Morning! Michelle was kind enough to write a guest post for me while I spend the weekend moving boxes into my new house. Please stop by her blog and tell her hi and that you found her from Running With Sass! She is awesome for letting her husband go overseas to defend our country, and she is an awesome runner!
Hi! I’m Michelle from Michelle Goes Running http://www.michellegoesrunning.com/. Heather was kind enough to allow me to write a guest post as she is busy packing and moving.
I am 26 years old and like a lot of people, I have trouble balancing everything in my life. Being a grad student, an army wife, a dog mommy, a volunteer, an avid runner and fitness junkie along with trying to maintain some level of a social life is hard.
My husband, Michael, left for Iraq on January 20th 2010 for a year-long deployment
The anxiety, stress, and overall loneliness from his absense overwhelmed me and I needed something that was completely mine to work towards. So I ran.
I ran 1,700 miles in 2010, including my very first marathon in Seattle
As I crossed that finish line, I thought to myself never again! However, the next day at 2am when I felt nothing but pride that I accomplished something that I never thought I could do, I started researching for my second marathon. I quickly decided on the Eugene Marathon and developed a training plan that would start after Christmas 2010, when Michael was due home.
I honestly believe that running saved me during his deployment. Whenever I would feel stressed, whenever I would feel worried, whenever I would find myself freaking out over a missed phone call or hear on the news that another US soldier was killed, I would run.
After 357 long days apart, Michael returned home on January 12th 2011
Words cannot describe how it felt seeing him for the first time and wrapping my arms around him. I couldn’t stop shaking and crying. I remember looking up at him and thinking to myself ‘finally!’
Looking back at 2010, I realize that I spent the majority of the year wishing time away – wishing for his return and wishing that things could be different. Instead of living in the moment and living each day to its fullest, I spent too much time feeling sorry for myself.
With his return, marathon training went out the window. Instead of looking forward to my daily runs, I dreaded the thought of lacing up my shoes and pounding the pavement. I still put in the miles, but my long runs suffered and I felt like marathon training had become a chore. Where did my passion go?
Not only did my passion for running fade, I stopped eating healthy and put on about 10lbs in 5 weeks. I lost over 75lbs two years ago so to put on 10lbs in such a short amount of time scared me. What was happening to me? How could I have so much control over my life during my husbands deployment and then lose it so quickly once he got home?
I decided to not run the Eugene Marathon and instead dropped down to running the half. I made that decision after talking with Michael and telling him how I wasn’t enjoying running anymore. Despite his support, I still felt like a quitter. Now, I realize that it’s okay to take a step back and that I should not train for something that I’m not fully committed to. There is nothing wrong with that!
My husband suggested I run a few shorter races for pure fun. I registered for 2 5k’s in January.
I finished in 23:40 and 23:11. It felt awesome to push myself and see how fast I could go. Instead of feeling like a quitter for dropping down to the half marathon, I felt strong, capable, and happy.
Now, I realize that the reason I was so in control of my eating and my running during his absense was because I felt completely out of control with the deployment. I had no control over his return, his safety or when I would get a phone call or an e-mail. So what did I do? I controlled what I could in my own life – food, running, etc. Once he was back home, safe and sound, I lost that need for control and spiraled in the opposite direction gaining weight.
Now, as he has been home for a month and a half, I am beginning to understand the importance of balance and that I can find a happy medium. It doesn’t have to be all or nothing… It just takes a little work.