Tuesday, June 19, 2012

Me? Exercise?!

I'm not an athletic person...I never have been.  I have never been one to exercise, run, or even really walk for that matter.  When I lived in Raleigh my roommates and I would take the occasional walk around the neighborhood and we would often walk downtown to go out, listen to a band, or get something to eat.  Lots of my friends would go for a run from time to time but me...never.  In high school I did take a weight lifting class that I enjoyed but I never followed through after the class ended.  In college I took my required PE's and somehow managed to get through tennis, badminton, an exercise class, and (this is how bad I am) one more class that I don't even remember! 

When I was younger (I'm quickly approaching the ripe old age of 31 next month) it never occurred to me to exercise for my health.  I've never had a weight problem so I didn't think it was something that I needed to worry about.  I didn't really like getting sweaty and out of breath, and quite honestly exercising just wasn't something that I wanted to do.  I, however, LOVE to eat...and I eat a lot.  I wouldn't say I'm a junk food eater or someone that eats super healthy.  I try to make healthier choices when I can but I also pretty much eat what I want.  My mom has told me my whole life that my big appetite was going to catch up with me when I got older.  Well I have to say she was right.  Something happened at the end of my 20's and while I'm not overweight, I don't think I can eat quite like I used to and keep the weight from adding up.  I started to see numbers on the scale that I had never seen before...not HUGE numbers but they seemed a little high to me!  You would think that maybe this would have caused me to start exercising but it didn't.  I did buy Jillian Michael's 30 Day Shred video and I was pretty diligent about working out for a few months but it eventually wore off and figuring 5 extra pounds wasn't anything to get worked up about, I went back to my non-active self.  I had an ex-boyfriend tell me one time that he thought if it ever came down to me being fat or having to exercise he thought I would just deal with being overweight.  Boy did he underestimate my vanity!

Fast forward to around February 2011 when I found out I was pregnant with Kellan, I began exercising on Michael's elliptical for an hour EVERYDAY.  I did not skip a single day unless there was some kind of serious emergency or we were out of town.  If we had a particularly busy day and I did not get home until late, there were lots of nights that I was walking on the elliptical at 11 pm or even 12 am.  Poor Michael, there were many nights that I was on the elliptical and he was trying to sleep.  If I'm completely honest I can't say that part of the reason that I was so diligently exercising did not have something to do with the fear of the weight gain that comes with pregnancy.  I kept hearing so many women's stories about gaining 60-80 pounds...some even more!!  This terrified me to no end.  I, of course, read every magazine, book, and website that I could find that had any information on healthy pregnancies.  Every resource that I read said for my age, weight, and height, I NEEDED to gain 25-35 pounds to have a healthy baby (this was on average, I'm sure lots of people gain less, some more).  This was understandable but the way my appetite skyrocketed I just knew I was going to be one of those 80 pound gainers.  Gaining the weight while pregnant wasn't really my fear.  It was the thought of trying to work all of that extra weight off with a new baby to take care of!  My stomach was growling ALL THE TIME and I felt like I was continuously eating.  I tried to eat healthy as much as I could and I knew this ongoing hunger was my body's way of telling me that I needed a constant source of nutrition for this growing baby...so I ate...A LOT.  So yes...keeping weight gain in check was one reason that this non-exercising girl began running on the elliptical everyday.

