Journey may not be my very first choice when queing up a playlist on my Ipod, but three days ago when I set out on my very first long run since being side-lined by SPD during the last 13 weeks of my pregnancy, that was exactly how I felt. I wanted to run on pavement for the first long run, (we live on gravel roads), so I drove the 7 minutes to the gym, parked my car and brought up MapMyRun on my phone. Along with a little Journey for the journey.
Setting out to just "run for fun" was a little hard to wrap my brain around, especially since I have been looking at some fall races starting in the next 6 weeks or so. But running for fun was what I knew my post-partum body needed, so I plugged into a fun, boppy playlist and hit the roads in the beautiful sunshine.
It felt so great to be outside after spending the last 3 weeks pretty much shut up in my house, learning my daughter, learning to breast-feed, crying at times, trying to "sleep when the baby sleeps", feed myself while feeding her, and wait, didn't I JUST change/feed/console/repeat the process?
In other words, it felt great just to be ME for a while.
I didn't pay attention to speed, (well, TRIED not to), but just listened to my body. And the bilateral side stitches. I listened to them, too, as they reminded me what it means to be a "beginner" again. I ran slowly, thinking about nothing and everything, setting a long run goal of 3 miles, and at one point even stopping to tie my shoe. I thought about being a mother at 29, chastising myself for constantly trying to put her back to bed, (but what else do babies do, other than eat/sleep/poop/cry, repeat?), I hounded myself to take more pictures, and I even cried a little at the thought of going back to work in 7 weeks. I mourned the loss of her delicate little newborn body as she is packing on the pounds, and in the blink of eye cheered at the thought that my dedication to breast-feeding obviously was paying off since she's chunking out. I experienced fear as I realized that every day that goes by, I will never get back, and every minute that passes she's changing and growing. I panicked at the idea that in 16 (or hopefully more!) years she will be dating, facing "grown-up" issues like sex, peer pressure, alcohol and drugs, and then, (ever the solutionist), promptly decided that the purchase of some sort of firearm would be in order. I happily recalled how in love with her my husband is, and then became jealous at how easily he can console her without the aid of breasts when she's sobbing, and all I can do is give her a boob.
I thought about how easily this 3 miles USED to be, and secretly was a little glad to find my shoe untied so I could stop for 30 seconds. I experienced self-deprecating thoughts of how slow my speed was, (even though I was TRYING not to pay attention to it), but quickly cheered myself up with "Don't worry--when I first started running, I couldn't even leave my driveway!". I studied the map on MapMyRun, trying to calculate "how much freaking longer??" and worried about my daughter. Is she hungry, is she refusing a bottle for her grandma, is she looking for me, is she wondering why her mommy left her?
As I rounded back down the cul-de-sac where my Edge was parked, I slowed to a walk to cool down, grateful that 3.5 miles was DONE! I then encountered this almost immediate feeling of "I can't wait until I can run again!"
Realizing that my excitement coupled with relief paralleled the constant ups and downs of motherhood and hormones, I became impatient to get back home my baby, when just 32 minutes prior I was so relieved to get AWAY for a while. My renewed sense of well-being helped me feel more confident in myself and my skills as a mom, when just 32 minutes before I was scared shitless to the point of almost having a panic attack when I had just finished feeding the baby for what seemed like the 100th time in 4 hours.
After pulling into my driveway and throwing my shoes off after coming through the door, I was saddened to see my baby sleeping peacefully, when 32 minutes ago I was desperate to get her to sleep. Missing her terribly, I crept into our bedroom and stared into her bassinet, secretly wishing she would wake up so I could just hold her. But alas, quietly she rested, growing softly, and I walked to the shower, sweaty, sore and guilt-free for the first time in 3 weeks.