Posted August 18, 2017 by Prairie Wife - 8 comments
Growing up, I never participated in sports.
When I gave birth to my first child, I thought about beginning a workout routine to lose the 35lb of baby weight. But the utter chaos of learning how to be a mom ended that crazy talk!
Instead, I buckled our son up in the stroller, hit the local park, and walked.
When my second baby was born, I gained 40 pounds and moved to the middle of nowhere Wyoming. Walking off the weight was no longer an option, so I invested in some workout DVDs and lost the weight.
Two years later, it was time to drop the weight from baby three. My like-minded mom friends and I began to meet up weekly for a mama boot camp…and for the first time ever I ran.
It was only for short distances but with experienced athletic girlfriends cheering me on I began to run/walk for longer distances and eventually just ran.
My bestie (TallGirlJ) and I signed up for a 5K, trained together for months, and upon completion, I was hooked.
I began to add more and more miles and signed up for longer races to help motivate me to keep pushing.
As I added the miles and had two more children (for a total of 5), finding time to run became harder. But, I began to realize that running for me had become about so much more than losing weight.
It was my time to be by myself and run away from all the things that were constantly pulling at me all day long. It’s my time alone with my thoughts and an opportunity to process what has happened in my life without interruptions.
I realized taking a break and running away allowed me to return to my life, feeling stronger and ready to take on whatever came my way.
As I pondered how to write about running and how it’s impacted my life, I recalled a few pivotal moments that occurred when running.
Between babies three and four, I had two miscarriages in a row. I was feeling scared, weary, angry, and hopeless. I distinctly remember parking at a local park, getting out of the car, and running as hard as I physically could. I wanted to beat my body up. I wanted to punish it for failing me yet again. With each jarring step on the pavement, I let myself think every terrible thought that I had been pushing down for months. As my body begged me to stop, I listened and slowed down to my normal pace…only to realize that as my breathing slowed, I was filled with a sense of calm that had been missing for months.
I became pregnant a month later. As I ran through my first trimester, I visualized pushing my strength into my baby. Encouraging him to thrive and grow strong.
After my daughter was born (baby 5), I was struggling in every way.
I couldn’t lose the last 20 pounds and was overwhelmed by my daily life. As I ran up the hill on my dirt road, I felt every extra pound jiggle, and even though I had crested that hill hundreds of times before, all I wanted to do was lay down in the ditch and cry. It took every ounce of my strength to keep moving, and the fear I felt led me to realize that I was suffering from postpartum depression. When I got home, I walked in the door into my husband’s arms, began to cry, and asked him for help.
Four months later, I completed a 15k race. I was alone when I started it, scared to death and intimidated beyond belief by the thousands of other experienced racers surrounding me. As I approached the finish line, I heard my name and saw my husband and children cheering me on. The love I felt when my family hugged me at the finish, my husband with tears of pride in his eyes, still makes me cry tears of joy as I write this.
Last year, I underwent a preventive mastectomy. I cried as I set out to run for what I knew would be the last time for months. I was afraid, full of doubt, and exhausted at the thought of what lay ahead of me. Questions and what-ifs filled my brain, but I was reminded of my strength as my body kept moving down the sidewalk. As I climbed into my car, I promised myself that I would train for a half marathon if I made it through the next year of surgeries.
It’s coming up in two weeks, and as I struggle to find balance with family and friends and make time to run, I am reminded yet again…
Sometimes, running away is the best way to learn how to run back.