The month of January starts off with everyone stating their New Year’s Resolutions. To lose weight, to work out more, and to eat healthy. We have all gone through this process. We usually stick to it for a while, then life gets in the way, it becomes hard to make these things a priority, and slowly the resolutions fade away.
A few days into the new year I happened to catch an episode of the Today Show. It was the weekend crew, Lester Holt, Erica Hill, Jenna Wolfe, and Dylan Dreyer and they were talking about their “Shine a Light” project that they were working on together. The focus of their project is to pair up with a community that is in need of a healthy lifestyle overhaul, and participate in this “healthy lifestyle” overhaul with them. They spoke of the importance of eating well, getting enough sleep, and exercising. Things we all know we need to do, but are not always able to. Resources are not always available, whether it is being able to afford nutritious food (it is expensive to eat healthy!), finding time to work out if people are working 2 and 3 jobs to get by, and having proper medical care with the cost of health care being so expensive. Their idea is to pick a community (based upon viewers writing in with reasons why their community should be chosen) and then set up a Health Fair in that community. They would have doctors, nutritionists, and physical fitness experts on hand to help people develop a practical plan that will help them live a healthier life.
Something that Erica Hill said really struck a chord with me. She said that when she exercises, she has more energy and therefore is more patient with her children, and more active with them. That spoke to me because I definitely feel the same way. I absolutely feel a difference with my whole attitude on days I am able to run versus days I am not able to run. I totally agree that I am a much better “me” (mom, wife, daughter, sister, friend, teacher) when I have been able to get out in the fresh air and log some miles. It can be difficult to make the time to run, but I try to as often as I can (unless I am training for a race and then there is no question, I am running if my training schedule says I am) to get a run in. I am lucky in that my husband is also a distance runner and understands that some days I just NEED to go for a run. When I run, I do some of my best thinking, planning, and self-therapy. I do not listen to music, and it is rare that I have a running partner. So I have plenty of miles and time to think! Up until this time last year, during the week, I always ran after work (I am a teacher, so I would run after school). It was a great way for me to relieve the stress of the day from my job. It would also give me time to think over lessons that went well, did not go well, how I handled a situation with a student, another teacher, administrator, and how to plan better for the next day or situation.
Last summer/fall I was training for the New York City Marathon after having my second son. I was running everyday after school. My parents watch my boys while my husband and I are at work so my training was extending their care-taking hours. It was a lot on my parents, and on me. I was feeling guilty that I was not going home right after school to pick them up and spend time with them. The New York City Marathon then got cancelled due to Hurricane Sandy so I ran the Philadelphia Marathon which also extended my training for another 2 weeks. My parents and I were ready for the training to be done!! When I decided to train for a spring marathon we all knew something had to change.
For the past 3 years my mom has trained for the Rock N Roll Philadelphia Half Marathon. Most of the training for that race is done during the summer and to beat the heat my mom would be out the door before 5 a.m. to get her miles in. I started thinking, if my mom can get out the door at that time to train, then so can I. So last February I started training in the morning before school. I teach in New Jersey and my commute is about an hour each morning. I have to be at school by 7:45 am which means I try to leave my house by 6:45/6:50 am every day. So in order to run in the morning my wake-up time is usually in the 4:15-4:30 range to get out the door and run. And because my husband is a runner and is usually training for something, this is quite the morning routine. I try to get up @4:20 am, get dressed as fast as possible and get out the door. I am usually back by 5:40/5:50 depending on my mileage for the day. I basically high five my husband who then heads out to get his run in. I shower and get ready for work while he is out running. I pack up my things and head out to get to work as he is walking in from his run. Our mornings get very interesting if one of the boys wakes up early (our boys are 3 1/2 and 21 months so this definitely happens). For the most part this system is great and works out well for the both of us. We have made it through two training seasons with this schedule and managed to get our runs/workouts in. It can be tough if one of our boys has a rough night and does not sleep well and we are up with him. I am not going to lie, it sucks getting up at 4:20 am. However, there is not one day that I have gotten up at that time, got my run in, and at some point during the day regretted it. There have been a few days however, when the alarm has gone off and I just cannot get out of bed and I skip my morning run. The rest of that day there are plenty of regrets! As hard as it is to wake up that early, I have to admit, I am more tired on the days I do not run. I have way more energy on the days that I run, even if I am waking up at 4:20 am. To be honest I would rather be tired from waking up early to run than feel like crap because I skipped my morning run.
What was your New Year’s Resolution? Have you stuck with it?
Do you have a healthy lifestyle? Share it with us!