Monday, March 13, 2017

Runner's Rambles: Here's what I've been up to!

It's been a minute since I posted a new blog post, right? Turns out being a mom, wife, grad student, friend, runner, and all the other positions I hold in life, takes up most of my time right now. I am fully back into the swing of running, and I love it. This is just going to be a major ramble and abbreviated catch-up because it's spring break, so I can take a little bit of the time I usually spend on homework after Huxley goes to bed to blog instead of evaluating some aspect of the current public educational system in the United States! While I find that fascinating as well, it is nice to blog about running for the first time in a long while.

My Current Training
I distinctly remember a woman from my hometown who is an amazing runner coming by the pool I worked at in high school and college to drop something off for her son who worked there as well, and she nonchalantly asked the group of lifeguards in the guardhouse if we ever wanted to run a half marathon with her. Her son told her somewhat annoyed that normal moms invite their kids' friends over for a barbecue, not to go run a half marathon. (Note to self: new future goal- be THAT runner mom.) 
I tell you this because several months ago I realized that I set a goal to run another marathon before I turn 30 when I finished my first marathon. When I realized I will turn 30 this year, I nonchalantly asked my friends, who are fairly in-shape, but not previously dedicated to running, if they would like to run a marathon with me. To my surprise, a few of them said yes.
Right now we are starting off slow and training for a half marathon that we will be running in a few weeks. I have run a 2 miler and a 5 miler so far this year, and though the 2 miler was part of what's called the Frostbite Series, it was actually MUCH colder at the St. Pat's 5 miler I just ran. My friends really are amazing for finding these other races for us to run and for training for and helping me stay accountable in my own training. 
My favorite training run so far was my 8 miler. I ran on a new (to me) paved trail, and I had an absolutely empowering run. I had one of those runs where I didn't know if I was ready for 8 miles when I set out, but I had a great time out running. I felt strong. I have been doing some real work to be a healthy mom, wife, human. I started to open up to family and friends right after Huxley was born, but I was quickly shut down with pretty judgmental and unsupportive comments when I started to talk about my postpartum depression and postpartum anxiety. Lots of moms have the baby blues, and lots of new moms are anxious about the new role of being a mom and figuring out how to properly care for a tiny baby, but this is not the same; I had completely crippling breakdowns on a regular (read that daily at the beginning) basis, but I started getting professional help a couple months ago, and running is something that helps to remind me how strong I am. I can overcome so many things, and running helps remind me of that. It helps me connect with myself, with my inner strength, with nature, with God. Running also helps to remind me that so many things in this life are temporary. The temporary can be good and it can be bad, but I need to remember it either way. Pain is temporary, and I will make it to the other side if I just take it in stride. On the flip-side, I know that this life, my mobility, and my youth are all things that can be gone in the blink of an eye. Running helps me embrace the temporary nature of life. The 8 mile training run I did was one of those awesomely isolating yet supremely connecting runs. It filled me with hope, joy, anticipation, humility, gratitude, and drive. I am looking forward to continuing my training to build back up to where I was before I became pregnant, and after running with Huxley in the stroller pushing around 50+ extra pounds while running, I am pretty confident that over time I will be even stronger as a runner than I was before.

My Current Favorite Things
Run, Selfie, Repeat- RSR is a blog, podcast, social media, etc. platform about an average runner named Kelly Roberts. She lets us in on the craziness that is running and life. She is the founder of the #sportsbrasquad and her new(ish) podcast is amazing. I love it because she is down to Earth, and so honest about the struggles she had overcome in both running and life. She is so refreshing in the world of running for the everyday runner like myself.

Still I Run Community- Sasha Wolff is the founder of Still;Run Community to help battle the stigma against mental health. I actually started following her on Instagram before she created the community because I saw her awesome tattoo, and that was before I was diagnosed with PPD and PPA. I love this community because I know how easily people can dismiss a mental illness or judge people who have been diagnosed with a mental illness. I know because I experienced it firsthand. I am not someone who should dismissed or held at an arm's length just because I was diagnosed with PPA and PPD. I am not a bad mom or a bad wife because I have PPA or PPD. I am NOT weak or stupid because I sought out the help of mental health professionals. I may not have support from all my family or friends, but there is a community of complete strangers who are good, kind human beings who also happen to be runners who have fought similar battles to me, and I am thankful for an opportunity to connect with others who want to ensure we end the stigma of mental illness. 

My Current Mantra- She Who Dares. This is my current mantra because it reminds me to be a daring woman. It reminds me to be an example to my son and to those around me to dare to be myself. It reminds me to dare to push myself beyond my comfort zone. It reminds me to dare to set big goals and push toward them. It reminds me to dare to be strong in the face of adversity. It reminds me to dare to be empowered. 

Stroller Running- It's been unseasonably warm, and my favorite kind of running lately is stroller running. It is difficult. It really is. If you have ever seen someone out making stroller running look easy, just realize now that it isn't, and that person is in really good shape. They are pushing extra weight, lacking arm swing on one side, and still keeping up a decent pace. (Not me. I'm so slow with the stroller right now, but those people you see making it look easy are keeping a decent pace, I'm sure.) Huxley loves going out for runs, and I am really enjoying being able to take him out with me. I am excited at the prospect of getting stronger as a runner and getting better so that I can go faster, I can take him out longer, and I can be an example for him. It's something for just me and him. I'm looking forward to the days when he will be old enough to ask me to take him with me on my runs. I'm sure when that happens there will be times when I wish he didn't want to go, but for now, I'm looking forward to it. He's pretty awesome, and being his mom is the best gig I've ever had, so being able to share this with him is pretty amazing even if my actual running with him is less than impressive at this point in time. My strength is building with each run though, and I love it!

Compression Socks- My favorite brand currently is Mojo because the quality is pretty good, and the price can't be beat. Literally. I have not found a cheaper sport compression sock. I got them off Amazon for like 12 bucks. For real. Now why am I wearing compression socks you ask? Well, you see, I had a baby last summer. And when I was pregnant, I developed a pretty bad varicose vein that I will now carry around with me for the rest of my life. Varicose veins can be downright uncomfortable, and especially so when running. Compression socks help. So now I'm that slow runner decked out in compression socks even on a short run, and if you see me, then don't judge me thinking to yourself, "really? you need compression socks chubby, slow, lady barely even going for a run?" because YES. YES, I DO. Because I have a freaking uncomfortable varicose vein, so yeah. Leave me alone. I'm not under some allusion that I am fast or that the socks will make me fast or anything like that. I just need them for my Mother Runner varicose vein-y legs! Ok? Thanks. Hahaha

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