Saturday, December 31, 2011

Be Good to Yourself

We are moments away from a brand-new year, and so many of us are full of hope for a fresh start. But the truth is there is no magical "reset" button we can push at midnight. Our lives don't automatically change with the changing of the calendar. Despite our hopes and dreams, most of us will wake up on January 1st to the same worries and sorrows that plagued us at the previous year's end.

We all know this dismal truth, yet most of us approach the new year with optimism anyway, hoping that just maybe this will be the year when FINALLY we'll make some changes!

Do you make resolutions? I always do. Mine just keep getting more numerous and detailed each year -- a complex outline of all the ways I'd like to improve myself over the next 12 months. Many of the goals are attainable, but the idea that I can accomplish them all in one year is a little absurd. Hey, it's no secret that I like to punish myself with unrealistic expectations!

This past year I have discovered, painfully, how damaging that habit can be. I have excelled at one thing: being way too hard on myself. I think I'm ready to get off the path of self-destruction and get back on the road to good health (mental and physical), but my map will not be an outline detailing zillions of things that I need to do better. This time I'm starting with a simple resolution, one that I recommend to everyone: BE GOOD TO YOURSELF!!

I think sometimes we try to take care of ourselves but go about it in all the wrong ways. I'm not talking about seeking instant bliss through spending money we don't have on things we don't need, or eating too much of things that are terrible for us, etc. Those happy moments are fleeting and we are left fundamentally no better off than we were before.

The true "good" that we can do for ourselves is showing the same kindness, mercy, and compassion that we try to show others. It's okay to love yourself. Really, it is! It's not selfish or arrogant or conceited to love yourself the way God loves, or the way a mother loves. You can be aware of your shortcomings and strive to do better without hating yourself for being a failure. You and I are not failures. We are imperfect, and also perfectly lovable.

So my challenge to you and to myself for 2012 is just to be good to yourself, all the time, every chance you get. Be your own best friend and biggest fan. Your problems might stay the same, but they'll be a thousand times easier to handle if you are feeling loved and valued. And you might be surprised at everything else you can accomplish if you start with treating yourself right!

A friend once recommended that I listen to Journey to lift my spirits during a rough patch, and in turn I leave you with these lyrics:

"Lookin' back with no regrets
To forgive is to forget
I want a little piece of mind to turn to
Be good to yourself when no one else will
Oh be good to yourself."

Happy New Year!

Monday, December 19, 2011

Burning Cookies Instead of Calories

In the spirit of expanding my definition of "workout," I'm going to ignore the fact that I ran only once last week, and celebrate the fact that I spent all weekend exercising. For nearly two whole days I was on my feet, baking lots of holiday goodies! My heart rate never really went up very high, but my muscles sure are sore today!

Granted, I probably consumed more calories than I burned. After all, each finished product had to be sampled as part of my rigorous quality-control procedures. Some of the ingredients had to be sampled as well, and of course there were beaters to be licked...

Okay, so my kitchen marathon probably did nothing at all to improve my physical health, but it was more active than sitting in front of the television, and it helped me get into the holiday spirit, so I'm counting it as positive in the mental health area. It really did seem to help my mood...yesterday I was tired and overwhelmed by the crazy kids, but I managed to keep my mood in neutral until the end of the day, and even ended on a cheerful note after more baking once the kids were in bed. I call that success!

This week I'm going to make a little more effort to find time for that elusive second run (after accomplishing the first run, that is), and hopefully a few days off work will help with scheduling. If I fail, well then I'll just have to find a way to make wrapping presents into a workout....

Happy Holidays, everyone! :)

Wednesday, December 14, 2011

Here's Where It Gets Tricky

Hooray for me -- I ran last night! It felt great, physically and emotionally. And I feel optimistic about being able to squeeze in some other workout by the end of the week.

So it's all good, right? WRONG. I was so exhausted after running that by the time the baby finally went down for the night, I was no longer functional and fell asleep with a lengthy to-do list left undone. Today I woke up feeling guilty about getting "nothing" done last night, even though running really should count as "something." That's what I've got to make myself believe -- that taking care of myself is a worthwhile use of my time, as important as many of the other tasks on my seemingly endless lists!!

This is a bad time of year to try to find extra time for something like exercise, but it's also a bad time of year to be miserable, so I have no choice. I don't know how to get it all done. I don't even know if I CAN get it all done. It's time to get pickier about priorities, and make sure my well-being isn't the very lowest one.

I do still feel optimistic about being able to get in another workout this week, but I expect to engage in a mental struggle to postpone some other task in order to do it. If exercise wins that struggle, I hope that I will feel proud of myself instead of guilty!

Monday, December 12, 2011

Too Little

As great as it felt to run last week, it's not going to have the desired effect if I can't keep it up.

I know I shouldn't be so hard on myself, but I really don't know any other way. I think I've proven time and again that I'm lousy at cutting myself any slack. If you know the secret of how not to hold oneself to impossible standards, please share it with me!

The truth is I accomplished what I set out to do. I made ONE workout my goal for last week, since that would be one more than any of the previous weeks. I set the bar low, and I achieved my goal. Initially I felt GREAT about it, and even dabbled in a teensy bit of optimism that my plans for feeling better just might work.

Running was such a positive experience that I couldn't wait to repeat it, and hoped to go for another run on Thursday...or Friday...or sometime over the weekend. Unfortunately, life got in the way, as it so often does. My determination has not created magical pockets of free time in my busy schedule...go figure! The fact that it's the holiday season only complicates matters further.

It makes perfect sense that I was unable to squeeze in another run, and yet I've spent the day beating myself up over it anyway. I've been pretty down all day, and at times I found myself blaming it on my lack of running. So now I'm seeing how my plans might backfire on me. When I can't manage to get in a workout, not only am I missing out on all the positive benefits of exercise, but I'm also dealing with yet another reason to feel like a failure. UGH. I don't know the solution. I guess I just have to try harder to find the time, because one run a week is just not going to be enough.

My goal for this week is 2 workouts. Wish me luck.

Wednesday, December 7, 2011

A Conversation With My Treadmill

Tuesday night, around 9:00pm.

Treadmill (TM): Well HEY, haven't seen you in AGES! You dropped in a few times in September, but other than that I've just been collecting dust down here! Are you back to stay now, or what?

Me: Dude. It hasn't been the easiest few months. But YES, I'm back to stay. No promises you won't collect a teensy bit of dust between visits though. I mean, we do have cats living here, and they shed...

TM: Okay, whatevs, hop on!

Me: Yeah, let's do this!

TM: Oof! Yikes, you might want to lay off the late night desserts, lady.

Me: Shut it. Chocolate helps me cope. I do plan to ease up a bit soon, though. And I mean soon like early 2012. You can't expect me to shun sweets during the friggin' holidays.

TM: Fine, fine. Lucky for you I have a pretty high weight limit. want to walk any faster than that? I'm pretty sure you walked faster than that when you were 8 months pregnant. Just sayin'.

Me: I am WARMING. UP. Sheesh. Who do you think you are, Jillian Michaels?

TM: Hey, somebody's gotta motivate your lazy butt. I kid, I kid! You're doing great!!

Me: *silence, as I am breathing too hard to talk anymore*

TM: So, uh, you've been working pretty hard. That's a lot of running for your first time in a while. Wouldn't you like to walk a bit? Doesn't walking feel good?

Me: *pant* Yes, *pant* walking *pant* feels *pant* good. *pant pant pant* But you know what else feels good? SUCCESS! One more run!!!

After a total of 10 minutes of running, broken up with walk breaks...

TM: You did it! You accomplished your fitness goal for the week! How do you feel?

Me: Tired. Fantastic. Sore. And a teensy bit concerned that I spent my workout carrying on a conversation with a piece of exercise equipment.

TM: Touche. Get some rest. And please come visit me again soon! It's spooky down here in the dark.

Our next visit tentatively schedule for Thursday or Friday night...

Monday, December 5, 2011

Paving the Road to Hell

Despite my best intentions, I have not followed the plan I set out in my last entry. I have made zero progress on my sleep/nutrition/exercise regimen, and I believe I am suffering the consequences.

At first I thought I was getting along pretty well with the other facets of my plan. The prayers were flowing, and I was drawing strength from all the support I received after posting to my blog. I wouldn't say I was feeling good, but I was definitely okay, which was a marked improvement. I guess that improvement wasn't built to last.

The weekend was rough. My 6-year-old son has some serious behavior problems and anger management issues, and it's becoming increasingly difficult to teach him how to handle his emotions when I cannot handle my own! He had a few intense tantrums, but I may have had even more emotional meltdowns than he did, and some of them were not even triggered by anything major. I just can't cope with anything anymore! When the kids get noisy, I tense up, and the mess in my house makes me feel like I'm suffocating. Am I losing my mind???

Lately I have found myself wishing that I had never had kids at all. Isn't that an awful thing to think? I'm not going to go all Andrea Yates on my boys...I do love them and I would never purposely hurt them. But I feel like I'm not cut out for this motherhood thing and maybe it was all a huge mistake. My kids deserve better than what I'm capable of giving them right now.

I need to try harder to get my head on straight, but I just don't have the energy. I wish I could sleep for about a week and then wake up completely re-energized and ready to tackle all my problems!!!! Since that is not an option, all I can do is just try to get through one day at a time. I really don't know when or even if things will ever get better. I'm feeling really pessimistic today. I think I'll blame it on the clouds. Gloomy weather just makes me more gloomy as well.

Okay, I need an action plan so I can feel like I'm doing something rather than just sitting here hating the world and feeling sorry for myself. My goal is to go for a run (well, a walk/run) tomorrow evening after the kids are in bed. I will hand the baby off to my husband and head down to the treadmill for at least 30 minutes of taking care of ME. I'll let you know whether it helps!

