....maybe gracefully, maybe not, but she did it, created the something, the someone, the art, the battle, the moment; her life." ~from the book Women Who Run With the Wolves: Myths and Stories of the Wild Woman Archetype by Clarissa Pinkola Estes Ph.D.
The film documents several women from the Maroon Belles trail running club, based out of Colorado, as they run the 27-mile Four Pass Loop, which covers four 12,000-foot alpine passes and 8,000 feet of vertical ascent, in one day.
Watching the film elicited many thoughts and feelings. For one, it ignited the idea to form a local all-women trail running club after baby number two arrives - get ready, lady runner friends!
Two, I became curious, picked up my Kindle and purchased the book, Women Who Run With the Wolves, from which the above quote is taken, and then I downloaded the film's theme song, Running With the Wolves by AURORA and listened to it all day!
Three, the quote, which the film maker applied to running, had me reminiscing about what was happening in my very-running-focused life just one year ago. I recalled that exactly one year ago, in January 2016, I began training for the Mount Summit Challenge, the daunting, totally uphill 3.5-mile local race that takes place every April. Last year I sought to to win first female for a deeply personal reason, which you can read about in Dad, I Won the Mount Summit Challenge for You.
At the same time, I was in the midst of Pittsburgh Marathon training, held on May 1, 2016. The races were one week apart (first the Mount Summit Challenge, then the marathon) and fell within a couple weeks of another big event - my wedding! Avie's father, now my husband, Eric, and I wed on April 16, 2016.
These three events were fun, exhilarating and happy in nature, yet, committing to a major competition, a 26.2-mile race and a huge celebratory affair all within 16 days of one another presented a fair share of challenges. Knowing this ahead of time, I managed the impending and almost-certain emotional and mental fatigue with prayer, lots of runs done while reciting mantras or the rosary, meditation, yoga and journaling. There were sleepless nights and moments of wanting to throw in the towel, but I came out of the training, the racing and the planning ready for exactly the thing that inspired me to do all of these BIG things at once...
One might ask, why not spread them out, do the April race, wait three months to do a marathon and wed in the fall? First, we had been engaged for a year and a half - long enough!!! Second, I love the freshness of springtime! Third, the Mount Summit Challenge was the one I had to do - read why here.
Ultimately, this was my "why.".. because the thing that drove me to clump these events so closely together was my desire to grow our family - to have another baby! But first I wanted to get married, win the Mount Summit Challenge and run a marathon. Check, check and check.
The trying commenced! Gratefully, it only took a few months before conceiving.
Thus, this year, as January began, Mount Summit and marathon training did not ensue, and, of course, wedding planning did not commence, either! Rather, birth preparation takes precedence as my due date of late March approaches. Currently, I am 32 weeks along, the beginning of month eight.
A couple weeks ago, Eric and I attended the Yoga & Birth Preparation for Partners workshop at the Bliss Bliss Bliss yoga studio in Morgantown, WV. One tip that the facilitator, a yoga instructor, doula and mother of three, offered as a labor coping mechanism resonated with me on a profoundly personal level. She said to use imagery as a way to maintain focus throughout labor. One visualization she mentioned was to "picture yourself running uphill."
Running uphill?!!! If only she knew how much running uphill meant to me! YES!!! Oh, yes, I can certainly picture that! I hit Eric in the arm with excitement and jotted in our workshop booklet, "Running up Summit." Let it be my labor meditation!
Even more, when a goal is tied to something as personal to me as that race is, the goal becomes more of a need, an absolute primal desire, a force that cannot be stopped, much like labor.
Labor is the process of soon getting to meet your baby, and with that, the joy of it makes it all worthwhile. Whether it's the joy of pushing out your baby or pushing uphill to a tough finish line, as the above quote states,
Joy is something we women:
- feel dogged about
- feel intense about
- something that takes risk
- makes her stretch herself
- best herself
- and succeed
Clearly, these can be applied to both running and birthing (and if you're not a runner, find that something for yourself!). With that, I carry my past race experiences and my running uphill visualization into the last months of pregnancy and ultimately to birth as a source of courage, strength and faith, to create the something, the someone, the art, the battle, the moment; my life.... and that of my baby's.