While gaining an astronomical amount of weight did scare me, nothing scared me more than the thought of the pain of labor.  When I say it terrified me, that is a vast understatement.  I worried about labor more than I have ever worried about anything in my life.  I tried to be rational and told myself over and over that it really couldn't be THAT bad since so many women have more than one child.  They certainly wouldn't go through it more than once if it was that terribly painful would they?  No matter how many ways I tried to calm myself, when it got right down to it I was scared to death.  I drug Michael to a series of Lamaze classes at our doctor's office and another set of birthing classes offered by the hospital.  He kept insisting that WE didn't need them and this whole birthing thing was all just common sense.  He told me more than once thta he had delivered a baby before.  I wanted to smack him.  Sure HE didn't need the classes.  HIS job was going to be to stand there and say encouraging things while I dealt with pushing this human being into the world.  I got to the point where I had to stop thinking about the labor part and just focus on the sweet little baby that was going to be ours.  I was still reading all of those same magazines, books, and websites about pregnancy searching for any information on how to make labor as comfortable as possible.  Everything that I read said that a mother that regularly exercises has a much easier labor and delivery.  So folks, FEAR OF PAIN is the real reason that I ran on that elliptical every night like my life depended on it.

How does that saying go?  God laughs when we make plans.  Well let me tell you, God must have been rolling on the floor laughing at me every night walking on that elliptical for an hour.  After all of that worry, I ended up gaining 25 pounds exactly and going into labor and having to have a c-section because Kellan was upside down trying to come out behind first.  I had pain (real pain) for all of 30 minutes, and that's being generous.  I definitely learned a huge lesson on worrying about things that you have no control over but that's a whole separate blog post. 

Since Kellan has been born I still walk on the elliptical regularly and try to mix things up a little and pull out my 30 day shred video from time to time...but its definitely not every day and not as if my life depended on it.  I've actually gotten to the point where I enjoy being active and for a while have been considering starting the Couch to 5k program (a 9 week walk/run schedule that gradually builds your body up to running an entire 5k) just to teach myself to run and to build up my endurance.  Last week when I was out to eat with some girl friends, a couple of them were talking about signing up for a 5k Color Run in Richmond in September.  I didn't say anything at the time but the more I thought about it the more interested I became in signing up myself.  This would give me the perfect opportunity to start the Couch to 5k program and have an incentive and a goal to work towards.  Not to mention this run looks like so much fun!  Take a look at their website http://thecolorrun.com/.  Running while getting sprayed with paint!  Who wouldn't want to do that?

So this week my training began.  So far I have really enjoyed it and I am still standing.  I have not passed out or had to crawl in the door once I made it back home.  Not to mention Kellan LOVES it!   He makes happy noises the whole time I'm running and leans forward in his seat.  I wish I could get a picture but I can't stop!

So excited!

 My first day I was starting to think someone was trying to tell me that I was most definitely NOT meant to be a runner.  Whenever I would start to run Kellan's front wheel of his stroller would shake so badly I really thought it was going to come off or the entire stroller was going to completely fall over.  My friend Lexi told me that I needed to lock the front wheel so that's what we did the second day.  This time the stroller wasn't shaking but pulling to the left so hard that it took all of my strength to keep it moving straight.  I finally had to stop in the middle of the road and wiggle and pull on the wheel until it finally popped into place and started behaving.  As if all of that wasn't enough when I was about halfway finished with my run, I look down and as I'm mid run, we pass a LIVE snake in the road.  Thank goodness we were moving to the left of him and I didn't roll right over him!

The next time we went out everything went smoothly and I was happy to find that my snake was no longer alive and had been pretty successfully smooshed.  The runs haven't been easy but definitely do-able and I'm looking forward to getting stronger and stronger.  I never ever in my life thought that I would sign up for a 5k of my own free will and actually enjoy training for it.  And its all thanks to being pregnant and an extreme worrier :)  I will have to remember to thank Kellan when he gets older.

This is my view while I'm running :)
Kellan and I after my run...I should add that I DETEST when people take pictures of themselves (especially in a mirror) but this was our only option of capturing this moment since we were the only ones home :)  And yes we have an enormous mirror hanging in our garage...its very fun to watch yourself pull up and drive off (so off topic)


  1. I bet once Kellan starts walking you will get more exercise than you thought! Good luck on your goal of the 5K. See you soon, Aunt Pam

    1. He's not even walking and I'm constantly running after him! After him this 5K is going to be a piece of cake ;) OK that's a joke!