Way back when I started running after my first daughter was born I began running mostly out of desperation and frustration. I had tried “everything” to lose the baby weight. Everything meaning I had stopped eating a few things I didn’t like anyway and was probably doing the elliptical for 30 minutes a day in my basement slowly enough to glance through an US Weekly magazine and maybe going to the gym every once in a while.
Running wasn’t ever something that I loved, as a matter of fact, I pretty much hated it. During junior high and high school I was a sprinter, and pretty good at it without having to put forth much effort. I was able to compete at the state level both individually and as a part of a few team relays. I remember a few conversations post baby that led me to believe running was my only option if I was serious about getting back into shape. The first was with my family practitioner. We were discussing my migraines and some medication options that might give me some relief. She mentioned that she would not put me on any type of medication until I began exercising regularly, lost some weight and began following a healthier diet. I remember leaving stunned; not angry, just stunned. I knew I was overweight for my height but to be honest with you, compared to people around me, I didn’t seem large. Don’t get me wrong, I was completely unhappy with how I looked and felt, but I almost wanted to say, what about all those other people?! That’s why I love my doctor, she knew me and she’s straightforward, that’s what I like about her.
Next up, chiropractor. If you don’t see a chiropractor, just find a good one right now. That is my family’s stop EVERY time when we don’t feel well. I won’t get on that soap box right now but I have trusted our family chiropractor for information on such a wide range of subjects and she has never steered me wrong. In that office they always focus on the whole patient and I greatly appreciate it. So again….chiropractor, how do I lose this baby weight??? Running.
The worst part about their responses was that my husband, the soldier, had been telling me the same thing for years…crap. So I started running, if you could call it that. Thank God we lived in the country because I was horribly embarrassed. I walked most of the way. I swore my asthma that I had been diagnosed with as a child wouldn’t allow me to run. It took me about 45 minutes to complete 2 miles and I complained about it when I got back BIG time. I hated it, I hated it every single day. I kept telling my husband I just wasn’t a runner. He didn’t understand, he was a runner, I wasn’t. After all, I had asthma. And remember, I just had a baby. Also, I was a teacher working full-time, so he didn’t understand that, I was exhausted. I had shorter legs than him. I mean I had all kinds of excuses. I felt weak, I felt tired, I felt lonely, I felt like I would never get there. I cried, I didn’t feel like I was seeing results at all. Until one day I did. And then, in April of 2010, 10 months after my first daughter was born. Hold on can I say that again? All of you who want fast results like I did? 10 MONTHS AFTER MY FIRST DAUGHTER WAS BORN. I could run a 5k. IT TOOK ME 10 MONTHS TO BE ABLE TO RUN A 5K. I met up with a friend for the first time ever and we were nervous, we had no idea what we were doing, but we stuck together and we did our first ever 5K. Can I tell you that on that day, my weight didn’t matter at all? I felt powerful, strong, happy and like I was a part of something I had never been a part of before. I felt like I was someone worth looking up to for all those little girls and young women who were there, cheering on their mommies and sisters and friends and family members. I knew in my heart that this was a part of me that I needed and that my daughter needed to see. It had nothing to do with a number on a scale.
Here I am, 7 years in. I am a runner. It brings tears to my eyes to even begin to write about what God has done in my life through running. I’ve had the opportunity to complete several 5K races, 5 mile races and a half marathon. (My goal is to complete MANY more half marathons!) I have been completely fortunate to run through 2 pregnancies. That woman who I ran my first 5K with is my “sole sister”, we have completed trail runs together, much-needed runs that feel more like therapy sessions, we trained for the half marathon with a group of amazing women (love them, I could write an entire post about each of them!) and completed that entire process together, she and I continue to grow and change in this thing called running together. I have been encouraged by family members and friends who amaze me by their motivation to begin running when they aren’t sure they can do it, then they allow me to be a part of the journey as they never give up. Words can’t describe the support my husband has given me, whether he’s running with me or waking me up at 4:20am when I don’t hear my alarm and giving me the hand signals for you….go…run? 🙂 so that the kids don’t wake up. He’s my forever #1 cheerleader, I adore him for that. And my absolute favorite lesson from running that I never expected to learn was what I’ve been able to give. The running community is all about being a team and supporting each other. If you told me 7 years ago I”d be directing a race with a group of friends for St. Jude, my response would have been “I don’t run, I hate running.” The fact that I’m able to use running which is so close to my heart and show my children that their body is a tool that can be used to care for others is more than I could ever ask for.
So the moral of the story? Take care of yourself. If for no other reason than you don’t wanna miss out on this! You don’t have to run, but do what works for you to take care of your body because it can be used to do some pretty awesome things while you’re here on this Earth and people are watching you! So encourage them, bless them, create a team with them and be their cheerleader. You never know where you’ll be in 7 years but this body is going to be what will be taking you there!