I have a new habit. No worries, it’s a positive one, although, depending on who you ask, it may be seen as kind of negative. To get right to it, my new habit is running. I’ve been doing it 3 times a week, every week, since mid July, and it’s been absolutely amazing.
I’m positive that I started too soon (for my body) after giving birth, but I’m happy, nonetheless. I’m ecstatic, actually.
I never planned to run. I actually remember (quite well) saying that I’d never run. I thought running was boring in light of the amazing time I had doing a mud run back in 2012. I enjoyed the obstacles of the mud run but refused to run in between those obstacles. My exact words were that I would only be found running if I was being chased, and even then, because of my past, I’d not run. I said I would just stand and fight, but here I am, running, and absolutely loving it. Proof positive that one should never say never, right?
I like to credit God with every good thing that happens in my life and running is no exception. A big part of the reason is because I was so staunchly set against it. After giving birth this time, I began to feel bored with doing workouts that targeted parts of the body as if those parts are separated from the whole body. It no longer made sense to me to have an arm day or leg day, etc. I wanted to do things that just incorporated more movement into my lifestyle. One thing I so enjoyed while growing up, was double dutch. I wanted to teach my 3 daughters and have that be one of the ways I moved my body and lost weight. (We had an opportunity where my aunt, cousin and I did a little double dutch intensive with them this past weekend. They got to see me in action and were quite proud and impressed too. The stamina and endurance of running the last few months translated extremely well into jumping double dutch. I was impressed that I wasn’t winded at all.)
In addition to starting to teach them double dutch, I decided to start walking. I walked for one week and next thing I knew, I started a couch to 5k running program the following week. Runner’s high is most assuredly a thing, and I so enjoy it that I quickly became hooked. Not having plans to run in the first place, I thought I was merely following the program but two days after finishing it, I found myself at the starting line of my first 5k. As I crossed the first corner, I wondered why on earth I was there. I wondered why I thought this running thing was a good idea. I wondered how on earth I would finish the race when it felt so difficult not even 5 minutes into it. Then, I just kept putting one foot in front of the other, over and over and my mantra became, “Ok, Ok, Ok.” Real enlightening and encouraging, right?
I remember seeing an older woman in her late 70s. She looked amazing in her capri leggings and sports bra. Granny was shapely and had muscles and all. I was encouraged. Then, as I neared the halfway point, puffing along, she ran in the opposite direction (she’d already been where I was and was on her way to the finish line), she encouraged me even more yelling to me, “Keep going!! You’re looking great!!”. I said a breathless thank you and did my best to smile her way.
Inside, my heart soared. Here was an older woman rocking a 5k, strong as ever and looking fabulous while doing it. This sport, yes, I call it a sport, has longevity.
As God would have it, I joined my local road runners club, and after the first meeting, a woman walked up to me asking what races I had run. I told her and she said she’d done that one too. I stopped, looked at her closely and asked if she wore the sports bra and capri pants. She said yes. I cried and insisted on hugging her. She gave me a prolonged hug and kiss as I cried and told her what an inspiration she was and is to me. She held me and encouraged me even more and told me her running secrets. I now lovingly refer to her as Granny Zan.
This post partum period has been one of my more difficult ones. I am so grateful the Lord has led me to running. Although I wasn’t looking to do races, I have done one in September, October, I’m already signed up for races each month, thru January and I’m eyeing one in April of 2018. The Lord couldn’t have given me this gift at a better time and He knows it. It helps to keep me sane and is slowly but surely, changing my body for the better.
Despite well meaning but non running friends and their weird warnings about why I shouldn’t run, I am having the time of my life. The running community is astonishingly supportive and loving and the benefits are numerous.
I am able to be a better me for myself and my family. I am modeling a lifestyle that is and will continue paying off big time for us all.
In a running group, one person asked what others think about when they run. I thought for a moment and replied with some of the following: I think about how fortunate I am to be able to do this. I enjoy the scenery and hope the deer don’t see me as threatening and decide to attack. I listen to the many sounds of nature and my rhythmic foot falls. I listen to funny books and lol, and stories from The Moth that make me cry as I run. I smile and pray. I wonder why I am doing this and then wonder why I didn’t do this all my life. I bask in that beautiful “runner’s high” and imagine all the good running is doing for my body. I see myself thinner and faster with my now 7 month old in tow. I feel proud that I am a for real runner, right now. I am an athlete. I check my posture, breathing, etc. I wonder if I am finding that balance of pushing myself but not to the point of overuse or injury. I enjoy that feeling that only another who has crossed a finish line knows. I experience sheer joy at the powerful simplicity of putting one foot in front of the other, carrying my whole body over the expanse of miles and miles, with my own two little feet.
This, like so many other things, has been yet another gift the Lord has strewn along the path He set for me and I am beyond grateful for it. As Psalm 16:9 says, We can make our plans, but the Lord determines our steps. In this case, He has done so, quite literally.
First 5k 9/17/17