Friday, September 25, 2015

How Running Saved My Life

I'm a runner.

If you know me, you probably just laughed a little bit. And you probably laughed a little bit because a runner can't be fat. And me? Well I might be a few pounds overweight. But wanna know something? Being overweight does not mean you can't run. And running saved my life.

It started a couple years ago. A close friend of mine had started running and she made it seem so easy! She would just get up, run a few miles, and get on with her life. Well. I could certainly do that. Then, in January 2014, that same friend told me about a weight loss challenge she was joining and invited me to participate with her. This was exactly what I needed! I jumped at the chance and the next week the challenge started. I wanted to do well. I wanted to lose weight and be healthier, prettier, and thinner. I bought a treadmill. And woke up the next day and started running. I ran 4-5 days a week during that challenge. I felt strong. And each week at weigh in I would slowly see the weight melt off. Like, super slowly. But I was getting healthier. I felt better. I felt like how I wished I'd felt my entire life.

I didn't win the challenge (my friend did though - go her!) but I fell in love with running. And when the challenge ended, that's when my love turned unconditional. Within weeks of the challenge ending I found out I was pregnant (thank you weight loss), but I didn't want that to hold me back. I had been overweight my whole life and I didn't want pregnancy to negate all the hard work I had put in. I kept running, I kept working out and I kept eating right, until morning sickness took over and I lost all lung capacity. So I took a few months off and didn't run again until getting the OK from my doctor after P was born (and yes, I am going to brag about how I only gained 12 pounds my entire pregnancy because dammit, do you know how hard it is to watch every thing you eat when you are pregnant? It was hard work and I am damn proud of it. Brag over). I was already deep into my depression at this point, but I knew that running could help me.

I had just started anti-depressants, but needed them to work quicker. I couldn't wait 30 days for the full effects. When was the last time I was really happy? What was I doing? Running!! Hubs would come home on his lunch break and I would hand him the baby and go running on my treadmill and damn, I felt great! As I was running I would feel so happy, so fulfilled, so me and normal again. I really felt like I had this mothering thing under control because while I was running, I really had my shit together. But then Hubs' lunch break would end and I would be sitting there again, sweaty and hungry and holding this tiny baby that made me cry for no reason. And as quickly as those feelings of being super mom had come, they would leave.

Running gave me hope. I was depressed, I was as low as I could possibly get, but then I would have these moments of happiness. Those moments only happened when I was running. So I was capable of being happy again and feeling normal and being me and knowing I could get my shit together. There were days of sadness, but there were moments of happiness hidden in between the glimpses of darkness.

I don't run anymore to lose weight, although it is a bonus. I run because it makes me happy. I run because I feel strong. I run because I feel like I am accomplishing something that myself (and many others) didn't think I could. I run because I want to challenge myself to be a better person. I run so I can fit into smaller jeans. I run because I freaking want to and I freaking like it. So you can go ahead and chuckle all you want when you look at me and think this is what a runner shouldn't look like, and you can tell me running is too hard or you don't understand it, and that's okay. I don't run for you anyways.

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