Tuesday, May 12, 2009

I am beyond proud of myself.

I can run* for eight minutes without dry-heaving, fainting, or thinking that I'm going to die. This is such an accomplishment. Not only can I run for eight minutes, after two minutes of walking I can repeat the eight minute running/two minute walking pattern *twice*. Thirty straight minutes of exercise. And today, after I got done, I felt *good*. Not just "thank goodness I'm done", but really, really healthy and, you know, not ready to keel over.

An even bigger accomplishment? That I'm on week five of this program (found through one of my favorite homeschooling blogs). I have never stayed on an exercise program this long voluntarily. They used to make me try to climb ropes, dodge balls, and touch my toes in gradeschool. Pttthhhbt. Hated it. Never could do it.

I've never really been that motivated, though. I decided that I needed to do *something* to get my body feeling better after a long winter inside. I also have some excess weight around my middle that I wouldn't mind releasing. If only so that my daughter would quit asking if I have a baby in my uterus. I chanced onto the suggestion for this program right when I was looking for the right exercise. I'm so glad I didn't just start running aimlessly. For one thing, I have no idea where I would be right now. For another thing, I would have given up without clear guidelines and goals. So here I am.

The first week - two minutes running alternated with four minutes of walking - had me gasping for air. Dude, it sucked. And my puppy was lapping me. Many times. To be fair, he's still lapping me at eight minutes of running, but he's lapping me more slowly. I almost gave up about ten times in the first two minutes I ran, but one of my proudest accomplishments so far is that I have never yet stopped running in one of my 'run' segments. When I switched from five minutes to seven minutes, I almost did. You wouldn't think that that would be hard, and if you're a runner, you're laughing, but that nearly killed me. Even so, I just kept running until that beeper went off.

This last weekend, after I'd stuck with the program for four weeks, I went out and got myself a new sports bra. If I stick with this program for six weeks I'm buying myself some running shoes. You'd think I'd buy the shoes first and the bra second wouldn't you? If you did think that, you're not a woman. On one of the early morning runs, I ran without a bra. Luckily, I was on a back road so the sight of me keeping everything from bouncing around while running wasn't seen by anybody. My other runs have been in normal, everyday (read: nursing) bras. I needed a sports bra.

If I stick with it for eight weeks, I'm getting myself something to measure time (something besides my kitchen timer) and distance. If I stick with it for ten weeks I'm buying myself a sundae. With cherries. Or I'll get the sundae tomorrow. That sounds really good.

I started running in the evenings, using the back farm roads through the pastures around our house. It was really nice because the scenery was good and running out there meant that if I gave up, I would still have to get back to the house on my own two legs, so exercise (either running or walking - even crawling or rolling if necessary) was a given. 'Tis the reason I don't like treadmills. Too easy to give up on. Plus they're so boring, even with tv to watch while running. In high school I fell off of a treadmill because I was so bored. I think I fell asleep. I ended up at the end of the treadmill with the tread taking the hide off my outer thigh. I've never liked treadmills since, even if it was nice not having to shave that section of leg for a few months. Back to the present, the problem with this evening schedule was that with my husband's odd work hours I often ended up being asleep when he got home, with no chance to run that day, or awake but it being too dark for me to safely run on those rut-filled roads.

So I decided (morning person that I am) to run before he left for work. That didn't work out for two reasons. He has to leave so early that I would still be running in the dark. And I'm not a morning person.

My next plan was to run when my baby went down for his nap. He sleeps for about 45 minutes, so as soon as he went down for a nap, off I went, running circles around our property. It's not a big property, so that's a lot of circles, but my girls can play outside and watch me run past them every so often and stop me when they need something. They also join me on my walk portions which is nice. (And it kills me to see my 2 1/2 yr old spitfire running towards me when I start my walk portion with her little arms pumping on her little square body with her chin tucked down saying "I run, Momma, I run! Wait for me, Momma, I run with you!") The sheep and goats have gotten used to me and no longer follow me down the fenceline bellowing at me the whole time. The horses still frolic as I run past, but that's because it's spring-time and frolicking is required. So far, this plan has worked perfectly. Gray's never woken up while I've been gone, even with Hannah noisily checking on him for me. Having little ones to be accountable to (since I'm asked if I'm going running every time Gray even yawns) has also made me more determined to stay on track.

So wish me luck! The thought of being able to run for thirty minutes straight makes my head spin - will I really ever be able to do that? If I can finish this program - stick with it for ten weeks - I can't tell you how proud of myself I will be.

* please loosely interpret 'run' as 'moving faster than a walk' - I'm sure at some point I will actually be running (I think I got close tonight, actually), but for right now, 'run' is ... not so fast


handmadehomeschool said...

This such a wonderful post! So descriptive! The whole time I was doing the program I kept thinking "I could probably walk faster than this", but I was running and I was able to do it for 30 minutes at the end. My theory was first I'd learn to run, then I'd learn to go faster.

I love the third-last paragraph. The girls in the yard. The goats. The sleeping baby. I felt like I could see it all.

James & Jessi McCalvy said...

