Why I Run
On Sunday I will run my first half marathon. Make that my first race of any kind. Ever. Before this summer the furthest I had ever run was 3 miles. So why am I voluntarily running 13.1 miles without being chased?
Ever since Portia was born I have struggled to feel fully myself in my body. It took me longer to recover from her birth, get my strength and my sense of my body back. For the 18 months I breastfed her I felt constantly exhausted and depleted. Even after she weaned I still didn’t feel fully myself. I am someone who loves exercise, who lives for a good sweat. Not feeling like my body is my own is very, very hard for me.
Finally, this past spring once Portia had been weaned for about 6 months I started to feel the old me come back. I had a little more energy. I didn’t feel like I was slogging through my workouts and my day in general. I felt ready for a new challenge. One that was mine and mine alone. One that didn’t have to do with being wife to my husband or a mother to my girls.
I have always wanted to be able to run. To have it in my back pocket for when I am traveling and can’t make it to the gym with my trainer or to one of my favorite classes. More than that, as a born and raised New Yorker it has always been my goal to run the NYC Marathon someday. Before I turn 40. Which is happening in 3 years!
So, I decided I would train all summer and run a half marathon this fall. A 5 or 10K seemed too easy, too attainable. I wanted a real physical challenge. A milestone of my own to celebrate. Something I could be truly proud of myself for accomplishing.
I consulted with my trainer and together we set up a 12 week training program for me. My weekly “long run” started out at just 3 miles and in the beginning even that was a challenge for me. I doubted I would ever be able to do it. I dreaded every run. My body felt like cement.
But then, after about 3 weeks something clicked. All of a sudden the 3 mile runs were easy. I was doing 5 miles for my long run and while challenging it wasn’t impossible. The huge hill right before I got home was no longer a signal to stop and walk.
When I got back to the city after the summer my long runs really started to amp up in milage. I was waking up at 6:30am on Saturday before Doug and the girls to run 9, 10, finally 11 miles. I was running 6 miles home after dropping Hermione off at school. My body was sore but satisfied. I had blood blisters under my toe nails. They felt like battle wounds. Finally after 6 years of pregnancy, birth, nursing, repeat my body felt like mine again.
Two weekends ago we went back upstate to enjoy the fall weather in the country. That Saturday morning I woke up before everyone and went for a long run on the roads where my training had begun almost three months prior. The hills that challenged me and made me want to quit all summer suddenly weren’t so bad. I had done it. I was a runner. I AM a runner.
On Sunday when I once again wake up before my family, put on my race outfit, running shoes and racing bib I will certainly be a little scared. And excited. And scared. I have never run 13.1 miles but I know I can. I have pushed myself farther than I have been pushed in years. When I cross that finish line I will be reaffirming to myself that I am still me. I am a mother and a wife yes.. but still me.