“At first an ordeal and then an accomplishment, the daily run becomes a staple, like bread, or wine, a fine marriage, or air. It is also a free pass to friendship.”
~ Benjamin Cheever, Strides

Sunday, September 18, 2011

Not Perfect

My last couple of runs have been exercises in futility.  Okay, maybe not that bad - but I just like that phrase "exercises in futility."  To be honest, I hesitate to call these runs...runs.  I actually have walked more than I've run on both instances.   Why?   I am out of shape and cannot get properly hydrated.  My calves tend to get fairly tight on these runs.  A lack-of-hydration tight that I haven't had since I first started running, before I'd learned about proper pre-run hydration.  I am becoming convinced that it is just not possible to properly hydrate for a run while nursing....but I'm still going to keep trying.

After the "run" on Wednesday night, where I ran 0.6 miles and walked 1.4 miles, I came home and wrote a post to vent my frustration.  I then elected not to publish it until I had time to come down from that frustration.  When I came home from the run - Mark and Avery were eagerly awaiting my return....
Really, they are dreaming about my return - honest.
On Saturday, my "run" consisted of about 1 mile total run time (in pieces), and the rest was walking.   I meant to do 3 miles instead of 2.84, but with the summer start spot for MiT, a run to the first water stop and back isn't 3 miles anymore...and I'd forgotten that.  This "run" although similar in style to the Wednesday night run didn't frustrate me as much.  I think because I also had the asthma card to play that morning...and because I'd remembered my iPod for when I was alone...so instead of beating myself up for the 1.84 miles of walking, I was listening to music.  The weather was perfect...and after the night before....I really, really, really, really needed the baby break.

What I am realizing about myself - is that I push myself VERY HARD.  I always have.  I usually set goals that are a stretch, but reachable.  Train for a half marathon (for example).  Sometimes, I get frustrated regardless of logic.  I.e. when I cried after I got an 85 on a Calculus exam.  I.e. When I'm frustrated that I can't run 2 miles (not even slowly) 5 weeks postpartum.

I quit running when I was 5.5 months pregnant.  I have been EAGER to get back out there and run again.  The fact that I've lost so much cardio conditioning is disheartening.  To need to put all that initial work back in...it's easy to get down on myself for failing to keep up the cardio during the 3rd trimester.

I know that this isn't reasonable.  I just pushed a baby out of my girly parts not even 6 weeks ago.  I should NOT expect to be running marathons....or apparently, even 2 miles.  That doesn't mean that I don't WANT to.  To go out for a run now is also so much more difficult.  I have to plan for where Avery will be while I do my run.  (She's still too little for the jogging stroller.)  The pre-run effort required makes it easier to get frustrated when things don't go the way I want them to, reasonable or not.  I suspect the more minimal sleep experiences these days aren't helping reason win out as well. 

I need to remind myself, constantly, that every little bit of exercise, strength training and cardio that I add back in is making a difference - even if I can't FEEL that difference yet.  That I have TIME to get back into shape and lose weight and train for marathons and mountains.  
Posing in my "weighted vest".
Baby Steps.  That's what I need to focus on.  (irony intended!)  I just need to find the time to do SOMETHING each day...whether it's walking with my weighted vest (BabyBjorn with Avery in it) or it's joining MiT for a short run or it's just running up and down the stairs at the house.  The important thing is get in these baby steps...and NOT TO QUIT.  

If I can't run 2 miles by the end of next month - THAN I can let myself get worried.  Right now, I need to just remind myself "baby steps."

Have you ever had to come back from a forced running/exercise hiatus?  What worked for you?  Did you have to deal with similar frustration?


  1. Do you know Hannah Dasgupta who run/walks? She is a new mother (January) and I think she had some of the same struggles with hydration. I think you might benefit from a conversation with her at some point. She is a well experienced runner and I think she could offer you some good advice. I can introduce you at a workout if you'd like. Hang in there - I know its rough but it will get easier. Have faith. :)

  2. You just reminded me that I got a C in Calc 2. Apparently you have to show up to get an A (I had the highest grade in Calc 1). ANYWAYS, I still think set run/walk time intervals will make you less crazy because you have a solid plan that is achievable. I'm actually planning to do No Boundaries again after baby so I'm not making myself crazy trying to keep up with MIT right away.

  3. Laurie - I know OF Hannah, but don't KNOW her...if that makes sense. I would love to have an introduction!!!!

    Sarah - I've thought about doing NOBO. ;)

  4. Mandy! I know I do not need to tell you that you are awesome and I admire that you are doing ANYTHING so soon after having a baby! I HOPE I can be like you if/when I have a child!

    I have been walking a lot lately too, and I understand how you feel. I feel like I am failing and not where I should be. It's frustrating and kind of like coming back from an injury. It takes time and you are doing just fine, in my opinion!

    Plus, we are going to run Emerald next summer and I have EVERY EVERY confidence you will be ready for that - and then some!! Hang in there, friend! And remember, I for one, admire what you are doing!! :)

  5. Hi Found your blog randomly yesterday and wanted to say congrats on the new baby and running! I started my blog when I was running for two and am hoping to be doing that again soon. Babies are such a blessing! Good luck!


  6. Sara - If I'm not ready for Emerald City next year - I'm so screwed! (since that should be not long after I'm supposed to climb a Mountain! HA!). Thank you!!!!!

    Running for Two (Also) - nice to meet you! Your little man is adorable!


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