I’ve always admired runners. In college, I had several friends on the cross country team and even served as the team manager for a season. I’d never been part of an athletic team before, and I was in awe of their daily drive and discipline. They encouraged me to start running myself, but I was absolutely content writing splits and carrying water bottles. Physical challenges are not my thing.
Then I had a baby. Naturally. As in, I labored and pushed that baby out with no medicinal intervention. I felt everything, I did everything. It was hard, but I did it. I started thinking… If my body can do that hard thing, maybe it can do some other hard things. Maybe, like with natural labor, challenging myself is healthy in a lot of ways.
Running a 5K has been on my bucket list, and with my newfound openness to physical exertion, I decided to pursue the idea. Within two weeks of seriously considering it, a fellow MOPS mom posted about a running group she was starting. “Moms on the Run” is a national organization with local groups. Christy joined a group in the middle of winter when she lived in Minnesota. Crazy! With no running experience, she trained and completed a 5K in a few months. After moving to Austin, she decided to start a group down here.
This could not have been more perfect! The training schedule is designed for beginning runners. ME. I bit the bullet and signed up.
We are on Week 6 of 18, and I feel good! It is hard, so hard. But after I run, I feel so good for the rest of the day. I can breathe, I feel strong.
My sister, Kristen, came with me one of the first weeks. She pushed the stroller for me, the coaches also help me with it. Most of our weeks have been cold and windy. I feel like a crazy person going out to run when my baby is bundled up like this.
Because when I run, I am in charge.
When I realized this, I felt a little guilty. It sounds crazy, but that’s the essence. The rest of the day, I am honestly only roughly in control of getting from point A to point B with my sweet children. At home, the best-laid plans can be squashed quickly when the baby poops on the way to the car or a certain pair of shoes is nowhere to be found. But running… It is up to me, I’m the one who can keep going or not, I’m the one who puts one foot in front of the other, I’m the one who takes full responsibility for stopping or who feels pride in a workout completed.
On May 11, I’ll be doing a 5K with my group. I’d like to run the whole thing, but right now the 3-minute running intervals we’re doing feel like forever. But I’ve got 12 weeks to go, and it turns out that I can do hard things. It’s a mental challenge as well as a physical one.
There is no way I could have kept going even for just these six weeks without the group. Christy is amazing and encouraging, as well as the assistant coach Li, and I’m thankful for their very practical help with Violet propulsion. Before starting, I mentioned to Christy that this was a lot of new physical activity for me, and I did not want to lose any weight. She remembered my comment, and about a week later, I got a sweet email from her – she had consulted with a nutritionist and provided me with some great ideas for healthy high-calorie foods. Wow!
With great coaches and a super-supportive family, I’m excited about this new adventure. I’ll keep you posted as I continue this craziness, and hopefully in a couple months I’ll have a photo of crossing the finish line of a 5K race. Can’t even believe I’m saying that.