Skip to content

Not a Mother Runner

December 10, 2012

This weekend, as I started my early morning routine of fixing coffee, watching a little bit of the Today Show, and trying my best to keep Lila from ingesting Christmas lights, I looked out our front window and saw hundreds of runners, pounding the pavement in front of our house:


I hadn’t realized that our house is right on the route for the Rocket City Marathon!

Ryan, Lila and I sat outside for quite a while, cheering on the runners.  Some of them looked like they were having a ball.  Some of them looked like they were in complete agony.  Some ran in pairs, some ran in huge groups, and some ran totally solo.  They were men and women, old and young.

And I was very jealous of all of them.

I’ve mentioned this before on the blog, but I’ll say it again: post-baby, my desire to run at all has been pretty sporadic.  Every now and then (like on Thanksgiving), I’ll get the urge.  But, more often than not, I just don’t feel like it. 

And that’s fine—but it’s also weird.  Running has been my main form of exercise for many years, and for it to take such a backseat in my life just feels kind of…strange. 

I was never super-speedy, and the farthest distance I’ve ever run has been 13 miles, which is mere child’s play to those who run marathons (or further). 

Still, rare was the week when I didn’t lace up my running shoes and go for a run at least once or twice (and usually more). 

What do I do now? I walk, and I do yoga. 

My body craves both—I love taking long walks with Lila in the stroller.  We usually go for at least one long walk a day, sometimes two.

And yoga is all me.  I feel like yoga is the perfect form of exercise for where I am in my life right now.  The classes I take are generally pretty strenuous (ahem, hot yoga), so I do feel like they count as “workouts.”  In addition, all of the chaturangas and warrior poses have to add up to at least some strength training.  And, perhaps most importantly, I feel like yoga truly functions as a retreat for my mind—and that’s really important when, on a daily basis, my mind is trying to balance essay grading, baby rearing, and life living.

All that being said—yep, I was jealous of those runners.

To me, being a “runner” has always seemed a little…elitist.  Not elitist in a snobby way.  Just elitist in the sense that…there’s this whole, huge runner subculture out there, and if you take part in it, you automatically feel like a member of this pretty cool club. 

I’ll be honest: I miss that.

But I’m also trying to (yes, this is SO cheesy) honor my body right now.  And if my body feels like doing yoga instead of running, so be it.

It’s taken me a long time to get to a place where I don’t feel guilty about not wanting to run.  For the first three or four months after Lila’s birth, I really felt like I *needed* to be out there clocking miles, getting my speed back, etc.  And then I finally just thought, “You know what? Screw it!” 

It can be hard to let go of something that was such a huge part of your life, pre-baby.  I follow many other “mommy” blogs, and many of these mommies are runners.  Some of them clearly still enjoy, love, and crave running.  Which I think is awesome.

But some of them clearly don’t.  Some of them are clearly just still running because it’s what they did before the baby came.  Some of them clearly just don’t want to let go of that title of “runner.” 

To which I say: Let. It. Go.

It can be really hard to admit that life is different after you have a baby.  I think all new moms (and dads) try to cling to certain parts of pre-baby life, eager to prove that nothing has changed.  I know I do.  But the sooner you can let go of what life was, and embrace what life is, the happier you’ll be. 

Photo: Came home from yoga to find Lila doing her own down dog. Pretty good form, right Holley?

Even Lila is getting in on the enlightenment.  Good looking down dog!


Hope your week is off to a great start!

24 Comments leave one →
  1. December 10, 2012 6:48 pm

    love this! i was just thinking to myself this morning how exercise has changed and probably will continue to change for me because of olivia. i am getting back into running and running at 4.6-5.0 on the treadmil has excited me like nothing else…but i know gone are the days of super long workouts…and that makes me thrilled. i need to make my workouts short and sweet and i’m pretty much celebrating that (for now at least!)

    • December 10, 2012 8:01 pm

      Ha, yep, workouts just in general definitely changed for me after Lila was born! But you know, I totally agree with you about no longer having long workouts– I found that I was actually pushing myself HARDER and getting better workouts in, post-baby, because I knew that I didn’t have any time to dilly-dally around the gym. These days, I get in, get it done, and get out!

  2. December 10, 2012 7:44 pm

    I really love your blog and i hope you never give it up (im selfish like that). Your honesty is awesome and refreshing. Glad youre doing what works for YOU!!!!

    • December 10, 2012 7:59 pm

      Aw, thanks Erica. You were actually one of the mommy runners that I had in mind when I wrote about the ones who still clearly LOVE running! I’m a little jealous, ha. But you’re right– the only thing that matters is that we do what works for ourselves, without spending too much time worrying about what might work for someone else.

  3. December 10, 2012 9:52 pm

    I think it’s absolutely ok to no really want to run right now. That’s the thing about running – maybe like quitting smoking – if you’re not really ready or really into it then it feels forced. I guess it’s that way with any exercise though. And your walks mean spending time with Lila too. Walking is prob more calming and relaxing too 😉

    • December 10, 2012 10:00 pm

      Ha– that’s so true about smoking (and running)! I’ve never thought of it that way. You can totally tell when you’re forcing it.

