That’s it. One week is all that separates me from the day that my life will change forever. The day I will attempt to run 10 miles.
Now before you start thinking that I’m all one of those fit and trim moms, allow me to set the record straight.
I am in no way shape or form, fit and trim.
In fact, the image that most accurately portrays my running form is our favorite children’s classic:
Pooh and I have a lot in common. We both are short, stout, and proud of that. We both share a strange love of honey, although I prefer mine in tea. We both have rather round bellies. The only difference between me and Pooh, in fact, is that I do wear shorts while engaging in my exercises for the day. That’s a promise.
I started running the year I went into my sophomore year of high school. I was transferring from a teeny private Catholic school to a public school, and I was convinced I needed to whip myself into shape to make the basketball team. So I ran. And I was never really any good, but I found out that I like running. I ran a couple of 5K races that summer and set the goal to someday, somehow run the ultimate race: the 10 mile.
Fast forward a couple of years and the timing was never really right. I got shin splints. I was working. Then I was in college. Then I studied abroad. Then I got an internship in D.C. Then I–oops, got pregnant. The next year, I was breastfeeding a newborn. The next year–oops, pregnant again. The following year, nursing another newborn.
Which brings me to today. I am not pregnant (that I know of!) or breastfeeding a baby. I am committed to following through on this goal this year. I’ve been training, slowly, but surely working my way up in half-mile increments. On Wednesday, I made it 7 miles! That really boosted my confidence. I feel pretty certain that if I can make it 7, I can make it 10.
The strange thing is, I am running more than I ever have in my life–but I have not lost any weight.
In fact, I gained 7 pounds, a thoroughly discouraging, if not downright depressing fact.
I have two theories about my weight gain:
1) Muscle weighs more than fat, right? Surely I have gained some muscles by running all this time. In fact, my massage therapist commented the other day on the lovely shin muscles I have developed. I’m thinking about having a t-shirt made: “I ran 10 miles and all I got were these lousy shin muscles.”
2) I eat a lot more when I exercise. Surely the fact that I ran 7 miles allows me to have ice cream before and after dinner, right?
It feels good to have come this far though. I feel proud of my body for its accomplishments. Birthing two babies naturally, running 7 miles, building enormous shin muscles.
And most importantly, I feel good knowing that I am running this race for someone whose short life far exceeds any amount of goodness I can do with my life. I am running this race for my daughter’s friend Lily, whose life was cut short by child abuse at the age of two-and-a-half. Lily and my daughter Ada were born a mere 3 days apart and her loss is honestly, beyond words. Lily’s mother, Lauren, is an incredible pillar of strength who continues to organize events to raise awareness and funds against child abuse. Team Justice for Lily will be going strong come race day.
No matter what, I know that Lily will be our wings next Saturday.
I hope she likes Winnie-the-Pooh.