Before I had the baby, working out was a pretty big part of my weekly routine. My regimen consisted of various combinations of walking, running and yoga. I did it to feel good and stay fit and to maintain mental clarity. During my pregnancy I continued to do all of those things, until I got weirdly large out the front and my hips got sore and then I had to dial it all back. I tried to appreciate the change of pace, the slower and gentler approach, but I longed for the days when the baby would be on the outside and I’d be medically cleared so I could do things the way I used to. Shortly after that baby was out and the all clear was given, I had a rather delayed lightbulb-moment and realized I will never, ever, never again be doing things ‘the way I used to.’
When I started running, it felt like I finally found the form of exercise that could make me feel they way I had heard exercise can make you feel. When I got brave enough to try a competitive run and eventually a couple of half-marathons, I knew I was a life-long runner. Running more, running less, running fast, running slow, but always running somewhere. However, since the baby, despite my best efforts to self-motivate, I’ve been running nowhere fast. In the 7.5 months since I’ve been allowed to resume exercising, I’ve run less than 10 times. I walk my dogs daily (sometimes thrice in a day, spoiled little brats) and I’ve gone to yoga as much as time allows (read: not much) but for whatever reason, running has fallen off the radar. And I feel sad about it. Have felt that way for some time. But until now, apparently, I wasn’t sad enough to do anything about it.
Yesterday morning I took advantage of having built-in grandparent childcare and hit the road. No more excuses. I took the dogs (so they could send for help in case I collapsed) and ran on dirt trails (so my ankles would have a little longer before they gave out) and told myself that any run is better than no run. Also, I saw a picture of myself in a bathing suit from a disturbing angle the day before. I was feeling inspired.
The way I felt afterwards was the way I want to feel ALL THE TIME. The way I felt during was the price you pay for getting to feel so great when you’re finished. The run was short, 20 minutes (or 22 minutes if you count the two minutes we stopped to eat ripe raspberries off the bush…I needed to refuel?) at a moderate pace. The run was full of hills, and I struggled up every one.
After the run, after the high wore off, after my baby was finally napping, I took a moment to think about how I feel about my body, what I can or should realistically expect of myself. And I felt satisfied, proud, and tired. I decided that I want to run more, so I will run more, and when I do I’ll feel awesome and when I don’t I’ll forgive myself.
To celebrate this renaissance, I ate some chocolate and washed it down with wine.