Oct 16, 2014

share your passion: running

I'm October is crunch time for my dissertation and I'm really feeling the pressure! I defend in 11 days! (All the feels. All the scareds. All the nerves. All of them.) To say I have no time is a complete understatement. To help lighten my load, I'm bringing y'all some amazing guest bloggers. These folks will be taking over my blog every Thursday to share their passions.

This week, we have Teresa from Journey to the Finish Line. Teresa is a fellow twin mom with adorable b/g twins and a speech therapist who has an amazing series of posts on her blog on how to use everyday toys to help develop your child's speech. I highly encourage you to check it out!

Today, Teresa is sharing her passion for fitness. More specifically, for running. Man oh man do I wish I shared this passion! I love the imagery she uses of running through her problems. I want that for myself.  Too bad I hate running. And too bad I physically can't run ever since my ankle surgery. That said, I've decided I'm going to get better at personal fitness because I want my boys to have an example of a strong mom. To that end, I joined a gym this month. I've been once, so that's a start. This post has motivated me to lace up my sneakers and go again. I hope it motivates you too!

Five days a week, my alarm goes off and I stumble out of bed in the dark, searching for the light switch in the bathroom. Once I find it (hopefully without tripping over anything first), I flick it on and shove on my workout clothes while I shake out the half asleep cobwebs still formed in my brain. On some days clothes, socks, shoes, iPhone, headphones, water, Garmin. On others helmet, goggles, swim cap, or yoga mat. Whether running, biking, swimming or Yoga, this is a routine I follow 5 days a week without fail (with the exception of illness or injury of course). Sometimes, depending on the time of the year, I am out and back before the sun fully rises.

My relationship with fitness began as love/hate. Although always a thin and active kid, as I reached my teenage years I began to feel uncomfortable with my body. I still can't remember what exactly caused a switch to flick in my brain, but I suddenly became obsessed with how it looked. I scrutinized myself in the mirror and looked at girls who I'd now consider to be too skinny with longing. Her thighs barely touch, I'd think, while mine are huge.

As I began college, scared to death of the dreaded Freshman 15, I began to keep a close eye on calories in/calories out. I exercised some. I weighed myself almost daily, rejoiced when the number was less and berated myself when it was more. Truth be told, I was severely depressed and felt very much out of control. One day, during my Sophomore year, I felt so overwhelmed with stress and anxiety that I threw some clothes on and literally ran out of the front door of my dorm. I went as far as I could without stopping. At the time, it was maybe a quarter of a mile. When I stopped, I was totally winded, but I noticed something.

For that quarter of a mile, my anxiety was gone. For that few minutes, I felt a little better.

This isn't to say that run transformed my depression and anxiety forever. I continued to walk on a tightrope between exercise being healthy vs. somewhat self destructive for several more years. I spent many hours in therapy, and many more spilling my soul into journals. Still, no matter how little I wanted to, or how desperate I felt, I made myself lace up my shoes and run. First that quarter of a mile, then eventually one full mile. Then two, three, five. I still remember the sense of accomplishment the first time I ran six miles without stopping.

When I felt lost after graduating college, I ran. After moving 12 hours from the city where I grew up, I ran. While struggling through graduate school, I ran. When my (ex) husband deployed, when we moved overseas and I knew no one, when I came home by myself 6 weeks later and through the divorce process, I ran. When I felt guilty for leaving, I ran. When I thought I'd never meet someone new, I ran. Through our struggle to conceive, I ran.

Finishing my second marathon about 6 months before we started fertility treatments

Running saved my sanity, and despite the initial unhealthy relationship, has helped me learn how to accept and love my body and mind because I continue to push the limits of what I think I can do. When I injured myself last December, it broke my heart because I feared my running would never be the same. It probably won't, but I've learned to embrace biking and swimming since then, something I never would have done otherwise.

As the twins grow older I look forward to sharing this passion for fitness with them. They may not want to run, but I hope that I can be a positive role model and encourage them to be active somehow. I want to teach Abby that strong is more important than skinny, to show Miles how to channel his frustrations and stresses into something healthy. I want them to understand how important it is to take care of yourself, both physically and mentally. Not just tell them, but show them.

Babies first 5k

It is my time to reflect, think and feel when life is most crazy. It is my time to problem solve; my time for myself.

My first sprint triathlon

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