It's also about giving birth, being a mom, and running a business. It's about doing things that are hard- things I once thought I couldn't, and still sometimes doubt that I can do. They all lead into one another. They're all connected, for me. They're about proving things to myself. Let me explain.

I started running in June of this year. Isaac was three months old, and I'd been going for regular walks to stay active and sane (and yes, also to lose those remaining 13 pound of pregnancy weight). But I wanted more-I wanted to work harder- so I tried a little jog here and there while walking. It wasn't too bad, and I decided I wanted to become a runner. For me, this was monumental. I was never a runner. The last time I ran any distance at all was during that presidential physical fitness test in middle school gym class, where we had to run "the mile". I dreaded it. Loathed, with every fiber of my being. I often barely made it in the under-12-minutes that were required. I couldn't breathe, and figured I must have exercise-induced asthma. (Though I never even practiced for it, or ever ran much at all except for that one day. At 12 years old, I suppose the thought of didn't really occur to me.) My knees hurt, and I even injured one of them and needed crutched for a while. (Again, no practicing or training. Little warmup time. And probably bad shoes.) I wrote running off as simply "not for me", and held that mindset for years. But I always envied those who ran. I saw them loping gracefully down the sidewalks on my college campus. I heard talk of a wonderful adrenaline-based "runner's high". I wanted those things, but they just seemed unattainable for me.

But back to June. I had just given birth for the second time just months before. Both of my kids were born at home, with no drugs of any kind. I trusted my body to do what it was designed to do, and it did. Giving birth is the most empowering thing I have ever done in my life (even trumping the time I climbed this fourteener). And I knew, without doubt, that if I could do that, I could be a runner. So I downloaded an app to my phone that would talk me through the Couch to 5K program I'd heard about from a few friends, and I hit the pavement. Oh yes, it was hard. It hurt. But I felt amazing every single time. And it began to get a little easier after a couple weeks. I even began to love it (even while often hating it simultaneously). I knew one thing: I didn't want to stop. I began to get up early so I could run before it got too unbearably hot, and also so I could run without the heavy double jogging stroller. I have come to enjoy watching the sun rise and the world wake up while I make loops around my neighborhood. I think maybe I'm becoming one of those crazy running people. But I digress.

I still walk during my runs, and I'm slow as h***, but I'm running. When it feels impossible to keep going, I remind myself that I birthed two kids, naturally, and that one of them was 8.5lbs at birth, and I'm able to go on a bit longer. And as I'm proving to myself that I can do this thing I never thought I could, I'm also finding that it's making everything else in my life seem more do-able too. Some days, being a good mom to my kids and just getting through the day can seem a daunting task. But I ran that morning, and that makes me feel like I can do anything. And it applies to business as well, because sometimes reaching my goals as a photographer while raising children and being a wife and running a home also seems impossible. But as I'm proving to myself that I can beat physical challenges I never thought I could, all of life's other challenges seem more attainable too.

So this is why I'm becoming a runner. Because I can. Because I can do anything.

{p.s.- Even though I'm still only on week 5 of the Couch to 5K program, I decided to be bold and believe that I will get there, so yesterday I registered for my first two 5k's. The first is in August in a local park. The second is in October- the Color Run in Miami. Doesn't that just look amazing? A friend of mine started a team for it, and I wanted to get in before it fills up. Our team name is "Get Messy" : ) It's going to be a total blast- I can't wait! I think registering for these will be even more motivation to keep going!}

{p.p.s- The quote to the right is from the book, Born to Run, which I'm planning to read. I like to think I'm gazelle-like when I run, but in reality I'm probably closer to the tortoises at the zoo. I found this graphic on Pinterest, but sadly it only links back to someone's Tumblr. If anyone knows the original source, please let me know. While we're on the subject, I must say that I really hate when, because of Pinterest and/or Tumblr, the original source of a graphic or photograph is lost. Give artists credit and Link With Love, please! The other two images here are Instagrams from my my morning runs. This bit of graffiti on the sidewalk in my neighborhood always makes me smile, and those two spots in the sky in the second shot are Venus and Jupiter- they've been so bright and visible at dawn lately.}