I feel as though I've been in limbo for several months. I’m in limbo about what to say or not say on this blog…and workout limbo for sure - since the pregnancy and miscarriage. I’m cautious about how much to share – and keeping a lot to myself these days…which is hard. So here I am – after several weeks – trying to find a balance.
Let’s just start off by saying; my body is not where it was a year ago when we started this second round of really trying to get pregnant. (And yes – it’s been about a year.) I was working hard with a trainer, running regularly and staying pretty tight with my food journal. The pregnancy and miscarriage really threw me for a loop though. In the beginning, I was sure that I’d keep up with the trainer throughout my pregnancy – be one of those healthy moms I've seen working out right up to the very end. But losing the baby so early – made me pause. Did I push too hard? Was I working too much? Obviously I knew very early on that I was pregnant and my trainer did too – so she gave me the rules…heart rate monitoring etc. But I know…I very distinctly remember a couple workouts going past that rule…and having to pause for my heart rate to come back down.
The rational Emily is confident this didn't impact the pregnancy…that for whatever reason, that baby just wasn't meant to be. There were bigger issues at play, I’m sure. But the irrational, human Emily has spent more than just a little time questioning my actions – wondering if my strenuous activity played a role in losing the baby I had prayed for – for so many years.
And so I held back. After the end of the session – I didn’t sign back up with the trainer. I’ve been on my own ever since…but on the roller coaster road of trying to conceive every few weeks I’d take break and ease back on my intensity…just in case. I missed a lot of races – I didn’t train for any big ones – I was perpetually hoping that soon I’d be pregnant again and it wouldn’t matter. But as the weeks, and months, went by I felt like I needed to fill the baby gap with something else again. For me I think running, losing weight, getting healthy the past few years has helped fill a void in my life. It gave me a focus, a purpose if you will. If I couldn’t have a baby – I would run a ½ marathon. If I wasn’t going to be a mom – I was going to be in better shape than ever before. If we weren’t going to be parents – we’d travel and be active and look good. It definitely kept me preoccupied. But this last year, it’s been a struggle prioritizing those two focuses. At first I thought I could do both – but now I’m afraid…afraid to slip back to old unhealthy habits, afraid of scary numbers on the scale, afraid that all my hard work will be lost…afraid that at the end of all this – there won’t be a baby and my body will be a mess.
|Matt & I at the Red Flannel Run|
In February we agreed to take some time off the baby train – and re-evaluate our options. At the very last minute I agreed to run in the Red Flannel Run – a frigid 5K that Amy and I have participated in for several years (aside from last year when it was BELOW zero, by a lot). I wasn’t planning to go – but as the day approached I found myself longing to be there; to be a part of the crowd of runners – packed together in anxious excitement before the run, to feel the rush of adrenaline and accomplishment when I crossed the finish line, to post another memory in my running scrap book. And so I did it. It wasn’t my personal best – but I finished better than I had hoped at just over 33 minutes. Considering I hadn’t been running regularly for months, let alone in the freezing February temps – I was content. It felt good to be back out there again, amongst the would-be runners. Heading into March, I decided to train once more for a longer race – before we started up our baby plans again. I only had a few weeks, but decided to try and run in the inaugural Leprechaun Chase – a 10k. This would be the longest run for me in nearly a year and a half! I tried to convince Amy to run it with me – but in the end, it was just me.
|Finishing My 1st 10K|
It was nearly as cold on that race morning as it was for the February race…and I was nervous to run that far. I was on my own – looking for my own motivation to keep going. Our friends Brian and Emily graciously agreed to take Matt out to breakfast while I ran – so he didn’t have to sit out in the freezing temps for so long alone. They were snug and warm and enjoying each other’s company as I trudged along downtown Des Moines. About ½ way through the run I wondered what the heck I was doing. I wasn’t really prepared for 6.2 miles. I hadn’t trained long enough – having had so many weeks without regular running. I had been in Vegas with Gina and Jami for several days and that threw a wrench in my training as well…my body was definitely confused about what I was doing. But I pushed on. And at the end of the long run – were my friends, and my loving Matt…to cheer for me, hug me, and quickly load me up into a warm waiting car (and whisk me away for my free green beer at the St Patty’s day celebration!).
|Free Green Beer for the Lasses!|
I was so proud of myself – beating my goal time and coming in at 1 hour 12 mins. The old girl could still do it, and it felt good. I felt the familiar rush of accomplishment and happy fatigue. I had done it – proven to myself I still could… and I think confirmed to myself that I would again when this baby ride is over.
It seems silly to think about – maybe even a bit pessimistic – but I think of my running and personal training as a contingency plan. Should the baby plan not work out – I will be back in the gym as soon as possible. I will be working to regain my previous level of fitness and possibly shatter it. I know it won’t heal all the wounds, if I don’t end up becoming a mom…but in some small way – it helps.
|My 'Photo-Finish' at the Grand Blue Mile|
This week I ran the Grand Blue Mile with Amy – I should say, I started with her and then met her at the end (as we did at the Red Flannel). She’s been running regularly and training for her first ½ marathon and is in MUCH better running shape than me. I’ll admit – I feel pangs of jealousy from time to time – just wishing for that feeling of accomplishment again. But finishing the mile this week – after several weeks of not running yet again – I was glad I had done it. It was not my best time – but not my worst. I was pleased to finish in just over 10 minutes. But I accepted this would be my last race for a while.
It’s tough – when you’re competitive like me – I want to challenge myself to be more, do more. But for now, I’m trying to balance that feeling with the knowledge that this time it’s ok not to. This is the time to prepare for a baby and not another race. It’s tough – I won’t lie. Any formerly overweight person, I’m sure, can relate to insecurity and crazy fears that overnight it’s all going to pile back on…and that the world is going to notice and say ‘aha – I knew it wouldn’t last’. It’s so stupid what we do to ourselves. In the meantime, I’m looking to the future with hope and excitement. We’re hanging in there for now, and hoping that our baby dreams will come true soon…though I probably won’t say much more than that for a while on the subject – it feels right to be a little guarded right now.But I can say this, I can’t wait for the next chapter. And I hope above all hopes that it’s a year or so before I start up with my trainer again. In the meantime – I’m sure I can come up with other highly entertaining and engaging blog posts…so stay tuned!