We Do What We Can – What Can We Do?

There’s a difference between listening to your body and just being lazy, but it’s a fine line. I’ve dealt with this in my running time and again – and misled myself both ways. I’ve persevered through aches that became injuries and took me off the street for weeks, and I’ve also slid down the slippery slope which starts out with feeling tired and groggy and deciding to forgo my run that day, proceeds through being too involved in my book (or coffee, or journal) to go right then, and ends with having gone 2 weeks without exercising.

I’m coming back to running now after the birth of my daughter, and it’s hard to know how much I can push myself without being just plain stupid. I’m dying to walk out the door and slip effortlessly into my old pace and let the miles roll away under my feet, but I can’t actually do that yet. I’m taking walk breaks, and building my mileage slowly, and being smart, and still I feel this strong disconnect between what I want to do and what I can physically do. I feel absurdly defensive when I meet other runners out on the road, and am tempted to stop them and explain that my slow pace and sloppy form are because I JUST DELIVERED A BABY, ALREADY. I want to be a legitimate runner again but this morning I was tired (from getting up twice in the night with the baby) and didn’t go out and I wonder if that qualified as listening to my body and being cautious, or just not having the willpower to get out there and work today. I don’t seem to get any better at this conundrum.

Similarly, there’s a difference between enjoying the baby while she’s young, because she’ll only be this small for such a short time (everyone says that, and I do believe them), and letting your life completely pass by while you stare at the tiny face and fingers and feet and admire her precious shoulder blades and DON’T practice or make good reeds or work out or organize your students’ schedules for the upcoming year.

Now that Zoe’s four and a half weeks old, she doesn’t insist on being held every minute, but does want to be in the same room as me. I can put her on a blanket in my studio and she will look around and wave her arms and legs and coo and gaze at things, all by herself. This should give me plenty of time to practice and get my reed shipments out, but I just find her far too enchanting to get work done in her presence. I’ve always been a pretty high-powered person – strongly motivated and organized to a fault. The me that could just snuggle with a baby and let the hours tick by is new to me. I need to work a little harder at identifying that fine line…

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