Partum Me?! Halfway there.

By Laura |

partum me mama buttonI’ve been keeping up with the 5K training program I mentioned back in March, despite a three week blip where my travel schedule made things a little difficult.  I know, I know, I can run anywhere, but it gets hard when I’m rising at 5 am to catch a train to New York or DC and then I’m not getting back until 10 or 11 pm.  I can get in a workout much more easily when I’m doing long distance travel that’s not a day trip.

Yesterday, I hit my latest personal record by running 2.75 miles without stopping.  As I get closer to my 5K goal, I’ve also been trying to improve my time as well.  So for yesterday’s run, I did 1 minute sprints every 5 minutes.  It was hard and I wanted to quit a bunch of times, but I didn’t.  I pushed through and as the treadmill’s distance display rolled over to that 2.75 mile mark, I actually did a fist pump.

And then I heard the applause.  When I work out, I usually lose track of the world around me.  I didn’t notice the woman get on to the treadmill next to me and start running.  But when I pumped my fist, she clapped.  She congratulated me on a great run.  Told me I looked like I was really working for it and encouraged me to keep going.  She said all of this while still running, herself, and her distance meter read 5.5 miles!  I pointed to it and told her that I have a long road to go to get to her skill level.  She kept up her jog, gave me a big smile and said:

“It took me two long years and 80 lbs to get here, but I did it.  So can you!”

80 lbs.  The exact weight loss goal I have.  (I’m half way there.)  Two years from start to where she is now.  I’m a year in, so I’m halfway done with that part, too.

I wished her a good day and she replied, “You, too.  You deserve it after that run!”

While I strongly believe in the “runner’s high,” I think it was that woman’s words that made me feel euphoric that morning. I love working out, but I have yet to find a gym that doesn’t seem to be filled to the brim with judgmental workout-aholics who like to make jokes at the expense of those of us who don’t look like we belong on the pages of a fitness mag.  (And I go to the famously “judgment free” Planet Fitness, for goodness sake.  Lunk alarm, my ass.)  This lady was a breath of fresh air.  It’s amazing to see someone who is further down the same path that I am on.

Weight loss is of course a big part of why I’m training so hard lately, but there’s more to it than that and I think my conversation with that fellow runner embodies all of the reasons why many women work so diligently at the gym.  My favorite part of a workout is the walk out the door but not because it means that my workout is over.  It’s a  30 second slow stroll full of sweat dripping, breath catching…and feeling like a total and utter badass.  For me, the runner’s high is the point where I feel strong.  Pushed to my limit but still willing to keep going.  Invincible.  Exercise is an activity where I can expel some of my competitive energy, but while competing only against myself.

I’m digging running because there is a supportive connection among runners, but it’s also a huge challenge that never really ends.  There are always greater distances, better times, and tougher terrains.  The woman in the gym is not the first person to cheer me on.  I have a whole group of friends, mostly from college, who are doing the same 5K training program and rallying for each other on Facebook nearly every morning.  Being a mentally strong and tough woman has always been a source of pride for me, but I’m enjoying the process of making the outside match the inside.

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Laura is mommy to Charlie, who was born in April 2011. If you are in Philadelphia and spot a woman on the bus who is balancing an active toddler and the largest canvas tote that L.L. Bean makes, you've probably spotted her. Always up for a challenge, Laura enjoys her day job as a fundraiser, cooking healthy meals at home for her family, and her new workout hobby - running.

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  1. 1.

    Way to go, Laura! That is AMAZING. I am so so impressed. For me, the biggest challenge is often finding the time to work out and you manage to do with while working, too. You rock.

  2. 2.

    Good for you! Very impressive!

  3. 3.
    Sarah L

    Congratulations! Keep up the good work and you’ll get to your goal.

  4. 4.

    Great Job!

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