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Real Mom Guest Post: Fitness Motivation After Baby

My name is Katie and I am a mother of a sweet 4 year old boy and a spicy (don’t worry, I love a little spice) almost 2-year old girl.  I worked in a corporate setting for just over 7 years after college and then had the privilege quitting my job to take care of the kids full time.  In my spare time (ha ha ha ha), I am the assistant varsity soccer coach at a local high school which not only helps me get out of the house, but get rid of some of my competitive juices.  Oh and I now have 1000 babysitters too.  After the birth of my 2nd child, I ran my fist triathlon and became addicted.  Since then I have done 3 more tris (swim/bike/run), 2 duathlons (run/bike/run), 1 running race and have plans this summer for 2 more dus and 2 more tris.  Do I have a fitness or model type body?  Not even close.  Do I ever plan on winning one of these races?  Ummm, no.  I am just a mom trying to figure out a fun/challenging way to get and stay in shape.  Follow along on my journey this spring and summer as I train at http://racemama.wordpress.com/…and trust me…it ain’t all roses.


Growing up, I was always a very active person, whether it was playing tag or night games with the neighborhood kids or participating in multiple sports, I was, as my mother would describe me, “a child that never sat still.”  That activity level continued into high school as I played multiple sports and continued with soccer in college.  Even after I graduated, I continued with that activity level by coaching soccer and participating in many co-ed sports leagues, from broom-ball to soccer and even sand volleyball.  At that point in my life, it was pretty easy to stay fit.

Fast forward about 5 years and all of my activity that I had thrived on for so many years came to a screeching halt… because I got pregnant. I tried to stay active and told myself that I was going to hit the gym most days after work.  Did that actually come to fruition?  Ummm, no…my cravings for food and a nap far outweighed my need to workout or do anything active.  It didn’t help that carrying a laundry basket up the stairs would make me break out in a sweat and need an oxygen tank.

After my now 4 year old was born, I promised myself that I was going to get back on the “workout train,” it was very naive of me to think that it was going to be that easy. I slowly realized my days would be monopolized by feeding, pumping, cleaning said pumps, laundry, rinse and repeat the next day. I would have a few days here and there where I actually wanted to work out.  Then I would have weeks worth of wanting to nap while my newborn napped followed by eating my brains out.

I was asked to join a soccer league so I thought this would be a great way to get my activity back.  That was until I realized how out of shape I actually was and my body would scream, “WHAT ARE YOU DOING” every morning after a game. It was really hard for me to accept the fact it was going to take some hard work to get back to where I was used to being.

Since it took a few beakers and some eye droppers to get pregnant the first time, once we decided to have child number two, that started to monopolize my every thought (a separate post all in itself…) so there was another great excuse to fall off my “workout train.”  I got pregnant and this time all I craved was Whoppers (nice that a BK was on the way home from the gym) and Leann Chin’s cream cheese puffs.  I’m sure the ole thighs appreciated that fuel!

I convinced myself that sitting on a recumbent bike at the lowest level while reading a trashy magazine was going to keep me in shape and that my body would just bounce back magically after baby #2. Negative Ghost Rider…nothing came easy the 2nd time around.

And then I had an epiphany…or just a moment of weakness after a few glasses of wine. My good friend talked me into doing a triathlon with her…T-4 months after my second baby was born.  Oh and did I mention that I am the worst swimmer and not a fan of running?  I was grasping at any idea that would force me into shape, as painful as I knew it was going to be.  The competitive part of me realized that I didn’t want to embarrass myself and need to be rescued somewhere on the course, so I better get my ass in gear.

We started training and it being both of our first triathlon it was nice to have another novice training partner.  We held each other accountable and pushed each other when all we wanted to do was get out of the pool or walk instead of run, or watch trashy TV instead of going for a long bike ride.  And let me mention again, that I HATE RUNNING, especially on a treadmill.

As we got closer to the day of the race, the more nervous I got.  I really, really, really didn’t want to make a fool of myself (that is my alter-ego Kompetitive Katie talking…). The morning of the race, I was so nervous I thought I was going to puke (and I don’t generally get nervous).  Once we were at the race, those feelings intensified by 1000.  We got in to the water for the leg and those feelings intensified by 1000.  And the gun went off and I had no choice anymore.  I had to do it…

A little over 2 hours later, I crossed the finish line and next to the birth of my children, it was one of the most amazing feelings of my life.

And slowly but surely I realized that the end goal was just what the doctor ordered.  I needed something that I had to “finish.” Not just finish, but finish something in front of hundreds of people that I couldn’t bow out of.  And to top it off, my training partner was sitting in my driveway at 5am that morning to drive out to Stillwater.  What, was I supposed to fake like I wasn’t home?

So the moral of this long, possibly boring post is that after almost two years, four triathlons, one duathlon and one running race later, I have figured it out…I need something pushing me (namely, not humiliating myself) to get into shape and stay there.  I also have figured out some other good ways for exercise that don’t include step after step after step after step (you may remember me saying I HATE running…) on the treadmill.

1.    If you belong to a gym, peruse the local classes available.  I am a huge fan of many different options so I don’t get bored.   I have tried everything from yoga to pilates to boot camp to body pump.  They are all at least an hour long and will burn some good calories and you might not even notice that you are sweating your brains out.
2.    Swimming.  Through my triathlon training I became a fan of the pool.  It is a fantastically efficient workout.  In mommy language, it means if you have kids in the gym day care, you can shower!
3.    Biking with the kids in a bike trailer.  If your kids love the Burley as much as mine do, this is an a** kicking workout.  On days that I know I won’t have time to workout, I throw both kids in the back and bike to school to drop the oldest off.  Nothing like an extra 75-lbs to get your heart pumping.
4.    Play tag with your kids at the park. Last summer, I decided to wear my heart rate monitor to the park and was amazed as to the results.  I played tag with a bunch of the neighbor kids and my oldest for probably 20 minutes and burned almost 200 calories!

Stay tuned for more posts and follow me as I make my way through another summer of triathlons and duathlons and wondering, “why the hell am I doing this again?”

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