{2017-The Year of Black Coffee?}

Could this Starbucks latte loving girl possibly learn to actually enjoy a black coffee in the upcoming year?  I’m nearly positive NO!  So why the post title?

While I may never find pleasure or enjoyment in drinking a simple black coffee, something strange happened this year.  I’ve always been a when I have more, then I will be really happy type of person. When I have more money, more clothes, more time, more this or more that.  Case in point, during Black Friday deals I had to get as much as I could for the best deals because surely getting that deal on the scarf and that shirt and so on would make me happy.

That’s the funny thing that happened though.  When the scarf arrived I found it didn’t really make me happy.  Sure it was cute.  It was warm.  It was a good deal.  But I wasn’t any happier.

Later when trying to find room for that new scarf amongst the dozens I already owned, I grew frustrated.  I quickly shoved it on the shelf to deal with the problem later.  A problem it was when, while in a hurry the next day, I grabbed the scarf and a whole bunch fell out without time for me to put them back.  Dozens of moments like this seem to happen to me each week this year.  I never put much thought into them until recently.

I mentioned in a recent Instagram post that I’ve started listening to podcasts while I walk to help me enjoy my non-running time. I’ve begun to find an enjoyment in these walks that was unexpected since it both gets me out (some days) and gives me a chance to listen and learn. My favorite podcast lately is called The Minimalists.  The Minimalists discuss just what their title implies; they discuss ways to minimize things in your life in exchange for living a life of intention.  A meaningful life means doing and owning only things that really enhance your life and bring it purpose.

After listening to their first few podcasts and thinking about an analogy they made with coffee, I related it to my own life.  They mentioned the simplicity of enjoying black coffee. Think about it.  Black coffee is uncomplicated, found in most places, cheap and quick to make.  There is no need to drive somewhere extra or special to get a cup.  No essential ingredients or person specific ways to order.  Simple.  Less complicated.   Less expensive. Less ingredients.  Less.  (ok tasty too, but stay with me.)

For some reason thinking about the simplicity of black coffee got me thinking back to the scarf situation in particular.  What if I had fewer scarves?  What if I had less?  It would be easier to organize and find the ones I was looking for.  I wouldn’t have a mess to clean up when others fall down because I have so many.  Choosing which one to wear would be easier because there would be fewer choices.  I would save time and money by not buying more.  I would always be able to find the one I was looking for.  Maybe there is something to this less thing.

After numerous scarf-like instances this year, I find myself thinking about life in a different way.  I’ve always known I didn’t want the biggest home we could afford. More to clean.  Less money for travel and experiences.  But that’s the extent of my less is a good thing thinking until recently.  

For the first time, in perhaps ever, I find myself wanting less in my life.  In 2017 my hope is not for more.  Most resolutions and new year goals focus on more.  Having more. Getting more.  Working for more stuff.  Having the best and newest version of what we already have.  Wanting less sounds strange until you think about it. Less things to clutter my home.  Less time wasted on things that don’t truly make me happy.  Less stressing about things that don’t matter.  Less not liking my body.  Less debt. Less of what is not important.

This canvas has hung in our entry way for seven years. I’ve always been drawn to it and often would pause in front of it to think about if I was living a meaningful life. I finally feel like I might know how to start to make that happen.


This year I’m going to get rid of the things I don’t need to make our day-to-day easier and more managable.  This year I will spend less time on what is not important to me.  This year I will buy less stuff and instead spend only on what makes my heart content or is a need.  This will lead to less debt (more money for those student loans) and less stuff.  I will work hard to get in the best shape I can to have less stress and weight.

While I may never become a black coffee fan, I’m going to be embracing the less is more lifestyle to help me live a life that is meaningful to me.  May the upcoming year be filled with less and full of intentions that make my heart happy.

Maybe more isn’t the answer for you either.  Consider a life of less in 2017.

Sarah

{Conquering the Midwest-50 States Plan Update}


A few days ago baby girl demanded to be held while she napped.  Of course I didn’t mind too much. As the end of the year approaches and people start setting their goals for 2017 it had me thinking about mine.  Her napping in my arms and thinking about goals at the same time was the perfect combination to do some race researching and planning.


