Tuesday, May 23, 2017

I Ran Into Myself

I think I was fifteen when I started running consistently. This means, for over half my life running has been an outlet for me. As I’ve gotten older, I’ve found that running is more for my emotional health than it is for my physical health. This is exactly why I was so excited to lace up my shoes and head out the door shortly after Weston was born.

I was prepared for it to be a rough road back, but was ready to have something that was mine again. I was ready to find the quiet that exists when out on a good run. Unfortunately, that quiet didn’t quickly return. Instead running became another area of frustration. Every time I’d head out the door, I felt wobbly. Slow. Unsteady. I couldn’t clear my head. I’d remember how tired I was. Physically and emotionally. I’d beat myself up for lacking the endurance to run. This ineptitude was a reminder of all the other areas in my life in which I seemed to be lacking endurance.

I desperately wanted to see a glimpse of my old self out on the pavement. To find my stride there even if I couldn’t find it anywhere else. But for seventeen months, I felt clumsy instead. Then one day, with Eric Church in my ear, I ran right into myself. I looked down at the app I use to track my distance and speed, and realized I had run two miles with ease.

Mom or not, I think we women put a lot of pressure on ourselves to be all things to all people – including ourselves. I thought I’d run right back into my old self quickly after having my babies but the truth is that woman is gone. In her shoes instead is someone who is a little more patient. She laughs a lot more often, sleeps a lot less, and runs fewer miles. Her body – the one that once endured a marathon – has grown two people and learned to carry both a baby and toddler while simultaneously wearing heels (equally important feats).

I finally feel – nineteen months later – like I can call myself a runner again. But, admittedly, my running has changed too. I now find my quiet more quickly, but I’m more often pushing a stroller. I take out my headphones these days, and zone out to the tune of “Twinkle Twinkle Little Star” sung by my three year old who anticipates our running dates as much as I do.

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