Running: How I Get Empowered


by Eva Everett April 29, 2015

When I was in high school, I couldn’t even run 1 mile without stopping, and I would fantasize about being hooked up to one of those oxygen tanks, like they give people with COPD, at the end of it. I used to think of running as some sort of hellish torture that only lunatics inflicted upon themselves.  If a bear had chased me, I may have just sat down and accepted that an early death was my fate. It feels strange even thinking about my younger self, considering that while pregnant with my 3rd baby, I ran 5 half marathons, 2 of which were only a few days apart from each while I was in my 3rd trimester*.

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!

*Disclaimer: My doctor cleared me to run the half marathons pregnant. She said that I was actually helping the baby by providing a well-oxygenated placenta & that babies of physically fit moms have higher IQs!  If you want to run while pregnant, please get consent from your doctor.  I am not a doctor, and I do not play one on TV.



Eva Everett
Eva Everett

Author

Eva is the Co-Founder of Svaha Apparel. Eva started off her career as a research scientist in Molecular Biology & Neuroscience, then decided to leave STEM fields to take her career down a new path. She has spent over 10 years in Customer Experience and e-Commerce Operations. She is the former head of Customer Experience at ThinkGeek. Eva is the proud mother of 4 children who constantly inspire her with their creativity and imagination. She is a marathon runner and heavy coffee drinker.



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