The Race Recap: Marine Corps Marathon 2016

“Run for 20 minutes and you‚Äôll feel better. Run another 20 and you might tire. Add on 3 hours and you‚Äôll hurt, but keep going and you‚Äôll see‚ÄĒand hear and smell and taste‚ÄĒthe world with a vividness that will make your former life pale.”

Scott Jurek

In honor, of the Marine Corps Birthday, (that was on Thursday), and Veterans Day Weekend, I thought it would be a perfect time to post my race recap on running the 2016 Marine Corps Marathon. 

(Warning: This is a long detailed post about my experience, mile by mile.) 

On Sunday, October 30th, 2016, I ran my fourth Marine Corps Marathon. Although, it was my fourth MCM- this marathon was my first full marathon I ran, 14 months after having Zoe, and my fourth postpartum race.

When I registered for this race, I kept it a secret. I was really worried if I would be able to fit in the training,  being such a huge time commitment, new mom, and working mom. Would I be able to juggle everything? Turns out I could and did. Running mamas let me tell you… It is totally possible to train for a full marathon after baby! I did it and you can too. I ran all the miles! (Curious about my training read all about it here.)

Marine Corps Marathon 

THE EXPO

The Expo was held at the Gaylord Resort in National Harbor. At first, I was a little annoyed that they moved the Expo to Maryland instead of having it in DC. There is no metro located on National Harbor, so I feared there would be a lot of traffic and no parking. Turns out it was perfect. Not to much traffic, plenty of parking, and beautiful views of the Potomac river. 

We normally see these view from across the river, from the VA side. 

The Expo was held on both Friday and Saturday. I went on Friday afternoon hoping it wouldn’t be to busy. There were no lines getting in and no lines to get bibs. However, there was a line to the check out to get MCM gear, and because I had my 14 month old with me, there was no way I could wait in it. 

I ended up just getting my bib and skipping the MCM gear area. (I’ll purchase some gear later online. 

I wore my Oiselle sweatshirt to the Expo, talk about flystlye. This sweatshirt is so warm, cozy, and stylish.

Again, I brought my daughter, Zoe, with me to the Expo. The majority of my training was done with her by my side, so I wanted her there with me to experience the excitement of the Expo. It feels great to be a BAMR. (Read about being a BAMR at the Navy Half Expo, here.) 

Some runners hate expos and avoid them if they can. I, on the other hand, love the Expo. The Expo always gets me pumped! Plus, who doesn’t want to shop for more running stuff?!

I ended up shopping around, and purchased a running skirt from Mana Threads. I bought a sports bra and tank top from them at the Cherry Blossom Ten Miler Expo, and I was excited to see them again. I’ve never run in a skirt before, and honestly, never thought I would. I actually use to “roll my eyes” at runners who wore skirts. But I’m at the point that I’ve been running for 8-10 years now, and it can be difficult to find something new and different. So I’m going to give the skirt a try. Might as well… I might love it. 

I also checked out HOKA shoes. The guy was very knowledgeable. I’m pretty loyal to Newton, but want another type of shoe in my shoe rotation. So in the future I might give HOKA a try. 

NIGHT BEFORE THE RACE

The HEAT

Every long run I ran this summer was in record breaking heat conditions. Just my luck… the weather man was predicting unusually warm summer like conditions on race day. 

In my running groups, everyone was worried about the heat. We even received an email from the Marine Corps Marathon organizers, saying – to slow down race pace, and to hydrate and dress for hot conditions.  

Every time I run MCM the weather is perfect. I checked back on my blog post from a couple of years ago, when I ran my 3rd MCM and it was 30 degrees cooler that day. 

I don’t do well in the heat, and I also was pretty congested because of a cold. However, I trained in a heat wave of a summer in 80-90 degree record breaking weather, so I wasn’t too worried. I also wasn’t going to put my mind in a negative state. Positive vibes only.

I was just going to run my best and see what I could do. I was confident. I put in all the miles during training, and I knew once I got around the energy of the other runners, my excitement would keep me going strong. 

A lot of runners chose to wear their hydration packs on race day. I thought about it, but I really didn’t want the extra load. So my game plan was to rely on water stations, hoping they wouldn’t run out. 

I also planned on starting at 7:55, when the gun went off. Because the metro wasn’t opening early for us, due to safe tracking, MCM organizers were leaving the start open for a full additional hour. This meant late runners could cross the start line as late as 8:55. But this also meant that these late runners would cross the finish line later in the day in hotter conditions. My game plan, get there early, start my race when the gun goes off, run my race during the gorgeous morning, cooler temperature, and finish my race before the afternoon heat. 

NIGHT before RACE RITUAL

Saturday night, I spent some time trying to decide what running outfit to wear on race day. I decided on my oiselle singlet, and I’m so glad I did!

I stayed comfortable and cool up until mile 24. And wearing the oiselle singlet helped my oiselle teammates see me easier. I really love running for oiselle. I joined the team after having Zoe, and the support has been amazing. 


I did my,”Night before Race Ritual,” which is laying out my race day outfit and taking a picture. Above picture is my, “Flat Meg.” 

I also laid out Zoe’s outfit. My sister had a shirt made for her that said, “My mom runs faster than your mom.” 


I also carb-loaded for two days straight with spaghetti and sauce that I made homemade.

I was as ready as I could be. 

So it was time to just try to get a good night sleep. But before shutting my eyes, I checked social media to support other runners and gain some inspiration. 

This is what I found on the Marine Corps Marathon facebook page. 


