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.
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?