Hello? Hello? Is this thing on?
Oh hi there, remember me? Last time we met up here I had just
crossed crawled over the Boston Marathon finish line and was living the life in runner’s Narnia. It’s hard to believe that was almost two years ago now.
So where have I been since then? Well fast forward exactly one year later and I found myself sucking air during the BAA 5K, a complete 180 from my athletic feat the year before. When I woke up the next morning and went for another sluggish six miler I started to realize how sore my boobs were. Somewhere in the middle of the day I decided to take a pregnancy test. And on the morning of Christmas Eve….
Riley Parker entered our lives. 9 pounds, 4 ounces, hair for days, and eyes that could look right into your soul. It’s been almost three months since we met face to face and I every night as I rock him to sleep I look at every perfect little feature, amazed that he is mine.
I was blessed to have a relatively easy pregnancy physically, but mentally and emotionally it was a tough 40 weeks. After all my body had been through and achieved over the last four years the thought of undoing all of that while growing a human terrified me. And while I always knew I wanted to have kids, it took me some time to accept that I no longer had control over my own body. As a first time mom you don’t really look “pregnant” until the 6th or 7th month, but I could feel my body changing in small ways almost overnight. It constantly put me into panic mode. So at the end of my first trimester I made the executive decision that I no longer wanted to know how much weight I had gained, I only wanted to know if it was becoming a concern.
And so I ventured on. I ran until I was 28 weeks, completing 6 road races with my little buddy inside. I continued to strength train several times a week, and I was in the pool just two days before my water broke.
I ate, as conservatively as a pregnant girl often does; chicken became an enemy pretty early on, bagels were constantly on my mind, and my afternoon snacks consisted of peanut butter and fluff. I’ll admit I got pretty lenient towards the end, more lenient that I have been with myself in a very long time. I can very clearly remember parking my big belly on the couch the night before my due date with a bowl of peppermint stick ice cream (which in real life I don’t even LIKE!) and some holiday Joe Joes. “Eh, what does it matter at this point – I’ll deal with it once this baby is here”. Looking back now I can be honest with myself and say that I was eating to deal with how I was feeling about being 40 weeks pregnant, becoming a first time mom, and missing my active self. Old habits die hard. I’ve never considered myself thin, but looking at old race pictures made me realize how true it is that you don’t know what you have until it’s gone.
No one prepared me enough for just how foreign my body would feel those first few days after giving birth. My feet had ballooned due to all of the fluids I was given, my hips seemed wider, my boobs had reached porn star status (medium nursing tanks? THAT was a joke) and my stomach was a numb ball of putty. And to top it all off, I had this lovely Frankenstein-esque scar across my abdomen from ending up with a c-section. I remember comparing my body to the caterpillar in Alice in Wonderland. It was definitely hard to swallow what I saw in the mirror.
I gave myself the “I just had a baby” card and told myself I would deal with it after my 6 week checkup, when I was finally given the golden ticket to exercise again. To pass the time until then I spent Saturday mornings walking laps around the indoor track, cringing that I was still wearing my maternity workout pants and cursing the toned, athletic women running by. Was it just my imagination or was I once one of them? That girl who I had been just 9 months ago seemed like a very far off memory. And I continued on with my baby diet postpartum because, duh, breastfeeding.
A few nights before my doctors appointment I decided to bite the bullet and look at the damage. I sat down at my computer, clicked into my provider’s online portal… and there it was. I had to blink a few times just to make sure I was reading the right line and then my heart sunk and I started to cry. I had gained a total of 56 pounds from my last pre-pregnancy weight. I was almost back to my starting weight from years ago. The weight I swore I would never see again. My biggest fears of getting pregnant had come true.
And so here we are again, in a place all too familiar and yet completely different from 5 years ago. I thought it was easy to come up with 100 excuses in the past, but having a newborn gives you at least 150 of them. Part of me feels insanely embarrassed that I’m here again, but as I’ve realized in the past it’s better to just face the facts and get down to work.
In order to do that it’s time to pull out the old tricks from my bag: logging (does anyone remember my My Fitness Pal password?), monthly appointments with my RD/savior Andrea, and some good old fashioned Couch to 5K. Oh and you! In trying to figure out how I got there the first time I found myself pouring through old blog posts and reading over my entire story, from day one to the end. And I realized that yes, writing here helps keep me accountable. Even if no one is reading it. So I’m back in action. It may not be weekly (hell, I already am a day off from when I said I was going to write this), but my goal is to keep this up for as long as this journey continues… and let’s be honest it’s never ending for me. Now let’s go find the Half Ass Bad Ass and get her back.
Deep breath and here we go… again.
This week kicks off the official start of marathon training. So far I’ve run 3 miles and had a rest day, so I can’t say anything has been anything drastically different. There is however an excitement in the air which I’m hoping sticks around as long as possible.
Besides marathon training there was another note on the calendar for this week- I was supposed to reach my goal weight.
Say what again?
Yes you heard me. My goal weight.
Obviously things this fall got a little… chaotic. I got married. I took a break from training. I went to Hawaii for two weeks. I got a little careless. Actually to be quite honest I know I started getting careless over the summer, but I was chasing it with exercise which for the most part covered up my imperfections. And that is not a good habit, nor is it a healthy one.
It’s only a few pounds, but enough that matter to me. And from what I’ve been told and what I’ve been reading, marathon training is often accompanied by weight gain. I can’t imagine anything wore than achieving this crazy accomplishment and hating my body when I should be celebrating it.
It was shortly before we left for Hawaii that I acknowledged the slide and made a goal to be back at what I consider my “ideal” weight for Boston training. And so I started my 17 hour journey over the Pacific with the intention to be mindful. And I was for a few days. But eventually the Mai Tai’s and shaved ice got the best of me and I stopped worrying about it. I could start fresh when I got home. This would be easy.
And then it wasn’t easy. Things are different than they were two and a half years ago. I’m an active person. Back then my body was shocked that I was sweating from something other than walking to the train after work. These days my body thinks I can run 3 miles in my sleep. The first time around I was just trying to lose weight, now I’m trying to do it while training my body to run 26.2 miles. It’s both awesome and frustrating at the very same time. And the hardest part of it all? Admitting it. Putting this, and myself, out there is the worst part of it all because it feels like failure. I feel like I’ve learned nothing in the last two and a half years. I feel like I shouldn’t be allowed to stand here and say “Look at me, look at what I’ve overcome!” when clearly there’s still so much work to be done. It’s just one more reminder that this journey never ends, it just changes direction.