on running

I think I have slowly fallen in love with running.

I used to run- about a billion years ago in junior high and my first few years of high school. I was on the cross country team and I ran the long distance races in track and field. I wasn’t very good. The only running I ever did was at practice and at races- I never, ever ran at home on the weekends or over the summer. I think the fastest mile I ever ran was 6:40ish, and the only race I ever completed for cross country (before my knees gave me trouble and I had to sit out the season) got me a time of 28 minutes and something. Not very good considering my age and I only weighed about 100 pounds (not much weight to drag around the track! heh)

I often wonder how good I would have been if I’d actually applied myself. SLACKER.

Now I am 32. Mom twice over. Tired all the live long day. Out of shape. In need of regular breaks to conserve my sanity because OMG TWO KIDS ARE LOUD AND NEEDY. Back in August I made a decision to start taking care of myself again– regular exercise being the main focus (I like to eat. So food is hard for me. heh) I started Couch to 5k, not really knowing how it would go or if I’d like it or if I would collapse in an exhausted, sweaty heap at the end of the cul-de-sac before I’d even really started.

I’m proud to report that it’s been 6 weeks and I’m still alive. I’m still running. I had to repeat Week 2 of the program because my knees and ankles were giving me trouble, so I rested for a week and repeated that week again. My knees have forgiven me, though I’ve had some shin splint trouble the past few runs but nothing that is making me feel like I need to stop.

I am enjoying myself.

Dan jokes that it’s just because I get 30 minutes of freedom out of the house. And to be honest, he’s not too far from the truth. It IS a much welcome break from Everyone Needing Something From Me. When I’m out in our neighborhood running, it’s just me and sidewalk. Nobody needs a snack or a diaper change or a teeny tiny shirt put on a plastic Barbie doll and nobody needs their hair brushed. I am alone(ish. We have a busy neighborhood full of people. heh)

I can think. I can NOT think and just jam in my head to whatever song is playing in my earbuds. I can push my body, focus on getting to that next driveway, up that next hill, to that next ‘ding’ that tells me that it’s time to walk or run. I can leave everything in my life that stresses me out or makes me crazy or requires me to be responsible back in the house for half an hour and just BE ME. ALONE. WITH MY TUNES.

The goal of all of this was to get in shape. To feel better. AND I DO. My weight hasn’t dropped a single pound in almost 2 months, but I’m not letting that discourage me. Mostly because I can tell my clothes are fitting differently and I feel a billion times better than I did a few months ago, so I’m okay with ignoring the scale (plus, you know, MUSCLE IS GOOD.) And I’ve been sleeping AMAZINGLY well. Partly thanks to Audrey doing her part (thanks, baby girl!) and partly because of the exercise.

I haven’t yet figured out what I’m going to do when the weather cools off. And I don’t mean when it gets to be 40 degrees. I mean when it’s like TEN DEGREES. Because as much as I’d like to deny it… those days are looming. And I really don’t think I’ll be able to run outside when it’s that cold. Some people do (some people are INSANE. ha) But basically my plan is to finish C25K and go from there. I am over halfway done, so I should be able to finish easily before winter comes. Then after that, I may have to do some inside things to keep in shape until spring.

But for now: I will run.


  1. K

    October 13, 2011 2:19 pm

    So happy you’re enjoying yourself! Rock on!

  2. Jesabes

    October 13, 2011 2:39 pm

    I just finished the Couch to 5K and I’m running my first-ever race on Sunday!

  3. tehamy

    October 13, 2011 2:48 pm

    You are doing a great job lady! And I agree, part of the enjoyment is time alone. For me the other part is a sense of accomplishment. I’m so glad for the both of us that we have done this!

  4. jesser

    October 13, 2011 3:01 pm

    So glad to see you loving on my favorite sport!! I too ran some in HS, with my best guy friend who was big into CC. I was always too into other things to join the team and I never really enjoyed it that much. But I took it up again after my daughter was born and I truly learned to love it – for many of the same reasons you list. I also run to set a good example for my kids, particularly my daughter. I want to be a good, FIT, example for them and have all the stamina I want to play (ski, travel, hike) with them now and 30 years from now. I’ve also made some great mommy friends through running and we train for races together and drink wine together and complain about our spouses and children together. ;) I

    In case you haven’t seen it yet, check out http://www.anothermotherrunner.com and http://racingwithbabes.blogspot.com – both are great mommy runner resources.

