running

I've wanted to hash over Carter's potty training drama for a few weeks now. But I can't write about it while he's in an outrightdisregardtoiletexistence phase. The potty's simmering on the back burner with all our green vegetables. Except broccoli.

::soaking in a proud, little accomplishment rush::

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I didn't want to write about exercise. Because in general, exercise sucks.


But I think - after 30-whatever years of cognitive life holding this fact to be solid and true - I'm obsessed with running now. 

Plus, I've been blowing up everyone's Twitter page with obnoxious exercise tweets. So, I'll unofficially call this post Twitter Workout Bombardment - Behind the Scenes. 

When I was in school, we had two days a year that we had to run a mile. It was timed and recorded on whatever meaningless Phys. Ed. records there were. Yeah, we were allowed to walk it - but nobody dared, for fear of being ruthlessly made fun of by the pompous boys that ruled our class. Trust me, you'd rather heave for dear life than endure whatever those boys had to say about your nerdy blunders. For a week before that run date, I'd feel physically sick to my stomach with anxiety. Anticipating tremendous pain psyches me out like that.

Like a weak, pitiful twig, I ran. And in between thoughts that my skull had developed the pliability of a squashed grape, I swore there was no point to this madness; I'd never again in my life run without reason. 

Oh, to just become a friggin' adult already.

I'm not sure exactly how my mind got changed, but if you add all these up, they make a pretty sturdy list of suspicions: 

♥My post baby belly pudge has been sitting here for two years. I always look down at it with the comforting thought, If I ever really tried to exercise, I could get rid of that thing, lickety split. That thought made the neglect feel ok. I don't know what my particular pudge is made of (skin? fat? stretched uterus?) or if it can be conquered, but I figure I'll know after I chisel at it for a while. It's there, but it's not that big. I never wanted to find the time to push aside baby Carter for exercise. 
Carter's not so baby-ish anymore, and housekeeping makes a lame hobby.

♥For a few months, I was taking long, fast walks. I'd record miles upon miles, but I always felt unchallenged and like I could somehow do better. Falling into a lazy pace is so easy to accidentally slip into when you walk.

♥Almost every window in our new house directly overlooks a gorgeous greenway pouring with young, sweating, exercised hotties. They're running past my house at all hours of the day. Forget tearing out motivational magazine photos of hot bodies to tape to my refrigerator. Living in this house does it for me every time I walk past a window. So many people can do it. They want to do it. Why not me?

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A peek at our greenway.

♥Everyone in my small circle of new friends runs. Sidewalks literally line every street in our town; you can't drive anywhere without seeing a runner. At first I thought they were crazy, in an amazing way. Now I'm thinking it was me.

♥ The pool opens this weekend.

Five weeks ago, I started the Couch to 5k program. The point of the program is to start you slowly so your body has time to adapt to running and get stronger. It takes into account that in fifth grade you probably cried when some PE teacher made you run. It knows you're still pissed; it holds your hand and promises to be gentler this time. The program uses moderation as its purpose; it emphasizes not pushing yourself one second further than you're slated to do to avoid burnout or getting hurt, since your body's getting used to exercise. 

The PE teacher was your mean boyfriend. Couch to 5K is your sweet husband.

It takes me 25 minutes, 3 days a week to train. I like using the word train because it makes me feel kinda badass. You can pick any days you want.

During the first couple weeks, the whole ordeal was outright painful. I'd run for around a minute, walk for an equal amount of time, run again. My major issue was that I couldn't breathe, but I kept trusting that my body would catch up with my determined mindset. The endorphin-saturated high I floated back into my house on when I finished every day was making it completely, 100 percent worth it. And that doesn't even include how proud and clear-headed I felt for the hours after.

I've just started week five; I'm alternating running five entire minutes and walking three. Yesterday was the first time I actually didn't feel like I was running. I could breathe, my knees didn't hurt, and I sailed down my greenway, stunned at how easy it had suddenly gotten. I'd only heard about this in my life. But to experience it? Oh, man.

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Am I really putting a picture of my bare stomach on the internet?
Five weeks doing Couch to 5k.  

If there were a way to rank the performance of Couch to 5kers in the history of the world, I figure I'd be at the bottom somehow, that's just how I perform with anything athletic. But hey, do anything, and experience just kinda hits you in the face. I have advice if you want to try it!

I downloaded the free C25K (Couch to 5K) app on my iPhone and hold it in my hand while I run. It tells you - out loud - when to run and walk, so you're not calculating minutes and just focusing on pushing through the workout. I use it in conjunction with the MapMyRun app, because I like to record my exact distance. While the C25K app is running, I live and breathe by what it tells me to do.

I make ice water before I leave and put it on the counter so I can grab it and chug as soon as I get back.

I put a thick lipgloss or chapstick on before I go. The wind dries your lips out within a couple minutes.

I don't run for speed. I'm honestly just proud I'm at some sort of pace that's putting my walking days to shame. I can only handle one goal at time, so I just concentrate on the number of minutes run.

My knees were killing me around week two. I spaced my runs out further, didn't quit, and the pain went away on its own after a week.

I ran in the heat once, and everything about it felt so much harder. Now I wait until about an hour before the sun sets when my husband is home to watch Carter. Even though bugs fly into my face. Ideally, I'd run in the morning. But I'd have to be a morning person for that.

Rain feels good. Don't let bad weather be an excuse.

