Planning my Return to Fitness – Postpartum

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As I am writing this – my little buddy is napping. He’s a bit nocturnal. Sleeping in the morning/early afternoon and partying throughout the evening. I consider myself fortunate that he sleeps from 1am-7am with a feeding in between – so I get around 5.5-6ish hours of broken up sleep a day. I’ll take it.  The days are long but the weeks are flying by.

Adjusting to being a mother is a challenge. I’m someone who never changed a diaper in their entire life prior to having him. I also have little to no experience being responsible for children. I was a sleep away camp counselor for two years, but my kids were 8 years old. So they knew how to sleep through the night and use the toilet. Despite my lack of experience I think I’m doing a good job. I can be hard on myself though – I need to tell myself that there is no such thing as a perfect parent.

Luckily – my body has recovered decently from pregnancy and labor. In my first trimester I lost six pounds so I had a generous cushion when it came to the pregnancy weight gain. I ended up 18 pounds over my pre-pregnancy weight – the weight came off in the first week and I’m down a few more pounds from that which can probably be attributed to stress and breastfeeding. I also had an easy healing process after delivery.

Right now, I’m taking it easy when it comes to exercise and have been trying to fit in a quick daily walk with the baby – for my mental health since I’m indoors most of the day.

I hope to ramp up my fitness routine after my six week postpartum doctor visit. It’s going to be a challenge balancing baby with a workout schedule – but if I slowly ease into it I think I can make it work.

I’m viewing my return to fitness as somewhat of a clean slate: I built up a great running base pre-pregnancy, took a brief hiatus in my first trimester, and started a manageable regimen beginning second tri through the majority of my third. One thing each phase had in common was that my fitness was solely focused on running and walking. I’d like to start incorporating a few new things into my routine.

  1. Workout Videos / Strength training

I will be home with my baby pretty much all the time. I’m fortunate to have family nearby who are open to babysitting while I go out for a quick run, but in the beginning, I know that I will not be able to take a daily run. No worries, this is a perfect opportunity to bring strength training into my life with some workout videos.

I have a few DVD’S that have been collecting dust, I plan on finally pressing play and doing them.

There are also a variety of videos on YouTube and I might, just might, dabble in some Beachbody videos (I draw the line at Shakeology, though)

While I might not get the runners high, I know I’m building a stronger base to my running routine. Strength training is important! Also my baby is getting bigger and it’s getting harder for me to carry him.

2. Fit4Mom

When my baby’s immune system gets a little stronger – I plan on trying a class at my local Fit4Mom. Fit4Mom is a fitness class designed for moms – and you are able to take your baby with you and incorporate him in the workout. It sounds like a lot of fun and a great opportunity to meet mom friends.

3. Running

Of course – running is the foundation of my fitness regimen – and I have a few goals for the rest of the year. There are a few 5ks over the next few months that I plan to walk – including one in a couple of weeks. Sometimes just being a part of a race (even without running) gets me motivated to stay active. As far as legitimate running – I plan on easing back into it and getting serious about training in the summer –  there is a local half marathon in October that I am making my comeback race.

Life has certainly been turned upside down – but my family is slowly falling into a routine – and I am looking forward to introducing exercise back into my life.

 

 

My Fitness in the Final Stretch of Pregnancy

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My last “official run” – 36 weeks and 3 days

Today I proudly put my running shoes in the closet – and they probably won’t see the light of day for the next two months (at least). As I am writing this, I am 38 weeks pregnant. I’ve written in the past about my hiatus from running during the first trimester and how I slowly started incorporating it back in and was able to complete a 10k at 24 weeks.

Since then, I was able to maintain a consistent routine. I aimed to complete four 3 mile run/walks per week. Since it’s winter in Ohio, it can get cold out there, I’m lucky to belong to a gym with an indoor track where I can get the miles done. On those unseasonably warm days I was able to head outside for a run.

One thing that I had to tweak the most is my time on treadmill. For some reason – the bouncing on the ‘mill brought me pain in my baby belly area. To minimize this I had to really space out my running intervals – I kept them short and frequent instead of running for long stretches of time.

