I want to break this up into a few different posts since my list goes in a few different directions.
So what kind of difference can running make in your life? I’ve had time to reflect on this and it’s really hit me how much running has done for me. It’s changed who I am. I am currently going through physical therapy thanks to another shoe injury(I’ll touch on the huge importance of shoes some time soon), and it hit me today. I am a runner. Yes, I’ve trained for months, yes I ran a half marathon, but for some reason I still didn’t feel like an actual runner. I have no idea why. This week marks my fourth week in PT. I had a visit tonight, and the whole time I’ve been begging my therapist not to tell me to stop running. I have cut back a lot, only running 1-2 times a week, for 1-2 miles at a time, with lots of walking involved. The cut has made me kind of anxious and I couldn’t stand the idea of not being able to run. Today my therapist told me that our goal is to make normal activities in my life free from pain, and then work up from there. I looked at her and told her that running is part of my day to day life. There is walking, picking up my kids, going up stairs, running. These are normal activities in my life, they are a part of my life. That’s when it hit me, that I’m a runner. Running has become part of my life and is as normal to me as walking from the kitchen to the living room, it’s a required part of my life. It was a great “A ha!” moment.
That brings me to the positive changes I’ve had in my life because of running. The first one is pretty basic and expected. Weight loss! After I had my last baby, just 2 years ago, I was at my heaviest. I’ve had 4 babies and have always rebounded pretty nicely. I never lost all of the weight, but even after my 3rd baby was born, I was back down in the 120s within 6-9 months. This changed after my last baby. I gained about 30 pounds during my pregnancy, not horrible, but enough. Here’s where things changed for me though…after I had her, I didn’t start losing weight. I was nursing, and everyone tells you nursing helps you lose weight. This is a lie. I gained weight after having her. By the time she was 4 months old, I gained 8 pounds. I was 17 pounds heavier than when I got pregnant with her, and the scale was moving up. I was horrified.
Now I wasn’t terribly heavy, but it was for me. I was close to 30 lbs over my preferred weight, and over 30 lbs heavier than I was when I met my husband. I was in a size pants I’d never worn in my life. I was gaining weight after having a baby! I got up to 147 lbs and a size 10-12. I was battling postpartum depression and anxiety as it was, and the shame I felt about my weight made it so much worse. Towards the end of the summer of 2011, I tried running and exercising but it had a negative effect on my milk supply(I was still nursing) and my nursing relationship with my daughter came first, so I stopped. I cleaned up my eating and did lose a little weight, 6 lbs, but when she turned 1, I was still 2 lbs heavier than I was 2 weeks after having her. This is about the time she started to wean. I started going to Zumba once a week and didn’t need as many calories since she didn’t rely solely on me for food, and the weight slow started to come off. By the summer of 2012, I’d lost another 10 lbs. I was getting close to where I was when I got pregnant with her.
This is the point that I decided to register for, and subsequently start training for, the Princess Half Marathon. I was running 3-4 times a week, I was doing Zumba once a week, I was eating better, and the pounds kept coming off. By this March, a year after my fitness journey began, I was down to 122 lbs, for a total of 25 lbs lost since I realized how unhappy I was with my weight. This is actually 8 lbs under the weight I was when I got pregnant with the baby. I’m wearing a size 6, and these days those are starting to feel not so snug.
I look good. I still have some areas to tone up, but I’m thrilled. I don’t feel ashamed of my body anymore. I’m not hiding myself anymore. My husband actually gets to see me naked every once in awhile(hey, we’re all adults here)! The best part is, I feel good. I feel proud of myself. Running has given this to me. It’s given me health, it’s given me confidence in the way I look and it’s given me a sense of pride, because I worked darn hard to get to this point. Considering I’m 30 years old now, and have carried and given birth to 4 babies, I think that’s pretty awesome.