Running represents life to me. It’s all about the journey, not the destination. If you focus on the end, you can’t relax into the moment you’re in. Motherhood parallels this idea. So often we focus on the goals – and forget to be in the moment. Of course, when the moment involves your toddler throwing a fit on the floor of your grocery store, all of those people telling you to “cherish this time, it goes so quickly” become your worst enemy.

My view when I try to get away for a quick run.

The same can be said for the people holding signs saying, “You’re almost there!” at the halfway point of a marathon. That’s why as runners, and mothers, we’ve slowly conditioned ourselves to focus on the journey to keep us sane enough to make the destination. Also, as it turns out, the journey is actually really amazing.

Once I settled into understanding this, I started enjoying every day and every moment more. I started enjoying the run by looking at the trees, noticing the flowers, feeling the sun or the rain on my face. I started seeing the beauty in the mundane, every day moments. My son’s dirty face and wide eyes as he explored the backyard, my daughter’s hair blowing in the ocean breeze, early morning cuddles in bed. It’s as if time slowed down to a more manageable pace once I decided to focus on the moment and not the outcome.

It’s 4 a.m. Sure you can crawl into bed with me.

My first long run after my son’s birth felt like freedom. It felt like I was back in my body for the first time in a long time. I only ran about 2 miles but it felt like 10. I noticed my hips, my glutes, my thighs and how capable and strong there were. I hushed the negative thoughts in my head that whispered about the jiggle and the bounce, and focused instead on the pounding of my feet on the pavement, the curve of my back and how strong our bodies are to create and carry life.

Freedom on the open road.

Running gave me confidence and purpose. Motherhood gives me confidence and purpose. If ever you feel the need to slow down your life, go for a quick run. Look around, look up, look down. Be in the moment. Except at the grocery store during a toddler’s tantrum. It’s totally okay to not like that part.

Share your first post partum run memories in the comments below.