A few days after I hit 36 weeks – something changed. I started to become a lot more tired during and after a workout – and sometimes I would feel tired the entire day. My mom and I went on a relatively easy 3 mile walk, and that knocked me out. The days after that, I still was feeling fatigue, so I made the decision to conclude working out until well after the baby is born. I plan to hopefully go for a few short, easy walks – but am definitely not planning on anything more intense than that.

I know when I’m ready, running will be there to welcome me back.

Couch to 5k: What Started It All For Me

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Since I’m taking some time off of training for long distance races – I felt like reflecting on what helped me develop the habit of running.

The Couch to 5k program has been around for a while. I think in the last 6 years I had started and quit it many, many times. Why? Well, sometimes lacing up your shoes and getting out the door can be the hardest thing.

In November of 2013 I had recently moved to San Francisco. At the time I was unemployed and had a lot of free time. I also lived in a walkable neighborhood that was hilly, but not too hilly. Between my time, location, and the mild SF weather – I decided to give the Couch to 5k antoher try. I downloaded the free c25k app, and got to it.

The program is built upon running and walking intervals which week by week slowly transitions into being able to run for 30 minutes straight. The app gives you audio cues for when to walk and run, so you don’t have to keep looking at a stopwatch.

A big milestone in the program is Week Five – Workout 3 – which is the first time you run continuously for 20 minutes. After I completed that workout I felt super accomplished and excited.

9 weeks later (January of 2014) – I completed the program. March of that year I signed up for my first half marathon and the rest is history!

I strongly recommend the couch to 5k program for anyone who wants to start running. Even if it takes a few attempts to be faithful to the program – when followed through it can change your life!

Looking Back at 2016 Goals and Forward at 2017 Goals

My one goal for 2016 was to run 1000 miles and by July I was on the right track until I got pregnant and had to take close to three months off of running due to round the clock nausea. By the end of October I started to get back into my running (more like walk/run) routine and it looks like I will be finishing the year at a hair under 650 miles. Which is more than I ran last year – so yay!!

Now for 2017 – in a few months my life will be changing in ways I cannot even begin to fathom. It is difficult for me to pick any goal pertaining to speed, distance, or racing. My only goal/wish/dream is to continue my running routine in the healthiest and sanest way possible. Of course I have future races dancing around in my head that I would like to accomplish – but I’m changing my perspective to focus on my new addition – who I will be meeting very soon.

A healthy mom is a happy mom – and I know lifelong fitness is important to maintain. I’m grateful to enjoy running and I hope to keep it up in the coming year.

 

Hiatus explained AND 2016 Hyde Park Blast

Well it has been AWHILE since I last posted something. Life has changed ALOT in the past few months and it’s only going to change more.

I currently have a bun in the oven and the first five months of baking were ROUGH! I had suffered from nonstop nausea and fatigue and pretty much stopped exercising for two months.

Back in June I ran the Hyde Park Blast, and what I did not know at that time was that my little bun was along for the ride. It was a four mile race through Cincinnati’s Hyde Park district and I achieved one of my best times: a 47:28 finish with an 11:52 pace. A few weeks later I found out about my new partner in crime – and was able to run throughout July and early August until the nausea hit hard and I pretty much went out of commission.

Once I started to feel better, I set out to slowly get back into a running routine, or at least a run/walk routine. At five months, the bump was starting to show and I realized if I jostled myself too much I would get round ligament pain in my uterus – so 15:30 run/walk intervals seemed to be my golden ratio. Pretty much a power walk, but it felt great to get my body moving again.