I laughed when I read it! Because no one sleeps well before a marathon. 

MORNING OF

My alarm went off at 5:20 am. I tiptoed through my dark house and got dressed and ready. Grabbed my iPod shuffle (which I didn’t use, I just had it as a back up) and Garmin.

By 6:00 am, I was off to my mom’s house. Because the metro wasn’t working- I parked my car at my mom’s house, and she dropped me off in Pentagon City. A ton of other runners flooded Pentagon City, so I just followed the crowd walking over to the start, eating my pb&j. 



THE START

Like always, the Marines greeted us, and welcomed us with excited faces. They checked our bags, getting us through security quickly. 

I was there pretty early, and because I had time, I decided to hit up the porta potty, making conversation with the guy in front of me. It was his first time running MCM, so I let him ask me all of his nervous questions.

Unlike years in the past, I wasn’t shivering. It was close to 60 degrees already at 6:30 am. I was in long pants and my long sleeve zip up MCM shirt from the previous year. It was time to strip down into my race clothes and drop my long sleeves at baggage claim. 

(Side note: I saw a lot of people wearing bath robes. Have you seen that before? I’ve seen people wearing trash bags in the past, but never bath robes. I don’t see the point. But to each their own.

When I was at baggage claim the sun began to rise. 

My dad was also running the marathon. I received a text message from my saying he was on Memorial Bridge running to the start. He asked for me to wait for him so we could get a picture together. 

CORRAL AND START LINE

My dad and I walked down to the start line at 7:30ish. We squeezed our way up to the 4:10 and 4:15 corral – standing with a view of the 4:15 pacer. 

The Marine Corps Marathon is The People’s Marathon – which means they do not assign corrals, instead they allow the runners to choose a corral. Because Marine Corps Marathon has 30,000 runners, the first three miles can be crowded and slow, so I always try to stand in the corral ahead of my ideal finishing time. 

Let’s talk about timing… 

My goal finishing time for this race was 4:15. Maybe I could run it faster, because I ran my last half marathon, a month before, in 1:53, and felt good! But I finished my last full marathon in 4:19, (2 years ago) so I would be happy running that, or a faster PR. 

So standing in the 4:10-4:15 corral seemed to be a good place to start. 

The actual start didn’t seem as exciting as years past. It actually didn’t seem crowded at all. But maybe that’s because of the option of starting later. But in the years past, people are normally packed in, clothes going everywhere. One year a beach ball was going above our heads. Everyone cheering! 

The EXCITEMENT 

The real excitement happened when they flew military planes over our heads. 


And then we were off… 

Mile 1-3

We ran down 110, up through Rosslyn, up Lee Highway. My husband, daughter, and Mom were waiting for me at mile 2-3ish on Lee Highway. It was easy to spot them because my little Zoe was on my husband’s shoulders. It was so fun seeing them, especially Zoe!! She was excited seeing her Grandpa aka Poppy. My dad showed everyone his 1989 MCM race shirt. As I looked at my watch, my dad made observation that we climbed that hill pretty fast. We were on our way to Spout Run.

MILES 3-5 

We ran through Spout Run during miles 3-5. This is one of my favorite parts of the marathon because it is by far the prettiest part of the race. Trees shaded us while we ran up and down slight rolling hills, as we approached the Key Bridge. My Dad and I were still running side by side. 

MILES 5-7

Over the Key Bridge we went, leaving Virginia and entering D.C. I love running over the Key Bridge. And Georgetown is usually a very exciting spot during the race because the spectator support is so huge and energized. There is normally a band playing from Georgetown University, and a group from Lululemon cheering while sipping mimosas. However, this year I didn’t see any of that and to my surprise it seemed like a ghost town. But, we continued on, down Wisconsin we went, and up to Rock Creek park we headed. My dad and I were making great timing! 

MILES 8-10

Usually, Rock Creek Park is up one huge hill and then a crowded turn around, then a down hill. But this year they cut it short and it wasn’t crowded at all. My dad and I both looked at each other with a smile, when we realized we didn’t have to run the hill. 

MILE 11 – The BLUE mile


Mile 11 is called the Blue Mile. This mile is lined with photos of fallen soldiers. It was very emotional. Many people stopped in front of their fallen solider to cry, or get a picture. American flags lined the end of the mile to uplift us. 

MILES 12-14

Haines Point is normally the boring part, but we got through it – still feeling really strong and on pace.  

During one of the water startions, my dad grabbed a GU (energy gel) and I lost him. But my cell phone rang, and it was him, and he was coming up on the left hand side. Off we went to the National Mall. Dad shouted we were over half way through. 

MILES 15-18

At mile 15, I told my dad we only had 2 miles until mile 17. Mile 17 is a significant mile in the marathon, because you only have 9 miles left which means you enter single digits. We were both running on pace, but it was then that my dad told me to go on ahead, if I thought I was going to break 4 hours. I didn’t know if I could do that, but I was going to try. So I picked up the pace on the National Mall and headed to the 14th street bridge. 

It was awesome that my dad and I ran 15 miles together. 

MILES 18-20

I left the National Mall and was heading on to the 14th street bridge. The bridge is normally mile 20, but because of the late start, and the eagerness to open DC streets, we had to leave the city on time. So they made the bridge mile 18 instead of the normal mile 20. 

The goal to the bridge is to, “Beat the Bridge.” Many people hit the wall here and begin to walk. It can feel really hot, or super windy. But I actually always love the bridge. And I never walk. 

