I have always tried to be a regular exerciser. This was easier during some periods in my life, largely due to great running partners (e.g. friends, husband, pups) and more difficult at other times (e.g. when writing my dissertation). The last two years; however, I went from being a bike commuting/recreational runner/weekend hiker- all around fit person- to someone who does not even think about scheudling exercise into her day. Now though, as my boys’ first birthday approaches, I find myself thinking, “Who is this person and how to I get back to the ‘real’ me?”.
I knew I was pregnant pretty early on, mostly because I felt terrible right away. I tried to kept walking and swimming for as long as I could manage but I was thwarted by the 110 degree Arizona summer heat and general discomfort. At week 34, I was prescribed bedrest to prevent pre-term labor, making exercise a distant thought and a luxury that I was not allowed to do.
After the boys were born….. forgetaboutit. It was two solid months before I left the house for something other than a doctors appointment. It was three months before I was able to get out for social/exercise interactions like walks with friends. At month 4, my husband and I packed up our twins and drove across country to visit grandparents and great grandparents (read: I sat in a car, on and off ,for 4 weeks not exercising and not really moving much at all). After our adventure, we packed up and moved to California and I was faced with unpacking a house and settling into a new life on top of caring for twins.
It has been a long time since consistent exercise was a part of my daily schedule. Lately though, it has been something I have been trying to add back into my life, partly to make sure I am healthy, partly so I can go back to feeling my best, and mostly to show my boys how important it is to be active and healthy.
While running recently (using the BOB Dualle to push my new running partners), I have started to realize how much my attitude about running has changed. In the past, there were times when I would consider runs of less than an hour not worth it. It would be hard to get me to consider my workout sufficient if I had not done cardio and abs and stretched and if I had lifted weights at least twice that week. In the past, I have been fastidious about how many minutes, miles, laps, rpm I did and would keep track of these things for fun. Now, my focus is completely different. My new goal is just to get out of the stinking house. I consider my run a complete sucess if I have left the house with two babies, a pair of shoes, and my house key. Additionally, (likely becuase I am so out of shape), I stop and smell the roses way more than I used to. There are a couple of scenic trails around my neighborhood, and sometime I even bring my camera and run WITH the camera and the two babies. When I see something interesting, I take a picture and I point it out to the boys.
Instead of listening to tunes, I sing to the boys, breathless and in short sentences but all in an effort to keep them happy and to keep us out there. If we are having a bad day, I don’t berate myself. I just dust off my dirty exercising cloths, re-wear my sports bra, and figure we can try again tomorrow.
Perhaps in the not too distant future I will start running for time again, heck maybe I will just start running for time alone. But for now, I am running to get back to feeling like my old self, to get the boys some fresh air, and to see what is going on outside our front door.
Are you trying to find the balance between taking care of yourself and taking care of your family? How do you do it?