Tuesday, April 26, 2011

Interrupted Goals

One of the most discouraging things about my last pregnancy was putting aside many of my own goals and dreams for a time. Pregnancy is hard on me, particularly the first three awful months when the nausea is overpowering. Getting through it means sacrificing many of the extras and getting down to just the essentials.

We wanted Katie very much (even before we knew how great she was!) and we were blessed to conceive quickly. But still, I had to put a lot of my projects on hold in order to focus on nurturing this new life, and I cried at times about the things I had to put on hold.

One of those things was my own physical fitness goals. I took up running that summer (after Harmony finally started sleeping through the night), and I ran my first 5K at the peak of my morning sickness, at 12 weeks along. I ran a few miles several times a week until I was six months along and it made a huge difference in those final months (I never got that desperate get-this-baby-out-now feeling the last months like I usually do). But the weight loss I was finally enjoying -- 12 lbs down and hoping for more -- had to wait.

When Katie was born, I was anxious to get back in shape and try to start losing the weight. I ended the pregnancy ten pounds heavier, and while I did add exercise back to my routine, her horrible sleep habits (and my constant exhaustion) left me unable to lose any of that weight. In fact, I gained another eight pounds during those eight trying months.

But, like the scripture that says, "Cast your bread upon the waters, for you shall find it after many days," (Ecclesiastes 11:1) I'm feeling so blessed to once again be making progress in my fitness goals, even if there was a challenging 18-month interruption to them.

I've completed 6 weeks of training for my half marathon, using a modified version of this schedule (I started a week early and repeated week 5 because of my Chicago trip). My longest run so far is 7 miles, and I'm gearing up for 8 miles this week. I have seven weeks to go and six more miles to add to my long run to be ready for my race on June 11th.

Here's what I've run:
Week one: 2, 2.5, 3, 2 = 9.5 total miles
Week two: 2.5, 3, 1.5, 4 = 11 total miles
Week three: 3, 2, 1, 3, 5, 2 = 16 total miles (that was a good week)
Week four: 2, 2, 6, 3 = 13 total miles (plus a 3 mile walk on a rest day)
Week five: 2.6 miles along Lake Michigan, 7 = 9.6 total miles (plus tons and tons of walking all over Chicago)
Week six: 4, 3, 7, 2 = 16 total miles

My long runs are killing me, but some of the shorter runs are getting easier and I'm starting to enjoy some of the miles -- I loved almost all of my four mile run in the rain last week, half of the seven mile run, and I especially enjoyed my two mile recovery run last Saturday. Sarah came with me on her bike and we had a great time together.

I still hate running most of the time, however, so I'm signing up for another half marathon in August to help me with that. The first half marathon will be to prove to myself I can do it; the second will prove that I can enjoy it, too -- at least that's what I'm hoping! I think it will be like running over a hill. Sometimes the only thing that gets me up the hill is knowing that I get to run down it on the way back. My first half marathon is going to really test me and will take all the strength I have. The second will be easier. Knowing I've already done one successfully will keep me from the doubts I battle now, and my body will be more used to the long distances by then.

And I will need both runs to keep me motivated long enough to lose the rest of the extra weight I'm carrying around. Because that's the other goal I'm progressing well on. I joined Weight Watchers and it has helped me tremendously because I track everything I eat. I know when I can indulge in a treat and still lose weight and when to refrain. I'm changing my portions, I'm eating more fruits and vegetables, and -- hurray! -- I'm down over 15 lbs so far, and I have just a few to go before I'm where I was before my last pregnancy.

I feel like I'm turning back the clock as I lose. If I can lose another 15 lbs in the seven weeks before my race, then I'll be the same weight I was three kids ago. If I lose another ten after that, I'll be the same weight I was seven kids ago. Another fifteen after that and I'm back to the weight I was at my wedding and I can begin to focus on maintaining it.

Were we really THAT young?

