All about that base

 

My goal this past year was to keep moving as much as I could. I skied and snowshoed this winter. I ran when it felt right. I’ve been dabbling with training by heart rate, and the results are measurable—at the last minute, thanks to some peer pressure (and maybe a little alcohol) I ran one of my best half marathons last weekend, missing a PR by fewer than two minutes.

They even have great medals! Thanks, Eau Claire Marathon!

I’ve been running pretty slowly (on purpose) for over a year, so I went into the race looking for a little suffering. It had been so long since I’d pushed myself at that level that I wanted to feel it. Just for a few hours.

Of course, I paid for it. I was sorer after this half than I was after the Twin Cities Marathon last year.  I’m trying to be mindful of recovery, of heart rate, of effort. And I’m thinking about what I want to accomplish the rest of this year.

I’ve been thinking about goals.

These goals are big ones. Not entirely unrealistic but require serious commitment. Time. Discipline. Resources. They’re things that in the past I’ve brushed aside because that was the easier thing to do. And there was always an excuse:

Pregnant.

New baby.

Nursing.

New job.

Stress.

Just after this one thing is done.

My baby is 18 months old, and for me that means I can’t with a clear conscience use the “new baby” excuse. (It’s okay if you do, but it’s just not for me.) She was finally weaned back in April, and never really successfully doing that without immediately becoming pregnant again, I’m trying to ease back into what I envision as a “normal” running life. When I picture this, I usually picture the running life I had before  babies.

Of course, I’m entering this new stage with a body that’s seen eight years of pregnancy and weight gain and loss and hormone shifts and deflated boobs sagging skin and all the other glorious aspects of giving birth three times. And I’ll be completely honest with you: it’s a little demoralizing, and some days it’s more so than others. Getting dressed in the morning becomes a guessing game (so, which jeans can I squeeze into today?). When it comes to getting dressed for a run, I’ve had to leave my ego at the door and try to not think about all the way these capris are hiding no secrets about my thighs, or that I seem to be gifted with a generous helping of side boob. You know it’s a thing.

And now I’m thinking of sending my ego on an extended vacation out of the country. I’m trying a new training approach—again, heart rate-related—because this is very much a rebuilding time for The Team That Is Me, and it seems like there’s no time like the present for  laying down a proper aerobic base. I’ll need it for what I’ve got in store for the next few years.

I feel like I’m constantly struggling with this invisible line that runs right between these pretty ambitious goals and, well, life. Life that involves being a mom to three young kids who do a lot of relying on me at the moment for everything. Being a partner to someone who also has goals—and that they need a break, too. Every choice to go for a run or a bike ride has considerations and there are always sacrifices and trade-offs. This makes it a helluva lot easier to step away from plans, put them off for another year.

I’ll just say for now that I’m in the brainstorming stage. I have some events on the calendar for summer and fall, but I have no idea what they’re going to look like; I’m trying to be okay with that. And let’s be fair: rebuilding years are often painful and sometimes just ugly. But every once in awhile you win a few you weren’t supposed to take, and it’s pretty sweet when that happens.