Since 2005, when I first got bitten by the running bug, I have tried all sorts of things to stay active and healthy - running (from marathon training to hard-core "POD" training), bootcamps (where people really do yell at you and call you when you don't show up and tell you have 'chunky monkey legs'), personal training (post-pregnancy scaredy-catness), kickboxing (relieving stress), yoga (relieving more stress), pilates (because someone told me I would have abs of steel by doing it), and now CrossFit (because my husband told me I'd love it. And I do).
My life has changed alot since 2005, and likewise, so have my goals, my priorities, and really - my life in general. Don't believe me? Go back and read this gem (my first month running).
The biggest struggle for me in the last two years isn't motivation. It isn't the hard work. And it isn't the lack of inspiration that surrounds me. It's the routine of it all, and trying to fit all the necessary workouts into a schedule that revolves around caring for a toddler.
If you didn't already know, my primary job is being a stay-at-home mom. Little B goes to a 3 hour Mother's Morning Out group, twice a week, most weeks. One day I use that time to run errands (have you EVER tried to grocery shop with a rowdy two-year old?), and the other day I use to work for our small business. In between those six hours lies another 162 hours that is spent feeding, bathing, and entertaining the rowdy two- year old. I am also responsible for the upkeep (think: laundry, dishes, vacuuming, cleaning toilets, etc) of our 3,100 square foot home - and when the weather finally turns warm I'll be responsible for alot of flower bed maintenance (remind me again why the three of us can't live in a cozy 800 sq ft apartment?). At any rate, there's also the issue of sleep, and that I require at least seven hours per night of that pesky task. So, my hours are numbered...sweet Little B does still sleep for two hours every afternoon (okay, 'most' afternoons). I usually use that time to decompress, eat some lunch, and get prepared for the afternoon festivities (cooking dinner, playing outside, giving B a bath, etc). I would LOVE to use that time to get a CrossFit workout in, or go for a quick run...but, I can't leave her at home or let her sleep in the car; and besides the legality of all of that, CrossFit isn't even open during naptime (although I'm sure I could find a work-around with that one).
And the most important thing of all: that girl needs her nap. If you have kids, you know what I speak.
I've tried a few "creative" things recently to get workouts in....I hired a babysitter to go to CrossFit with me two days a week. That was convenient, but expensive and I just couldn't continue the arrangement in good faith to my family. Besides, as convenient as it was for me, it was pretty inconvenient for B, with all the driving back and forth (we live 22 minutes from the nearest CrossFit [and the only CF I plan on joining]). I just felt some serious mommy-guilt for shuttling her all over town.
I also struck up a deal with our CrossFit's co-owner. I pick her three kids up twice a week (their school is less than five minutes from my house), take them to CrossFit; and in turn, they play with B while I workout. In theory, this arrangement really really works. Little B loves those girls, and they love her. But, as I found out two weeks ago, I can't be in the middle of a WOD - sweat drenched, trying to beat the clock to get as many reps as possible, barely able to breath much less speak - and find out Little B has a stinky diaper. Thank goodness the co-owner sortof remembered how to change a diaper (it's been like 10 years since her girls needed a diaper changed), but it totally threw me off my game and I realized then and there that I would need to focus on strength work on those days (or skills, or anything that would allow me to - pause - change diaper - resume workout).
I'm sure a few of you are scratching your head's wondering where my husband is in all of this. His schedule, that of a small business owner, is pretty erratic. If he's not leaving home at 7am to get to a job 45 minutes away, he's going to CrossFit himself. And, I would probably faint if he was home before 7pm. We have a wonderfully successful, but busy, small business. He's grown it and cultivated it from a one-man operation to a team of seven happy and productive employees. Not to be political on a very non-political blog, but HE really did build that. And while I can count on him to be great father and an awesome provider for our family, I can't count on him to be a part of my routine.
So, with my current arrangement with the CF kiddos, I'm able to do some strength training twice a week, but I'm getting no metcons, no cardio, no sweat. And I need an out.
Insert CrossFit Endurance. Like almost everything else I've tried - it may work, or it may not. But, at least it's something I can do within the constraints of my crazy schedule....well, for the first six weeks anyway. And it's better than sitting around eating cupcakes and lamenting about the days when I used to leave the office and go run 20 miles...the days when my responsibilities came and went in eight-hour increments.
CrossFit Endurance (the six-week program) prescribes various metcons that involve pushups, pullups, situps, lunges, and squats. In other words, all things I can do at home while Little B is asleep. *and yes, we do have a pullup bar at home* The running part consists of 50-200 meter sprints. Conveniently, we live in a cul-de-sac that has no other houses. The next house is....wait for it....200 meters away from us....I mean, it really couldn't get more convenient than that! So, Little B can ride her bicycle around in circles or do cartwheels in the front yard while I sprint back and forth on our closed street. And since our neighbors are all at work during the day, they won't know that I'm the crazy-running-lady that sprints around her cul-de-sac all afternoon. I'll continue my two days of strength work - because, believe me, I see the most improvements in that area - and I'll do a 5k time trial at the beginning and the end to see if I made any progress.
I know this kind of training won't get me back to marathon levels of endurance, and heck, I'm not even sure that's what I want in my life right now. I enjoy CrossFit. I enjoy the speed, the hard work, the pressure, and the camaraderie of it all. But, I also miss running. As much as I try to convince myself otherwise, I miss it for all of the same reasons that I love CrossFit. And as is true of everything in life, this season - the season of "toddlerhood"- will end and we'll be faced with different schedules, new routines, obstacles to overcome and conflicts to resolve.
Above all of the goals - to swing a 44lb kettlebell, to figure out double unders, to do consecutive pullups...above all of those goals, I hope that Little B will look back on the life we have made for her, and follow our lead on staying active and healthy long into her adult years.
That's all I can ask for. Well, that and a sub-22 minute 5k time.
Time trial Saturday morning.