Well, this is embarrassing…

When I was pregnant with my youngest, and final, child it was somewhat scary. We had to see specialists to ensure that what happened with my second child (uterine rupture – yep…yikes) did not happen again with this little guy. They watched me incredibly closely, weekly Non Stress Tests on the baby, and a much earlier delivery date than what a normal pregnancy would afford.

Ignore this photo… We’ll come back to it… later. 

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By the time I got pregnant I had started to piddle out somewhat with my exercise regimen… the level of stress that I was living with, from my previous institution’s culture, was bleeding into every single thing I did. I can handle a pretty extreme level of stress, I am pretty resilient once I get through the emotional B.S. that we do upon the initial shock of stress hitting our adrenaline glands; once I am through that bit, I am a survivor and get it done. I felt strongly that I should just keep pushing for that endorphin rush that it would help maintain my mental toughness – but ultimately, when the endorphins were not getting me through it, I chose rest. I chose rest, my favorite wines, and food. Salty sweet things and friends and my husband and my kid’s activities and wine… I started to become inconsistent as it was before I got pregnant. As an aside, let me tell you how much your life will change when you move from a toxic, exhausting, culture that isn’t fit for anyone – to a culture that is happier, more employee-centric, more work-life balance. Trust and believe.

So, when I found out that I was pregnant with my littlest one, they benched me. Yep, my doctor team benched me. They told me that I could do the elliptical but not impact sports. I was relegated to the DL. And that was that… Shortly after this I was put onto the dreaded progesterone that makes you feel awful, tired, hot, anxious, sick – all. the. time. I tried to elliptical to thwart any weight gain and then the nausea, dizziness, overwhelmed me – and that was all she wrote. I didn’t work out for 8 solid months from there forward. Relegated to that DL in gloriously heartbreaking fashion.

Which brings me to now. I bought an elliptical and a treadmill last year and built myself a little gym space with some free weights, a scale, fans, a television. I was committed. I stuck with it for a good length of time – the scale didn’t move, despite my consistent eating and exercise habits… I knew it wouldn’t but that didn’t stop me from getting down about it and feeling like this was an exercise in futility. I have thyroid disease so that means I have to work twice as hard as a person with a normal thyroid… so, after a 100lb weight loss in my life and only gaining back 10lbs of that 100 over the last 5 years in tiny increments… that’s something I should really celebrate. Doctors tell me I am in great shape, my blood work says my body is healthy, my same clothes all still fit with the exception of a couple dresses. I am healthy. My body is healthy and strong.

But. That photo. Those results. Socked me in the gut. I signed my fourteen year old and I up for 5k that contributes to a cause that is pretty near and dear to us – transplant donors and recipients and their families as we are a donor family; my husband’s father. Granted, if one of my best friends wouldn’t have pointed it out to me – I wouldn’t have sought it out. I definitely used to seek them out – shiny medals on my wall… post-run beers and snacks with other runners. Now. I don’t.

Pause. Do you know how they refer to certain players in baseball have something called “the yips”? … where, as I understand, the pitcher can’t pitch to certain bases – a form of anxiety? One of the pitchers for the Cubs used to experience this, making it easier for other players to steal bases when the pitcher had possession of the ball. Lester. That’s it. But, he was still a great pitcher, right? (I am going to be marched through the streets and burned at the stake as I am Cardinals fan living in Cardinal nation. Sorry. Just an example.).

I have had that. The runner’s version of “the yips”. I have had that with regards to running outside. I have been far too afraid to run outdoors since having my son, than I was ever afraid to prior. Its not agoraphobia, I love being outside, being in the public, going outside, all the things. Its this… I would sign up for races with my friends and run in the dark in the rain and slip on wet leaves and dash through parking lots or run on blacktop during the hottest months of the year in St. Louis or (the day I met my husband) run with the WAY WRONG pair of running shoes on (the ones with holes in the top and bottom to release heat) in an inch of ice and slush to the point where I was not sure if I would make it at the end of mile one because I could no longer feel my frozen, wet, feet… I have been too scared to run outside; so many things could happen. I could fall. I could injure myself. I could, I could, I could… I could what? No, the real reason is likely buried just below the surface… The real reason is that I don’t want people to see me “failing”… lagging… or starting to fall into this weird societal perception of moms with three kids who have “let themselves go” (I have not.)… The real reason is that I don’t want people to see me struggling, whereas before I felt like they saw me as this 27 year old, tan, young, gazelle in cute workout clothes who had only had *2* kids and was working out 60 minutes plus every single morning… But, in that same moment of self-reflection, I remember that I started falling off my consistency when I was falling in love, when the hours I had previously as a single divorcee needed to be filled with something constructive, were now being occupied with just that. Falling in love. Enjoying concerts. Drinking wine. Sleeping in – intentionally – because I wasn’t waking up after sleeping ofr only a few hours shrouded in wonder about ‘What’s next for Alyssa?” and then going to the gym at 4AM. Enjoying great food. These things are all OK – these things are all GOOD! – Better yet, GREAT! My performance was a casualty, but I wouldn’t trade it the other way.

Now, here we are. I’ll post it again. *Big Gulp*…

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…That, to me, in comparison to my previous performance… is crap. I intentionally chose to do intervals with the hope the knowledge that my speed will come back. At best, had I not done intervals – I could have hovered somewhere close to 12/min a mile unless I wanted to fall off the treadmill due to shin splints.  But, this is me bearing my soul, my embarrassing embarrassing soul, with photographic evidence right before I train for five consistent weeks for a 5k that I will race with my fourteen year old where aforementioned fourteen year old will inevitably… beat me.

But, today. I got the endorphins; the ones that get you through until the next time you need them to get you through something sad, disappointing, stressful, worrisome, and then you do it again…

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