This morning I got up with my husband and I did something I haven't done in about 2 years. I went jogging. I remember the last time I went jogging, it was a few months after my son was born. I was going to be my sister's Matron of Honor in her wedding and I worried about how I was going to look. Yes, I did realize that for the most part every one's eyes are on the bride, as it should be. But I knew that I wasn't going to be invisible and I obsessed over my extra weight. I went jogging a couple times in between dress fittings and while it didn't really allow me to lose a lot of weight in such a short amount of time, things did change a little. Even my sister's friend who was doing the alterations for our dresses noticed. She kept getting frustrated with me because my body was different each time I went. This time, I wondered if maybe I could even jog with the extra weight I have, worrying that I wouldn't be able to carry it!
Since the birth of my new baby, I have been obsessing once again. Everyone tells me that I look fantastic for having 3 children or for just having a baby but that's just the thing that makes me feel worse, that extra part on the end of their compliment..."You look great for having 3 kids." I understand that I will never get back to that skinny girl who wore Junior's size 3 until she got pregnant for the first time. I look back and see her in the past, all 105 pounds of her, and I both envy and pity her. That girl never had to worry about gaining any weight. I vaguely remember her actually wanting to put on a few extra pounds but I think it was mostly because she thought it would plump up her scrawny chicken legs. But here she is now, probably at least 20 pounds heavier and she still has chicken legs.
I've gotten lots of compliments about how "great" I look (for having just had a baby) and all that but I always say 'you haven't seen me naked.' Sometimes I like to look at myself in the mirror and marvel at the shape my body has taken since having my first child. It's so different now, so odd to me. In a way I feel like I earned every last one of the stretch marks that grace my belly. But at the same time, I find the textured mass of skin a little bit yuck, not to mention the fact that it's floppy and doughy, which gets a double yuck. My husband tells me I'm beautiful but I know he secretly wishes I still had that "trophy wife" body that I had before. (Mind you, he packed on weight with each of my pregnancies too and has yet to lose most of it!)
So, last night I made a decision that I wanted to start jogging again and that I was sticking to it. I have talked about it before but of course, as things usually go around here, that's all the further I got. But last night I just really cemented the decision in my head. I told my husband several times that if he didn't wake me up to go running, I'd beat him. So, being afraid of the wrath of Wifey, he did as he was told! The air this morning was cool but I could feel the humidity moving in. I started slow and picked up pace as I rounded the sharp curve in the road. As my feet hit the pavement and I breathed in the morning air, I was transferred back in time to high school, remembering what it was like to go running with my teammates when I ran cross-country. I remember the summer mornings we spent running hills at Gambril State Park in preparation for the coming season, and the fall afternoons flying down Opossumtown Pike. The few meets that I actually ran in before I got injured played in my mind as I pounded the pavement down the slight hill to the other end of our road. I remember one meet at Brunswick, running through the woods with my brother-in-law's sister, pacing each other, feeding off each other's desire to just get to the finish line. And I remember when I did cross that finish line at that particular meet, I had shaved 6 minutes off my time since the last 3 mile practice run I had done.
I only ran for 10 or 15 minutes this morning; I didn't want to over-do it my first time out. Not once while I was running did I think about how fat I think I am or how much weight I want to lose. I prayed a little while I ran and I thought about how I used to be a cross-country runner. I thought about the fact that this little run would've been so easy, just a warm-up before a big practice. I thought about the fact that I got jipped when I got hurt, as it basically shattered any strength and determination I had to become the track star that everyone thought I was going to be and how I wish I hadn't chosen spending more time with my high school boyfriend over getting back into cross-country and track when I had healed. I missed running.
When I got home, I burst through the back door as my husband was just topping the stairs from the basement. I leaned over and tried to catch my breath and stretch a little. "You look like I did that one time I went running," he said. I thought back to the night of a few months ago when he decided out of the blue to go running because he was stressed out. He came home, red-faced and puffing, trying hard not to have a heart attack as he gulped down some water and tried to catch his breath. I don't think I looked that bad this morning. As a matter of fact, I felt really great. And I realized that I did carry all that weight just fine after all.