I learned the hard way about setting goals that were too lofty for me post-baby the first time around.  I both underestimated the attachment I would have for that boy and overestimated the amount of training I would be able to handle while sleep deprived and exclusively breastfeeding.  While I wanted and even craved to run, I experienced a high level of separation anxiety when it came to leaving him.  This made long runs a challenge. On top of that he didn’t sleep through the night until he was 9 months old and breastfeeding and pumping was like a part time job on top of working full time.  I’m not saying you can’t make it work and manage it all, but I couldn’t and stay sane and not feel immense mom guilt.

I had planned to run the Indianapolis Monumental Marathon last fall as my come back from baby #1 marathon (I even documented my training in several blog posts), but as I mentioned above it didn’t happen.  This time around I didn’t make any definite goals while pregnant, but now that she is here I’m ready to do so.  Instead of planning to run a marathon at six months postpartum like last time I’m looking more at around a year.  This gives me much more time to get in shape and get strong, increases the chance for sleep and nears the end of my breastfeeding goal of one year for each child.

When deciding what race would be my first marathon since having kids I assumed I would pick the Indianapolis Monumental Marathon as originally planned.  It turns out it won’t be “the one.”  My husband has his masters class that weekend and it is almost a seven hour drive.  That’s also a lot of travel for our season of life right now, which means the kids would need to be at a grandparents for longer.

So what’s my plan?  My first marathon after baby is going to be not too far of a drive and on the way to a grandparents where the kids can be watched for one overnight.  The kids will be almost 1 and 2 and a half so I’m sure that’s all we will all be ready to leave them for.  A race happened to meet this criteria perfectly and, according to marathonguide.com (I love to use this site for learning about specific races), has really good reviews for 50 state seekers like me.  For these reasons the Sioux Falls Marathon in South Dakota will be “the one.”

The race is September 10 which is a bit earlier than the late fall target time I had planned to race, but a doable adjustment to my training.  Training for this marathon will begin in May hopefully right after a local half marathon.  This gives me 4.5 months before I begin marathon training.

Looking ahead to other races I know my plans must follow a similar criteria. During this season of life I must find a way to balance my goals and the needs and demands of my family.  Two kids under two and a husband working on his masters means I will not be able to just race whenever, wherever.

I’ve outlined my “Conquering the Midwest” game plan below.  I’ve already completed at least one marathon in the following states: Wisconsin (Madison Marathon and Wisconsin Marathon), Minnesota (Grandma’s Marathon and Twin Cities Marathon) , Iowa, Illinois, Michigan and Kansas.  I have race reports linked to each state for those interested in reading or new to the blog.  Some are more detailed than others as I didn’t really blog in the beginning of this goal.

2017-South Dakota (Fall-Sioux Falls Marathon)

2018-North Dakota (Fargo Marathon-Spring). I ran the half a few years ago, but want to run a full in every state.  My Fargo Half Marathon race experience was a good one.

Indiana or Nebraska (Fall-Depends on the husbands master classes, but lots of options for races.

2019-Missouri or Nebraska (Spring-It’s a little far out to say for sure on this one.  St. Louis Go Marathon would mean taking the whole family.  If it’s the Lincoln Marathon in Nebraska probably just the husband and I will go.

Ohio-TBD ??

While my kids are young, the nights interrupted, the budget tight and the demands of me great, this is my plan.  I love this phase of life and know how quickly it will pass, so I want my priority to be family.  As my kids get a bit older and more independent I will feel better about leaving for a bit longer and my wallet will be able to afford flights and weekends away.  My training will also be able to target some back to back races.  Until then, I will be conquering the Midwest.

Stay tuned!

Sarah

{To run or not to run…with diastasis recti?}

That’s my big question that only I can answer.  I knew something was going on before I headed to my six week postpartum appointment with my midwife a week ago.  I suspected DR, but didn’t want to check it myself and really face reality that I was going to have some real work ahead of me.  Work I would not enjoy, look forward to or likely ever really want to do.