By mid-November I felt like I had a solid enough foundation to register for the Cincinnati Thanksgiving Day Race, an annual 10k through downtown Cincinnati and Northern Kentucky – I was a little nervous…

to be continued

Trying to Be “Somewhat” Healthy on a Road Trip

My husband and I recently completed a 10 day cross country road trip from San Francisco, CA to Cincinnati, OH. Below are some of the things that we did to try to make this trip a little healthier:

Try to find hotels with complimentary breakfasts –  I’m a breakfast eater and breakfasts can be a challenging thing to manage on the road – Most road hotels (Hampton Inn, Best Westerns, comfort inn) offer free hot breakfasts – where you can pick and choose what you want in the amount you want. You have the options of eggs, biscuits, waffles, yogurt, hot and cold cereals, fruit, english muffins, and pastries. It made the mornings more enjoyable and we were still able to hit the road on time.

Have snacks on hand – hunger strikes at weird times on the road, and we had healthy options on hand. Cashews, almonds, raisins, dates, peanut butter (in individual cups for those who like to eat it straight up), protein bars, and crackers were our trip staples.

Eat one “sack” meal per day – we usually had one meal in a restaurant (lunch or dinner) per day, the other meal we ate in the car or in our hotel room – which usually was a light sack lunch – some combination of peanut butter sandwich, crackers, nuts, dried fruit.We also occasionally had leftovers from the previous restaurant meals for lunch/dinner. All of our lodgings were equipped with a refrigerator. Having one lighter meal helped balance things out.

Try to fit in exercise – most of the road trip was spent in a sedentary state, but we did try to fit a few runs in if our hotel was located near a safe running route. Most hotels we stayed at also had fitness centers, but we did not take advantage of them (maybe next time). We also took a few nice walks in some of the towns we stopped in.

Have realistic expectations – I’m not someone with the strongest of discipline – while I would love to be someone who could eat clean regardless of the situation they are in, I’m just not. In my home life – we eat out once a week, but on the road, it’s everyday. I also am someone who likes to indulge during special occasions, and being fortunate to explore different regions of our beautiful nation is a special occasion. We definitely had more than a few opportunities to indulge and we took advantage of them.

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Cupcake Pancakes at IHOP – one of the several meals I treated myself to on the road

Our cross country road trip was an experience that made lifelong memories for us – it was nice to be able to balance the “vices” of traveling with a few healthy choices.

First Watch Sarasota Half Marathon 2016 Recap

After not running my planned half marathon this past month due to a bad chest cold – I was antsy to run the earliest half I could get my hands on.

I had a trip out to Florida in March to spend time with family, and the First Watch Sarasota Half Marathon fell during the time I was there, and was conveniently located.

This race conveniently (please note sarcasm) fell on the first day of daylight savings time – so the 6:45 am start would feel like a 5:45 am start, and the 4:30 am wake up would feel like a 3:30 am wake up.

Nevertheless, I slept very well for a pre-race night, and woke up to my alarm. I had my usual oatmeal and almonds – and since my body felt it was the middle of the night – it was really tough to get down.

My mom dropped me off at the start area at 5:45 am, and I picked up my packet, checked my participant tee with gear check, and lined up at the start, placing myself between the 2:45 and 3:00 pacers. I had no PR in mind due to it being my first half marathon in the Florida heat and humidity. I believe it was 75 degrees at the time of the start.

There were no time-released corrals at the start, everyone started at once. I started out at a slow jog until the crowd thinned and eased into my 30:30 intervals.

There were a lot of Galloway runners in this group. I played leapfrog with with a few people who must have been running the same intervals as me. There was one major “hill” which was a causeway bridge that we ascended before mile 1 – and we would return to that bridge  again a little after mile 4. I crossed the first 5k at 40 minutes in, which was consistent with the pace I wanted. When I came back to that bridge, I changed my intervals to 15:30 as I climbed – my goal was not to wear myself out – especially as the heat rose.  Once the bridge was out of the way – I switched back to 30:30.

Miles 7-9 seemed to take FOREVER – at that point the course went through residential areas, pretty but didn’t captivate my attention enough.

At mile 11 I started to get a pain in the back of my knee that forced me to switch to 15:30 intervals and alternate which foot I pushed off of. The pain started to go away halfway through mile 12 and once I saw the finish line I pushed through.

