For The Love Of The Run

I planned to write a blog entry every week of the pregnancy, but…that now seems a little bit excessive. I’d prefer to write when I hit milestones, and I think I have officially hit a running milestone smack dab at the start of week 15 (yesterday) of the pregnancy: I love running again just like I did when I discovered it in 2014.

I am to the point where I have to tell myself to take rest days or I might not take any. It’s almost like that honeymoon phase that we all experience when we first “get” running. My story isn’t atypical: Run a 5k against my will (my mom signed me up); swear off of running, force myself to try it again; finally understand why people do it constantly; run non-stop. I’m there. Side note: I actually am taking rest days…

Before discovering that there is a baby growing in me, I was struggling to regain my love for the sport. It was hot and cold. Some days, I ran 10:45/mile and felt pretty good about it. Other days, I ran 11:23/mile and hated myself because I couldn’t figure out why I was suddenly (what I consider to be) SO SLOW again.

I started to have random aches and pains and get a lot of random injuries again. Things “hurt” quite a bit, and the worst of it all was my DNF in the Pittsburgh Half Marathon because my Achilles developed lockjaw (totally a thing). I realized that I was hurting physically because I was hurting mentally.

I first learned about the whole “physical anguish caused by mental anguish” from someone on my non-profit board. It’s a subject for a different post, but long story short, it made sense.

When I realized I was expecting, I forced myself to make a mental shift. I told myself that I couldn’t be so hard on myself anymore because I wasn’t going to let my baby suffer from undue stress. Ultimately, I decided to have fun with running, and here is what happened when I ditched the watch and the standards:

  • Running at 10:42 wasn’t a thing anymore. Suddenly, I ran at 9:42. And then 9:32. And then 9:17, 9:03, and finally a five miler at 8:51 (up hills).
  • Runners High finally found its home in me again. It didn’t matter if I ran ten miles before I was pregnant – I didn’t get any satisfaction from it because I’m sure I told myself it wasn’t good enough/fast enough/whatever enough.
  • I became excited about racing! A little, local 5k became the best thing in the world today. I am ultimately happy just to be able to run while pregnant.

Most importantly, I loved running again. And I will continue to love it. I’m sure I’ll slow down a little as this belly keeps getting bigger, and that is fine by me. No matter what, you can always rediscover your love for the sport. I promise.

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