Why the suspicions?  I felt so weak in my core when doing everyday things, but a different weak than last time postbaby.  My lower abdomen easily became sore, but different from last time also.  Sneezing was very painful.  My posture was terrible.  I’d consciously sit tall and seconds later I’d find myself so slouched.  My belly looked so different from last time-loose skin, dimply and pregnant by the end of the day despite me having just six pounds to lose from pregnancy versus the 15 pounds last time around.  My running form felt off, too. My feet were barely lifting off the ground and my paces were so slow despite any effort I expelled.

Last Tuesday my midwife confirmed or answered my concerns with a significant diastasis recti diagnosis as measured by me having a four finger gap between my abdominal muscles.  After my previous pregnancy my gap was a 1-2 finger gap.  Upon arriving home I was neither upset or discouraged by my appointment.  It didn’t seem to be that significant.  That would come later.

After doing some reading on the topic, I realized that my fitness goals and plans really are on hold or need to be modified.  I can’t jump into any real training for a longer distance race without addressing this issue or I will end up injuring something else or making the separation worse.  My plans to head back to yoga class and use 21 Day Fix to get back in shape and cross train will have to wait as they both use too many core exercises that not only do nothing to improve DR, but can make the DR worse.

Now that this post baby issue was jeopardizing my running and my related goals it became personal.  I was mad. I don’t have time to do extra exercises.  I don’t have time to read books and research what exercises are safe and which ones are not.  I don’t need something else to worry about.  I know in the scheme of life and real problems this is not important, but we all can be dramatic at times.

The next day I had some negative thoughts running through my head.  Since I don’t have time to fix this problem, I was going to become one of those mothers who HAD a goal. Who WAS a runner.  Who HAD abs-the least of my concerns.  Who HAD dreams…before she had kids.  It was kind of a dark few hours thinking about throwing away a goal.

Then I remembered how insane I become when I can’t run and how much happiness I feel when running and chasing down a goal.  I remembered how much better a person I am when I’m focused on improving myself.  I remembered how much more patient I am as a mother when I’m being active and running.  I thought about the places this goal would take me and my kids and the experiences I hoped to share with them.  This goal is not just a selfish goal, and even if it were, a mother can dream and have goals and still be a good mom.

Elle Woods was totally spot on about this!


After thinking about all of this, how could I not make, find, steal and create the time to fix my DR and get back to my goals and what I love.  Going forward I am taking the advice of my midwife and a physical therapist relative.  You should always take advice from your own doctor and not from an online blogger with no medical training (that’s me!)  Of course other’s experiences are valuable to me and after reading other bloggers and websites, most said running with DR is ok, but I would likely have issues if I didn’t work to fix it.  I also read many online experiences that suggest less running is more especially early on.

My midwife cleared me to run, but explained some issues I might experience such as leaking urine when I run (not currently an issue for me (yeah!!), but common with DR and pelvic floor issues) if I don’t do anything about it.  She said she could refer me to physical therapy right away or she recommended Katy Bowman’s online videos and her book on DR as a more lifelong approach to strengthening a weakness. If after giving my DR some more time to heal and close along with following Katy Bowman’s work, I still don’t see improvements she can refer me to physical therapy.

Check out the time on this…up with baby!


I’ve purchased the Nutritious Movement for Pelvic Health in the digital download version and Katy Bowman’s book Diastasis Recti. Her message is all about “you are how you move.” We create most of our body aches and pains by how we move. Her exercises encourage not a six week program or do these five exercises and your fixed forever, rather change how you move on a regular basis to get stronger and aligned.  Her exercises are based on the idea that by changing how we move and doing more moving in general we can make many of our issues go away.


I have to admit that so far what she blogs about and says in her book make a lot of sense to me. Let’s just say if her work were candy, I’d be the kid in the candy store. This is also so encouraging because it means I may not have to find so much extra time in my day, rather I could change how I move and see improvements that I will work to maintain as I continue through life.

This week I’m also starting to do exercises a physical therapist in the family recommends to patients she sees with DR.  She recommended the following websites for fixing diastasis recti and this website for more information on DR.

