Quick lesson: Having a Baby Makes you Run Faster. Yay.
Second Quick Lesson: But it may come with having to push for a really, really long time. Fack.
When I first started running 11 years ago, I learned pretty quickly that it requires commitment, proper training and a proper post-celebratory beer. I also learned you need a tough mental game, which definitely didn’t come naturally for me. I can be physically ready for a big run, but when it came to race day, I’d always mentally crumble and ultimately flake out on hitting any kind of goal.
This all changed after pushing for two hours and 13 minutes.
I’m not talking about a half-marathon completion; instead, I’m referring to the day we welcomed Alex into the world.
It was a long labour and as every mother knows, it is best described as the most painful and exhilarating day of your life. When it was time to push, the doctor told me the average pushing time for first-time moms is two hours. There was a clock on the opposite wall to me and I mentally made a note that I started pushing at 9:25 p.m.
After an hour of pushing, I reminded the doctor we only had an hour left to go. Long story longer, we met Alex at 11:38 p.m.
Two hours, 13 minutes.
Pushing hard like that somehow switched my mental game when it came to running. Now, when I go out for a run, I tell myself to suck it up and often remind myself that if I can push for 2:13, I can make it through a gruelling 25-minute run.
That mentality paid off for me yesterday when I ran my first post-natal five-km race.
Like every other parent, I’ve been working long hours, getting decent but sometimes not-so-decent sleeps and trying to help run a household and ensure our little one doesn’t eat dog hair or lady bugs, fall down the stairs, gets bathed, etc. Running and exercise has been sporadic these days and so I had no expectations when I approached the start line at the Cookie Run in east Ottawa yesterday.
When I got tired around the 3-km mark, I told myself to suck it up and to instead take advantage of a day away from Alex and mom responsibilities. So I pushed hard and finished with a 23:45 time.
I’m grateful for not only having a wonderful, cheeky and sweet son in my life, but I’m also thankful that the long push to meet him has paid off in my running life.
And that post-celebratory beer was pretty good, too.
What helped switch your mental game when it comes to facing challenges?
How long did you push for? Will you remind your children of it for eternity, too?