Monday my baby started kindergarten.  In that moment I felt as though I was watching a piece of my heart walk away from me, and yet at the same time felt reborn as I started the new life of a business woman, seven solid work hours, no more desperate struggling and scrambling as the norm.

It was time for phase two of my parenting life.

That evening while the kids crashed on the couch, exhausted from their first day of school, I went for the week five-day three run of the couch to 5K program.  The program began with a five minute warm-up walk, but then moved into a twenty minute run, the first extended run in the program.  Prior to Monday the longest I had run was eight minutes, and my ability to get through that requirement truly shocked  me.  But I did it.  I stepped outside, ready to face twenty minutes of running without stopping and began to say over and over again in my head, “There is no can’t. There is only won’t.”

Could I do it?  Would I do it?

Twenty-five minutes later I slowed to a walk for the first time and nearly collapsed in tears.  The feeling was pure elation. I walked into the house feeling triumphant.  Again, feeling reborn. Who had I become this summer?  Who was this woman, this strong person with defined muscles, a smaller waist, cheekbones (who knew!?), energy to spare?  I showered and took the kids out for their back-to-school dinner at their favorite restaurant, and I didn’t stop smiling once the entire evening.  In fact, I occasionally giggled for no reason.  Absolute joy. I looked across the table and saw a proud husband.  I looked at the faces of my children and saw happiness, comfort in the new routine.  Life is beautiful and good.

Yesterday I walked the kids to the bus for their third day of school with my running shoes on and my downloaded running music in my hand.  The plan was to put them on the bus and begin my day with 30 minutes of alone time.  There would be no emails or texts to respond to.  No list of tasks looking up at me from my desk.  My body pulsed with excitement knowing that before sitting down to work for seven hours at a computer, I would first enjoy the amazing feeling of retreating into my thoughts, music, a gentle morning breeze, the trees, the solitude of running.  The temperature was perfect.  The sky an amazing and clear blue.

I ran. I walked. I followed the program. I felt energized.  Everything seemed fine.  And then I returned home, broken.

There have been moments in the last eight years when I have felt so betrayed by my body that I could not believe it was my own.  The twenty-five year old crumpled into a ball on the floor of the bathroom begging for mercy in any form seemed a lifetime away from the five year old in Wonder Woman Underroos in the backyard, besting her big brother at chin-up contests on the maple tree.  The young mother with the body too weak to push the stroller around the block wholly unfamiliar to the fierce twenty-one year old biking over a mountain then dancing all night in the streets of Dublin.

Something happened this summer, and every moment felt like it was years coming, like it was owed to me somehow after the months of sickness, after the weakness that made me feel less whole, less complete.

The running.

The strength.

The pants so loose that they fell to the floor, the muscles rippling across my back, the shoulders that rounded and curved in, the long-awaited realization of the physical potential of that strong little girl, that sister to the athlete, that granddaughter of the farmer, the strong woman finally appearing after years of waiting patiently for her turn.

But what I forgot in my triumph was the ramifications of those moments that came before, that brought me to my knees and shook me to the core.  The effects of a traumatic childbirth are long-lasting, and they, too, were waiting patiently to return.  Just as my body was changing on the outside, unbeknownst to me my body was changing on the inside as well.  And now I’m facing a horrible irony, that just as my body becomes strong and unstoppable in many ways, in others it has chosen to give up and give in, unable to tolerate the new paces that it has been put through.  Without knowing it, while building my body back up I was at the same time breaking it down.

So here I am broken. Just as I began to embrace and enjoy this new identity, began to believe that I could be that person who runs her first 5K, moves on to her next, aims for the goal of a sprint triathlon by next year, I am grounded.  And I wait.  Broken.

Leave a Reply


  • I’m so sorry! I know how hard you have worked for your success and it’s hard to have a bump in the road, but hopefully it will be just that, a bump that you can overcome.

    Lots of love and hugs!!!

  • You looked great at the Disney Mom’s Social. Not just skinner, but happier and more confident…even from a distance. Keep rockin’ it sister! You’re an inspiration.

  • Your not broken. You may not be exactly where you want to be, but your not broken. The doctors will figure out what to do and it will be ok.

  • I am so sorry, sweetheart. I am hoping you heal soon and are able to get right back on the horse. I am not a pro, by any means, but I’m sure there are still things you can do while you wait to get in and be treated that won’t injure you. I know what it’s like to be derailed just as things are going perfectly, you’re such a strong woman and a fighter, and I don’t see this keeping you down for very long, sweetie. You won’t let it, because you ARE stronger now.

  • I agree with Jodi…and Emily. YOU are an amazing, strong, force to be reckoned with…your body just needs a bit of a break. Give yourself time. YOU WILL GET THROUGH THIS. And we will all still be here. Rooting for you. <3 you.

