Sunday, January 1, 2012

It's All Worth It

A few weeks ago, I had a 24-hour work trip where I flew to San Francisco to cover The North Face Endurance Challenge Championship 50-Miler. I hadn’t flown by myself since having Ben, and as soon as I got in my car for the drive to DIA, my brain started working differently. Traveling with the kids, my mind usually cycles through thoughts of: “Do we have enough apple juice for the flight? Should I change Ben’s diaper before we get on the plane? Is Sam’s super hero bad guy toy in the outside pocket of my bag so I can get it easily? Do I have a lollipop ready to bribe Sam to stay in his seat with his seatbelt buckled until the pilot makes the 'ding' sound? Is Ben going to poop on my lap?”

But traveling solo, my brain was free of worry, inspired by work, and full of ideas. It was a brain I hadn’t used in months.

My giddiness increased as I drove toward the Marin headlands and Mount Tamalpais, headed for a run on one of my favorite trails of all time. By myself. In 75-degree weather (have I mentioned that part?).

Driving over the Golden Gate Bridge, I had all windows down, music blaring—I think it was Green Day, which made me feel 25 years old.

Anyway, my excitement carried over a little too much into my run. My postpartum return to running has been slow, cautious and calculated. But on this day, this run, I just couldn’t contain myself. I approached the top of the big climb—a view I had been craving (see photo above) and unwilling to let go unseen—I felt like I could fly right over the golden hillsides and pine forests, soaring along the Pacific…But I also felt like my body might be suffering.

On the way back down the trail, a muscle in my shin flared up, which turned into an achy ankle and foot. Turns out I flared up an injury I’ve had off-and-on for the better part of five years. Normally, I would beat myself up over having pushed too hard, too far. I'd berate myself mentally for doing too much, thinking, "If I only hadn't gone that far."

But—and this is new for me—I decided that the run had been worth it. I decided to do the run that day, and I decided to keep going. It was a ridiculously enjoyable afternoon...Heck, I felt like I could fly. So I'm trying to just do the physical therapy exercises, cross-train and ease back into where I was with running, and not blame myself for anything.

And that’s a resolution: make everything worth it. I generally don’t like resolutions (why not just aim to be better every day of the year?), but this one might do me some good. Instead of over-thinking choices, regretting certain decisions, and live in an “if only I did” or "didn't" kind of mindset, I’d like to be more present. Own every decision. Live with less worry, less regrets. And I’d like to show my kids that you can remember to pack the apple juice, the super hero bad guy toy, enough diapers and a lollipop and still be a free-spirited, inspired, regret-less mom.

Happy New Year, everyone. Hope everything you do is worth it.