That is so wonderful! Kim & I trained for a 1/2 marathon (13.1 miles) one year. It took me almost 6 months to train for it because I started exactly like you - walk for a while, 'run' for a minute. I wish I'd kept at it after the race! I hope you have time to stretch after your 30 minutes - that was always my favorite part. I don't feel like I need to after riding the bike. I'll bet your daughters would help you stretch also!

Farmgirl_dk: said...

*I'm* proud of you and I don't even know you...well, not really. This is a huge milestone. My treadmill sits upstairs in the family room...gathering dust. I used to be a runner (my definition of running is similar to yours)...the thrill of meeting a goal is incredible, isn't it? Good for you for setting manageable ones and treating yourself along the way. You are very wise. I never got to the marathon part, but I did enjoy doing all the various 5Ks held around town. I was obsessed with all the event t-shirts I could collect along the way for a while. lol
And I have to tell you...for me, anyway, absolutely NOTHING burns calories faster. After a few weeks, I could practically feel the extra pounds falling off. Nothing like a good sweat. :-) (Yay, Sarah!!!)

country girl said...

Congratulations;everyone has to figure out what's right for them. We have a treadmill that the dog likes to sleep on.

Tuan's Princess said...

Wow! I too have never been able to stick with any type of excercise. Well - once I kept with pilates for one year. It felt great. Then I got preg w/ my first and haven't been able to get back into it.

Healing Green said...

Good for you -- I love the little rewards you've set for yourself. And your post was so well written, I feel like I've exercised enough for the month, ha ha :)

Christy said...

I HATE exercise! My son and I go swimming once a week, it is a good workout. I should probably do it twice a week.

Cindy said...

Way to go! Love your description and I was cracking up about you falling asleep on the treadmill.... the scraped leg and all. That is hilarious!

I've been doing some exercising on our Wii fit (because it's already too hot to do much outdoors) and can already feel the difference. Exercise releases some great endorphins huh?

Michael said...

Once you hit that 30 minutes, see if you can go farther! So far mine is 7 miles without stopping :D and that was the first day of track when I wasn't in shape yet! Also, in the realm of losing weight... running is probably second best. But for you, probably the best option :D Wrestling my freshman year had me drop about 15 pounds in a week or two. AND I've been known to lose around 2 pounds in a single practice. But... I'm pretty sure wrestling workouts aren't the best option for a mom with 3 kids. Good work Sarah! Keep those times going up!

Sarah said...

HH, thank you for your comment! It gives me a boost to keep doing this. When I'm heading up a slight incline and my legs are burning, I just repeat over and over to myself "Faster than a walk, girl, just go faster than a walk."

Jessi, I didn't know that! That is amazing. I can't even imagine running a full mile yet, much less THIRTEEN miles! I don't know any stretches - I'm learning this as I go - so you'll have to teach me some stretches at the reunion this year!

Danni, the first thing I thought when I read your comment was "But I do know you!" and then "Oh, wait, I guess I don't. Not really." Sadness. If I can just get to the point where I run a 5K ... Wow, that would be an achievement!

CountryGirl - You are so right. I've tried not exercising - which worked until I had baby #3 and ... it's not the weight gain, which has been minimal at this point, it's the feeling of "Ugh." Tiredness. Malaise. I had to do something to combat it. So far this has been working. If I had a treadmill it would be one of three things - a place for clothes to hang, a jungle gym, or a bookshelf. Or, to be honest, probably all of those at once.

TP, I remember when you were doing the pilates. Now it's not so easy - but you have the prenatal pilates right? And *so* much time to do it! ;)

Healing Green - lol Your comments never fail to make me smile or laugh. Thank you!

Christy, swimming is great exercise! I wish that were a feasible option around here. We used to swim at least twice a week when we lived near a pool.

Cindy, Yes! The release of endorphins is great. The night I wrote the post was the first one that I noticed them, though. All the other times I was just so glad to be done and still breathing.

Michael, I love it when you comment! I can't even imagine running seven miles with no training. Goodness gracious. And as to wrestling... Maybe I can talk Matt into it? Nah, I doubt it. lol

I'm going to take you up on your challenge though, and see if I can go farther than thirty minutes once I get that far. I would run with you at the reunion, but you'd leave me in the dust 15 seconds into the run. I tell you, I'm not fast. I ran six-tenths of a mile in eight minutes the other night. The only way I'd beat you back to camp is if you stopped to nap or eat lunch along the way. Tortoise and the hare.

Farmgirl_dk: said...

Isn't the blog world funny? I feel like I know your family so well, and yet...at the moment, I can't even remember what state you live in. LOL. I feel like I've been a small part of Hannah, Ainsley and Grayson's growing up...talk about sadness to realize I really haven't been. (Maybe some day, right?) ;-)

I totally had to laugh about the treadmill being a place to hang things on or store things on top of...my first thought was: But think of what great shots you'd get for Snapshot Sunday! ha ha ha

Michael said...

Sarah this week I want you to run a whole mile without stopping THIS WEEK. With the girls in my gym class that can do it (or fake it good enough for the coaches)... I'm sure you can. The question is... will you? Keep up the good work :D Oh and we don't do the mile in gym anymore, it's the mile and a half :D Maybe we can do a little race... 2 to 1? I'll do a mile and a half you do 3/4 of a mile. My best is 9:13 as of today so you better be able to beat that :D