Looking back at 2013, there are two accomplishments I’m super proud of: pumping for six months, and running two 5Ks.

Funnily enough, my first 5K and six months of pumping happened on the same day – Thanksgiving. I’m so thankful I got to meet both of these goals this year!

Pumping until six months was probably the hardest, physically and emotionally of the two. I actually very seriously considered stopping at five months, because I was constantly thinking about making more milk; my mood and general state of mind were so tied to how much I pumped. I didn’t like that, but I also felt like I didn’t know how to pump and not be so tied up with the amount. I’m glad I stuck with it, and a few weeks later when I started slowly dropping sessions and stopped taking all my supplements and medicines, I felt much better.

I’m exceedingly proud I reached that goal, but I’m also very proud of myself for saying, “self, you’ve been doing this for six months. It’s HARD. You don’t it very much. It’s messing with your head. It is totally okay if you let yourself stop.”

In the end, I have no regrets about the experience and what I accomplished. More than making it an arbitrarily chosen number of months, I wanted to look back at this experience and be satisfied with it, no regrets. And I totally am!

As for running in a 5K, the best thing I ever did was participate in a running group. I could only meet with them once a week, but I really needed that accountability and push. When we first met, our run was a mile long, alternating one minute walking, two minutes running. It was so, so hard for me. I was the last in my group by a good bit, and I could not have run one bit more.

I’m not fast by any means, but two months later, I ran 3.1 miles without stopping. Two weeks after that, I did that again, in a wintery mix, up some reasonably steep bridges. Quite a long way from not being able to run a complete mile.

Mostly, I’m proud that I did hard things. I didn’t have to stick with them. I could have said they were too hard for me, and honestly, starting to run a 5K for the first time when your baby is three months old and exclusively pumping, I don’t think anyone would have blamed me for saying they were too hard and not doing them. But I stuck with it, and it was so worth it. I hope I continue doing hard things in 2014.

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