The more I try to push running, the bigger it seems to backfire in my face. I don’t want people to think I am just being lazy, or giving up, or making excuses, because I’m not. At the end of the day, I love running, but running has become a lesser importance/priority in my life. I had high hopes that I would continue where I left off before pregnancy, and I think I got a little too ambitious. When I first had Clayton, it was easy to almost “jump back in”. Every nap time, and they were often, I would workout. I was hitting longer distances, at a much easier effort. But now that I am back to work, and little man doesn’t take an afternoon nap, there isn’t that freedom anymore. And I am not complaining about that one bit. I love EVERYTHING about my evenings with my main squeeze. Especially since it is so nice out now. Juggling work, momming, cleaning, cooking, and those everyday chores, it is so tough to squeeze in an hour+ long workout. Add in the fact that my crazy boy S T I L L does not sleep through the night, like at all (every 2-4 hours), it is all one busy schedule, that leads to immense amounts of exhaustion. Something that isn’t getting any easier, too. In fact, it’s getting harder. Later nights. Longer nights. Busier baby chasing days. The end of the school year rush/pressure. Sometimes I questions how I do all that. Let alone squeeze in a quick workout.
Basically what Chelsey (@chelseylovestorun) said yesterday hit the nail on the head. If you lace up and go, you are a runner. I am so sick of the stigma and bragging on social media that goes with running. You have to be “fast”. You have to run EVERYDAY. You have to run far. You have to eat, sleep, breathe running. It’s really disheartening to the folks who aren’t all about that, but still love to run. Pre-baby I was at the height of my running career. I was hitting speeds that seem impossible today. I was hitting distances that were easy in comparison to the struggle I feel these days. I was so excited to see how much more I could push myself. Well that lady is gone. Well, I shouldn’t say gone, because I still want to get back to that level. But I am in a new place in my life. I have bigger and more precious priorities right now. I do not want to wake up and regret missing anything in such an important part of his life. He is only little once, and I only get to experience the “first time mommy” goodness once. NO REGRETS! I am a mother runner!
When I downgraded from the marathon to the half, and then completely stunk at the half, it was really disappointing. But the entire race, I encountered awesome individuals who pushed me to see the silver lining in everything. In the first two miles, I ran into another Oiselle mama bird. I’ve been trying to find her on IG, but can’t remember her exact user name. Anyways, she was up from the Carolina’s and running her like umpteenth million marathon (just kidding). She is on a quest to run a marathon in each state, but has done over 30. Well the day before she was set to travel, she strained her calf and wasn’t sure if she was even going to come. But she did. And it was a privilege to meet her and run with her for a good five miles. She is the definition of a mother runner. She made me feel like the decisions I have made with my career as a new mommy are exactly how it should be. She has four children, has BQ years after having her kids, and totally agreed that running comes in seasons. I appreciate her positive talk and reassuring ways. Now if only, I could find her and thank her in real life.
Then I came across this lovely gal. She laughed at me when I asked the photographer if I could jump. She said I had great energy and it was awesome, even though I felt like I was going to die and just wanted to give up. The power of people is a real thing. Her kindness distracted my negative thoughts. Her guts to run her entire half of the relay was inspiring. She said she doesn’t run, but that her boyfriend does. And she was running the relay to help him, because he got hurt and could no longer run the entire half. She ran the first half as best and as hard as she could, without stopping, and then finished the race walking side by side with her love. It is those moments that matter. It is about finishing, despite the universe throwing stones in your way.
When she finished, and I was alone again, I tried really hard to focus on the positive notions both ladies instilled in me as we ran together, but I couldn’t shake the feeling of disappointment at the way things were going and my performance level. I was in pain, everywhere. I was tired, so tired. I had moments where I literally felt like I was going to pass out. I couldn’t get enough air. I needed to drink so much more than usual. I had to walk way more than I ever have in my running career. Every step was harder than it should have been. With every person that passed me, I felt more and more defeated. It was plain old ugly. But I showed up, and I didn’t give up.
With only a mile to go, we were finally along the beach. People were lined up the whole length of the boardwalk. A father pushing his son on a peddle bike, working together to finish a half marathon, passed me and that was when I hit my breaking point. If they could do it, I could do it. I cried tears of joy at their inspiring ways, put a smile on my face and finished the race on a positive note. I would be lying if I didn’t say it felt like I had just run a marathon. EVERYTHING was tight and achy. It was the kind of thing that if I sat down, I wouldn’t get back up. But it is this type of race that makes you appreciate running. And now, I am going to focus on running for me, for fun, for the love and joy that running brings. I’m going to stop stressing on numbers, distance and pace. I am going to stop letting the pressure and status quo of social media get to me. I don’t want to feel like a struggling runner anymore, because I don’t hold up to the standards that other runners maintain. I am a marathoner. I have pretty awesome PR’s. But now I am a mother runner, with mommy goals and aspirations.
Thank you to my loyal supporters, my friends and family, my husband, my other runner loves, and all those who still believe in me. Thank you to those who keep it real & honest. Just know I’ve got your back and believe in you. We are all runners!!💙