This Black Girl Runs

The Only Equipment I Need.

I admit it. I don’t like running, even though I ran track and cross country in middle and high school. And even though my gym teacher told me I was a natural runner, way back in the third grade, I just don’t enjoy the sport. I don’t believe I’ve ever run enough — even during my golden years of high school — to truly experience those legendary runner’s high and blasts of happy endorphins. Nope. My post run experience has always been stomach cramps and sweaty thighs. ugh!

But, dear readers, Ms. Meltingpot isn’t stupid. I know I’ve hit that age when the fear of sweaty thighs can’t be the reason I succumb to a sedentary lifestyle. I’ve got babygirl to think of now. She’s going to need me to be fit and healthy for several more years. So, I’ve been ‘actively’ looking for a new exercise regimen. But I didn’t just want to sign up for the latest aerobics class at the gym, or find a yoga studio to join. I wanted to find a way to work out that was also culturally relevant to my life experience. Is that so wrong to want my work-out to reflect my multi-culti approach to life?

So, I considered taking Zumba classes or this Afro-Fusion dance class offered in my neighborhood. But another one of my requirements for whatever ‘sport’ I chose to take, was that it had to be something I could actually master. I considered karate — did that in my 20s. Swimming –did that in my teens. Hello Cullen Jones. And for a brief second, fencing. But at the end of the day, I circled back to running because it is cheap, easy and I already know how to do it. Thanks to my awesome cousin, I discovered this amazing movement known as Black Girls Run! It’s just what it says. A group of Black women taking their health into their own hands and claiming their strength, speed and fierceness. I can get behind that. I can connect with those ambitions. Strong, fast and fierce, yeah, that sound relevant to my life goals. And culturally, the runner’s spirit is all over my physical and spiritual ancestors.

So, Monday morning, I woke up at the unholy hour of 6:30am and ran, walked, jogged, wogged 3.5 miles with Black Girls Run in Philly and was joined by over 100 other women. It was a tidal wave of positive energy, spirit and enthusiasm. For the first time ever, I felt good after a run. I ran again this morning. Yeah, my stomach still hurt, but it was worth it. I hope I can maintain this new-found enthusiasm I have for running. I hope I can finally feel those elusive endorphins. I hope I can show the world that this Black girl can run.

Do any of you have a secret tip that gets you up running in the morning? Do you have a story about how running saved your life? You know I love a good story. I’m listening.



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