When I told people we were about to go to Chicago to run and visit, many people asked me “Why?” “Why would you want to run? You’re on vacation; don’t you just want to have fun?”
Does this not look like fun:
See, fun is relative. I had lots of fun at the zoo, walking around the parks, finding rabbits and chickens depicted in art, learning that in American Gothic the girl is his daughter not his wife, and believe it or not, there’s still more photos of the fun to share in addition to this post and the others I’ve made. Traveling like this allows me to work on my photography, eat good food, visit new places, see my friends, and feel accomplished as I cross a finish line.
As I previously stated, I have a running and traveling group comprised of my husband and two of my best friends, one who lives in town (Sheena) and one who lives in D.C (Joy).
Running has been great for us in town where there’s not often much going on. All we need to do is put on some shoes and go. It also keeps me more connected to Joy despite our distance. We text, chat, and email each other encouragement, progress updates, and goals. It’s something we share even though we’re apart. It only gets better when we’re able to meet up and run together.
Don’t get me wrong. None of us are crazy runners. We don’t run every day, and in my house we don’t always run every week. We don’t run very far unless we are training for a race. We definitely don’t run very fast, especially me these days. I won’t preach about the health benefits, but here, just look at these photos:
Though weight loss wasn’t the only focus, you can see we all slimmed up. What the photos can’t show you is how much my cholesterol has decreased (from 292 to 262 – that’s 30pts with no medication, just diet and exercise), how much Daniel’s blood pressure has decreased (165/120 to a normal range of 120/80), and how much happier and lower stressed we are since we’ve started running.
Running especially with the goal of trips where we meet and race together keeps us engaged. Lifestyle changes whether they are diet, exercise, or baby related are hard. When I was in that first trimester blah of wonky hips, exhaustion, and nausea, knowing that I had made a commitment to my friends to meet up for a race and visit a city helped me stay active. I always felt better after I worked out. Even though I wasn’t able to train for a half, keeping active as I did and doing a 5k has been good for me and the baby though I did take several lessons from this trip versus our last ones.
Lessons learned for future running and traveling trips especially while pregnant
- In the future, I will schedule the race as one of the first things we do when we get in town, especially if it’s a town like Chicago where we did a lot of walking. After a few days of wandering around, we were so tired that we probably did not live up to our racing potential.
- The only thing I will ever schedule post race will be eating. After the NOLA race, thanks to excessive amounts of champagne and glee from completing our first event together (and being my favorite city in the whole world), we managed to catch a trolley and make a whole lot of memories. We were beyond feeling how tired we were. We also had easy access to transportation, and our destinations were not far apart. When we planned this trip, I had a number of things on the list to do after the race. That was a mistake. Chicago is not NOLA, and I was not in a state where I could let bubbles carry my exhaustion away. We, especially me, did not feel like walking around the park and seeing the bean. I didn’t feel like walking to the planetarium but we did, and it was so much farther away than the map made it seem, and I don’t know if it was just my exhaustion or what, but I wasn’t impressed and could have saved the money. We didn’t get to go to stores and shop as I had looked forward to. We were even too tired to venture very far from our hotel for food. We had late evening tickets to Second City which we enjoyed, but we didn’t stay for the improv section because we all just wanted to go to bed.
- A pregnant mile is different than a non pregnant mile. My active lifestyle did not preclude my pregnantness. What was easy before, while doable, was no longer easy nor fast. I felt like I slowed the group down a lot. Had I known I was going to be so slow and that the metro stops would be so far from our destinations, I would have learned more about the bus system. That said, besides after the race, we made all our planned destinations, just not early enough to get the best seats or with any free time around them to further explore the city.
Definitely have more to consider for the next time. While taking Joy to the airport, we started talking about ideas for our next destination and decided that in about 5 years we need to go abroad for a race to celebrate our years of running and traveling together.
I’m not sure where we’ll run in 2012, but I’m looking forward to more trips.
Added on November 22, 2011