Once I was on the bridge, still running, I texted my husband to let him know I was on the bridge heading to Crystal City. He was shocked I was calling so early, ahead of schedule. He was on his way to meet me in Crystal City. 

I also knew my Oiselle teammates had a cheer station at mile 21. So I was keeping a look out. Mean while, I was still on pace and feeling strong. 

MILE 21

There they were! My Oiselle teammates cheered the loudest cheers ever at mile 21! So happy I saw them. I was now super pumped and on my way down Crystal Drive to see my husband, baby, and mom. MILE 21 was the longest distance I ran during training. This mile marker is significant for me because during the week I run a 5 mile easy run, and during the marathon when I hit 21, I tell myself, “Its just my 5 mile easy run.” 

MILE 22

I ran through Crystal City, eyes wide, looking for people I knew. Around mile 22, I saw my husband, mom, and baby, again, waiting to cheer me on. Zoe was so cute having fun watching all the runners, smiling big when she saw me. I got some pictures and I told them I was feeling good and making great timing! 

MILE 23-24

After leaving my family, letting them know I would see them at the finish, I kept on pace.  I started looking for the mile markers.  It wasn’t until mile 24, that I started to feel really hot. 

But at mile 24, I felt a tap on my shoulder. It ended up being one of my runner friend, Raj Running Yogi! It was such a fun surprise seeing him. I hope I was friendly! At mile 24, looping around the pentagon, I was just trying to stay focused and look for my street signs, that always helps me get to the finish. 

MILE 25 – 26.2

I could see the finish line in the distance. Then the street signs appeared. I told myself just get to the Memorial Bridge street sign. Next thing I realize, I’m running passed it and seeing the Key Bridge street sign. Passing the Key Bridge sign, I made a left heading to the Iwo Jima memorial, uphill to the finish. Although, the finish line was moved to the right this year, it felt amazing crossing it! 


THE FINISH

This Marine gave me my finishing medal! 


Took a photo near the Iwo Jima memorial.

I met up with my family. And got to show my daughter Zoe my finishing medal. 


All of our hard training paid off! It felt amazing showing my daughter my medal. 

After the race was over, my husband, daughter and I enjoyed bunch at Lyon Hall.  

THE RESULTS

A NEW PR

Although, it was hot running conditions, and  a “difficult” course, I felt great most of the race. 

I ended up finishing in 4:17:01, which was a little over a 2 minute PR. I am very happy with this time, and over all had a very successful marathon. 

The most fun thing about this race was running the first 15 miles with my dad. I am very impressed with how fit he is! 

I’m also most proud of the fact that I trained for this race with my daughter by my side. Yes, my identity has changed now that I am a mother, but it has not changed my passion for running and living a healthy lifestyle. It is very important to me to show and teach my daughter- that with passion, dedication, and hard work, anything is possible. 

WHAT IS NEXT? 

I will be running a Turkey Trot this thanksgiving with Zoe in the stroller. But as of that, I’m still trying to decide which marathon I want to run next. 

In the mean time, I’m hitting the weight room again consistently. Its time to get stronger again.

THANK YOU

Thank you to everyone who inspired and supported me through this marathon training season, and the marathon. This includes MRTT, Oiselle, and everyone that followed along on IG, FB, Strava, and this blog. 

Also I want to give a special thank you to the Marines, race organizers, volunteers, and race spectator support for another amazing Marine Corps Marathon experience.

Thank you!

It’s so amazing to be a part of something this big!! And the running community is incredible! 


Now let’s set new goals, and run all the miles! 

copyright 2016 sweatdaily 

Why I didn’t run when I was pregnant. And some fitness advice for mama’s to be.¬†

My story. 

I always pictured myself running through out my pregnancy, but to my surprise when I became pregnant I didn’t like running at all. I was slower. It was harder to breathe. My heart beat faster. I was nervous I would fall – I’m clumsy as it is.

During my first trimester, I was exhausted, and starving all the time. It was also December, so cold winter days, didn’t really motivate me, plus we had a snowy winter. What if I slipped on ice? So I didn’t run, and instead I spent my free time curled up in a chunky knit sweater drinking a hot tea, reading about how to be pregnant.

Once the winter passed the summer began. I walked every day, wishing I was running, but it was just to hot. I did prenatal yoga as well. And by the time I hit 36 weeks my feet were swelling and the pool became my best friend.

The few times I did run while pregnant, I was slower, out of breath, and it wasn’t fun. I had a doctor tell me, if it feels good then go for it, if it doesn’t, then stop. Running while pregnant didn’t feel good, so I found other forms of exercise to keep me healthy and strong during my pregnancy.

The Facts.

I’ve been reading this book, called Brain Rules for babies. It says, “If I were to give a single sentence of advice based on what we know about in utero development during the first half of pregnancy,it would be this: The baby wants to be left alone.”  

Sounds weird, but the fact is the baby has a lot to accomplish and develop. The best feature of life in the womb is the lack of stimulation.

Because of this, we have morning sickness to keep us eating a bland diet, away from any foods that could harm. We feel exhausted because our body is at major work. Most energy goes to the baby developing in the womb, but this exhaustion keeps over achieving athletes, like myself, from over doing it. The female body is truly amazing, it does all of this, so it can avoid overstimulation of the fetus.

The book also states that anthropologists believe our ancestors walked as far as 12 miles per day. And evidence proves that exercise should definitely be a part of a healthy pregnancy. However, what I have found is there are certain types of exercise that is better for a woman during pregnancy than others.

The more I research this subject the more glad I am that I didn’t run during pregnancy. 

