#AMRinSaucony: Amy’s Big Plans for March

Amy Blake, our #AMRinSaucony, remembers March. Which came in--and left--like a lion. A vomiting one, in case you were wondering.

When we last talked, I had big plans for March. And I have to say that the beginning of the month went great. The running continued to progress in a good direction. I’m finally to the point where I get about a mile out from my house on my little neighborhood scenic route and don’t think to myself, GOD WHEN WILL THIS BE OVER? While I’m not breaking any speed records, I did manage a sub-11:00 mile a few weeks ago during a hard, concerted effort. I pushed through and won. It felt good.

My gym workouts were consistent. A month ago, I started to use a  100 push-ups app on my phone. The app sets up workouts based on an initial test of how many pushups you can perform, with the goal to get you up to 100 reps. When I started, I could do one. Yes, one. Right now in the program, I’m doing about 25-30. It’s not easy, but I can feel I’m getting stronger.

I’m getting it back. My strong.

I felt focused. I was tuning in on workouts, miles, reps, and consistency. I was getting back into an exercise rhythm, a habit that makes the days without working up a sweat in a sports bra seem like an anomaly.

And while I benefited from the natural endorphins, I was feeling a little worn out. One thing I did not consider as I ramped up my activity was rest. I’m not very good at standing still or giving myself down time, because “free” time? If there’s any to be had, my brain detects it and immediately locks it down for another purpose. Laundry. Dishes. Cleaning up the neverending explosion of toys that my kids leave in their wake. Even when I take a sick day, I’m usually still able to muster enough energy to get up and run a load of laundry or attack the dirty dishes. My deranged mother-must-multi-task mind tells me that if I don’t get at least one thing useful done around the house, that I’ve wasted a day off from work.

So resting or standing still has never been easy. The recommended rest after a marathon? It drives me insane. As crazy as it seems, the last thing I feel like doing after conquering 26.2 is nothing. I feel lazy, like the fitness I’ve spent the last five months fighting to attain is being drained away with every minute I sit on the couch instead of logging miles.

I think I can safely say my body has been through quite a bit over the last year: a challenging pregnancy, delivery, recovery, and having to return to work about six weeks earlier than I was ready. There have been very few moments of rest, a combined result of now wrangling three little ones trying to use every second of the day to its fullest, while still feeling there isn’t enough time to get everything done.

I think a higher power looked down on my situation and said, Girl, we need to slow things up a bit.

Two weeks ago, my husband needed to drive overnight to the Twin Cities for a funeral. He left at 3:00am. No more than five minutes after he pulled out of the driveway, my daughter came shuffling into our room, complaining of a headache. She then laid down next to me and barfed all over my bed.

Thus began a week-long battle with what I assume was a stomach virus. Then on Saturday night, as we were leaving the rink after one of my hockey games, it was my son’s turn, beginning with projectile-vomiting all over the back of my car seat.

Often I’ll recount these bodily fluid gory tales to my childless friends, and I know what they’re thinking: The germs. The sickness. How are you not sick all the time? I mostly remain unscathed, which I’ve chalked it up to some sort of mommy superpower. As a parent, letting your barfing daughter climb into bed with you is just part of the job. I don’t think of getting sick. If anything, I’m wishing it was me instead.

Well, as the saying goes, be careful what you wish for. On Monday, I started to feel off, the first signs of intestinal distress. Tuesday and Wednesday had me completely debilitated, and I’d be lying if Ebola didn’t at least briefly cross my mind. Wednesday, by the Grace of God I had childcare for all three kids and a day to myself to be alone in my misery.

And for the first time in what seems like forever, I napped.  For four hours.

Nothing else mattered: the pile of dishes on the counter, the toys all over the living room floor, or the laundry heaped on the sofa that’s been there so long it probably needs to be washed again.

The sleep was restorative. My body was crying out for rest, and I finally relented.