Breathe down - in through your nose, out through your mouth. My neighbor taught me this; once I figured it out and concentrated, I felt like I could keep going a lot longer.

I wasn't listening to music for four weeks. When I tried music this week, it changed everything. I wasn't concentrating on the rhythm of my feet, the sound of my breath, or the number of minutes left, which I've decided, was all psyching me out. Survivor by Destiny's Child always gets me going.

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Ahem. Running away from my tripod. Girl's got a blog to illustrate.

A couple days ago, Matt and I were watching The Office. A commercial came on with a super ripped, hot, tan chick running. Carter sees her and says, Pretty cool! As Matt starts on a smile & nod in approval of his son's good taste, he finishes his sentence ... dat Mommy!

All of a sudden, that's the only reason I run.

26 comments:

  1. Keep running Megh!! If you want to branch out Pilates is a good work out it tones the heck out of your abs, I absolutely love it!!

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    1. Running is amazing. I agree. I hated it when we had to do it for school too, but when you do it at a slower pace it is great. I have been doing it for about 5 months and I'm 17 years old. It was my new year's resolution this year to start running to lose some belly fat I had gained from not doing gym for two years and not exercising at all.

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    2. thanks mandee!! i've tried pilates a time or 2, it's really challenging!

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  2. You Look Sexy! Keep It Up. Pump Up The Jam With Weights So Your Strong & Confident. Your Knees Won't Hurt Then. Stretch After At Least 10 Min, Your Muscles Are Warmed Up & Can Ease Aches & Pains In The Future. I Have Many Years Of Experience As A BellyDance Instructor, Nutritionist. TaLen Keeps Me On My Toes At 2!! Much Happiness To You & Your Family. Jhadin

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  3. You motivate me :) Thanks! And love, love, love that last part!!

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  4. Everything my boyfriend tells me about exercising and running makes me want to get up and do it, but your post is making me get up and do it. Even at 4 in the morning...I'm not sleeping anyways.

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    1. Just finished day 1...my legs are jello right now, and I know I'll hurt later, but I just keep rereading your post, and I know it'll all be worth it. So thank you in advance for that!

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    2. you are awesome!! 4 in the morning!! keep doing it! it gets easier and more addicting the more days do you it. keep me updated, i want to hear how you're doing with it. xox Meghann

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  5. You're really making me want to take up running!

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    1. you should! it's addicting after awhile - and i'm so unathletic!

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  6. I am starting couch to 5k as soon as my foot stress fracture heals! I have done it before and it IS fabuous!!
    Good for you!

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  7. That's awesome! All weekend long I was thinking about starting the C25k program again. I'm going to do it. Thanks for the push!

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  8. Well done Meghann, you look fantastic! I tried a very similar exercise programme, using the run for 1 walk for 2 etc technique. I, like you, found it so hard to breathe at the beginning and felt really silly when I saw how easy everyone else made it look. I did eventually get to the run for 10 minute stage, which I was so proud of...but then I got a cold which completely flattened me for a week and when I went back to running I was right back to square one and it was soooo disheartening! I'm so pleased you're starting to find it easier and that you're enjoying it too. It feels so much better when you don't find every step such a struggle. I think i'll come back and read this again when this next baby is born and it will give me the motivation I need to give it another go myself!

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    1. thanks! i'm scared of something getting in my way (like the summer heat) and having to start from square one again too! but i guess you can only take it a day at a time. you should start again :) i really love it.

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  9. Way to go Meghann! I hope you'll post more about your exercise. I love that you're so beautiful and yet so humble and you are clearly inspiring many people. I also love your blog because I'm a super proud Mommy of a 20 month old and I find that you put my feelings into words very often. The last part of your blog almost made me teary. I want to make my son proud too.

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    1. Thanks Rebecca!! I'm really happy that you can find a lot of similarities by reading my blog. You should do the couch to 5k, too! I found that once I made the solid decision to do it, I've been really committed.

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  10. Thank you for writing this (and in such perfect timing!). I started the Couch 2 5K program a few days ago and so far it is kicking my butt. My knees ache badly (I guess because they are weak?) and it hurts to breathe if I run for more than 90 seconds. Since you say that it does get better with time, you have motivated me to stick with it! I also want to lose that very last bit of baby belly pudge, and I want to enjoy running, like so many people do. Your blog has always been so inspirational and relevant!

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    1. i read a lot about the knee thing, because I thought I wouldn't be able to run anymore, and it was such a sharp pain! - people say it's your shoes or because your leg muscles aren't strong enough yet. I really didn't see it ever going away, and then after a week, it was just gone. One thing I did find was that once the endorphins kicked in during the exercise (after about 13 minutes for me), I mostly forgot about the knee pain.
      And for the breathing, try concentrating on breathing down like I mentioned in my blog. It helps. And before you know it, you'll be breathing normally just like the rest of the runners (that started for me at about week 5). i think being able to breathe while I run is the accomplishment i'm most proud of, i never thought that could happen for me. :)
      keep me updated!! xo

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  11. Meghann!!!! Thank you so much!! I started the first day today and it kicked my butt, but I just thought about you and how you said it gets better and pushed myself. I found myself praying to God for some strength during one of the runs, little did I know that I had reached the last run and when that wonderful voice told me start the cool down walk I was so happy! Thank you so much inspiring me! I'm going to start blogging about the C25K as an accountability partner and got two of my friends to do it with me. Again, thank you so much!! xoxo Jessica

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    1. miboindustries.blogspot.com :)

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