Along with reading, I have been listening to a couple of podcasts with the focus on motherhood and running. These podcasts have called in many experts including, running coaches and physical therapists who specialize on the pelvic floor. Through them, what I have discovered, is that… Running may not harm your baby, but it may harm you, during pregnancy and postpartum. 

Here are the facts

Heart: During pregnancy your heart beats faster to pump more blood to the fetus. In the early stages when your heart rate goes up so does your baby’s. However, at the end, the opposite happens. When your heart rate goes up, your baby’s heart rate (in most cases) drops.

Lungs: When you run you may feel out of breath, because your lungs are pumping more oxygen to the fetus.

Ligaments: During pregnancy, your ligaments start to soften to prepare for child-birth/labor and delivery. This normally starts to happen at around 20 weeks. I remember laying in bed with hip pain. This pain was totally normal. My hips were just spreading to make room for baby, and softening to prepare for labor. When running during pregnancy, most coaches suggest that most pregnant runners stop running after 20 weeks, however, each person is different and they evaluate case by case. After 20 weeks, the ligaments are soft and pregnant runners become more injury prone.  Postpartum, your ligaments may still be soft. And although, baby has been born, your ligaments are still soft which means you are more prone to injury.

Bones: Postpartum, if you choose to breast feed, calcium first goes to baby. If you are not getting enough calcium in your diet, this can be a problem, and can lead to stress fractures.

Pelvic floor: The pelvic floor is the muscular base of the abdomen that is attached to the pelvis. These muscles for a woman, hold all of our organs inside – organs include uterus, bladder, and large intestine. The pelvic floor becomes weak during pregnancy, and during labor. It is more prone to injury to those who run during pregnancy, and for those who jump back into fitness to early postpartum. It is typical for doctors to give the “OKAY” to work out again to their postpartum patients 6-8 weeks postpartum, however, most running coaches, think this is too soon. Some highly recommend postpartum runners see a physical therapist who specializes in the pelvic floor, and get their pelvic floor evaluated before they start running again.

In Europe, strengthening the pelvic floor, is something that is included in prenatal care, and postpartum care, however, in the USA some pregnant women have no clue what the pelvic floor is. For those who are pregnant, it is very important to focus on strengthening the pelvic floor during pregnancy. In the prenatal yoga class I took when I was pregnant, the two areas of focus were on strengthening the pelvic floor and doing chest and hip openers.

Do you have a weak pelvic floor? There are a couple of symptoms and signs that you may notice that means your pelvic floor is weak. If you have had a baby, and you leak urine, this may be a sign that your pelvic floor is weak. Sometimes it may be while you are on a run, other times you may sneeze and pee a little. Also if you ran while pregnant and you are experiencing hip or back pain it may mean your pelvic floor is weak. In this case, it is best to get it evaluated.

There are ways to strengthen your pelvic floor during pregnancy in order to avoid injury. Also if your pelvic floor is already weak there are exercised you can do to strengthen it back up. However, if you ignore the problem, you may need surgery later.

Another great reference for pelvic floor information, is on the blog Run Far Girl.  Also read about her own personal experience in her blog post, Why I wish I hadn’t Run Pregnant.

Uterus: During pregnancy the uterus expands to hold baby, this heavy uterus pushes down on the pelvic floor. Because of this reason, it is important to strengthen the pelvic floor (read above). Running during pregnancy, when the uterus is larger, heavier, pushing down on the pelvic floor can cause injury. Postpartum, the uterus may take time to go down. Again because it is larger, pressing on the pelvic floor, working out to soon postpartum can cause injury.

Running form: When you are pregnant your body has transformed to make room for baby. Rib cage and hips have spread and expanded. Your core no longer exists. You have gained weight. Your uterus is larger, and is housing a baby. Your ligaments are soft. Your lungs and heart are working hard. Because of all of this, your running form may adjust in order to handle your pregnant body. You may or may not realized this change, however, a change in your running form may cause injury. If you do decide to run while pregnant, you may consider getting your form evaluated because you may need different running shoes.

Cadence: How many steps you take in one minute is your cadence. The goal is to reach around 180 steps per minute. When you are pregnant you may not be able to get your feet off the ground fast enough, so therefore your cadence may be a lot lower.  When your cadence is lower it means your foot is on the ground for longer, or your stride is longer. Both of these can cause injury.

RUNNING Now:

running with Zoe

At 7 months, postpartum, I am now RUNNING for TWO. Zoe my 7 month old daughter is my favorite running buddy. I have never been an early bird, but Zoe is training me to be one. She goes to bed every night between 7:30 and 8:00, which means on a lucky day she sleeps in until 7:00 am, but on most days she is up ready to play at 6:00 -6:30 am. This gives us plenty of time to go for morning runs.

I have been running since 14 weeks postpartum. This gave me a full two months to focus on just me and my running. I focused on form and cadence. I’m not as fast as I was before, but I am getting there. Those two months gave me the time I needed to get my strength back so I would be comfortable bringing on the extra weight of a baby and running stroller. I have been running most days, and everyday I run with Zoe my pace improves. This stroller gig is making me stronger. Zoe loves it as well, and on most days as long as she is well fed, she naps during our runs.

So although, I didn’t run for two while pregnant, I am doing it now. And whether she is sleeping peacefully, or giggling, or in the rare case screaming her head off, running with Zoe is my new favorite kind of running.

So if you are a pregnant runner consider the above information, and always remember, although it may seem like forever, you are only pregnant for a short time. Soon your baby will be here, and you will be pulling out the running stroller before you know it.