I'm trying to set small goals and remember that slow and steady wins the race, and I'm also keeping in mind that I may have to put these goals on hold for another 18 months if #9 decides to show up sooner than I'm expecting. But in the meantime, I've set aside most of my other projects and goals (including this much-neglected blog) to give this as much as I've got.

In some ways, the interruption to my goal has been good. I'm more determined now because I've had to wait and I'm hitting it harder because I know I have just a small window of time to devote to this. I'm learning my body can do amazing things -- like run for 90 minutes straight! -- and I'm learning a lot of important lessons from pushing myself.

What have you learned about interrupted goals? What areas of your life are you trying to improve on? Any advice for me from you seasoned runners?


Montana Blakes said...

Good job! I have a few goals like that too! When I got married I was VERY thin (not b/c I worked at it either--I could eat ANY thing and ANY amount and not exercise and still not gain weight. My final pregnancy weight with my first child was considerably less than I weigh now. Then I got older . . . :)) I just read a book called Mindful Eating that I LOVED--all about asking yourself before you eat if you really want that, why and if by eating slower or thinking about it you might do something different. I realize how much I've just eaten mindlessly and out of habit. (I really like that it is NOT a diet, that you can eat whatever you want as long as you are honest with yourself about it.) Also, I just found out that #10 is on the way so I've been figuring out exercise. I bought a few dvd's that I've been really liking. I plan to do 15 minutes of yoga each morning, walk/jog for 20. Then in the afternoon after the little kids are in bed I will alternate The Perfect Pregnancy Workout (which is GREAT!) with Ten Minute Prenatal Pilates (which is also great!) My goal is to stay in shape, not gain a ton of weight and not long to deliver 15 weeks early like I felt like last time! Wish me luck!

Christine said...

I've had a lot of interrupted goals. Since I am a runner, some of those have been running goals. When I can't get to my goal at the moment, I have to look back and be thankful for the little successes I had along the way.
I had a great half-marathon two years ago. I was hoping that last year, it would be even better than the year before. But last year at the time of the half-marathon, I could barely walk due to a health issue. I was sad, but I was thankful for the good run the year before. This year, I'm pregnant, and not able to meet my running goals. However, I look back at last year, and I'm so glad I can walk. I haven't felt well enough to run this pregnancy. But I figure I have my whole life to run, and I don't have my whole life to have babies.
Good luck!!

Diane said...

I think you are doing amazing. You are certainly an inspiration to me. I doubt I will ever run a half marathon. But thinking of your determination helps me with my physical fitness goals .

Laura@livingabigstory said...

I have a 40 by 40 list that I've put together -- 40 things that I'm going to do before I turn 40 next year (eek!). Some of them are things to buy or places to visit that I need a kick to get around to doing. But to-do ones are things that are hard or scary in some way for me ... yeah, some of the things I'm intimidate by are kind of goofy.

But it's helping me to step outside of my comfort zone to try to be a better me. And by giving myself until next year, than I can be patient with myself. (I hope!)

Good luck with your running goals -- I had the best luck with running when I did the 13-week walk-run program. Worked miracles for me!

bjahlstrom said...

Your determination is very inspiring.

Anonymous said...

It's so tough because children are one constant interruption

Joy For Your Journey said...

Congratulations!! You are doing an amazing job! It is very impressive. Good luck with your goals. I am eager to hear how your half marathon goes.

I can feel for you with the interrupted goals. It seems like every time I try to get in shape I have an injury of some sort. But these past few months I have been doing better--no injuries--however, I have been gone for almost a month and got out of my routine. Yesterday I went hiking and have had terribly sore muscles since then. It is so depressing!! What was easy a month ago is now hard.

But reading your story gives me hope!!

Cherie said...

Yay! So proud of you! I actually wrote a blog this morning because I was irritated that I can't run... I'm glad to see that someone is! Good luck with the half marathon(s), I wish I could do them with you!!

Amy said...

I love the engagement picture! Man, I look at mine and think that was a zillion years ago.


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