Slowing Down the Treadmill

Do you ever feel like you are on a treadmill and it just seems to be getting faster and faster…and that you will fall off if you hesitate for even a second?

This is how I have felt the last few weeks.  Overwhelmed. Like I was holding down the fast forward button and couldn’t pick up my hand.  Like I didn’t have control.

Don’t get me wrong.  Certain aspects have been positive.  I’ve nailed all of my tough runs and I’ve been blogging much more frequently (pretty much every day lately).

But other aspects of my life seem to be running away from me.

For the last month I have been a zombie.  I’ve been staying up entirely too late for the time I’ve been getting up…My to-do list is only getting longer and with later bedtimes for the boys (some nights around 830), I don’t start doing things until close to 9.  An 11pm bedtime with a 5am wakeup is not easy.  And on top of that, the sleep I have been getting is completely broken.  My youngest is going through a sleep regression so gone are the 10-12 hr nights.  We have been dealing with 2-4 wakeups a night.  He goes back to sleep easily but the wakeups mean I’m not getting more than 2-3 hours at a time.  I’m not complaining. I have a 5 month old so I don’t expect to get 12 hours of sleep a night.  But that doesn’t mean it’s easy.  The lack of sleep finally caught up to me last week and I totally skipped my run Thursday and my swim Friday. I just could not pull myself out of bed.

With the increase in training, blogging, coaching (all of which I am SO thankful for), other aspects of my life have taken a back seat.  Cleaning the house, cooking dinner,  taking care of myself, folding laundry, going out for a few hours with my boys in the afternoons…all of the things that go hand-in-hand with being a stay-at-home mom fell by the waste side.

I am a stay-at-home mom for a reason…it’s not so I can go to the gym and bring them to daycare so I can run (not saying this is wrong…just saying this is not what I am comfortable doing).  It’s not so I can plop them in front of the TV so I can blog and respond to emails, comments, etc (we have a pretty strict 1 show/day maximum for my eldest son).  It’s not so I can push myself so hard in my workouts that I have no energy left for them.  I’m a believer that all these things must get done before they are up/before my husband leaves for work or after they go to sleep.

Over the weekend I came to the realization that my life at home is only going to get more difficult before it gets easier…my youngest is mobile which creates a whole new set of challenges at home…ironman training is only in week 1…my workout times will more than double come June and July…This all resulted in a mini-meltdown Sunday afternoon.

I read a post Monday evening that could not have come at a better time for me – the Pursuit of Superwoman – written by my friend, Laura.

“Over-achievers like me need to learn to step back and relax.  To spend more time in silence, meditation or prayer.  To focus on the people around us, not the to-do list.
And we all need to free ourselves from the pressure to be all things to all people.”

Ummm…hello.  This was exactly what I needed to read.

I need to remind myself that I am not going to be any less of a blogger if I don’t blog every day.  Or be a failure in July if I skip a workout every now and then.  It’s going to happen.  And it’s okay when it does.  I am NOT superwoman.

I need to step back from the things that don’t define me, that won’t matter in 5, 10, 20 years from now and not get so stressed out with trying to DO IT ALL. I am NOT superwoman. 

So this week is a new approach.

Less Blogging.

Less phone/computer use.

More family time.

More doing things in the house I’ve been meaning to do (my husband and I spent most of Monday reorganizing our basement).

More sleep.

More slowing down. 

I’ve gone to bed early the last two nights (9:30pm) and have gotten up at 430 to be in the pool by 515 to swim my 900 yards (swam 200 yards straight – yay!).  Yesterday I came straight home to hop on the bike for an hour (rode 17.5 miles).  And today I ran 5 miles on the gym treadmill (4 miles at 6:30 pace).

Despite tough workouts,  I have more energy.  I did laundry.  I played with my sons.  I was living in the moment.  I was not worrying about what blog post I had to write next or what email I had to return. The stress felt like it had disappeared.

Yesterday was the little guy’s 5 month birthday.  He started cereal (yay!).

I ate a healthy, filling lunch.

I had dinner (Braised Garlic Chicken) prepped in the crockpot by 1pm.

We baked chocolate chip cookies.

I spent some time chatting and sitting on the couch with my husband after the kids went to sleep (7:45 last night!).

I am finally learning to slow down the treadmill. 

Do you ever feel stressed out with everything you have to do? 

Did you read Laura’s post? 

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    49 thoughts on “Slowing Down the Treadmill

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    3. I definitely get stressed with everything going on in our house. Between both boys being in swim, Noah in basketball as well, and my husband’s and my opposite schedules, we are all over the place. We are busy, but I do love it. Keeps us young.