Run Happy!

Mama’s – Did you run pregnant? 

© 2016 sweat1xdaily

 

 

 

 

Should you run or work out if you are TIRED?

  
Photo above was taken on the trail this Saturday. 

For some reason, last week I was tired. It was probably a combination of being a busy mom and being busy at work. But I definitely didn’t workout/run everyday the way I usually do. And being tired led to missing workouts which turned into a week of bad eating. (In my case “bad eating” always means not eating enough to support my hard earned muscles. Ayes, ladies to support muscle growth you need to eat.) So let’s just say, I’m thankful last week is over. 

Should you workout when you are tired?

I hear it all the time especially on social media. Moms saying, “Never been this tired, but still squeezed in my work out.” Or… “Up all night with teething baby, but still got up early and got my long run done.” 

This made me think… 

Should you work out if you are exhausted?

I guess it depends on the person and what your goal is… But for me, and my goals, it is a NO go. 

The ideas that doing Something is better than nothing, isn’t always true.

One of my goals is to build muscle

Whether I am lifting heavy, or doing more plyometrics and HIIT, I need to be rested to really kill it in the gym. Because of my busy schedule now that I am a working mama, I cherish my gym/run sessions and make the best of my work out time. Every time I hit the running trail, or walk into the gym, I’m focused and ready to give it my all. However, without adequate rest I won’t be able to lift as heavy or complete those active rest periods or HIIT sessions. 

Also many people don’t know, but you actually build muscle after your weight lifting session while your body is at rest. When you lift weights your muscle fibers get broken down, you need rest time for those muscles to repair themselves. The repairing of the muscle is what makes them grow. For someone, like me, who wants to build strength and muscle, rest is important.

Because I am a runner I always have running goals.

Now that I am five months postpartum, I am finally running like I use to. However, for a runner at my level, sometimes less is more. Sometimes being under trained is better than being over trained. It is hard to judge which is better for you, but as long as you have been consistent with your runs, skipping one here and there because you are tired is better and smarter. When you continue to pound the pavement when you are overly tired you are more prone to get injured. 

Now with all this being said, your body needs rest in order to perform to its best ability. However, do NOT use, “Ugh, I’m tired,”as an excuse all the time. In order to see improvement and change, practice makes perfect, consistency is key. To be a better runner, you do have to run on a regular. To build muscle, you need to regularly get to the gym and lift those weights.

Another thing to ask yourself is… Will a good run, or gym session give me energy. Again it is hard to judge, but sometimes getting your sweat on is exactly what you need to actually get the endorphins sparked, giving you the energy you need. 

True Story

After only getting one short run on Sunday and then to the gym on Tuesday last week, on Saturday I went running on the trail (photo above) and then hit gym after for an intense back and core workout. It felt great. That run was so sweet that I finally felt energized. 

So next time your are overly tired, evaluate your situation. Will your workout give you energy or set you back? Listen to your body, it will help you find the answer. 

  
Happy Running! 

 

A Recap: My first run post pregnancy. And the raw honest truth about running after having a baby.

I’ve written a little about my postpartum fitness journey. But I have yet to tell you about my experience with starting to run again after pregnancy.

Well I am back at it, running that is. As I said in previous posts the minute I got the okay to workout again I hit the gym, NOT the running trail. I chose to weight lift and try to build my strength back as much as I could before I went to pound the pavement.

image

It is true what they say, if you don’t use it you loose it. I stepped in the gym and belly flopped attempting to complete a single push up – just trying to put in perspective how much strength I lost during my pregnancy. Anyway, it was important for me to put on some muscle gains. I have heard to many times before, woman running hard after pregnancy, ending up injured and in PT. I wanted to avoid this, by getting strong again first.

Anyway after exclusively lifting for 6 weeks at 14 weeks postpartum, I decided I was strong enough to run.

The 2015 holidays approached and I debated on signing up for a family friendly easy 5 mile turkey trot. After much thought I finally decided NO. I didn’t want to be rushing out the door to run a race (even though it was only 5 miles) Thanksgiving morning- the holidays are busy enough. Instead, I would find the time on thanksgiving, on my own schedule to take a short casual run while my baby napped.

This run would be my first postpartum run. This run would be my first real run since the 2014 Turkey Trot. Yep, I hadn’t really ran in a full year. After the 2014 Turkry Trot I found out I was pregnant with Zoe, and from then on and through out my whole pregnancy my fitness goals changed. It was no longer about me pushing hard, taking it physically to my ultimate limit, but rather about us, and making sure I brought a baby girl safely into this world.

So on thanksgiving, I ran my first run post pregnancy. I grabbed my Garmin and laced up my Newton Gravity running shoes. I started my run a little slow, but picked up the pace. I ran my regular 5k loop around the neighborhood – mainly flat- one uphill, one down hill. To my surprise it was pretty easy. I ran the whole way. I felt great. I was running a 9:30 min/mile. Not as fast as I use to be, but not bad I thought.

And then…

I woke up the next morning with the worst knee and ankle pain.

They say the main reason for knee and ankle pain in female runners is usually because of a problem with the hips. During pregnancy everything expands to make room for baby, this is especially true for your hips and rib cage. Hips can even get tilted forward during a vaginal birth because of excess pushing. 

Although I had a c section, I knew my body was different. Could this mean my form changed? Could this mean I needed a different running shoe?

