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Written By Roanne Greiff - April 07 2020
Running has always been in my life, but it played second fiddle to my first love, soccer, for a long time. It was just something I did to keep my fitness up, until 6 years ago when my sister convinced me to sign up for a 25k trail race. I had never run anything like it before, but was up for the challenge. It was through this experience that I came to discover my love for running, and trail running in particular. A few years ago I was looking for run groups and came across VRC Flight Crew. I can be shy, so it took me a while to get out of my comfort zone and go to one of the runs, but when I did, I was welcomed by friendly faces, I loved the easy going atmosphere of the group, and I quickly made friends with other regulars. Fast forward to early 2018, and I found out I was pregnant. I was tired, but it felt good to run so I kept it up. Around the 12th week, we started telling people, and naturally this included telling people I’d come to call friends at Flight Crew. It was comforting to hear from others who had continued to exercise throughout their pregnancies. A few weeks later I found out the pregnancy was not meant to be, as I suffered a miscarriage. It was devastating. After the procedure, I couldn’t wait to get back to the forest. When I was given the green light, my first run back was so cathartic. It felt therapeutic to be out amongst the trees, focusing on my breath and letting go of my thoughts. The hard thing about telling people you’re pregnant, is having to tell them that you no longer are. I stayed away from Flight Crew for a little while because I couldn’t deal with telling people, but when I went back, it was that community of people that lifted me up. We were all there to share a run, and I could put the hurt aside for a short time. My pregnancy loss experience was uncharacteristic because I required several more surgeries. Although it was an emotionally draining experience, I found solace in running. The movement of my feet, the focus on my breath, and the feeling of release helped keep me grounded. After every surgery, I couldn’t wait to run again. I listened to my body, but I felt very grateful that my legs could carry me through all that time with nature. It’s funny how, for so long, running was just something that I did, but during this time it became something that my body craved. Running became almost meditative for me. It was where I could think things through, or clear my head, depending on what I needed.I now have a healthy 1-year old but that journey was not without its difficulties. After some complications when I first fell pregnant again, I had to stop running until the beginning of the second trimester. I finally made it back to the Flight Crew runs and things were looking up. Then, my water broke at 20 weeks and I was at home on bed rest. I missed running; that feeling of hard work, those feel-good endorphins you get from getting a good run in. I missed my little legs jumping over roots in the forest and that feeling you get when you’re flying down a technical downhill.
After having my little one at 32 weeks, the return to running was gradual. When I was given the OK, I took things slowly and was kind to my body: it had been through a lot. I remember that feeling of sheer joy after my first run back in the forest, my happy place. Throughout the journey of pregnancy loss, and a second pregnancy with complications, I felt like I had lost a little bit of myself. Not only did it feel good for my well being to be back running, it felt like I got a piece of myself back.