Sunday, September 8, 2013

A long love letter to running

Total steps yesterday:  7,626
Exercise today:  23 minute run
Nap time today:  125 minutes

So the running belt that I'd ordered came in yesterday.  Say what you will about Amazon being an evil corporation that kills mom and pop stores, there's something awesome about ordering a product I couldn't find locally at 11 a.m. on Friday and having it by 11 a.m.  on Saturday, three days before expected delivery.

The best thing about it is that it inspired me to take a test run with it today, thus getting my butt out the door.

I feel like the face I'm making in that picture is something off of America's Next Top Model.  Like, the premise is to pose in ridiculous pregnancy gear, and smile with your eyes while smirking with your lips.  You're welcome for that idea, Tyra.

I always wear a thin tank top underneath my sports bra because I've found it helps prevent chafing when I run - this was true even before pregnancy.  If I didn't normally do this, I might start when wearing this belt.  It was relatively soft and fit tightly against my skin, so I doubt it would move around much, but I don't think I'd want it rubbing directly against me during a run.

It was definitely visible underneath the tank I threw on over it, so if I ever decide to wear it under regular clothes as support in later pregnancy, I would probably only do it under something flowy rather than tight fitting.

I'd planned a treadmill run, since, as mentioned, I'm a bit nervous about running too far from help should anything happen.  But I haven't used our apartment complex's gym in months and forgot the combination to get in, so I ended up running outside.  I'm blessed to live just steps away from a state park with awesome running trails:

My ipod also wasn't charged, so I ran without music.  It was the best run I had in a long time.  I'm a super numbers oriented person, and for the last two years have been trying to run faster or longer and ideally both.  Even though I've been more forgiving of myself in pregnancy, I've still been number focused - my mile is two minutes slower, my normal running distance is one mile shorter, etc.  This run was perfect, though.  I paid attention to time only to the extent that I needed to be back by about noon.  The weather was cool and breezy and the trail was shaded.  The trail I was running on was narrow, sometime steep, with various obstacles, so I paid attention to what was in front of my feet and how the running belt felt, rather than speed or distance or even baby.

In the end, it reminded me why I run.  For the 23 minute loop that I did, I just enjoyed being outside, moving my body, saying hello to the occasional people I passed, and feeling strong and healthy.  I won't ever be the fastest or the longest runner, but you don't need to be.  It's great to win races (I imagine - I never have), but you will never participate in any sport with more supportive teammates than running.  This article is a great look at the attitude of elite runners - it's not about beating the person next to you, it's about running your own race.  This little mini run today reminded me of that.  I'm sure I'll eventually go back to running based on the numbers, and my post-pregnancy body better eventually run a sub-two hour half marathon (my current PR is 2:04).  But as I ran today, I knew that wasn't why I run.  I run so I can still do it at 60, or 70.  I run so Lil W will have a model of healthy fitness to emulate.  I run so I can clear my head after a tiff with my husband, or to give my mind a break in the middle of a workday.  Long story short, running is awesome.

Oh, and the running belt was good too.  I still felt similar lower ab pressure during the run itself, but I think that might just be unavoidable.  I've had zero hip or ligament pain this afternoon, and that was the main thing I wanted to avoid.  I also felt like it really helped me keep my form - even running up and down hills over uneven terrain, my shoulders stayed back and my hips stayed forward, so that was an unexpected but awesome side effect of it.  I'm looking forward to testing it out on a treadmill run this week.  My sense is that it won't solve all my problems, and that I might have to buy a bigger size later in pregnancy (I got the large, which is fine for now, but might not adjust fully to a larger stomach).  Overall though, happy with the purchase, and obviously happy with the run.

And then I came home and took a two hour nap.  That was long even for me - my body must have really needed the extra rest.

And on an unrelated note, this is totally how I'm going to teach Lil W animal sounds:

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