August 16

I first read Running Like a Girl by Alexandra Heminsley last year about this time. It really struck a chord with me.

On the first page of the prologue she tells you a whole bunch of things that people say about running and then she says:

“These are lies.

Running is awful. It feels unnatural, unnecessary, painful. It can hijack you with breathlessness, cripple you with panic, and overwhelm you with self-consciousness.”

Still in the prologue, she admits to feeling “repulsed and intimidated” by the seemingly natural athletes.

FINALLY!!! Someone else who feels the same way I do!!

So I read deeper. And deeper.

I, too, am in my thirties and felt like I couldn’t run. I had stopped running when I was 16 and that was that. I was no longer a runner.

I was also at my heaviest weight ever. And I was miserable and not happy about it.

She started by walking. Now granted, she started by walking for hours at a time. I don’t have that luxury of time. I have a husband, kids, and a full time job. But I can walk, just shorter lengths of time. And I did. And I rapidly lost 20 lbs. I was very happy about that!

In that month, I did what is typical of me. I researched. If there was a book or a website that looked like it might provide me with info, I read it.

I found a whole new world! People run marathons. Regularly!

I had known that my father in law and mother in law ran marathons but my husband did not, so I had never really thought about it. I found out that my father in law had run a sub 4 hour marathon! I was (and still am!) in awe!

I started to dream. Maybe I could do this.

Maybe I could run a 5K.

Maybe I could run a 10K.

Maybe I could run a half marathon.

Maybe I could run a marathon.

And then I got pregnant. With the joy came the crippling exhaustion. I spent every moment of my free time in bed. I just couldn’t. They say that walking for 10 or 15 minutes can help alleviate the pregnancy exhaustion, but I couldn’t even put one foot in front of the other for 2 minutes. I had to reserve what little energy I had for work just to make it through my shifts.

I’m now 5 weeks postpartum. I see my doctor in one week to get permission to go back to work and to resume exercise. But I will admit, I have started exercising a tiny, tiny bit.

I took my new baby boy, and I walked down two lamp posts on our street and back again carrying his snuggly little body up against my chest.

And I’m reading Alexandra’s book for the fourth time. (At this point she seems more like a good friend.) And I’m dreaming again.

Maybe I can do this.