Wednesday, August 18, 2010

Reflections from a Treadmill

I got a little frustrated today. Drew woke up at 5:45am, starting the day off with a bang. Anna and I took the kids out to the park, a friend’s house, and shopping (don’t tell Kyle). By the time we got home, had lunch, and I convinced Drew that she had to take a nap, it was 2:30pm. I plopped down on my couch exhausted. All I wanted to do was take a nap, but something was preventing me from ultimate relaxation (no, it wasn’t Hazel, she was sleeping soundly before Drew... God bless her). It was the fact that in an effort to be more scheduled with extracurricular activities, I had reserved this day to run and I needed to do it while the girls napped.

I realized that I was trapped. I am a slave to my workout. I spent 15 minutes trying to rationalize a nap. Anna and I must have walked 3 miles this morning, I thought. I will just take a short one. It’s no big deal if I skip a day… Twenty minutes later, I was on my treadmill running. WHY?

So many people start working out and then quit. You know who you are. I hear it all the time. “I started working out a month ago and then I went on vacation and came back to a ton of work and working out was just the last thing on my list. I will try and start up again next week.” I used to be that person. What changed? Honestly, I’m not sure. But I do know this, as I sat on my couch today I asked myself what would make me feel better, a nap or a run? Most days, it’s a run.

This is the problem that a lot of us have: we don’t give proper credit to the simple choices we make every day. If I had chosen to take a nap, I would have felt guilty all day. I would have thought about how I should have run and how I need to do it tomorrow. Those feelings would have sucked up any energy I got taking the nap. It’s a simple choice I make every day that impacts my life a thousand times over.

So what does this have to do with you (because I get that not all of you are runners)? Think about the simple choices you make every day. Do I eat that piece of leftover pizza? Should I have another glass of wine? Take out or homemade dinner? Simple choices that make a huge impact. Tonight when you are getting ready to go to sleep, are mad at yourself for eating the way you did today? For not working out? OR are you happy you walked home from work? Happy you made a salad instead of going thru the drive thru? Simple choices.

There is a brownie that has been sitting on my counter for the past three days. It is left over from a party we attended this past weekend and I had intended to give it to Drew since she helped make them. In the evening after the kids have gone to sleep, it catches my eye. For the past three nights, I have contemplated eating that brownie (sorry, Drew). But, I am happy to say, that it is still sitting on my counter today. A simple choice I have made for the past three days. And as I go to sleep tonight, I will think about my run today and be happy that I did it. After all, it gave me the idea for this blog!

**Yea... probably time to throw out the brownie.

Monday, August 9, 2010

Catching Up

Where has the summer gone?! I swear yesterday it was May and we were gearing up for all the fun filled activities of the summer. What has the family been up to? Well, we hiked a bunch of mountains in Colorado and partied at Schningerfest, attended some great weddings (congratulations Za and Anjali, Paul and Stephanie, Jen and Pete, and Blair and James!), and enjoyed the wonderful Chicago beaches. But the thing that took up most of my time was training for a half marathon! More on that experience later. Since August is here, the race is done, and the kids are almost back to school (not mine of course… Drew still has a few years, thank goodness), it’s time to get back to business.

When I was younger, a staple vegetable in our house was cooked green beans. I would help my mom snap the ends off of the beans and occasionally, I would snag a few to eat. I always loved the taste of raw green beans, but when it came time to eat the cooked ones, I would shove as many as I could in my mouth at one time just to lessen the amount of bites I would have to take. I have never liked the smushy texture of cooked green beans. Sorry, Mom…

I always thought that vegetables had to be cooked to get their full nutritional value. I am not sure why I thought this, but I found out last month that I was wrong. Recently, I read an article in my Natural Health magazine about raw vegetables and the increasingly popular raw diet. According to this article, vegetables actually lose enzymes when they are cooked taking away some of their nutritional value. That means that for majority of my life, I have suffered through multiple meals of cooked green beans for nothing! Okay, maybe not nothing, they still have a considerable amount of nutrients, cooked or raw. But what I took away from the article was the need to incorporate more raw foods into our diets. The enzymes in the food help with digestion and the overall functioning of your intestines. So the next time you reach for your baking dish to roast some veggies consider lessening the effort you have to put into dinner and serve them raw. They are actually better for you that way.

At the beginning of June, my friend, Leslie, approached me about training for a half marathon. She had just run her first a few weeks earlier and loved it so much she wanted to run another one. With very little persuading needed, she encouraged me to train for the Chicago Rock n’Roll Half Marathon and since it has been on my bucket list for a few years now, I was excited to cross it off and challenge myself.

And what a challenge it was… Not only does the training take dedication and a whole lot of time, time that a new mother of two barely has, but it is intense. I had two months to get my postpartum body into fighting shape and my legs capable of running 13.1 miles. I am happy to say, last weekend was the race and it was a blast! Leslie and I tore up the pavement of downtown Chicago and helped raise money for the American Cancer Society.

Will I ever run a half again? Probably not. Though I was happy to accomplish a goal, I couldn’t wait to end the rigorous training schedule and get back to embarrassing myself in my cardio hip-hop dance class that had to be put on the back burner. But one thing that I did observe running the race was the diversity of the runners. Young, old, fat, skinny, fast, slow, all combined to achieve a common goal. It was an inspiring experience and for that, I am so glad I did it. No dance class could give me that sense of human camaraderie.

I want to thank all of my readers for passing on my blog to other people. It feels so good to know that people enjoy what I write and want other women to know that being healthy is attainable. The more we work together, the easier it is. Healthy lifestyles start at home and who better to start the change with your family than you.