Being Active Has Become More Than a Habit, It’s Become an Essential Part of My Life

By: Caitlin Vanlaningham Last Updated: June 10, 2013

One of the best things about being active is that there are lots of options. You can swim, play football, run, dance, surf, ski, walk...walk backwards -whatever makes you happy. And you can switch things up whenever you like. This week, Stacey Schoof Harris tells us how she is Active in NWI. And she dabbles in multiple activities.

Take a look at her story below and sate your curiosity.

Written by Stacey Schoof Harris of La Porte, IN

In Spring 2008, I had the opportunity to visit Napa Valley with a good friend in celebration of her birthday. As part of the trip, we decided to take a bike tour through wine country and visit several of the local wineries. To say that this trip was life changing would be an understatement.

The bike tour was approximately 14 miles, and while I was wary at first that I could even ride a bike for that distance, I was excited as well. As it turned out, I made it. And what happened during that trip has had a huge impact on my life these past five years.

I fell in love with biking; so much so that I bought a bike when I returned home and started riding throughout La Porte County. Soon 14 miles was considered a short trip, and I decided to take it to the next step. On March 9, 2009 I ran my first mile.

This led to running more, and soon I found myself down approximately 20 pounds and training for my first half-marathon. Unfortunately, that adventure was sidelined due to an injury, but with that injury came an important realization.

When I was unable to run for six weeks, I drove my family crazy. I needed to run or ride as a form of release, and being told I couldn’t did not sit well with me. It was then that I realized how much I depended on being active. The health benefits were evident in the more than 40 pounds I have lost since that first mile, but being active has helped me emotionally and mentally.

Growing up, I would never have considered myself an athlete. In fact, I was far from it. However, since that bike ride in Napa Valley, my strengths and abilities have grown and been tested over and over again. In the past five years I have run more than 1,250 miles and rode almost triple that. I’ve competed in 5ks, triathlons, duathlons, and charity bike rides throughout the Midwest.

I’m at my best when I’m running or riding my bike. My mind becomes clearer, ideas come faster, and I’ve written many an article while pounding the pavement through Northwest Indiana. Whatever stressors have come my way that day, by the end of a run or bike ride, everything seems much easier to handle.

Being active has also given me the chance to form lasting friendships. I am lucky to have a core group of women who enjoy running and riding as much as I do. Together we have developed a bond that I know will carry us through any challenge. In addition, my kids have fallen in love with running. I am grateful that this is something we can do together - although, they are both usually way ahead of my pace. Celebrating our accomplishments together has given us wonderful memories.

It’s funny now to think about that first bike ride five years ago. I was scared then that I wasn’t going to be able to finish the entire 14 miles. Today, I can’t imagine a day without having run, ridden or worked out in some way. Being active has become more than a habit, it’s become an essential part of my life.

If you want to share your story about being active in NWI, send it and a few photos to {valpo}share@valpolife.com{/valpo}{portage}share@portagelife.com{/portage}{laporte}share@laportecountylife.com{/laporte}{nwindiana}share@nwindianalife.com{/nwindiana}

{valpo}Click here to read about Courtney Crozier and how she is Active in NWI!{/valpo}{portage}Click here to read about Courtney Crozier and how she is Active in NWI!{/portage}{laporte}Click here to read about Courtney Crozier and how she is Active in NWI!{/laporte}