Monday, November 28, 2011

Guess That's Why They Call It the Blues

Hi. How are you today? I haven't cried, or thought about running away, so today is a good day. So far.

I haven't exactly been myself lately, and that is why you haven't heard from me here. I haven't been running. I haven't even been trying. Instead I have been drowning in my own life, feeling like I'm failing at everything, completely overwhelmed, stressed, exhausted, weepy, grumpy (and apparently heading up my own crew of Dwarves, though I assure you "Happy" isn't one of them). I guess you could say I've hit a rough patch.

Dr. Google seems to think I have many of the symptoms of postpartum depression, but I would not go so far as to diagnose myself. Obviously I'm not qualified to, not being a mental health professional and all. I keep coming up with good reasons why I'm not really depressed (I am still bonding well with my baby! I don't cry EVERY day! I still laugh sometimes!) Also, I'm just not sure if all of this is coming from inside of me, or if it's caused by external factors. I've been under a lot of stress lately, and I cannot tell if the stress is making me fall apart, or if the mess inside my head is making me unable to cope with and resolve the stress. Chicken or egg, right?

All I know for certain is that I have been very unhappy, and in a way that has felt out of control. It really feels like I've been losing my mind. I'm naturally a pretty cheerful person, so this is totally out of character for me. Many people in my shoes would probably see a doctor, but I'm not quite at that place yet. Part of me is holding onto the hope that maybe this is one of those things that "too shall pass," as "they" like to say. Plus there is just something sort of scary and embarrassing about having to ask for help...even writing here is uncomfortable, and if you mention it to my face, I just might die on the spot. (apologies for melodrama)

So why am I sharing this if it's so uncomfortable? Well, I know I need to reach out somehow. Even if I don't have PPD, chances are any mental health professional would suggest that I talk to someone, seek out some support. I also would probably be advised to try getting the right amount of sleep, eating healthy foods, and exercising!!! This is where the blog comes in. I really really miss ME, and I'd like to feel like myself again. I'm going to try a self-prescribed regimen of prayer, the sleep/nutrition/exercise combo, and sharing my feelings here in cyberspace with anyone who cares to read and/or respond. I really hope this will be enough to "fix" whatever is wrong with me.

Please know that I am NOT a danger to my kids or myself, and should my thoughts ever get that dark, I promise to seek professional help immediately. I'm a little nuts right now, but I'm not THAT crazy.

About the exercise thing....yeah, as life has overwhelmed me, running kept getting pushed lower on my list of priorities. When I was doing it for fun and for my physical health, it seemed less important than all the other pressing demands on my time and energy. Now things have changed, and I need to run for my MENTAL health! If I can't get myself back on track, then I can't function the way I need to, and the way my family needs me to. So now running will be one of my top priorities! (I'm going to make an effort in the sleep and nutrition departments too, but I anticipate much more success with the running...) I'm not focusing on any particular race goals -- for right now, my goal is just to make the time to exercise as often as possible and necessary to help me feel better! It's all about the endorphins!! I will re-evaluate all other fitness goals once I'm not a stark-raving lunatic anymore. :)

If you prefer to read about running and racing and have no interest in what's going on in my head, you may want to take some time off from my blog. Pop back in sometime in early 2012 and hopefully I'll be back to normal by then. But if you don't mind providing me with a bit of free therapy, please stick around and let's talk me through this! Just, you know, remember to keep the conversation here online, so I don't have to die of embarrassment if/when we see each other...

Tuesday, September 27, 2011

The Baby Ate My Workout

Yes, I am still alive, and yes, I am still trying to get fit, even though I haven't run in over a week. I have just been busy, and fighting off a cold, and [insert various other excuses here]. I know I need to try harder, but as long as I'm still breastfeeding, my schedule has little to no wiggle room. There is no white flag being raised -- I am not giving up! I'm just not winning every battle in this war right now. Please bear with me, and I promise you will see exciting things from me in the future!

Friday, September 16, 2011

And You? {Exercise Time}

Today I'm launching a fun new feature for readers of my blog. It's similar to some features I tried early on where I asked for advice on various topics or products. This time I'm again looking for feedback, but instead of asking what you think I should do, I'm just asking what YOU do. You can share as much or as little as you want, but please respond! I think it will be fun to learn about each other's habits!

The first topic is scheduling: What time of day do you normally exercise, and why?

Right now my only real option is evenings. I'd prefer to do early mornings, but as long as I'm breastfeeding my baby and working full time, I just don't have any wiggle room on weekday mornings. I try to hit the treadmill between the usual two evening feedings, if bedtime for the other kids has gone smoothly and my husband is around so I can hand the baby off to him for a bit. On the weekends, I'm trying to get outside at least once for a daytime run. Our weekend schedules will vary, so those will probably be at different times every week.

And you?

Thursday, September 15, 2011

Double? No Trouble!

Given how slowly I've had to progress with running in the past, I thought that the jump from three minutes to six minutes might be rather challenging. I fully expected to have to walk a minute or two in the middle, but instead I was able to run the full six minutes on my first attempt!

This is not earth-shattering news, and I know I still have a very long way to go. I will celebrate this small victory nonetheless, because it has given me a boost of confidence. I need all the little wins I can get, because each one pushes me forward just enough to keep my momentum going, even when I am exhausted or go several days without having the time to exercise.

It is fun to meet my goals and expectations, but even more fun to surpass them, even on a small scale like this. Sometimes I disappoint myself, but other times I surprise myself in a good way. The latter makes up for the former. And now I can't wait to run my six minutes again!

Wednesday, September 14, 2011

My Other 9/11 Anniversary

Sunday was a significant day for our country, as we looked back 10 years, mourned the fallen, and reflected on how far we've come since the terror attacks on NY and DC. As someone who was in DC on 9/11/01 and who still lives in the metro area, I certainly did my share of remembering, but my thoughts quickly jumped from 10 years ago to one year ago, when I ran my very first 5K race.

Last year, I shared a little about why I chose that particular race, but I didn't really follow up on those initial thoughts. I had attached some emotional goals to the event, but then got distracted when the race didn't go as planned.

Now, a year later, I have suddenly realized that the race was a turning point for me after all. Somehow 9/11 no longer has the hold on my psyche that it once did. I can honestly say I'm not afraid anymore. When I think back on that awful day and all the innocent victims, I still feel overwhelming sadness, but it's sadness I can handle. I know grief. Grief and I have become well-acquainted, and I'm learning how not to lose myself in that relationship. But the fear...the fear was once the most crippling effect of 9/11, at least for me. Inititally it was intense fear of another terror attack, but over the years it branched out into fear of all other threats of bodily harm, and fear of emotional harm as well, including but not limited to the fear of failure. And now it has released its chokehold on me, and I have run away, finally free.

I left fear on the street in front of the Pentagon last year, and unfortunately picked up disappointment and self-loathing in its place. Oddly enough, there is a positive side to that trade-off, in that my new negative buddies were by-products of a very positive journey. I hemmed and hawed and moaned and groused and read lots of encouraging advice from people wiser than myself. Then I told those naysaying voices in my head to kindly STFU while I laced up my shoes and hit the pavement once more.

Since then, I've completed a 5K without walking, AND a 10K without walking. I ran another 5K while battling morning sickness, and continued to run well into my pregnancy. I had looked failure in the eyes and discovered that it wasn't so scary after all. Coming back from a rotten first race experience taught me lessons I continue to draw from now, while getting back into running is proving difficult to achieve.

September 11, 2011 was a milestone anniversary for our country, but September 11, 2010 turned out to be a huge turning point in my life, even though it took me a year to realize it.

I will never forget 9/11.

I will continue to run, and I will not be afraid.

Let's roll.

Saturday, September 10, 2011

The Kind with the Gooey Center

My core is as mushy as a chocolate candy with creme inside! Hmmm...maybe a jelly doughnut is actually a better comparison, since let's face it -- my outer layer is just as squishy as my core.

When I started running again after my stress fracture, I had been swimming for months, and I'm starting to feel the difference that activity made in my life. Swimming works completely different muscles and requires a different method of breathing than running, so one doesn't directly affect the other. However, by helping build a stronger core, swimming makes just about any other exercise a little easier.

This may be a purely psychological issue, but I feel like swimming is not really compatible with breastfeeding. And the pool's hours certainly are not compatible with my baby's eating schedule (to say nothing of my work schedule on top of that!). Chances are I won't get back in the pool until my nursing days are done.

Know what that means? I need to do some other cross-training, STAT! So my goal for this week will be to do some yoga or one of my random fitness DVD's on my non-running days, to try to start rebuilding my mushy core so it can support me better when I run.

Hey, speaking of goals, I set a goal last night (to get out and run once this weekend), and I have already accomplished it! Yay!! So maybe my center is just gooey because it's full of AWESOMESAUCE!!

Friday, September 9, 2011

Less is More?

Last night, more than a week after my first run, I ran again! Yay! And it hurt again! Boo! But not as much as last time! Yay!

My training plan calls for 3 runs per week. My life seems to want to allow me only 1 run per week. I've been out of school for a long time and my memory of math is fuzzy, but I think 1<3.

HOWEVER, I'm also pretty sure that 1>0. So I could look at this a couple of ways: either I'm a -2 failure, or a +1 success!! I think I'll go with the positive number there. Positive number = positive attitude, right?

Of course, objectively speaking, 1 workout with just 3 minutes of running = not very much running. I'd really like to be running much MORE, so while I'm not ashamed of my progress so far, I'm not satisfied with it either. My next small goal is to get in one run over the weekend, bringing this week's total to a whopping 2!! And then I will celebrate with cake.

Tuesday, August 30, 2011


Hey neighbors, sorry you took cover in doorways and under furniture when the earth starting shaking beneath you again this afternoon! That was just me, trying to run after nearly five long months of lethargy and cake.

