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Did She Meet Her Wedding Day Goals?!?!?!

I most certainly did not.

You will be quite disappointed to know (and believe me I shared your disappointment for a bit) that after several juice cleanses, one marathon, two months of high intensity interval training (HIIT) small group classes, one half marathon, two ten mile races, and three to four barre classes a week for six weeks, the best that I was able to do for my wedding day was to maintain a healthy weight. I didn't lose the twenty to thirty pounds that I had hoped would be the result of my efforts. ( I did lose about ten though, so soul clap for me, I guess). But that was, and had to be, good enough. I was getting married for god's sake, (and I know it sounds cheesy), but that was the most important thing.

I read in a book recently that women often gain (not lose) before their wedding. I have no idea whether this is true (I was reading a chick lit book after all, Keep Calm and Carry a Big Drink, so who know's really! But I AM GLAD that I didn't gain, because that would have been a NIGHTMARE! A NIGHTMARE, really I can't stress that enough, and it might have caused me to suffer a breakdown.

But the entire experience did teach me a valuable lesson: you have to listen to your body. Because I was so focused on looking great on my wedding day, I stopped doing just that. I continued my marathon training for months after I had already run the race (#FAIL). I continued running and taking my HIIT classes even after those classes gave me aggravated my sciatic nerve. I ran the George Washington Parkway Classic one week after I ran The Cherry Blossom Ten Miler, even after I'm sure my body was screaming, No, No, No! And them my body, not so subtly forced me to take it easy. The Cherry Blossom Ten Miler went well, but the George Washington Parkway Classic was a disaster! It was the single worst race I have ever run. My legs refused to move (and I am a lady who has run 6 days a week for the last thirteen to fifteen years of my life). I can't recall if every step of that race was painful, but after that race (and two weeks before my wedding) I couldn't run. Every step hurt and it turned out that by over training I had saddled myself with a wicked case of shin splints.

So imagine me, two weeks before my wedding, hobbling about. I cannot sit or bend down because each movement causes a shooting pain in my sciatic nerve and I can't run because every step causes me calf/shin pain. I was a mess and the running joke became, "are you going to be able to walk down the aisle?". This is where exercise gets ugly ladies, and it's not a place that any bride-to-be wants to be, trust me.

I did the diligent thing and visited a physical therapist who told me to stop running for a week (great!). So I was forced to find alternative ways to get my cardio in --- I walked on the treadmill at an incline (I usually did a pace of 3.6 miles per hour at an incline of 7), used the StairMaster at the gym, and tried to be grateful that I at least still had barre classes to go to. (I went to Pure Barre Capitol Hill, which I highly recommend.)

Eventually I was able to work my way up to about 4 miles a few days a week, mostly on the treadmill and at a much slower pace that I was used to. And on my wedding day, I was thankful that I was able to wake up and get 4 slow miles in on the treadmill; to complete an at home barre class in my hotel room; and to walk (rather than limp) down the aisle.

Although my back has pretty much healed, my shins are not one hundred percent. Taking it easy on my honeymoon helped --- we usually did a couple of short runs for two days in a row and then took the third day off. And in hopes of being healthy for my November Marathon (of course this would be the year that I finally got into the New York Marathon, oy!), I have accepted, albeit begrudgingly, that I need to run fewer days a week (4) and incorporate other cardio activities (spin).

Let mine be a cautionary tale. Sometimes more is just more. It's always best to listen to our bodies.

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