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.