Last night, as the sun waned and darkness approached, ever earlier in the wake of the dreaded daylight savings time, I pulled on my sweatshirt and gloves and slipped out of the front door.
Relaxing into a run after a brisk warm-up walk, I marveled at the freedom in my body. Remembering how, just four short months ago, I was absolutely miserable. I couldn’t bend, sit, walk, stand or sleep without being uncomfortable. I was huge and pregnant and thought for sure that my baby was never coming out.
I can run.
So I do.
I‘m not the fastest. Or the best. Or even the most consistent.
But for me, running is slightly addicting. I crave that brisk, cold air in my lungs, that slight burning in my chest, that time when it’s just me and the sky and the road under my feet. But more than that, I crave the feeling that I can just move. It’s a gift you take for granted until you are pregnant with a giant baby. After that, you appreciate the incredible freedom to be able to run down the road.
Slowing as I approached my driveway, I suddenly had a flash of realization.
I can run on, I thought.
So I did.
Picking up speed, I turned past my driveway, past my mailbox, curving into the slight downward swell of the road winding behind my house and breaking into a sprint.
I felt powerful. Adrenaline surged through my veins as my stride widened and my arms cut through the air with purpose. I felt strong. I imagined my muscles growing with each step, my still-mushy stomach shrinking with every ragged breath. I felt graceful. My body, once large with life, now alive in the dusk, a fluid movement of limbs on gravel.
I sprinted on, pushing through the pain and the searing ache in my lungs as the night air hit me with a rush.
And then I heard it.
“Ruuunnnn, Foorrrreest, Runnn!”
My husband, standing on the deck, grilling burgers and acting as a front-row commentator to my sprinting spectacle and smashing the image I had of myself striding it out as a sleek and sexy Olympic athlete into more of the chubby, yoga-pants clad mother of three with mismatched gloves that I really was.
So much for graceful.