This is a guest blog post written by Bethany Early. This is part of a series of posts from women of all walks of life, sharing tips and their passion with other women.
I should start by saying I have had a relationship with running since I was eleven years old, about 25 years ago! Running has since that time been a very large part of my life. So for me, getting back to running after having kids was a no brainer, although it has not always come easy. I ran through all of my pregnancies, even racing with the 1st and 3rd born (Second child syndrome!). So I got back into running very early after pregnancy. (For which I am very thankful).
After the first pregnancy, I ran with Reegan practically daily during my maternity leave in a jogging stroller with a car seat attached (not recommended by the stroller companies, FYI) and I remember having to stop on the canal and swing her in the car seat for minutes at a time because she was crying so much! But I stuck with it.
She just graduated this past year from the jogger as she is now 5 years old and now running some with her momma!
Baby #2 brought a double jogging stroller and there was nothing more motivating than finishing a run while pushing a 50 lb jogger with 50 lbs. worth of kids inside. And it allowed me to not feel guilty for cutting my miles in half for the day.I used to always say, “cardio and strength training”!
Finding time to run with 2 kids meant lots of runs with the girls. I was dealing with a lot of guilt for taking time for me and plus, I loved having them with me on my runs. Then arrives baby #3… now the fun begins! And so you know, they do make triple joggers but they are expensive and huge!
With each new child came a new set of challenges with running. How will I fit in a run? Who will watch the kids? How will I not feel guilty for asking my husband to watch all 3 kids while I’m gone and then not worry that they will be alright without me?!?!
As a working mom, I found that running first thing in the morning is the best way for me to stay committed and to feel good and ready to face the day. When I say first thing in the morning, I mean alarm at 4:45am 5-6 days/week. Yes you can do it…it just takes time for the habit to kick in.
I have also invested in a treadmill for the house. It works in a pinch when I feel like hitting the snooze button or it’s too dark outside and I need to squeeze in a few miles with the kids at home. I’ll set up a pack n play for the baby and give them all snacks and I can usually get in 3 miles just as they all start complaining that mommy is running and not playing with them. I then let the older girls go for a quick “run” on the treadmill too.
This picture is a “not so in love with running” moment when I was really dehydrated and disoriented as I finished the Phoenix Marathon, where I qualified to run the Boston Marathon next April!
I wouldn’t say I am completely over the “guilt” of the time commitment it takes for me to pursue my love of running, but I have come a long way. I understand, and am trying to teach my children, that I take a little bit of time for myself each day, so that I can be a better mom for them the rest of the day. Incorporating running into my life both before and after kids has meant sacrificing time with my family while spending more quality time with my family, managing the feeling of guilt as a mom and wife, being creative and flexible, and relying and leaning on the immense support of my husband, who without it, none of my miles would be possible, or even fun.
More about Bethany Early
My name is Bethany Early, I am 35 years old and I have been running since I was 11. I am married to a wonderful man, Garrett since 2009 and we have 3 amazing children, Reegan 5, Harper 3 and Nixon 15 months. I am a Physical Therapist at Roosevelt School District in Arizona. I started running track and cross country in junior high and high school and have since completed too many half marathons to count, many 5k’s and 10K’s and 3 full marathons. I just recently ran in the Phoenix Marathon in February and qualified to run in the Boston Marathon next April! I am not sure I have a “favorite” race; however I do have a lot of memorable ones. For example, I ran the Maui half marathon on my honeymoon. I also really enjoy the smaller local races and those that I can raise money or awareness for organizations and benefits for. My second full marathon was the Lost Dutchman Marathon where I raised money and awareness for childhood cancer through a program at Phoenix Children’s Hospital called Miles that Matter. At the end of the day, I find more enjoyment in racing when I know I am also serving a benefit to someone else.