An on-and-off again runner, Jess, an English professor in Florida, decided she would run for 21 days straight--the amount of time experts say it takes to create a habit--and blog about it. That little (successful) experiment was in June of 2005. 2,000+ posts later, she's gotten married, ran through her pregnancy with Norah, now 18 months, and is running preggo again. Oh, and she has a cute dog named Scooter.
21 days to make a habit: When I began my initial 21-day endeavor, it was June in South Florida, so it was somewhere around a bazillion degrees everyday. I was out there running in cotton shorts and a cotton T-shirt. I was miserable. The first run I did was a loop through my neighborhood, and when I finished, I thought it HAD to have been at least 5 or 6 miles. It was 3. Yet, despite the heat, the chafing, and the profuse sweating, I kept plugging away at it. Eventually, I learned about sweat-wicking materials, and other things running-related, and over time, it got easier.
Doctor's orders?: When I was pregnant with Norah, I spoke my doctor about running, and her exact words were: “I don’t like running.” She felt it was too strenuous and too risky for a pregnant woman. I literally sat in my car after that appointment and cried. But, then I made the simple determination that I DO like running and that I knew what was best for me: I was in good health and had been running 20-30 miles a week when I got pregnant, and I had no predictive complications that would imply that my pregnancy would be high-risk. So, I ran until I was 32 weeks pregnant. With my current pregnancy, I chose then to just remain tight-lipped about my running. Which is not what I would advise any pregnant woman to do.
Round 2 with baby in board: Running while pregnant is much harder this time around. For one, my life is simply much busier now than it was when I was pregnant with Norah, so the extra energy required just to fit running into the day is taxing. Also, for most of my runs, I push Norah in a jogging stroller, so being pregnant AND pushing a jogging stroller is tough work.
100 days, same 3 miles: I ran that 3-mile loop I mentioned earlier I ran that for basically 100 days straight in 2010 when I ran a 100 day streak. Repetition in route doesn’t bother me; in fact, I like it because I know it so well.
A hill by any other name: Hills in Florida are called landfills. Or bridges.
A different kind of Florida orange: My orange shorts are my lucky ones. I've had them for five years, and I’ve had those and have run quite a few major races in them. They fit perfectly and are so comfortable, that when they’re clean, they’re on me!
The final grade: Even though running pregnant while pushing a stroller is tough, nothing beats the mind-numbing-monotony of grading student writing. I typically teach between 125-150 students a term. On average, they each write four essays through the term. So, that means I read between 500-600 essays each semester. I’d rather push a jogging stroller than do that any day!
Going the distance...on the keyboard: A few years ago, when my blog was on the verge of reaching 1,000 posts, I announced to my husband: “Guess what? I’ve almost written 1,000 blog posts!” His response: “Wow, what a giant waste of time.” Thinking on his comment always makes me laugh – and he did mean it in a playful, not degrading, way – because in a sense I have spent an immeasurable amount of time blogging. However, my blog is older than my marriage, my children, and my dog, so to me, it’s a significant “part” of who I am, especially as a runner.
Keeping it fresh: There are days when it’s tough to come up with fresh ideas, and I don’t always succeed with that: There has been a lot of redundancy in my topics over the years. Thankfully, I suppose I am either too chatty or too egocentric to believe that people would NOT want to read my anecdotes about day-to-day life and how running figures into that. I am interesting, no?
Rocky Mountain high: One of my most enjoyable race experiences was the Colorado Colfax Half Marathon in 2008.
I don’t know why, but through every minute of that race, I kept thinking, “Man, this is fun! I love this! I feel so great!” That race wasn’t a PR for me, but I just loved every smidgen of it.
A different kind of heat: My worst race was the Chicago Marathon in 2007, the year of the infamous heat wave. I DNF'd. Many runners experienced heat exhaustion (myself included), and in every regard, that morning was pure awful for me.
Can't--but is--living without: My Garmin. I’m not running with it right now; I learned when I ran during my first pregnancy is that seeing how much you slow down is discouraging. It distracted me from my true reasons to run. So, pretty much the minute I learned I was pregnant this time around, I shelved it. And I miss it dearly!
Follow this mother: http://twentyonedayhabit.blogspot.com/