I am THRILLED to have Amanda guest posting today! Amanda and I have been online friends for years, but have really gotten to know each other this past month in our Run Coaching Business Starter group. Amanda is also in the process of starting up her run coaching business and has a great perspective on the importance of making fitness and exercise a priority for yourself.
I was so excited when Kristen asked me to guest post on her blog. I have been a long time reader, I think since around the time she was pregnant with McKenna, and she is a total inspiration to me. She is definitely one BAMR and I am grateful we have become friends thanks to the internet!
I love being friends with BAMR like Kristen because I often still struggle to consider myself a “real” runner. I discovered a love of running in my mid twenties after struggling with being overweight and sedentary throughout my childhood and adolescence. I honestly began running to stay in shape but I soon discovered that running gave me so much more than just a way to stay in shape. I feel the most like me when I am running and it has become a huge part of my identity and contributes to my self confidence. I was totally hooked on running and especially loved running races. Then in 2012 I became pregnant with my daughter and half way through the pregnancy I was diagnosed with gestational diabetes. My doctor cautioned me on running because the sugar levels I had were causing additional stress on my body. I began walking more and then made the difficult decision to trade out my running shoes for walking shoes at 28 weeks. My daughter was born at 37 weeks in october 2012 and she was healthy and happy which was the most important part.
I couldn’t wait to get back to running after my daughter gave me the green light and so I registered for my first race to be the following spring. I was able to ease back into running and build up into training during the first few months I spent working from home. And then I went back to work. The training runs grew harder to fit in and the days seemed to be flying by before my eyes. I know people talk about the newborn haze, but I seriously felt like I was in a haze the first two years! I did run when I could and I did complete a couple of races, but I was not in great shape and I really struggled to find a balance.
Last spring (as in 2015), I sat my husband down and told him that something seriously had to give because our daughter was already 2.5 and I was still feeling like I was struggling with finding myself again. I knew I wasn’t just Amanda but I also felt like I wasn’t comfortable with being just mom. I told him I needed to find a way to make running more of a priority because it had always been the way I felt most comfortable with myself and the place I was most genuinely me. He and I agreed that if it was important we would figure out what we needed to do to make it happen.
That conversation began a journey for me to regaining my identity as a runner while maintaining my various other responsibilities. It definitely was not an easy process and I had to have some seriously difficult conversations with people about how my priorities needed to shift which in many cases meant having to decline various invitations and let go of some responsibilities. One of my favorite authors, Shauna Niequist writes extensively about the importance of prioritizing and making sure that you don’t take on too much that doesn’t feed your purpose and passion. In her essay “Things I do, Thing I don’t do”, she encourages you to reflect on and write a list of activities and priorities that are non-negotiable to your life’s purpose and unique passions. Conversely, she also says you must consider and be thoughtfully decisive about the activities and responsibilities we need to set aside either for a season or outsource in order to make room for the things we do do. This article has been a guidepost for me throughout this journey as has the lists I have made for both categories. Among the things I do are running, reading to my daughter every night I am able to, cooking dinner for the people I love as often as possible and committing to writing out the things I am grateful for each day. The activities I have had to be discerning about removing from my life include being on the Parents Association at my daughter’s school (maybe in another season, but for now it is not a possibility), vacuuming on a regular basis (my mother who vacuums twice a day is horrified by this one), and trying to understand the rules of football (I totally believe in the value of sharing a passion with your spouse, however this just isn’t the one for us to share. I am happy however to listen to him talk about craft beer and sample it with him!).
Creating these lists has absolutely set the tone for this journey of figuring out how to fit fitness into what continues to be a hectic schedule despite my attempts to pare it down! I think our society is really quick to look at someone they think has it all together and ask him/her how they get it all done. My answer to that question is I don’t! I then proceed to tell the person that it has definitely been a process and I don’t know all the answers, but I have made the choice to be strategic with my time and the activities that fill my days.
To learn more about Amanda or to sign up for her free 5 Day Guide to Fitting Fitness into a Hectic Schedule, check out her website at nevertodayagain.com