Making Time for Exercise

If you read anything on the internet about working moms, you will quickly see that the topic of finding time for exercise is a big one. Mothers who work outside the home have convinced themselves that using any of their precious time for themselves makes them a bad mother or wife. It’s an understandable feeling. I leave the house at 8am and return around 5:45pm. That leaves little time during the work week to spend with my family, especially when you factor in all of the tasks that have to be done during that time (getting ready for the day, dinner, bath, bedtime, laundry, etc.).

Finding time to exercise IS a challenge. But it’s not an impossible one. I manage two or three runs, a yoga class, and a ballet class each week. I usually end up exercising 4-5 days per week for anywhere from 30-90 minutes each time. This involves missing bedtimes, missing dinners, missing lazy weekend mornings at home, and missing netflix-on-the-couch time with Ben.

But I will not feel guilty about this.

Staying healthy is important. I can be a better mom if I stay healthy and I can show my son that it’s important to make time for health.

I am more than a mom, wife, and lawyer. I existed before I held any of these titles. I am also a woman, a runner, a dancer, a friend, a daughter, a reader, and so much more. Mothers should not be martyrs. Allowing myself an hour to be something other than a mom or a lawyer or a wife is important to me.

When I leave Evan to workout, I am leaving him with his father. You know, the other half of the parenting duo who is just as capable of putting E to bed as I am. The two of them survive. And even have fun.

When I workout during our adult evening hours, Ben gets a chance to be alone, too. He can be whatever he was before he was a father, husband, or teacher. He can watch House of Cards or soccer. He can study for his class. He can grade papers without me interrupting him every 2 minutes. Alone time is important for both of us.

Finally, I like it. It makes me feel good. It helps me clear my head and keep my sanity.

So this is why I will continue to make time during my busy week to exercise. Yes, it requires me to sacrifice time with my family (because choosing one thing always requires forfeiting another). But I will not feel guilty about it.

When I get back from a run, Evan likes to stretch with me.

4.97

I ran my first 8k on Sunday at the Gasparilla Distance Classic in Tampa. 4.97 miles. And it was fantastic.

I thought the whole thing might be disappointing. My training had not gone as smoothly as planned (I missed a bunch so I was walking a lot and barely able to keep up an 11-12 minute pace). My running buddy had to pull out the day before the race. It was foggy and humid as could be.

(That’s Bayshore. It’s 9am. You should get a nice view of the bay, as the name implies.)

But then I found a friend.

Put on my awesome playlist (turns out, there is no such thing as too much Vampire Weekend on a race day playlist).

And ran.

And ran. And ran.

I usually walk a bit during my runs, but I was feeling good and remembered some advice from my athletic trainer sister-in-law to only walk through water stations. You get a brief rest and you actually get to drink the water (and thank the volunteers). This worked great (until the last two miles where the organizers felt no water stations belonged). I was rocking a 10:17 average on my way out, but dropped to 10:40 by the end.

My goal was to finish in under an hour. I finished in 53 minutes and 3 seconds. So much better than I could have imagined.

Overall, I was one happy runner.

Bring on next month’s 10k.

Becoming a Runner…Again

I started running in 2010. I had tried running before but never stuck with it for more than a few weeks. But in the fall of 2010, I decided I was going to do a Couch to 5k program and in January 2011, I ran my first 5k (and I ran the whole thing). I joined a running group and ran a few more 5ks.

Then I got pregnant.

Between the morning sickness and the back pain, I had to give up running. But once I had the baby and I got the all clear to start running again from my midwife, I started training for a 5k again. It was like starting over from scratch since it had been nearly a year since I ran. But I was pretty disciplined and I started to get back to where I was.

Then I went back to work.

I couldn’t figure out how to fit running into my new working mom schedule. I started and stopped and started and stopped. I ran a couple races but I did them on little to no training. I finally started to get back into running in the fall.

Then we all got sick. Twice. And traveled. And the holidays.

So now, over 3 years since I first started running, I am starting over again. I am sure something will come up and I will want to quit again. But I am really trying to commit to three runs a week. I am following a training schedule for an 8k (5 miles) which is easy now but will be a challenge once I need to start running more than 3 miles. I am just as busy as always, and morning runs are impossible, but now that the days are getting a little longer I am hopeful I can get in some post-work runs during the week (or there is always the dreaded treadmill at the gym).

I am still calling myself a runner and I never stopped calling myself a runner. I may be inconsistent. I may be slow. I may need to walk sometimes. But I’m out there. Running as best I can.

So my question for all of  you is how do push through life’s inconveniences to keep running (or swimming or dancing or walking or whatever it is you do). Having a training plan/schedule works for me but I am interested in any other tricks you have to share.