Learning To Run As A New Parent
Two weeks ago, my husband and I officially became foster parents. We accepted our first placement, a 5-year-old boy, the day after Labor Day, and our lives were promptly turned upside down. Going from a household of two quiet, fairly boring adults to a house with a very rambunctious 5-year-old has been a huge adjustment, and it has affected my running in a way I never expected.
When we decided to become foster parents, I naturally assumed that my entire schedule would change—especially my workouts. I work out twice a day several days of the week, which includes a run of about 5 miles and a personal training session. I do some type of workout six days a week, and I’m not a morning person, so I figured I might be kissing my running goodbye or running significantly less for a while.
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I could never have anticipated how parenting would change my relationship with running. I thought it would be the first thing to go out the window. I expected to be tired…and I am. I expected to be busy…and I am. I also expected to be unmotivated…but, in fact, the opposite has happened. While the idea of waking up at 5 a.m. to run once seemed so ridiculous that I would rather have not run at all, I have found myself popping out of bed willingly. I even look forward to it. What gives?
It might be easy enough to say that it’s simply a matter of knowing that if I don’t get my run done during the morning, I won’t have time the rest of the day to do it. Certainly, that is part of the answer I’m hopping out of bed bright-eyed and bushy-tailed, but it is not the entire reason. After all, I’ve skipped many an early-morning run in my day. The real reason is that I have come to realize that I am mentally much better equipped to conquer the day and whatever challenges, joys and tantrums it may bring when I have some time to myself to quiet my mind first. Waking up and jumping right into parenting still feels overwhelming for me as my husband and I try to find our rhythm as foster parents, so spending an hour in the morning with just the pitter patter of my feet or the chatter of a friend helps center me before I tackle the day.
Knowing how much better I am as a mother, wife and person after those early morning runs is all the motivation I need to push myself out of bed. It seems that my efforts are not going unnoticed, either. “One day, maybe I can run with you? When I get big?” my foster son asked this morning as I walked in wearing my running gear. “One day, buddy,” I smiled. “One day.”
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