Tuesday, September 25, 2012

10 Weeks to 10 Miles

If you are in the spot in your life to want to feel better about yourself, get more exercise, improve your mood, sleep better, have more "me" time, cheer on your partner, eat well, set a goal and accomplish it - then this just has to be the post you read.

I have been lamenting over this post for quite a few weeks now. It has been hard to not talk about my "running" (I call it running but it is more like jogging or trotting or walking really fast) because it is such a huge part of my life right now. I haven't been writing about it at all because I am still super self-conscious to even be considered a runner. I am not a runner...

...but I am a runner.

Again, I just feel kind of funny writing about running as if I know what I am doing. I really don't know what the heck I am doing, but whatever it is, it is working.

I have had ZERO exercise the last year and a half, also to mention, I had another baby. Before that year and a half, I had minimal exercise, also to mention, after having the first baby. I can tell you, without bragging but stating matter-of-factly, I successfully ran 10 miles without stopping after ten weeks of training. I ran them very, very slowly and at my own pace. Stopping to stretch every mile in the last three.

In ten weeks I have completely changed my life. It wasn't the 10 miles that changed it. It was the 10 weeks of getting to 10 miles that gave me a new perspective on how to live my life the right way. I could have picked any form of exercise to choose to obsess over: walking, yoga, kick-boxing, swimming. I just happened to pick running because it worked for me. It was simple, intense, and something Pete and I could do to cheer each other on. To be honest, I never thought I would ever be in the shape I am in to even keep up with him.

Pete and I running our first road race together.

You don't have to be a runner to have the self-satisfaction I have now, but I had to run to have it. I didn't know it 4 months ago, but this Summer has proven to me I can be a Mom of two, I can be busy, I can be tired, and I can be super amazing.

Have you told yourself this lately? You should. You deserve to hear it.

If I want to run when Pete gets home, I have to eat right all day. I have to drink water. I have to take care of my kids and spend the intimate time I should with them. I have to take care of my house. I have to have my life (our lives) in order, so I can commit to the 30-90 minute runs and fully appreciate (and have guilt-free) "me time".

So, what are your excuses?

Here were mine: I have realized now, after having two babies, I need a good 6 months to recover from pregnancy, physically. My body was all mis-shapen, hungry, off-balance, hormonal, sleep-deprived, and needy. After 6 months, I roughly start to feel more like myself.

Ok, so I had kids. What about before I had kids. Oh, hey there, hot mess. Yep, running fixed all that for me, too. There was a lot of "your tired, you suck, Pete is faster than you, who do you think you are, you are going to be a disappointment, stop pretending, you suck, you suck, you suck." going on in my head the first few weeks of running. It still comes back from time to time, but when I became a machine, not only did I train myself to run farther, but I trained myself to believe I could run farther. This postitive mentality I achived while running also started to apply to the other areas of my life where I felt less confident. I found myself more content, satisfied, accomplished, and determined.

via Pinterest.

Then slowly I started to hear, "holy crap, you are amazing. I can do it. I believe in you. This is the farthest you have ever ran. Just a little bit longer. You are beautiful. This is amazing, you are amazing, you are amazing."

All these positive thoughts trickled down into the rest of my life. I wanted to be the person I was when I was running all the time. This is how running changed me forever.

Thankfully, I was super blessed Pete was a 100% behind my taking time for running, and on top of that, a huge motivator. There were some nights he got home and asked me why my running gear wasn't on. Busted. Or the nights when I came back from a 5 mile run and Pete went out and ran 8. I started to realize, not only did he inspire me to run father and be better, but I just might be inspiring him, too.

I tried my best to make it easy for us to commit to running. I coordinated dinner for my husband, even to the degree of having the table set some nights. I never wanted Pete to feel like I was ditching out on him as soon as he walked through the door. Even though I was! Many nights, I ran in and he ran out. We really had to be supportive and understanding of each others running goals. So, yeah, I didn't see him a whole lot this Summer!

There were also some runs I just could not do. I had to accept the fact that I couldn't just go out and get everything I wanted without having to work for it, train for it, and prepare for it. Again, this is where running for me is so much more than running. Remind yourself of what you want. Tell yourself you have to work for it, train for it, and prepare for it. The goals you set for yourself are never to small and they are also never out of reach.

The boys and I supporting Pete finishing Ragnar 2012.

My 2 and a half year old and 10 month old are also very supportive. Insert smiley face here. I had set time with David when I got home from runs. Every night after my cool down walk I went into the house and heard the usual, "Moooommmmmmyyy!!! Did you go for a run? Are you sweaty? We have a ooorrraaannngeeee?" He would just squeal with delight when I got home. Together we would go outside, take out a little garage mat, and sit on the driveway eating an orange together. Sometimes, the kids and I would go for a walk in the wagon, or we would have Popsicles because this summer was 95 everyday, but I always got 20 minutes of post-run bliss with one or both of my kids.

David & I.

This blog post is the beginning. I am ready to talk about my running now. Not only talk about it, but I need to record this feeling. When I am feeling unmotivated or down on myself, I need to remember it only takes one run to get into a good mood.

via Pinterest.

I am sure there will be hiatus' (err... future babies??). I need to be reminded how I can start from nothing and still get a huge payback. Not just from running! At anytime in our lives if we are needing a pick me up, we can't be afraid to work for it. We cannot forget we get what we put in, as they say.

On September 15, I ran my first 10 mile road race (Bear Water Run) in 1:33:06 with Pete by my side. A pace of 9:13 per mile.

Bear Water Run 10 Mile

This is something I never thought I could do in my whole life. Watch out, I might just take on the whole world.

Monday, September 24, 2012

Oh, Sweet Vanity

Jackie Dixon's sweet shots inspired me to write my first comeback post after a few weeks of blog hiatus.

I suppose I should be done complaining (I don't consider myself a huge complainer, per say, but I am sure my knit circle would have to verify this for me...) about post-baby body woes now James is 11 months old.

However, please dear Lord, will someone tell me how to fix this terrible mop on the top of my head.

The mop that is supposed to be hair, but it is not. It is a crazy, too long and too short, over grown and under grown mess. I'll call it mother-of-two bed hair mixed with I give up so I'll just attempt a top knot.

Even the top knot looks stupid.

What happens to a woman's hair after they have a baby is one of those subjects no one warns you about before you have a baby. Granted, none of these warnings would have stopped me from having my kids, but the day half of my hair came out in the shower, I was a little shocked. There are so many other crazy off-balance body woes going on that the hair on my head was the least of my worries.

Until, I am still worrying about it a year later. Oh, sweet vanity. When James was about 4 months old, all that gorgeous hair that stayed in my head fell out. Great. That is attractive. Let's vacuum a little more often, shall we?

Well, it is still growing in funny. I have those baby hairs all around my forehead and the nape of my neck. It is like my hair is long but I have a pixie cut that surrounds my entire face. Sigh...

Enough complaining already. If I could have the most perfect hair, I would love to have the gorgeous locks of this model photographed by Jackie Dixon.

Photo Credit // Jackie Dixon Photography

Photo Credit // Jackie Dixon Photography

Photo Credit // Jackie Dixon Photography

Solution? I am growing out my hair and maybe adding a few bronzy streaks here and there someday. Now, if I could get out of the house alone and make my priority the salon...
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