Running On Full
Cheetah Babe, on the move
As I watch Lily move, I feel so proud of all of the things she can do: wave, pat, scoot, roll, hand her paci to the dog, scratch, screech, and almost-talk (I’m pretty sure she said “book” yesterday, but maybe it’s just the English teacher in me thinking wishfully). It’s been pretty amazing, really, to have watched her transform from this (very cute!) little immobile baby-lump into our ultra-speedy cheetah girl. And I hope, as she and I both continue to grow up, that Dmitri and I will be able to help her to understand that our abilities– whatever thay may be– deserve more focus and attention than do our imperfections.
The truth is, being pregnant and having a baby helped me to appreciate my body in a way that I was never able to before. And while I’m grateful that I’ve made peace with my appearance now (in spite of infrequent showers, puffy eyes, and hair that hasn’t been cut in over 6 months), I am sad, sometimes, about all of the years I wasted feeling so crummy about the way I looked, the way I felt, and all of the things I couldn’t do (like resist the temptation to eat an entire pint of ice cream, dance in a way that didn’t embarass all of my friends, run “the mile” as fast as the other girls in high school gym class, or rock a pair of jeans like my long-legged friend Katie).
So a few months ago, while grappling with the decision to work part-time from home so I could stay with Lily (and feeling pretty insecure about my abilities as a mom, employee, wife, and person in general), I decided to train for a half marathon. Let me rephrase: I decided to follow a half marathon training schedule, even though there was no actual race on the horizon, simply because I wanted to prove that I could.
In the beginning, I was really dedicated. I ran almost every day, faster and farther than I ever thought possible. I started to feel like a real runner, and not the clumsy kid I’d always been. Sometime during training week six, however, life got in the way. Dmitri’s schedule changed, and so did Lily’s sleeping habits (apparently, she though that 2am was primo playtime). And because sleep ALWAYS trumps exercise these days, I had to stop training for my imaginary half marathon so that I would be more present and available in my real life.
I may never run 13.1 miles, or manage to keep my eyebrows perfectly groomed, or, sadly, look like Katie does–all 5 feet, 10 inches of her– in jeans. But now, when I manage to log a slow and sweaty hour on the treadmill (and even when the best I can do is a walk with the dog around the block), I remember to thank my tired legs (and arms, and back) for doing such an amazing job of keeping my “can-do” list so long.