It’s one week to race day. On Sunday, May 12, 2013 — Mother’s Day — I am going to Run Like a Mother in my first 5K.
I’ve been running three times a week for the past five weeks, each time averaging 3 miles. That’s at least 9 miles per week for a total of 45 miles in the last five weeks.
This morning I ran 3.3 miles. Then did a 2-mile nature walk with the kids.
I’ve run more in the past five weeks than I have in the past six years.
All of this running has had unusual side effects, and they’re not all pretty. I wish I could report the love handles are gone, but I think that will take more than six weeks. There are mental and emotional side effects to this little experiment that have challenged me unexpectedly.
Why am I running?
I tell myself I’m running because the opportunity was there.
I’m running for Boston.
I’m running for my kids.
I’m running because I can.
All of that is true, but there’s something underneath that has been surfacing, and the more I run, the more I hear it, feel it, hate it, but have come to face it: I’m running because as much as I have been so blessed and happy these past few years, I’m still unhappy with this part of myself that I have had the power to change, but just haven’t. I haven’t done anything to get my health back in shape since my daughter was born. She just turned six years old last month, and while I lost the baby weight within three months of giving birth to my first born in 2004, I have gained life stress weight since becoming the mother of two…and it keeps building.
Six years of stress weight from raising two kids, running a household, running at least two businesses at a time, running this blog and other blogs, and trying to be a good friend, daughter, wife, volunteer, citizen. That’s a ton of baggage — literally, and figuratively.
Me? I carry the baggage in my gut. Hello, muffin top.
In my experience, life stress weight is much harder to lose than baby weight. It builds slowly — so slowly you don’t even notice until one day you look in the mirror, and you hate what you see, and you hate that you hate what you see because you know it’s not all that you are… but it’s enough. Enough to bug you. And because you have THAT guilt on top of every other mom/parent/friend/boss guilt, it takes longer to get rid of.
That’s the thing we don’t always talk about, right? The true innate stress of being a mom. We complain about the early hours and the puking and the homework and the spouses and the money and the dirty house, but we rarely talk about the damage that the sum toll, the layer upon layer of multiple life stresses, plays on us.
Some days, it’s damn hard being the Mom of the house. Being a mom is the hardest, most tiring, most frustrating, most depressing, most stressful role I will ever have in my entire life.
Yet being a mom is in no way a job (there is no quitting, after all): it’s my whole life. It’s a part of me every second of every day, and will be until the day I die. It’s a life that I live proudly but it’s still really, really hard.
And my work? Is also really, really hard. So life as a working mom and life as a mom mom just doesn’t leave me much time to take care of my health.
So I’ve told myself for the past six years.
And then, there’s this: I turn 40 next year. My health is shifting faster than ever and demanding, screaming for my attention. I can no longer coast along being okay with being heavier. I can no longer blame my baby weight. And yes, it bugs me that I have this muffin top and I can’t wear whatever I want anymore. It’s vain, and I’m not supposed to care, but there it is.
Maybe you can relate. Maybe this, in some small way, resonates with you, too.
So I’ve been running three times a week since March 30th. I’ve found an amazing community in Run Like a Mother. I have found strength in people like Jenifer, Ann, Julie, Colleen, Shagun, Holly, Dannell, and many more women. We are all moms, and we are all out there. Some fast, some slow, some walking, some running. We all have our own reasons.
One week. First 5K. Run Like a Mother. There are several races around the country. Sign up to run or walk in yours. Personally, I’m not running to race and I don’t care at ALL about my time. I don’t want to run marathons. I don’t care to compete with anyone else.
I’m running to finish. I’m running to make a difference in my life. Plain and simple.
If you are running or walking Run Like a Mother in Portland, will you do me a favor? Introduce yourself and say hello. If you have a story, I’d love to hear it. I feel like I need to hear other people’s stories. The thing I’ve LOVED about this running thing is that I know now that I’m not alone. I never have been. Neither are you. We’re all in this together.
So with the ugly, uncomfortable truth out there, I’m ready to get out there and get it done, mamas. If you find you can relate to any of what I’ve written, I’d love to hear from you. Let’s work through our issues/challenges/goals together and go RUN LIKE THE BADASS MOTHER RUNNERS that we know we are deep inside.