Hi. My Name is Aly, and I’m a Recovering Bride

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Remember that girlfriend that you had in high school that just dropped off the face of the planet when she got a boyfriend?  You used to look forward hanging out together all the time and then she went and got all self-involved, so you were all, “Screw her, I don’t need that!”

I’m that friend, or at least I have definitely been that friend for the past few months. So sorry, please forgive my negligence.  July 13th I tied the knot with the love of my life and have been absent from all of my favorite activities because I was in Bride Mode. It has ended, and I am back and more motivated than EVER!

Please indulge me, as I know this portion of my post is not directly fitness-related.  However, mental sanity is a necessity. Do not take it for granted. And so, for some of you upcoming bride (and grooms/families of brides and grooms/friends and saints who put up with them), I’ve compiled a list of things that I found were key for having a joyous day instead of wanting to have a diva Bridezilla attack on everyone and everything in sight.

  1. Remember that this glorious day you have waited for your whole life is basically a big party. If things go awry, I swear it’s not the end of the world.  People are excited and rooting for you, so try not to have a panic attack. It rained on the day of my outdoor wedding, and you know what? We had a wonderful day anyway. Just be sure to have backup arrangements.
  2.  Be clear on the guest list and make sure everyone else in the wedding party and family is too. You can’t invite everyone that you’ve ever met, unless you have unlimited resources and time. We had a guest limit imposed by our venue, and wanted a more intimate wedding.  It was probably the most stressful part of the wedding to try to enforce the guest list that my husband and I had decided on, and I’m sure some feelings were hurt. However, at the end of the day this is about the Bride and Groom, and if others don’t like it, bummer for them.  Don’t let anyone bring you down. I was lucky enough to have a groom that didn’t care to take care of awkward situations like this in my corner.
  3. Take time to be alone with your new spouse for a few minutes during the reception or right after the ceremony.  After your ceremony, you’re essentially a celebrity for the next few hours. Everyone wants to take a picture with you and talk to you. It’s fabulous—but the few moments my husband and I were able to steal a few unwatched kisses and be giddy about the fact we would be together forever were priceless.
  4. Splurge on your photographer. You spend all this time and money making sure everything is exactly how you have imagined. It was imperative to me that we hire someone who could make everything as visually beautiful as the memories in my mind.  A special thanks to my dear friend Daniel and his company, Michael Bordeaux Photography. Pick someone with whom you are comfortable and someone whose style you love.
  5. Pick attendants that will actually be helpful. My girls and his guys were INCREDIBLE and helpful with anything that we needed.  They talked me down from my minor panic attack, and planned him one heck of a bachelor party. This is always a tough call when you’re trying not to hurt feelings.  We each chose three of our very closest friends who we knew would have our best interest at heart.
  6. Eat. ‘Nuff said.

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Ok that’s all I’ll harp on the whole wedding planning thing. As far as my adventures in fitness, I have absolutely been slacking due to wedding palooza. Yesterday I went back to the boxing club for the first time in FIVE WEEKS and I’m absolutely feeling it today. I think I’ll never be able to move my shoulders again—in a good way! It is thrilling to be back into something I love that makes me feel good (or will soon).  Getting back to it is intense, but it reminds me how much better I feel afterward. Performing horrifically last night has been the best motivator now to get back into my old healthy routines.  I forget how good my body is designed to feel and am looking forward to getting back to a more fit me. More to come, folks.

No for real, I swear.

Cheers!

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Back In The Saddle Again

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I’m about to leave today to get back to the bluegrass. My daddy had a hip replacement surgery, which is why I shared I was back in my hometown. It is one of the hardest things for me to see the strongest man I know laying in a hospital bed. He has worked hard at his job forever, and it just took a toll on his body. Luckily, the wonderful doctors and surgeons were able to replace it successfully, and, after a tough recovery, he will be up and able to walk me down the aisle in July.

Injuries happen. They are awful and unfortunate and can leave you feeling like all accomplishments you under your belt will reverse. Right at the peak of my training, I had a knee injury. It was right after completing my first race- The Warrior Dash.

If you’re looking for an incredible experience to have with friends that gives you a challenge, but isn’t crazy long, you’ve got to consider the Warrior Dash. It’s a giant obstacle course that will have you muddy, soaking wet, and having a blast. On top of all that, you’re supporting the research of St. Jude Children’s Hospital. Does it get any better?

Anyway, I had been training for this race for a while, following a great running and lifting plan. I’d gotten to the point where I was truly looking forward to running—a feeling I never thought possible. Yes folks, it does happen!

My heart was getting stronger and I wasn’t winded as easily. The more in shape I got, the more I looked forward to my training. Race day happened, and it only pushed me to work harder when I felt that joy from crossing that muddy finish line.

Listen to your body

After training, my right knee would start to ache. I talked to my trainer about footwear, my running technique, surfaces I was running on, stretches to help—everything I could think of that would be causing this pain.

Finally, as a last resort, I went to the doctor when my knee started to swell pretty much every day. And ok, to be honest, my fiancé had to force me to go. I hate going to the doctor and like to just think that everything will work itself out.

I won’t bore you with the medical details, but basically my knee is built a little weird, and it caused some issues/tearing situations. I was able to work with a physical therapist to strengthen the muscles around it, but I had to seriously cut back on and modify my training.

After a couple months of physical therapy, I injured the other knee the same way. Stop, rewind, start everything all over.

Talk about frustrating! Being the terrible patient I am, the recovery was next to impossible to endure in that I felt like I was just being lazy. I needed to be more active! I was living with this fear that when my recovery ended, I was going to somehow gain all of this weight back. It wasn’t all vanity; my body was craving activity and my mind wanted that clarity I get after a good sweat session.

Did my fear come true of losing all my progress? Nope. I was able to slowly but surely work back into my usual routine, being more conscious now of how I was treating my knees. Getting my strength back was required, but it was nowhere near as hard as it was when I was first beginning.

It’s a hard lesson, but worth having. Sometimes you just have to sit back and let your body heal. Even when you don’t want to. And for the sake of your loved ones, I hope you can muster more self-restraint in the whining department than I did. Sorry, M;)

Cheers!