  • I loved every part of this post.

  • Wendy @ mama one to three

    Hang in there. What is that saying? We are stronger in the broken places? Something like that is surely true. Good luck.

  • Amy, Obviously I missed something while I was sick and offline. {{HUGS}} it will get better. You WILL be here for the 5K! I’m praying for you.

  • island girl

    Thank you for writing, going through similar (very!)…question..have you looked into foods? GMO’s, additives? They make more difference than you realize! Blessings to you, hang in there 🙂

  • Judy

    Amy, I was elated for you when I read the other day that you ran for 20 minutes straight on the C25K program. And today I am sad that you are having to sit on the sidelines and maybe start again. I hope your body recovers quickly so you can continue to achieve your dreams.

  • Sara @Doodle741

    {{HUG}} You ARE strong. You can overcome anything, you just have to put your mind to it. If you need anything, even if it’s just an ear, I am here for you. {{HUG}}

    PS: That car picture looks like it is smiling. 🙂

  • Barbara

    Impossible is nothing…especially for YOU! Look at all you have accomplished in the past few years while caring for two little ones. This is just your body telling you to take it slow. Remember Disneyland wasn’t built in a day…or a summer. Sending you love, peace and happiness.

    #TU xox

  • Transitions, no matter how wonderful, often feel so tough. I understand.

    [I also am very out about how much I love my vitamin Z (Zoloft). Halfway through my thirties I learned that a low dose of this SSRI helps me be ME. This may not apply to you of course (!), but I feel compelled always to tell my type-A, perfectionist, Wonder Woman friends about how much 50 mg changed my life…and how many women in their thirties hormonally need a little SSRI assistance!]

    Prayer, exercise, a good doc, a little work but not too much, and a whole lot of self love…in addition to the thousands who love you. You will be OK. What is broke *can* be fixed!!

  • You are not broken – you are not the sum of your parts!!!!

  • My dear friend! Remember this simple truth ~ any distance runner will tell you they are most vulnerable training and more likely to be injured w/out a definite resolution while pursuing their goals. Athletes are on a journey sometimes more healthy than not and you have been simply red shirted for now. You said it yourself in this very post. There is no can’t. There is not won’t. Running is a journey and some seasons of your life will have more mileage than you will ever know. You have no choice but to heal so you can enjoy the breeze =)

  • How touching. Ok, I definitely have to really start being consistent with my workout. I really do. Thanks for the inspiration!

  • What a great post!! Loved it!

    This Saturday will be my LAST DAY of the Couch to 5K. I’ve been so surprised at how people have reacted to my training.

    I ran my first full 3.1 on Monday and if felt AMAZING!!!

    You’ll love it when you get there!!

    You go girl!!

  • I’m just so impressed you can articulate the roller coaster of emotion in this post. You aren’t broken, you’re just sidelined and I am sure there is some reason out there somewhere that will be revealed to you later.

    This is a really heart-gripping post, I wish I could hug you.

  • You are an inspiration and your transparency is a blessing. through your struggle and triumph you will inspire so many other women walking in your shoes. Unfortunately, I can relate in more ways than one. Thinking happy thoughts for you and hoping you will not feel broken for long. (((Hugs)))

  • Kelly Loubet

    Amy… I started out reading this thinking… I feel like that too! Both of my girls are in school this year. One is in 2nd and the other in Kindergarten. I feel both heartbroken and overjoyed at my new found time.

    Then I read on… and I can further relate. This month I’ve pushed myself harder in the gym than ever before and just yesterday… I hit the wall. My sexy new arms are stiff, sore, and swollen to the point they feel as if the muscles will burst right out of the skin. “Oh… you played golf after your arms session?” the trainer asked. “That will do it.” And she walked off… beckoning me to the abs chair.

    Keep it up girl. I’m with you. Reading. Supporting. I’m so glad we’ve become friends. I want to curl up and sob with you. But we’ll get through this. *hugs*

  • Hey Ame–I’m sorry. It’s the up’s and down’s of athletics and training, and it stinks, but just listen to your body. Like Jodi said, you’re not broken–and we’re around great doctors who can help you. With a little time and healing, I’m betting you’ll be back to pounding the pavement in no time. And you know what? Maybe running’s too hard on your body–it’s too hard on a LOT of people–but there are tons of things you can do that may be a better fit!! Hang in!

  • Janet

    Amy, I just read your post. I wish I had a magic wand to wave over you to take away your pain. Since I don’t live near you, I can’t stop by your place to lend you a shoulder to cry on. All I can offer you is my support as one of your many followers. You’ve got my email address if you need to talk to someone.

  • […] top of all of that there was the issue with the doctor telling me not to run anymore or I would need surgery sooner rather than later to put myself back together again having used […]