Tag Archives: progress

The First Step is Always the Hardest

It’s been a while, little blog of mine. Life with an infant is … well … busy. And exhausting. It’s also thrilling. And beautiful. And educational. And exhausting. Oh, wait, I think I mentioned that one before.

Sleeping baby

(For all you people wondering, no, Dottie is not sleeping through the night yet. In fact, she quite enjoys her middle-of-the-night time where she gets Mom all to herself. I’m OK with it — for now — because the snuggles will only last so long.)

But, Mr. B and I are settling into a lovely routine. A lovely, family-oriented, we’re-getting-older routine. For the most part, we’re as happy hanging out on the floor or on the front lawn with Dottie Lou and Piper as we are going out in public (where it’s so loud!).

Family Time

Mr. B and I did manage to steal a few minutes for breakfast together without Dottie Lou this morning, and it was quite lovely to reconnect over bacon, coffee and kitschy décor.

We’re also each managing to settle into our own routines — with work, volunteering and even squeezing in a little “for me” time along the way. Mr. B fills his free time with fly fishing and getting out for a run now and again. I’m having a little bit of a harder time finding time for me where I’m not worried about Dottie or work or family things. And I still struggle with balancing all of the demands in my life: work, family, friends, volunteering, leisure. It’s a daily struggle. But the balance is getting easier.

In fact, I’ve recently started running again as part of my “me” time. Though, my running is more like really fast walking with some bursts of “speed” for a few minutes at a time. And, yes, sometimes I look at where I’ve been and how much endurance I’ve lost. (My body feels fine while running — and even after — but I can tell my cardio’s got a long way to go.)

I haven’t run-run in a long time. At least nothing regular. I ran and worked out through most of my pregnancy with Penelope Joy — until the doctors told me to take it easy. And then she died. And I was sad. Really sad. And it was winter. And my grief did a really good job of convincing my body that I wasn’t ready to run — “just not yet.” And so, I took a lot of months off. To just be sad and miss my baby girl. Because I was broken, and that’s what I needed to do in that time.

And then, I started running again that following spring. Slowly. Surely. Until May, when I found out I was pregnant with Dottie Lou. And after everything we went through with Penelope Joy, I was terrified of running. And, so, I stopped pretty much in my tracks. No running while I was pregnant with Dottie Lou. Just walking. Slowly. And a little stretching now and again.

(Because no matter what the doctors or the websites or the experts say, a part of me will probably always blame myself for what happened to her — even though that’s most likely the furthest thing from the truth. And I was so very determined not to jostle or jiggle or bounce or startle Dottie Lou unnecessarily while she was still inside of me.)

But, it’s time now. It’s time to get back on my feet and rediscover the love I once had for running. And I did — boy, did I love it. In the rain. In the snow. In the sun. In the shade. No matter what, it brought a smile to my face. I think it’s because it was all about me and the open trail.

I’ve been testing the water with a few run/walks lately. And it’s hard. It’s hard to put one foot in front of the other for a 14-minute mile when I know it was just a couple of years ago that I was running a 6:30 mile (I mean, just once, but still …). But I can feel it coming back — that joy that running brought into my life. And the completeness it made me feel.

This time I’m determined not to get faster and faster (and thinner and thinner). Rather, I want to run for the pure joy of it. Running, like writing, is my outlet and my way to process so many things going on in my life. And, boy, is there a lot to process these days!

(On that note, as I was running this morning, my desire to write started coming back. So, hopefully — if Dottie cooperates — you’ll see me back here once a week or so.)

I can’t promise the process of finding my running legs again won’t frustrate me, and I am going to try to look forward instead of looking backward. And I’m going to try so hard to remember that there’s only one way to run, and that’s one foot in front of the other. Even though that first step is the hardest … every single time.

The first step truly is the hardest.

The first step truly is the hardest.

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Stuff and Things

A roundup of randamity. Also known as the randomness of what’s been going on in my life and what’s been floating around in my head:

  • I ran a hole in my favorite pair of running shoes. Sadly, my go-to running store didn’t have any in my size (not my favorite shoe, not any shoe). After way too many emotions about a pair of shoes, I tracked down one pair in the city. Unfortunately, the colors are … well … they speak for themselves:
New shoes

Love the shoes. Don’t love the colors.