I am hoping that a combination of the above will help me return to my old goals (running long distance races, and someday faster) and achieve my new goal (closing the gap.)  As a teacher, I can’t believe the irony of my problem and one of the bigger educational achievement issues in our country.  Sometimes you really can’t get away from work! Again, consult your own doctor, please.

As for running, I’ve decided to not make an official plan.  My unofficial plan is to not run back to back days to make sure I have time to listen to my body.  I will run only 2-3 times a week and cut back if needed.  I will keep my runs to 3 miles and under for the next month. I will run all easy pace runs (as if I could run faster now.)  I will reevaluate in a month.  My sights are set on a half marathon in the spring (roughly six months postpartum) and a late fall marathon (roughly one year postpartum.)

Here’s to closing the gap!

Sarah

 

 

{December Fitness Challenge #heseesyouwhenyourerunning}


Because he sees you when you’re running and knows when you lift weights!  I’m talking about Santa of course.

At five weeks post-partum I thought I’d be so much further along in my journey back to fit.  Last post-pregnancy I’d walked 100 miles with my son and had ran 2-3 miles at a time on a few occasions at this point.  Each pregnancy has it’s own healing timeline, but I’m still bummed.

Other than what feels like a longer recovery, my biggest challenges have been having two little people to care for and one of them always needing something, cold winter temps making it hard to get the smallest one out on walks as of late (Getting out isn’t hard, it’s the what if she wakes up and needs to eat or wants to be held and it’s so cold. She is kind of unpredictable and doesn’t love her car seat.) and feeling frustrated with not running more because my body isn’t completely ready yet.  Getting motivated to run is much easier for me than walking since running is what I love.  Trying to make myself be excited to walk inside on a treadmill…even harder for me.  

Anyway enough with the “reasons.”  I really want to have a great fitness month in December and I’m sure some of you would too.  With holiday treats and events there is even more reason to stay active.   Plus I love working out to some rockin’ holiday tunes and getting in a run (or walk) that takes me past holidays lights.

So here is my challenge!  I’m challenging myself (and you) to get in 30 minutes of physical activity everyday through New Years Day.  What counts?  Anything that is physical activity.  I will be walking, hopefully running, 21 Day Fixing, doing post-partum workouts, and hopefully attending a class or two.  There are no mileage requirements, paces to reach, weight limits to break, just doing an active activity you like.  Why wait until the New Year to get in shape and feel good about yourself?  

Of course accountability is a must.  I want to do this, but it’s not enough just to want it.  I’ll be posting a photo a day on Instagram (sneaksandstilettos) to hold myself accountable.  Join me if you need some accountability.  I will be using the hashtag #heseesyouwhenyourerunning since that is my true love and my ultimate goal to reach.  I know on New Year’s Day I won’t regret my challenge and it is a great way to kick off any 2017 fitness goals you might have.  Let’s hashtag away!

Sarah

{Why you should consider streaking!} #rwrunstreak 2016


I can’t say enough about my #rwrunstreak experience this summer.  In the past streaks have been hit or miss, and I’d never been as successful with streaking as I was with this streak.  I’m super proud of running 34 out of 36 days during the streak.

What was unexpected about this streak is all the benefits I gained from maintaining my streak.  I share them with you in hopes that you might try your own streak or join in the fall/winter streak from Thanksgiving to New Year’s Day later this year and benefit, too.

{Benefit #1-Build on or maintain your fitness level.}


Even more rewarding than the number of days I ran was the way streaking helped me maintain and even build my fitness.  I attribute streaking with being the main reason why my recent 5 mile race at 24 weeks pregnant felt so great.  Running a mile feels like nothing most days now.  I also feel much stronger during runs of several miles than when I started out even though I’ve gained more weight and bump as my pregnancy has progressed.

This makes streaking a perfect way for runners to get back into running and to build fitness without overwhelming the body.  Because you get to pick the distance you run each day (as long as it is at least one mile) you can listen to your body.  Legs tired from your run the day before? Run one easy active recovery mile.  Legs feeling great and strong?  Go for a longer run.  You can always run just one mile tomorrow.  Maybe you just ran a marathon? A streak where you determine the miles not a training plan can be a perfect way to recover and find joy in running again.

