Always A New Challenge

Posted: April 1, 2011 at 11:28 am

Hello my friends! Please welcome my friend and fellow Team 4all member, Jane, as she shares a guest post on her experience with running. It’s a good one. 🙂 You can also check out my own guest post for her, by clicking HERE.


Of all the times I’ve written about running and my background in the sport and how much I love it, I don’t think I’ve ever actually admitted this publicly: I started running because I wanted more muscular legs.

I was a competitive swimmer from the time I was 5 until I was 16 years old. I remember one day, as a junior in high school, looking at photos of myself in my swim team bathing suit and thinking that I could use a little more muscle tone in my legs. And so the next day I went for a run.

That’s it… my sort-of vain and pretty un-exciting initial reason for running.


My reasons have changed and multiplied and evolved greatly since then, of course. In the 14 years that I’ve been running, I have learned to see it as part of what keeps me sane. It has helped keep me fit. It has helped me prioritize things in my life. It helped me get through my divorce. Through running, I have made some great friends – and it is even how I met my wonderful boyfriend.

I love running, and I love sharing my love of it with others.

I’ve helped convert quite a few non-runners into running enthusiasts over the years. And whether they now run a few miles a week or they run marathons, a common theme is that they end up finding that running is a great way to spend some “me” time.

Yes, as I have learned, there are quite a few benefits beyond making your legs more muscular (though that is a nice perk!). Running is an excellent way to relieve stress, clear the mind and focus on you.

I have run more races than I can count – 5Ks, 5-milers, 10Ks, 10-milers, half marathons, marathons – and everything in between.

This May, I am participating in a 200-mile relay race from Yale in New Haven, CT to Harvard in Boston, MA. A guy I went to high school with put a team together and invited my boyfriend and I to join in.

I’m excited and nervous about it at the same time. I’ve never done a running relay race, and I don’t quite know what to expect – but I know it is going to be quite an experience!

And that’s one of the great things about running – despite my long history with it, there’s always something new to try. There’s always more that I can learn. There’s always a different way to challenge myself.

For some people, a 5K seems daunting, and running a race of that distance would be a tremendous feat. Others begin running and instantly set their sights on completing a marathon.

It doesn’t matter where you fall along the spectrum – running is a sport that unites people of levels and abilities. It’s a sport that you can pick up at nearly any age.

Whether you’re just starting out running or you’ve been running for awhile, I pose this challenge: get out of your comfort zone at some point. Try something different – a new race distance, a trail run as opposed to a road race, a triathlon…

Experiencing something new may give you another reason to enjoy running – or it just may remind you why you began loving it in the first place.

Jane Couto had a very athletic upbringing, participating on swim, softball, tennis, diving and cross country teams throughout her childhood and teenage years. With three marathons, three Half Ironman triathlons and numerous other races under her belt, Jane loves sharing fitness information and tips on her blog,, which she writes with her mom and sister.


Thanks, Jane! Now…you tell me – what activity exhilarates you and gives you that strong sense of self because it always provides a new challenge?

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14 Comments to “Always A New Challenge”
  1. Great post! I feel the same way about running — I feel strong as I run, after I run, before I run, when I talk about running, etc. It is very empowering!

  2. Hiking does that for me…there are always new trails, new heights, new things to explore!

  3. This was a motivating post! I feel empowered when I complete a full-body weight routine that really tests my muscles. I love that shaky, tired feeling after, and you know the great things you are doing for your body 🙂

  4. Great post! I love that she has a site with her mom and sister. That’s such a great thing. Developing recipes does that for me.

  5. Karen says:

    Thank you for sharing your about your experience with running.

    It’s very true what you said about running being a sport you can pick up at any age. My parents are both runners but neither one started running until after age 40!!! Now they compete in various races and events ranging from 5Ks, half-marathons, marathons and triathalons!

  6. Loved the post! Zumba does it for me!

  7. Recently I’ve gotten back in to Tae bo and it’s seriously my favorite work out!! I feel SO energized and strong from doing it! My core has never looked better either (that helps my motivation) haha

  8. Lori Lynn says:

    Running has been a motivator for me, b/c I want to run farther and faster. It keeps me going!

  9. Angela says:

    Great post Jane! Running is hugely motivating for me too. It has helped me get down to a healthy weight and provides an energy high like nothing else can. Even though I don’t compete like I used to, one of my favourite ways to see new places it to run them. Now I just need some holiday hours to travel!

  10. Errign says:

    In terms of athletic activities – running & mountain biking. Mountain biking mostly because I pretty much suck at it & get lots of bumps and bruises, and get super frustrated and still end a ride with a smile on my face.

    Non athletic activities – 35mm photography, which I love for the challenge of taking an awesome picture. Writing this comment reminded me to get out there and take pictures 🙂

  11. your legs look great so I think you accomplished your goal. thank you for sharing all the new reasons to run!

  12. erin says:

    Hey – I decided to compete in figure because I wanted a nicer butt. 🙂 Whatever the reason for starting a fitness routine, as long as you love it and stick with it is what’s important – right? And good luck in that 200-mile race. Whoa…

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