Monday, July 26, 2010

Back on the Running Train

   As a high school and college athlete, I was accustomed to having my workouts built into my normal day. There was no thinking or extra motivation needed:  it was inevitable that I had to show up (blowing practice off to watch The Bachelorette was not an option) and someone told me exactly what to do.  I always worked hard because I am a competitive person and wanted to do well for my team.
   Post college, however, things were different.  Here I was, for the first time ever, having to do it all on my own.  You'd think it would be easy given I'd been physically fit my entire life and working out regularly was pretty much part of my fiber by then.  You'd think.  This was so not the case.  Going to a gym to jump on a treadmill and maybe lift a few weights, all on my own accord...let's just say it wasn't easy.  All of a sudden there was no one there to tell me exactly what to do.  There was no one watching me, which of course is a great motivation to put forth maximum effort.  I could totally slack and there was no one to push me to try harder.  It was just me and to be quite frank, it was boring.
   Making the situation even more dire was that my two sports were basketball and track.  I loved playing basketball and to me playing a game was a much more fun way to work out than doing some aerobics class or getting on an exercise machine.  I searched for a women's basketball league, to no avail.  Men's leagues are a dime a dozen, but apparently there aren't enough women ballers out there to form leagues.  In track, I was a sprinter.  Running more than 2 miles at a time just seemed silly.  How do you translate sprinting into a post-collegiate workout?
   Ugh.  I was lost.  I made efforts to go to the gym and I did okay.  I'd go in spurts of some weeks getting there 4 or 5 times, and other weeks not going at all.  I never found the consistency that came with being on a team.
   A twist of fate may have shaped my exercising future.  I moved to Arizona from Michigan one year after I graduated college.  With a new, much more user-friendly climate, I found some motivation to run longer distances.  There's something about the sun shining every day that makes you not want to sit on the couch.  It was weird to learn to run slower for longer distances, still with my sprinter mentality, but eventually grew to like it and started running in road races.  I trained with a running club and ran in a few 5Ks here and there. I even trained and completed a half marathon.  I'd found a competitive outlet that I thought wouldn't be available to me, and I felt good about my level of physical fitness.
 Then I had a baby.  

   'Nuff said, right?  Workouts became secondary to my new world of middle-of-the-night feedings, nap schedules, diaper changes, and just falling totally in love with this new person in my life.  Luckily, breastfeeding helped me get back to my pre-pregnancy weight pretty quickly.  But being your ideal weight and feeling healthy are not always one and the same.  
    Meghan is almost two and I've found myself again unable to find consistency in my workouts.  It's been up and down since she was born.  Tim and I went through a P90X period, I started the whole gym routine again, and I've done a lot of walking with Meghan.  I feel like I'm finally ready to get back on the running train.  
   My first run reminded me that taking a few years off from running is not a good thing.  Getting back into running shape stinks, being in running shape is wonderful.  I know I just have to get there again. 

Here I am after the run, looking like a big dork with a goofy smile and sporting my camelbak.  It was a hot day, though, so it was a must.  
   After downing even more water, I immediately gobbled down a few watermelon slices.  The watermelon was refreshing and I felt like I'd accomplished a great feat.  Getting back on the train is difficult, but staying on is even more so.  Here's to hoping I can stay on the train.  

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