Wednesday, April 22, 2009

Spring (and Summer and Fall...) Training

Well, ever since I went back to work in December I have been feeling unhappy in my body. While I was home with Buster I was eating well, going for walks every day (I had to, it was the only time he'd sleep), and even getting in some yoga from time to time. Then work started, plus the holidays, and I started eating crap and getting NO exercise. Plus every day I was a packhorse extraordinaire - carrying Buster in a front carrier, a backpack with the pump, then a large tote with his food, my food, his diapers, whatever I needed for work, etc..., and then sleeping on the living room couch at first and then a cot in Buster's room. My spine, she was not aligned.

Over the years I've come to realize that I need to be moving on a regular basis - like nearly every day - or I just don't feel like myself. I don't even need to trouble myself much with food if I'm working out - not because I'm expending so many calories but because I'm just so much more conscious of how I feel in my body and how eating well makes me feel well, and that's its own reward (plus feeling bloated gets in the way of my exercise). So I knew I needed to get some kind of exercise schedule together, designed to take into account my need for challenges AND the reality of taking care of Buster, who is a pretty demanding little kid. Oh yes, and my work schedule, and The Dude's rehearsal/performance schedule...

I do best when I have a specific goal in mind. While pregnant my goal was to be able to have an easier birth and recovery. Now, while I do need to lose weight, I don't find that to be an inspiring goal, and never have. And exercising for the sake of exercising, while good enough in an earlier life in which there were fewer demands on my time, also wasn't compelling enough to get me really going in these last few of months of trying to get active again.

But races! Oh, how I love to run, and how I love to run races. And how I have missed being able to run races these last two years. I don't remember where I got the idea of starting running again, but once it was in my head, there was no getting it out. Running, I reasoned, was something I could do with Buster in our all-terrain stroller (since I am so very slow and because the front wheel does lock), and something we could do all together as a family, both the training for it and the race itself. So I decided to commit myself to running a couple of family 5Ks later this year, but I didn't have any individual race schedule in mind.

At first.

I was on the train going in to work when I saw the poster for the Wrigley Start Early race. I ran this race (the 8K) two years ago - in fact, it was the last race I had run before becoming pregnant the first time. I had enjoyed the race itself greatly, though I was frustrated by how poorly it seemed to be organized. I had even raised funds for its charities, Prevent Child Abuse America and Voices of Illinois Children.

The fact that there were posters at all suggested to me that it might be better organized this year, and when I got into work I couldn't help but look it up online. And then I couldn't stop thinking about it. Sure, I hadn't yet run more than a mile since starting again the week before, and it was only three weeks away, but I figured at the very worst I could walk as much as I ran, and I knew I could cover the distance walking no problem. So within a couple of hours I had signed up to run the 5K.

The race itself was great, and I'll post on it later. But what I've been really jazzed about since doing it is how WONDERFUL it is to run, and to run races in particular. So I immediately starting thinking about what my next individual race would be, wanting to do a 10K at the least, and then thinking about what kind of training I would need to do to be able to accomplish a longer race. And before I knew it (well, after a great deal of thought and some research, but it felt like it took no time), I had myself a race to shoot for (the "Hot Chocolate 15K" on November 1) and a training schedule for the year, one that incorporates strength and flexibility training, distance and speed training, is challenging and yet not intimidating, and that looks like it will fit into our family's schedule. Feeling pretty proud of myself.

In fact, I am STOKED!

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