It was a gorgeous day for a run: sunny and warm but breezy and not too humid. My oldest son was off at his first day of first grade, and the baby had recovered from his 2-month vaccinations and resumed his sunny disposition. There was peace in my house...the stars had aligned....the time to run had arrived.

As I started my long warm-up walk, I knew right away by the way my legs felt that running would be hard. Exactly how hard would come as a surprise.

Shifting from a walk to a slow jog felt like trying to carry an elephant up a hill. I felt like I weighed 800 lbs and had not a single functioning muscle group. There was pain in places that I'm sure are not supposed to hurt while running, and I was 99% certain I was having a heart attack. And forget about breathing! Apparently I picked up a pack-a-day smoking habit when I wasn't looking, or so my lungs would have me believe. I thought I ran slow before, but today I think I was passed by a little old lady with a walker. Well, I can't be totally sure, since my eyes were fixed firmly on my feet -- seeing them was the only way to be certain they were still moving. I was stunned by how awful it felt, and in my typical dramatic fashion jumped right to wondering whether I could even do this anymore...

And then suddenly it was over! I had completed the intended three minutes. I didn't die, or even pass out. And I could still walk home when I was done. So, forget I said anything about how much it sucked. I ran today, and it felt A-M-A-Z-I-N-G. I'm back. :)

Sunday, August 28, 2011

False Start

How did I manage to screw up already, after only one week? I certainly expected to fall behind in my training plan (which is why I built in several weeks in the middle that are overlap and can be skipped), but I didn't expect it to happen immediately. I actually thought the first few weeks would be the easiest to keep on track because I'm not back at work yet so I have more time in which to squeeze a workout...theoretically.

The first three workouts were just walks, and I found the time for them no problem. Then the fourth workout was supposed to be my first run, and despite being excited about it, somehow in the past week I have been unable to make it happen! I don't want to make excuses, but part of the problem is breastfeeding -- it makes it difficult for me to get just about anything done other than goofing off on the internet (I am rocking Farmville these days, let me tell you...). Maybe other nursing moms are just better at fitting tasks between feedings, but I find BF'ing to be inconvenient and a real pain in the rear. Often after a long day of getting nothing done other than feeding and holding the baby, I wonder if it's really worth it...but I usually decide it is. Usually.

This week was also a bit bizarre in that there was an earthquake and a hurricane, neither of which is normal for this area, but if I'm being honest with myself, I won't use those as excuses. The earthquake didn't affect my schedule at all, and the hurricane really shouldn't have. "We" were busy with preparations for the storm, but my husband really did all of the work. And the storm itself wasn't too awful here -- we didn't even lose power, so at the very least I should have been able to get my butt onto the treadmill today. Alas, I did not.

Whether I have any legitimate excuses or not, I missed a week of workouts and am wondering whether I should push on forward from here, or just start over. If I can make that run happen tomorrow, then pushing forward makes sense. If two more days slip past...or three...or more...maybe it will be time to start back over from just the walks again. At least then making a fresh start might give me some psychological motivation and momentum to get going! Maybe. I also go back to working full time a week from Tuesday, and that is when I REALLY will start to come apart at the seams. You'll see. More on that later.

Monday, August 15, 2011

Hospital Bed to 10K

Before I get into the substance of today's topic, I want to point out that this is my actual 100th blog post!! Woohoo!! If any of you have read every single entry so far, I thank you for your support, but also doubt your sanity. ;-) A lot has happened in my world since this blog began, and I can't wait to see what the next 100 posts will cover!

One topic that I certainly will write a lot about is my new training plan! I call it my "Hospital Bed to 10K" plan, because I have decided to focus my entire post-surgery return to fitness on one major goal. I have scrapped all plans for fall races because I know I won't be ready for any of them and I don't want to set myself up for failure. Winter races are still possible (to the extent that they exist around here), but I will wait and see how I'm progressing before I set my sights on any particular events.

To allow myself plenty of time to ease back into running while juggling the demands of working motherhood, I have selected a spring race as my ultimate goal. It's the Cooper River Bridge Run down in my hometown of Charleston, SC, and I have always wanted to do it. I walked it once in college, and I was supposed to run it this year with my sister, but my pregnancy interfered. There will be no more excuses -- in 2012 I will finally "Get Over It" and run the bridge!

My HB210K plan is a little more drawn out than your average Couch 2 5K plan, since I have 7 months to prepare. I didn't think I could find a single 10K training plan stretched out that long, so I've pieced together three different plans. I am starting with the "Aggressive Couch to 5K Program" from the Beginner Triathlete website, which is the program I followed to get back into running after my stress fracture last year. After the first 5 weeks of that program, I will switch to Jeff Galloway's 5K and 10K training plans. I followed some of Galloway's plan last year while training for my first 10K, and it worked out pretty well. There is some overlap between the 5K and 10K programs, so if things do not go well for whatever reason, I have those extra weeks built in there that I can skip and still stay on track to be ready by March 31st.

Having a plan has energized and motivated me; it is great to have something positive to focus on instead of thinking about how I'm not living up to my silly unrealistic expectations for post-baby fitness so far. Now I can mark my progress, however slow it is, towards achieving a major goal and making a longtime dream come true! Once I cross that finish line in Marion Square, I'm sure I will no longer care about how this pregnancy affected my body and fitness. Bridge Run, here I come! Who wants to join me?

Thursday, August 11, 2011

6 Weeks PP - Phase One Complete!!

Workouts this week: 0
Most Strenuous Workout: Just normal activity
Weight: 207 lbs
Total pregnancy weight lost: 16 lbs
Pregnancy weight left to lose: 23 lbs

It's official -- I have completely recovered from my c-section! My 6-week-postpartum check-up went well today, and all restrictions have been lifted. This means I am cleared to resume any form of exercise I choose! Yippie!!

Driving home from the doctor, I sang along with the radio while imagining running to those upbeat tunes. I'm feeling really pumped up about getting back on track and setting my new goals and everything! Nothing has really changed with my amounts of energy and free time, though, so I'm prepared to take it slow and not be too hard on myself. I have started working on my plans, and will be excited to share them soon!

Looking back over the past 6 weeks, I'm a little disappointed that I didn't start walking regularly as soon as the pain subsided enough. At the same time, I'm pleased that I didn't gain back any weight after my initial loss. I still have 23 pounds of pregnancy weight to lose before I'll be back where I started. Hopefully those pounds will come off fairly quickly once I'm exercising.

It also is time for me to rein in my permissive eating habits. For example, "ten o'clock dessert" has to end and be replaced with a small, healthy late night snack (I have to snack at night because I stay up late). Of course, I won't be cutting out sweets entirely. There will be birthday cake in our house this weekend, and a few weeks later I'll be making a cake for my wedding anniversary. There will always be cake in my life. This is why I run. :)

Thanks to all of you who put up with my whining and complaining throughout pregnancy and recovery. I hope that now things will return to normal, and I will have more to talk about than just hormones or surgery. The weekly updates are over for now, but posts should come more frequently. Be on the lookout for Recovery: Phase Two!!

Monday, August 8, 2011

Flipping the Magical Switch

After last week's post written by Debbie Downer, I figure I owe y'all a little of my more characteristic cheerfulness. I'm feeling rather chipper today because over the past week I have experienced this wonderful phenomenon that now has happened at least twice. With my first two c-sections, the pain faded away probably about a month after the surgery (though I don't remember precisely when).

Last time and now this time, as of 5 weeks postpartum, I was still hurting and popping ibuprofen a couple times a day, wondering when or if I would ever feel better. Then within a matter of days, before I hit the 6-week mark, the pain just vanished as if I had found and flipped the magic "off" switch! Suddenly I feel pretty normal again, sleep deprivation and general exhaustion notwithstanding. Stairs are no problem, and even bending over finally feels okay!! The only movement that really hurts at all right now is rising from a completely horizontal position. In other words, getting up out of bed in the morning is a sharp reminder that my abs are still a little sore. I'm sure even that small ache will disappear soon too.

I don't know what is so special about this week that how I feel changes so drastically from beginning to end of it, but I guess maybe there is a reason doctors schedule the official postpartum checkup for 6 weeks after childbirth. I'd like to declare myself completely healed, but I'll wait until after my OB appointment on Thursday to do the recovery dance of joy. :)

As for Recovery: Phase Two plans, time and energy are still big issues, and I'm definitely rethinking my previous goals. Over the next few days, I'm going to select some specific new goals and develop a realistic training plan, which I will reveal after I've been cleared to resume real exercise. Until then, I'm aiming to go for a couple of 20-30 minute walks around the neighborhood this week, time and weather permitting. Since my goal is two walks, I'll be happy with one. :)

Friday, August 5, 2011

5 Weeks PP - Facing Reality

Workouts this week: 4
Most Strenuous Workout: Walking the length of the mall 2x
Weight: 207 lbs
Total pregnancy weight lost: 16 lbs
Pregnancy weight left to lose: 23 lbs

With only one week remaining in my c-section recovery period, I'm realizing how unrealistic most of my goals and hopes for post-baby fitness are. The problem is no longer pain -- I've gone several days now with no OTC painkillers whatsoever (well, not counting the one dose of Tylenol I took for a headache), and I'm feeling pretty good! Hooray! Despite my expectations, I think I actually recovered faster this time than I did last time!

Now the problems are time and energy. Breastfeeding means I'm literally attached to my baby for a large portion of the day, and just taking care of an infant is exhausting. It has been challenging just to find the time to write this blog post; finding time to go for walks has been nearly impossible. And right now is the easy time! I'm still at home on maternity leave, and the kids are still on summer vacation, and there are few scheduled events putting demands on my time. When I imagine how crazy everything is going to be when I return to work in a month, I just want to cry. I don't really know how I'm going to find time to exercise regularly. I don't even know how I'm going to find time to bathe regularly! I am remembering vividly now why it took me so long to get back to walking/running after baby #3.

