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Put Up or Shut Up

Sometimes you need to give yourself a little tough love.

I turned 30 this week. A brand new decade. A time to put my youth and wild party days behind me and finally become a mature adult.

dirt cakeWhich is why I celebrated with dirt cake…just like I have every year since I turned 7

Obviously kidding about that last part (not sure I ever had those days). I actually feel surprisingly okay with turning 30. While I am far from having my life completely together (does anyone ever?), I feel pretty good about where I am. And I certainly don’t feel any older…age is just a number, right?

But it’s sort of impossible to enter a new decade without doing any sort of reflection about the important things in life. And yes, I include running in that category — not just because I’m now officially in a more competitive age group. (yikes!)

For the past 5 months, I’ve sort of been waiting around for things to just magically fall into place. I even said that in an email the other day to Aron, the Runner Formerly Known as Runner’s Rambles (whose baby is only a week younger than Amelia and one of the cutest kids I have ever seen. I’m already negotiating the arranged marriage. You know, for when Amelia is finally allowed to marry at 30). I was lamenting (as I so often do) about how tough it has been to adjust to my new schedule, how it can be hard to fit in running, and how I can’t really fathom having the time to train right now.

I know there’s an adjustment period, but things will somehow all fall into place one day, right?

Stepping back, I realize how silly that notion is. Sure, in some way things have come together with time. I’ve gotten into a new routine, adjusted to being a mom and being back at work, and have even felt better on recent runs than I did when I first started back up. Eventually I’m sure I will get to the point where I don’t even remember what my old life was like.

I’m also making an effort to be patient with myself and focus instead on enjoying as much of this first year as I possibly can. It’s already going by so much faster than I had anticipated.

But the truth is — when it comes to training, things don’t just fall into place. Not really, anyway. Any runner who has trained for and run a PR effort knows that they didn’t just sit back for a few months and wait for everything to come together on race day. It takes work. It takes re-committing to your goal every single day. Putting in time and effort to achieve it.

This is something I’ve thought a lot about lately. For the past few months, I wasn’t sure if I was ready for that again. I’ve been wondering if I even wanted training to have a place in my new life, or if I just felt like it was something I should be doing because it has been a part of my life for so long. You all have been so patient and encouraging as I have tried to figure it all out (and sort of whined about the process on the blog).

There is absolutely nothing wrong with giving it up — whether the break is forever or just a few years. Babies are only babies for such a short time. It’s not something I ever want to sacrifice in the name of running. The loss just isn’t worth it.

But I’m finally at the point where I think I can manage both. As long as I focus on quality training and not quantity, I know I can put in the work to start getting back into shape again. I mentioned in my last post that the itch was back, and over the past couple of weeks it’s only gotten stronger. My mileage is still low, but I’m starting to see little glimmers of speed again. Just enough to make me crave it. To finally feel ready to work to achieve it.

I think I just needed time. My re-entry to postpartum running was not really the joyful, easy return I had envisioned. Things felt weird and off for so long. And the comeback is humbling. When you’re pregnant, it’s easy to slow down and hold back because you know you are doing important work growing a new life every day. But this in-between stage of no longer being pregnant but not really in any shape to push hard is just strange. It’s slow and awkward and clunky. And humbling. Did I mention how humbling it is to have to basically start from scratch again?

But that’s where I am. So it’s time to stop just talking about getting back into shape and actually do something about it. Time to put up or shut up, if you will. This post serves as my official declaration. My commitment to less talk, less over-analyzing and waffling and more action. Training begins now.

Garmin 405 v 220Shiny new toy!

To help, I’ve got a brand new training toy and an exciting race on the calendar — the 100 on 100 relay in August! This is a race I’ve wanted to do for a long time and I’m so excited that we finally have a team together. I’d also love to go back and defend my title at this trail race in July…and of course am still toying with the idea of a fall marathon. I don’t expect to be in PR shape by then, but since this November will mark 2 years since my last full, I think it would be a good idea to run one just to shake the rust off. We will see. The actual race I want to train for is still TBD. I may be ready to start putting in the work, but I still have some commitment issues.

Now who wants to come babysit Amelia?