    4. I LOVE how there are a few posts going around about being overwhelmed, making mistakes, and not being perfect. We put ourselves on such high pedestals and we get burned out. Thank you for your honesty and that you too need to slow down. I’m linking you in my post tomorrow. I’m writing about “mistakes I make”. Thanks!
      She Rocks Fitness recently posted..Work It Off Wednesday #3My Profile

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    6. BIG BIG HUGS. I am SO right there with you my friend, it’s exactly the type of breaking point I hit recently too. While I am not juggling the same things as you, I am juggling, and have been doing so far too much lately. And missing out on all those little moments you describe. Which is why I agreed to the #presence2013 project that my husband asked me to join him on. It’s been exactly what I needed to hear, even if it wasn’t what I wanted to hear at the time. I am SO glad you are realizing that its ok not to be superwoman ALL the time and to pull back without feeling guilty for doing so. I hope you are enjoying the rest of this weekend with your family. xoxo
      Jess recently posted..On #presence2013, fitdates and thingsMy Profile

    7. Your honesty is so refreshing! I have to admit, I had you on quite a pedestal and your honesty and admission that you are, indeed, not superwoman has only elevated you in my mind. I set my alarm for 4 am the other day to nurse my three month old, get some things done, and then go to a 6 am Bikram class. When I woke up at 5:50 I mentally berated myself. I thought, “come on Erin. Michelle got up at 3:30 am to bang out 20 miles (on a tread mill no less!)! And, she has two kids!” . . . I am consistently motivated and inspired by your productivity and dedication to your family, workout schedule, blogging, etc. and have a tendency to compare myself to that standard. Of course, that is my own issue – feelings of inadequacy are all part of the Type A, perfectionist mentality, as is comparisons – all totally unhelpful and unnecessary. Anyway, I appreciate your honesty and humanity! Great post;)

    8. I feel the same pressures. In fact my virtual run ended almost a week ago and I am just now getting to the recap. I feel like a failure, when people have to email me saying “when are you posting the winners?” In reality, I’m barley keeping my head above water. Blogging has been wonderful but there are times when it’s a burden and it’s the last thing I want to do, especially when I know my children need me. You don’t need to comment, reply, blog, tweet, share, instagram, etc. to be a loved blogger, many of us will always follow you and be right here for you no matter what, we don’t need you to do anything for us but to take care of yourself. xoxo
      Lisa @ RunWiki recently posted..#KleanAthlete Review: Protein Peanut Butter Cups and Protein Sunbutter CookiesMy Profile

    9. Oh my word!! You just described my life too!! I loved this post! And I am going to follow suit…here is to slowing Dow ! :) I will keep you posted to how it helps! 😉

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    11. I go through cycles of slowing down and then ramping back up. I really wish I could find a happy medium! Right now, I’m overextending myself. It will only be a matter of time before I have to re-prioritize my life and start over.

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    13. I can completely relate (but interchange the kiddo part with another job)! My husband was just saying to me this weekend that I need to slow down. I have a tendency to put too much on my plate – then get completely burned out. I need to refocus on spending time with him first and foremost, and working the other aspects of my life in slowly. Yes, there are a lot of exciting things going on – but for my health and well-being, I need to step back from some things as well. It’s nice to know that others struggle with the same issues! I hope things settle down for you!
      Megan recently posted..Having a Bad Run HappensMy Profile

    14. Reading some blogs, I often wonder ‘How does she do it?’ What does she sacrifice? And usually, it seems, sleep. When I started my blog a year ago, I thought I had to blog everyday. I tried to, but found it hard to get everything else done around the house and spend time with my husband, and I didn’t like that I was going to bed after 11pm to wake up just after 6 then work all day. I recently unsubscribed from a blog that I found was toxic: full of overtraining, blogging every day and denial about the things that eventually caused this blogger some major injuries. I can’t support that. Blogging is great, but it shouldn’t be so all-consuming. As my husband says ‘You should live your life, not write about it.’ Good for you for taking a step back, putting more balance in and getting more sleep (because it’s so important!)
      Danielle recently posted..Five Fortuitous Facts this FridayMy Profile

    15. Funny you mention your goal to blog less- that was actually one of my New Year’s resolutions. I decided I can’t do it all and my main job is being a stay at home mom (like you) which means other things (blogging, twitter, Facebook) do not happen nearly as much. I know my blog will never be “famous” in the running blog world because I cannot commit to several posts a week/ etc. But with 4 kids 8 and under and marathon training pretty much year round there really isn’t extra time. Laundry is never ending and someone always needs me. :-) You know the feeling- especially with a nursing baby. It does get easier in that sense but as they get older they just need you in different ways and I don’t want to be looking at my phone when they are trying to talk to me.