Even if I can find a little time a few days per week to get moving, I think my road back to running is going to be a long one. I'm so tired most of the time that I fall asleep when I'm sitting still feeding the baby at all times of day. I don't know when I will have enough energy to move my feet any faster than a slow walk. I'd thought, many months ago, that maybe I would attempt the Arlington 9/11 5K again this year. I figured I'd have to walk at least half of it, but it would be a nice experience to participate without so much pressure on myself to do well, and also in an especially meaningful year (the 10th anniversary of the attacks). The race is just a little over a month away, and somehow I'm doubting I'd even be able to run a mile of it by then. I really thought I'd be racing again in the fall, but now I think I need to erase those thoughts from my head completely and act as though I'm starting all over again from square one. That may be the only way I can ease myself back into running at a pace that is compatible with my current situation.

I'm sorry if the tone of this post is very negative. I think I have to go through these feelings of disappointment and frustration, and almost mourn the loss of how I had hoped things would be, in order to move past it and arrive at a more positive approach to coping with how things actually are. Does that make sense? Soon maybe I will be mapping out a new training plan for myself, and setting realistic, attainable goals, and proceeding with enthusiasm and good cheer. For right now, I'm kicking myself for dreaming too big and setting myself up for this letdown.

I should also include a disclaimer that I'm writing this at nearly 1:00am, when I finally found time and had my hands free for typing. I'm so tired that I can barely keep my eyes open, and everything seems worse when I'm this exhausted. I hope that my readers who are also moms understand where I'm coming from, and that my readers who don't have kids will be patient with me as I work through this phase!

On a lighter note, this is my 100th post! Woohoo! I think I will going to bed. :)

EDIT: Just realized the count I was looking at included some draft posts that were never completed/published. So it's not really my 100th post. Oops. See, I REALLY need sleep.

Wednesday, July 27, 2011

4 Weeks PP - In Transition

Workouts this week: 4
Most Strenuous Workout: 6 trips up and down the stairs in my house in one evening
Weight: 208 lbs
Total pregnancy weight lost: 15 lbs
Pregnancy weight left to lose: 24 lbs

I feel like I'm in the process of turning a corner! I'm definitely not back at 100% yet, but in little ways I am inching closer to normal. I've done less walking in the past week because it has been too hot to go outside, and I'm just not yet motivated enough to hit the treadmill. However, my general activity level has increased a lot. I'm going up and down stairs with ease now, and can even do so without any pain while carrying the baby. Bending over is still very troublesome, but I guess that is to be expected.

The interesting part of pregnancy and then c-section recovery is seeing all the ways your "core" really supports the rest of your body. You tend not to think of all the ways you use your abdominal muscles until they are all stretched out or incredibly sore. And when your abs can't be depended on to do the work they normally do, your lower back works overtime to compensate, and boy do you feel the aches from that!

It's truly amazing the way the body heals and recovers though. When you think of how much pregnancy changes things, it's wild to see how much actually changes back. I think we tend to focus on what doesn't change back, because things like wider hips and a softer stomach might mess with our body image and damage our self-esteem. But as crazy as our bodies get by the end of pregnancy, they do mostly get back to normal eventually!!

Some women even end up in better physical shape than before because they start taking better care of themselves! I hope to fall into that category once I've made more progress on my fitness journey. Having my kids has made me so much more aware of my body -- how all the different parts work together, how each part has a purpose more important than just looking good, and how much better everything feels when the parts are taken care of and in good working order.

As my recovery continues, I notice how I'm gradually getting stronger, and how the pain is starting to subside. I'm aware that a plethora of small movements and tasks have gone from challenging back to routine. Sometimes I get frustrated because I expect progress to come more quickly, but I also suspect that I'm feeling better now than I did at 4 weeks postpartum the previous three times. Part of this feeling comes from my positive mental state as well -- it's easier to approach recovery with optimism when you are not also juggling grief with the pain and hormonal changes.

In the week to come, I hope to do more and longer walks, either around my neighborhood or on the treadmill. If I have any hope at all of starting to run again in just two weeks, then I need to be getting my legs and lungs ready!!

Wednesday, July 20, 2011

3 Weeks PP - Recovery: Phase One

Workouts this week: 4
Most Strenuous Workout: 2 trips up and down the stairs in my house
Weight: 208 lbs
Total pregnancy weight lost: 15 lbs
Pregnancy weight left to lose: 24 lbs

Before you question my honesty about the number of workouts this past week, allow me to explain how I'm defining things right now. In this first phase of recovery, I'm focusing on just recovering from the c-section itself, and so a "workout" is any physical exertion that progressively gets me moving around more and readjusting my body to movements that cause some pain. For example, a short walk around my cul-de-sac or around the local Target, or a couple of trips up and down the stairs in my home count as workouts right now. The intensity and duration of these activities will gradually but quickly increase. I believe I should be done with this first phase of recovery by 6 weeks postpartum, so 3 weeks from now.

So far I'm recovering reasonably well. Stairs were quite painful at first, but they are getting easier. Walking is getting easier too. The most painful activity for me right now is bending over. I'm still trying to limit my bending because it doesn't seem to be getting any easier yet and usually leaves me with some pain for hours after. I'm also trying to start weaning myself off of all painkillers, but the pain from too much bending over has made that impossible so far.

I'm not officially trying to lose the pregnancy weight yet, even though I am keeping track of it. I just want to keep an eye on the numbers to prevent any major gains before I can start rigorous exercise again. Soon I will need to put the brakes on my daily (sometimes TWICE daily) dessert habit, or else such gains will be inevitable. It is always hard to readjust to using more self-control with food after the relative freedom of pregnancy. Sleep deprivation makes it even harder...self-control takes energy which a lot of days I just don't have!!! Things will all get easier in time though.

Once I complete the first phase of recovery, I will shift my focus to recovering from the entire pregnancy and childbirth experience, which means getting back into shape!! I'm not sure whether I will continue weekly updates in Phase Two, or go back to my previous format of just writing a few times per week whenever a topic popped into my mind. Stay tuned to find out!

Saturday, July 16, 2011

Baby Steps

Today I reached a small recovery milestone that as recently as yesterday still seemed far away. I went for a walk outside! It was a very short walk, just around the cul-de-sac at the end of my street, and my pace was laughably slow. But the important thing is that I got outside and did it, and it didn't kill me. :)

I started out this week stressing about my lack of potent pain meds and worrying about how my recovery might be slowed if I couldn't erase the pain. Then I started to feel a little better, and by Thursday I thought I was ready to practice walking up and down the two staircases in my house. What I didn't factor in was the long (seemingly endless) time we had spent in the pediatrician's office earlier that day, going through appointments for two of the kids with all four of them present. That experience was more physically exhausting than I realized at the time, and it was only yesterday that I figured out I'd overdone it. I was in a lot of pain yesterday, and cancelled what would have been my first attempt at the outdoor walk.

What a difference a day makes! I took it easy yesterday, and got some decent rest last night (the baby actually slept through the night!), so I ended up feeling pretty good today. We had friends visit for a couple of hours, and I was up and around a good bit while they were here with only minimal discomfort. After they left, I felt strong enough to give the first walk a try! I took two of the boys with me, and almost immediately they left me in the dust. I wasn't in pain, per se, but I could definitely feel my limitations, if that makes any sense. I had to walk slowly, and when I finished the loop, I knew I was done and needed to rest. Knowing when to stop was a good thing though, I think, because I still felt pretty good when I finished and the whole experience left me with a positive feeling about starting to get active again!

From now on, I plan to go outside for a walk every day that we don't have some other sort of outing that requires physical exertion. If it's too hot outside, or raining, I might even get back on the old treadmill. I wonder if it has missed me... :) As of right now, I'm once again optimistic about being ready to start running after my 6 week pp appointment. If I can walk nearly every day and gradually increase my speed and distance, I will keep healing and keep feeling better and better!

Wednesday, July 13, 2011

2 Weeks PP - Making Do, Making Progress

Workouts this week: 0
Total walk mileage/time: 0
Weight: 207 lbs
Total pregnancy weight lost: 16 lbs
Pregnancy weight left to lose: 23 lbs

After the negative tone of my last post, I'm pleased to report that things are going better than expected! Acting on a tip from a friend, I upped my ibuprofen intake a little and added some acetaminophen as well, and that combination has yielded some good results. My pain is not entirely gone, but it's reduced enough that I'm comfortable being up and around a little bit and don't feel the need to sit or lie down all day.

The wimp in me is still nervous about increasing my activity level. Last time, I used my second round of pain meds as an extra layer of comfort for days when I had to be significantly more active than usual. I also used it to get rid of the more intense pain that would pop up occasionally if I accidentally was *too* active. Now I don't have that little extra something to get me through the most difficult days, so I'm hesitant to become more active.

I guess the best I can do is proceed with caution. I cannot just wait until I think a little extra walking or stair climbing won't hurt. I gradually need to keep doing more, even if there is pain involved. I just have to be ready for the resulting pain to be intense (for me) at times, with no real solution. The positive progress I'll continue to make should be worth any suffering that may happen along the way. So I'm going ahead with my plan to try short walks outside this week, but I'm waiting until Friday to get started. And tomorrow I'm going to start easing into going up and down the tall staircases in my home. I will need to do that regularly soon, so it's time to give it a try.

I'm incredibly grateful that I've been able to find an OTC drug combo that keeps my pain reasonably under control, and I hope to make the most of my good fortune! Perhaps my August 9th running goal isn't so unattainable after all!!

Monday, July 11, 2011

The Problem of Pain

(Apologies to the late great C.S. Lewis for stealing his title -- it fit so perfectly that I just had to use it!)

I feel the need to blog about this because I'm frustrated, mad at myself, disappointed, and a little scared. I'm also hormonal and weepy so I need some extra help coping. Writing is that extra help.

