Friday, February 19, 2016

When I Stopped Running (Even Though I Didn't Know It)

I haven't run, like really run, since October 2014.  I was 8 weeks pregnant with my daughter and ran a half-marathon that was only uphill (I'm not even kidding).  I sort of got back into the habit in..ahem...November 2015.  But no real running.

Yesterday, I sent a text to a friend who is beyond inspirational. She's running the Boston Marathon this year, and I wanted to check in now that it was only 60 days out.  She asked.

"When's your next run?"

{{{crickets}}}

I haven't looked at an event page in months. When I see folks in town, post-race, with a medal around their necks and a mocha in their hands, I don't even feel a twinge of guilt or motivation.

What happened to me?

When my little man arrived in the world, I bounced right on back and ran a 5k six weeks after he was born.  Then I ran a 10k, then I ran a half marathon, and I kept right on going.  When my daughter began to flutter around inside me, I was fresh off an awesome half-marathon PR and in the best shape of my life.  I figured I would jump right back into running after a super healthy pregnancy and keep right on running.

But I didn't.

My little squish didn't much care for the BOB , and contrary to what my husband says, I know that her cry is different than my son's was, and what was the point of pushing around a screaming baby? Neither of us were getting any benefit from it.

I thought it would change. I thought one day, I would say, "I'm going for a run," and then we would load up, and we would go, then go again.

Nope. Not yet.

First came a return to work after maternity leave (which coincided with a new school year me and harvest for my husband), a photography business steadily picking up, then a preschooler who desperately needed more attention, and, boom, it was hiking (and mushroom) season and then, suddenly, Christmas.  The months passed with  just that one run.  My pre-pregnancy jeans all began to fit again.  My favorite dress finally zipped.  All without a run.

"When is your next run?"

I left the question in mind, rattling around.  I realized, I feel great.  I'm eating well, probably better than when running ran my life (pardon the pun), in large part because I know I won't just "run it off" later.  I am not scurrying out of the house before my entire family is even awake (not that I could do that with a nine-month-old sleeping in the bed) to push my way to the starting line. I don't spend the days leading up to a race worrying that I'll get sick or roll an ankle. I go to the gym and use the weights without worrying about if I should be running hills, instead. I go for a walk with my whole family instead of leaving them behind so I can run.

When I started running, I needed it to get me back on a healthy track.  I had an unhealthy diet (including some pretty atrocious picks at Starbucks to make up for having to work Saturdays), no fitness goals, and a largely negative attitude about my career.  Running got me back in fighting shape, both mentally and physically.

I'm not going to lie and say I don't need running anymore, but my relationship with it has changed. I don't feel the same pull. It's not the same drug.  Maybe I'll wake up one morning soon, craving a run, but for now, I'm finding healthy elsewhere.

 

10 comments:

  1. Sometimes having a break can make you want to do something even more, other times it makes you realise there's other things you want to do.

    It's great to hear that running helped you chose a healthier lifestyle and that is something that's now embedded in your life, whether you start running again or not.

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    1. It's funny, I didn't even realize I was taking a break, and now I'm not even driven to go back. I love that my health has improved for the long-haul!

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  2. I think we all go through phases in life and sometimes our priorities change. I was extremely active in the PTA for years but stopped this year. I felt my kids needed me more at home in the evenings rather than me being out at night at the school. And I am OK with that.

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    1. Exactly - we have to figure out where and how our kids needed us. For a time, those runs with just my son were crucial for our relationship - now I would be leaving him behind...

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  3. It seems that running served it's purpose in your life. It helped guide you toward a healthy path, and now like certain people we encounter in life, it's left you with valuable lessons so you can truly enjoy other aspects of your life.
    I can't say right now that I ever want to stop running, but I can tell you that I'm looking forward to hitting my running goal this year so I can focus on other things too!

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    1. Yes! Hitting those running goals and then moving on is such a good feeling. I still have this vague desire to do a triathlon, but I haven't set that goal down on paper yet.

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  4. Running is just the latest in a long string of "hobbies" I have had.

    I didn't love running when I started. Sometime I still don't. I wasn't going to race. I wasn't going to do anything more than a 5k, certainly not a half, oh no.

    Somehow, some way, running got under my skin. For me, I think, what really keeps me running is the way I feel afterwards. It's truly the best stress buster I know (except maybe cuddling with the furkids).

    I don't think it's the only way to be fit; not at all. I actually have many forms of exercise I enjoy, including yoga, weight lifting, swimming, barre. And more!

    Someday, when the kids are older and you have more free time, maybe the road will call again. And maybe it won't. There's nothing wrong with that.

    As long as you're healthy and happy and so is the family, I'd say you're doing just fine.

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    1. Thanks for stopping by - I didn't realize when I started that it would change my life...and then once it did, I didn't realize I would be able to drop it so easily. Funny how that happens.

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  5. Ok I really love this! You have such a great way of giving voice to issues that we all experience. I love that you are finding healthy your way. I don't run very often at all anymore either, but I do love it - it's just not the right season in my life to pursue it!

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    1. Thank you for the kind words. I like your phrasing, "Not the right season." That's so fitting!

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