Monday, April 20, 2015

For the Health of It

For the health of it....

Some people (mostly mamas) say a healthy mama is a happy mama.  I completely agree with this, when I am feeling down and the only thing I want is pop (or maybe a "fun" drink) and chocolate is when I most need time to get out of the house and get a good workout in.  

This winter has been a struggle for me.  For many reasons but mostly because I just haven't felt motivated to walk the fifteen stairs down to the treadmill that is set up in the dreary, cobweb-covered, storage room that is now the 'gym'.  I love it because I feel great about getting a workout in during the day, which is usually during nap time but also because I am saving money from going to a gym.  Don't get me wrong, I would love to go to the gym everyday, but unless I want to get up before the sun every single day or go after bedtime, it is not going to happen.  Our local workout facility is a great little place and offers a variety of classes but they do not offer childcare.  This is a huge issue for us because my husband works often times past 6pm or late into the night.  It isn't because he doesn't respect my time to get exercise but because he is working to finish field work or dry the corn so that when the rainy days do come, he can feel reassured that they will get the crops in on time or get the corn and beans out of the field before it snows or the ground freezes. 

I love my workouts and the runner's high that I maintain all day long after a long distance run but it really takes a ton of dedication on my part to plan my entire week of workouts ahead of time.  My treadmill workouts are nice for the wintertime when running in ice and a foot of snow just really doesn't appeal to me but in reality, I do not have a love affair with my treadmill as I do for the sunrise runs in the middle of summer or cool mornings of fall. 

The runner in me has gained a new love for long distances.  I ran cross country and track in middle school throughout all of high school but never found an addiction as I did this summer.  My friend asked me to run a half-marathon with her last spring and being five months out from just having birthed my second child, I thought she was crazy but really didn't say no either.  So I mulled over the idea for a few weeks and finally decided to lace up my shoes and get back in shape. 

At first, I ran one mile and walked a mile every other day and maybe pushed one day to running two straight miles.  I wasn't concerned about time, just pushing to completion of the mileage. This was a struggle for me, in my mind I was still that 17 year old cross country runner running a 7 minute mile.  Unfortunately, this thirty-year old body didn't remember this lightening-fast speed that my mind thought was possible for the first run out. I really hadn't trained but for three short and slow runs before I was running a 5K in the beginning of June.  My two running partners for the race were much more prepared than I, as it was slightly embarrassing, it was also a reality check for me.  If I was truly going to run another race, especially a half-marathon, I needed to seriously begin a workout routine.  

So, what do you do when you are at the bottom of your all-time physical activity level and about to turn the big 3-0?  You google "Couch to 5K" and set up a Pinterest page for motivational running quotes along with a healthy eating file for yummy and healthy recipes.  These seem like small steps but really were the baby steps I needed to get off the couch, get jogging and finally, achieve something that I would even consider call running. 

After four months of running a 5K every month, long distance runs on the weekends with some amazing running partners, eating the healthiest I have in my life and lots of early morning sunrise runs listening to my running music on Pandora, I finished my first half-marathon! It was only 12 days after turning 30 and I had successfully continued to nurse my baby through it all.  An amazing experience and accomplishment that I will treasure forever!  I hope that my kids are proud of me and that they see that physical activity doesn't have to be chore but something that you actually enjoy. 

My workout music sets the tone and pace for my run.  A little 'Uptown Funk' always does a great job of getting the blood flowing through the legs. Pick your favorite upbeat music to run those faster miles. What are your favorite beats?

I have longed for those chilly sunrises over the cornfields and that runner's high once again. So, after five months of not having a continuous workout routine, I have begun to find that joy once again.  Now, to pick my next race! 

Top Five Runners' Questions...
1.) What are your favorite races or places to run? --Pick one and hit the training trails, its always great to have a goal to achieve at the end of all the sweat!
2.) What is your must-have piece of workout gear?--I love my running shoes (Asics are a favorite) and my iPhone.
3.) What workout mix is your favorite?--Anything high tempo, upbeat.
4.) What time of day works best, almost everyday to set your running schedule?--Pick a time that can be consistent. It always helps to have a running partner, for safety and someone to make you be accountable. 
5.) Know why you are running!--Important to have a reason for running, wether it is because of a small goal or a large goal, make it achievable but something you will be very proud to accomplish.