At my 2-week incision check appointment today, I did not get a refill of my pain meds even though I wanted one. My doctor did not seem concerned that I'm still in a lot of pain, and so I chickened out and didn't ask for more meds rather than look like a wimp. I don't know why. I know I am a wimp when it comes to pain. It's part of who I am and I'm not ashamed of it. I believe in using medications to get rid of pain -- there is no point in enduring it if you don't HAVE to!!! But somehow this self-assurance just disappeared when I was in the presence of a doctor.

It went so much easier last time. At two weeks pp I was still in a lot of pain, just like I am now. The doctor (a different one in the same practice) asked me how I was doing and I admitted to the pain. She asked if the meds were working, and I told her they had worked well right up until I ran out. Then she asked if I wanted more and I said yes -- that simple! The second round of drugs really came in handy as I became more active and re-engaged in my life outside of my comfy recliner.

This time, I just don't know how my recovery will go from here. I'm still taking a bunch of ibuprofen, but it doesn't help so much when I try to be up and walking around for a while. I had hoped to start taking short walks outside this week, but right now I don't see that happening. I will probably spend most of the week sitting or lying down, trying to avoid as much pain as possible. Suddenly the goal of running again in a month is starting to look less attainable.

Another negative impact of pain is one of my favorite unhealthy coping mechanisms: EATING! And I'm not talking about just any eating...I'm talking about excessive desserts...especially my old favorite, CAKE! Pain makes me cranky, and cake makes me happy. Ice cream cheers me up too. If I can't take oxycodone, I'll just have lots of sugar instead.

Under other circumstances, I would want to try harder to overcome my tendencies toward emotional eating. But my post partum hormones are still all out of whack, and all I want to do is keep myself from crying. So I'll be indulging in the sugar, and watching my weight creep back up, leaving even more work for me to do when my recovery is finally complete.

On the bright side, maybe this is all a good thing, if a couple more weeks of misery serve as a reminder that I don't want to do this again!! You know, just in case the sweet baby snuggles start to erode my memory and make me think I could someday go for #5....

Thursday, July 7, 2011

1 Week PP - Turning Onto a New Road

Workouts this week: 0
Total walk mileage/time: 0
Weight: 207 lbs
Total pregnancy weight lost: 16 lbs

I feel like a contestant on The Biggest Loser, losing 16 lbs in one week! Of course, half of that was just the baby itself, and most of the rest was various fluids...but still, stepping onto the scale a few times and seeing the numbers drop like crazy was a lot of fun. :)

My first c-section recovery was a nightmare, because I have a pretty low pain tolerance and I was terrified to move because I didn't know exactly how bad the pain could get. The subsequent recoveries have been a lot better. I don't know if I've gotten tougher, or if it's just easier because I know what to expect. This time I was out of bed a little over 12 hours after surgery, and walking to the bathroom and back the next morning. I walked a lap around the maternity floor 2 days after my baby was born. Does that count as a workout? It sure hurt like one!

Since I've been home, I've mostly tried to rest, with short little walks around the house here and there. I don't want to overdo it in the first couple of weeks while the pain is at its worst. I will gradually get moving more and more when it feels reasonably comfortable to do so. I'm almost out of my pain medications and will probably ask for a refill at my 2-week incision check on Monday. I had to do that last time as well. I know some people prefer to get off pain meds as soon as possible, but I am a fan of dulling the pain while I can. Being mobile will help me heal more quickly, and pain inhibits my mobility. I'd rather take the drugs and get back to a normal life than skip the drugs and end up lying around longer because I hurt too much.

So the road to recovery has begun, and I'm moving right along on it. As of now, I still hope and plan to resume running at the 6-weeks-post-partum mark. While I can't really imagine what it will feel like to run again, I do believe that goal is attainable.

Tuesday, July 5, 2011

Baby, You Were Born to Run!

He has arrived! My running partner (whether he liked it or not) for my first 10K and my third 5K has made his entry into the world outside my body. He was born a week ago today, weighing 8 lbs 6.6 oz at 20.5 inches long. So far he is healthy and seems just about perfect to me. I am in love!!!

One last look at how huge I was during surgery prep:

Finally out of my belly and in my arms! Yay!

His first day at home: We chose a "going home outfit" that reflected what was important in my life when he came into existence, and what we hope will be important to our whole family on into the future!

My c-section recovery is going well so far, but I will write more about that tomorrow. For now I just wanted to introduce you to the latest love of my life. :)

Sunday, June 26, 2011

39 Weeks - The Finish Line!!!

Workouts this week: 0
Total walk mileage/time: 0
Weight: 223 lbs
Total weight gained: 39 lbs

Here we are! This is my last pre-baby blog post! I have survived what should be my final pregnancy, and now my next big physical challenge will be surviving my final c-section and recovery! I am hoping for minimal pain and no complications, so I can get back to feeling "normal" as quickly as possible.

My initial recovery phase will be pretty basic. The goal is to get up and moving as soon as I can, and to keep moving as pain and energy level permit. For the first two weeks that will involve just short walks on flat surfaces. From two weeks to six weeks post partum I can walk much more, while listening to my body to know how far is okay is push myself. The heavy duty exercise will have to wait until after my 6-week post-partum checkup. If all goes well, I will see the doctor on August 8th, and start running again on August 9th!

It might only be interesting to me, but I do plan to continue weekly updates on my activity level and weight at least for those first six weeks. Once I'm back to regular exercise, I will get this blog back to normal too, with more frequent posts about anything and everything fitness-related that crosses my mind. I'm sure I will have lots to say, because I will be setting new goals and adjusting to an even more hectic life with a new schedule. When my last baby was born, I had great difficulty finding the time and energy to exercise for many many months. This time I am much more focused and determined, but that does not guarantee that my results will be any different. I may need your encouragement more than ever!!

Stay tuned for a baby update sometime this week (c-section is scheduled for Tuesday, June 28th, at 9:15am)! Wish me luck! Thanks for bearing with me throughout the past nine months! :)

Saturday, June 18, 2011

38 Weeks - Stick a Fork in Me

Workouts this week: 0
Total walk mileage/time: 0
Weight: 220 lbs
Total weight gained: 36 lbs

Oh my goodness, I am so done. I am ready to get this kid out of me and start to get my body back!! I know from much experience that c-section recovery is no picnic, but the sooner it starts, the sooner it ends, and the sooner I can feel like a human being again.

In the past few weeks, I had started daydreaming about someday running again, but now I'm back to just wishing I could walk without discomfort. The pregnancy waddle gets old after a while, as does the weight of a small person resting right on your bladder.

It's funny to me now that I once thought weighing less and being more fit would make this pregnancy more enjoyable. It was definitely more tolerable for a longer time this go 'round, but I didn't enjoy it any more than I ever have before. I'm just not one of the women who like being pregnant, and my physical fitness level does not make one bit of difference.

So I'm ready to be done, and ready to bid pregnancy farewell and good riddance. I am incredibly thankful to have been blessed enough to carry 4 healthy babies to term and to (knock on wood that this will prove true next week) bring them into the world with minimal complications. They have made all the misery worth it, absolutely.

Now come on, kid....get out ASAP so Mama can feel human again soon!!!

Sunday, June 12, 2011

37 Weeks - Trying Not to Move At All

Workouts this week: 0
Total walk mileage/time: 0
Weight: 220 lbs
Total weight gained: 36 lbs

I have now reached the complete opposite of my goal earlier in the pregnancy. Whereas once upon a time I wanted to be as active as possible, I now want to move as little as humanly possible!! I spent a good chunk of this weekend dealing with cramps, aches, lower back pain, and some mild contractions. The fear that I might be going into labor early was enough to scare me into grounding myself to either the recliner or the bed whenever I don't absolutely HAVE to be up and around for some reason. We still have a ton to do to get our home ready for the baby, so I do not want to risk him coming early if I can possibly help it. I've never gone into labor on my own before, and I don't want this to be the first time!!

I'll admit I'm not thrilled at my current weight, but I didn't care enough about it to keep it from creeping up. Such is life. I have no plans to put a stop to my ice cream habit either, so I'm guessing I'll gain another couple of pounds before all is said and done. At least this time I should not be doing much in the way of emotional/grief eating AFTER the baby is born, so I'll be able to return to healthy eating more easily. I refuse to worry about my weight unless/until the pounds don't start dropping off post partum.

One last thing - I want to give a quick shout-out to my 10-year-old niece, Kateri, who completed her first 5K race yesterday! I'm incredibly proud of her!! I will write more about her soon...I've been wanting to write about how my own family members inspire me ever since my older brother Russell finished his first Boston Marathon back in April! So be on the lookout for that post soon. :)

Monday, June 6, 2011

36 Weeks - Embracing REST More Than Ever

Workouts this week: 0
Total walk mileage/time: 0
Weight: 218 lbs
Total weight gained: 34 lbs

I am finally learning how to listen to my body when it whispers, rather than waiting until it screams. Carefully timed periods of rest can be a potent pre-emptive strike against dehydration, discomfort, and exhaustion. Who knew?

It helps that my life has slowed down through circumstances beyond my control. My son finished kindergarten last week, and the t-ball season ended as well, thus reducing my number of evening and weekend activities by A LOT. Being on the go so much less allows me to take short breaks whenever I need them, so that in between those breaks I can actually get some necessary tasks done! And boy do I have a lot of "necessary tasks"; I'm working from a lengthy list of things to be done before the baby arrives, and also planning my middle son's 4th birthday, which happens to be 3 days before my c-section is scheduled. So I'm still very busy, but scheduled time is much rougher than time I can schedule myself!

Embracing my need for rest should have been sort of obvious for me, considering I've been through pregnancy three times before! I'm almost embarrassed that it took me this long to give in to the whispers. On the bright side, I think I can blame it on something good, which is that my new active lifestyle has seemed to alter my brain to believe that I can and should have tons of energy and be able to go go GO from morning until late at night. Even though I have joked a lot about being lazy the past few months, I don't think my brain has really slipped back into that mentality. I know I still have a rough road ahead of me (post-partum sleep deprivation, anyone???), but I look forward to eventually getting all my energy back so I can be active again!

