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.

 

 

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 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 Berkeley Half Marathon Recap

Between the Dumbo Double Dare – and this race. I started to become a little cocky. I was so impressed at my ability to run 19.3 miles in one weekend without burning myself out – that I viewed my 3rd and last half marathon of 2015 to not be a challenge.

Boy was I wrong. The 2015 Berkeley Half Marathon humbled me, and put into perspective that if running a half marathon were easy, everyone would do it.

Like my past three halfs – I put in the time and miles. I was all trained up. My speed has definitely not improved during my training runs – in fact they might have slowed down a little – yet for some reason, I thought there was a possibility of me getting a PR.

The morning of the race, I hopped in an uber that took me across the bay to Downtown Berkeley. My corral had an 8:22 am start time, so I got there with a little over 45 minutes to spare.

I placed myself at the front of my corral and had a quick start. I hit the 5k mark around 35 minutes into the race – which was speedy for me, but soon after that – I started to experience pain in my stomach and a little bit of nausea. I slowed down a little and by the time I got to mile 4, I started to feel better.

This course was very hilly in the beginning. The inclines felt greater than the Rock’n’Roll SF half which I ran earlier this year. Living in SF – I pretty much have to train on hills, so I was prepared, but hills do wear me out sometimes.

Around mile 9 is when it hit me – or I hit it. The wall.

At mile 10 it got harder, and by mile 11 I had to switch my 30:30 intervals to 15:30 (run 15 seconds, walk 30). Once I turned the corner and saw the finish line in view I *trotted* to the finish line. I was worn out. My finish time as 2:47:10 with a pace of 12:46. Not a PR. However it was my second fastest half.

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Despite my pace not being too far off from my PR and definitely faster than my long training runs – I felt unfulfilled with my performance.

This race was small compared to the other half marathons I have ran in the past. In every other half marathon I have run – the crowds never truly thinned out. I always had people in front of me AND behind me. Even my first half – with a 3:17 finish time – there were plenty of people crossing the line with me.

While I never was truly ALONE during this race – it definitely got pretty quiet during the last two miles – and once I saw my official results on how I placed – OOOF McGOOF.

I don’t know if I will ever run a sub 2 half. I am not an athletic person by nature –  however I know I made mistakes during training and during the race – if a PR was something I wanted. I think can muster up a 2:35 finish time.

I need to push myself during my weekday short runs.  I had become a little lazy toward the later half of the year – and pretty much went through the motions with all of my runs.

I also could have paced myself better throughout the entire race. Gone slower in the beginning – so I could finish strong. I did not finish strong at this race.

It also made me question my marathon goal. When I finished the race I thought to myself “how in the heck can I double this and finish without being swept or diverted away from the finish?”

I also thought to myself – do I even want to do another long race in the near future?

For the past year and a half – I have been training for half marathons. I had written about the glory of taking some time off of the longer runs in the past – and I think that might be something I plan to do through the rest of the year.

I plan to keep my long runs in the single digits (probably maxing out at 8 miles) until the start of the new year. At that time I will think about my 2016 goals. Do they include a marathon? A half pr? A 10k PR? I need a little time to reflect and think about it.

2015 Dumbo Double Dare Recap – A weekend full of 19.3 miles and more – Part 3

After the half, my husband and I took a nap and headed to the parks later that afternoon.

We decided to start a tradition when it comes to our post-Disneyland race meal. Last year we ate at Cafe Orleans and indulged in a Three Cheese Monte Cristo Sandwich with a side of Pommes Frites. We repeated the occasion. It was Pure. Fried. Heaven.

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We spent the rest of the day and night exploring both parks. A priority for our parks visit was to experience both World of Color at California Adventure and the new Paint the Night Parade at Disneyland.

Our first event was World of Color and it was pretty moving for me, but I do have one complaint. As soon as the show started 95% of the park guests took out their smart phones and held them up to video tape. Obstructing nearly everyone’s view. Your shoddy videotape of the show, which you will probably never watch, should not take priority over the people who prefer to experience the show in real time with their own eyes.

After World of Color, we headed over to Disneyland and got a prime viewing location for the parade. I can not begin to put into words how beautiful the Paint the Night parade is. For me, it was almost worth the price of admission.

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Once both parks closed, we walked over to the Disneyland hotel to go to Trader Sams. I had heard so much about this bar from various Disney-philes on social media. However, our idea to go to the bar was not an original one as the bar had reached capacity and it was approximately a 30-45 minute wait to get inside. At that point it was past midnight and we were pretty tired, so we decided to head back to the hotel.