After five days of this virus, I’m on the mend. It’s been six days since I’ve run, and yes, I’m getting twitchy, but my body clearly needs rest as I fight off this virus. Being forced to rest (while curled up in the fetal position on my sofa) gave me time to think about everything I’ve been trying to do for the last few months. Why I’m tired most of the time. Why some days when I’ve gone out for a run or to the gym for a lunchtime workout and just felt lackluster. Drained. Sure, for the most part I sleep at night and have reached a point where all my meals aren’t consumed standing over the counter shoveling cold food in my mouth with a baby attached to my hip, but physically, mentally and emotionally, I could benefit from taking a timeout, or maybe (gasp!) even take a nap from time to time.

So here’s my takeaway from March: Whether we’re training for a race, building up mileage post injury, or just trying to get through the demands of daily life, a commitment to resting is just as important as the miles we log.

I need to remember to give myself a break once in awhile, and I have a feeling I’m not the only mother runner who’s in this boat. Even though the month didn’t end in the continued mileage buildup like I’d hoped, this was just a temporary detour. I’ll be back to my regularly scheduled running in no time.

And in my quest for rest, I’m completely ecstatic that I’ll be joining other mother runners at the Retreat: Run + Refresh in Little Rock. I’m afraid to pinch myself; if this is a dream, please don’t wake me up until the retreat is over—or at least until I’ve gotten some quality shut-eye in the famed beds of  Capital Hotel).

And we gotta know: Is Amy an anomaly? Do you have a tough time getting rest? 

9 responses to “#AMRinSaucony: Amy’s Big Plans for March

  1. Rest? What’s THAT? (I’m only partially kidding here…too often my “rest” days include two back to back games of hockey. As in, me playing, not watching Rambo and Tiny play. That’s additional!) I tend to get head over heels over teacup forward til I am so sick that I have no choice but winding up in the doctor’s office. At which point he usually, patiently, reminds me that I am not a [email protected] machine and I do need to rest once in a while.

    Here’s to a better April! (My March ended with Rambo having a stomach bug as well…yuck.)

  2. I struggle with this big time! There’s always something to be done. Even if I let myself “rest” for 20 minutes my head is awhirl of all the things that “need” to be done. And don’t even get me started on missing a workout, as I think that’s a sign that I will slide into this huge no exercise abyss. I too push through until my body revolts via injury or my husband makes me go take a nap.

  3. Sadly, I’m just as guilty when it comes to rest time. It usually takes illness to force me on the couch despite the laundry and dishes.

  4. Amy, you summed it up just right! I don’t always find time to idle. My December = your March. I was training for a marathon with an ultra to follow when I got hit hard with an illness. Struck me down in the middle of a 40+ volunteer week at the kids’ school as I managed their holiday shop. Rather than rest that weekend, I ran a 15K & felt like death as I crossed that finish line. By Monday I couldn’t get out of bed. My husband took my computer away as even that ill, I was trying to edit wedding photos and check email. As you know, that forced rest was exactly what I needed. I’m trying to keep perspective as I train for a sprint tri in May. I love working/playing with my kids, I love training, I love spending time with my hubs, and I LOVE me some rest!

  5. Resting is hard for me….and what is even harder is the 2 week taper before a race….I’m in my taper period now before running a half-marathon on Saturday, and it is very hard for me to do scale back on running. I’m always worried that I’ll lose some of my conditioning, even though I know I need fresh legs for the race. Post race I usually take one guilt free day off, and then I’m craving to be back getting some sort of daily sweat session in. And napping…forget it. Anytime I attempt to lay down for one, I start thinking about all the things I should be doing in that time and just get up.

  6. When I had little ones, I felt guilty standing still. There was always something that needed to be done and I felt as though if I didn’t do something, it would instantly become a mountain of something. Now that my kids are teenagers (and can do some of the chores!!!), when I need a nap, I take one. It takes the edge off so I can be calm and deal with all that teenager-y stuff. My motto now is take care of me so I can take care of those I love. Can’t wait to meet you in Little Rock!

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