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My time was 2:54:53 with a pace of 13:20 per mile. Not near my faster times – but I’m happy.

The post race food was a catered brunch from First Watch – but I was not hungry at all – bummer, because it did look delicious.

After the race, I grabbed my bag from gear check – took a medal selfie and waited for my mom to pick me up (just like middle school).

This race was my first out-of-state half marathon, and it gave me confidence to know I could run the distance in high humidity and heat.

The race was organized and provided enough on-course support. Definitely a great experience.

2016 Disney Princess 5k Recap Part 2

Part 1 here

After the expo, we chilled out at the hotel for the remainder of the day – the red eye flight from the night before started to take it’s toll on me and I was fast asleep by 8pm.

Which brings me to 1:30 am the following morning – both my mom and I were up around this time and after laying around for a half hour we started to get ready. Since we were walking a 5k – I decided to primp myself up a little bit more than I would if I were “running” – i.e – I wore makeup and “styled” my hair. By styled I mean I wore my hair down in pigtails and we had matching Ariel headband/tiara thingies that we got from Party City.

We also wore matching Disney tops – which we bought at Macy’s on clearance back in September (I told you we’ve been preparing for this race)

We hopped on the first bus which left the hotel at 3:45 am – we were at the start area by 4am.

One thing I loved about Disney World RunDisney was that they sold concessions at the start area. Our hotel wasn’t selling any food or drinks that early (FYI – Disney host resorts do sell breakfast items before the 10ks and above) – but the start area for the 5k did have coffee, granola bars, breakfast sandwiches, and a few other things. Thank GOODNESS – I need coffee in the morning.

We had about two hours to kill before lining up for the corrals – there was a DJ playing typical pop/party music – so my mom and I killed time and warmed up by dancing and people watching.

Soon enough – we lined up in our corrals – waited another 25 minutes – and we were off.

My mom’s goal was to finish as fast as she could walk – she did not want to stop for any reason – no water, character photos, or even a selfie.

The first mile was in the parking lot/backstage of Epcot, and the remaining 2.1 were in the park.

Once inside the park, the course felt very familiar, as it is essentially a walk around World Showcase and Future World – because we have done this path so many times before – it went by very quickly – however it was so much fun!

Based on looking at the clock when we started and finished – it took us about 56 minutes to walk the 5k – a pace of around 18 per mile.

My mom finished strong – and felt great. I was SO proud of her. She really caught the RunDisney bug and wants to do a 10k next! She feels with training she could get her pace to under 16 minutes – and I plan to help her get there.

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We spent the rest of the day at Magic Kingdom – and proudly wore our 5k medals.

This race was so much fun! I thought I would feel like I was “missing out” because I wasn’t participating in the longer races – but I didn’t feel it that much. In fact, it felt pretty good to wake up early only once and relax the rest of the weekend.

Sure, a 5k might be the shortest “long distance” race out there – but it was memorable – 1.) because the majority of it was in the parks  and 2.) because it was my mom’s first RunDisney race

 

2016 San Francisco Kaiser Permanente 5k Recap

On February 2nd I started to have an inkling of a sore throat – which turned into almost 2 weeks of the worst chest cold I’ve had in a very long time. I usually get one to two head colds per year, but fortunately have never been so sick where I have been out of commission. This time was different. I spent many a day laying on the couch all zombie like trying to rest and rid myself of the hacking cough and nasal congestion.

While I was curled up on the couch – I kept anticipating the inevitable half marathon I was registered for – the one I was fully trained for. My 5th half marathon – taking place in my favorite location in San Francisco – Golden Gate Park on February 14th.

Three days out, and still sick, I was about to throw the towel in, when it dawned on me that I still had the option and the physical stamina to complete the 5k – which was also offered that day. I decided to rest up and make a game time decision on race day.

The morning of the race – I still hadn’t made up my mind. Mentally I was there and physically I was feeling close to normal . I had my typical pre-race morning – full of my usual breakfast and jitters/excitement. The Uber driver on the way out to the race told me to follow my mind and do the half – but I still had that nasty bronchial chest cough. There is that common rule I’ve heard about about exercising when sick: if it’s below the neck don’t do it.

