When I started running, it was not really about loosing weight. I hoped that would be a side affect of it. But to be honest, I was tired of sitting on my butt. The last 8 weeks of my pregnancy was me being tied to a bed other than going to my doctors appointments. Then I nursed for a mutant baby (just kidding… kind of) for 6 months who had an insatiable appetite, which meant a lot more sitting on my butt. I needed a change. I was tired of the lazy, sloth I had become. After years of being busy and active on the farm, I couldn’t stand being still.
I still don’t exactly remember why I settled on running. I think it was because for years, as an asthmatic I said running was stupid and I would never do it. Another part was probably that it was free. I mean, you can’t go wrong with free, right? I figured it I didn’t like it I wasn’t out anything.
During the miles of country roads, sidewalks, town roads and trails I have learned a lot about myself. Running gave me a part of myself back to me. Let’s be real here. Being a parent is an amazing gift. Having a baby also puts a lot of stress on parents and can be so hard to take.
These hard times in life change you. Embracing the constant evolution that we are is so important. We shouldn’t be the exact same person we were 5 years ago. But part of what makes us unique are the things we love. I love my daughter, but in the heat of parenting it can be so easy to loose sight of the forest of the trees. Or one single tree in my case. I love her with all of my heart and my beautiful family is my favorite thing. Period.
It would have been so easy to let it consume me though. To completely let me forget the things I used to love and still do love would be unfair to myself. I had a friend that used to love music. She loved dancing. She would know every song on the radio by heart. She had her first child and one day she informed me that she doesn’t know any song on the radio anymore. I asked her why. She told me it was because she was a mom and just didn’t have time for that anymore. Now that she is a mom of three she has started listening to the radio more and I see more happiness in her. She is a completely loving mom and is amazing with her kids. But I know she rediscovered an old part of herself that she had lost track of temporarily. She now listens to music all the time and dances with her kids around the living room.
I decided I didn’t want to have that time where I lost myself. I wanted to remember what defines me as an individual. The thing or things I loved to do just for me. The time I dedicated just to myself. Running became that time. It gave me a small piece of the independent woman I am. It reminded me I am a strong, driven person who can accomplish anything I put my mind to.
Running has helped me to manage my stress even in hard times on the farm and with my family. It give me time to think and put any situation into perspective. It gives me a healthy place to expel my competitive energy. It helps me to feel fulfilled because I am doing one thing several times a week to take care of myself.
Running has gotten me into my pre-pregnancy jeans. After a few weeks of logging the miles, I realized I didn’t really care about what jeans I fit into. Feeling strong and fulfilled was what I needed. Running has given me so much more than I ever imagined.