In the spring of 2017, my love for running woke up from a deep sleep. With three marathons and four half marathons under my belt, I wanted to run another half — specifically Chicago’s. If I wasn’t able to fundraise in time, then I decided that my city’s half marathon in Clinton, Iowa would suffice.
I prayed about it and didn’t feel the peace that I knew I was hoping for. I was still nursing Titus (who had had just turned one) and planned on continuing for the majority of another year.
Knowing full well the commitment and sacrifice it takes to train and run marathons, I couldn’t justify my desire to run for the season I was in as a mother. Motherhood is fleeting enough, and I didn’t want to miss out on parts that I’d never get back.
It simply wasn’t the time for big miles and races, and so I — with a happy heart on — tucked my love for running back in bed.
I knew that if I was patient, my time would come soon enough.
Although I didn’t have peace about running big races, I felt like I had permission to run smaller miles. And so I ran here and there, when time and schedule would allow.
I ran for exercise and also for the “Reset Button” that us mothers need to find and push often. I fell in love with it all over again and was elated when my body remembered what to do after taking nearly two years off.
I ran a handful of times late last summer and ended up registering for a 5K. Now, in years’ past, I always turned my nose up at that specific race distance. My pride would sneer and say that it took me more time to get dressed and lace up my shoes than it did for me to actually run it.
That was young, childless, fast Ashley talking.
The aged, mother-of-four, slower version of myself has been humbled when simple things like sneezing or driving over a rough train track is enough to find out why childbirth ruins our bodies. And without painting too candid of a picture for you, you can only imagine what happens from time to time to runners who have also pushed out babies.
On the onset of 2018, I sensed that maybe, just maybe, it would be my year to run. I prayed about it once again. You’ll find me praying about a lot of things — especially goals for the year — as I don’t want to confuse admirable achievements for selfish endeavors.
I had weaned Titus right before the new year had arrived and had quickly realized that I needed to be doing something that would replace nursing (and the calories that it burns) with something else. I couldn’t continue to eat like I was eating and stay in the same shape I was without doing something active. I needed to move!
I began working out in December and started running in February. I ran here and there, when time and schedule would allow.
When Titus (who is now 2 1/2-years-old) wakes up from a nap or even for the day, he comes and finds me with one question: “Can I be awake?” I find his cute voice and pending question adorable. The irony is humorous as he is always wide awake, standing right in front of me. Truly, he isn’t asking me if he can be awake, but if he can stay awake.
And that’s exactly how I felt when I approached God this year. I had laid one of my passions down for years as certain pregnancies, nursing babies, and demanding seasons of motherhood had trumped my love of setting one foot down after the other. But here I was a few seasons later, and my desire to run again had woken up from a deep sleep. I acknowledged the fact that I wanted to run again and then I found myself suddenly standing right in front of God, asking if it could be awake. And truly, if it could stay awake.
When God smiled, I felt the same joy that I see in Titus’ face every morning.
I decided to run Clinton’s Half after all, and found an 8-week training plan online and faithfully hit the streets.
In June, I thought I was going to have to stop before I even began when I injured my foot with a severe sprain to my Fifth Metatarsal and Cuboid bone. (To be continued…)