Just 8 weeks ago I was in the hospital trying to have a baby. Tonight I went for a run. It was one of those ideal days for a run. 65 degrees and sunny. The leaves are starting to turn and the sun starting to go down this time of night means it peaks through the trees casting everything in a golden yellow.
I had my headphones on with good music pumping through my ears because truthfully it helps me get through this 1.5 mile run that I so desperately crave throughout the day. Yet when I’m actually out there running it doesn’t feel easy. Not yet.
I ran through my pregnancy to 36 weeks and 6 days and most of the time I was running 8:30 pace. The first time I ran one mile, at 6 weeks postpartum, i ran 8:30 pace! The same as I ran almost 37 weeks pregnant!
I’m a bit faster after nearly 2 weeks of running 3 times a week, slowly having built up to a whole mile and a half, but honestly, it still doesn’t feel “natural”. My body just feels awkward like I forgot how to run and I get side stitches and it feels hard to run under 8 minute mile pace. But…it’s ok. I actually read that it can take up to a full year for your pelvis to shift back into position and you can have relaxin (that hormone that loosens all your joints) for just as long. So it’s going to take some time. And this being my third pregnancy, it seems it will take longer this time than the previous two. I signed up for the mommastrong website to try to regain some strength and one of the things they tell you is to figure out how to “win ugly”. Basically, you may look terrible trying to get back into shape with your face red and grimacing but if you can get over all that and do it anyway you’ve won ugly. That’s what I felt like I was doing on my run tonight.
I love running. Especially this time of year. I love the feeling of my heart pounding. I love taking in so much oxygen and I love the freeing feeling of just me being out there in the streets getting there with my two feet. I love the release of the sweat pouring out of me and I love how without all the noises and distractions around me my brain can just focus on my own thoughts. I love how most of the time it feels so effortless. I can look at the trees and smell the houses that have a real fire going in their fireplaces and those that are grilling out. I love seeing people out in their yards, mowing their lawn, kids playing, people out for an evening stroll. Something about it makes me feel so connected, yet far enough away to just be an observer.
I love my life and my family. I pour myself out to them day and night and I’d never trade it. Often though, it leaves me completely exhausted, depleted. There is always someone with needs that I need to meet. Not too many moments for uninterrupted thoughts. There’s constant noise and some of it is joyful (laughing, playing) and some of it is, well noise (bickering, screaming, crying). There’s always laundry, dishes, toys everywhere and most days lately I’m not even close to staying on top of it. That’s why I crave running. It keeps me sane when life is chaos. Even when at the moment it feels like another thing I’m failing at.
I know with each run I’m getting a little closer than I was before to those “effortless” runs. Even if these runs right now feel awkward, I still love feeling my heart pounding, feeling the sweat pour and being able to have my thoughts uninterrupted. And I’m always so happy to see my children when I get back because believe it or not, I actually miss them. Less than 12 minutes of running and I miss them. It’s good for them too because I come back relaxed and happy.
These days with an infant go by fast, but they are also all consuming. It’s a level of shear exhaustion that has so far gone unmatched in the other stages of life with children for me. Running helps me to see glimpses of myself again as a person, not just as mom.