For now, though...I think I might slip out of work a little early today so I can go home and put my feet up before chowing a bunch of tacos for dinner. ;-)

Tuesday, May 31, 2011

35 Weeks - Pregnancy IS Exercise

Workouts this week: 0
Total walk mileage/time: 0
Weight: 216 lbs
Total weight gained: 32 lbs

Everything I do now other than sitting or lying down feels like a workout. I'm winded after walking up one flight of stairs to my kids' room, and taking a shower leaves me tired and needing a short rest. I'm no longer even trying to go for walks just for the sake of getting exercise. Now I consider myself to be active as long as I'm still running some errands (the kind where you actually walk around a store for a while) and doing activities like strawberry picking with my family. That is plenty active for me.

It's hard to believe that some women are still working out intensely at this stage of pregnancy. They are superwomen. And I am content with NOT being a superwoman. :)

I'm proud that I managed to make my fourth pregnancy the fittest and most active one of them all, after having established a pretty firm pattern of laziness each time before. I didn't do as well as I'd hoped, but I did well enough to be satisfied. I feel no shame in being at the point now where I'm happiest in the recliner with my feet up, working my way through a bowl of ice cream!

My goals are still there, waiting for me on the other side of my impending surgery/recovery, though I must confess I do not daydream about running as much as I once did. Now I mostly daydream about how wonderful it will feel just to walk without all this extra weight on me, and be able to sleep on my stomach, and not have to endure someone else's hiccups 85 times a day...etc. Once I start to feel like a normal human being again, I'm sure my running daydreams will return!

One random note: I saw a commercial yesterday for a new summer weight loss show. I can't remember what it's called, but each episode follows a year in the life of an obese person who works with a trainer to get fit and healthy. It sounds like all the amazing transformation of The Biggest Loser, but without all the hokey reality show drama. I'm excited about it! I think it premieres this week, and I will be tuning in to be inspired. :)

Sunday, May 22, 2011

34 Weeks - Just Breathe

Workouts this week: 0
Total walk mileage/time: 0
Weight: 215 lbs
Total weight gained: 31 lbs

I'm not sure exactly how it happened, but I managed to get in zero walks this week. I don't remember purposely being lazy. It's possible that most days I just forgot. My brain is not functioning at its top capacity these days; that's for sure!

Anyway, I'll just keep trying this week. The temperatures are going to be a little higher, and we have another crazy busy week ahead, with 3 t-ball games and my better half working 4 nights, so that is all working against me.

However, I'm taking a new approach to mornings that might help: instead of getting up when the kids do and moving super slowly and getting to work late, thus throwing my whole day off, I'm going to try getting up at a time when I am more naturally alert. You may be familiar with the concept of pregnant ladies having to pee a lot, and let me tell you, it's not just a myth!! I'm now starting to wake up at least twice per night to go, and one of those times is usually just after dawn, between 5 and 6am. I'm more alert then than I am after going back to sleep for another hour, so I'm planning to start staying awake then, and if the weather is nice, I'll go out for a short walk. Let's see if I can actually make that happen this week!

I think the main way this new plan can fail is if morning walks leave me too exhausted to function well the rest of the day. I've been fighting some major fatigue lately, and suddenly I'm having trouble doing more than one active thing per day. Luckily my job just involves sitting at a desk all day -- it's uncomfortable, but at least I'm not too tired to do it! I just get winded so easily, and find myself needing to rest and just take lots of deep breaths. So we'll see how the walking goes with all that. If it takes me too long to recover after morning walks and I'm still getting to work late, I might have to scrap walking during the week and save it for a weekend activity!!

Being so tired is not great for my morale. I still have over 5 weeks to go, and I feel like most women are still much more functional than I am at this stage of the game. If you happen to be reading this and pregnancy has completely kicked your butt before, please share your stories and help me feel a little better! :)

Tuesday, May 17, 2011

33 Weeks - Let the Countdown Begin!

Workouts this week: 2 (1 normal exercise walk around the neighborhood, and then 4 hours of walking around Ikea, stopping to rest here and there..)
Total walk mileage/time: unsure, about 40 min in the first walk, probably about 2 total hours of actual walking time at Ikea
Other workouts: 0
Weight: 214 lbs
Total weight gained: 30 lbs

As long as I keep getting in at least one good walk per week, I feel successful! My rate of weight gain seems to be slowing down a little too, and I'm glad. While I'm not obsessing over every single pound, I'd rather not hit 220 lbs if possible. Unless I have a great deal of swelling near the end (somewhat likely, when it gets hotter outside!), I should be able to achieve that goal.

The best news right now is that the end is in sight! I have scheduled my c-section for June 28th, which is 6 weeks from today!!! And if all goes well, 6 weeks after that I will be cleared for real exercise, so on or around August 9th I will make another triumphant return to running!! Even though that date is still 12 weeks away, it no longer feels like an eternity. I really like having a date to look forward to, even if it's not etched in stone. If my math is correct, I have 84 days to go...but who's counting? :)

So for now, it will be just more of the same. I feel huge and uncomfortable most of the time, and my energy level is usually pretty low. I'm trying my best to stay active (not just the walking but also helping out around the house to prepare for the baby, and doing fun things with my other kids while I still can), but also listening to my body and resting when there is a need. My doctor appointments are now weekly, and long (I get extra monitoring here at the end due to my blood clotting disorder), but everything looks good and baby and I continue to be healthy! Now that I've reached the homestretch, I feel less grouchy and impatient, which will probably help with my stress level as well!

Thanks to any of you who continue to read these updates. I know they are not as interesting now that I'm not getting much exercise, but they are, as always, an honest snapshot of my life at the moment. The payoff for following along now will be seeing my progress when I get to the "other side." I hope that will be rewarding for all of us!

Monday, May 9, 2011

32 Weeks - Not Dead Yet

Workouts this week: 1
Total walk mileage/time: unsure, maybe about a mile, in a little less than 30 min?
Other workouts: 0
Weight: 214 lbs
Total weight gained: 30 lbs

I'm still hanging in there, just barely. I feel like I can't get into any kind of consistent routine because my schedule is so busy and varies a lot, and also because how I feel varies greatly too. It's like I need the perfect storm of circumstances to come together in order to get in a workout, and it's still only happening about once a week. Last week, I got in a good walk (with my 2 year old in the stroller, which upped the intensity of the workout a bit!) on Wednesday, and that was it.

The good news is that once a week is still better than never!!! I really have been enjoying my walks outside now that the weather is finally beautiful more days than not, so I still want to keep doing it. I just have to relax and take things one day at a time, and go for walks whenever I can.

Meanwhile, I'm starting to think a lot more about my c-section recovery and return to running. I'm concerned that my earlier expectations were completely unrealistic and that the road back to 5K's and 10K's will be longer than I'd hoped. I know I'm going to need a great deal of mental strength to overcome the physical obstacles ahead of me, so what I'm trying to do right now is stay inspired! Expect to see some posts from me soon about people and stories that motivate me to run and be fit and meet challenges with a positive attitude. If you have any suggestions for inspirational books or movies or blogs I should check out, feel free to share them! Thanks!

Sunday, May 1, 2011

31 Weeks - Mind & Body Not in Sync

Workouts this week: 1, sort of
Total swim time: 0
Total walk mileage: unsure
Other workouts: 0
Weight: 212 lbs
Total weight gained: 28 lbs

I may be entering the world of denial. I still think of myself as being somewhat active, and I keep wanting to exercise, but reality isn't matching up with those sentiments. The truth is I have hardly been exercising at all.

Last week, I completely forgot to write a blog post, but it's not like I had much to report anyway. I think I went for one walk that week. This week was no better -- I can only claim one physical activity. I walked around with my 2 year-old for about an hour during my older boys' t-ball game. It wasn't steady exercise (we stopped a lot to admire butterflies, examine rocks, and watch brief moments of the game), but it was a lot of walking and more active than anything else I did all week.

Mornings are a problem for me, as always. I'm just getting more and more tired, and I never want to get up early enough to work out before going to work. Thus, I haven't been to the pool in a few weeks, and now I'm starting to feel self-conscious about being the ginormous pregnant lady flailing around the pool. I'm going to try to motivate myself to go at least once this coming week, but if I don't manage to do it, I think I'll give up on swimming until after the baby comes. It's not worth paying for a pool membership if I'm not using it.

Evenings are still options for walking, but now that the weather is nice, I don't really want to walk on the treadmill much. At the same time, it's hard to find time to get outside for a walk before it gets dark. There is just a lot to do for dinner and bedtime with three little kids. I know these all sound like a bunch of excuses, and I guess they are. At the moment I'm not feeling terribly motivated to do anything about it though. I'm uncomfortable, tired, busy, stressed, and getting to the point where I'm just trying to get through each day. The idea of still being active sounds lovely, but I'm just not getting it done right now.

Saturday, April 16, 2011

29 Weeks - Glad to be Walking

Workouts this week: 1
Total swim time: 0
Total walk mileage: 1.5m
Other workouts: 0
Weight: 210 lbs
Total weight gained: 26 lbs

Switching from running to walking didn't result in the significant increase in workouts that I'd hoped, but I'm still convinced I made the right call. My one walk on the treadmill was challenging enough and I couldn't even fathom trying to run at this point. In the past two weeks I suddenly have started to feel enormous and incredibly uncomfortable. I really don't understand how some women do keep running beyond this point. Obviously they are in much better shape than I am, but they also must be fortunate enough to avoid many of the discomforts of pregnancy that can happen to you whether you're in shape or not.

