Thursday, November 11, 2010

Two new Frontiers: Motherhood and “Runnerhood”

By: Christina Mackrell

I was never a runner. When I was younger, I played sports where I ran, but never just ran for the sake of running. In fact, I didn’t really like to run. It always felt like a boring chore that was hard to keep up with. Four months ago that all changed. . . . after giving birth to my first, oh so precious, son, I started to run.

Six weeks after Connor was born, my doctor gave me clearance to start working out. After looking in the mirror and realizing that my body didn’t look too much different from the day I gave birth, I concluded that something HAD to be done. Not just did my pre-pregnancy clothes not fit, but I felt horrible about my appearance. I was never a super skinny girl (I am built like a true Greek), but I also never saw so many curves on my body. Voluptuous was an understatement. I knew that Connor needed a mom who was happy with her body and not constantly stressing over weight and fat. I had many options. I could join a gym, do workout tapes, buy an elliptical and the list goes on. But I wanted to do something simple. Something where I could set aside 40-50 minutes and know I did a solid workout. My hubby suggested running. He was a runner all his life and had a true passion for it. With a park across the street with a 1.1 mile loop, I figured running would be easy. I can start the second I set foot outside the door, workout as long and as hard as I want, and then be done for the day. . . easy enough to give a try.

And that’s when it all started, I was taking my first steps towards becoming a runner. Every day, I would run. I started off running/walking 3. After several weeks, I was able to cut out all the walking. I slowly started to add on to my run, averaging .5 miles every other week. The days turned into weeks, then turned into months and before I knew it, I was running 6,7,8 miles and fast (well, fast for me). And the craziest part was I loved it. It’s not a chore. I can’t say there aren’t days where I would rather cuddle up on the couch with my new little family, but the majority of the time, once I got out the door, I realized why I have kept it up. I love the feeling of getting out on the road and feeling free, energized, and in control. While I run, I could clear my head and reflect on life. It gave me my time to think, analyze, wish, dream and sort out all those thoughts that pile up from life. I can honestly say, that without this time to myself, I don’t think I would have been able to juggle going back to work, caring for my son, and coping with everything else life has to throw my way.

In addition to running for fun, I started to participate in local 5K races. I started doing one every other weekend, and noticed that my times got significantly better. It drew out my competitive side. I started to step up my training. Instead of just running for distance, I started running for time and began to add hills into my workout. Running became even more rewarding as I could see improvements with each race.

It’s interesting how one new frontier introduces another. I never would have thought that becoming a mother would result in my becoming a runner. At this stage, I could not image where I would be without turning to running. I feel it has made such a positive impact on my life and my son’s. I can’t end this blog without giving a big shout out to my hubby. I could not have taken on this new hobby without his love and support- you’re the best!