Saturday, May 7, 2016

Runniversary 5 Years Strong

I have made it 5 years as a runner! I started running simply to prove my family wrong. My sister was challenging my brothers to run a half marathon, and when I chimed in that we should make it a family affair, my whole family laughed and said there was no way I could ever run a half marathon. Since then I have become a lifetime Half Fanatic by running three half marathons in 50 days, and I finished a marathon while raising money for ALS research in memory of my grandma.

The races aren't even the best part of my running journey. I have had so many amazing runs in amazing places with amazing people. There have been difficult runs that challenged me mentally and physically, and those runs may not have seemed amazing at the time, but those are the runs that have made me a better person. I have met wonderful people in the running community who will be friends for life no matter the distance or time between us. I have found gratitude and strength through running. I have had the opportunity to contemplate deep philosophical and spiritual questions, and I have had the opportunity to just zone out. I have gained so much from running that I never anticipated when I started this journey.

I usually try to do some special run for my runniversary. I run my favorite route or challenge myself at a time goal for my run that day, or I run with a friend to celebrate. This year was different. I didn't run at all. I walked. Not only did I walk, but I went down to the treadmill in my basement still dressed in my pajamas, bathrobe, and flip flops. Yes. That's the truth. That's how I spent my 5 year runniversary. I am 29 weeks pregnant, tired, and relegated to walking. I didn't want to walk that day, but I dragged myself down to the treadmill to walk, slowly. I didn't really feel like it in my current state, but I did it. That's the thing. There have been times in my life when I didn't want to run, and there have been times like now when I couldn't run for various medical reasons, and in the beginning, I used to take winters off just because it was easier. But despite my groggy and tired days on the treadmill, yes sometimes in my bathrobe and flip flops, I am still looking forward to getting back to running.

I have no clue what my postpartum running journey will be. I have no clue how long it will take me to return to running, and I have no clue what I will be able to expect when it comes to distance or races in the immediate future, but I do know that I want to return to running. I am looking forward to the routine that grounds me, challenges me, opens my eyes to gratitude, builds my self-esteem, and helps me manage stress. I am happy that running will also give me the chance to set an example for my son. I will show him how to set goals, put in hard work even when it's difficult, and follow through until my goals are met. Running has done so much for me, and I know that it will be one way to set a good example for my son. I am excited for my future as a runner even though I can't run right now, and I have no idea what that future will look like, but I am excited to see where it takes me.

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