In conclusion – It was an amazing trip – filled with quality time together and with our friend, a few fun surprises, and a great race experience.

A few weeks after the race, I was on vacation in Florida and I visited Fit2Run and finally got a gait analysis and got measured for insoles. I bought my first pair of personally selected running shoes. My previous entry level Asics Gel Contends (three different pairs) carried me through my races for the past two years, but I have more goals on the horizon, and I need to be better equipped.

I’m a proud owner of Hoka One One Cliftons.

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The Dumbo Double Dare really was a kick in the butt to help me think about my next running ventures.

The Monday after the race, I registered for a 10k taking place in a little over a week – and I registered for my third and final half of 2015.

Running 19.3 miles in two days gave me the crazy idea that I could run 26.2 in one day – and it is on that idea where I am harvesting my 2016 goal of doing the 26.2 – the MARATHON. I am eyeing an early May race, which gives me seven months to train.

The Dumbo Double Dare was my first multi-race challenge – and it definitely was a challenge. Now that I conquered it – I am ready for the new challenges that lay ahead.

2015 Dumbo Double Dare Recap – A weekend full of 19.3 miles and more – Part 2

Be sure to catch Part 1 of this epic saga

I awoke at 3:30 am the morning of the half and I was ECSTATIC that I slept for six hours.

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My husband was placed in Corral C, and I was in D, but he decided to start with me (what a guy!). We arrived to our corral at 5:20 am, but it was already filled to the brim. I know some people have blamed it on corral jumpers (people who were placed in farther back corrals, who broke the rules and snuck into others) however I think a lot of people in Corral C had partners and friends who were in D, and decided to move back. (In RunDisney, you are allowed to move back to later corrals, but are not allowed to move forward).

So we started in E. No biggie. My husband pretty much split from me in the beginning, and I weaved in and out of slower runners and walkers the first three miles. Like I said, my plan for this race was to run continuously the beginning, and start my 30:30 intervals at mile 4, once we were out of the parks.

My previous and only RunDisney half prior to this one was Avengers. A few people had expressed disappointment with that course, but I didn’t understand what they were talking about until I ran this race. Even when we were out of the park, there was entertainment pretty much at every mile, sometimes twice per mile. Local high school drum lines and cheerleaders. Dance troupes. A mile and a half of classic cars. This race also ran through Angels stadium, like the Avengers, but this time – the stadium had people cheering!

My pace kept increasing as the miles went on. I know I mentioned my goal was to simply finish with a smile on my face – but I added a new one: finish in under three hours.

My time was 2:55:19, with a pace of 13:23 per mile. Goal achieved!

I got my half marathon medal and the Dumbo Double Dare medal. We did it! 19.3 miles!

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Oh yes..there will be a part 3!

2015 Dumbo Double Dare Recap – A weekend full of 19.3 miles and more – Part 1

Eight months ago, I anxiously sat by my computer, refreshing the page waiting to register for the Dumbo Double Dare.

Once registered – a few running events happened in the following eight months. I ran my second half marathon that gave me a proof of time to be placed in an earlier corral, and my husband and I ran a 12k and a 5k.

The few weeks prior to the challenge were super busy. I was flying out every week, sometimes twice a week for work and personal travel. I drank Emergen-c, regularly took zinc, made sure to get a lot of sleep, and made hand sanitizer my BFF.

My husband and I arrived an hour before the expo closed on Friday night to pick up our bibs and shirts. I was pretty anxious and excited and got around 3.5 hours of sleep the night before the 10k.

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My husband and I were in Corral C for the 10k. I continuously ran the first two miles outside of the park and started 30:30 intervals once inside the parks – which were the final 4 miles. I REALLY enjoyed both courses for the race – but what was great about the 10k, was that the majority of it took place inside the parks. I took the pace pretty easy and really savored the moments on resort property. The idea was to enjoy the parks for the 10k race, and to continuously run through them for the half – and to do 30:30 intervals the remainder of the half while the race weaved through the city of Anaheim.

I finished the 10k in 1:21:48 with an average pace of 13:10 per mile.

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After the race, my husband and I showered, and met our friend Heather – who lives in the OC who was going to be running the half with us – for breakfast. We walked with her to the expo and perused the booths.

At the ProCompression booth, I got to meet Andrea Barber aka Kimmy Gibbler from Full House and the new Netflix series Fuller House. She is an avid runner and is pretty active on social media. I grew up watching Full House – I have seen every episode – so it was super cool meeting her. She was nice and personable and even took the time to chat with me and my husband and pose for a picture.

