I’ve been thinking a lot about taking care of myself physically since recovering from childbirth the second time around. It’s a painful SLOG to get back into shape. I get why some mamas never do it. When I realized that going on 20-30 minute slow jogs once or twice a week wasn’t going to cut it, I decided I needed to sign up for a half marathon: Not only to motivate myself out the door, but also to carve out that time for myself. When I run regularly, I drop weight, I sleep better, I have less stress, I’m happier, and — most importantly — I have much more patience for my little ones. Also, I age better. I want to be fit and spry when I’m an old woman and minimize inevitable pain I might encounter.
I’m now up to 9 miles for my long run — mostly through the desert. (One house I avoid since a little yipping dog chased me and bit my leg, yeah — that happened.) May 23 is the big day.
Also: Yogaglo? The best thing I’ve discovered online. Check it out. Your body will thank you for it.
At the beginning of the year, I decided one of my year-end goals was to do a pull-up. In the snowy, frigid months, A. and I were going to the climbing gym at least once a week. And I was really pathetic when I got on the pull-up bar. I would hang and grunt and kick my legs and A. would look at me and shake his head and smirk. One day in January, we went for a run in the park. There was a foot of snow on the ground, but we bounded through it to tree with a low-hanging branch. And I put my freezing hands on the bark and … nothing. I didn’t even budge. (Of course, A. proceeded to do about 10 of them.)
It’s been a busy summer, so I kind of forgot about my goal. Goal schmoal. It’s only a silly pull-up. Besides, A. and I haven’t been climbing together as much — twice in the last three months. We’ve been traveling on the weekends and swimming and playing tennis. On my own time, I’ve been biking and running and going to yoga.
But on Sunday, it was the melting kind of hot — too hot to be outside — so we went to the climbing gym. And after our arms were shot from climbing, I got on the pull-up bar and jumped up and pulled myself right up. I looked at A. wide-eyed. How did I do that? I jumped, I said. That’s why I could do it. That’s cheating.
Then, on Wednesday, I went for a 18-mile evening bike ride on the Capital Crescent Trail along the Potomac River, pumping and sweating and cruising in the 90 degree heat. At the end of my ride, I stopped at the pull-up bar in Rock Creek. I felt weak from hunger, but I wanted to try. So I grabbed the bar — and pulled myself right up. Right up. And I still can’t figure out what changed. Maybe the swimming has made me stronger? I know I’ve lost a few pounds, but did that really make that much difference? I just can’t believe I conquered my goal in such a roundabout way, without focusing on it.
Of course, now I’ve raised it to two. (Is this how Superman became a superhero? He just kept raising his goal? “Now I will lift a car!” “Now I will lift a building!”) My goal for the end of the year is to be able to do two consecutive pull-ups. (Heh.) Wish me luck.
I finished my first (sprint) triathlon in Brigantine, N.J., last weekend with B. She does it every year with her sister — and she doesn’t train. But her sister was on vacation in Italy, so I stood in as the loyal friend. I signed up three weeks ahead of time — and I didn’t train either. And, well, that was stupid.
So, the lessons learned: Training will make it less painful. Don’t swallow the salt water (I did). Positive self talk really does work (I said over and over again on the last two miles of the four-mile run: “I am a warrior, I am strong, I am an athlete.”) And having support (her parents were the pit crew), a quiet beach house to hang out at, and a big breakfast and coffee waiting are amazing incentives. Let’s do it next year, B.!
When I first started blogging (a year ago), I didn’t have the ability to post photos. I just realized that I now do!
My friend A. used to lease a horse in Portland, Ore., when she lived there. Now she gives tours at the Rock Creek Horse Center (I had no idea it existed). So I went on an hour ride two Sundays ago at dusk, when the leaves were still full of color. It was gorgeous and serene. Here’s me and my horse, Tank, just after the ride and before we fed them apples.
Well, that settles it. I’m in love.
I’m going to go buy myself a harness, some climbing shoes and a bag of chalk and I’m going to learn how to rock climb. I climbed three routes yesterday at Great Falls, a 5.5, a 5.6 and half of a 5.7 and it was scary and exhilarating all at once. And yes, I fell off the wall all three times and my — as S. calls it — belay slave caught me. But it was gorgeous and fun and an amazing personal challenge.
Also, I had no idea how sore my forearms, and hand muscles could get. And um, fingers? My fingers are sore. That’s just weird.