Amelia_ready for summer


21 Responses to Put Up or Shut Up

  1. You will get back into it and you will ROCK it. Remember… 9 months in… 9 months out. Also another cliched statement that I find to be true is “slow and steady.” I’m not winning any races, but you can (and I know you will!).
    Michelle´s last post ..Marathon Complaining/Rambling

    • I like the slow and steady mentality. I’ve actually been trying to focus on a 1-year timeline…figure this year is for recovery and getting back into shape and then next year maybe I will rock it. 😉

  2. Another reason for you to move out to CA, I can babysit while you race and visa versa… problem solved!

    Also thank you for the pep talk in this post – since I am basically in the same place you are, I assume it is also directed at me 😉 – it’s a good reminder that running takes work and commitment no matter what stage of life you are at and no matter what your goals are.

    • That would be amazing! And no…not directed at you, but as always, glad we’re sort of in this together :)

  3. My daughter just turned 10 months yesterday and I ran my first race last Sunday since Dec of 2012 (I found out I was preggers right after I ran the Las Vegas Half) and I PRd by a full minute. I am not by any means a fast runner but I will take a 24:24 for being 10 months post baby.

    I will say that my schedule hasnt changed much since baby came. I normally did all of my running on my lunch break at work and still do. That way by the time I pick my daughter up and get home and get her fed, bathed, and ready for bed its almost 7PM and we havent even thought about dinner. Thinking about trying to work in a workout in in that time sounds exhausting.

    I give you major props for continuing trying to get the routine down. I think my biggest help was allowing myself to run when I wanted to run, which is most days. BUT, I have NOT put myself on a schedule or training schedule at all, I tried but life gets in the way, more so now that it ever has before.

    My husband even commented that he likes me better this way because before baby, I would make sure (no matter what, and no matter how I felt) I HAD to get my run in and the exact distance that was on my training plan and now, I dont care. I just run to hang out with friends, socialize, enjoy the weather, de-stress and to maintain fitness.

    Just enjoy this time. They dont stay little forever and I rather hang out with my daughter than try to fit in a run.

    You are doing great!!!

    • Congrats on the PR! That’s awesome! I’m hoping to get there someday, but trying to be patient with the process.

      I’ve actually been trying to run more on my lunch break at work for the same reasons you said above. It’s also a really nice way to break up the day. The only problem is that it often feels so rushed and I only have time for a few miles…but still better than trying to fit it in after she goes to bed at night!

      And I’m sure training is going to look a lot different than it did before. It already has. If nothing else, this is a good lesson in flexibility and learning to appreciate running simply for the joy of it again.

  4. Happy Birthday! I personally think the 30s are more fun.

    Nice post. I used to wait for things to ‘settle back down’too, but I realized that life is a series of changes and it’s all about how life adjusts to account for each one. I’ve grown to find that quality is the key for making workouts work for me, my schedule, and my family.
    EB @ Running on E´s last post ..Friday Five: New

  5. Happy Birthday!! I hope the 30s are an awesome decade for you.
    Caroline´s last post ..Friday Facts

  6. My son is 22 months old and I just did my first full since becoming pregnant with him. I totally know what you’re saying and it really about finding a new normal, accepting a new idea of what training looks like. For me, this meant long runs with the stroller which I’m completely crediting with a ten minute drop in my marathon pr. Now I’ve got to figure out what I need to do to drop the 28 seconds keeping me from Boston.
    Carlee´s last post ..How to Almost Qualify for Boston

    • Congrats on the PR!! I know it’s disappointing to ALMOST qualify for Boston but you’re so close! The good news is that you have 26 miles to make up that 28 seconds…you’ll get there!

      And if I do a fall marathon, I know training will look a lot different than it has in the past. Trying to embrace flexibility this training cycle, and looking forward to runs with the stroller this summer (even though I know it’ll be tough!).

