Date of Award
Master of Education (MEd)
Susan A. Comerford
Growing up, I never considered myself an athlete. I did not participate in sports or compete on a track, field or slope. However, as an adult, I have chosen to step outside my comfort zone, exploring challenges that push me physically and mentally to grow as a person. In this way, I found running. Running, for me, is not a mere mundane exercise routine, nor a competitive sport by which to be judged. Instead, running at my own pace has been a physical and emotional journey that eases my mind, nourishes my body and replenishes my spirit. Like an old friend, it is always there, year round, anywhere, anytime, to get me outside, pick me up when I feel blue, keep me company while I make new discoveries and introduce me to new friends. Moreover, my body benefits as my heart gets stronger, my bones denser, my risk for disease decreases, my stress disappears and I burn a ton of calories. Above all, the skills I develop from running, including confidence, perseverance, perspective, resiliency, connection to others, setting goals, the bliss of solitude, taking notice and living in the present, transfer to all areas of my life. In fact, my experience with running has helped me not only be a better person and enjoy life more, it has given me new tools to use professionally, as an academic advisor in higher education.
It is my hope that my story, and the supporting research, will inspire others to explore running as an option for physical, emotional, social and, perhaps, spiritual presence in their lives. I share my story to all educators because the inclusion of exercise and mindfulness, for professional and student, can be a source of stress reduction, balance, cognitive focus and overall health. As a result of my own experiences with these activities, I think I understand their benefits and am able to impart the necessary encouragement to students to explore their options. In my opinion, the interesting relationship between writing and running, which I discovered and touched upon in this process, warrants further exploration.
Number of Pages
Dunbar, Elizabeth S., "Life at 6 Miles Per Hour: Running at My Own Pace for Mind, Body and Spirit and its Applications for Advising in Higher Education" (2016). Graduate College Dissertations and Theses. 546.