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Saturday, June 1, 2013

Getting Stronger

In my excitement about the vegan challenge, I have neglected to talk about the other "thing" I have been working on, which is "getting stronger".  

Got this photo from Microsoft Word's Clip Art

I am out of shape and there is no need to sugar coat it.  In the last three to four years my pattern has been pregnant, nursing, pregnant, nursing.  During this phase of my life I didn't do nothing (walked and swam a little bit) but I am not strong. I am not in shape. I even had to go to physical therapy after the birth of both my youngest kids because my hips and shoulder were thrown "out of whack" by pregnancy.  I am not completely "let go," but I am not where I want to be in terms of strength and endurance and muscle tone.  I want to chase my kids and play basketball without being winded.  I want to get stronger so I can be the best mom I can be.  I wanted to be able to clean the house top to bottom and still have energy for my kids.  I want them to see strong, healthy parents as role models.

Last year when my cousin's son was 8-9 months old, she started doing the Couch to 5K program. She got in great shape.  I was jealous!  It wasn't "mad" jealous, but more of a "so happy for her and totally inspired" kind of jealous!  My other cousin who blogs her journey here , is also an inspiration.  She somehow finds time to work out multiple times a week and she has 2 small kids younger than mine!  Then, I also see these ladies Erin Sinar and Jessica Weiderhold, who are friends of mine from high school who are really strong!  So, while I am not trying to promote one program or another, I just wanted to share multiple sources of inspiration to show you that there is not ONE way to get in shape or get strong. I think you find something that #1 you like, and #2 that works for you long-term.

When I was in high school, college, etc, my main form of exercising has been primarily running.  I always defaulted to running.  It is portable (I can do it anywhere).  It is stress-relieving.  I really enjoy getting out in nature, soaking up some sun, and clearing my head with a nice long run.  I miss it.  I didn't realize how much I missed it until I started doing it again. 

When disaster struck on Patriot's Day in Boston (a couple days after my daughter turned 1), I started to really consider running again.  I have always had such respect for marathoners.  Committing to running so far and finishing is such a great achievement.  I had kind of always hoped someday I would have a chance to run one.   How could I run one when I can't even run a mile anymore?  Yuck, I couldn't even run a mile anymore.  Time for change.

So, while I made excuses for a couple more weeks I ran into another mom of a child in my son's class.  She was walking the track during our sons' soccer practice. She mentioned the Couch to 5K program. Hmm...time to look it up online since that is another person mentioning the same program.  I looked it up that night and started the next day.  The program only requires that I run 3 times a week.  Three times per week is totally doable!  It also starts reeeeally slow.  I needed reeeeally slow.  Baby steps man.  If I started too hard and got completely sore, then I wouldn't want to do it anymore.  I also did not want to re-injure my hip, shoulder or foot (long story with 6 weeks in a boot).  

It's 5 weeks later.  I just did a 20 minute run to finish out "Week 5" and it felt SO good.  I am so happy to be moving again.  I am less stressed and feeling much better.  I am hoping to get to the point where I can run 3-5 miles again without feeling like I am going to fall over.  I may even sign up to run a couple of local 5K races.  Running is step 1 in my journey to "getting stronger".  I am starting to think and pray on toning and muscle work too, but I haven't landed on anything.  When I do, I am sure I will share as I continue on my journey.  

So what do you love to do?  Rollerblading?  Bike riding?  Dancing?  Zumba?  If you like it, then you will stick with it!  Do something you like to do, a few times a week.  Start slow, but start.  You will love it, I promise.  And if you don't, then pick something else!

In love and exercise,
Nicole Harter

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