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After the expo, we went to our friend’s apartment complex to relax by the pool. We went to a local sports bar for pizza and to watch the Wisconsin vs Alabama game.

My husband and I got to our hotel room around 8pm, and fought hard to stay up until 10, but lost the battle at 9:28pm.

Part 2 to follow….

2015 Mid Year Goal Check In

At the start of this year, I listed my running goals for 2015.

Here is my current status on each of those goals:

  • Half marathon in March – My next half marathon will be taking place in March. My goal is to finish in under 3:15.

Achieved – I finished the Rock’n’Roll San Francisco Half Marathon in 2:40:51.

  • Run a sub 3 hour half marathon

Achieved. – Please see above and/or here.

  • Run at least three half marathons in 2015 – I am already signed up for one in March, and I am aiming to run one in May and another in the fall.

In progress. – As I am writing this, I ran one half in March and am registered for another one in September. After that I have only a few more months to run my third half marathon. I am eyeing one taking place in mid-October, but I have not pulled the trigger on registering. This is probably the top of my list of goals I have yet to achieve this year.

  • Run 1000 miles in 2015 – This might seem like a lofty goal, but I know I can do it. I plan on running in at least three half marathons this year. Between that and training, I know it can happen.

In progress (most likely will not be achieved) – I greatly overestimated the mileage I would run this year. I just assumed that if I would be training for three half marathons this year I would easily cover 1000 miles. Not the case. It is Aug 6th and I have run 313 miles this year. If I continue on this track I will probably reach a little over 500.

  • Consistently blog about running and other things – Blogging only about running can kind of be redundant, in my opinion. I would love to have this be a running/lifestyle blog

In progress (doing pretty well in my opinion) – I work a full time job, consider myself somewhat of a private person, and my life isn’t super duper exciting. This blog has had the longest lifespan of any other blog I’ve started and since I have been running consistently and racing pretty frequently – finding inspiration for content has not been too difficult. I still have not shared my blog with family or friends (aside from my husband). My audience mostly is people who have come across my blog on WordPress and from the Team RunDisney group on Facebook. I hope to eventually feel comfortable enough to share my blog with my personal social network, but now is not the best time.

I feel good about where I am right now – running is a hobby I truly enjoy and I love writing about it.

Summer Check In

It’s been a while since I’ve wrote here – so here’s what’s going on:

My next race(s) on the books is  the Dumbo Double Dare taking place at the end of September (10k and Half over a weekend). The races are in Disneyland and I am running it with my husband. We are making it a race-cation. Training for the half and 10k are on track – my goal for the Double Dare is to finish with a grin on my face!

I’m looking forward to the Disneyland 60th nighttime events – specifically the Paint the Night Parade and World of Color. I have a feeling there might be a few emotional tears streaming down my face.

I’m still on the fence about doing another local race.

I signed myself and my mom up for the Princess 5k taking place this February in Walt Disney World. This is my mom’s first RunDisney event and I am so excited for her. We’ve already booked a hotel on property – the weekend is going to be a blast.

The Joy of Not Training for a Long Race

Shout out to Ashley at Fiddle Dee Me, who inspired me to write this post based on a recent post of hers.

I signed up for my second half marathon immediately after I finished my first. The three months before my second half were filled with numerous weekends of long runs – sometimes lasting 2+ hours (I’m a slow poke, remember?). I had to plan a lot of the weekend in advance – early Saturday morning wake ups, or at least devote an entire morning/early afternoon to running and recovery.

I have my Dumbo Double Dare (10k + half) taking place in September, but I was intending to sign up for another half taking place at the end of May. I’ve decided not to do it

Why? Because it is a treat to have my long run be 6-7 miles. It’s a treat not to have the weight of 13.1 miles hanging on my shoulders. It also allows me some time to work on increasing my pace. I haven’t done speed work in a while. I would love to run a 30 minute 5k one day.

I have a 12k in a month – and I’m super excited about it. I don’t have a goal time. The time limit is very generous due to the race being walker friendly – I just want to enjoy the course and savor in the post race festivities.

I’m eyeing a half at the end of July, but life might get in the way, and that’s ok. I still have my half in September and maybe I will do another half in the fall so I can achieve my goal of three half marathons in 2015.

I started my running journey with the goal of completing a half marathon – it’s nice to step back and savor the miles under that.