I don't have any good excuses for not working out much this week. I was just tired. Mornings are getting harder for me, so I'm going to start trying to walk and do yoga in the evenings after the kids are in bed. That won't work for swimming though -- the pool isn't open late enough to accommodate my schedule in the evenings. Therefore, I'm really going to make a push this coming week to get my butt out of bed at least twice for a swim.

There doesn't seem to be much else on my mind tonight. I have several ideas for topics to talk about this coming week, but right now I just wanted to write a brief update. Thanks to everyone who has given me feedback on my last few posts! Your support really bolsters my confidence more than you know!!

Wednesday, April 13, 2011

One Year Later - Still Dreaming Big!

A year ago today I put myself out there in a major way, announcing to the world (or, okay, to a few friends and family members) that I'd set my sights on someday completing a triathlon. It was a very bold statement for me at the time, and I'm glad I made it public by starting this blog. It's hard to give up on a dream when other people are watching!!

Physically, I'm not much closer to my goal than I was a year ago. This pregnancy has derailed temporarily my running and swimming progress, and caused me to look at all this on a longer timeline. I had originally thought I would attempt the triathlon sometime in this calendar year, but that goal has been adjusted to 2012 instead. Between now and then, I will continue gaining a bunch of weight and then have to lose it all over again, and I'll be starting nearly from scratch with running and swimming. On the bright side, I won't have to re-learn how to breathe with my face in the water -- I think that is a skill that will stick with me now. :)

Psychologically, I have grown by leaps and bounds in the past year. I have learned a great deal about who I am, what I can do, and where I want to go. My goals don't feel as daunting as they once did; I have grown comfortable with hard work, gradual progress, and overcoming obstacles to accomplish what I want. Physical activity is as wonderful for the mind and the soul as it is for the body. I'm addicted to it, and can no longer imagine my life without it.

Even though my journey seems like it has been long already, it still almost feels like the beginning. I've logged a lot of miles and have a few races under my belt now, but so much still lies ahead of me! There will be more races, different distances, different types of events. I still have yet to tackle open-water swimming, which is what I'll encounter in a triathlon. And of course, I also need to start biking!!! So I still have a lot to look forward to, and I'm excited about what the future holds!

Thanks to everyone who has followed along thus far. Your support has bolstered me in the good times and kept me hanging on by a thread through the rough times. You are part of all my successes, and I can't wait to someday celebrate greater triumphs with you!

P.S. If you haven't had a chance yet, please take a look at yesterday's post and give me some feedback on my content! Thanks!

Tuesday, April 12, 2011

Tuesday Tips: Improving This Blog, Part 2

Thanks first of all to those who gave me some tips last week. I haven't had a chance to implement any of your suggestions, but hopefully I'll get to play around with different design elements soon. I will probably ask for more specific advice as I get into reworking the look of things here.

This week I would like your thoughts on the content of my posts. I'd like to know which posts you're most likely to read, when you read them, and why. Which ones do you like the most/least, and which ones you are more or less likely to comment on? How do you feel about my overall tone?

I'll tell you a little about what I've been trying to do here, and maybe you can let me know if it's working, or if I'm doing something else entirely! :)

I started this blog both for myself, to track my progress toward my goals and to have an outlet for venting frustrations, and also for anyone else who might relate to my journey and want to share in the experience, or who might have wisdom and insight to offer me in support. So far, it mostly has been meeting my expectations, but I'm curious whether it has been meeting yours, dear handful of faithful readers.

Most of my posts are about my progress with injury recovery, walking, running, swimming, and pregnancy. Sometimes I write about big-picture topics like my goals, or about things I read or hear that inspire me. I have asked for various tips and product recommendations, and responses to those have been varied, so those seem to be less popular topics.

For the next few months, I'm not sure what I will write about, and my posts will probably get less frequent for a while. But once I've recovered from my c-section and am cleared to do more than just walk again, I will probably pick right back up with my usual sorts of topics. Do you think I should continue the way I have been, or do you think I should develop a different focus? Would you prefer to read short, simple, factual updates on my workouts, or do you enjoy my thoughts and feelings and philosophical musings as well?

On a more specific level, do you prefer to read about my successes, or are you comfortable reading about my failures also? Sometimes I get the feeling that people prefer not to see any negativity at all, and/or are concerned that I make too much of my struggles. But I think our struggles are what make us human! I am not superwoman - if I were, I wouldn't even need this blog because I'd be able just to go out and reach my goals with no problems! I can't do that, and though many of you are probably closer to being superheroes than I am, I doubt it's THAT easy for you either. I share my flaws, my weaknesses, my shortcomings so I can work through them, and also so I can get some support if anyone has dealt with something similar and overcome it. I share them also in case any of my friends struggle with the same issues and might be looking to me to help them through it! So I believe there is a legitimate purpose to my more negative posts, but I do wonder whether you feel the same. Do you see it as annoying whining or attention-seeking, and does it turn you off from my blog? Or do you find value in it like I do?

Please, if you have the time, think over my questions and provide me with some constructive feedback. Even though I write for myself, as long as there are a few of you also reading it, I'd like to make the experience worthwhile for you, too. Thanks, y'all!

Saturday, April 9, 2011

28 Weeks - Done Running

Workouts this week: 0
Total swim time: 0
Total run/walk mileage: 0
Other workouts: 0
Weight: 207 lbs
Total weight gained: 23 lbs

Folks, it's time to make a change, for the sake of my sanity and my long-term success. It was a rough week (busy, and low on sleep) and it culminated in a miserable day. Overwhelmed by lengthy lists of things that need to be done around the house, done before the baby arrives, and/or done by Easter, I really needed to be extremely productive this weekend. Instead, I spent my day barely coping with three unmanageable boys who all decided to have psychotic breaks on the same day!!!

I know these days happen to us all, and the best we can do is try to shake it off and attack the next day with a positive outlook and hope that things will be better. What today showed me, though, is that I need to start simplifying what I can and relieving some of the pressure I put on myself. One of the things in the back of my mind all day was that I desperately needed to get a run in, but with everything else going on, I just didn't have the time or the energy, and not being able to get it done was stressing me out. So I've decided that it's time just to stop running.

The aches and pains are getting to me more and more, and I'm not getting very good sleep at night. I'm exhausted all the time and just dragging myself through the day. Running takes more energy than I have to give, but each day that I can't seem to make myself do it just leaves me feeling frustrated. Since I keep making running my goal each day, when I can't do it, I don't do anything else either, and next thing you know I'm left with zero workouts for the week. It's time to give myself a break. I really don't think the short, slow runs I'm going now are going to make that huge of a difference in my recovery anyway.

Let's be realistic here. When I get back to running in August, it's going to be almost like starting from scratch whether I run a few more times or not. The best thing I can do for myself is to keep up some basic level of fitness by more routinely doing easier workouts, like swimming and walking. I think 4-5 lower-impact workouts per week will be better than just 1 run and nothing else....and definitely better than doing nothing at all!! I'm done with the headgames, and done with setting myself up for failure. It's time to focus on what I can do successfully. An easier workout plan will help lower my stress level in more ways than one. Next Saturday, if I can look back at my week and be proud of all the swimming and walking I've done, maybe I'll even be better equipped to deal with my little monsters if they all decide to bring the crazy at the same time again!!! :) (Note: I say that with much love...I adore my little monsters, and I don't hold their bad days against them, especially b/c they probably get most of their craziness from ME! hahaha)

So here's to the next stage of this journey...the hiatus from running has begun, and I'm in a similar position now that I was in a year ago, relying on swimming (and walking this time) to get me through until I can run again. I will be drawing from the lessons I learned from my stress fracture recovery to keep going, to stay motivated and focused on my goals, through the end of my pregnancy and subsequent c-section recovery. I am confident that I can do this. I'm not giving up on myself or embracing my lazy habits. Taking a break from running is not a failure. I am merely shifting my focus to more attainable goals as a way of adapting to my circumstances. I am still strong. I am still capable. I am not quitting. :)

Tuesday, April 5, 2011

Tuesday Tips: Improving This Blog, Part 1

I know I don't have a ton of readers, and the truth is I write here mostly for myself. Writing is a form of therapy for me, to help me process all the jumbled thoughts in my mind. I also enjoy the practice of writing itself, regardless of the content, because I love to write and have few other opportunities to do so.

All that being said, I also like the idea of drawing in more readers, in case anyone out there can relate to my struggles and triumphs. I enjoy the feedback I get from you, and the support as well. So if I'm going to keep encouraging you and others to read and respond, I probably ought to put a little effort into making the blog as good as it can be!

Next week (or soon thereafter), I'm going to ask for advice on the content of my posts, so start tossing some ideas around in your heads. Right now what I'm interested in is the LOOK of the blog. I just threw it together with the designs available and put almost no thought into it. I'm not very web design-savvy, so I would probably need to seek some help with major changes. I don't have the extra money to hire someone to do that, so if you could give me affordable and/or simple suggestions, I'd appreciate it. Talk to me about anything you see here...the colors, fonts, placement of different items, photos (few that there are), ads, features. Tell me what you like and don't like, and most importantly, what I can do better!!

Thanks so much for your help!!

Sunday, April 3, 2011

27 Weeks - Still Running!

Workouts this week: 2
Total swim time: 30 min.
Total run/walk mileage: 2.5 miles (1 mile was running)
Other workouts: None
Weight: 206 lbs
Total weight gained: 22 lbs

This week I was successful in a couple of ways. First, my stats improved over the previous week, with 2 workouts and a pound less of weight (proving that part of my enormous gain before was probably just bloat). Second, I fought my inner demons and emerged victorious, at least temporarily.

Of course, now the third trimester has begun and my days of exercise are surely numbered. From here on out, I have zero goals or expectations other than just to keep trying. My run this week felt good enough that I'm confident it wasn't my last. Swimming still feels amazing and I had no trouble getting in and out of the pool. I know I can continue working out for now. As long as I can, I will...but any and every workout is an accomplishment. If I skip due to sheer laziness, I will fight that demon harder the next day. If I skip due to pregnancy discomforts, I'll cut myself some slack and just be thankful the baby and I are still healthy. :)

Only 12-13 weeks to go...and then I can begin to track my recovery and the road to getting fit all over again!!!

