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  • Maria Grace Wolk, LMFT

Run Like a Mother




Challenge to run a mile or more a day for every day of December 2020, COMPLETE and on a continued streak going on Day 35. This was a huge test on my self motivation. Committing to doing something daily isn’t always easy, especially on days when my legs feel like jello or the weather is too windy or freezing, though I didn’t mind the rain, that, I loved.

I was never a runner. I only discovered the amazing benefits of running in my early 30s. Growing up, I was never really into it. I may have cut a few classes when I knew we had to run a mile that day for P.E. But after having kids, time became limited and this was the one thing I can do on my own. It became my “me time". Time when I can gather my thoughts, my ideas and time when I can let go of stress and frustrations.


I started registering for races - started with a 5k then a 10k and then jumped into my first half marathon without any proper training (that was probably not such a good idea) and all the other half marathons after that. But I did not run to break any records or to try to be fast. I run because the taste of the finish line; of finishing, feels so amazing, because I know I did that, all on my own. I run because, I can.


When I started my private practice and started seeing trauma clients, this was my much needed self care. My clients often ask, how do I do it? How can I listen and hold people’s painful and traumatic life experiences and not be impacted? The truth is, I am affected by their stories. I am human after all. I am very far from the old school “blank slate” therapist in the earlier days of psychotherapy. I am highly empathetic -often a gift but can also be a bit of a curse. But being able to run…that is a gift!


Running can get you through the hard stuff in life. After I get home from a good run, I feel like anything is possible and I can continue to help others without being burnt out by the heaviness of my profession. Running has amazing benefits documented in brain research. The forward motion of running turns the brain on and that is when all my ideas come to me. Running turns on the good attitude circuit, vitality circuit and empowerment circuit. Not to mention how it reduces anxiety, boost your self esteem and self confidence. Setting and attaining ambitious goals has an impact on happiness levels, therefore raising your confidence. For me, with every single race I have ran, I have had the same thought patterns. Throughout the race I’m thinking:

“ What am I doing? My legs are gonna give up..This sucks..I’m gonna die”

Then after crossing the finish line: “That was awesome, let’s do that AGAIN!” Then I go and sign up for the next race..lol.

This pandemic may have cancelled the races, which sucks, because I miss it…but for now, we just have to get creative. My next challenge is to see how long I can continue my streak. How are you challenging yourself this year? Please share your ideas. Happy New Year 2021!

Running with my heart and sole as far away as I can from 2020 :)



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