Sunday, August 10, 2014

Charles Street 12 and Feeling Good in My Own Skin

Yesterday I did a 12 mile race in Baltimore called the Charles Street 12. It was a bit humid, it was long, and I loved every minute of it.

This is me at the start. I even managed to knit a few rows on a sock before the race.

I haven't written about my post-baby return to an active an healthy lifestyle, but this has been a huge part of my life over the past 6 months.

Like most women who have had babies, my body was wrecked after the twins. Although a lot came off easily (mostly water weight) in the first few weeks, the rest stuck around for over a year. I was also nursing, and you can't run with infants until they can hold their heads up (about 6 months old) and my husband was commuting 4 hours a day. Oh, and add in a move in the middle of all that, and needless to say, my focus for a whole year was not on myself.

Then January came. I stopped nursing, I finally felt again that my body was my own again to do with it what I wanted, instead of what these two little creatures needed. I looked in the mirror, truly looked, for the first time in a long time. And here is what I realized: I wasn't happy with my body and it wasn't just the way I looked. I wasn't as active as I wanted to be, I was eating pure junk, and I didn't feel good about myself, even though I did feel good about what I had done. I had carried two beautiful children to 37 weeks, dealt with bedrest, gone through labor and surgery, nursed them almost exclusively for 6 months and partially for almost a year. Our bodies are pretty amazing, right?

I decided to change the way I was eating, and started running more again. I signed up for a half marathon in March. Races have always been a good motivator for me to get out and actually do the workout. I bought an elliptical for my basement so that I could workout over the winter even when the weather was bad and the roads were icy. I also used it to sneak in quick workouts after work. No excuses, even with kids. I pushed a double jogging stroller when I had to get a workout in. I have run 12 miles while pushing my daughter. This time to focus on myself has made me happier and healthier. I can't say my diet is perfect, but I at least started eating less. I lost a lot. 25 pounds actually. Other people noticed, which made me feel good. I bought some new clothes that fit my new, post-baby shape (because trust me ladies, even if you lose the weight, pregnancy changes things). I feel good in my own skin again. I weigh less than I have in years (even pre-baby).

I don't have any secrets for losing weight. Its really very simple and at the same time incredibly hard. Work out more, eat less. Its all about the calorie balance. Try to eat fruits and veggies. It's really not about what you eat, its about how much you eat (sorry organic and all natural folks, if you eat too much of even good foods, you will gain weight). Personally, I have to focus on both diet and exercise. One or the other alone isn't enough. Count everything (calories and exercise). There are some great apps out there that make this so easy. I like MyNetDiary, but I know many who use MyFitness Pal. It doesn't really matter which one you use, its about making yourself accountable for everything you eat, and giving yourself credit for the exercise you do while also making it clear in writing that you skipped a workout or over ate. I still have days or weeks where I struggle and eat too much, or don't make working out a priority, but overall, I am a much more active and healthy person.

I enjoyed this race. Moving is never an easy process, but my favorite way to explore a new city if by running it. You really get to know the character of a place on your own two feet. I was worried this race would be too warm (Maryland in August?) but actually it started early enough and at the beginning it was a bit overcast, so it was not really hot, just a bit humid. There are a few hills, but after the first few miles, it is mostly downhill, albeit a gently rolling kind of course. And the race swag (an Under Armour long sleeve that if I were to purchase outside of the race would have cost me almost my entire race fee) is hard to beat. So far the Baltimore race swag is pretty great. The Baltimore 10 Miler also has a great race premium. Its almost worth doing the race just for the running gear!

I will definitely look forward to this race again. The only negatives I will point out are that the start and finish being so far from each other is a bit of a pain for parking (they do offer a shuttle to the start though) and that there weren't that many spectators out, even once we got in the city.

I ran a good race, not my fastest time, but one I was very happy with, and getting out on a Saturday morning and running 12 miles with 2000 other people, priceless!



Lauryn said...

Love this Rachel! Feeling very similar thoughts right about now. Truly inspiring. Miss you!

SJ said...

Way to go! I'm really impressed by anyone who can run more than a few miles. I'm training to run my first 5K now, and it's hard, I won't lie. I'm still struggling to get past a little more than two miles, so I can't imagine running 12 or 13.

You are absolutely right about your body never being the same after pregnancy. It's good to know that if you treat it right, though, it can still perform for you!

Rachel Hausladen said...

SJ, stick with it. Running is very hard at the beginning. You lungs burn and legs feel like jelly. But if you keep doing it, one day you will go out and it will feel easy, and you will get lost in it. I use my running time to recenter my thoughts and refocus my mind. And its the best form of exercise I have ever found. Nothing else can give you such a great workout in 30 minutes or so!