Thursday, March 31, 2011

The Fighter!

I think I have to call this one a draw.

Initially, it was definitely a victory! Yesterday morning, my alarm went off, and as usual I was tempted to ignore it. I thought of the stress in my life, and felt how comfortable my bed was. Then I remembered all the soul-searching I'd done the night before about my past habits and patterns, and how badly I wanted to make a real change.

And I got up. And I ran.

It was a very slow run but I finished a mile (in quarter-mile increments, as usual). I felt proud of myself for fighting my inner demons and winning!!! But the victory was short-lived.

What unfolded the rest of the day was unexpected and amazing. The two biggest sources of stress in my life were resolved!! I am insanely grateful for the way things played out, and for the relief I now feel. My life isn't suddenly all roses, but the two things giving me the most grief are no longer doing so, and therefore I no longer have to choose between "fight" and "flight."

The reason I'm calling this a draw is that I don't know how long I'd have been able to keep up the fight if times had remained tough. Yesterday's run could have been an isolated incident, and I still could have reverted back to my old ways as stress continued. I am more optimistic about the possibilities for the future, though. Something stirred in me immense satisfaction from recognizing a problem and overcoming it, even if I only had a brief opportunity to do so. I definitely WANT to be able to do that again in the future...and right now I believe I can.

Life can throw whatever it wants at me now. I'm ready -- ready to FIGHT!!

Tuesday, March 29, 2011

Fight or Flight?

This is the true test. None of the progress I've made over the past year will matter unless I can pass this test.

When my alarm went off this morning was when I realized exactly what was going on. I'd planned on going to the pool. My bag was packed and ready, and I woke up rather easily. But I didn't go anywhere.

For once, this isn't about the aches, pains, or fatigue of pregnancy. It's about my old habits...unfortunate instincts that I can't seem to shake. I'm dealing with a couple of really stressful situations in my life right now. Everything has sort of been piling up on top of me, and this last source of stress has pushed me to the brink.

When it comes to the age-old "fight or flight" instincts, for years now I've been falling solidly on the side of "flight." I have no skills for coping with stress (especially when I'm pregnant, but not only then), and so I run away. I run away from conflict, from people who upset me, from situations I can't control. When the going gets tough, I shut down, and check out, and give up on myself.

Some people have wondered why I take my fitness ups and downs so seriously -- it's because for me they have been intertwined with successes and failures in the rest of my life for a long time now. In the past 10 years, every time I've faced a difficult time in my life, I've resorted to poor health habits as my pitiful coping mechanism. In contrast, the times when I have been able to improve my health habits, even if only temporarily, I have likewise been better able to deal with the rest of my life! Well, that was true at least until I faced another major challenge, and then I'd flee from it all again.

So here I am, dealing with pregnancy hormones that make me insane and as poorly equipped to handle stress as I ever am. I have to make some tough decisions and I don't want to run away. I want to dig my heels in and fight. I want to face the things that upset me, or scare me, and actually DEAL with them for once! I don't want to be called out on strikes this time...I want to go down swinging!!!!! And being the extreme personality that I've already admitted to you I am, I know it's going to be an all or nothing sort of thing.

This morning I chose flight. What will I choose when the alarm goes off tomorrow?

26 Weeks - Back to Running

Workouts this week: 1
Total swim time: None
Total run/walk time: about 35 min. (12 min., roughly 1 mile, was running)
Other workouts: None
Weight: 207 lbs
Total weight gained: 23 lbs

I totally forgot to write this update over the weekend! Oops! I'll keep it short because there are some other ideas I want to explore today, and they're major enough to deserve their own entry!

So I had another mostly lazy week, and it would appear that I gained 4 lbs in one week!! I think that is mostly bloating though....ahh, the joys of pregnancy! But I did manage to go for a run on Saturday, and I went outside and took my 5 year-old with me on his bike. It was actually a lot of fun, and not as painful as I expected! I think I keep avoiding or postponing my next run because I'm always afraid it's going to hurt. It was nice to see that this run definitely didn't hurt much at all. I do think I was running a little slower outside, so it might be time to drop my speed on the treadmill as well.

I'm definitely disappointed in my overall performance lately. I had those great dreams of making the most of my last month of the second trimester, but ended up wasting most of it instead. I'll be entering my third tri by the end of this week, and the discomforts are just going to keep increasing more rapidly from now on! I won't speculate any further on how I'm going to proceed from here, because that will be part of my other reflections, later today.

Sunday, March 20, 2011

25 Weeks - Short Break from Running?

Workouts this week: None
Total swim time: Zip
Total run/walk mileage: Zilch
Other workouts: Nada
Weight: 203 lbs
Total weight gained: 19 lbs

Despite setting no goals for the week and having really low expectations, I still managed to disappoint myself. I didn't even attempt to do any sort of exercise at all. What's worse, I entertained a lot of thoughts of just giving up on it completely.

I've been having a really rough time mentally and emotionally. The pregnancy hormones are wrecking havoc on me this time around. I get in these terrible moods for no good reason and none of my usual tricks can successfully lift my spirits. I'm equal parts irritable and weepy, and spend a lot of time hating the world just because.

The irony is that exercise is one thing that usually does work to improve my mood, but when my mood is at its worst, the last thing I want to do is exercise. If I could overcome the mood long enough to get a workout in, then the lasting effects could have me feeling better for a while. But I don't know a way to overcome the mood in the first place, to get to where I can make myself work out.

All week long I've thought about giving up on exercise for the remainder of my pregnancy. I don't really want to do that, but if I can't get a handle on my moods, that might just be what happens. I really wish I were better at all this pregnancy stuff (and with 3 kids already, you'd think I'd be a pro by now!), but the truth is I just suck at it. Some women ROCK at being pregnant. It suits them, physically, emotionally, etc. It does not suit me. Never has, and clearly never will.

Most days I just think about the future and hope that everything I learned last year will help me get in shape again when I have to start all over from scratch. The way things are going now, that's about the best for which I can hope. Sorry for all the negativity. That's just where I am right now.

I do still hope to try to exercise this week, but I honestly don't know what I'll be able to force myself to do. Next week's update might be as surprising to me as it is to you!

Saturday, March 12, 2011

24 Weeks - Still Running

Workouts this week: 1
Total swim time: None
Total run/walk mileage: 2.75 (1 mile of that was running)
Other workouts: None
Weight: 202 lbs
Total weight gained: 18 lbs

Um. Oops?

Okay, let's focus on the positive things here, few though they may be. First, I recognized that I was having a crappy week, and managed to finish relatively strong with a good run yesterday. I easily could have thrown in the towel for the whole week and gotten one more lazy morning in there, but I didn't. So the week was not a complete fail!!

Second, I did achieve my stated goal of writing more blog posts! They must not have been very interesting, because they sparked few responses, but writing can be therapeutic for me whether anyone reads it or not. I have a short list of topics I want to cover soon, so expect the increased posts to continue, and feel free to suggest topics or ask questions if there is anything you'd like me to address!

I do have some concerns after yesterday's run. With each pregnancy, I get a whole host of aches and pains (lower back, hips, groin, sciatic nerve, etc.) that are all considered normal. Some women get none of them, and some get a few mild ones. I win the aches and pains jackpot and get a whole bunch, and they can be severe at times! Lucky me! So far I have not experienced the pains while running, but they're definitely worse after a run. Yesterday, I was in quite a bit of pain and had trouble walking for the rest of the day. I know I'm going to get these pains whether I run or not, but I certainly don't want to keep making them worse. Yesterday was NOT my last run, but it did make me wonder how much longer I'll be able to keep it up. No matter how good it feels to run, at some point it will no longer be worth it if I'm miserable with pain for an entire day afterwards. I'll see how things go with my next couple of runs, and then I'll experiment with cutting back on speed or distance to see if that helps. All I can do is hope for the best!

Part of me wants to come out fighting after such a disappointing week, but I have to be honest -- I am not setting any goals this week at all. Ideally I'd like to do yoga tomorrow, run Monday, and swim Tuesday, but after that all bets are off. This week I will be entertaining house guests, running a March Madness pool, celebrating St. Patrick's Day, and possibly buying a car. If I don't have the time or energy to keep up with my workouts, so be it. I'll be right back at it the week after that. :)

Thursday, March 10, 2011

I Go to Extremes

And if I stand or I fall
It's all or nothing at all
Darlin' I don't know why I go to extremes

--Billy Joel

This song came out when I was in middle school, and I felt like the lyrics really spoke to me and my adolescent mood swings. As it turns out, though, I don't think I ever really outgrew the "extremes" sort of personality. And my pregnant mood swings make my adolescent ones look like, well, child's play.

Since I identify so strongly with this song, naturally the lyrics popped into my head this morning as I was contemplating my week in contrast with the last one. Perhaps my cockiness got the best of me and ultimately I jinxed myself with over-confidence! All I know is not only have I not managed to pull off another 5-workout week, but I have not even exercised ONE time so far. Not once.

I wish I had a good excuse, but truly it has just been pure laziness. My bed is really comfy, and in the morning I just don't want to get out. It's as simple as that. Once upon a time, I'd made a lot of progress in overcoming that laziness, but lately the hormones have been helping it sneak back in and take over. I tend to let myself get away with murder when I'm pregnant, all in the name of trying to keep myself happy.

In the past, sitting on my butt until the baby was born has made me happy, but this time it's not having the same effect. I enjoyed all my workouts last week and I wish I'd had similar pleasant experiences this week!!!! So I'm not giving up just yet...tomorrow morning I WILL get up and run!! And Saturday I will do yoga! I hope you will harass the hell out of me if I don't!!!!