How I Learned to Love Running


I used to write a lot about running on this blog, but I've sort of stopped blogging so much about it. I haven't been doing as many (or any) races, for one thing, but also running is just kind of a part of my life now so I don't feel the need to talk about it very much because there's not really anything new to say.

Last weekend I went out for a run and pushed R in the stroller. I ran just over 3 miles at around 12-min/mile pace, and as I was walking the last block home, I started thinking about my running journey and how getting out for a run wasn't always something I voluntarily chose to do. Two of my coworkers are doing the Couch to 5k Program, and one of them said they could never imagine just going out for 3 easy miles like I do. 

But the truth is, it didn't start out that way. For a long time running was something I had to talk myself into. I went because I was training for a half marathon, and although I always liked the feeling of accomplishment once a run was over, I hated running while I was doing it and I never ever thought, I want to go running today.

So what changed? 

I don't know whether this is a weird thing to know or not, but I can tell you exactly when running became for me something I legitimately loved to do rather than just something I did. I ran in college some, but I don't consider my running journey officially started until April 2010, when I signed up for my first half marathon that coming October. I had to give myself a pep talk to get out the door every single time I went running, and I mostly felt like death during every single run. It was terrible.

It wasn't until 3 years later, in January 2013, when I started my first-ever marathon training schedule for the April 2013 Oklahoma City Memorial Marathon, that I fell in love with running. It became something I looked forward to, something I wanted to do, something I missed when I didn't do it for a couple of days. Somewhere along the way, I settled into those long training runs and really started to love the actual run itself and not just the "runner's high" I got when I was done. (I blogged my weekly marathon training here if you're interested!)

I ran the 2013 marathon, and I have been in love with running ever since. That's why I have to be honest: while pushing a 25-pound toddler in a jogging stroller for 3 miles at 21 weeks pregnant certainly sounds impressive to a lot of people, I don't necessarily feel like it's all that impressive. Of course I'm proud of myself for continuing to run in this stage, but running is something I enjoy doing, something I love, so I guess I don't consider it impressive. But it wasn't always like that, and it took 3 years of consistent running and a marathon training schedule to find my love for this hobby.

Now, I'm definitely not saying you have to run a marathon to fall in love with running. Running a marathon isn't for everyone. I'm just saying that that's where it happened for me. If you are just starting out and wondering how anyone can love running, I would tell you to just keep going. Maybe you haven't run enough miles yet to discover your hidden love for it!

I have an entire "Running" tab at the top of this blog if you want to read more posts about running, including links to all of my race recaps. One of my favorite things I've done on the blog is my "How to Start Running Series," I linked to Part 1, so check that out if you are new to running!

And even if you aren't a runner, you might enjoy: 10 Reasons Running a Marathon is Like Having a Baby

Do you run? Do you love it yes or no? If yes, do you remember when you really fell in love with running?

When You Don't Know What to Say


Last week, a dear friend of mine received some very sad news that she had lost the sweet baby she was carrying. It is her story, not mine, so that's all I am going to say about it specifically, but for me personally, it's been hard. This comes a few days after reading Steph's post about losing her baby; Rachel blogged about losing her baby this past fall, and Cassie shared about hers last summer.

Those, of course, aren't the only ones. With statistics like these, I'm sure we all have known someone who has had a miscarriage. This is hard for me for obvious reasons being that I am currently 22 weeks pregnant but also because I am just so incredibly sad for my friend.

This post is not about how to comfort a friend after miscarriage, because I don’t really know how to do that yet. This post is about what to do when you don't know what to say. Because I understand even more now why it's hard. Everything sounds trite and cliche. You want to be sensitive and not accidentally say something hurtful, but you also don't want to say nothing.

And I just really don't want to say nothing.

I had written a few posts for this week already, but I just can't move on with normal content yet. I've gone back and forth about it, but it just doesn't feel right. I know everyone handles grief differently, so each situation, each person, is unique, and what one person finds comforting might not be so for someone else. But I thought about what I would say even when I don't know what to say, and I decided to share it here.

I by no means am any kind of expert at comforting a friend going through something like this, and I freely admit that I don't always know the right thing to say. In fact, a lot of times I say the entirely wrong thing. But I hope this is a comfort in some small way to my friends, both those close and dear to me and those I only know online.

* * *

Dear friend,

I’m heartbroken over your loss, and I’m so terribly sorry.

I don’t know whether you told a lot of people about this baby yet or only a few, but no matter how many knew about this tiny life, I want you to know that this baby was very much loved and very much wanted.

You didn’t get to officially meet this baby, and I know that you wanted to so badly. But that in no way makes this baby any less real or this loss any less significant.

I want to give you space but also hold you close. However this process of grief looks for you, that is the right way, and I will do my best to support you in whatever way you need.

I'm here if you want to talk and I'm also here if you don't. Know that I'm going to check in on you, but don't feel pressure to respond to my calls and texts unless you want to.

And if you want to talk, I’m here too. I promise to try not to say any of those unhelpful things people sometimes say when they are trying to be comforting after a loss, and I want you to promise to tell me if I accidentally say or do something hurtful.

I want you to know that God is very much saddened by your loss. (If you need proof, look no further than Jesus grieving the loss of his friend Lazarus. It is the shortest verse in the Bible: John 11:35, "Jesus wept.") I always find it a comforting thought that God is never surprised, and nothing has ever happened or will ever happen that God doesn’t already know about. But that doesn't stop me from wondering why certain things happen. 

Because honestly, I hate this.

God is faithful, and he is good; but sometimes he doesn’t seem good at all, and it's okay to be sad and it's okay to be angry. Those feelings are normal, and God is not offended by them.

I am praying for you, dear friend. Praying for peace, for healing, and for your marriage as you walk this journey together.

Most of all, I don’t want you to feel alone. I can imagine it might feel like you are very much alone right now, but we all loved this baby, and we all love you very much. I know you won't forget about this baby, and please know that I won't either.

I'm here for you.
I love you.

Your Friend

*I thought about turning the comments off, but I think it would be good to allow response. Whether or not you have experienced a loss of this kind or been the friend trying to comfort, please feel free to share your story. I think it's important that those going through something like this know they are not alone, and I personally would like more dialogue in general about how specifically a friend can be a comfort during this time. Thanks for reading.