15 Feb mentor program spotlight: why do I run?
Read on as our mentor program participant, Stefanie Gordon, shares her first post as a mentee. Stay tuned for more posts & her in-house presentations at kinected!
I went on my first real run in 8th grade. I wanted to play field hockey when I began high school because the field hockey players had cute tartan uniforms and dated lacrosse players. I was told I’d need to be able to run three miles straight to even be considered for the team. So on that fateful Monday morning I laced up my shoes, tied my hair back in a high ponytail, and hit play on the Alanis Morissette tape I had in my cassette player.
And I ran. Big, hard loping strides that bounded me forward. I kept going until my lungs were about to burst and the oatmeal I had for breakfast was threatening to make an appearance. Gasping for breath I stopped. Once I stood straight up from my dry heaving I saw that I had made it….half a block. I believe my internal dialogue went something like this:
“Half a block?!? Are you kidding me?? Running sucks! Wild horses could not make me do this again. And I mean literally, not figuratively”.
But I kept going. It didn’t take long for me and my gym coach to notice I was a horrible field hockey player but a pretty decent runner. My scrawny body was able to traverse the rolling hills of cross country courses well and I mentally thrived on the mundane repetition that makes up a great deal of distance running.
Seventeen years later I still love running. For me it is a form of moving meditation where my mind is the most relaxed and I feel free. Don’t get me wrong. It hasn’t been all golden miles and smiles. My body is a grocery list of crackling injuries. I’ve had disastrous races that felt like the end of my melodramatic life. Long runs that were so cold my left arm went completely numb and I had to swing it by my side like a sad pendulum. But I still love it. My running relationship is imperfect but enduring.
I love running because it has allowed me to get to know myself the hard way. It has given me a naive faith that life and athletics are ruled by hard work. That perseverance work pays off and that bad miles and bad days will both pass. And when you have a good run and the world is quiet and good? That’s just bliss.
A native of Wilmington, Delaware, Stefanie earned her B.A. at the University of Delaware and her M.A. at NYU. She fell in love with Pilates after moving to NYC and is excited to be a part of the kinectED Mentorship program! A former cross-country and track athlete while at the University of Delaware, Stefanie plans to focus on Pilates programming for runners – biomechanics, training and injury programming. A STOTT Pilates certified instructor, Stefanie is currently the owner of Stef Gordon Fit, a Pilates studio located at Cynergy Physical Therapy. When she is not living and breathing everything Pilates, Stefanie is also the co-head of Maccabi Young Leadership North America, an organization that focuses on fundraising to send underprivileged Jewish athletes to the Maccabiah Games.