{Benefit #2-Find you love of running.}

img_2534

I know, I know streaking requires running everyday.  How can this make you love running? You get to control your run everyday.  You get to pick where, how far, how long, etc.  You can get creative with your route or run the same route each day.  You can determine your miles before you leave or run by feel and turn around whenever you want.  There is no training plan telling you what you must do.  Just you and your running shoes out for a run. Whether a newbie runner or an experienced runner getting back into running, you can find enjoyment in pounding the pavement.  Starting is always hard, but it will get easier!  Just don’t expect to love it right away.

I found that being able to run what I want, when I want made me find a lot more joy in running.  Yes, some days I dreaded getting out there, but I got to have that I-just-ran accomplished and awesomeness feeling, you guessed it, EVERY SINGLE DAY (well, except two.)  Talk about loving your run!

{Benefit #3-Lose the I’m busy excuse.}

I get it.  We are all busy.  I find myself using this word so much that I actually annoy myself.  But, guess what?  We all have time for streaking.  One of my biggest barriers to working out is feeling busy and like I don’t have time.  Make time for at least that mile and you will find making time for running gets easier and more important.  What is important to us we do.  I started planning ahead and over the course of the streak have gotten much better about making time in my life for running than I was prior to starting the streak.

Because you get to run what you choose each day it allows for the craziness of life to happen.  Have an unexpected event come up?  Run just one mile when you get home.  Have a crazy day ahead?  Run just one mile in the morning before your day begins.  Find yourself with some extra time?  I know me neither, but go longer.  It is the perfect plan for the busy person.

{Benefit #4-Lose the other excuses, too}

It is so easy to make excuses.  I’m pregnant so don’t even get me started on this.  If I wanted I could come up with an excuse every SINGLE day.  I’m tired.  My bump feels heavy. I’m nauseous.  I didn’t have a chance to eat yet.  I’m dehydrated.  My feet hurt.  My arches hurt.  It’s too late.  It’s too hot.  We have somewhere to be soon.  My back hurts.  I have a headache.  It’s raining.  I have heartburn.  I’m bored with my running route.  My Garmin is dead.  My phone is dead.  I’m sick of my running playlist.  The list goes on.  I’m pretty sure all of these excuses crossed my mind at least once during my streak time.  We all make them at times, but overcoming them can be so good for us.

Streaking helped me realize that I do have time to run that one mile before my packed day. It helped me see that running a mile at 9:30 p.m. is both doable and rewarding.  Streaking helped me see that no matter how hot, wet or dreadful the conditions a mile or two is definitely possible.  Overcoming excuses everyday has helped me make less of them.

{Benefit #5-Find your me time again.}

We all have demands in life.  Some days we feel like someone always needs us for something.  Our to do list is longer than the time in our schedule.  We just want some time for ourselves once and while.  Even just 10-15 minutes would have a rejuvenating impact.

Hello, #rwrunstreak!  Without intending for streaking to give me time to myself, it ended up giving me time to myself multiple days a week.  Some days were stroller runs.  Some days were family runs.  A lot of days though were just me and my music and my running shoes hitting the pavement.  It became a chance for me to clear my head, breathe the fresh air or catch up on some guilty pleasure TV while running on the treadmill.  It was time I would have struggled to give myself otherwise and I felt happier all around because of it.

{Benefit #6-Make running a habit.}

On the last day of my streak I mentioned to my husband feeling a sense of loss that the streak was ending. What would I do when I didn’t have to run?  How would I organize my day if a run wasn’t in it?  Without forcing it to or trying to running had become a need and something I wanted to be a part of each day.  Not running seemed, well, weird.

A few days post-streak with a few days off and I’m itching to run.  I feel grouchy having missed a couple of days.  I like that I have a need and desire to run each day again.  It makes it so much easier to keep at it and enjoy all these benefits when I want to run.

