Hampshire.  I decided that this would be my next physical challenge so on a cold day in late October we set off on our climb to the top.  It’s a long climb up the trail and there are parts of the hike where you have to get down on your hands and knees to scale some of the rocks.  I was feeling pretty confident; I was keeping up with a bunch of boys ages 11- 16.  I was holding my own.  As you get close the summit the climb becomes more difficult as the rock faces become steeper.  I found myself struggling more and more and I intended to quit.  An older man, probably in his early 70’s encouraged me to keep going.  He told me I was so close and I was too close not to finish.  So I dug deep and I did it.  I got quite emotional at the summit.  It was a big accomplishment and I was so thankful for how far I’d come post-surgery.

So why do I run?  After conquering Monadnock, I started to set goals for myself:  to lose more weight, to walk farther distances, to hike more, to just be more active.  This went well for the next two years.  I was feeling stronger, I was eating healthier and my weight was down to 165.  Life was good.  One day, my daughter said you should try running . . . I burst out laughing . . . “I don’t run” I said.  She said, “sure you do, you walk pretty fast — just try picking up your feet.” Yeah right! I thought.

I kept hearing her voice in my head . . . “you should try running”.   It kind of haunted me.  In April of 2013, I was playing with my new iPhone and downloading some new apps and on a whim I downloaded C25K.  I remember that first day thinking, “wow this was a horrible idea”.  I did great with the warm up of a 5 minute brisk walk but then the voice in my ear bud told me to “jog” for 6o seconds.  It was the longest 60 seconds of my life.  I was winded.  It was hard to breathe.  My lungs hurt.  My legs hurt.  There was no way that I was going to be able to do this . . . .   I kept at it.

I decided to sign up for a race and post it on Facebook for the world to see, so I picked a race in July and every time I wanted to quit, I thought about all the people I told I was going to run a 5K and I kept going.  I completed the 9 week C25K program in Mid-June about 3 weeks before my first race.

Race day was July 3, 2013.  It was 96 degrees the night of the race.  I was nervous all day.  I pinned on my race bib, stretched, warmed up and made my way to the start line.  My goal was to finish.  I had no grand illusions of running fast; I just wanted to cross the finish line.  It was hot, it was hard, and I wanted to stop a few times.  My husband ran every step of the way with me and together we crossed the finished line at Gillette Stadium on the 5o yard line.  Both of my kids were there to cheer me on.  It felt AMAZING.  Since July of 13, I have run 7 5k’s.  I have run a personal record in each race.  When your first 5K time is 44:02 there is lots of room to improve.

So why do I run?  I love the challenge.  I love pushing myself to do things that I never thought I could do.  I love the running community and their constant support.  Races are great and I will keep doing them, but what I love most, is running alone.  I love the quiet time.  My head clears; I leave the stress of daily life behind.  For the 30 – 60 minutes when I’m out running, I’m not someone’s mom, someone’s wife, someone’s boss, someone’s employee . . . I’m just me, listing to the sound my sneakers make on the pavement and wondering how far I’ll be able to go today.

As for my journey post-surgery, I have lost a total of 40 pounds, I went from a size 16 to a size 10 and I enjoy a very happy and healthy lifestyle.  This August I will turn 50.  I have two running goals, to run a 10K, which I’m signed up to do in July and to get my 5K time down to 30 minutes.  I’m confident on the 1st goal; the 2nd will be a stretch as my fastest time is 34:58.  Keep cheering for me . . . .

beth running

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