  • My favorite springtime running jacket — from my first half marathon (in 2011) — no longer fits comfortably over a growing Baby B belly and, mostly, growing Baby B boobs. I zipped it up Saturday and could barely breathe; there was NO WAY I was going to be able to run in it:
Running jacket not fitting

I am the most sad about this jacket (temporarily) not fitting me. (Apparently the mirror needs cleaning — please ignore.)

  • This weekend, I was due for nine miles as part of my Gazelle Girl Half Marathon training. I was really hoping to get in 10 miles, though — knowing that I could get in 10 at least a couple of times between now and April 13 would leave me feeling more comfortable about the race run. Well, Mr. B wanted to go for a run Saturday morning. Always happy to oblige, I said “of course!” And we went out for two miles together. After he left for work, I laced up the new shoes and headed out for my planned training run. I got in my 10 miles. But, it wasn’t pretty. The first eight miles were good. I felt good — mentally and physically. But at about 8.5, everything started hurting. And my IT band gave me the first fit it’s ever given me since I started running. It was horrible pain. But I limped/ran/jogged/walked through my last 1.5 miles to make it to 10. Only when I was driving home did it hit me that I’d actually run 12 miles Saturday. No wonder it was so hard on my legs: it’s been a long, long time since I’ve run that much in one day. I’m proud of my 10 miles. Slow and painful as it was (for me), I’m proud of that run. Because I finished it. For me and the little one:
on my run

A smile at mile 7. Before everything started screaming.

  • I am blessed with the most wonderful husband. He’s kind, compassionate, generous and loving. And he puts up with a lot of emotions from me (which have only been made more “interesting” lately). But, best of all? He gives the best IT band massage in all the land. It hurts oh-so bad. He doesn’t even get mad at me when I  accidentally smack at him when it hurts too much. He’s so much better than my foam roller.
  • This weekend Mr. B and I head north to spend Easter with my family. I’m so very much looking forward to it. I’ve been feeling homesick lately — a feeling I’m thinking is only going to get worse as the pregnancy continues. (It’s SO WEIRD going through all of this without my mom by my side.) There will be lots of family time and lots of yummy food. And Son-Rise Service at my mom’s church. I’m not an overly churchy person, but there is just something about Easter that I’ve always enjoyed. My favorite songs are Easter songs. Especially these ones:
  • Since I’ve told people that Mr. B and I are expecting a darling Baby B, I’ve had a lot of interesting reactions. While the reactions have been mostly happy and excited, I’ve heard my fair share of “Wow! You work fast!” — as if our family planning decisions are anyone’s business but our own. It’s quite bothersome that anyone would want to steal one tiny ounce of the joy and over-the-moon excitement that Mr. B and I are feeling. Letting it roll off my skin feels so good. Because we couldn’t love this baby more. And, like our entire love story, Baby B is happening at exactly the right time — for us.
  • I’ve also had several people wonder about how I feel about pregnancy weight gain. “After all that hard work you put in to lose weight, you’re just going to gain it all back.” That’s the most ridiculous statement I’ve ever heard because:
    • Part of the reason I wanted to lose weight and get healthy was so that I’d be able to have a baby (or babies) some day. Because I wanted a healthy pregnancy and to give my child the best possible start he/she could have.
    • I lost 100 pounds. I’m pretty sure I’m not going to gain back 100 pounds during this pregnancy.
    • Getting my life in order, taking care of myself, eating right and losing weight has given me all of the tools I need to take care of myself before, during AND after this pregnancy. For me and my family.
    • Whatever weight I’ll gain because of this baby is weight I’m happy to carry. Because I’m growing an actual human being. And I am proud of what my body is doing for this baby.
    • My weight gain (or lack thereof) during this pregnancy is no one’s business by mine, my husband’s and my doctor’s. Trust me, I’m all over it. I do enough worrying for all of us.
  • My tiredness is starting to fade. Instead of “needing” a nap every day when I get home from work, I’m operating on just two or three naps a week. Sadly, the bazillion trips to the bathroom a day are not waning. I drink a lot of water, so I’ve always been a frequent flier to the bathroom. But this? It’s ridiculous.
  • I am already so very much in love with this baby.
  • Some days, at the end of the day, when all is quiet and life is calm, I find myself just sitting on the couch thinking about my life. Full of disbelief that this really is my life. Married to my best friend — and the best person I’ve ever had the pleasure to know (not to mention lucky enough to get to spend my life with). Expecting our first child. Working in a job I love that teaches me something new every day. Surrounded by family who are friends and friends who are family — people who want the best for me, who bring out the best in me. Even on the worst of days, my life is blessed so big. And I am so humbly and unbelievably grateful.

