October 8th is all about ME. On October 8th I run my very first half marathon.
Over the last few months, my friend and I have spent many hours running. We ran together, and I have run alone. I have:
Ran. Sweat. Cried. Complained. Supported. Listened. Bitched. Given up. Motivated. Been motivated. Gotten hurt. Self-doubted. Seen dead animals. Hated my body. Loved my body. Lost weight. Built muscle. Pushed a double stroller. Shared many laughs with my boys. Been motivated by my boys. Been mad at my boys. Ran one mile. Ran 10 miles.
In the middle of it all, I also had days and moments of feeling guilty. Really, really guilty. It is really freaking hard sometimes trying to balance everything that is going on in life.
I just started a new job, which is amazing, and I truly love what I’m doing. With a new job, comes new roles and responsibilities. And time. More time needed to get things done. Time that inevitably cuts into my running time, which trickles into time away from my kids and family.
There were many days that I wanted to spend time with them, instead of hitting the pavement. I wanted to sleep in or cuddle in bed in the morning just a little longer. I wanted to sit down and eat dinner with them. I wanted to pick the kids up early from daycare to get an extra hour with them.
Guilt crept in. Because I still needed to get those training miles in.
There were many times over the last couple of months that I felt like I was being selfish by taking time away from everything else to run. My house has been really messy, we haven’t closed our pool, there is tons, and tons of clean folded/unfolded laundry that has not been put away, and I have yet to go through Evan’s clothes to switch the seasons over. These tasks are daunting, yet important to me personally to feel less crazy and disorganized at home. But, it all got pushed aside.
I also had A LOT of fun training with my kiddos in tow. Evan was my biggest motivator while running. He frequently would ask, “why are we going slow” when I would need to walk, and constantly would say “go Mama go,” to make sure I would start running again. Did he eat dinner in the stroller as we ran sometimes? YUP. Did I take the kids out on chillier days and bundle them up with extra blankets? YUP. Did we have to stop some days what felt like a million times, so Evan could enjoy the church bells or play at the fountain, or so that I could feed Logan a bottle or get Evan a chocolate milk at the coffee place? YUP. Did I feel guilty about this at times, YUP. But it was fun.
Then I started to realize that we ALL (moms, dads, anyone) deserve to feel grounded and nourished in our lives separate from our families, our roles as employees or from the tasks at home. How can I expect to do well in all the aspects of my life if I am not taking care of me? Running has become a sort of therapy for me. It has been a way I have taken care of myself mentally, and physically. I think we forget as parents that selfishness or guilt should not prevent us from tapping into our individuality or things we enjoy doing. After all, am I being the best mom, wife, employee or friend that I can be when I am not taking care of me? I don’t think so. Am I also setting a really good example for my kids that health and fitness are important, and can be fun too? I sure am.
So, October 8th, I’m coming for you. This is MY day, that I have worked hard to get to. And I am running in this half marathon because it is something that I enjoy, and helps make sure that I am taking care of me, so that I can be a better version of me in other aspects of my life. It will be a guilt free day.
Here goes nothing, 13.1.
Photography credit: Wilder Zandonella