(Pre-pregnancy abs, obvs.)
Since becoming pregnant, a number of my routines have changed. For one, there's no such thing as sleeping through the night anymore; I am up at least 2-3 times to use the bathroom (sorry, but the extreme-need-to-pee-all-the-time you've heard regarding pregnant women is T-R-U-E). I also CANNOT, under any circumstances, stay awake past 11/11:30, TOPS. Watching TV at the end of the night is dicey; I'm awake and engaged one moment, and passed the F out the next. Pregnant narcolepsy. (Is that a thing? Did I just invent that?) And another area where my pre-pregnant routine has shifted: working out. A lot of what used to feel good simply doesn't anymore (i.e. no heavy deadlifts. No H.I.I.T. And, sadly, no handstands or backbends).
But, something that had become a bit BLAH pre-pregnancy, in the heat of summer, and whilst training for back-to-back half marathons now feels so unbelievably good not only physically, but also primarily mentally. And that, of course, is my old love-- my longtime endorphin-boosting, heart-pounding, lung-burning, head-clearing companion, running.
(I see you there! Again!)
A couple of weeks ago, after a couple month's hiatus, I felt that familiar angsty restlessness begin to awaken in my body. I wanted to get outside in the cold, refreshing air and just run. it. out! But I felt a bit anxious about it. My cardio capacity has lessened since becoming pregnant. I've been more tired than usual. And, then there are the pounds I've begun to put on as my body builds this new human life inside of me. How was running going to feel with all of these physical changes?
Different. Running definitely feels different. For one, I am considerably slower than usual. I used to average 7:30-8:15 splits on shorter runs and 8:15-9:00 splits on longer distances. Now I hover just under 10 minutes a mile. This has been hard for my ego to adjust to. I am competitive with myself and I've had to eat some serious humble pie during the past few weeks. But the fact of the matter is, I simply cannot run as fast as pre-pregnant Jesse. And that's fine. But this was a bit of a challenge at first; one day last week I decided to try and outrun my time from the day before, and not only did I end up pushing myself too hard, resulting in a WORSE time, but I also felt really crappy and grumpy afterwards. And feeling bad is not why I started running again. I want to feel energetic, strong, healthy, and ALIVE after I run, and in order to do that, I have to be OK with being slower. I'm getting better at this.
(I think I've been photographed running by the Brooklyn Bridge more times than anywhere else. Still one of my favorite spots!)
Secondly, long distances are not feasible right now. I've been doing 4-5 miles a day and that feels like the right distance. Before pregnancy, 6-8 was my favorite regular distance. Now that feels like I'm pushing it too much. So, I'm moderating distance as well.
Lastly, and this is the best change, I'm enjoying just running for running's sake again. It's been a while. I don't have a goal I'm training for. I'm not trying to "lean down." I'm running because it makes my mind feel amazing. It makes everything seem more manageable, which is so important right now as life is about to change in a major way.
(...and on the other side of the BK Bridge)
I love the way the cold November air feels against my skin as I'm cruising through the park. I love that I can run any time of the day, and any where. And I love that I know that no matter how I feel prior to a run, I will most definitely feel better afterwards. That's a sure bet (and I love a sure bet!)
I love that I've once again rekindled this love of running through yet another life change. Running reminds me that just like myself, it, too, is adaptable. Sometimes I may be slower. Sometimes the distance may be shorter. But I can still achieve positive results if I go with the flow of the run, rather than try to push through or control it. Once again, I find metaphor for life through the run: don't stop, just adapt.
Find the path.
And just keep going.