Why I Run When There Are So Many Reasons Not To…


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Why I Run When There Are So Many Reasons Not To…

By Meredith Celentano

I was active as a kid. I rode horses, played gymnastics and soccer and cheered but never—not even once—did I ever consider running. In fact, after high school, exercise was never again a priority… until it was.

When a friend started running to relieve stress, roughly nine years ago, it occurred to me that I could benefit from that, as well. I delayed starting for months. I didn’t think I could run longer than 3 minutes without keeling over, and I always had a “reason” not to run:

  • the babies needed me
  • I was tired from work
  • it was too cold, hot, or dark outside  

Finally, one beautiful day, I put on a pair of sneakers and headed out, promising myself that I would stop as soon as necessary. Fearful that someone would see me peter out, I refused to stop and walk. I actually ran one mile that day and felt really accomplished. It took a long time for me to foster a love for running, but slowly I began to enjoy hearing my feet connect with the pavement and disconnecting so I could only hear the music in my ears. I fell in love with the wind on my face.

“In those early days, I didn’t run far or for
very long, but I came to need these runs.”

Six years ago, my step-father passed away from a massive heart attack. It was Super Bowl Sunday and the weather was nasty cold. Three days later an unbelievable snow storm hit Long Island. It was probably not until about two weeks after his death that I found myself able to run again. I’ll never forget that emotional first time back—the tears dripping down my face in the freezing cold as I thought of my two children and what they would do if my heart gave out. I ran angry that morning and in my head I swore: “I will be here for them.”

Shortly thereafter I decided to train for my first half marathon, but my knee decided otherwise. I was out for three months. Once it healed however, I ran three days each week—religiously—as my way of keeping my promise to my family.

Again, I signed up for a half marathon… and of course, shortly afterwards found out I was pregnant with my third child. I exercised for the first 22 weeks but ultimately gave in to the need for rest. My daughter was born December 2011 and I completed my very first Half Marathon September 2012. I trained four days a week for 12 weeks with discipline I never knew I had. Some days I ran with local moms also training, but my long runs were always (and still are) run alone—my run, my pace, my self-push and my self-congratulations.

The day of my very first half marathon, my husband took all three kids (with awesome homemade signs) to watch. I remember their cheers for me as I passed them. I couldn’t help but cry the moment I saw them until they were way behind me… and then again over the finish line.

That day was one of my proudest mom moments.

There are still so many reasons not to run—I work full time, there are now three children, it’s still too cold, hot, or dark outside… but along the way, running has become my “me” time. Up until this point, I had never understood people who exercised regularly for their own sanity. But now I get it. I crave the run because I feel good about myself and because I know I’m doing something that allows me to clear my brain and strengthen my heart at the same time.

Running is how I show my husband and kids—who are always watching—how to be a strong mom. At least once a run, I remind myself of the promise to be there and I push harder to prove it.

Leave a Comment: How do you model strength to your kids? If you enjoy the feel of the wind on your face, how do you overcome all the reasons working against you not to take that run?


Copy of Celentano EditedMeredith Celentano is the mother of three, a Mom-mentum Board Member, Chair of the Board of Girls on the Run Long Island, and an accomplished fundraising executive. Currently she works as Assistant Vice President for Development and Alumni Relations at Hofstra University overseeing the manage­ment of alumni affairs activities, prospect research, foundation rela­tions, gift processes, data-manage­ment, special events, stewardship and annual giving. When Meredith isn’t raising money for worthy causes, spending time with her family or running, she can be found writing on her internet food blog “Meredith’s Food for Life.”


Help us continue to encourage positive change and support mothers.
Join us May 7th for our 7th Annual Mile for Mothers 5k Run, Walk and Kid’s Fun Run on the beautiful Long Beach Boardwalk. Get more info, register to run and donate here.

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