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Jealous of the runner I used to be

Posted Jul 25 2009 12:00am

By Alison

I know it's not nice to be jealous. Feeling jealous makes me feel guilty. What do I have to be jealous about? I have a wonderful life, great husband, loving family, my health and best of all, the ability to run. Regardless, I think everyone gets jealous from time to time.

Last night was Friday night. My pre-pregnancy Friday nights would be filled with making plans to meet my sister, Lori, at the Bethpage State Park trail or my running pal Susan up in the peaceful streets of Oyster Bay Cove and Brookville
for our Saturday morning long run. I'd make pasta with peas and marinara for my carbohydrate-fueled dinner, have a glass of wine, and excitedly make plans to go to the beach followed by cocktails and a great dinner as a post long run reward.

Since becoming pregnant, weekends have taken on a new meaning. Lori and my husband, Mike, are still going to Bethpage for their long runs, but without me. Lori is training for the New York City marathon and my husband started training for a local half marathon in October. Mike was getting his playlist ready for this morning's run, another Friday night ritual of mine. I had to have to perfect playlist starting out with mellow tunes and graduating to face-paced techno to push me through the last mile. Now running while pregnant, I just hit "shuffle" on my iPod and keep an even, steady, SLOW pace.

I miss the trail. I thought, well, I could go there for a 3 or 4 mile run. But would it make me feel better or worse? I'll see all the runners training for their various fall marathons. Would it inspire me that someday I'll be doing that again? Or would the temper-tantrum side of Alison come out and put me in a bad mood for the rest of the day?

I opted not to go to the trail this morning. Instead, I decided to do my usual 3.75 mile jog in my neighborhood with Toby (my lab). I love taking Toby because I know the run helps burn off his crazy lab energy. But he's very slow in the beginning and it's more like tug-of-war than running. I
feel like I waste a lot of energy adjusting my grip on his leash, glancing at him to make sure he's not about to cross in front of me or poop, and stopping to attempt to give him water that he dribbles all over the sidewalk. About 20 minutes into the run, he typically is "warmed-up" and trots happily at my side.

A realization comes over me. A premonition of sorts. Running may never be the same for me again once I become a new mommy (or at least for a long while). I won't be able to drop everything and go for a run whenever I please. I will always have a child that can't be left alone. When I don't have a babysitter, I'll be pushing a baby jogger. I won't always have the freedom of free hands swaying at my sides while I run. Saturdays filled with meeting Lori for a long run, followed by lazy-lounging at Tobay Beach, and an evening of sipping margaritas and good dinner may become few and far between. And how will Mike and I coordinate our runs with watching the baby?

I realize that when this baby arrives, our lives will certainly change. But here's something else I know. No matter how busy I've been in my life with schlepping into the city for a full-time job, returning to school with a full course load and working part-time, completing a full-time internship while finishing my masters degree - there is one thing I always made time for - running. It is my sanity. My focus. I could find something to give up on my laundry-list of to-do's to get in one hour of running. If I didn't, people had better get the heck out of my way!

I've always said, you never know what you can accomplish until you're faced with it. My goal is to get those Saturday morning long runs back again, no matter what. I'll find a way. I'll make the time.

Here's to running!
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