Running on Empty

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?

5 thoughts on “Running on Empty

  1. Thanks for your post. I think in the last 13-14 years the longest I’ve gone without working out has been a month or so and that was when I broke my ankle (sliding into third in a softball game). So I’ve definitely been concerned about bed rest later in my pregnancy and all exercise being out, and for certain, exercise dropping to the last rung on the priority ladder after our twins come, and not feeling like myself. Good for you for adapting exercise into a form that works for you now as a woman and a mom. Someday you’ll get to exercise on your schedule, to meet your needs and come home and be a tiny bit more “you” for your sons!

  2. I didn’t get back into a regular workout schedule until my twins were about 9-10 months old (they are 19 months now). And now making time for myself and my workouts has become priority. I just had to adjust and find the time that worked best between my kids schedule. I normally am up around 5am everyday and do my workouts around 6am. My twins still don’t sleep through the night and I am exhausted but this is one thing I need for myself. It’s not always easy. I do in home dvd programs (such as P90X, Insanity, Turbofire, Les Mills Combat) and have seen great results. My energy is up and I look forward to that time of just “me”. For me doing something outside the home right now isn’t an option (such as a gym). You just have to find what works for you and your family!!

  3. Welcome Carrie! My girls were born in January in Canada, so we were trapped inside for s few months after their birth. But summer, I tried to get our more. Walking as often a practical decision. The mall and library were about 6 blocks away. It took as long to load three kids in the car, drive and unload them as it did to walk. So, to help me keep sane, I walked. Now, we walk to tire them out as much as me. The slow 3 block walk to school takes 15-2o minutes on a good day with the kids, but about 5 if I’m walking alone. It makes sure I get out 2 times a day.

  4. Loved and lived your post! I am a yoga practitioner and teacher. All yoga stopped when I was pregnant with twins and in bed rest at week 16. Then there was NICU for a month a half and general stress, fatigue, massive weight gain! So it took me a while to get back into something regular. I too took it slowly, dropped the pressure of what used to good enough. Little pleasures from short practices became the thing. When the kids were two years old I felt like my practice was close to being back. The best thing now is that it isn’t a thing to get done or a stress, it is a pleasure. Mind if I share your post?

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