This is a guest post written by Brooke Kirchner. This is part of a series of posts from women of all walks of life, sharing tips and their passion with other women.
I grew up in an active home. My parents were marathoners, and my mom even ran the Boston Marathon. My sister played division one soccer in college, and my other sister placed 8th all around in the nation for gymnastics when she was 8 years old. I played soccer my whole life and played varsity at a 5A high school. We were athletes. I think I ran my first 5K when I was in kindergarten. We ran turkey trots and jingle bell runs. We ran, and competed, and ran some more.
And I absolutely hated running.
It wasn’t until I stopped playing soccer and gained 20 pounds in college that I decided to start running again. But this time I didn’t want to hate it, I wanted to enjoy the experience. Also, because competing was in my blood, I wanted to complete a half marathon. I signed up for a running class in college (who knew there were such things!), three days a week at 8:00 a.m. I don’t know how that was supposed to encourage me to love running, but that’s what I decided to do. I built up my endurance and distance slowly, which was key in my success. I had good running shoes, weather appropriate clothes, and a good playlist to motivate me further.
I ran my first half marathon on Valentine’s Day in 2008 with a very slow time, but I completed it! Then I completely stopped running altogether. For the next couple years I went back and forth from a sedentary lifestyle to an active lifestyle filled with running and hiking and even the gym. I got married and started to put on the love pounds. So I started running again. I completed another half marathon (with a better time) and decided I wanted to try a full marathon.
I was up to about 14 miles when I found out I was pregnant with my first child. I became so sick with morning sickness that I had to stop exercising again. After her birth, I encountered a whole new set of struggles, namely bladder issues, a baby that wouldn’t take a bottle, and exhaustion.
How was I supposed to make time to run when my baby was nursing? How was I supposed to prioritize my health when I felt so guilty being away from her? How would I physically get out there and run when I could be sleeping instead? Honestly? Sometimes I did it and sometimes I didn’t. It became even more challenging after the births of my second and third daughters. But if you stick with it, it DOES get easier.
The truth for me is that there isn’t a magic formula to being a runner. For me, the times I’ve had the most success and been the most consistent were when I had a plan in place, when I had a race I was training for, and when I focused on the reason I was running in the first place.
So, why do I run?
I no longer want to run to lose weight, now I run because I wanted to model healthy behaviors for my daughters.
I wanted to empower them to set goals and see them accomplished. I want them to see that moms are amazing.
I also wanted them to see that it is important to take care of yourself and make yourself a priority always.
My daughters are happier when they see me happy. Running makes me happy.
So take the time for yourself, start slowly, sign up for a race, and go buy yourself some good running shoes.
More about Brooke Kirchner
Lipsense distributor, part time runner, full time mom of 3 under 4. I like to cook, hike, and be outside. I’m a previous special education teacher staying home while my kids are little. Join my Lipsense FB group here.