I was a young mom, at home joyfully and yet I NEEDED to get out of the house. We didn’t have a lot of money as my husband had recently graduated from college and we were just starting out with a little one in tow. I had heard of this phenomenon of going for a run but hadn’t tried it out. I wasn’t particularly athletic or sporty growing up (imagine a toe headed sprite in the backfield making daisy chains during soccer games) and the idea of choosing to go running wasn’t in my vocabulary.
Started Running Due to Lack of Funds
With little money, I really needed something to save my heart and brain from the stresses of being at home all day with a little tyke. The more I heard people talk about this running i.e. “no one gets mad at you for leaving the house to go for a run”, or “it gives me focus”, or “it just makes me feel connected to myself”, it seemed like a possible solution. I didn’t have money for a gym membership (all the rage back in ’91) and I could tell I needed to do something to move my body.
Sweat and Heart
My first “run” involved me leaving the house running to the corner, looking back to be sure no one was looking and then walking. It didn’t take long for me to realize what people were really talking about when they spoke of being alone, of the connection between sweat and heart, the focus it brought to my brain and the excitement it gave me as I got closer and closer to the house knowing my little guy would be waiting for me. I wasn’t a graceful runner, I never wore a watch, I didn’t own running shorts of technical shirts. I just ran, sometimes for the whole time.
It was for ME so I could show up as the version of myself that was best, strongest and most present. We lived up in the forest, a place I love dearly, as I would run up steep hills I could feel the muscles in my legs getting stronger and stronger. That strength translated to my brain and heart. It reminded me when I was doubting all my abilities as a young mom, I was strong enough. Those runs full of sweat and tears and helped grow ME up as I was helping to grow up my kid.
Selfishness is not Always a Bad Thing
It may have seemed selfish to other moms who couldn’t imagine leaving their little ones at home, I agree. Those first runs were all about me, and I was OK with that. I learned so fast on my runs how deep and resonating time alone sweating and crying and laughing and struggling dug into my soul. I didn’t need anything fancy to go for a run, no one would judge me on whether I had the right clothes, the trees didn’t care how much my sneakers cost, and the sky didn’t care how I looked while stumbling along. Those runs were for me, most of my runs still are. It’s OK in my book to be selfish about this, to covet the times when I can stomp the forest floor alone. Those miles I spend alone help me get back to me in a world where I wear many hats. I may not have little ones at home anymore (sniffle sniffle) and yet, all of those early years of saying “Yep, mommy’s going for a run, I’ll be back soon though” taught me how important it is to give back to myself, to restore my heart, mind, and soul.
As I get older, some days I run FAST, some days I run s…l…o…w and some days I walk and look and listen as intently as I can to everything around me. All of those days are about me, giving back to myself so I can keep giving to others.
I hope I can run until I’m 90 or 100 or 175. I love seeing women with well-worn smile lines moving their bodies with joy and grace. These days some of my miles are for others, most of them though…they are for me, my gift to myself.