In 2016, I ran more than ever before. We traveled to London, & Paris, ate wonderful food and I lost over 50 lbs. We also found out that we were expecting a baby. I had to come to terms with the fact that pregnancy meant weight gain, for a good reason.
My entire life I have struggled with my self image, and not only because of my weight. I never seem to find clothes that fit right, or I just worry that I am not quite walking, talking or acting the way that everyone else seems to think that I should. During the summer of 2016, before we left for London, I bought new clothes for the trip to fit the smaller size that I found myself living in. I was shocked how much my body had changed and how much more fit I was. I ran my first 5K, actually ran at a competitive pace, in February, and was getting faster by the summer. We signed up to run to OBX Half Marathon & 5k Challenge in November, giving us plenty of time to train after our long summer vacation.
We found out less than 2 weeks after our trip that I was pregnant. Even though I had been mentally planning for the fact that I wanted a baby to come during certain months of the year so that I could take off FMLA leave from work, and I had been tracking my calories, running and everything with my body meticulously for a year; I was still not confident that I actually could plan that well, but I was wrong.
This pregnancy has been easy. I am only saying that because I know how hard it can be for other people. With a few minor hiccups, every appointment has been normal and the baby has stayed consistent for every milestone. I have thrown up twice and I have ran five different 5k races during pregnancy. I reached 400 days of counting my calories without missing a day. I have been very lucky. I am still working with 10 days to go and I have only had 4 days that I had to call in sick without warning. Yet with all of the positive, I still worry. I worry that I will not be able to run after pregnancy, I worry that all this weight gained will not go away as easily as the first time. I worry that I will eat out more than I have before (I am already sort of guilty of this.) And none of that is counting all of the worries that I have for a baby I have not even met yet.
Yet I know I am strong enough to make it through. I am a mantra person. I did not used to be. It is something that I have found lately because I am not very good a breathing. I do not like to stop, slow down and take a breath. Yoga helps. So does my amazing husband. My mantra since last summer has been “I am strong, I am human, I will survive”. I found myself saying this again and again during races when my legs said no, but I knew my mind had to say yes, or I would start walking. I used it when I was sick or overwhelmed. Now with only a few days before the baby, I have changed this thought slightly, “We are strong, We are human and We will survive”.
As much as I have been willing this baby to come, and trying my best to stay patient (not very successfully), I know that I am also savoring these last few days where he is a part of me. Soon I will be handing over some of my control to the world, and other people. And I like being in control a whole lot. I am also handing over some of my abilities and gaining new ones. I know that I will not be able to run right away. I know that I will start again on this adventure of eating better and being my best self even if it takes a while. I am strong… we are strong.