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Tiaras and Trucks

Tuesday, June 21, 2011

Looking for My Mojo

It's a fill-in-the-blank-for-your-own-prompt Prompt
The first time I ________-ed after _________-ing.
I chose to write about the first time I ran after having Dylan.

I bent to retie my shoes, loosening my laces and pulling them tight, though they felt perfect before the tweaking.  My mood wavered between unsettled and apprehensive, my eight-week old at home, without me.
I worried he had woken up.  I worried he would miss me.  I wondered if Ryan would call me if there was a crisis.  I wondered what kind of crisis could possibly arise during the forty-five minutes I planned to be gone.

I bent to tie my shoes again, then abruptly straightened and stepped onto the treadmill, out of excuses.  Sliding earbuds into my ears, I turned on my carefully prepared workout mix, the hip hop jarring after carefully monitoring the child-appropriateness of my music choices during my gym hiatus.

The warm-up walk was familiar, easy in fact without a massive double stroller in front of me.  My stride turned almost to a strut as I contemplated changing speeds.  Inexplicably, I probed at my caesarean incision, testing for soreness, for pain, for a challenge to my plan to get back into shape.

Numbness. The best I could hope for.

I wondered what was happening at home.

I eased the speed up to a twelve-minute mile, thinking back to the hours I had logged on the elliptical during my pregnancy.  My legs fell into a remembered rhythm, awkwardly and tightly, feeling heavy and unfamiliar above my shoes.
My tight sports bras reminded me of the tether that would link me to Dylan for the next year.

Minutes later, my lungs were as heavy as my legs, my breathing labored and forced.

Walking, pre-natal yoga, and the elliptical machine had kept my weight gain within a respectable range, but my body was eager to remind me that nothing could make me sweat like a good run.

Turning up my music so I couldn’t hear myself panting, I forced my legs to move back and forth, slowly waking my muscles from hibernation.  Sweat snaked down my temples by the end of the second song, but I lumbered on, attempting to ignore the discomfort.

Refusing to take a pacifier meant Dylan could be difficult to soothe if he woke hungry from his brief naps.

But as my feet struck the rubber belt, left right left right, I felt another familiar sensation.  Briefly, fleetingly, joy flickered, teasing my lips into a grimacing smile.  Anxiety flowed out of me with the sweat.

Ryan could handle any emergency manufactured by a sleeping two-month old and a toddler.

Muscle memory pumped my arms back and forth, my stride quickening to its accustomed beat.  The bass in the background propelled me along.  I eased the speed up a few more notches.

That lasted for a few brief, glorious minutes before I had to slow back down to a walk or risk keeling over and flying off the back of the treadmill.

Still, those marvelous moments reminded me of why I had a training schedule written, in pen, in my planner. 

Running keeps me in shape and keeps my stress at bay and keeps me from throwing the Glee soundtrack out the window after hearing it countless times.  Running brings me joy.

And now, over a year, and hundreds of miles later, I need to recapture that joy.  Running has morphed into a chore, an item on my to-do list, a burden.

I need to reevaluate my goals or my mindset or my running playlist.  I need to lace up my shoes and turn up my music and follow my feet.

I need to remember why I run.

showing that even though he doesn't have a recital costume, he's still a cutie pie

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  • At June 21, 2011 at 11:29 AM , Anonymous Amy said...

    What a great post! Its a hard thing to make time for; yourself. 

  • At June 21, 2011 at 11:55 AM , Anonymous Jennifer said...

    This was fantastic. There were so many different directions this could have gone. You captured a lot here, fear of the crisis at home, body connection, priorities, guilt, and then ending with the soothing endorphins. I giggled out loud at the Glee line and it was a nicely placed light moment.

     I think that because most of this is piece is about coming back to running and even though difficult, your body remembering the good that it does, I found it a little startling that now it is no longer a refuge for you and was left wondering what happened, and in fact really, really wanted to know.

  • At June 21, 2011 at 3:01 PM , Anonymous Kir said...

    I love when you write about running. First because I am not a RUNNER and I learn about it from you and secondly because when you write about things you love like Abbey or Dylan or RUNNING , it comes through, I can feel it with every word, with every line. I am next to you my feet hitting the treadmill too, taking that journey with you.

