Much like we give our dogs medicine hidden in a spoonful of peanut butter, sometimes we have to trick ourselves into doing what’s best for us. This is how Lynn Harrison started her 39-year running career at 18: she would run laps around her block with a bag of M&Ms, popping a handful in her mouth each time she completed a lap. That’s how much she dreaded running – however, she knew she wanted to stay fit as she began college and forced herself to get up and run.
Now 57, Lynn has taken her running career from a casual hobby to a full-blown lifestyle. Who could have predicted that the teenager who once hated running would one day wake up in the wee hours of the morning to get a run in every day?
Every single day, even when it rains or snows, Lynn can be found on the Shelby Farms Greenline, blaring Bruce Springsteen and running with a smile on her face. She averages roughly 35 miles a week and every month runs her own personal 10K. Although she challenges herself to hit specific distance goals each month, she’s not chained to an Apple Watch or Strava each day obsessing over her mile time or trying to one-up herself constantly. Instead, it’s just Lynn, her music, and occasionally her trusty sidekick, Ellie, her dog.
Upon learning of Lynn’s intense running regimen, people often assume she’s an ultra-competitive runner training for marathons. Although she’s physically capable, Lynn has never focused on winning races. For her, it’s truly all about the mental health benefits.
“If I didn’t run every day, I think I would go insane,” she explains. “It’s my therapy, and the only time of the day that’s truly my own. Whatever’s stressing me out that day, once I lace up my running shoes and get out there, I’m truly in my own world.”
“I’ve learned that sometimes you must push yourself out of your comfort zone to find what truly makes you happy and keeps you going.”
Although her daily commitment may seem overly rigorous to some, Lynn jokes that she’s been able to turn an addictive personality into something positive. Whether it’s one mile or ten, Lynn knows she’ll be the best version of herself after she gets a run in, and it’s the anchor that keeps her afloat through life’s many challenges.
“I’ve learned that sometimes you must push yourself out of your comfort zone to find what truly makes you happy and keeps you going,” Lynn says. “You might think you hate running, biking, reading, meditating, or whatever it may be, but give it a shot. It may just be the thing that saves you.”
By Lucy Modzelewski
Photo by Daniel Scruggs