The race was set up where everyone started at once – no timed corrals. The 5k cut off was less than a half mile on the course. When I started the race I still didn’t know what race I was going to do – but as I approached the cutoff my gut told me to take the shorter option.

The rest of the race felt like a blur – I did 30:30 intervals and finished with a time of 40:39 – a pace of 13:09 per mile. The best part of the race: I finished feeling healthy and strong.

After this 5k, I got a 5k medal and finishers shirt (that says “Kaiser Permanente Half Marathon & 5k” – so it’s still relevant to the race I did.)

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I’ll never know how I would feel if I decided to do the half, but I do know the rest of the day after the race I spent on the couch sleeping – I also know that the two “easy” shorter runs I did after the race were VERY hard – so I feel that my body still wasn’t half-marathon ready.

I’m just eager to do another half in the coming weeks – I trained for one – so I want to finish one! I’m flying out of state next month, and there is a half marathon near where I am staying that I’m on the cusp of registering for. What’s holding me back is the fear I’ll get sick again – and also running 13.1 miles the day after I take a red-eye flight.

Race Recap: 2016 San Francisco Hot Chocolate 15k

I ran this race over a month, so I’m not writing this recap super fresh.

The Hot Chocolate 15k/5k is a series that holds races in different cities throughout the country. Similar to the color run, but with less cities on the map.

The San Francisco event was held at Golden Gate Park.

I had heard about the race from a friend who ran it last year and a BIG draw for me to sign up was the free jacket with registration (some people do it for the medal, I do it for the shirt/jacket).

My husband (who after running the Dumbo Double Dare, told me he was capping his distances at 10ks) signed up with me for the 15k.

There was an expo held two days before the race in an convention center outside the city. Unlike RunDisney, my husband was able to pick up my bib and his without me going with him.

On race day – we got there with a little time to spare. This event was pretty big – and  they had a large setup in the music concourse of GG park. They had gear check, a merch tent, and even a few sponsor kiosks. It almost felt like another expo.

For corrals – they asked you to give a pace at registration – I listed mine as 12 per mile, my husband listed 9 per mile. Right before our registration was confirmed – I got notified I needed to submit a proof of time for my husband (not for me). I attached a screenshot of his Disneyland 10k race – and he got approved. On race day – he turned out to be in the first corral. I was in the second to last one.

There was a LOT of time between corrals. I think my husband started 20 minutes before I did. We were getting text alerts of each other’s tracking, and he told me he started to worry about me because it took a LONG time for my 5k split to be sent to him.

So now the race – after ending the Berkeley Half not feeling so well. I had no PR in mind – I just wanted to pace myself so I would not hit a wall and finish strong. I stuck mostly to 30:30 intervals. I always start races at a slow continuous jog to warm up and find my place amongst the crowd.

There was an ample amount of aid stations and the “fuel” being handed out was plain and chocolate marshmallows, M&M’s and chocolate chips (a different option at each point). I opted out of eating any of it and stuck to my own fuel. I just grabbed the water.

This was my second time running a race through GG park – and it was lovely. SF is the best city for running.

I finished with a time of 1:58:06 – a 12:41 pace. I’m happy to run 9.3 miles in less than two hours and felt really good after finishing.

The medal was SWEET get the pun? A chocolate bar shaped medal with an SF theme. It might be my fave medal to date.

The post race festivities were THE BEST I have ever experienced. Each finisher got a mini fondue cup with melted chocolate, a banana, marshmallows, cookies, rice crispie treats AND cup of piping hot chocolate to drink. After running 9.3 miles everything tasted like heaven. The music concourse was jam packed with runners resting, socializing, and eating. There was also a DJ “spinning tunes”.

In addition to the food – they kept the merch tent open – we didn’t buy anything but looked around.

I loved this race. I would definitely run it again – in SF or another city if I happen to be nearby.