BCN employee creates her own ‘runner’s high’

The idea behind a ‘runner’s high’ never made much sense to me. Personally, I’m not a runner, and I hate that form of exercise. What I have come to appreciate, however, is the benefit behind running, being a part of a group, and participating in a race of some sort. There is a lot of truth behind the notion of a ‘runner’s high,’ and the benefits are not only physical, but mental, social, and environmental as well.

Amanda ForrestThis May, Grand Rapids will play host to the Annual Fifth Third River Bank Run, America’s largest 25K road race. Leading up to the race, Blue Care Network and Fifth Third River Bank Run are hosting training walks/runs at the Downtown Grand Rapids YMCA. Grand Rapids also boasts a number of running groups and support teams to get involved in that help keep training on track.

Amanda Forrest, an employee of Blue Care Network, is someone who has embraced the running community in Grand Rapids and become an inspiration to others on bettering your health and wellness through regular exercise. Forrest ran her first 5K approximately six years ago at the Fifth Third River Bank Run. She advocates for starting slow and continuing to push yourself and challenge your body.

“I started running to measure my fitness level. After that, I realized you don’t have to be fast or a high level athlete, you just have to race against yourself,” explains Forrest.

Once she realized that running not only made her physically healthy, but mentally as well, Forrest included her daughters into her training routine and they become active as a family.

“My family’s support makes all the difference for me staying active and pushing myself. In turn, you’re doing your family good by taking care of yourself,” she says.

Like many others, Forrest found herself overwhelmed with work duties, family duties, and trying to find time for herself. She was able to use running as an outlet and a natural way to make herself feel better. Working herself up to longer races, Forrest joined a runner’s group, Gazelle Girl Group, to train for her first 10K race.

Forrest has participated in approximately two 5K races, one 10K, and two 25K races. Finding the time to run has become a priority for her and she believes in every person making that distinction in his or her lives. She notes that making the time to run is a personal choice. In addition to making the choice to run, she’s found the running support groups have created accountability, physical challenge, support, and friendships.

“My biggest message for others who want to start running and training for races is to not doubt yourself. It’s a big deal to get out there and better your health; the benefits apply to all aspects of your life: work, personal, etc.,” says Forrest.

Are you interested in getting involved with training opportunities for the Fifth Third River Bank Run? On the first Saturday of every month, utilize the Downtown Grand Rapids YMCA for indoor training walks/runs, health tips, coaches, and more.

Photo credit: Amanda Forrest

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