When Ivy hit the two month mark, I was raring to get back in the gym. It’s not because I particularly love working out. I enjoy doing active things. When my husband was still in the military, I was the captain of our unit’s team for the base wives’ kickball league. I still miss it, actually. But slaving away in the gym? Not so much. But opportunities to do fun stuff like play kickball aren’t as fruitful when you’re out of the military, it seems. In any case, regardless of how I did it, I was determined to lose the baby weight. So we joined our closest YMCA and that was that. Eight weeks postpartum, and I was ready to get to work.
I also had a goal. Now that we’re back in the First Coast area, and close to Disney World, I am dying to run the Disney Princess Half Marathon. The only problem is that I am not a runner. I never have been. No matter how in shape I may have been throughout my life, I have always, always, always hated running. But over the past few years, the idea of running a marathon kept popping up in the back of my head. I always told myself I’d start a Couch to 5K program, but never got around to it. So when I got the all-clear to start exercising again after Ivy’s birth, I knew what I wanted to strive for. I want to run this half marathon, and as hard as it may be to get to the point of where that’s possible, I know that I will be so incredibly proud of myself for achieving that accomplishment. I had — or have — a year to train and get ready. I figured that was plenty of time to get into shape where I could do this half marathon and finish. That’s my only goal: just to cross that finish line. I’ll probably cry when I do, too. It’s something that I never thought I could do, but dammit, I’m going to.
The problem is that little in between part. I’m a few weeks into my Couch to 5K program, and it’s hard. I expected it would be, and I’m not going to give up. But I’d be lying if I said it wasn’t frustrating. It’s frustrating that I can barely do any ab workouts because my stomach is basically jelly. It’s frustrating that running does not seem to be getting any easier. It’s frustrating that I still don’t feel like I can look in the mirror and see any difference. I know, I know… give it time, right? Unfortunately, I am the world’s most impatient person so that’s just even more frustrating. I’m tired of hating the way my body looks. I’m tired of still having a belly that could probably pass for a pregnant belly. I’m tired of having to struggle to do my running regimen, which really consists of very little running. I don’t expect to be a size 2 or to be able to run a marathon now, but it’s frustrating to feel like it’s all work with no gain.
What keeps me going? Well, my kids keep me going, for one thing. I want to set a good example for them. I want to be healthy and strong and fit. I’m not worried about being skinny — OK, yes I am, that’s a lie — but I’m not worried about that as much as I am about being healthy. Being overweight and out of shape? That’s not healthy, and it’s not the example I want to set. In the all-too-near future, my daughter could run this half marathon with me if she wanted to. I want to be able to run with my kids, to show them that they can accomplish a goal if they set their mind to it. I want them to have a mother than can be proud of her body and teach them to be proud of theirs. That’s my long-term goal, really. I don’t worry about reaching a certain weight or dress size. I think it’s a much bigger picture than that.
Part of striving to run this Disney Princess Half Marathon is about the fun aspects of it, yes. Running through Disney World, one of my favorite places ever, dressed up in a costume with tons of characters cheering me on along the way? Of course that sounds like fun. But it’s also about knowing that I can push myself, that I can accomplish something that I never thought I could ever, ever accomplish. And I mean that. There has never been a point in my life that I have thought that I could be a runner. I’ve been a swimmer, I’ve been a rower. Heck, I was even pretty good at kickball. But running always seemed out of my league. And that’s why I’m so determined. I want to prove, to myself and to everyone else, that if you set your mind to something, you can make it happen if you’re willing to work hard enough.
This body after baby may be making it more difficult to accomplish what I want it to. But I’ve created three living miracles out of virtually nothing. I’ve made three living, breathing children. That makes my body a miracle, too, and if I can do that, I can do anything. I just have to remember to give it time.