Saturday I was having a lazy day. I was really feeling like the pregnant woman I have definitely become. I’m starting to feel tired, my belly has suddenly “popped”, and my back is starting to ache. Here in NYC when we work, I can easily log 10 or more miles of walking each day. Add that to my usual weekly running mileage and I was exhausted come Saturday. But I knew that if I got myself off of the bed or coach, or wherever else I was lazing around that day I would feel better if I just went for a run.
And so run I did. I am only here in New York for a few more days. It is kind of bittersweet. I love doing what Rock and I call “work.” We get to play sports in the park with children all day and we have a great group of coaches that work with us. But I do miss the size of our place back home, our comfy bed, and our dog Louie (who has been staying at “summer camp” with my parents for the past few weeks).
I opted for my usual running route along the East River and over to Randall’s Island. The Governor’s Ball was going on so I was weaving in and out of enthusiastic twenty somethings who were headed to hear bands that I have never heard of. Gosh I am getting old! As I made it to the turn around on my route I was struggling a bit because there were some ridiculous winds coming from the north. I felt at times like I was pumping my arms and legs and barely moving and at one point I shouted out loud, “This is ridiculous!”
But as I turned around and started my trek back home and around the rest of the island I was struck by how great I was feeling. Sure there was the physical strength and endorphins. But I had an overwhelming sense of pride for how strong running makes me feel on the inside. I did the numbers as I ran and my total mileage for that week was 45 miles. Not bad for a 28 week pregnant lady! I highly doubt I will come near that again until after the baby is born. But wow it made me feel blessed.
Running of course gives us strong legs, lungs and hearts. We see muscles form in places we might not have since we were younger. Some days our cheek bones look a bit more chiseled or ab muscles poke out. But more importantly, at least for me, is the strength that running has given me on the inside.
There was a time not so long ago that I was a typical insecure 20 something. I worried constantly about my body and my weight and thought everyone was always scrutinizing me. I spent far too much time worrying about my weaknesses and rarely took the time to look in the mirror and see all of the greatness that was before me. Sure I still have some spots on my body that I wish would change (especially these days!) and I of course do not think I am perfect by any means. But I am very content in the skin I am in.
I credit running for a lot of this. Spend and hour, or two, or three doing long training runs and you start to see yourself in a very different way. There is no time to spend focusing on your weaknesses. If you do that, you will surely quit and feel like a complete failure. The only way to survive a long run or a training cycle is to focus on the positive.
Take a 20 mile training run and you will question yourself a lot. Can I make it? Am I strong enough? Why did I ever decide to do this? The only way to make it through is to be strong and positive. Any negativity will break you down. Even the most insecure of us have likely found ourselves cheering our bodies along. And those positive words usually don’t end out there on the road. We come home feeling incredible! We spend all day telling anyone and everyone what we just accomplished. And just like that we are treating ourselves the way we have always deserved to be.
So sure my legs are strong. In fact, I think I am a better athlete today than I was back when I was a competitive figure skater. But my heart and my mind are stronger than I ever imagined they would be. I see myself in a different light and for that I am very grateful. At 28 weeks pregnant I feel like this is a special gift that running has given me. In less than three months we will be having a little baby boy or girl (we don’t know!) and I am so glad that I can be a model of strength for a little child. I can show them that it is okay to push your body and to be strong. I can show them that despite some curves or new found hips, I have a strong body that I am proud of. And I can be a strong mom and wife for my family.
How does running make you stronger?
This past week Rock and I got the chance to meet a fellow blogging friend. Gloria and her adorable son joined us for a day of camp in the park. She wrote the nicest post and we just adore her family. Check out her post and awesome blog here Harry’s Mama.