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Better Than I Used to Be

As I was running (a very tough, dragging-on-too-long-for-as-short-as-it-was run) along the path that runs along the freeway the other day, I looked up to see the following on a billboard:

“You’re in front of the person behind you. Stay there.”

It’s for a nearby university. But it’s fitting for fitness, too. Particularly for those who may be just starting out on the path to reaching their fitness goals. (Whispery aside: Or those who need a reminder of how far they’ve come — no matter what their disordered thinking has them believing. I’m looking at you, Mrs. B.)

You see, contrary to what the sign is saying, it’s not always about where you are in relation to the other people around you. It’s about where you are in relation to yourself.

Then and now

Who I am is who I was, but that’s only part of the story. Cuz I’m more than that, too. And my story is far from over.

Every step you take is one in the right direction. Whether it’s a fast step or a slow step, you’re still in front of the version of yourself who would otherwise still be sitting on the couch.

“I ain’t as good as I’m gonna get, but I’m better than I used to be.” ~Tim McGraw, “Better Than I Used to Be”

I think people — myself sometimes included — believe they have to be perfect to be fit. They have to be a fast runner to be a runner. Or a long-distance cyclist to be a cyclist. Or a race winner to be a race runner. Or a … well, you get the picture.

It doesn’t help that there are judgy people out there that look at you and say (all rude-like with a case of the side-eye), “Um, there’s no way you’re a runner.” (Yes, this happened.)

You’re not going to get it perfect right out the door. You’re probably going to be slower than some people (you’ll be faster than some, too). You’re probably going to have more soreness in the beginning than you anticipated. But look at what you’re doing! You’re walking a mile when normally you would have driven; you’re running for 5 minutes straight when that used to be a thing of dreams; you’re swimming two laps when you used to just dangle your feet; you lost “only” 1 pound when before you just maintained.

And don’t get me wrong, there will be setbacks. Everything in life has setbacks. Even the biggest steps forward. And there will be days you’re slower than you “should” be or can’t run as far as you “should.”

Case in point: When I stepped back into intensive training in December, I was regularly hitting sub 8:30 miles for runs up to five miles. Today? I’m lucky if I can squeak out an 11-minute mile for a two-mile run. Thank the bronchitis and a lot of travel in the month of January and a couple of other health issues that popped up. A month of off-and-on running due to situations out of my control has taken its toll. And, quite frankly, it’s pissing me off. I want to be back where I was in December. But, I have to listen to my body and take care of it when it needs rest — because I need it to go the distance (figuratively and literally). I’m fighting my way back slowly. It’s frustrating that it can’t happen overnight. It can’t, right?

So, I’m having to take another look at my training schedule and my plan. I probably won’t be hitting that half-marathon PR I was hoping for in April. And the half marathon immediately followed by the 25k in May? We’ll have to see how training goes.

But the setbacks won’t make me quit. In fact, they’ll make me push myself harder — within reason. Because I am a stronger version of myself than I was before. In that time when a setback would send me back to the sidelines.

Because I want to stay in front of that person behind me,
that version of me in my past.

So, if you’re like me and you need to hear it (over and over and over again), I’ll share the pep talk I’ve been having to give myself lately:

Breathe. Don’t be so hard on yourself. Do the best you can in the situation you’re in now. And remember — you are far ahead of that version of yourself sitting on the sidelines. Lace up your shoes, and get out there. One step is better than no step. And if you can get two in, do it.

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Practicing Self Love

As Jan. 1 (FAST!) approaches, talk of New Year’s resolutions are everywhere: news reports, magazine covers, Facebook feeds, blog posts … you name it. But you won’t really see me talk about them here.

I don’t do New Year’s resolutions. Haven’t really ever, and I don’t plan on doing any this year. They don’t work for me. I’m of the opinion that every day is the start to a “new year” — every minute, really. FOR ME, goals that are worth setting are worth starting right now.*

That being said, Mr. B and I have set a list of things we want to do in 2013. They range from adventures we want to have to foods we want to taste. (I have a feeling, based on this list, that 2013 is going to be life changing.)

There’s also something I have started to be more cognizant of in the recent past — and something I plan to continue to work on in the coming year.

Confession time:

Sometimes, I’m not kind to myself. I say things that aren’t nice, productive or helpful. And I put A LOT of pressure on myself for perfection — perfection I know doesn’t even exist. (Set yourself up for failure, much, Kimi B?)

