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The Wedding-Day Run

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Kathy Daniels Pearman awoke the morning of her August 2012 wedding, laced up her running shoes, tossed on a white tank top emblazoned with the word “Bride,” and then headed to the Sheboygan Brat Trot with about 30 of her guests.

“It was a huge stress reliever,” says Pearman, 38, who lives in Chicago but tied the knot in her hometown of Sheboygan, Wis. “If not for running or racing that morning, I would have had way too much nervous energy, which for me, is never a good thing.”

Fitness experts have long touted exercise as a major stress reliever. A study by University of Maryland researchers found that even a moderate workout can help people cope with stress and anxiety after a workout is finished.

Without a doubt, brides typically have both in spades — especially on their wedding day.

An avid runner who was in midst of training for a marathon, Pearman was in peak shape and considered racing to win. “When I woke up that morning I was just so excited to get married that I decided to have fun and enjoy my last four miles as a single woman,” she says. She instead stuck with her two best girlfriends for some pre-ceremony girl time.

And since wedding festivities didn’t kick-off until 5 p.m., Pearman still had three hours to relax post-race before her hair and makeup appointments. Still, her scheduled run left many relatives antsy.

“Everyone was concerned,” she says. “Lots of my female relatives thought we were all crazy to exert ourselves the morning of. I mean, if the guys can go play golf, why can’t the women do a race?”

Since Katie Kelly has a habit of turning her ankles, her husband-to-be only requested that the 9-mile run she and her friends did the morning of their July 2013 wedding not result in her wearing a walking boot in lieu of a pump.

But given that Kelly, 30, had already completed a 15K in downtown Indianapolis — in a tutu — as part of her bachelorette festivities, she thought she was safe. Plus, she was competing in the Ironman Florida triathlon in November and liked the idea of keeping up with her training schedule.

She included the run in her wedding day timeline at 7 a.m., to allow plenty of time to get ready for the 6:30 p.m. ceremony. Her mother, long accustomed to her “crazy” athletic pursuits, simply shook her head.

Since her wedding was in downtown Indianapolis, and Kelly stayed downtown the night before, she ran along the White River and Indiana Central Canal with her maid of honor, sister-in-law, college best friend and marathon-training buddy. In case the “bride” tank top wasn’t enough, her friends told everyone they passed that it was Kelly’s wedding day, resulting in congratulations from perfect strangers.

“It was fun to do something so normal on such a big day,” she says. “I'm fairly certain that doing the run made me way more relaxed for the rest of the day.”

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Tags: workouts, wedding-day workout, fitness