Before I had kids I fancied myself a runner. At one point I had a serious regimen- several times a week I would get up and run a few miles in the hilly neighborhoods of Berkeley before going to work. I would go for a runs on vacation. I would run in the rain, or at night. I seemed to just need it. I love the way I feel when I'm in shape, and I love to be outside. When I got pregnant with Jasper I tried to keep fit, doing prenatal yoga and walking for exercise, and after I had him I did a baby boot camp to get my running mojo back, but it was never really my thing to run with a stroller, and somehow that was it, I didn't run anymore.
Over the last few years I've tried without much success to get back into a running routine. The problem is that after 2 kids, several years of sleep deprivation, a pair of weak ankles, and small windows of alone time that could be better spent working or cleaning, I never made it a priority. Every time I would try, I would realize how difficult it had become for me to run a mile, and I would give up, and feel a little miserable that I'd fallen that far out of shape.
I've wanted to find a way back to that place. A place where taking a half an hour to myself to get fresh air, listen to music, and break a sweat becomes a ritual. Good news, I've found my way back. Since moving to Petaluma, I've met a handful of amazing ladies who for the same reasons are struggling with the same thing. At the beginning of the year we banded together to get back into shape, running the big dirt trail at Schollenberger Park, a wetlands preserve at the footsteps of Athleta's headquarters on the south side of town. We started off by meeting up together once a weekend to do a morning walk-run using a training app called 10k for Pink which starts you off with a few weeks of walking with a little running, and gradually works you into sustained running. At this point I have some stamina back, and I'm back to running regularly, albeit a little slower on a flatter landscape than I used to, but running all the same. My goal is to make time to run at least 2 miles, four times a week.
On the off chance that you find yourself where I was, I thought I'd share what's worked for me this time around:
- The app. There are several versions of this type of trainer out there. Having a coach to push you and track your progress is incredibly helpful. It starts you off with 90 seconds of running at at time, which is doable for almost anyone.
- Slowing down. I started off trying to run at my old pace, and quickly became fatigued. I slowed it down by listening to slower music. I can be seen mouthing the words to Death Cab for Cutie on the path.
- Getting buddies to meet up with you occasionally. I like to run alone, but I sometimes need the motivation and camaraderie of another person to keep me interested.
- Getting some new gear. I picked up some cute shorts and a good sports bra, and I'm on the hunt for new shoes. I look forward to putting on my running uniform.
- Finding a safe place to run. I don't mean physically safe, I mean a place that you trust yourself to complete your workout. I like having the predictability. After I get into better shape I will venture out, but for now, I like Shollenberger.
Except for yesterday...when I ran on vacation!