I can't believe I just wrote that sentence. For as long as I can remember, I've always been a runner. Or shall I say a "jogger." In high school it was to get in shape for field hockey season, as an adult it's been my therapy. My escape. While I never enjoyed it in high school, I've learned to love it after having children.
I've always said running three or four miles was enough for me. I've done countless 5K races. I've done many five mile races. My preferred jog has always been thirty or forty minutes at a pace I can breathe and think.
This past year, I've been surprising myself a bit. Stepping out of my comfort zone. I never ran in the winter. NEVER. I'd wrap it up in October and pull the sneakers out again in April. This winter, after hearing many people talk about winter jogs, I decided to bundle up and try it. I realized that thirty five degrees and sunny with no wind is actually great running weather.
I prefer seventy and sun with a breeze, but I can do winter runs.
The past several weeks I've been running with a buddy. My friend Jen is also a mom, and she appreciates a good sweat as much as I do. While I was content with four miles being my longer run, she pushed me to five. Then we tried six. Now I'm signed up for a half marathon and I've run eleven miles without stopping except for water.
I never thought this would be me.
I'll tell you, I thought I'd be a metabolic machine burning more than I can eat with all this mileage I've been putting in. I'm not. So let's squash that before I even continue this post.
I have however, realized the importance of a rest day. Even before we decided to get involved with half marathon training, I was pounding the pavement every day. EVERY. SINGLE. DAY. I ran every day, not taking a break. I needed it. I wasn't content unless I dedicated an hour a day to dripping sweat.
When we started doing long runs (seven miles and up) I started to feel the difference in my legs. I was tired. Still, I pushed through and refused to listen when Jen told me we needed rest days. I didn't really accept it until I was trying for ten miles. I hit the wall every time. If I didn't hit the wall I struggled with heavy feet or jelly legs.
I needed rest.
I finally took a "rest day" after I could barely finish eight miles even though I'd run more than that a several times. I was dehydrated, tired and I knew my body was begging for a break. I finished that run and I was exhausted. Not my mind, but my body. I rested the next day, and my next run was the best I'd had in a long time.
WE ALL NEED REST.
As mothers, we go and go and GO. We wake up, tend to babies, work, help with schoolwork, make lunches and snacks, run laundry and errands. We do all this before we even do anything for us. When we do try to squeeze in time for us, we feel guilty. If we don't feel guilty we still feel pressed for time.
We need rest.
Have you ever had a headache, but you lay down and feel better after some water and a small break? Your body is craving rest. We all need to just retreat sometimes. We retreat to emerge stronger than we were the day before.
I promise you, you will feel stronger. Revived. Ready to tackle what life is tossing at you. You will be better for you, your spouse and your kids. They don't want you exhausted and unable to give your energy. They deserve your best version of yourself.
Trust your body when it tells you to rest. The signs are there, listen. Don't wait for heavy feet and jelly legs. Give yourself the break you deserve.
Much love to you this week. Treat yourself kindly.