When I woke up with knee/ankle pain I went to my local running store. They put me in a new pair of Newtons and got me on the treadmill to evaluate my form. Turns out (they said) my form is perfect… Which also means, there was no magical shoe to quick fix my problem. I was slow and just needed to keep practicing. It had been a full year since I moved my body like that and I just needed to get those fast twitch muscles moving again and strengthen my weak ankles.

Now at 5 months postpartum I am finally running more like I use to. The knee pain and ankle pain is gone – a fresh new pair of shoes helped. Also because of weight lifting, my lungs and heart are strong – the endurance is there. The endurance is there but the speed is not (and I was not a super fast runner before – I was average, not slow though.) I can keep going long and far on the trail, but my legs just can’t go any faster. So now it is time to strengthen my core and focus on speed work.

But here is the truth:

Any mama that seems to have jumped right back into it after they had a baby, is full of shit. 

The raw honest truth- it may hurt. It is going to take time to feel comfortable finding my stride. It is going to take time to rebuild, speed and endurance again.

But once I do, I’m going to be stronger, faster, better runner than I have ever been before.

And since we are being honest, I am already feeling stronger and faster.

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Happy Running!

Mirror Mirror on the wall… Who is the strongest of them all…

Post Pregnancy Work Out -Phase 2 Livefit trainer.
I forgot how much I love phase 2 of the livefit trainer. This phase is the one that I normally repeat and always go back to. I really enjoy lifting heavier weights while doing more sets with lower reps. However, with that being said, do not lift heavy if you have poor form. People who have poor form have no business lifting heavy weights, that is why phase 1 of the livefit trainer is crucial. If your form is not on point repeat phase 1 and focus on perfecting your form.
Now that I am almost finished with Phase 2, I am really excited to see progress. Not necessarily with the appearance of my body, although I do see some muscle definition, but rather with how strong I am becoming. At 4 months postpartum I am finally starting to feel like the athlete I once was, before getting pregnant with Zoe. There is still a lot of work to do – Rome wasn’t built over night, but I am happy that I am finally lifting the weight I use to lift. I am hoping in the near future to start setting some new PRs in the weight room. I remember stepping in the weight room for the first time 8 weeks postpartum and flopping on my belly not even capable of doing one successful push up, now I am doing 4×10 and sometimes 4×15… Now that is progress.
Ladies stop focusing on what your body looks like and start focusing on what your body can do. Stop trying to diet and start fueling your body with clean organic healthy food choices that will help you perform and reach your ultimate goal. 
Whether I am running, lifting, doing yoga… I always focus on setting new PRs. I focus on strength. Once I flipped that switch and started focusing on setting new fitness goals, not weight loss goals, it is then that I became an athlete…
And guess what?
One day, when I looked in the mirror I saw one too.


P.S. I start phase 3 of the Livefit trainer today! Can’t wait!

My post pregnancy workout- Livefit trainer: Phase 1, last Day

  
Boom! Yesterday, I completed PHASE 1 of Livefit, with an amazing leg session. To treat myself I bought a new pair of ONZIE leggings! (Shown in the picture above.) 

Phase 1 of the Livefit trainer is 4 weeks of exclusively lifting. Ladies DO NOT be afraid to lift, get yourself in the weight room and start gaining muscle and strength. The idea behind exclusively lifting for 4 weeks is with the main focus to gain as much muscle as possible. To gain muscle you need calories exclusively feeding your muscles, instead of being sucked up during cardio sessions. There is no room to share those valuable clean calories, especially if you have minimal muscle mass to begin with. 

To get back to the athletic level I was before pregnancy – I still have a ton of hard work to do, however I am most excited about the process, the journey.

Completing Phase 1 of the livefit trainer was a great accomplishment, mainly because it proved that even with a baby, as long as you make health and fitness a priority you can fit it in. It is important to me, as a mama to make some time, for myself. I also want to be a great example/role model for my daughter. Actions speak louder than words. By spending time on my health and fitness, I am showing her the importance of a healthy lifestyle. By being the best person I can be, this will make me a better mother and wife. 

As for progress and results. Every week I increased my weights. The first week I lifted easy and took things slow. Week two I started to find my groove. I added a little more weight, but really focused on form. Because of muscle memory, each exercise started coming back to me (just like riding a bike.) Week 3, I started feeling stronger and comfortable with my workouts. I added more weight and lower the reps from 12 to 10. Week 4, I was still doing (3×10) but really pushed it on the weights, adding more. I finally feel on some exercises I am lifting the way I use to. However, on some body weight exercises I am definitely not, push ups, bench dips are a struggle. It is obvious that my core is my weakest body part. 

I also customized the program a little, adding some new exercises. For example, I did some long walks with Zoe which also included walking lunges until failure. Always remember these trainers are great, but unlike a personal trainer, they do not customize toward the individual. So make some changes that will work best for you based on your goals and body. 

So on Friday, I will be starting Phase 2 and including some short runs into the mix. Because of pregnancy, it will be my first time running in almost a year. Crazy!

Mommy & Me (Baby) Classes (Yoga and Pilates)

I have been wanting to try Mommy & Me (Baby) classes at Mind the Mat Yoga Studio, since the week I found out I was pregnant. My friend Mariana went with her baby (Jasper) when she still lived in the area and she really enjoyed the classes. Along with her, I also know a couple of other mamas who have participated in the Mommy & Me classes at the studio and they too were really impressed.

