Investing in my Health, Part 8

Then I had kids

Now, having kids is a trip. But what it does your body? A whole OTHER trip. I had read the books and been told countless stories, horror and non-horror, about what happens to your body, but I wasn’t fully prepared. I don’t think any woman is when she pops a human out of her body and then sees her body afterwards. There aren’t many things in this world that you can stretch and pull and push and tug and have them come back to their original condition. The human body is the same. Or at least mine is.

Being active for most of my pregnancy for several of my pregnancies, I couldn’t wait to get back to being active once my doctor said I could. So, I made it a priority to get moving, and, well it wasn’t easy. There were logistics – when was hubby coming home so I could go? Was my brother available to watch the baby? Could my in-laws help while I went for a run? How early was too early in the morning to get a workout in? It was a juggle, as much of parenting is.

Then there was the physicality of it. Will my body move the way it used to? Could it handle to go through another bunch of activities, and actual marathons after the marathon that is pregnancy? Well, the answer for me, fortunately, was yes.

But not without challenges.

My love of running didn’t die when I became a mom. In fact, I think maybe it got stronger. If there was ever a time to take care of myself, it was then, right? And I think I felt like I had to prove to myself that I could still do it. That I still had it.

The first race I ran as a mom was a 15k run…in the dark. It took place in the evening, midsummer, and…in the Leslie Spit (see my last post for how much I love *rolling my eyes and shaking my head* the Leslie Spit). I started strong, keeping good time, and then some version of the Wall showed up – possibly largely in part of where I was geographically. I had trained for this so I know I was physically fine, but my mental state brought me back to when I hit the Wall there last time, and I felt so disappointed with myself. When I look back at how I did, it really wasn’t bad. I think just how I felt and that I didn’t make the time I was hoping for, was what did me in. I felt like maybe my body just wasn’t gonna do it anymore.

Depleted but not defeated.

But instead of letting it get me down, I kept going. I ran more races.

When we got pregnant again, due to some easy complications, I was actually required not to do anything physically active. It was hard to make sure my heartrate didn’t reach a certain point and hard not to be active as an active person. It was a really sluggish pregnancy, I can tell you that. But, I set a goal to run another marathon. And this time, I was gonna do it better. I was gonna take my experience and do it the way I wanted to. I trained hard. As soon as I got the go from my doctor, I signed up for a marathon that would take place on my next birthday. I trained from summer through to winter. On hills. On hot days. In the evenings. Through blizzards (insert “Rocky Theme” here). If it was on my training schedule, I did it. I got pretty hard core.

One of the things I did while training for this one was a Beachbody program. I needed to cross-train, I wanted to get stronger and faster, and I didn’t have much time during regular hours, caring for my kids, going to work, battling winter, so I reunited with Beachbody and did Insanity with Shaun T at 5am every morning. I would work out in the wee hours of the morning and fit in anywhere from a hill run to sprints to tempo run, when I could, in the evening. I think about that now and have no idea how I did that.

I even worked on training my mind and my spirit. Each time I trained, I brought my faith in and listened to podcasts about my faith. Being active became one of the ways I prayed, worshipped and thanked God for giving me the gift of a capable body, and a mind that believes I can do anything. It became my time with my God, and where I fell short, he carried me through.

This training and dedication, the motivation from my family and friends, and my experiences, helped me to really get moving…and CRUSHING my previous race time.

I remember asking my husband to make sure they were cheering me on close to the finish line so I could use that extra push to ride into the finish. I remember hearing “MOMMAAAAAAAAA!!!!!” and seeing my, then, 3 year old son, step onto the path waving at me. I whispered to myself “THIS IS IT.” I said a prayer. And as I sprinted to him, I removed my fuel belt to hand to my husband for less weight to carry, and high fived them as I zoomed passed. I don’t even remember my legs moving…I just felt like I was on water. Of all the races I’ve ever run, that, by far, was the strongest finish I’ve ever had.

After that marathon, I found out my son was mad at me. “She didn’t even stop! She just kept going! UGH.” LOL!

Of the marathons and races I’ve run, most of them were as a mother. It was challenging and scary, but I did it, and I was proud of myself. It is so rewarding to finish a race and see my family afterward, proud of me while also somewhat oblivious to what I just did.

What has also been awesome is seeing my kids talk about me being a runner, me taking care of myself, and them wanting the same thing, even at very young ages.

And now, they see me helping people, sharing progress pictures of people I’m coaching, sharing what my fellow coaches are doing. They see that I’m helping people and loving it. They know they can find me working out in the morning. They’re eating more vegetables and are more curious about what I’m eating and not eating, and why. It feels good to set an example like that.

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