So, lately, I’ve been trying to be nicer to myself by:

  • Not saying mean things about myself when I’m alone or when I’m with other people — even if it’s meant completely jokingly (It’s hard some days.)
  • Letting Mr. B touch my bare belly (Admittedly, it’s sweet, and I kinda like it.)
  • Going a little easy on myself and not fretting about an unexpected rest day
  • Actually taking rest days
  • Making “me” time that isn’t filled with “STUFF” or lists — even if it means the dishes sit in the sink for a little longer than I’d like, or the laundry remains unwashed for one more day (Reading for fun, warm bubble baths and giant sweatpants have found their way back into my life.)
  • Accepting compliments (Always a weak spot, I’m working on it.)
  • Recognizing that it’s OK to want to be complimented on things other than my brains or my sense of humor
  • Taking time to appreciate how far I’ve come and the gifts I’ve given myself over the years: education, health, wellness, adventure …

So, while I don’t do New Year’s resolutions, I do recognize that I can resolve to be nicer to myself every day of every year — including on Jan. 1.

“If someone in your life talked to you the way you talk to yourself, you would have left them long ago.” ~Carla Gordon

*Please realize that I know setting New Year’s resolutions does work for some people. And if that’s what gets someone to work toward their goals, I say “bravo!” But, it just doesn’t work for me. I know; I’ve tried.

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A Letter

As we sit down to celebrate Christmas with our family and friends, I’d like to share a quick note to those who are already looking ahead to 2013 with hopes of taking control of their health and fitness — once and for all.

Dear New Year Newbie,

Welcome! I know this was a big, scary step for you to take after all these years of saying “tomorrow’s the day.” I know because I’ve been there. It wasn’t the new year when I took that first step in to the gym. But, for me — like for you, it was a brand-new start.

I’ve walked in your shoes, and I know that it can be hard to take that step, wondering what those other people must think of you when you walk through that door. But, don’t be too scared. Most people in the gym are there for the same reason: To take control of their health and to reap the benefits of exercise.

Now, you may hear people bemoaning the presence of the “Resolutionists.” I won’t lie to you: it’s true that some people will roll their eyes or make snide comments about your presence in the gym, knowing that many who “start fresh” on Jan. 1 don’t last through February.

But, I also promise you: it’s not everyone. Some people will welcome you to the gym and provide encouragement and advice (sometimes unsolicited). A majority, though, will go about their business, lifting weights, running on the treadmill or punching the heavy bag. They probably won’t even know you’re there. Because when they’re in the gym, they are there to do work — and, truthfully, they don’t care what anyone else is doing.

That last type? That’s me.

I go to the gym to get stuff done. Don’t be offended it I don’t make chit chat or approach you and say hello. Granted, if we make eye contact, I’ll absolutely smile and say “hi.” And, if you come up to me with a question, I’ll take out my headphones and answer. (OK, if I see someone looking really lost, I’ll ask them if they need help.)

I do know it’s scary to go to the gym alone because you’re afraid everyone’s looking at you, judging you. Rest assured, they’re not. Most people are like me: They want to get a good workout in, so they’re really not judging (or even noticing) the other people who walk through the door.

But, I do offer a few words of advice to make your first days in the gym a little smoother:

  • Learn the gym’s rules. If there’s a 30-minute limit to the cardio equipment, observe it. If you have to pre-register for a spin bike, do so. If there are certain lockers reserved for specific members, don’t use them.
  • Learn the “culture” of your gym. There’s a certain cycle/personality of every gym at different times of the day. For instance, I’ve learned that I’d rather lift in the morning because that’s when people are less chatty and more business when it comes to the gym. And I seldom have to push through a crowd of gossiping guys (and, yes, at my gym, it’s always the guys) to get to the weight bench. It may take time to really figure out the pulse of your gym, but you’ll be glad you did.
  • Use common courtesy. Don’t stand around blocking equipment while you’re chatting or resting or (for whatever reason) texting/gabbing on the phone. Be aware that there are other people in the gym, too. And be respectful. Oh, yeah, please (dear, God, please) wipe down the equipment after you use it.
  • Take advantage of the gym’s resources. Many gyms offer information, get-to-know-the-gym sessions, classes and nutrition resources that will help you reach your goals. What’s even better? Most of it is free.
  • Learn how to use the machines or weights or whatnot. If you don’t know how, ask. You’ll save yourself a lot of time — and injury. There is gym staff for a reason. And, if they’re not helpful, find another gym (if you can) where they are. Other gym-goers will most usually help when you ask them — as long as you do so courteously and appropriately.
  • Have confidence. Know that you’re there for one reason alone: you. And have faith in your own strengths and abilities. One thing about this new life you’re stepping into: You’ll quickly learn that you’re stronger than you ever imagined.
  • Forget them. Stop worrying about what other people in the gym are thinking about you and do what you know needs to be done. Once you get past that “ohmigoshwhataretheythinkingaboutme” hurdle, you’ll have a much more pleasant gym experience. Trust me. As soon as I realized no one really cared what I was doing in the gym (unless I was in their way), I stopped dreading the trip and started looking forward to it.
  • Don’t quit. You’re not going to be perfect at everything you attempt in the gym. I’ve failed at a lot — T2.5 often has to teach and reteach (and reteach) me how to do a lot of things. As someone who strives (STRIVES!) to be perfect in everything, this is hard for me. But, I grow so very much in the learning that it’s worth every failure when I finally succeed. So, please, please don’t give up. Love yourself to know — truly, deeply — that this is the best gift you could give yourself. And you are worth the work and the time and the money.

