Wednesday, January 6, 2016

2016 Goals

So the fitness goals are dependent upon what happens in the next month or so, as far as whether baby comes on time, whether there are any delivery complications, doctor's recommendations, etc., but here is what I would like for my journey back to fitness to include:

1. Healthy, natural delivery
2. Return to Irish dance by St. Patrick's Day
3. Return to feising by either Buckeye State Feis (April 23) or Peach State Feis (May 6 or 7)
4. Run the Disney Wine and Dine Half-Marathon in less than 2 hrs (November 5)
5. Compete in the Traditional Set dance competition at Oireachtas (first weekend in December?)

As a first-time mom, I am super-worried about #1, or what I call the exit plan. Pregnancy hasn't quite been like I'd imagined. I thought I would be one of those women that went for jogs at least through the 2nd trimester. Instead, I have gained nearly 45 lbs. so far, and the increasing weight of my belly, combined with the changes going on in my hips/pelvis, gave me too much joint pain when running on the treadmill (and living in a new area, in a city, I don't know of any local trails/running paths yet). I've been eating healthy, for the most part, consuming pretty much the same number of calories as before I was pregnant (I might accidentally be consuming more liquid calories, swapping out my caffeinated coffee with a little sugar for a glass of juice during pregnancy, and giving up artificially-sweetened Coke Zero in favor of Sierra Mist, sweet tea, juice, or caffeine-free Coke). Plus, I've gone from running 15-20 miles a week and spending 3.5 hrs a week in dance class, to 3-5 miles of walking a week and 2 hrs a week in a less-intense dance class. But, at the childbirth class, the instructor told me that sometimes rough pregnancies lead to easy deliveries, so I'm hopeful. I am thankful I have a healthy, active baby growing inside of me, but my body is ready to get back to normal.

As for #2, I have read online that many women with uncomplicated deliveries are given the okay to return to their usual activities after 6 weeks. But then just last night, I read online something about not returning to high-impact until 6-9 months after delivery! And one of my friends says she is waiting a year postpartum before returning to running! I guess I will see what my doctor says. I have had 2 doctors give me the okay to continue dancing (and running) as long as I feel comfortable and am careful during pregnancy, but I also don't want to wreck my body coming back too soon.

I'm worried about my hips/pelvis, too....I've gained 6 inches around my hips, and while some of it is cellulite, some of it is I think that my hips needed to widen to make room for baby. I still had 35 inch hips in my 30s, and had a heck of a time finding pants that fit. Misses pants were way too big, and many juniors pants just did not leave enough room for my muscular dancer/runner thighs and butt. While I would love to fit in my pre-pregnancy jeans again, I just want the sacroiliac and other joint pain to go away. I want to feel good running, and I would prefer to not have to completely re-learn all my Irish dance clicks again (earlier in the pregnancy, when I could still hop into the clicks, my heels were just not meeting each other like they used to).

3. So I mentioned the Peach State Feis to my dance teacher, and she thinks it is an achievable goal. She's referred to me as the most active pregnant dancer she's known (and apparently our adult class has had quite a few babies born to it over the years). While that makes me feel good, I was already 22 weeks pregnant when she met me. So meanwhile I am frustrated with how much less energy I already had by that point. I still go to class, even though I gave up jumping about 3 weeks ago. Last week I did the warm-up skips around the room, muddled through a ceili (even if the hop back 2, 3, 4s were hop-less), walked through my slip jig steps, and ran through St. Patrick's Day traditional set twice (minus the hopping). As I mentioned, I am at a different school in a different region, so I have had to learn new steps, and they seem stylistically diffferent than what I am used to. My last feis was in June, when I was 8 weeks pregnant (though I can count on 1 hand the number of people who knew about it besides me) and I still fit into my old school dress. Aside from missing my reel due to miscalculation of start time combined with not wanting to get out of bed (first trimester fatigue is no joke!), I had a pretty good feis. However, that was with my old school/old steps. Last time I switched schools (thanks to hubby's job), it took me 8 months to be ready to feis again, and that was without a pregnancy break, too. I know the 4 core dances (reel, slip jig, treble jig, and hornpipe), but it is a matter of committing them to memory and performing them well, even though I can pretty much just walk and talk through them for the next few months.

As for #4, I have been wanting to do the Disney Wine and Dine Half-Marathon for quite some time. My first half-marathon was at Disney (the 2011 Princess Run) and my only marathon was at Disney in 2013. Unlike those races, in which I had to wake up prior to 3 am to drive to the park before roads were closed, or catch the bus to the start line around 3:30 am, the Wine and Dine has a 10 pm start time, and includes an after-party at Epcot Center! My half-marathon times have all been in the 1 hour 53 minutes to 1 hour 58 minutes time range. Not sure if it is overly-ambitious to be back in that kind of shape by November, but by that time, it will be at least 9 months since I have given birth. 9 months pregnant and 9 months to bounce back, right?

#5 is a must for me. I came from a region where the only Oireachtas (regional championships) opportunities for adults were 8-hand competitions. So, unless you had 7 classmates who competed in the adult levels, were willing and able to travel over Thanksgiving vacation, and would commit to regular team practices, Oireachtas was not a possibility. At my first school, we did ceilis in class, but never team competitions, aside from 3-hands and 4-hands. At my second school, I was the only one who competed in the adult category. There was a traditional set dance competition for the "15 and over" age group, but since I couldn't drop down, I was never able to compete in 15 and over. Now I am in a region that offers 4-hand dances at Oireachtas for adults, as well as an adult Traditional Set competition. Even though Traditional Set is possibly my worst dance, I want to go to Oireachtas so badly that I will work on it. I've already done the St. Patrick's Day dance more in the past 2 or 3 months than I have in probably the preceding year. I would like to learn the Blackbird, though. It seems a bit more challenging, due to its hornpipe rhythm, and I have learned parts of it several times. Besides, it is needed for grade exams for Grade 6, which is the next one for me to take. I almost listed "pass Grade 6," as a goal, but I'm not sure where the grade exams are offered in my new region. Not sure if I would ever want to teach Irish dance (I have so many goals to still achieve as a dancer first), but I like taking the grade exams for the feedback and the sense of accomplishment. Plus, it gives me something to work towards, as I kind of don't have any competitive goals anymore. I reached the highest level I can obtain in the adult competition back in 2012 (2011 if you count that my old region only had 2 levels for adults instead of 3). My main competitive goal right now (outside of Oireachtas) is get back to where I was pre-pregnancy and do well enough to convince a teacher to let me dance in "and overs." And place 1st in the reel....Reel is one of my best dances, yet when I have 5 or more competitors in prizewinner or combined novice/prizewinner, something always goes wrong. I've got about 4 second places with 5 or more competitors and twice I missed the reel due to traffic or other factors. As for Oireachtas, I have never seen the adult traditional set competition there, and some feisanna I used to go to didn't even have adult traditional set competitions, so that, plus the fact that traditional set is my worst dance (my only one still in novice), means I don't know what is a realistic goal, other than go there and do my best.

Well, I have to get some things done before I head off to a childcare class at the hospital this evening, so I guess my adventures with tofu cacciatore will have to wait until next time. However, here's a preview of how it turned out...

It was actually one of the yummier tofu recipes I've tried at home!

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