  4. December 10, 2012 10:29 pm

    Oh, Anna…this post simultaneously excites me and scares me. I am an everyday runner, and I can’t imagine that changing right now. But I do like the idea of exercise not quite disappearing, but taking on another form after a baby. Lila is as cute as a cabbage patch kid…no wait, cuter!

    • December 10, 2012 10:34 pm

      You know, the funny thing is, you just never know WHAT you’ll want to do! My taste in so many other things changed, either during pregnancy or afterwards, that I guess it was silly to think that my exercise tastes would totally stay the same!

  5. December 10, 2012 11:41 pm

    Isn’t it funny how that happens? It is true your whole life. I used to love running, although I only ran 3 miles at a time. As I get older, I find that running is such a chore for me and it hurts! But I love walking and will do that almost every day, and I love my Pilates classes. You were smart to figure this out so fast and not force yourself to do something you didn’t want to do. And your body will thank you for taking up Yoga!

  6. December 11, 2012 12:30 am

    I kind of wonder if some part of me didn’t get into running to begin with because of the subculture? I hate the number game and I won’t ever compare myself to others when it comes to distance or speed. My numbers are mine and I’m happy if I go for a 1 mile run and feel good afterwards. I think that’s why I don’t have the desire to race. I just like to go out for a run. I actually never really know how far I’m going when I set out. I just go. I LOVE my workouts, but not in a crazy way, I just love the way I feel when I workout. I have really gotten into running in the past 6 months, but I also know that I’m not that young and I have to really listen to what my body says. Some days, I go for it, but some days I take it easy and do a hip girdle workout to open up the rusty gates! Your body and mind completely change after having kids and you really do have to find what works for you. I’m so glad you’re doing what’s right for you!

    • December 11, 2012 3:07 pm

      I think that’s great that you don’t want to race– I know some people LOVE races, but they never appealed to me all that much. I do think races are great for when you really want to build up your distance or speed– I probably never would have run more than 3-4 miles if I hadn’t been training for a half-marathon. But, at the same time, I know that I started to get really attached to my Garmin– I HAD to know my distance and pace; otherwise, it almost wouldn’t even feel like I had been running– which is crazy!

  7. December 11, 2012 3:20 am

    I know what you mean about letting go of the title. Some “runners” seem to HATE running and it makes me wonder why they torture themselves. Great post!

    Oh, and my daughter does down dog too. Love it.

  8. December 12, 2012 5:41 am

    Just stumbled upon your blog. Awesome photo of your daughter getting into downward dog. I’m actually a huge fan of Yoga myself as I find it’s a great way to clear the mind! Awesome post.

  9. December 12, 2012 5:50 am

    Nothing wrong with giving up running for a bit and going with what feels right. Maybe someday you’ll crave it again or not and either is fine!

    • December 14, 2012 4:25 pm

      Yep– I’ve had other mom/runner friends tell me that the urge came back eventually, and some who say that it just never really did…so we’ll see! 🙂

  10. December 12, 2012 1:42 pm

    With a baby on the way, this is a really interesting post, Anna. It seems like you’re doing exactly what feels and is right for you right now. But it’s amazing how are expectations get in the way! I know I expected to feel certain things about being pregnant and I’ve been disappointed when they aren’t reality (ie: I thought that i would LOVE being pregnant, would be super active, eat kale every day and – frankly – it’s been way harder/more uncomfortable than I expected which means I am often NOT the poster child for pregnancy that I had hoped). Your candidness about life as a mom is always appreciated!

    • December 14, 2012 4:27 pm

      Aw, I know EXACTLY how you feel. I remember about three months into my pregnancy, my sister came to visit and I was talking about how much I just didn’t like being pregnant, and she said, “Really?! I loved it!!!” I felt so disappointed that I didn’t love it like I thought I would.

      And you know, pretty far into the pregnancy (maybe around 23-24 weeks?), I started to really love it. And then at the end, I hated it again, ha.

      Anyway, I guess my point is– don’t feel bad. There’s no specific way that you’re “supposed” to feel during pregnancy (or motherhood, for that matter). You just feel what you feel, and it’s okay.

  11. December 13, 2012 7:25 pm

    Everything changed when I became a mom, but the number one thing I regret is totally letting myself go. I didn’t go for walks, I didn’t do yoga, I didn’t do anything but sit on the couch and get bigger and bigger. I have been a mom for over 10 years now and I feel like I’m just starting to realize who “I” am as a person…and what type of exercise is my passion. I really wanted to be a runner, there is a total “club” that SO many belong to, but it’s not me…and I’m fine with that. So many things change after babies are born, and there are a few people with blogs that I just want to shake and say LET.IT.GO!

    • December 14, 2012 4:29 pm

      Aw, I hear you Jen. I can totally see how easy it would be to lose all of yourself in motherhood. I’m trying to take steps to prevent that from happening, but honestly, I think to some degree, it’s just kind of unavoidable.

      And I love it that you know being a runner just isn’t you– honestly, I think that probably applies to a lot of people who run anyway! 🙂

      • December 14, 2012 8:02 pm

        It is pretty unavoidable in some aspects, because so much changes, even going to the bathroom alone changes!


  1. Return to Running | On Anna's Plate
  2. Why running a marathon is like natural childbirth (a marathon recap) | On Anna's Plate

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )


Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: