I did it. I’ve had this idea swarming around in the back of my mind for a couple months, but I kept putting off the decision. (No, I’m not talking about baby number three or anything life altering like that.) I finally decided to register for a local half marathon happening this September.
This will be by far the longest distance I’ve completed since having babies – and to say that I’m nervous and intimidated would be a huge understatement. Thanks to past race experiences back in college and a few years after, I have a pretty good sense of what I need to do as far as training. I know how far I need to run in the weeks beforehand so I can feel confident on race day. I know what to eat on race morning, what training plan I’m going to follow and what foods to avoid so I can feel my best.
But even though technically I’ve done this running thing before, there’s still an almost paralyzing fear of the unknown. Getting back into running post-babies is uncharted territory for me. I have a fear of how this mom-bod will fare, or if it will even hold up at all. I fear that I won't be able to juggle training and parenting at the same time (although thanks to a double jogging stroller, that part is a little easier!). I have a fear that maybe I’ll log the miles, cross-train and eat everything I’m supposed to, and this will still be my slowest race time ever. Or worse - what if I come in dead last? What if out of thousands of people, I’m the one they need to drive by and pick up because I’m just too stinkin’ slow. What if that’s me?
It might be. I may miss training runs because I can’t fit it in between other responsibilities. There’s always a risk of injury, and I may have to take a break from training or even drop out of the race. I may come in at the back of the pack, posting my slowest time ever. I may find that running in this post-baby body is more of a challenge than I anticipated.
Then I think, “So what?”
I want to run because it’s time out of the house. It’s time that I get to listen to music, sermons, lectures or podcasts uninterrupted. I get to be out in nature and clear my head. I love the running community, the support on race day, the “runner’s high” that eventually comes after slogging through the first few weeks of training. I also know that I’m a better wife and mom when I exercise, I have more energy and it’s generally good for my body. And you know what? All of those benefits, all of those reasons that I enjoy running are just as true if I run my slowest race time ever or even come in last place.
I don’t know exactly how this is going to play out, especially come race day. I do believe in doing my best and striving for excellence, but at the same time, I’m learning to let go of my unrealistic expectations for perfectionism. I don’t have to compete with my 20-year-old self, and my worth isn’t determined by a race time.
In the meantime, enjoy a super easy clean eating recipe for Salmon Salad Salad! I’ll be working on healthy recipe ideas to keep me going during training, so you’ll be seeing more of that on the blog – mixed in with the occasional cocktail or doughnut, of course.
Salmon Salad Salad
Adapted from Ina Garten
Yields 3-4 servings
2 (6 ounce) cans boneless, skinless salmon, drained
1 cup diced celery
½ cup finely chopped red onion
¼ cup mayo (I suggest homemade or a brand such as Tessemae’s)
2 Tablespoons chopped fresh parsley
1 Tablespoon white wine vinegar
¼ teaspoon kosher salt
Pinch freshly ground black pepper
Mixed greens, avocado, red onion or other salad fixings
Add the salmon to a medium bowl. Stir in the celery, red onion, mayo, parsley, vinegar, salt and pepper. Add additional salt and pepper to taste.
Spoon the salmon salad over your favorite mixed greens. Add additional toppings such as avocado and red onion. Squeeze a wedge or two of lemon over the whole dish. Serve and enjoy!