I started running again today. On November 1st, I realized it was exactly a month until the Marcothon would begin again. I’m still part of a What’s App message group with the ladies I did it with two years ago (when I failed because of a very pickled night out with friends in Portland). I messaged them and asked if anyone was going to do it, unsure of whether or not I would dare attempt it at this very poor fitness stage of post-baby life. When I got a couple of maybes and a yes in reply, I thought to myself, “what’s my excuse?”
It’s been almost 13 years since I started running. At that time, I could barely run a few blocks without feeling like I would pass out. But over time, I grew to love it, and have even run 3 half marathons and dozens of other shorter races.
Running used to be therapy to me. Anytime I felt stressed or overwhelmed, I would lace up my shoes and head out. Rain, wind, snow, sun – it didn’t matter as long as I had some quiet time to myself to shut my brain off and just listen to my body. Just before I found out I was pregnant, I felt sluggish while running. And while some women are able to power through the early stages of pregnancy and continue to run, I found myself relishing more languid and meditative exercise, such as yoga.
After Laurel was born, it was such an adjustment. Besides managing a strange schedule of part-time work and sitting in the NICU, I also had to recover from surgery and pump every couple of hours. My needs were no longer priority.
While registering for baby shower gifts, I made it clear that I did not want a jogging stroller. Running was my time. I didn’t want to feel obligated to take my baby with me. I think back and wonder if that was the right decision as I have gotten SO out of shape the past months, but as I’m starting back to it, I understand my position.
What’s been missing from my life has been self care. As we’ve gotten (slightly) better at managing this parenting thing, I have increased my hours at work (despite keeping the same nanny schedule). I am still breastfeeding, making dinners, budgeting, nursing Laurel to sleep, running errands, and doing chores. It’s left little to no time for me. I miss me. I like me. I especially like me when I feel good. So, the other day as I was “taking some time to myself” at the grocery store, I passed by the shoe aisle and thought, “I’m going to buy myself new running shoes.” And I did.
Today wasn’t the first day I’ve run since I had Laurel. It’s not the first time I’ve exercised or taken time to myself. However, it is the first day that I’ve made a commitment to me. To give myself the break I so desperately need and declare that I matter, too. I may not ever get back to the 8-minute mile I used to be able to do, but that’s not the point anymore. I’m putting myself back up top of the priority list, no matter how hard I try to knock myself off of it.
This is me asking you all to keep me accountable. I’ll be documenting my journey from sluggish to slightly-less-sluggish on Instagram and Facebook. Keep in touch and let me know what you to do to prioritize your well being!