Happy Christmas Eve, friends! I hope you are enjoying a lovely time with friends and family this year and are cozied up surrounded by good company and food.
Today’s post about motherhood and running is a shortened version of a recent article I wrote for Women’s Running. I’ve been thinking about my running, and upcoming goals for 2019. I know I’m capable of running another marathon, but I’m just not sure I’m ready for the rigors of marathon training. But, I’m really enjoying running now, even running with a stroller (go figure)!
I heard time and time again before having Camryn that motherhood changes you. I don’t think I ever really understood it though, until I’ve lived it. I’m written before about changing priorities and exercise before. And while it’s true that your time, energy, sleep and priorities DO change drastically, I wholeheartedly still think it’s crucial to keep and find your own outlets. For me, that is and has always been running.
Running after pregnancy felt different. And, running in motherhood looks a lot different too. You can probably guess that. But, it’s not a bad different. In fact, I would argue that it’s taught me many life lessons.
Live More Slowly
This definitely doesn’t apply in all situations (I still run around in chaotic states looking for the diaper bag or my car keys), but especially in the morning hours. I’m no longer motivated to jump out of bed and go for a run. While sometimes I think that may be my best chance for actually getting a run in that day, there’s something to be said for a slow morning. Once Cam is up, we cuddle and we play while I enjoy coffee and the news. I watch her explore new things, seriously, new things every day. I love this slow part of the day.
Running is More Exciting
While I think habits are great, I also think there’s something to be said for the habituation effect. I actually talk about this with clients about food. Once you let yourself have something on a regular basis (like a fear food), you become habituated to it and it becomes less and less exciting. And I wonder if that’s the case with running too. It can become a “chore” or just something you do without thinking about sometimes. For me right now, I enjoy that it occurs more periodically and less regular because it really allows me to look forward to it and plan it.
I’ve developed a deeper appreciation for the sport. I’m grateful for any time out I can get, whether it’s five, 10, or 50 minutes. I make those minutes count. I can no longer just “go out and run” with no other agenda. Now my runs revolve around nursing sessions, pumping and planned naps. While time may not be on my side, I’ve shifted my running focus from quantity to quality. I’ve learned to appreciate running because I took it for granted before.
I’ve always been the person who runs a mile a minute. There are a million things on my to-do list and I never get them done, NEVER. And I hate waiting. Like if I’m in a doctors office and my appointment runs late, I hate that because it affects the other things I planned on doing that day. But similar to learning to live more slowly, motherhood has taught me patience. You use patience more than you’d think.
The world no longer revolves around me. Now I’m lucky if I get one thing crossed off that list each day. Similarly, I used to attack my running goals quickly and aggressively, probably not allowing myself enough time to really improve and recover. I’m now at peace with understanding that my running goals will take time, and rest and recovery are as important as ever. It’s okay if I’m not ready to run a marathon by next spring, or even the end of next year. My mind and body will be ready when they’re ready.
The Power of Compassion
I’m very aware of compassion because it’s something that comes up in nearly every client session. I use this website A TON. But, something about motherhood has really made me focus on what being compassionate towards myself really means. Being a mom means always putting on your game face. You can have your entire day tentatively scheduled, but if you have to sporadically take your baby to the pediatrician after a weird rash pops up, you have to adjust.
I’ve learned to be kinder to myself in those situations. Some runs get cancelled because they no longer fit into my unpredictable schedule. That used to bother me, but now I pat myself on the back and think, Maybe tomorrow. I know I am doing the best I can in this stage of life right now, and I know I’m doing awesome. A lot of times this means not comparing myself to others to really be kind to myself.
I’m Kind of Creative
Who knew? I have always described myself as more left-brained and science-y. But, I feel like I’m learning to embrace more of that creative right side through motherhood. I find new ways to include Cam in my workouts. Obviously, that can be a stroller workout, but it can also mean plopping her down in her playpen while I throw on an exercise video, or doing lounges or squats while holding her. Workouts are actually more fun now because they may include doing jumping jacks while she smiles up at me or crawling around the room with her.
Aside from running, my brain has been on fire with new ideas for this blog, freelance articles and business. Something about having less time makes you want to make the most of it.
Motherhood has a way of changing you. What’s best for her is best for me right now. I hope that I am modeling to her that it’s good to find ways to take care of herself in the future. More importantly, even with a new identity, it’s valuing to find ways to incorporate things I enjoy into my new life.
I may not have been able to run Boston, but I’m still motivated to keep working and plan for whatever running (or non-running) events and experiences the future may bring.