Why Do I Do This to Myself?

I heard insanity once defined as “doing the same thing over and over again, expecting different results.” Well, here I go again. I’m about to run the L.A. marathon for the third time. Here’s me somewhere around mile 20 last year:

Yep, I know. Looks like a blast, right? It was a torrential downpour from the time the gun went off all the way to the finish line. I tripped and fell in a pothole at mile 8. Had to stop to take a phone call from my mom at mile 16 because Gus had a high fever that wouldn’t come down (not a big deal, except he was still having febrile seizures at the time). Have you ever stopped running in the freezing rain? Well, I will tell you what happens when you start again. Unbelievable cramps. My legs looked like I was Hulk Hogan. I wish I was kidding. And guess what the forecast is for tomorrow? Rain. Rain. Rain.

Why am I doing this? Furthermore, why do I even run in the first place?

I was never a runner before I had Gus. He was six or seven months old when I decided I had to DO something. I’ve never kept it a secret that I struggled with post partum depression coupled with lots of other life stressors going on at the time (more on that later). I’d spent my whole life setting and meeting goals. They’d always given my life a sense of purpose and direction. All of a sudden I was living a goal less life. Sure, I wanted to be a good mother, but you don’t know if you’ve been a good mother until your child is an adult. The ultimate goal of parenthood is to help your child develop into a healthy, successful, and well-adjusted adult. I needed something a bit more immediate.

So, I started running, although I’m not really sure you can call what I did back in those days running. At the time, we lived a few blocks from a high school with a running track. The first time I went running I did one lap. 400 meters. And I felt accomplished. I kept doing it. I worked my way from one lap to two laps to three laps and finally my first mile. I couldn’t remember the last time I had run a mile and it felt amazing.

Yancy started running with me. I didn’t know how long I was going to keep running so we held off on getting a running stroller for awhile. In the early days, we ran with his regular stroller around a dirt track. I laugh so hard thinking about it now. We looked absolutely ridiculous hoofing it around the track pushing Gus in his Evenflo stroller. Gus loved it. He’d sit forward wide eyed and in his mind, we were racing. He squealed and shrieked. We bought a running stroller.

We logged over 600 miles training for that first marathon. They say when you finish your first marathon one of two things happen. One, you take a deep sigh of relief, stretch your aching muscles, and say, “whew…crossed that one after my list. I’m NEVER doing that again.” Or, you take a deep sigh of relief, stretch your aching muscles, and say, “whew…when can I do that again?”

For me, I’ll be doing it yet again tomorrow.

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10 Responses to Why Do I Do This to Myself?

  1. Kat says:

    I think you’re awesome! I’m doing the Couch to 5k and on week 2. I used to run but had some breathing issues and stopped. Now I’m trying again.

    You are running because though it may rain you will feel so accomplished after. What a gift to be able to run too. I hope one day to run with you (:

    • Mommy Psychologist says:

      I think you’re pretty awesome too, Kat! Who knows- maybe next year I’ll be running it with you:)

  2. diane says:

    Good luck!!!

  3. Julie says:

    Thank you for your openness about post partum depression. You’re the first blogger that I’ve come across who’s so willing to divulge that information. It’s comforting to hear about other mothers struggles. Not that I wish struggles on *anyone*, but it is something that I worry about. As a matter of fact, my therapist has prescribed me antidepressants that I’m supposed to start taking right after I deliver. I know we’ve talked about the competition between mothers before, and it’s so easy to look at all my friends who have kids and say “Wow! They have it so easy, I hope things go as smoothly for me and I’m as good of a mother as they are…” But I know that part of this is because no one wants to let anyone else know about their shortcomings. Reading your posts is like a breath of fresh air.

    Good luck in the marathon! I know I’ll be looking for something similar after my baby is born- but I’ll probably stick to the gym, I’ve never been much of a runner.

    Still overdue! 12 days now- I’m scheduled to be induced on Monday, so I guess I *will* be running my own sort of marathon then, eh?

    • Mommy Psychologist says:

      Still overdue! Oh, hon, I feel your pain. Been there. I’m gonna write more about my post partum depression and struggles with depression in another post. I really don’t have any problem sharing my personal experience as I believe it helps other people to know they aren’t alone.

      And yes, your marathon is about to begin!

  4. So… how did it go? I had PPD (well, diagnosed as PPD; I think it was more of a response to being postpartum and having to work lawyer hours immediately and under a harsh microscope) with all of my kids and the milder cases (every kid except #4) responded very well to exercise. But you’re right — NEVER stop running in the pouring rain! I did that once when we lived in Seattle and had to limp, freezing cold, home a few miles.

  5. Rach says:

    I can’t wait to hear how it went!

    I ran track in high school and played rugby and college, and you are absolutely right–stopping in the rain is a bad bad idea. Ulp!

    I managed to run almost 3/4 of a mile last week–a real accomplishment. I’m getting there slowly. :) It just takes some time. Oh, and running pushing the jog stroller versus running without pushing having to push the stroller is incredible. I can’t even imagine how you managed it with the Evenflo!

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