my life as a runner :: before, during, and after being pregnant

Over the past year I have taken a moment here and there to get real about life and things on my mind. I like to take these moments to get out a few thoughts. And, although design, fashion, and healthy food are all aspects that make up who I am; they just don't cover it all.

A big part of who I am is a runner. Surprisingly, I don't think that comes through here on &chloe often; but I am a daily runner. Odd because so many flashes of inspiration for design projects as well as this blog come while I am on a run. In fact, as I was on a run the other morning, I started drafting this post in my mind as I ran. The purpose of this post? I am not sure; it is just meant to share some more about me, I suppose. To share a little about a big part of {literally} my daily life.

I started running in June 2008. In all fairness, I have my sweet Mocha girl to thank. You see, I was of the mindset that I could not run; that I was not meant to run. I have met many people who feel this way. Running is difficult, even a short distance. It has never felt good, nor easy. Those were my thoughts. My mom has been an avid runner all my life; this still did not sway me. But, my chocolate girl finally did. Mocha came to live with us in June of 2008. She was full of energy and in need of some exercise. I started running with her. I would run about two miles, walking even the shortest hills. But I was enjoying it, even though I was running in cotton t-shirts on June evenings!

Enter my friend Andrea. She was already a runner when she invited me on runs. We started running together in November 2008 in the evening, in the dark. The runs quickly became one of my favorite things, partly for the actual running and just as much for the new friendship that would eventually be such that Andrea is one of my best friends. Andrea asked me to train for a half marathon with her. So we did, and that winter we did nightly runs in the dark and met on freezing cold mornings on the weekends to do long runs. Over the miles, that friendship I mentioned, became cemented.

My running became a passion, to say the least. A daily ritual. I also discovered a love of trail running. Not only did I run daily, but I ran half marathons. I typically tried to do one every couple of months. For example, in 2011, I ran 13.1 in January in Phoenix, in March in Moab, in April in Denver, in August in Ouray, in September I ran Imogene {17.1 miles actually}, in October in Denver, and in December in Las Vegas.
one of our last trail runs before moving from Durango to Miami :: June 2012
Horse Gulch, Durango, Colorado
My John started running with me at some point in there and our runs together provided a great time to talk about nothing in particular, life in general, hopes and dreams in specific. I can remember several runs where we had some of our best conversations and those times together on the road are ones I will cherish forever. Running along side my man is a pleasure that is next to none. We road run and trail run together; and have completed countless 13.1 together, crossing the finish line side-by-side.
10 miles up, topping out at 13,100 feet in elevation, now it is just 7 miles down
Imogene Pass Run :: September 2011
Ouray to Telluride, Colorado

some silliness with my life-long running partner after one of the Denver Rock'n'Roll half marathons
Before little John, my runs were five to six miles a day, six days a week. Usually one day was a longer run of seven to nine miles. Once pregnant, I continued to run. For me it still felt perfectly safe and fine. Not everyone chooses to run while pregnant, but for me it felt natural. My mileage (as well as my pace) decreased. For my first and second trimesters, I ran four to five miles a day, six days a week. At nine weeks pregnant and then again at five months pregnant, I ran a half marathon. In my third trimester, I was down to three miles, six days a week. My pace was slow, but it still felt great. In fact, I literally ran right up until the day I had little John. I went on a trail run the morning of the day I went in to labor.

running the Phoenix P.F. Chang Rock'n'Roll half marathon while 5 months pregnant
:: January 2013 ::
When John was six weeks old, and I got the go-ahead at my six week appointment, I started running again. I ran three miles, five days a week and quickly worked up to three to six miles, six days a week. Little John is not a huge fan of being a passenger in the stroller for a run, but when he tolerates it, I love to bring him along. As of now, with a four month old, I have settled in to three to four miles, six days a week.

Why do I run? Simple because I love it. 

The idea for this post came the other day as I was running, as I mentioned. Before leaving the house on my run, I remarked to my mom (who came over to watch little John), that I was considering giving it up. It wasn't something I had actually given much thought to, but the words just came out of my mouth. Finding time to run also means coordinating my mom or John to watch little John, which creates stress sometimes. Sometimes I feel like I should not take the time to run when there are other things I could be getting done. Lastly, I miss little John when I run. So, the thought entered my mind and came out of my mouth - maybe I would give it up.

My mom dismissed me, as I mentioned, she is an avid runner and thinking as such she most likely thought I was crazy. Who would willingly give up running? I headed out the door and started thinking about my life as a runner. I thought about how much  I love it and why. I love it because it feels good. It makes me feel alive and adventurous. I love it because it helps me think through problems and brainstorm great ideas. I love it because it keeps me healthy. And, as I headed down a treelined street, up ahead I could see a wall of rain. Up until that time I had been running in a very light sprinkle, I was barely wet. Up ahead I could see a wall of water. As I saw it and continued into it, I thought, this is why I love running. This.

So, I am not giving it up. I will take my daily 3 miles, and more when I can. Wanting to get back home to little John has been great motivation, my pace has certainly improved. I want to do another 13.1 soon, hopefully in October or November. Hopefully little John will like his stroller more and more and he can come with me more often.

Are you a runner? Do you have a running story? Or some other story like mine?

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