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.

 

 

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!

2016 Go Santa Go 5k Recap

My mom moved up to Cincinnati recently, and she got bit by the racing bug when we did the 2016 Princess 5k together this past year. She really wanted to do another race with me, so I did a quick search for local 5k’s in the area and came across the Go Santa Go 5k, which was being held at Summit Park – a great new park down the street from where I live. Proceeds from the race went to the Cancer Survivors Community.

Packet pick up was the day before at my local running store – but there was also race day pickup and registration available. Included in registration was a Santa *or* Elf shirt and hat (you had to pick one). We picked Elves. The shirt and hats were intended to be worn at the race.

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My mom and I arrived about 35 minutes before the race and stayed in the car to keep warm. The temperatures that morning were in the high 30’s.

Around 5 minutes before the start we lined up at the starting line. This was probably one of the smallest races I have participated in. I believe there were about 117 participants.

When I race with my mom we stick to power walking. The course went through and around the park. During the race my mom and I pretty much chatted and people watched. Our official time was 47:47, with a pace of 15:24 per mile.

Hot chocolate and cookies were available post race and an awards ceremony was held for people who placed in their age group. Since my mother and I were certain we did not place, we left and went back to my house.

Like the Thanksgiving Day Race, this is another race I’d like to make an annual tradition. I definitely plan to bring the stroller and my little buddy next year!

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 Disney Princess 5k Recap Part 1

Yes – this race experience warrants more than 1 post.

It surprises me that a 5k could mean so much to me. This particular one has as much emotional weight as my first race.

I have been blabbing about RunDisney to my mom ever since I ran that first race, the Avengers Half Marathon. My mom would always ask me: can I walk those events? And I would tell her yes, but you had to keep a 16 minute per mile pace (which is a brisk walk). A 16 mm pace for an extended distance can be challenging.

After doing some research about the RunDisney 5k distances – I found out that RunDisney seldom sweeps for those races. While they still do enforce the 16mm rule on the website – because the 5k’s are mostly all in the parks, and also because they are targeted towards families with children – they are very generous and as long as you keep moving, you should be fine. I asked my mom if she wanted to get her RunDisney feet wet with the Princess 5k – and she enthusiastically said yes.

In July of this past year, registration for the Disney Princess Half Marathon Weekend opened up. The 5k was a definite for me and my mom – I was considering doing the Glass Slipper Challenge or at least the half – but I decided not to.

Why? A few reasons:

The primary reason for this weekend was to spend time with my mom – I didn’t want to enforce early evening bedtimes and lose a big chunk of the mornings more than one time- especially if I was doing the rest of the weekend’s races alone.

This was also my first time doing a RunDisney race in Walt Disney World – sure I’ve had two early morning wake ups in a row for the Dumbo Double Dare, but I could arrive at the race 30-45 minutes before the start – here I had to be on the resort shuttle AT least 1 hour and 15 minutes before the start. I wanted to test the waters out with one race per Florida weekend.

So it was what it was – we were “JUST” doing the 5k.

As the months passed by – I was getting excited and my mom was REALLY pumped. We had been visiting Disney World together many times over the past 25 (eek! where does the time go!) years. This was a brand new experience – a new twist to our typical vacation.

I took a red eye in from SF that landed in Orlando the morning before the race. On both of my flights over to FL – I made conversation with a lot of people who were also participating in the race weekend.

When I landed in MCO – I took Disney’s Magical Express to our resort – where I would meet my mom who was driving in (she lives in Southwest Florida). The line to get on the bus was a bit long – but once I boarded the bus- it took about 45 minutes to be dropped off at the hotel.

Once we were all checked in – we drove over to the expo to pick up our stuff.

The “world” expo experience, was different than the “land” experience. It was a lot more crowded, and the communication on where to pick everything up wasn’t very strong – it was challenging to locate where to pick up your t-shirt and gear bag once you received your bib.

After we got our necessary items – we perused the official merchandise area. I didn’t find anything worth buying. Between the crowds and lack of interest in anything else at the expo – my mom and I went back to our hotel.

Part 2 to come…

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.

2015 San Francisco Color Run Recap

Ahh…the Color Run. I had aspired to participate in one for a while now, years before I took up running seriously.

The Color Run is a touring un-timed 5k. It’s fun, low maintenance, and a great opportunity to take and post gleeful photos on social media.

My husband and a few friends registered a few months ago. The San Francisco version of The Color Run started and ended at AT&T park.

Unlike other races I have participated in – there was not one start time – but a series of corral releases taking place from 8:00am to 9:45 am. It seemed like a group of runners were released every 10-15 minutes. We lined up shortly after we arrived. At the starting line there was a DJ throwing out prizes, some stilt walking dancers and a dancing unicorn.

Once we were released we ran through the bases of AT&T park and exited the stadium to run along the Embarcadero.

There were color stations throughout the course where they doused you with colored corn starch.

After running along the Embarcadero we returned to AT&T park and the course went inside the stadium and up to one of the concourses. It was a pretty unique aspect of the course.

With the beautiful sights of SF and the dousing of color – there were plenty of photo opportunities. We definitely made a few photo stops throughout the way.

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We were handed medals and some color powder to throw on ourselves or other people, I guess.

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I definitely would do the Color Run again. I feel it’s a great first race for someone new to running – it shows that running and being active is sometimes not about setting records or “killing” yourself. Definitely bring friends and family to participate – even if you don’t run – you will be in great company with many people walking.  It’s about savoring the moment and being grateful to be able to make memories with the ones that you love.

Race Recap: 2015 Superhero Fun Run 5k at Six Flags Discovery Kingdom

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I have never ran a 5k race before, which is kind of funny because what brought me into running was the Couch to 5k program.

Last week me, my husband, and a few friends ran a Super Hero Themed fun run 5k at Six Flags Discovery Kingdom. Race entry included a cape, medal, brunch buffet AND theme park admission – which was a pretty sweet deal.

This was the first race that my husband and I ran together the ENTIRE race. My husband usually picks up the pace a mile or two in, but between him taking it easy and me running straight through (no Galloway intervals) we both kept a nice, fun pace.

The first part of the 5k went through the parking lot, but once we entered the park it was a scenic route and we got a lay of the land as it was the first time we had been to this park.

I don’t know if this was a true 5k distance. I finished pretty quickly for me – 35:48 -which gave me an 11:32 pace. My Google Fit app registered it as 2.75 miles. So – if I ran a true 5k my pace was 11:35 per mile and if it was 2.75, my pace was 13 per mile. Who knows. I’m not losing sleep over it.

The brunch buffet afterwards was nice – the spread was bagels, eggs, pancakes, and fruit.

We spent the rest of the day in the park. This park was a standard “roller coaster park” with a bunch of midway rides peppered in.  No “dark” or theme rides like Disney or Universal. There also is a zoo and aquarium component to the park. I have mixed feelings about that.

However, to sum the day up – it was a blast to run the 5k and spend the rest of the day with my husband and friends.