If you came here for ambition, well, you came to the wrong place

Remember when this used to be sort of a running blog? If you answered “no,” then you’re in good company because NEITHER DO I!

Several years ago, I wrote a lot about postpartum running because running was a huge part of my life before pregnancy, and having a baby packs a wallop. Postpartum running was hard, unfamiliar, and uncomfortable, so I blogged about it because I wanted to hear other women’s experiences. I wanted to make sure I wasn’t alone. (AND GUESS WHAT? I WASN’T ALONE! THANKS LADIES!!)

Slowly I got back into shape, and even though it was hardit wasn’t impossible. In fact, I got up on my high horse and (privately) wondered, “why don’t more women do this?”

Then I got pregnant again, had another baby, ran a half marathon, got hurt, had another baby, and somewhere in there you could say I figured out why more women don’t do this.

At some point, I just stopped running.

And, inevitably, this turned into a blog about the Real Housewives and Cheetos. I think I’ve found my niche!

If you know me in real life, you’ve probably heard me talk – NAY! – complain about Tom’s 2017 goals. They are ambitious (everything Tom does is ambitious) and they are awful.

He wakes up at 5:30 and is in bed by 10. He quit coffee, junk food, beer, and exercises every day.

You can probably imagine how it feels living with someone like that, when my goals are, in this order:

  1. accurately predict at least one of Bachelor Nick’s final four
  2. stop losing Thomas in the house as much

 Even though I am very, very grumpy about Tom’s new found enthusiasm for living his best, uncaffeinated life, the simple (awful) truth is that his miserable habits are rubbing off on me.

In the past three years I’ve become a different version of myself, a version that GETS THROUGH THE DAY. To do that, I don’t exercise, I eat a lot of brownies, never wake up early, and ignore my husband while playing Candy Crush. I’m on level 2037.

It’s not a version I loathe, because I know that this version of Amanda came from survival in a specific season.

It’s similar to how you have completely different habits, say, when you’re on a road trip. You don’t normally eat jerky and Cheddar Chex Mix at 9:30 a.m., because a person on a 7-hr drive to the beach has certain nutritional needs.

This version of me – a version that does not exercise or read books – emerged shortly after I gave birth to Mary Virginia, we started getting sick a lot, and Mary Virginia earned the gold medal as the worst sleeper ever. And then I had another baby. With all of that going on, I didn’t have room for much else and I’ll be honest — I didn’t feel bad about it.

I wasn’t loathing that version of me, I was aware of it. I was aware that I used to be a person who exercised. Past tense. And I wondered if my life would ever boomerang back to that place.

As I type this I’m sure my kids are lining up to get the stomach bug or resurrect the epic case of pink eye that lasted for four weeks, but I’m going to type it anyway — we’re stepping into a stage where life is the teeniest bit more predictable.

So I started running in August.

Running…very tentatively, with very little regularity. I’m still exhausted, overwhelmed, and am cautious of my old injuries. Do you like all of these qualifiers? TENTATIVE, CAUTIOUS, SLOWLY. Any time I say “running” I need to couch it with those words. And the word couch.

It’s TENTATIVE, CAUTIOUS, and SLOW, but it’s happening. And that’s something.

I’ve been trying to run 2-3 times a week, usually between 2-3 miles.

After each run, I feel like I’ve run 15 miles. I’m achy, tired, and feel very much like I need to get around to the strength training and yoga I keep promising to do. But it’s a good achy, one that’s distinctly different than achy from spending all day refilling milk cups while carrying a toddler.

And also, because I can’t seem to get out of bed in the morning and because I have three kids at home, this is how I run most days. David rides on his bike while I push the other two.

We go slow. We stop a lot to repeat rules about road safety, to pick flowers, or to look at the neighbor’s koi pond.

This is just what running looks like right now, and it’s not high intensity training, but it’s not so bad. In fact, it’s just a different version of why I’ve always loved running in the first place — because of how it builds community and relationships.

EVERY TIME I run I have this muscle memory-type feeling that wants to run higher mileage and sign up for a race — I have this weird temptation to dive in. Then something happens and I go three weeks without running, and instead of being inspired I feel discouraged about being back at square one.

Instead of doing that, I’m going to keep running where it feels comfortable. I’ll never get race-ready pushing 55-pounds of toddlers in a stroller and walking up inclines because David can’t keep momentum up hills. But we are outside, having fun, moving, and together. I’m ok if that’s what my running is about for now.

