Sunday, February 27, 2011

This life is not a sprint

Sprints are running short distances as fast as you can.  Life and losing weight are more like cross country, going over bumps and dips and changing terrain, longer distances, and you have to be able to finish your race.  Cross country runners still sprint, but usually just at the end of the race.

When Runner Girl started cross country last year, she was so slow.  She would walk at least half the way in the beginning.  The coaches were worried about her finishing anything, but she learned to pace herself and be consistent, and she finished every race.  She owned her pace and finished each race at the same speed she'd started it, sometimes putting on a slight burst of speed for the last 100 feet or so.  She didn't love running at first, but she does miss it now.  She's anxious to get out and start training now, so I think we'll get out this week on whatever day it is randomly warm enough to do so.

As I watch my 8-1/2-month-old try to walk these days, I see the current day Runner Girl in her.  Bitty pulls herself to a stand and falls sometimes, but other times she stands there, chubby little legs wobbling, until she moves one foot and then the other, while holding onto the couch or a table, to get where she is trying to go.  When she gets to her goal, she will lower herself to the ground and happily keep playing.  Sometimes, she gets stuck under a table or at the corner of one, or on top of the mini trampoline.  She fusses a bit and then gets up and goes on her way again.

Baby steps ... pace yourself ... The two go hand in hand. 

When I go to the gym, if I start out at the heaviest weight I know I can lift (let's say toddler sized), I will wear out after a few reps.  But if I choose a smaller weight, I will tire out at 10 reps but be able to finish 3 sets, even if my muscles get shaky like Bitty's legs.  But the next time I go to the gym, I can lift a weight that is heavier than before and still do my sets with it. 

When I first started going to the gym, I could only handle going in two or three times a week.  If I went more, I burned out and fizzled.  When I was comfortable going 3 times, I increased my frequency.  Still working on getting there 6 days a week, but I do enjoy my time at the gym now, and I miss it when I can't get there. 

Along those same lines, when it comes to diet, I've had to take baby steps and pace myself there, too.  I'm slowly eliminating sugar and soda, and I've come to a point where I know it's just going to take time.  But I am making better food choices in general, eating more veggies and fruits and less fried stuff or fast food, so I choose not to berate myself if and when I have a soda or some chocolate.  I've tried making drastic, huge, overnight changes like they do on Biggest Loser, and I get burned out and give up.  I'll get to a point, and soon, where I can give those things up, and they are much easier to avoid on the days I get to the gym.  But for now, I'm taking lessons from my kids and pacing myself with baby steps and not sprints.

No comments: