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Winter Reflections and Updates

We are two weeks into the New Year and several of our athletes are already crushing their training plans and goals. I have always been a little cliche in that I do set New Year's resolutions and use this time to reflect on what's going well and what isn't.

2022 was a year of so many firsts for me. Being a new mom, almost everything that was considered normal before was all of a sudden a new challenge to navigate. On top of that, I had a huge career change as I transitioned from active duty military service back to my social work career and also growing my LLC as a running coach. There were a lot of ups and downs, lessons learned, and lifetime memories made.

The early days of being a Mama before they were big enough for stroller runs were filled with spin and postpartum core workouts

I learned to manage my expectations of myself so much better. Prior to having the twins, I always aspired to be one of these tough "mother runners" who just "bounces back" and can run the way they did before, if not faster. Instead, I was logging all of my runs with a double stroller and sleep deprived. My twins still do not sleep through the night and for four months of last year I was a solo parent. I also struggled with post partum depression and obsessive compulsive disorder. So on top of the twins not sleeping, I would lie awake and double, triple check their breathing and chest movements because I was so worried I would fall asleep and something would happen in the night, losing extra hours of sleep. I would also cry. A lot. Some days I had no energy for any self care, yet I somehow continued to keep going and training the best that I could. I also learned that taking care of yourself only makes you a better parent and it's just as important as the care you are providing your babies. You can't pour from an empty cup Mamas.

I also had some injuries that occurred due to a complicated pregnancy in itself. I found out that my obturator internus and glute medius were completely out of whack and I began some intensive work work an occupational therapist to learn how to manage it as well as getting a good chiropractor for routine care and alignment checks. It's still bothering me, but I have found pilates to be the most helpful in rebuilding my core and glute strength and lessen my hip pain while running. It's also been amazing for my overall strength and I am noticing some serious gains with a few pilates workouts per week.

I ran my first marathon post partum. I had so many mixed emotions about it. It was not my slowest time ever, but it certainly was not my fastest. This race was the big eye opener that my hip was in worst shape than I thought and I am happy I was able to finish it, but I realized those thoughts I had about a big "bounce back" are ridiculous and I need to accept that this is my place in life right now. It's okay to run for fun right now and I need to stop comparing my present self to my past self and to other moms. I actually heard a great tip on the Some Work All Play podcast recently that talked about resetting your Garmin after birth so that every new run is a "PR" and you don't get in this trap that I did. I wish I heard that advice earlier on and will be giving it to all the new Mamas I train from now on and also anyone coming back from a major surgery/life event.

Finish line photo of USMC Marathon in October 2022

As far as my career. I bit off way more than I could chew. I tend to have these ideas and I want to do it all at once. In 2023 I am going to slow wayyyy down. I jumped back into my social work career before I was even completely out of the military balancing two jobs and my coaching business on top of twin motherhood. Yeah... not a great idea and I don't recommend it to anyone.

I recently did a complete re-evaluation of my core values and what is important to me. My top three values came out to safety, adventure, and independence. I am going to do my best to live according to this values in 2023 and set better boundaries this year. The first step is cutting my work commitments down to part time work. Ultimately, I want to grow this coaching business to be completely sustainable and a stand alone source of employment for myself so that I have the freedom and flexibility to do what I receive the most enjoyment from- running and sport. I will stay at the hospital as a part time employee so I can pick and choose the days that I work and that is going to free up so much time to work with my athletes and get in the community.

As far as my business goals for the year, I am hoping to do a lot of new things this year. I will be offering some personal training sessions locally here in North Carolina. I am hoping to start a mommy and me bootcamp class. I will be finishing my yoga certification soon and offering some community yoga classes. I am also hoping to add on a life/wellness coaching certification so that I can better combine my social work and mental health background into what I do as a running coach. I am also going to try to fit in a spin instructor certification in there as well. Being self-employed is scary, but y'all it is so freeing. I also work harder for myself than any other person I have ever been employed by because I am fueled by passion and purpose.

As a mom, I hope to schedule two additional days per week of just spending time with my babies. I know this time is sacred and I don't want to miss it.

As a runner, I am going to be racing my first 50K post partum on January 21st at Southern Tour Ultra. If everything goes well, I am eye-ing Badwater Cape Fear 51.4 miler in March shortly after. Please god, let my hip continue healing. I have a few other road races I will likely do as fun. I also learned last year that I really enjoy pushing a wheel chair for a friend in my local running group and I have agreed to push him for a spring half marathon in April. I am going to be setting goals that are not specific to time, but to joy and the process.

Reindeer Dash for Cash 10 miler pushing my friend, Brendon to the finish line

A personal goal I set this year was to complete at least 10 minutes of activity per day. I have never been able to sustain a run streak, I get burnt out and injured easily. 10 minutes was more realistic because it can be any activity- yoga, spin, pilates, strength, or running. It's also super doable with the babies. We are 12 days into the New Year and so far I'm doing great with this and wish I would have shared it with everyone sooner! What I am learning is that once I get 10 minutes in, I usually feel great and want more. There has only been 1 day so far where I only did 10 minutes and that was mostly due to time constrictions with work and parenting.

So stoked to see my twins at mile 24 of the Marine Corps Marathon (I think)

Things I want to continue this year is reading at least 1 book per month. This month was "never finished" by David Goggins. I am also considering starting an endurance book club if I can get enough interest and find a good day to do it.

Lastly, but this should probably be first. I am going to work on my OWN mental health. Protecting myself with better boundaries will be super important. This whole never saying "no" and people pleasing is going to be coming to an end. I am determined to feel better. I am going to work on healing my nervous system, which is completely dysregulated due to PTSD, depression, and anxiety by choosing things that are fun and allowing myself to rest when I need to. We only get one body and one mind, I am going to work on healing mine. As a matter of fact my chosen word for the year is "Healing".

I am curious, what do you all want to accomplish this year? What were your major learning moments of 2022?

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