Sunday, September 25, 2011

Looking for the Snooze Button on My Biological Clock

I wasn’t the girl that really loved babies and couldn’t wait until I kids. In fact, through most of my early twenties, I didn’t even know if I wanted kids. Once I met my husband, I realized I eventually wanted a family, but it was not urgent. I always hated when people would ask us when we were going to have children, because for me marriage is about so much more than just popping out kids.

Then all of a sudden, about a year after I got married, I woke up one morning wanted to have a baby. (In full disclosure, I wasn’t really excited about the whole pregnancy and labor thing, but I was ready for the baby.) It was like a switch just went off in my brain. While mentally I was ready, the timing of the alarm on my biological clock sucked. I was about a semester into my doctoral program, which would take me at least 3 years to complete, and living 1,200 miles away from my husband. Not really the best time to bring a child into the world.

Fast forward a couple of years; I left my doctoral program and am living with my husband. These are both steps in the right direction, but we are still not in the best position to start a family. I just started a new job and we are working to rebuild some of the savings we spent during the time we were apart. Plus, we would like to have some quality time together since we didn’t get much of that the past couple of years. Realistically, it will probably be almost a year before we can think about trying to have a baby.

The thing that makes this even harder for me is that between our close friends and family, about 9 or 10 babies have been born in the past couple of years. I also have two very close friends that recently found out they are pregnant. I am super happy for them, but can’t help being a little jealous, which I feel guilty about.

I really wish that I could find the snooze button for my biological clock. I am happy I finally get the baby thing, but I really wish I wasn’t reminded of what I can’t have right now every time I see a baby at the grocery store or a Facebook update full of baby pictures. Until it is our time, I will focus on preparing my body for getting pregnant and troll baby blogs now and then.

Tuesday, September 20, 2011

Facing My Fear of Commitment

I have a fear of commitment. Most people think of relationships when they think about fear of commitment, but that is one of the few areas where I can commit to without a problem. Committing to other things, especially races, is where my fear seems to rear its ugly head. I am often well into training before I actually register for the race.

My fear of commitment is really driven by fear of failing. I feel like I have failed in a number of life areas in the past few years and if I never actually commit to a race, I can’t fail. Ending up with a DNF is very scary to me. The rational side of me knows that if you enter enough races you will probably end up with one at some point, but I am not sure what I would do if that happens.

Right now I am looking at two races, and I need actually commit soon or the races will be sold out. The first is the Richmond Half-Marathon in November. Since, I had a great 13-mile run on Sunday, all I need to do is keep up my training and this race shouldn’t be a problem. 

The other race is the Walt Disney World Marathon in January and this is the one I am really afraid to commit to. I have started training for this race twice before and failed to ever start the race. The first time I was sidelined by injuries, and the second time life got in the way. (I would never recommend trying to train for a marathon while moving across the country and starting a PhD program.) Now, I am in the best shape of my adult life, I have been training since May and it is probably the last time for several years I will be able to do this type of training, but I am still finding it hard to commit to this race.

I know that you can never finish something you don’t start, but right now it seems that starting is more difficult than finishing.

Wednesday, September 14, 2011

Running…Just Keep putting one Foot in Front of the Other

I love running! There are few things that make me feel better than hitting the pavement and putting in a few miles. Running helps me feel balanced and sane. It is one of the few things I can do without really having to think.

Running is a big part of how I managed stress and kept my sanity over the past couple of years, but it is something that I haven’t been doing very long. I wasn’t a runner growing up. In fact, I only started running because I wanted to do a triathlon. It was on my to-do list, and it is hard to finish one if you don’t run. My best friend and I decided to do a super-sprint during the summer of 2005. 

Looking back, I can see that was the first step in moving my life in a new direction. Participating in various races has been a big part of my life over the past five years. Since that first triathlon, I have done a couple of longer triathlons, a few 5ks and two half-marathons. Next up on my list is a marathon, but more about that another day.

A number of my friends have asked me how I started or said that they never could run a 5k/10k/half-marathon/etc. The thing is, if I can do it, anyone can. All you need is little time and patience. The patience is often the hardest part for me. I have put together a few tips from my experience to help those who are starting out:

  • Start with realistic goals and expectations – Running is hard, especially when you are just starting out. If you expect to get off your couch and start running 7-minute miles, you are setting yourself up for failure. Think about where you are and where you would like to be and set your goals from there. Remember that everyone progresses at their own rate.
  • Focus on baby steps – When I first started running, I was slow. Realistically, I still am slow, but each time I try and cut a few seconds or run a little longer than I did the last time. I track my distance, time and intervals and look for improvements over time. Once you have been at it a while, you will be amazed at your progress.
  • It’s okay to walk – I am a big fan of the run/walk training method. Jeff Galloway is a personal hero. As I have gotten stronger, I increase the ratio of running to walking in my training. I also think this method makes it easier to break down larger goals.
  • Change your perceptions about what is possible – This was probably the most important thing for me. When I first started running, I couldn’t imagine running 3 miles let alone 13; however, as I kept pushing my distance I kept achieving things I never imagined. I don’t know if running changed my perceptions or changing my perceptions helped change my running, but it worked.
Another thing that has helped me is having someone in my corner. For me, this is my husband; he is always there to run with me or to be my cheerleader. Knowing you have someone to help you reach your goals is helpful. We may not run at the same pace, but knowing someone is out there with you is great. The thing about running is that it is really just about putting one foot in front of the other.