So, how did I get to where I am now? In my adult life, most questions involving why I have changed from my old ways so dramatically all have the same answer – KIDS!
After my first baby, everything changed for me. I went from being carefree & irresponsible, tohaving the weight of the world on my shoulders. I remember being shocked when they let me leave the hospital with a baby.I couldn’t even keep a plant alive, and they just let me walk out the door with a helpless tiny human! On top of that, when I looked in the mirror, and my body didn’t look the way I had remembered it, and it just felt strange I now feel like the post-motherhood body is beautiful, but at the time, I just felt like I was wearing someone else’s skin. Not in the creepy Silence of the Lambs way – I just didn’t feel like me!
A few weeks after having Logan, I started having some major issues with my joints and I was chronically fatigued. Whenever I told anyone I was having chronic fatigue issues, I would receive the same response: “You have a new baby! No wonder!” My baby was sleeping through the night at 6 weeks. It didn’t make any sense to me. Along with that, I began to develop severe depression. After numerous visits to the doctor, they finally found out what was wrong with me – I was diagnosed with Chronic Lyme Disease. I was bitten by a tick 3 years prior when I was doing volunteer work on the Appalachian Trail in New York. I remember seeing the ring after I was bitten, but I had no idea what Lyme disease was and I just ignored it. The diagnosis was crushing to me.
I wanted to feel good about myself again. I wanted to take control of my life back. I didn’t want a disease to define me. The main reason I wanted these things was because I wanted to be a good mom and an inspiration to my children. I had started getting into running in my twenties, but I never took it very seriously. I decided I was going to beat a really unfortunate diagnosis by signing up for races and training for them. I ran my first 5K postpartum 4 months after I had the baby. I found that running actually helped with the joint pain, fatigue, and depression I’d been feeling. My body was starting to look the way I wanted it to look again. From then, I was hooked!
Running is such a beautiful sport, since everyone who crosses the finish line wins his or her own personal race. The simplicity and raw power of the sport truly moves me on all levels. I zone out, put everything else out of my head, and just focus on moving one foot after the other. I think I am a better mother because of my running. It allows me to decompress and meditate. It also gives me time to spend by myself, which is HIGHLY cherished with 3 kids. With that said, I’ve trained and ran races pushing the double jogging stroller.
When I get tired and want to quit, I remind myself of why I am out there. I repeat the reasons I’m running: “I run because I want to be healthy. I run because I want to be a good role model to my kids. I run because I refuse to let Lyme win. I run because I am unstoppable. I run because I want to take control of my life.“ When I do distance running and get tired, I think of all of the women who inspire me. I think about how proud my grandmothers would be if they could see me. I think of Katherine Switzer, the first woman to run the Boston marathon and had the race owner attack her and try to pull her out of the race. I think about how far women have come, and how lucky I am to be out there. I think about how lucky I am to wake up each day and see the sunshine, and I remind myself of the loved ones that I’ve lost, many far too soon.
So, do I belong in the loony bin for my running obsession? Quite possibly! I just hope they’ll give me a padded cell with a treadmill!
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