The Evolution of a Mother Runner

 Photo by  Jeremy Paige  on  Unsplash

Photo by Jeremy Paige on Unsplash

Before the birth of my son, I was a five mile a day girl. No matter where I was or what I was doing, I’d get up early or stay after work late to fit in those five miles for myself. I guarded those miles selfishly. When I found out I was pregnant, I continued to run, slower and slower each week, but persistently, knowing that the time was coming when my time would not be my own. Fast forward to birthing a nearly nine-pound baby, and I suddenly had a tiny human needing me every second of every day. It was exhausting and exhilarating and filled with laughter and tears, and there was no way I had time or energy for five miles each day. But running remained.

Running has been a constant source of joy for me for the past decade, from early morning runs out on the rural roads near my family home to miles logged after a long day of teaching to what my life looks like now: a patchwork of solo runs, stroller runs, and social runs with friends. And, despite the fact that my mileage looks a lot less impressive and races are sometimes few and far between, I am a better runner and a better human because I am now a mother.

I am better able to appreciate a twenty-minute solo run, even if I have to rise before the sun to get it done. And I have learned to embrace the slower pace and frequent stops of a stroller run with my son, who gleefully throws toys out just to watch them fall, asks for snacks every mile, and adds 30 pounds of resistance to each step. I listed all the negatives just now, but he’s also the one who makes me stop at overlooks and gaze at the river rushing below. He is not concerned with my mile pace; instead, he knows beauty when he sees it and interrupts my world to bring it to me.

Running has changed vastly for me over the past few years, but so have I. Each day is new, and each day, I ask for the grace to get through the day, another step, another diaper change, another meal at a time. I have less time for me, but that also means that I have more opportunities to serve others. And what could be more Christ-like and beautiful than that? I’m running a race to heaven, and I am so grateful for my husband and son who are running the race by my side.