I felt excited and happy while talking to Aaron today after he ran the Boston Marathon in 2:59:42 through 87 degree heat. Go Aaron! As we talked, Aaron reminded me what a memorable weekend we had there together last year when I ran the most “character building” race of my life. Most vivid in my memory is when Aaron gave me a piggy back ride back to our hotel after dinner with friends because my legs were no longer functioning. My emotions were close to the surface and he talked me through it and wiped my tears as we made sense of the day. There were moments after that race when I wished I hadn’t even gotten on the starting line or wished I had dropped out when my injury started screaming. The extreme pain of finishing the race and months of aftermath were a pretty high price to pay, but sometimes the most valuable and life changing insights come at the highest price. I can honestly say now that I am really grateful for that experience. I realized some valuable insights about myself that day. Insights about my depth and strength that I never would have known had I not finished that race. Insights that have been pooled in a reservoir for future use.
One year later I am in a different phase of life physically and mentally as I prepare for the birth of my fourth child. I am not following the running circuit or running miles upon miles every day like I was a year ago. Pushing my 3 year old in the stroller while we walk around the surrounding neighborhoods or carrying 15 bags of groceries into the house or a hiking with my family are sufficiently satisfying my exercise cravings. Beyond taking care of my kids and the home, I sleep, read, meditate, and take it pretty easy most of the time as my belly grows and the baby’s health is the focus of my attention. I find myself talking to friends about pregnancy and birthing more often and rarely even thinking about running other than the occasional share of excitement with Aaron in his training for Boston. Its a very different lifestyle than the competitive running life I maintained a year ago. Yes, sometimes I miss my fit body and fine-tuned heart and lungs or the rush of racing and connecting with other runners, but I also savor the season of life I am in. I respect and appreciate the miracle of pregnancy and childbirth. My other three pregnancies similarly consumed my energy and thought, urging me to put running on the back burner. In the past as I gave pregnancy the attention it sought, I felt very prepared and present for three uniquely enlightening, empowering, and rewarding births. Pregnancies and births which also pooled into my reservoir of experiences.
Today, as I nostalgically recall my running and birthing past and look forward to the future I can’t help but feel grateful for the huge reservoir of mental strength, confidence, faith, and power that I’ve pooled over the years. This reservoir of life experiences is my source of courage to approach my fourth birthing with a new level of peace and optimism knowing that whatever happens, its going to be life changing and and most assuredly EPIC.