    • Jen

      October 16, 2011 9:41 am

      I agree! Letting Maggie (and soon Audrey) see that Mommy is taking care of herself is definitely a good thing. And I think it just helps with my overall feeling of Health, you know? (mental and physical!)

  5. Cari

    October 13, 2011 3:06 pm

    Do you have a local community center with gym facilities? I live in Hampton Twp (not far from you but still a bit of a drive) and the Community Center here has a gym AND an elevated track. As a resident, for about $30 a year, I can have complete access to those facilities. Non-residents can, too, for a larger price. I want to sign up so that I can walk at the track over the winter.

    One drawback – no childcare so I can only do it when there is someone to watch the kids. But they have decently long hours so it might be possible to do it in the evenings.

    Your community might have something similar that you could look into.

    • Jen

      October 16, 2011 9:46 am

      Hm, I’m not sure anywhere around here has that, maybe the YMCA in Cranberry? Inside running would be great- not sure I’d be any good on a treadmill though, a track would be better! Looks like that place is about 25 minutes from us, a little far of a drive if I’m only going to run for 30 minutes ;) heh But I’ll have to check into some places around here, good idea!

  6. Stefanie

    October 13, 2011 3:59 pm

    That’s exactly why I love running! :) Good for you, Jen!

  7. Nilsa @ SoMi Speaks

    October 13, 2011 4:10 pm

    I consider myself a former runner, too. I ran 5 marathons in my heyday. But, then I got pregnant and had an awful first trimester, rending me useless int he running department. It’s only gone downhill since then. I’ve been trying to get back into running for the past 4-5 months. It’s hard to rejoin something on very different terms than what you’re used to. Reading this post reinforces I’m doing the right thing. You’re doing the right thing – amazing!

  8. Melissa

    October 14, 2011 3:56 pm

    That is so awesome, Jen! I think starting ANY exercise routine and sticking with it for more than a couple weeks is the hardest part. ;) So you’re doing great and the best part is that you are enjoying it!

    However, I’m going to have to be the odd lady out and say… I don’t love running. I did C25K last year, and now I run 1.5-2 miles once or twice a week, but I don’t love it. I have great endurance and I could probably do more, but I don’t feel or SEE changes in my body like I do when I do pilates and DVDs like Jillian Michaels–that’s why I can’t get motivated to run more. But that is also why I admire people who DO run a lot more! Good luck as you finish the C25K! :)

    • Jen

      October 16, 2011 10:02 am

      I have started and failed so many times with exercising, so yes, I’m kind of amazed at myself, I’ll admit! LOL I’m just hoping I can keep things up through the winter (with stuff other than running, since the weather around here is NOT conducive to running December through March!) I may have to back track a little bit when spring comes (maybe start at Week 5 again or something? ha) but at least I’ve gotten this far. I’m trying not to stress about the next run, the next workout, and just take it a day at a time (because planning with kids and work and Life is kind of impossible sometimes. !!!!)

  9. Erin

    October 16, 2011 11:21 am

    I am so glad you’re loving it!
    I’m also wondering what the heck I’m going to do on those ten degree days. I have access to a treadmill at work, but I think treadmill running is boring. I may have to suck it up and splurge on some cold weather gear!

  10. Stefanie

    October 19, 2011 3:24 pm

    You need to get yourself a treadmill! I use mine almost everyday. I believe the Y in Cranberry has an indoor track.

    • Jen

      October 19, 2011 3:32 pm

      argh I don’t know- I don’t know if I’d like it as much! I think I’d get bored. We have an exercise bike and I’ve tried riding that while watching tv and I just can’t do it. I like feeling like I’m GOING somewhere, I think. But if I get desperate, it’s a possibility. And I looked into the Y as a possibility as well! It’s just kind of a far drive from our house (20-25 mins with traffic, ridiculous since it’s like 6 miles away.) I’d spend more time driving than running. LOL

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