– – –

Just like I did when I first started running and blogging, I’m writing about this in case there’s anyone who can relate. Sometimes it seems like there are other moms who aren’t as affected, whose postpartum recovery doesn’t seem to spill past six weeks into months and years. But I don’t think that’s true. I think we’re all figuring it out, because every day and stage gives us something new. I think we’re all in this together.

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9 Comments

  1. alyssa January 25, 2017

    I love this. I had a baby. i run, sort of. actually, my goal is two half marathons this year, pregnancy depending. but it’s way less impressive then it sounds. I’m all about making it enjoyable. which is hard since it’s -20C where i live, and will be until April (i wish i was joking). also, my 1.75 year old hates. and i mean HATES IT WHEN I RUN. so i run by myself, in the freezing ass cold. that picture with green grass and clear sidewalks is my vision of heaven right now.

    Reply
  2. Anna Boriack January 25, 2017

    Oh I Love this!!!

    Reply
  3. Katherine Ashbaugh January 25, 2017

    In fact, it’s just a different version of why I’ve always loved running in the first place — because of how it builds community and relationships.

    WHat a great line! Good for you!

    Reply
  4. Katherine Ashbaugh January 25, 2017

    Also, My health goal is to not eat cheese and triscuits every night. this is a legitimate goal. apparently too much cheese can actually have an effect on your energy level! so, we’ll see …

    Reply
  5. Gail Ann January 26, 2017

    Sometimes, life changes, and its ok. I don’t have children. Wish I did, but 10 years ago, I was diagnosed with rheumatoid disease. 10 years… first time I’ve quantified it, actually. Many things cause change. Some good, some bad. It isn’t the cause as much as what we do. Some challenges we meet with courage, and some challenges, for various reasons, we do not meet as well as we can with the resources at our disposal and our physical and mental energy.

    It took a while, but I learned at some point on this journey that perfection. Sometimes, the goal is just getting through it. Life can’t be a series of “ifs.” If I had more energy. If I had less pain. It is what it is. You do what you can, which is not always your best, with what you have. I’ve found I’m getting better at prioritizing. I have X amount of energy, what can I do, and is quality better than quantity. My own high standards were my own worst enemy.

    The above doesn’t mean that you settle, and everything is substandard. It’s being realistic. Does it matter to my husband if I make garlic bread, as in making bread from scratch, or if I purchase it in the grocery? Cookies on the other hand…. it’s a mater of priorities, and realistic expectations. And, there is NO reason to feel guilty for having limitations. Absolutely no reason at all

    Reply
  6. Gail Ann January 26, 2017

    I meant to ask you,watched Rachel ray on 1/2517, as I noticed part of your page included about knitting. She had a woman who knitted with her hands/arms. The yarn looked more like material, but it was HUGE. She said it took about 30 minutes to make a scarf, and an evening to make a blanket, which looked like it should be a bit tighter. It was a novel concept. I’ve never seen anyone cast on using their arm. Have you read the Friday Night Knitting Club books, or the cozy mysteries knitting series, and as I type, i remember you mentioned not reading anymore, And, this is another area where I’ve changed. Audiobooks. In the summer, I read. In the winter, I listen as I drive, cook, dust, or sew. Perhaps when you run…. Anyway, it was an interesting concept. Odd, but interesting.

    Reply
    • amandakrieger February 5, 2017

      thanks for reading! i’ve heard about the knitting with your arms thing. it’s definitely an interesting concept, and the result is really cool! my only question is…what do you do when you need to use your arms!?

      Reply
  7. Jackie January 31, 2017

    oh I miss exercising so much! Not so much that I’ll actually do it right now… I consider going up the two flights of stairs to our flat all the exercise I can handle in a day… and chasing the toddler. buuuuuuuuut I miss having the energy to exercise. It took me nearly a year after having Liam before really getting into something. It was just too much for me to handle and to enjoy. And then I got pregnant again, sooooooo, yeah, the exercising stopped. I’ll give myself whatever time my body needs to heal from however I give birth this time (Liam was a c-section) and then take it from there. Also, for the record, yes, I DO remember when this was a blog about running! 🙂 I’m just impressed you’ve continued to blog… I’ve stared at an empty screen for the last 6 months not knowing what to say or how to say it.

    Reply
  8. Liz grissom February 6, 2017

    Just read this. two thumbs up!!!

    Reply

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