      You have A LOT on your plate and raising two little men is a HUGE job. I admire your commitment to your family and I know that if you are able to keep your priorities in check you will succeed in all you do!

      p.s. I love when you respond back to comments but NEVER feel like you need to with me. You are one busy mama. :-) I am so impressed you are training for an Iron Man!! Very inspiring!!
      Tia @ Arkansas Runner Mom recently posted..Coming Out of a {Mini} SlumpMy Profile

    16. I totally agree with everything you wrote. I have things that I have to get done for our family which is my #1 priority. I do however take Em to the child care at the gym because she loves the socialization and we don’t have a treadmill. With Chris leaving for work at 0530 I do what I gotsa. 😉 I make a rule for myself that I only do house and blog stuff during her nap. When she is awake, I am hers.
      Madeline @ Food Fitness and Family recently posted..WIAWMy Profile

    17. I wouldn’t be able to function on your “good nights” either. I as a rule go to bed when the baby goes to bed (he’s a night owl, usually down between 9 and 10) and I don’t wake up until my three-year-old barges into my room. This is just non-negotiable for me, no matter how much I want to run or whatever. Once the baby reliably sleeps more stretches at night, I will wake up early.
      BUT! Once your older son gets bigger you might find he enjoys playing with kids at the gym. My daughter used to love it around 18 months to 2.5 years old. It was a NICE thing for her. Especially before she was in preschool. She had a group of friends that she played with. Just something to consider…it’s not all bad to give kids a break from you and vice versa. Sometimes they thrive on seeing new people, etc.
      You have to be easy on yourself…mamahood ain’t no sprint…
      Jackie@ MuscleUpMom recently posted..Finding Flow, Dopamine Addiction, and Battling the BobsMy Profile

    18. i completely and totally 100 percent GET THIS. i have really had to step away from blogging and social media a ton. things have felt off-balance and i’ve needed to reset and renew my perspective. we have to prioritize and check in with ourselves frequently. sending you love!!
      jessica (pace of me) recently posted..knocked into balanceMy Profile

    19. Sometimes I feel the same way as a student. It is really easy to get caught up in training and studying and miss out on spending quality time with friends and family. I also really struggle with trying to do everything & be perfect. It’s refreshing to hear that someone as strong and as dedicated as you still has struggles like everyone else
      Shannon @ Mon Amour recently posted..10 Weeks & a Tempo RunMy Profile

    20. This post is so perfectly timed! I have been struggling with the exact same thing this week. I’ve been working tons of overtime, training for the NYC Half, and still trying to maintain a social life with my friends. I’ve also let cleaning, laundry and sleep go by the wayside. I had a horrible run on Sunday (11 miles, 30 degrees and 20 mph winds) and spent a day or two really beating myself up about it until a friend reminded me why I signed up for the race in the first place (a charity). I think we all go through times like this, runners or not, of wanting to “do it all” and then (at least in my case!) being too proud to back off any of our commitments. It is refreshing how candid you are about everything- successes and struggles- you are a huge inspiration to me and obviously to your other readers as well! Keep rocking those workouts!

    21. This is an awesome post! I think I am going through a similar time right now were things like blogging, workouts and me-time are taking a backseat to my family’s needs. I am a teacher as well, so my hours are limited during the day since I am at school between 8:00 – 4:00. It’s tough and this post made perfect sense to me.
      Tracy @ The Runners Palate recently posted..V-day Review and a Wine WeekendMy Profile

    22. Thank you for this post as it is such a great reminder. Over the past few weeks I’ve been taking inventory as well…your post came at a great time! :-) Blessings to you!

    23. Laura’s post definitely hits home with many of us that continuously struggle to find balance between real life, our athletic life, and virtual life!
      I have considerably less responsibilities than you do in the home, but I still find it difficult at times to not become overwhelmed with the amount of time I spend online… or in the gym… instead of parking my butt on the couch to spend QT time with Mike.
      I’m glad you’re feeling much better! And p.s. you’re still goin to be one of my running idols no matter how much you do/don’t blog/tweet!
      Family + Real life trumps the almost Internet any day!
      beka @ rebecca roams recently posted..Weekly Workouts Roundup + Long Run ManiacMy Profile

    24. Balance is something that I find I am always having to adjust. I am not one to join lots of different groups / organizations that take up my personal time. And yet I contstantly feel busy and stretched. Trying to fit my personal needs in while making sure my kids and hubby are cared for – is a challenge. Laura’s message certainly hit home :)
      Deana recently posted..Week In Review #7My Profile

