Dear Max and Rebecca
When I was still pregnant last year, I boldly entered Two Oceans and Comrades, determined to run them again, and pretty confident I’d zip back into fitness like I did seven years after the first pregnancy. That time, I’m not sure how my body bounced back after a caesar so quickly, but eight weeks after not-so-minor surgery, I was running a 32km race and a few months later, I was doing Two Oceans and Comrades in better times than I’ve managed the last six years.
Not only that, but I WANTED to run so badly, and I was so determined to proceed “as normal” and do my best to get to any start – and finish – line. I think I was also in a different state then – I was relying on running to beat a bit of the baby blues (Max, you will know by now that this had nothing to do with you per se, but everything to do with a shift of life and hormones). And I was relying on running to feel like the old me, and to define myself by the running.
Cue several years and kilograms later, some different priorities, and a much tougher caesar recovery, and, well, I’m just not into it any more. I mean, I’m still into running, but I’m not into the high mileage, the discipline and the pushing, and more than that, I’m so tired and unfit, and I’ve left the marathon and ultra training late, I don’t think I’ll be able to manage a qualifying marathon (for Two Oceans) by the beginning of March in under five hours.
It’s okay. Yes, I’m upset when I think of NOT touching down on the UCT grass during the finishing strait, or hobbling around Cape Town the day after the race, proud, and eating a guilt-free buffet breakfast. I’m upset I’ll miss the high, another medal, and the Hout Bay views.
But I’m not disappointed. And I don’t regret not having gotten to a place I thought I would have reached by now. I don’t regret the sleep-ins, I don’t regret walking 3km on mornings that I “should have” been running 10km, and I don’t regret all the cuddles I’ve gotten from you guys when I otherwise would have been running.
I don’t regret not planning my days better to get longer runs in (I’m not working fulltime yet), and I don’t regret working so hard on milk supplies early in the morning when I could have been running.
I’ve recently run two 21kms that have been exhausting for me, and have felt like marathons on my legs. But I don’t regret not training for them, or having walkers in their 70s pass me as a result.
I’ll get there when I’m ready, and when I once would have berated myself for not getting back on track swifter, I’m content for now for 21km races, and maybe I’ll even try to run at least twice a week for up to 10km, so that I’m not the last person from my running club finishing every race (I can only hope!).
Yours in baby steps…
Feature image of woman running: Shutterstock
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