    I hope that running becomes less of a chore soon, that you find that happy place inside again, where you can leave all your cares on the road behind you. In the meantime, I'll send CHOCOLATE!!!!

  • At June 21, 2011 at 3:26 PM , Anonymous Kristin & Megan said...

    Amazing post. I too needed to remind myself not too long ago that it was ok to take time out for myself to exercise!

  • At June 21, 2011 at 6:26 PM , Anonymous jentos23 said...

    Awesome post!! I can very well relate to this...running after c-sections, and leaving the babies at home with my husband. Love it!
    Hope you find your running mojo again soon!!

  • At June 21, 2011 at 7:06 PM , Anonymous Roxanne Piskel said...

    I love this post. It's so important to get back to those things that we are comfortable with, to get back into certain rhythms, after having children (and bonus if they help keep you in great shape!).

  • At June 21, 2011 at 8:24 PM , Anonymous Brianna said...

    Great story. I could almost hear the sound of your feet hitting the treadmill as you ran.

  • At June 22, 2011 at 1:07 AM , Anonymous Cheryl said...

    Honestly, if I wasn't in a running group, it'd be a LOT harder to get out there. 

    New music might help! ;)

  • At June 22, 2011 at 8:08 AM , Anonymous Galit Breen said...

    Oh my dear friend- I love this! 

    First of all I love how you made your own health and body a priority and how totally kick butt you are.

    And as a mother I love how you used the word "tethered to" and how you showed that with the back and forth of your thoughts.

    Perfectly shown and without-a-doubt relatable. Beautifully done! XO

  • At June 22, 2011 at 9:10 AM , Anonymous Angela said...

    It's a tether I gladly wore.  Now, of course, the tether is less tangible than that of a breastfeeding child, but it is stronger than ever :)

    I'm not kick butt at all :(  but I'm working on it.

    xoxo my friend!

  • At June 22, 2011 at 9:12 AM , Anonymous Angela said...

    Yes!  new music does help.  Time to visit that pesky iTunes...

    I would love to be part of a running group.  There's an awesome one that runs past my house.  Unfortunately, they do it smack dab as we're sitting at our dinner table.  My moms' group has a mini one, where we take turns running/watching kiddos, but it's mostly beginning runners, so our run time is short (20-25 minutes).  Good for speedwork or supplements but that's it.

  • At June 22, 2011 at 9:13 AM , Anonymous Angela said...

    You probably could!  I'm kind of loud :)

  • At June 22, 2011 at 9:13 AM , Anonymous Angela said...

    Thank you!  Recapturing those pre-baby routines is tough, but it's definitely important.

  • At June 22, 2011 at 9:14 AM , Anonymous Angela said...

    I hope so, too.  I am still running; it's just that it feels like another "to do" instead of something I ache for.  Ebb and flow, I guess :)  I try to remember how badly I wanted to run during my pregnancy, when it was just too uncomfortable!

  • At June 22, 2011 at 9:15 AM , Anonymous Angela said...

    Happier mom = happier baby, right?  Also, I'm trying to set a healthy example for them!  Why is it so much easier to take care of other people than ourselves?

  • At June 22, 2011 at 9:16 AM , Anonymous Angela said...

    Oh thanks my lovely friend!  Maybe I will write about it more :)  And -wait, did you mention chocolate?  Mmmmm, chocolate...

  • At June 22, 2011 at 5:12 PM , Anonymous Elaine said...

    I like how your worry about the baby went away the more you got into the run. 

    I love to run too, it's such a great stress reliever! 

  • At June 22, 2011 at 10:58 PM , Anonymous Sherri said...

    I'm impressed that you DO run, I've fallen in and out of it over the past 10 years or so. But I loved how you described that good feeling coming back, and the realization that things at home CAN go on without you! At least for 45 minutes!

  • At June 23, 2011 at 9:47 PM , Anonymous Angela said...

    Usually it is a stress reliever for me, but lately it's a slight stressor.  Not while I'm doing it, but fitting it in :(

  • At June 23, 2011 at 9:48 PM , Anonymous Angela said...

    It is the only fitness thing I can manage to stick with.  I've tried a ton of stuff, and nothing else holds my interest.  I kind of wish I liked something zen, like yoga, but I guess zen is where you find it :)

    And yes, if things are going to fall apart in 45 minutes, well, I'm doing something wrong the rest of the time!


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