There are many things that I think define me. These definitions shift and change over time with my life priorities. I am a Christian, a mother, a wife, a daughter, a sister, a friend. I am an occupational therapist. I am an outdoor enthusiast, a traveler, a camper, a reader, a runner. Some of these things, like traveling, camping, reading, and running have taken a back seat over the past several years. But in the past several weeks, with the help of my wonderful husband, I have started running again.
I used to run a lot. I ran cross country and track through high school and college. I ran consistently after college until we were trying to start our family. During our years of infertility, the combination of activity restrictions after each procedure and my depression made my running sporadic at best. I would try to resume running after the birth of each child, only to be met with the obstacles of finding the time (and energy) to make it a priority.
Zach, however, has made it a priority to help me get back to something that I love. He comes home early enough several days a week for me to fit in a run while he watches the kids and gets dinner on the table. He makes time for me to run on the week-ends. And he even bought me new running clothes for Mother's Day, adding to my motivation to head out the door.
As I have slowly gotten back into shape, I find myself more and more enjoying my runs. So many of the things in my daily life are things I am doing for others. For my kids. For my husband. For my church. For my job. And I love all of that. But running is something that I am doing for me. And this past week-end, as I was out for a run on a beautiful Saturday morning on my favorite wooded trails with no time constraints, no need to get home for dinner, no impending nursing to be done, and not another person around, I realized how much I had missed running. Running alone, with only my thoughts and an eclectic play list of music from my brother Ethan, in the shaded coolness of the quiet woods, I was peaceful. Happy. Fulfilled. Energized. And ready to go home and tackle toddler tears and stubborn opinions and being pulled in multiple directions at once. Running is something I am doing for me. It is something that makes me happy. But it also makes me better for my family. Because going out for a run means coming back more energized, patient, happy, strong. I am a runner...and that makes me a better person.