I'm passionate about philosophy, but after having my girls I'm even more passionate about Mommy Matters

Wednesday, August 26, 2015

Mom on the Run

August 22nd, 2015
My first 5K race! Time: 29:37

Before I start I'll just say that the title of this blog was inspired by The Little River Band's "Man on the Run" and Paul McCartney & Wings' "Band on the Run". So, this post might be slightly (greatly) more awesome if you listen to those songs while reading it. 

I've run off and on since I was in high school and it has helped me through bouts of depression, times of anxiety, and given me an outlet of forced meditation. Even though running has always been these things for me, I've had a hard time making it part of who I am and committing to it with consistently. The longest stretch of time I called myself a 'runner' was after I graduated high school and through my first semester of college, it was during that time I found out that I could go farther than I previously thought (the longest run I did was about 6 miles) and how much I enjoyed long distances when I didn't hold myself back. After giving birth to Squeeker I went running maybe three times. Even though I knew it would help me to work through stress and feel better, I've always had a hard time making it a habit.

After giving birth to Goose things were different. As I posted last time, I've been going through a lot of family troubles this last year and having two kids at home is definitely different than only one. I felt split in two since the moment Goose was born, part of me wanting to put all of my energy and care into this newborn - like I was able to do with Squeeker when she was born, but the other half of me knew I had a beautiful toddler who I wanted to continue to put all of my energy and care into as well. How could I love so deeply and put so much of myself into two separate beings? This love, as all parents can attest to, is different than any other kind of love. It's distressing at times; when you see your child in pain something primal takes over and everything inside of you aches to fix it, to see your child happy again. The love of your child becomes an extra appendage, physical and emotional in its control over you. Having Squeeker was intense enough, although I didn't have any depression after having her, but when I had Goose I did get depressed and more overwhelmed than I had ever felt in my life. I wanted to give both of my girls everything I had, but there's only one of me and I needed to take care of myself too. Not to mention giving all I could to my marriage and my love for Husband as well. 

It was an odd time and I felt like I bounced out of it fairly quickly, we moved into our first purchased home only about twelve days after I gave birth to Goose. That was a good outlet, although an extra stressor, and I used it as a distraction from my feelings. I continued to put myself aside and everything/everyone else first. That's when I started to break and I knew I needed to run. Something instinctual rose up inside of me, telling me to run. I didn't want to run away, I love where I'm at in my life and all that I have, so I started to run towards something instead - a healthier and more balanced me. 

Now I'm slowly strengthening myself, pushing my body, and I love it. I never thought I'd enjoy running the way I do now, it has become what I need in order to stay grounded and gain perspective in life. Two things drastically helped me in finding this enjoyment: 
     #1) I bought a new pair of good running shoes (Asics GT-2000 2, if you're interested), but I also run barefoot sometimes. To a certain extent I buy into the barefoot running philosophy and I do think going barefoot every once in awhile gives me immediate feedback from my body, so I can correct my gate and run more pain-free. However, I also really love running in shoes, they're like running on clouds and I can think about things other than my feet and gate when I run with them on, unlike running barefoot - which in my experience is fun, but also grounds and focuses your attention on your feet and gate completely. Running shoes can be really expensive, but if you do the research and look at all of your options then you can usually find a deal. My Asics' MSRP is $120, but I got them for $67 from Running Warehouse online. This Runner's World article will help you  with some guidelines to buying a good pair as well. 
     #2) Using the zen labs fitness C25K (stands for Couch to 5K) free app. This training program pushed me, but also worked my strength up at a comfortable pace. I liked having the app tell me when to run and when to walk so I didn't have to keep track of it myself and it also informed me of how many runs I had left in my workout as I went. The app is based on running three times a week and workouts vary in length. I highly recommend this app to anyone who is trying to work toward a 5K, whether you have been a runner in the past or not. 

Those two things have helped me to prevent injury, which I did get while using my old running shoes and not having a training program, and they have made running more comfortable/doable/fun. Until this last Saturday I hadn't participated in an official running event, but I'm never looking back now. I am planning on running in many more and making running part of who I am from now on. I'm also going to run a marathon in the fall of 2016, so you'll get to read about that insanity as I train. 

I have read the following books about running and found them helpful and inspiring: Born to Run by Christopher McDougall & What I Talk About When I Talk About Running by Haruki Murakami. These are two very popular running books and I think it is with good reason. I am still working my way through other running books, so I will share others I find helpful in the future. 

Sometimes I run without listening to anything, but other times I listen to music or a podcast. The podcast that Another Mother Runner puts on is great and I love their work in general. There are running apps and music apps that can put together play lists based on your running pace, which is awesome. I like the app runkeeper for keeping track of my distances/pace while I'm out, but I also keep a journal that I write things down in the moment I get back from a run. I write my distance, time, pace, route, how I felt (physically, mentally, and emotionally), what I encountered, and anything else that stood out. 

So, if you're finding yourself feeling adrift or needing an excuse to be alone outside for awhile, go for run! If you really don't think you're a runner, and frankly don't want to be, then find something else that will help you in similar ways: yoga, swimming, biking, etc. 

I have also recently joined a group called MOMS Club, they have different chapters all over the United States (I don't think they are an international group, but they could be). As part of my chapter one of the moms started a Get Fit challenge, which I decided to join as well. As part of this challenge I have the opportunity to earn five points everyday. Each of the following things will earn me a point: 
   - Taking a multi-vitamin (it's especially good for mothers to have extra iron and folic acid, calcium doesn't hurt either)
   - Drinking 64oz of water 
   - Being active for 30 minutes, trying to get your heart rate up during that time. 
   - Eating 5 servings of fruits and vegetables (not 5 each, just all together)
   - Completing a me-time activity (reading, meditating, going out to a movie without your kids, etc.) Which has to be separate from your 30 minutes of activity, even if it's something that helps you to de-stress and is personal time. 

As I focus on doing these five things everyday I am boosted and feel stronger. I never realized how hard it is for me to set aside time for myself, or to eat five servings of fruits a vegetables, until I was doing it. I'm so good at making sure Squeeker gets her fruits and vegetables, but I neglect my own health all of the time. 

Anyway, these are few things that have been giving me what I need to strive for better personal health. Comment if you have any questions that I didn't answer. I hope this helps you find what you need to get through the happy times and the tough times too! 

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