It was a Wednesday morning in midwinter. The mercury hovered a few degrees over zero. My husband was home, the baby was fed. I had the go-ahead from my obstetrician and had already been walking an hour a day for weeks – as much to get my baby to have a nap as well as to keep up my fitness.
As I headed out sans stroller, I suddenly felt a lot lighter – the freedom was palpable. I did a few warm up stretches and set off, relishing the welcome sound of my runners crunching on the gravely track. This is it! This is the moment I had been dreaming of for the past six months – my return to running. For weeks I had been looking enviously at the runners speeding past me as I toted my baby around the park. I envied their freedom, especially the men. I envied the way men could conceivably (pardon the pun!) never have to give up running because of pregnancy or a baby.
As my body eased into a familiar rhythm, the tension in my shoulders – from weeks of carrying and feeding my baby – melted away. Keep your head up, look where you want to go, I repeated to myself. Inhale inhale inhale exhale exhale. My legs rejoiced in being able to go faster than the pace of a heavy stroller and my soul sang out. I remembered all the things about running that I loved –the sense of strength and challenge, the physical highs, the knowledge that I could set goals and achieve them. The feeling of striving to become better at something, something that I used to find oh so difficult. Some five years ago I would have told you that the term “fun run” was an oxymoron.
I headed home with a clear head and a good dose of exhilaration. It felt good to break out of my “baby bubble”, to regain a sense of my old self, and to know that I could still do it. I can’t wait for the next time.