  7. Oh and also, Hartford is a great fall marathon. I’m sure my mom and husband would watch both Amelia and Gregory while we run…
    Carlee´s last post ..How to Almost Qualify for Boston

  8. Happy birthday! This is really well written and articulates this transition so well! We have a 8 and 9 month old and I’ve struggled with schedules and fitting everything I want to in. Then I always feel as though once I figure it out and have a system that (mostly) works, the boys’ schedule changes again and I have to re-figure it out again. What helps me is to remember that if it is something that I really want, I’ll figure out how to fit it in and there have been times when running wasn’t as important and times when I do figure it out. It must be exciting to have races on your calendar!
    Beth @ RUNNING around my kitchen´s last post ..Five for Friday

  9. Just remember you don’t HAVE to plan it all out. And it’s supposed to be FUN. Yes, of course sometimes it takes a bunch of hard work to get to the place where it really feels fun, but maybe that’s part of the lesson? Redefining the fun :)

    It took me 18 months to get my act together after my first baby (he was colicky, I had a miscarriage and I also had 6 stepkids). Those first mojo-filled months were pretty awesome! I had national team notions knocking around my head again (rowing not running…though I’d been running a bunch before I got pregnant). Then I started feeling overly fatigued and told my training partner that I thought we were over-training (because I was super mature about such things by then…lol). A few days later I realized I was late…yep, #2. Redefining the fun :) Babies are fun :)

    You are such a great, thoughtful mother and runner (sorry, I can’t put those two jammed together without rolling my eyes and hashtagging it and snorting with laughter…so rude of me, I know). It will all fall into place. It will all make sense. And you will feel fast again :)

    Happy birthday :)
    MILF Runner´s last post ..How to celebrate. (aka Shameless Birthday Pimp/Attention Whore Post)

    • I solemnly swear to never use those two words together in a hashtag…despite the fact that I am now a mother who also happens to enjoy running. Otherwise I think my Twitter access should be revoked.

      Yes…definitely redefining the fun these days. And focusing on flexibility. All good things. :)

  10. slow, awkward, and clunky – yep, that’s pretty damn accurate. i’m still waiting to feel normal again.

    even though i can train for races this year my mileage might not be on par with what it has been in the past. taking care of a baby is exhausting and sleep ain’t what it used to be (with a monitor glaring you in the face) so, yes, quality over quantity is going to be key.
    kristy´s last post ..Broad Street Run (Race Recap)

  11. Okay put a baby in a romper and I’m mush! SO CUTE! Thank you for being honest in your journey, it’s so easy to see runners jump right back in and make it look it easy, and in my heart I know I will have a challenging postpartum running road ahead since it will (most likely) begin in the dead heat of summer!!! Heat is my arch nemesis. Excited to cheer you on! 😉
    kristin miller´s last post ..*End of* Pregnancy Favorite Things

  12. Firstly…Happy Birthday. I’m approaching the very end of my 30s but they have been by far the best decade of my life, so you’ve got so much to look forward to. Except, yes…the age group is super-competitive!

    Secondly….please can you use your magical superpowers to get Aron to start blogging again? I miss Runners Rambles.

    And then, yes it sounds like you’ve got your head straight about running. Push it a little, get your speed back, enjoy some races but don’t miss out on the baby years as they go like lightening. Try to enjoy every stage of the training. And NICE new watch!
    Cathryn´s last post ..Foggy Trails

  13. You’re going to have so much fun during the 100on100!! We loved it last year, and I would love to do it again sometime!
    Jamie @ couchtoironwoman´s last post ..Ironman Training Weeks 11-12

  14. I love dirt cake and I love your new watch!!!
    I love the perspective on this post :). Coming back to running after I had both of my girls was weird and hard (and I wasn’t even ding races at that time just leisure running :)). This might be TMI but I totally ember wetting my pants the first few runs back after each of my girls! I just could not hold it and I remember being so discouraged that I couldn’t even run 20 minutes without peeing :)! I can look back at it now and laugh because my kids are 10 and 12.
    It can be hard to balance…but do your best and go for it! Every run may not happen when or exactly like you plan…but just know that happens and go with it! :) love your blog!
    Jen @milesandblessings´s last post ..Zooma Annapolis 1/2 Marathon Re-cap!

  15. My 30s have been waaaaaay better than my 20s ever were and seeing as I’m 35 I feel like that’s a statement I can stand by. =)

    Oh, and when my boyfriend turned 36 in April I made him a dirt cake. He loved it. You’re never too old for dirt cake! =)
    Word Perv´s last post ..Six Hour Sunburn

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