I used to be a runner. I used to spend my mornings trotting around my city, headphones blasting beats, hair pulled up in a pony, with well-worn running shoes laced on my feet. I used to look forward to pushing through 10, 15, 20 miles on a Saturday. And I used to anxiously look forward to each race, each marathon, of which I am proud to say I have completed quite a few.
Then, I got pregnant.
I never had any intention of stopping– I planned to run my way through all 9 months and beyond, which is healthy for most running-experienced expectant mothers. Then my doctor said the words “high-risk” and my plans to run through baby baking were abruptly halted. And it was hard. Really, really hard.
Pregnancy was hard– mine was harder than most. And after baby Ruby made her entrance into the world, I worked hard to get myself back into fighting form. My running shoes were waiting for me. Finally, I felt ready to hit the pavement. My first time out, it was easier than I thought it would be. I felt awesome– really, really awesome! Just as I started to hit my stride…BAM. A shooting pain nearly knocked me over. I couldn’t take a single step further. I tried to limp home, but it was no use. Tears and a sniffly phone call to my husband later, he was loading our sleeping newborn in the car to come get me.
My diagnosis was devastating: herniated disks in my back. Apparently I had injured them while I was pregnant, but as it was my first time expecting, I just wrote it off to severe sciatic nerve pain (so severe I was on bed rest for two weeks) and figured it would get better after I delivered. And it did, a bit. But my first time out of the gate running, those disks decided to pop back out, and I was out of commission.
As soon as my back was on the mend, I went back to work full time. And now, my days are packed like never before. Between mothering, and working, and cooking, and cleaning, and blogging, and surviving, I just cannot seem to squeeze in what used to be a major part of my life. And I feel like that part of myself is missing. There’s a running-shoe shaped hole in my heart.
I keep telling myself when the weather gets a bit warmer, it will be easier. I can load Rubes into the jogging stroller and we can run and explore together. But I’m a little nervous… ok, I’m flat out afraid.
What if my back gives out again? Can I really keep up any kind of training schedule right now? And here’s the big one– what if mama just ain’t got it anymore?
But, I believe in trying. I believe in commitment, in making goals, in checking things off. I know it will never be easy– there will always be pain to push through, time will always be in short supply, and those running shoes are only collecting more dust.
So, get ready running shoes– I’m coming for you! It will take some time to get my groove back. I won’t just fall right back into my “happy pace.”
But I’m ready.
Who’s with me?
Photo by Veronica Reeve