So, please, try not to be too nervous about the gym. I know that it can seem to be an intimidating place. But, once you get to know your gym, you’ll grow to love it and the feelings of empowerment and strength it can help you realize. And, if you ever doubt your strength — or your place in the gym — tell yourself, “I am worth this. I deserve this. I belong here.” Because you are, and you do.

I’m not an expert by any means, but I do know about my experiences (and my successes and my failures). And if you’d like to reach out and ask questions at any point along your journey, I’d love to answer them.

Love,

Kimi

P.S. I’m really proud of you for setting these goals and making this commitment to yourself. You deserve only the best, and I’m excited to see how far you can go!

NApolean New YEar

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30 Days of Thanks

There are a lot of times I can get caught up in the day-to-day and the tedious little things that take the shine out of my life. I think we all can. We let the not-so-great cast a shadow on the many, many blessings we all have in our lives. Like our sometimes-stinky-but-usually-snuggly-and-adorable cats. Or our family members who are ohmigoshsoannoying but mean well and love us very much. Or our jobs that bring added stress into our lives but still give us the opportunities to grow and learn and create and challenge ourselves every day.

If we spend time focusing on the little things in life that are SOOOOOO ANNOYING, we miss the big things in life that make every day worthy of a smile. Essentially, we’re just making it harder on ourselves.

I don’t want to live like that. I want to rediscover the joys of waking up on the right side of the bed because … well … I’m waking up and getting to live another day. Because I have love and joy and peace and hope in my life. Because there’s no way that every day can be that bad.

So, for me, tomorrow begins “30 Days of Thanksgiving.” My pledge is to spend some time each day in November reflecting on all of the blessings and love in my life.* Because my life is so full, and it’s important to me to remember that — to truly appreciate that. Actually, 30 days may not even be enough, but it’s a start.

Care to join me?

*This doesn’t mean I won’t have bad days. Because I will. We all will. But, if I can find the good among the bad, and work really hard to focus on that good and appreciate it, I’ll be in a better place. A happier place.

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I Still Have Lots to Say

Hello strangers! It’s been quite some time since I’ve actually written a legitimate, healthy lifestyle, fitness, running post. It’s coming. I promise. Sooner than later, I imagine, as my brain is full of things it wants to say.

I apologize that I’ve  been away so long — because I miss writing about my effort to live a happy, healthy life. But, you see, I’ve been a little bit busy over the past few months. You know … getting married! On Sept. 29, I married the love of my life during a sunrise wedding on my family’s cherry farm in northern Michigan. It was absolutely more perfect than I could have planned it.

The setting.

Yes, we literally skipped down the aisle after we were pronounced “Mr. and Mrs. B.”

Mr. and Mrs. B with our parents after the ceremony.

There will be more photos — and more posts — on the wedding blog in due time. But, needless to say, my mind’s been occupied with other matters over the past few months. Don’t get me wrong, I’ve been running. I’ve been eating (moderately) well. I’ve been lifting — but just enough to maintain my strength, not gain any, however.

But now it’s time to refocus and set some new goals for myself — and my husband (still getting used to saying this!) — as we start our happy, healthy life together.

Please stay tuned — I promise I’ll be back to my regular bloggy-blogger self in no time. I still have LOTS to say. And LOTS of goals to meet. And I’d love if you’d be along for the ride.

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