{Benefit #7-Get over a distance requirement.}

In the past if I didn’t “have time” to run more than two miles I wasn’t going.  I always thought what was the point?  I wouldn’t feel like I worked out.  It would be a waste of time when I could get something else done.  There is no fitness benefit to such a short distance.

Post-streak I know this is absolutely not true.  If you are not training for a long distance race, then running even just a mile a day can feel like a workout and build fitness.  It can relieve stress and make you feel more relaxed.  A mile IS enough to change a bad mood or negative attitude.  A mile can make you feel accomplished.  And all those one mile runs add up over 36 days.  Even running one mile each day is 36 miles at the end of this streak.

Of the 66.6 miles I ran during my streak, 21.5 of those miles were from runs of less than two miles.  21.5 miles I would have skipped in the past because they wouldn’t have been enough or really counted for an experienced runner like me.*  I’ve had a change of heart and now see the benefit in running “just one mile.”  There is no mileage requirement to be a runner after all and this helped remind me of this.

*Keep in mind for a beginner or someone getting back into running this is great mileage.

{Benefit #8-Run further.}

Some days your run a mile and you are ready or have to be done.  On occasion though everything clicks and a planned one mile run turns into two and then three miles or more. You got yourself out the door, the hardest part, by saying “just one mile.”  Then running took over and you ran further than you thought you would.  Streaking allows you this opportunity everyday.  If you give yourself a chance, you might surprise yourself.  I know I did on a multiple occasions.

Before you think streaking is not your thing or say you can’t, consider the benefits!  You have nothing to lose and everything to gain.  Now go run just that one mile!

Sarah

{The things no one wants to hear, but are true!}

It’s still January…the month of resolutions, goals and hope.  Maybe you set some for yourself this year?  I spent some time reflecting on my goals last night which prompted this post.  

  
Over the past months I’ve learned a few things after losing 36 pounds of baby weight and then a few extra pounds (unfortunately mostly muscle). Combine that with being a runner for almost 18 years and I have some ideas to share.  

None of these ideas are new, but they are the foundation of transforming yourself.  Sometimes we ignore the common sense suggestions looking for an easy fix, but there really just isn’t one.  Setting goals is a great start, but it is so much harder than a sentence on paper or in your mind.  

Rather than cheer you on I’m going to say what may be unpopular and what no one wants to hear, but is true.  The past 9 months and 39 pounds are evidence of these statements.  

1) You can do this…maybe. Whatever your goals are you can find success, but it will be challenging and take sacrifice. If you can’t or won’t accept this, then you’re not likely to achieve your goal(s).

  
2) Body transformations take time. If it came off really fast, then you can probably gain it back equally fast. Instead go for slower but steady improvements that you achieve by changing habits that you can make your lifestyle not a fad.

  
3) Exercise is amazing for your mind and body! Stressed? Anxious? Depressed? Exercise can help with all of these things and help your body transform into a stronger and leaner you.  You’ll like what you see in the mirror more, feel more energetic and happy, and be more confident.

  
4) Abs are made in the kitchen. I know people hate this saying, but it’s true. I’ve only averaged working out a couple of times a week since 4.5 months post-partum (5+ times before that when I wasn’t working), but I have eaten a dairy free and mostly healthy diet. I’m always conscience of what I put in my body and really believe food is fuel and you are what you eat (or feel like what you eat). 

  
As much as I’ve never wanted to admit the level of impact diet has on results, going dairy free for my son (imagine no cheese, no pizza, no ice cream, no milk chocolate, very few packaged foods-most have dairy), has proven to me that it is significant.

I have to attribute most of my weight loss in the past 4.5 months to what foods I do and don’t put in my body.  I knew I had limited time and was struggling to workout as much as I wanted to, so I really focused on food choices instead of just giving up on myself.  The impact has shocked me into really believing abs are made in the kitchen.  
5) Making mistakes is part of the goal and body transformation process, but getting back on track ASAP is a must.  You can still find success when you work to overcome your setbacks.

  6) Writing your goals down is more effective than saying your goals.  Checking in with yourself weekly is needed to keep making forward progress and hold yourself accountable.

