Sunday, March 25, 2012

It's a Pity Compliment, But I'll Take It!

I've finally started running again, for the first time since last May when I was about 4 months pregnant.

It's always hard to get started again, after taking time off. It can be disheartening to think about the fact that I've run 2 half-marathons and countless 5ks and 10ks, but now I can barely get through 2 slow miles without walking. And of course, I have a significant amount of pregnancy and post-natal stress eating weight to lose; that doesn't help.

But the challenge is what I love and hate about running. Whether I'm trying to get faster or go further or get back into the routine, it's difficult. Sometimes I get frustrated, and wish it wasn't so hard. But most of the time, I like knowing that running won't let me down. I can always count on running to kick my butt.

This time around, I've been doing a lot of my running with Eleanor in the running stroller. Before the first time I took her out, we had a big talk about how Mommy isn't as fast as Daddy and sometimes Mommy needs to walk. So Eleanor needed to understand that I wasn't in very good shape, and not give me a hard time about it.

So far, she's been wonderful! She even cheers me on at the end. "Come on, Mommy! You can do it!" She's actually pretty good company, even though it's hard for me to carry on a conversation sometimes.

A week or so ago, Eleanor and I went for a 2-mile run after Keith got home from work. It was pretty hot and humid, especially for early March. By the end of the run, my hair was a frizzy mess, I was soaked in sweat, and my running clothes were emitting a powerful stench. My belly, which still looks about 4-months pregnant (only with Coke and peanut butter M&Ms this time), gently stretched the front of my hot pink running shirt. We went to the end of a driveway to cross to our side of the street. We waited for a man on a bike to go past us.

As we waited, I made eye contact and smiled in a friendly, neighborly way. He smiled back and nodded. Once he was nearly past us, he called out, "Hi, Gorgeous!"

I was so surprised, it took me a moment to even process what he said. Normally I'd assume that he was complimenting my wonderful child, but this time he was clearly looking at me. Me?!? Seriously? I wouldn't call it false modesty. When in shape, freshly showered and made up, I'm reasonably attractive. But at this moment, I was none of those things.

By the time we got home, I had figured out what was going on. This guy saw me, a pudgy and worn out mom, and immediately realized I needed a boost of self-confidence. So he saw fit to provide one. His smile didn't feel lascivious, but kindly. It was a pity compliment, but I'll take it!

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