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Wednesday, December 30, 2009

2009 in Review

This has been, hands down, the most surreal and amazing year of my life.

I spent the first few months of 2009 primarily hunched over the nearest toilet. Pregnancy gave me morning, afternoon, and evening sickness, and I found myself puking in all kinds of places: at home, at friends' houses, in restaurant parking lots, pulled over by the side of the road, and at school. I was pretty miserable, but I kept on running. Around the end of March, the morning sickness abated and pregnancy got a whole lot easier, but running didn't. Still, I kept at it with slow, short distances and little expectation in terms of distance and speed.

I managed to run until I was 32 weeks preggo, but after my 2 miler on June 10th, I threw in the towel on pregnant running. It was too hard and too hot at that point. I am proud of the running I did while pregnant and believe I ran for as long was possible for me. For the remainder of my pregnancy, I still walked everyday, but otherwise, I allowed myself to take it pretty easy. Here I am just a few days before Norah's birth on August 10th: Looking at that picture makes it hard to fathom that I was ever that pregnant! Oh, how quickly that mom-amnesia sets in! I know that, of course, she was inside me, but at this point, it just seems absolutely unbelievable.

A few days after the above picture was taken, Norah was born, and life for me was changed forever.
I spent the first week or two in utter disbelief that I was actually a mother and that I actually had a daughter. And, in some ways, I still can't believe it. As everyone tells you: With children, your life will completely change, and it's very true, but you can't fathom how true it is until it happens. Not just because your sleeping patterns, eating habits, priorities, and relationship with your spouse all change, but also because you experience love like you never have before. At least, this was the case for me.

I fell in love with Norah with an intensity I never expected. And it's such a different kind of love from romantic or familial love that I had no idea that it was gonna sweep me off my emotional feet. Then, I also re-fell in love with Jerry. It's tough to explain, but it's like I fell in love with him in a different way. I guess I suddenly loved him for being a father (and such a good one at that!) not just for being my husband, and that too was a new and unexpected love. Lastly, I simply fell in love with my family: With Norah's arrival, I felt that what we had created was something that was all our own; and while my family still includes my parents, siblings, etc, this family that Jerry and I have built is really MY family.
So, yeah, Norah's arrival certainly was the most significant event of the year, but soon after she was born, I started to itch to run again. I was torn about waiting until the 6 week post-partum mark, or going ahead on my own when I felt ready. In the end, I went for my first post-partum run about 4 weeks after her birth, and at the 6 week mark, I set my sights on a few small races to close out the year. I began running regularly again -- at the slowest pace I've ever run -- and trained first for the Key Biscayne 10K on Nov 14. Completing that felt like I had officially made my return to running.
Since then, I also ran a Turkey Trot 5K and began my training plan for some HMs in 2010. In the end, assuming I do my planned 5 miler tomorrow, I will have run 437 miles this year. A fraction of the mileage many of you have logged this year, but considering I ran half the year pregnant, then took 12 weeks off, and then eased back in post-partum, I am proud of the miles I logged this year. They may be few, but each one meant a lot to me.
At the end of 2009, I find my life is infinitely more challenging than my life at the end of 2008: Balancing being a wife, mother, teacher, and runner has certainly been tough; however, my life has never been richer or more rewarding. And running has come to mean something much more significant to me. It's no longer just a way to maintain my physical fitness and help me decompress. Becoming a mother has helped me see running in two new ways: First of all, now it is "my" time, a space and time for just myself, which is worth a lot to any mother. Secondly, I run now for Norah -- to show her what women can do and what healthy and strong mean for a woman. Granted, she's too young to understand that now, but I hope that growing up with such an example will be influential in how she perceives her own health and strength.

For those reasons, the number of miles I logged this year are meaningless; yet, those same reasons have made running more meaningful.

45 comments:

shellyrm said...

Wow, yours may be the most amazing transforming year I have read about yet!

Rio said...

What an amazing, heart warming year for you and your family! Your 437 miles is 437 more miles than I ran when I was pregnant and I truly admire you for that. It's neat to see how much running not only changes us, but also how we change how we approach running during our lives.

Erin said...

I knew you would have one heck of a good 2009 post. You tugged at my motherly heart strings, made me giggle thinking about you puking in my toilet and how it took prepping for a party with you to a new level in the cleaning department, and how fun it is to share the good and bad times that come with being a parent with you. Here's to another great year.

Agate Lake Girl said...

So eloquently put... thanks Jess.

itsmejane said...

you've had a great year indeed...and my gosh you look great so soon after! (not that you looked bad- you know what i mean)

Amanda said...

"to show her what women can do and what healthy and strong mean for a woman."

I LOVE this, and hope to set this example for our little girl as well.
You've had an amazing year!

kelsalynn said...

what an awesome post. Congratulations on such an amazing year- you absolutely have every reason to be proud and you continue to motivate me in many ways.

lifestudent said...

I think its great to take a moment and look back over the year - seeing how far you came and where you came from. I havent really tracked my miles this year and am avoiding looking back at it for some reason, but your post makes me THINK about doing it. Still not sure I will ;)

michelle said...

That's exactly how I feel about Kate and Dan and "our" family, I just never could have expressed it that well! Thanks for putting that into words!

Nikki said...

Yeah Jess - great recap of your year. I bet there are many of us with new little ones feeling the same way right about now. Happy New Year!

Firefly's Running said...

You had an awesome year. See you next year.

Shannon said...

You DID have one amazing year and I got to share every moment with you! Happy New Year Jess...it only gets better from here. :)

Lily on the Road said...

you and your little family did have quite the year!!!

Wishing you all the very best in 2010!!

N.D. said...

What a great year! Great recap - that first picture looks like a huge ball under your stomach! :)

Oz Runner said...

great post...love seeing how Norah has changed you...kids are amazing that way...

Marci said...

Happy New Year Jess, love reading your blog!

Wes said...

What a wonderful post. Remember this special time often as your family matures over the years. It will serve you well.

Happy New Year!

Lisa said...

Happy New Year!

TonyP said...

You are amazing. Congrats on getting through the most difficult part - pregnancy - and for getting right back out there and into your running shoes. Best for a fantastic 2010 !

Heather said...

What a great post. I feel the same way about so many things you included - the new way you love your husband after you have a baby, creating your family, running for your daughter.

Crystal said...

Happy New Year! Here's to many more memorable moments in 2010.

Death and Back said...

What a great post! I hope you have a another great year in 2010. Oh and by the way she is so cute!!

Java Joggers said...

Happy New Year! Here's hoping you have a wonderful year of family and running in 2010!

Running 365 said...

I love your new reasons for running!

MN Mom said...

Norah makes your whole life complete.

sarah said...

what a beautiful post!! and i am in awe of those 437 miles. happy new year!

Jill said...

Happy New Year!! Just found your blog and wow, loved reading about your year and your precious little baby! Congratulations...I look forward to sharing the 2010 road with you!!!

RunningLaur said...

You're 100% that your years was so much more than miles. Norah is such a lucky little girl to have you for a mother.

Nicole said...

Great post and thanks for the inspiration.

Marlene said...

Excellent post! Wishing many good things for your new little family in 2010.

The Running Knitter said...

I loved this post. Happy new year!

Laurel said...

Great post Jess. I love reading about how Norah changed your life. I hope to have the same experience very soon myself.

Happy new Year.

Caroline said...

Just thought I'd stop by and say I enjoy reading your blog and liked your year in review. I am amazed how quickly you were able to get back into running, and love the idea of having our daughters grow up seeing strong women and all that they can accomplish.

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