Taking it all in stride

Every day, they stared at me, full of reproach. My running shoes have been sitting in my small roller suitcase, wrapped in a plastic bag, since August of last year. I brought them on a family vacation, feeling overly optimistic that they would get used on the trail that ran near our rented beach condo. On the upside, they were spared the layer of dust that coated everything during our kitchen reno.

Once the little one was born, a part of me longed to get outside and get back to my 5k training. I had made it three-quarters through the training runs before morning sickness made it impossible to continue. Having new life growing inside you is an awesome experience, but after nine months there’s a bit of relief at being the sole inhabitant of your body. Not to mention being able to actually move more freely. Of course, I still had to wait the requisite six weeks post-baby to get the okay from my doctor. I geared up by taking short walks with my mom and Caleb strapped safely in my Moby wrap (which were exhausting, by the way, after months of taking it easy).

Finally, this weekend, I was determined to do it. I put my running shoes by the garage door and stuffed some socks in them so I’d have no excuse. I defrosted some saved breastmilk and announced to Mr. D that today would be the day we’d see if Caleb would take a bottle. Sofia had vetoed every single bottle we bought until we got latex nipples instead of the standard silicone ones. We were hoping her brother would be less choosy.

I went to get dressed and, to my dismay, discovered that none of my sports bras fit. I finally dug one out that fit but wasn’t as, er, supportive as I would like. Still, I refused to let anything derail my plan. I set off, armed with my new running playlist (a mix of Beyonce, Katy Perry, Taylor Swift, and Haim) and my 5k running app.

After a five-minute warmup walk, I started on the trail that goes behind our house, my usual route when running. At first, I was conscious of my stride, making sure to land towards the front of my feet and not my heels. My shins started to hurt after the first minute. I panicked for a moment, thinking, Great, either I’ve gained so much weight that my body is straining or my form isn’t right. The further I got into the workout, however, the better it started to feel. By time the last interval came, everything seemed to line up. The stitch in my side was gone, and my legs felt stronger than when I started. During my cool down walk, I had to resist the urge to do a Rocky and punch the air.

I knew I would pay for my efforts over the next few days, but the sense of accomplishment I felt when I arrived home was priceless. As an added bonus, Mr. Caleb took to the bottle like a champ! The next day, I wanted to go out again, but decided that giving myself a day of rest (I was hurting, though less than I thought I would) was the wiser way to go. Still, I can’t wait to hit the trail again. 5k, here I come!



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