Fitting in Fitness

RunningRight before I found out I was pregnant with my son, I ran the Kansas City Half Marathon. During the first couple of months of pregnancy, I continued to run until his head lodged low into my pelvis sending electric shocks between my legs. I resigned myself to the couch to eat tacos until the baby boy arrived.

Post-pregnancy, I was one of the lucky ones who lost my weight by breastfeeding and walking a colicky baby in circles around my house. I walked outside with my BOB stroller but the thought of serious exercise was just too much.

The energy it took to get myself to the gym in-between mountains of laundry, pumping, very few hours of sleep and keeping my marriage together just wasn’t possible. I wanted the confidence of my old body back but there were already too few hours in my day.

It wasn’t until Henry turned one and weaned that I was motivated to do more. I tried running with the jogging stroller but found that any sort of real distance or speed was impossible with an extra fifty pounds of resistance in front of me.

I resorted to 5 a.m. wake up calls, meeting my running partner before the sun rose. On weekends, I coordinated my marathon-training long runs with a supportive husband who took the boy while I ran as long as four hours.

After six months off due to a foot injury, I am having to relearn a routine. And it’s not easy.

During weekend naps, I run the first half of the nap and the hubs runs the second half. During the week, after work runs aren’t an option because dinner runs right into our bedtime routine; so, early morning, it is.

It’s easy to give up exercise; to let that be the thing that goes in a life of too much. But, when Henry sees me in my running clothes and yells out “mommy, RUN!” I know I am teaching him active, healthy habits through my actions.

Here are some tips I’ve learned along the way:

  • Work out in the morning. I lay out my clothes the night before. When my alarm goes off, the clothes are on and my feet are moving before I wake up enough to think of excuses.
  • Save money on gas and walk. We’re lucky enough to live in an area where we can walk to the library, the pharmacy and post office. So we walk. When I meet friends for coffee, we get it to go and walk.
  • Follow a plan. Whether it’s training for a race using a mileage plan or taking scheduled classes at the gym, having a plan each week and putting it on the calendar keeps me honest.
  • Invest in the accessories. Winter running clothes are ridiculously expensive. But having the right accessories meant I was confident I could still work out despite the plunging temperatures. Whether it’s a yoga mat, wool running socks or cute Zumba clothes, accessorize for success.

Running has become my escape. Without it, the laundry, dishes, and picking up buckets of toy cars seems too much. But running gives me time to do something just for me. And we all know, when mom is less crazy in the head, everybody wins. 🙂

Moms: What are your tips for fitting fitness into your day?

Sarah grew up in Manhattan, Kansas (Go Cats!), she moved to Minnesota where she met her husband, Shea. Realizing how much she hated snow in May, she convinced him to move to Kansas City in 2010. Together they have lived in Midtown, Waldo, the Plaza, and now Overland Park. Sarah is mom to 10-year-old, Henry, 7-year-old Clark and 5-year-old Lucy. She has her master’s in urban administration and is passionate about making Kansas City a more equitable and supportive community. In between the crazy, she likes to drink coffee, run, hike, travel as much as possible, and experience all things Kansas City!