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!!!