The studio offers Mommy & Me classes in pilates, yoga, and barre. However, because I was recovering from my c-section I wasn’t able to do any type of exercising with the exception of walking, until I got cleared from my doctor. This was disappointing for me, because I really wanted to take Zoe to the Mommy & Me¬†classes earlier, during my maternity leave – instead I finally just got to take her, this last week. We joined Piper and Lindsay at the Mommy & Me pilates class on Tuesday, and then went to the Mommy & Me yoga on yesterday (Friday).

Both classes are for babies before crawling age.

MOMMY & ME PILATES

The pilates class focuses on lower body, mainly glutes. This class is definitely a workout for the mamas. I was squatting and sweating while Zoe stayed in her car seat napping. It is especially important for breast-feeding mamas to get a good booty workout in considering breast milk is made from the fat from your booty.

zoe at pilates

MOMMY & ME YOGA

The yoga class is less intense then the pilates class. The first half of the class is for the mamas and focuses on the core muscles. The last half of the class is for the babies. This part was by far my favorite part, because nothing is better then having your baby smiling.

Zoe absolutely loved it. During the first half, while I was stretching, Zoe was watching me, smiling. Then during the second half, it was Zoe’s turn. I took her out of her car seat, and stretched her toes to her nose. I bicycled her legs, rotated her hips, stretched out her arms, and legs.

These classes are great!

While taking care of a baby, it¬†is easy for a mama to forget to take care of herself. However, taking care of yourself is one of the most important things. It can be really hard to find time to work out especially when you don’t have family to help watch your little one. This is why I love these classes. There are very few workout classes that allow you to bring your baby with you, and most gym daycares don’t allow young babies.

I will admit that I have never been to a louder class. Some babies were screaming their heads off, but because we are all mamas in the classroom, screaming babies do not even phase us.

If you are a mama in the DC area who has a baby who isn’t crawling yet, I highly recommend trying these classes. And if you are a mama to be, try their¬†prenatal yoga class¬†– it is amazing!

© 2015 sweat1xdaily

Six weeks with Zoe

The days go by so fast…

It seems like just yesterday we were leaving the hospital as a new family of three.

I remember the car ride home. Baby Zoe’s first time outside. I thought she would be peacefully sleeping, but nope, her eyes were open wide. At only three days old, she looked out the window,¬†taking in the light from the sun – curious and alert.

zoe new born

It is hard to believe that today Zoe is six weeks old.

It has been quite the roller coaster ride, lots of ups and downs, but nothing less than fabulous.

Here’s what we have been up to for the last six weeks.

Week 1–¬†Everyone trying their best to adjust.

We spent week 1 adjusting. We were quite lucky that Elissa was able to watch our dogs for us. That way, Erik and I didn’t have to worry about their reaction to our new baby girl. Instead we were able to spend the time focusing on our new born – cuddling and loving her. That week, Zoe didn’t sleep in her bassinet, but instead we all slept together on our couch in the living room.

Because my¬†mom had the whole week off from work, she cooked us delicious meals every night. Mrs. W also stopped by with a homemade dinner, and Ali brought us cookies. We definitely didn’t¬†stave, and never had to clean up a dirty kitchen.

Other things that happened this week…

Although, it was hot summer weather, we took our first walks together with the running stroller. While we are inside, Zoe loves her (4 moms) rockaroo chair.

Week 2Still adjusting.

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Should I yawn, cry, eat, poop… Zoe didn’t know what to do with herself. At week two, she was still adjusting to¬†this big beautiful world. In addition, we were still getting to know each other. I read tons of baby books and took all the classes. But everything I researched or decided on, the complete opposite happened. The books are great- knowledge never hurts, but when it comes to the care for my daughter, I have come to the conclusion that following my instinct is the best way.

I also have realized I do not know very many lullabies, so I have been singing Christmas carols. Zoe loves Silent Night, and Holy Night.

Other things that happened this week…

Zoe’s belly button healed, so she got promoted from sponge baths. Zoe also got to experience a bottle and pacifier for the first time. She had her newborn photo shoot, and got to meet her, Poppy, Gramps, Grams, and Aunt Jackie.¬†

Jackie came to visit.

Jackie was very helpful and great with the baby. Zoe melts into Jackie’s arm when she holds her. They spent most of the time cuddling, however, we did go out for lunch a couple times and was able to enjoy the last days of summer. Jackie also helped me learn how to use my Solly wrap. I love babywearing Zoe, and she loves being worn snug in her wrap close to her mama.

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Week 3 Erik goes back to work, but Gran and Nana came to visit.

I was so happy Erik was able to take off three weeks to be home with Zoe and I. It was important for all of us to share this special time together and adjust as a family. He was also a huge help to me, considering I was recovering from a c-section. He was awesome, treating me like royalty, waiting on Zoe and I.

Once he went back to work and Jackie left, Gran and Nana arrived. They came with tons of gifts – including hand knitted sweaters, hats, and booties, and some vintage pieces that her Gran wore when she was a child. Again we walked with the stroller, and went to lunch in Pentagon Row and Old Town. Zoe loved meeting her Gran and Nana, it was a fun visit.

Other things that happened this week…

Zoe loves splashing in her bath tub. She also loves getting a baby massage and reading books, before bed. Her neck is getting stronger, and she can now hold her head up pretty well.

Week 4 Play dates, schedules, and routine.

This week Zoe turned one month old.

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We spent time meeting other babies. (All at different times,) we met up with, Cordy, Piper, Jo Jo, Sheam, and DD. It is fun to have so many friends who have had baby girls this year.

Zoe is also more playful. We put her in her crib at Gam Gam’s house and we introduced her to her peek-a-boo bear. She loved it.

