I found having time off running (and sport in general) when I was pregnant such a frustrating feeling. I watched every runner that ran past my house like a hawk until they ran out of sight; every cyclist I drove past got an evil stare and I just couldn’t wait to get back to it. Little did I realise that this time off was doing far more good for the soul than I could ever realise, particularly for my running!
I’ve always had a love/hate relationship with running. From my triathlon days of holding on during the final run for dear life hating every second; to people telling me “well you know you’re not a good runner Sam”. I had been using running as a punishment, “you need to be faster, you need to be stronger, you always lose it on the run”. I was using it as a way to prove to others (and to myself!) that I could run well. But months after having Bobby, when I first put those trainers on and ran for 20 seconds without stopping something clicked. I knew that I wasn’t truly done with running, because with a new healthy attitude towards it, I realised it was a tool that helped me feel fulfilled and empowered. Without being too cliche it made me feel alive and I wanted to keep it as an option that would always be available to me; to always have that opportunity to pull on a pair of trainers and just run.
My 20 second runs soon turned to 2 minute runs, and over time 20 minute runs. I’m now comfortably running for 2 hours. My 42 minute 5ks are now close to 22 minute 5ks. Whats more is I am no longer afraid to run slow! I don’t beat myself up if I don’t want to run one day, it’s not the end of the world if I get injured. I don’t care who sees me, I don’t care if I walk, I don’t care if I come last. I love running again, in a far healthier way than I could ever imagine. Essentially, and most importantly, I’ve learned to separate my self-worth from my performance. Because let’s be honest – the speed you run at doesn’t make you any more or less of a person than the person ahead or behind you.
So now what? Well, I’ve still got some adventures to enjoy that involve me, a lot of miles, and a great support network. The Breca SwimRun totalling a marathon of running in my wetsuit springs to mind as one of the big ones! But luckily I have a whole host of other responsibilites going on, the Bobster, Chris, a job, Kids Club, a mortgage and all the other things that come with adulthood. I see these responsibilities as great assets as they allow me to see running as an incredible outlet for balance in my life–instead of the the only thing in my life. Having a full life besides running makes me feel incredibly grateful for the times I can run; I enjoy pounding the trails and pavements far more than I ever did before. Running is something, that before, I used to take for granted.
I am excited to see where these legs (no matter how fast or slow) might take me next, and to do that with no attachment to the outcome. To do it simply because I love it.