Wrapping up the Year

Its that time of the year when I look back at the goals I set for myself last year and see how I did and also set new goals for the new year.

 Well…here’s a look at the goals I feel comfortable sharing for 2013

1.)    Deliver a healthy baby

2.)    Provide breastmilk for the first 12 months of her life

3.)    Run a fall marathon

4.)    Break 17 mins in a 5K

5.)    Get back to pre-pregnancy weight

 Of those goals, I hit 1 so far although I’m still working on #2.  Am I disappointed in myself for not hitting the others?  Not really.  I set these goals long before knowing what it would be like to have a new born baby.  Sure, I had read blogs of other moms and even seen what some of my friends were able to do, but I didn’t realize how much of a different experience was possible with different babies/scenarios.

 I’m not making excuses for myself.  Here are the reasons I didn’t make my other goals in 2013, along with what I’m going to do to hit my goals in 2014.

 1.)    Deliver a healthy baby.  This goal is one I’m happy to say was met, and priority wise, it’s really the only one that matters.  Now, that’s not to say that the delivery went smoothly or as I anticipated at all.  The only thing I didn’t want in my birth plan was a c-section, and that’s exactly what I had.  I had heard so much about the recovery time and all of this horrible stuff.  I’m pleased to say I was pleasantly surprised.  Now, in all honesty I will very much be trying for a VBAC when we decide to go for the 2nd, but really the recovery time was not anything like I thought it would be.  The same day as the surgery I was walking around, a week later I was out walking the dog, 3 weeks out I was running again.  Not to say it was all easy peasy, my abs were actually cut and had to grow back together so I had some pain with running for the first few months but compared with labor and mastitis it was NOTHING to complain about.

2.)    I realize now that some of hitting your fitness goals with a new baby is just pure luck.  Some of the mom’s I compared myself to had babies that we sleeping through the night, or at least sleeping for longer stretches by about 4 months.  My baby hit a huge regression at 12 weeks and it didn’t get better until we did sleep training at 6 months.  For over 3 months I was surviving on as little as 3 broken hours of sleep a night while working full time.  Some nights I got 3 different 20 minute intervals.  Other nights I was thrilled to get 3 consecutive hours.  I was a walking zombie.  That doesn’t even begin to describe everything else.  I was also emotional, had no patience and feel like I just wasn’t even the same person I was before or am now.  If I lashed out at anyone during that time, I’m so sorry.

3.)    Time was a HUGE factor!  I was so used to running in the mornings before work and figured that was what I would continue to do after having a baby but didn’t anticipate 1. The insane lack of sleep, and 2. The wrench that breastfeeding throws into this plan.  More on that later.  I found I didn’t WANT to run after work because I didn’t want to miss any time with my daughter since it was hard enough being away from her all day.  That left my 1 hour lunch break and when meetings and projects happened I used my lunch hour to get those done a lot so as not to take work home on the evenings or weekends because I didn’t want to miss any time with my daughter. 

4.)    Breastfeeding, my #2 goal made things a lot more challenging.  Once my daughter did start sleeping better after the sleep training at 6 months, you would think I would jump right back into my pre-dawn routine.  Well…the mornings were when my breasts were the absolute fullest (if you don’t know what this feels like imagine 2 rocks bouncing up and down in a sports bra) and it would be too uncomfortable to run without pumping at least a little bit.  Well…that just adds another 15 minutes into the morning, even if I were to only pump a little bit.  Plus, since I was giving my daughter bottles the rest of the day the morning was her only chance to take any extra milk she needed for a growth spurt or whatever.  So, I decided it just wasn’t worth the hassle.  Also, I believe the breastfeeding was a huge contributing factor to my low iron.

5.)    A stressful event.  When a very close co-worker of mine passed away this summer, which I wrote about a few months ago, I had a hard time dealing with it.  It was a huge slap of perspective. It just broke my heart because he had 3 little ones and I constantly thought about how I would feel and I went through this phase where I just tried to savor every moment with my loved ones so much that I kind of pushed everything else out.  Its hard to explain but I just felt like running was not important anymore.  I kind of lived every day like it could be my last, which you would think is a good thing, but it wasn’t.  When you constantly try to live in the moment and don’t plan for the future there is nothing to look forward to.  Its good to appreciate the now but its also good to believe in the things that you do that make you happy.  Running is important.  I know that now, but it took me a couple months to get there again.  

6.)    The unplanned and the unknown.  When you have a baby in day care they are going to get sick.  When they do and you’re a first time mom its incredibly scary…especially when someone close to you recently passed away.  I missed a lot of work and running in the early fall when my daughter had various different viruses.  It was an incredibly stressful time. 

 So there’s my perspective on trying to set goals in the first year of your first baby!  Everyone will have an experience that is different.  I truly believe I’ve come out a much stronger person because of everything.  My priorities were right on.  I used to worry when I was pregnant if I would be a good enough mother.  I felt like I was pretty selfish and didn’t know if I’d be like those mom’s who instinctively always put their baby’s needs first.  After admitting that truth, you will understand why I’m so happy to find out that I always did and I did it without a second thought or regret.  When my baby was sick and needed me, I held her day and night and slept on the floor in her room.  I went days without running or even showering and it didn’t bother me one bit.  I knew I was exactly where I needed to be.

 There has never been anything more humbling to me than raising my baby.  Oh there were so many times I found myself sobbing, frustrated, scared, and praying harder than I’ve ever prayed in my life.  I think its given me a great perspective.  Today, I can savor in every moment with my family and also look ahead into the future.  I can set goals of doing things for me (because that IS important too). 

 Its still hard.  Fear is a this horrible enemy that is the hardest to fight (which is why it’s the perfect weapon for terrorists) and the more you love, the more you have to lose.  I still haven’t conquered it, but I can honestly say I’m much happier today.  

 I still try to run on my lunch, and never bring work home.  If you call me when I’m spending time with my child, I won’t answer.  In the 9 months since my daughter’s birth I have seen her smile for the very first time, hold her head up, start grabbing things with her hands, start babbling, sit unsupported, eat solids with a spoon, roll over, say her first words, crawl, pull herself up to a stand, eat finger foods, stand unsupported all the way up to watching her take her first solo steps this past weekend.  That is a heck of a lot to accomplish in 9 months.  Never again in a lifetime will anyone develop at that rate again.  I don’t want to miss a thing. 

 So, I guess I’m trying to say that even though I didn’t hit all any of my running goals this year, I met the most important goal that I didn’t even know I had.  To be the best mother I could possibly be to my little girl.  Seeing her face light up, hearing her laugh, all those moments are so much better than any PR or running goal I’ve ever had.  She’s changed me for the better.  I’ve learned how to be unselfish, and you know what its made me a better wife too.  And I love my husband now more than I ever did before. 

 I have set running goals for 2014, and I will work hard to hit them.  Anything you do that makes you feel good and makes you happy IS worth it.  Just because its not THE most important thing in your life (and it never should be) that doesn’t mean its insignificant.  Taking care of yourself makes you a better mom, better wife, better friend, etc.  And its OK to be happy!  That’s another thing that I guess I was struggling with a little bit.  I don’t know how to explain it but I definitely know there were times I felt guilty being happy with all the pain going on in the world.  That’s the opposite of how we should feel, I see that now. 

 So there you have it.  My explanation of the last several months in a nutshell.  

 Moving forward, I’ve already started my marathon training plan for 2014.  I’ll talk more about that in another post.  So far there have been a couple wrenches thrown in, but I’m not worried about them this time!  I’m looking very forward to going after my goals and can’t wait to start talking about workouts!!

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