  
7) Everyday you have an opportunity to be a healthy role model to the little people in your life. What do you want them to learn by watching you?  Healthy eating habits?  Perseverance? Hard work? Determination? Pride in achieving goals?  Overcoming setbacks?  The list goes on!

8) To experience maximum success and feel your best you need to combine a healthy diet AND exercise, and make goals for yourself in both areas.  I did not say execute both perfectly.  Even the smallest steps in a positive direction in these areas will benefit you.  In my experience, exercising makes you want to eat better and eating better encourages exercising.  When one is missing from your life both seem to suffer.
Goal or no goal it is never too late to invest in your physical and mental health and start making positive habits. It is never too late or a waste of time to take care of the only body you get. You will be so glad you did.  Make an investment in you! 

I did and do!  I’m still working on my goals, but subscribe to the above eight everyday!  No magic tricks, not just luck, no easy fix-just hard work and determination in the above eight statements.

Let’s rock those 2016 goals!

Sarah

{Confessions of a (Sort of) Mother Runner}

I’ve been absent a lot lately from this blog and well, running too.  I’ve been busy working on that whole balancing act called motherhood.  Some days life is great while other days suck because of all the time you spend doing things you have to do rather than what you want to do (snuggles, baby giggles, get in a workout!)  Mostly, it is nearly impossibly busy.

 {Being a mom is amazing.  Being a working mother runner not so amazing.}  I’d hate for anyone to think that the working mother runner life isn’t a struggle each day especially after my recent childlike joy post was so positive.  I like positive and uplifting.  I like not making excuses and complaining about what you can control, but I also like real.  Honest and real.  And that is not always pretty, positive and uplifting.

{I used to think I knew so much.}  I used to imagine what life would be like as a working mother runner.  I laugh at myself now.  Loudly.  Belly laugh. Here’s to hoping this helps some future mother runners or others in the trenches to see even for people who love to run, exercise, etc. like myself, finding the tools to make it happen as a mom are another thing entirely.

Oh, and to working mother runners (and really any mothers) before me, I’m so sorry for thinking I understood.  I didn’t.  Now I do.  Please consider my sincere apology while you read my confessions.

  {I thought being a mother runner would be a lot easier than it is.}  In reality it is so, so, so hard with an ever-changing routine, breastfeeding, working.  I only have been finding the time to run/workout approximately once a week since my half marathon in October.

{I thought people who said they didn’t have time to workout after having kids were simply choosing not to.}  I want to.  I’m not choosing not to.  I plan my day from sun up to bedtime in my planner just to make sure I don’t forget all that must be done that day.  We have a daily chore chart posted in the house.  These lists rarely afford me more than 5 minutes to just sit and think, stop and take a breath, or just do nothing.  My mind is always moving at a million miles per hour nearly all the time.  These lists though save me from Sunday meltdowns when I realize all the chores that need to be done when what I really want is all the cuddles from my boys before the very long work week begins.

  {I thought loving something so much that you do it almost daily and consider it part of your identity would be impossible not to continue.  Unthinkable even.}  Who were those people who let their dreams become their past?  Now I’m not even sure some days if I should call myself a runner with how few runs I’ve been on since going back to work.

  {I thought moms who didn’t make time for themselves were annoying.}  Now it turns out I’m annoying.  How do you make time for yourself when there are 850 million things to do, 9+ hours to work in a day, food to be made, pumping to be done, a house to clean, …you get it.  You probably know yourself.  What the hell did I do with my time before kids?  SERIOUSLY what was I doing before?

    

 
{I thought moms who lost themselves in motherhood were disappointing.}  Remember I apologized in advance.  All I could think of were the goals and dreams postponed or worse-lost forever. Talk about postponed and a picture of me comes up.  I guess I’m disappointing.  Being disappointing has never been so rewarding.  How do you not be all-consumed when mothering those babies.  Those little toes, giggles and toothy smiles just turn you into putty and make you want to do anything for their benefit.  Missing runs, fun time with the girls, getting your hair cut and colored, taking a proper shower, eating-nothing is now more important than quality time with this little tiny person.
    

{I thought I would need my me time…and that need would keep me working out.}  I do miss my me time, but not more than I miss my boy.  I have a really hard time leaving my boy for a run when I hardly see him during the week.  He pretty much has to be sleeping for me to leave. Not so easy for me when his wake up time fluctuates and I’m dead tired with a list of things to do after bedtime.

{I thought a mother runner could work full time, breastfeed, run and train for distance races all while being a present and involved mother AND find time to blog about it while looking put together because I have juggled so much for years.}  Juggling motherhood with life is like adding ten more balls into the mix.  At any given moment at least half the balls are on the floor.  I’m not one to say anything is impossible, but let’s be real people. Doing all that is IMPOSSIBLE.  Since coming to terms with reality, I’ve realized I’ve never read a blog post from or met such a person.  Either they don’t work full time or they are not breastfeeding beyond the early months or they walk around a hot mess or something.

  {I will not be running the Houston Marathon on Sunday.}  When I was pregnant  I refused to believe I couldn’t accomplish my goals while also being a present mom.  A couple of months ago minimal training started to allow doubt to creep in on this goal of mine.  I really didn’t want to hurt myself in pursuit of a goal I didn’t prepare for.  I also was having some serious mom guilt and lack of interest in leaving Pierce for the weekend.  I hardly see him Monday-Friday so the last thing I want is a weekend away from him.  My flight times were at night and I’d be going alone to save money so it would be really hard to bring Pierce along.

Struggling to train and not wanting to miss the boy, but still wanting to achieve my goal proceeded to cause a lot of internal conflict within myself.  That conflict was resolved in the past month by two things.

  1. The reality of my breastfeeding situation took the edge off realizing I might not accomplish my goal.  In early December I had about 10 extra bags of milk in the freezer.  To go to Houston I’d need 19.  I told myself if had a really good pumping month I could do this!!!  Then I got sick for two weeks and I struggled to make extra milk since I felt like crap and was too tired to get up for extra pumping sessions.  A couple of weeks later I got the stomach flu and became dehydrated and was only making an ounce or two at a time.(luckily this only lasted a day).  As I watched those bags of milk disappear from the freezer, I started to accept I would not be running this marathon.  
  2. The ironic twist to this all came last Saturday when my stepmom had a close family member pass away.  My dad and stepmom live in Texas and would have been coming to see me run and were the reason (along with visiting my sister) for choosing this race.  They are actually in Wisconsin now and wouldn’t have made it to the marathon.  I would have been alone at the race rather than visiting family.  This would have made bringing Pierce impossible, too.

{I’m not as upset as I thought I would be that I won’t be at the starting line Sunday.}  Getting race reminders stings some, but I realize that some things just are not meant to be.  Goals sometimes have to be readjusted.

My point of these confessions is not to be negative.  I also know this is my life and I owe no one an explanation for races I run and don’t run, but I think sharing struggles makes the difficulty in enduring them less.  It also helps to show I’m only human like everyone else.

{I’ve realized it’s not my season.  Seasons of life come and go, but currently running is not in season.  I don’t know when it will be.}  It still brings me joy.  I miss it almost everyday.  When I get to run it’s like paying extra for that really good produce that came from somewhere it’s in season…sweet, refreshing, addicting and intoxicating.  It leaves you wondering why you don’t have more.  Then you read my confessions and you understand.

  {Despite not making it to the starting line of my past two marathons in the past couple of months, I remain determined to get into a better routine of running and to run another marathon sooner rather than later.}  They say insanity is doing the same thing over and over and expecting different results.  I guess that means I have to do some things differently this time.

  {I value my personal goals, but NEVER at the sacrifice of my son’s needs or things that will benefit him.}  For now running is spotty, not so fresh, often unavailable and I’m learning to be ok with that while also always working to be better about it.  Do I miss the fresh stuff? 

Confession-Without a doubt.  Living in the Badger state has taught me that seasons come and go quickly.  Every season has amazing things to enjoy in each of them and unique memories to be made.

{I’m not an expert at anything.  I’m just a sort of mother runner trying to do something I love out of season.}

Sarah