    25. This is fabulous! Such a good post! I think it is so easy to loose perspective and fall into the busy and overwhelmed trap!!! I am a stay at home mom also and I home school my 8 and 10 year old which at times can be overwhelming to me in itself! I know why I am doing it and I love it and am so thankful that I can, but it can be overwhelming! Then you just add in cooking and bills and cleaning and running and it can get crazy! Especially when I am adding miles or adding speed work and looking for quality workouts. I love that you limit your son’s tv, I know to each his own but I think that is so important. My girls are allowed 7 hours a week and they decide (to some extent) how they want to use it and once it is gone they are done. I personally think you are amazing! I struggle to get my workout done so early in the fall and winter (basically I almost never do) and then I feel guilty working out in the evening or afternoon. I think it is just a matter of prioritizing and then not comparing. It is so easy for me to compare and then get discouraged. I have really been working on prioritizing and then being thankful! God has blessed me with so much and it is good to just think about how much I have and be thankful! I really enjoy your blog and I am rooting for you in all your training! You have such beautiful boys, you are a great mom!

    26. Oh my gosh Michelle, this post brought a tear to my eye because I know how you feel. I feel like I am constantly trying to find the right “balance”, and to do it in a way where I don’t feel guilty for neglecting something. Lately I have been trying to do a better job of listening to my body, when I need rest, rest. Nursing a baby (my youngest is not quite 4 mos) and running is no joke. And I am a complete novice compared to you, so I am in awe of how you even get enough food and water in your body to keep going…haha! I ran and nursed my other two, but not as seriously as I am running now. I have discovered that I need a lot more rest than the “average” runner (at least it seems that way to me). I often take two days off after a long run. Sometimes I need a day off during the week. And recently I have taken several days in a row because I just felt weak and tired (I think from not hydrating properly for too many days in a row.) But I have found that my hard workouts and long runs are better when I’ve gotten the rest I NEED than when I over do it. And regarding the life balance thing, I’m still working on that, but I am getting better at making sure I spend as much time with my kids as I can…and not just being there physically, but mentally too…being present in the moment with them. A little of that kind of time goes a long way. And you should see the laundry piled in my closet right now! Sometimes something’s got to give :-) Another thing that has been a HUGE help for me is having someone clean our house once a month. Through trial and error, we decided that every two weeks wasn’t worth the cost…it was nice of course, but I can easily vacuum, clean counters, etc, the “general” things that need to be done more frequently. But having the cleaning people come once a month saves me from doing all the “deep” cleaning in the house that really stressed me out (because, let’s face it, it wasn’t getting done…like ever! ha). Keep up the good work Mama. Remember it is YOUR life, YOU get to choose how you spend your time. Your needs and your family’s needs are constantly changing, so how you divide your time will constantly change, and that is ok! Don’t be afraid to be flexible, and evaluate as you go! In the end, you will get it done! And feel GREAT about it. Please know that you are not alone with this struggle :-)

    27. I loved Laura’s post and yours. Both of your have definitely hit close to home. I’ve been feeling the same way over the past couple of months – things speeding out of control, going to bed later and later and dragging myself through the day, and just not taking care of the right things. It’s true – there are so many things that seem so important RIGHT NOW but in 5, 10 or 20 years won’t matter. I’m glad that you are going to try to slow down. I know I need to too. And OMG how is R 5 months old??
      Christine @ Love, Life, Surf recently posted..Staying active while travelingMy Profile

    28. Read Laura’s post, and now yours, and loved them both! Such wisdom from you young girls–really so impressive to me!

      And oh my gosh–I would be dying of exhaustion in your shoes. Sleep is just so non-negotiable for me. I wish I was one of those people who can make it on a few hours/night, but I’m not, and when sleep goes, so does everything else.

      You have the right focus here and I have no doubt you’re going to balance everything the way that works best for you and your family.
      misszippy1 recently posted..Cross training? Whatever do you mean?My Profile

    29. This post completely resonates with me. I struggle with keeping up with my mileage and increasing my speed workouts a lot during the school year. For me it is about making time for my 11 year old daughter, teaching 3rd grade, hanging with my husband and keeping up with house stuff-and running, My blog is pretty much for myself-I am okay with it being a release for me to write creatively, relfect on life and just be there for me. I love following your running/mom blog and look forward to reading your posts when I have a few minutes during planning. It is important to keep in perspective what matters to you-and for everyone that is different:) I am excited to continue reading about your Ironman training!!
      Kara A. Forrest recently posted..So Worth It!My Profile

    30. good for you!!! :) it is a hard lesson to grasp–but the end results of a happy household will be soooo worth it. I can’t believe he is 5 mos!! yikes time flies.