I have also realized that Zoe loves the water sound of the shower, and the hair dryer sound. It is either a form of white noise, or maybe she likes it because it is familiar to her, since I worked in the salon shampooing and blow drying clients up until 2 weeks before she was born. This is great news, because I have absolutely no problem getting ready in the morning.

This week I also¬†worked hard trying to read Zoe’s cues. By learning when she is tired or hungry, I have been able to come up with an eating schedule and sleeping routine. I now know that Zoe likes¬†a¬†nap around 10 or 11 am. She has her fussy time in the early evening. And she likes to start getting ready for bed around 8:00 pm.

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Other things that happened this week…

Zoe is now grasping objects with her hands. She loves her car seat, long walks, her Solly wrap. She also loves music, books, bath time, and baby massage.  

Week 5–¬†Zoe hangs out with Aunt Emily.

Meets baby Jasper.

Great” Grandma and “Great” Grandpa came to visit.¬†

Emily took the week off, so we got plenty of days to hang out with her. Emily read Zoe books, we went shopping, and we went on walks.

Mariana came into town with baby Jasper. And although, Zoe was sleeping, it was fun seeing Jasper again. He grew so much since the last time I saw him.

Then “Great” Grandma and “Great” Grandpa arrived. Zoe loved cuddling in Great Grandpa’s lap while he rocked her. Great Grandma gave her tons of gifts including some Boise State attire. It was a very special visit.

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Other things that happened this week…

Zoe starts to bat objects with her hands. She also is soothed by sounds of our voices and is instantly soothed when I babywear her. She has been sleeping well at night. and loves waking up in the morning by stretching out her legs and arms in her bassinet. 

Week 6–¬†Tummy Time and Smiles

This has been a big week for us. Although, Zoe had some smiles here and there in week 5, this week she is very smiley. She smiles big with her whole face, especially when we talk to her, sing to her, or play with her.

She is also much more talkative. Baby talk and cooing is the cutest thing. She is hearing us and taking everything in like a sponge. It is really fun to sing to her, because she looks at me like I have the most beautiful voice in the world, which is funny because it is quite the opposite.

Up to this point, we have been doing tummy time by putting her on her tummy during baby massage, however, this week I knew it was time to introduce her to a tummy time mat. She got one as a gift at her baby shower, but because she bats things with her hands and loves to kick her legs, I thought it was important to find one that had objects hanging down. This way she can be stimulated on her back as well as her tummy.

After a long debate on which one to get at Buy Buy Baby, I went with the Super Sensory Play Mat. This mat had both black and white and bright colors. The fabric it is made out of has both patterns and textures. There are toys that hang down that rattle when she kicks or bats them. There is also a star that plays music and lights up, along with two mirrors that she looks into. Zoe absolutely loves it. Every time I put her on her mat, she moves her arms and kicks her legs with excitement.

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Another toy I introduced to her this week, are her ankle animals. She loves these as well, because they rattle when she kicks her legs.

12108915_10102777640458306_2441717050109473123_nIt is fun as the weeks go on to see how much Zoe changes and what she discovers. I love seeing her evolve into the little person she is and has yet to become.

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You are beautiful Zoe Annalise, and you complete our little family.

Love you to the moon and back. 

xo

© 2015 sweat1xdaily

 

How to create a Baby Registry…

Just like the Wedding Industry, when it comes to pregnancy and baby stuff, it is quite the business. There is so much stuff out there that creating a registry becomes a very overwhelming task, especially when experts say, what may work great for one baby, may not work well for another.

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  • Start your registry by prioritizing what items are most important to you. I started my registry, by¬†prioritizing what was the most important baby and pregnancy items, for my husband and I. For example, stroller, car seat, and carriers were on the top of my list.¬†Once I narrowed it down, I researched these items in detail. Also some of the baby books I read, touched point on some important must have items.
  • Next, determine what is important to you based on your lifestyle. Are you on a budget? Do you travel often? Do you live in a small space? Do you hike or run? What kind of car do you have?¬†We decided what was important to us based on our lifestyle. One of the¬†main thing that was important to me was I wanted my baby products¬†to be green, organic, chemical free, and as environmental friendly as possible. This meant, glass baby bottles instead of plastic, environmental friendly diapers, an organic mattress etc. Because your baby only uses some of these items for a short time, my¬†husband was more worried about the cost and staying on a budget. We both wanted to try to stay as minimal as possible, registering for things we really needed. We also live in a small 1950s duplex, so having space for a lot of big things were out of the question. I am a runner so I definitely felt having a running stroller was a huge necessity for me, plus it is sporty for my husband to use as well. My friend, Mariana, who recently had a baby, her main priority was all of her baby items had to be light weight and portable, since she travels and moves often.
  • Ask other moms, ask a friend to help you. I was also lucky enough to have my friend Mariana help me with my registry. ¬†She was the biggest help walking me through Buy Buy Baby, pointing out the things she loves and the things she just didn’t need. I also have a couple friends who just had babies in April and May, and some that are due in July. I took a look at their baby registries, just to see if they had items on there, that I may have forgotten to put on mine.
  • Where should you register?¬†There are a lot of great places to register at. I ended up choosing Buy Buy Baby and Amazon. Buy Buy Baby is affiliated with Bed Bath and Beyond. You can use your Bed Bath and Beyond coupons there and they match prices. Amazon is great because a lot of people have amazon prime. Also some items that I couldn’t find at Buy Buy Baby, I found on Amazon. Another great place to register is with MyRegistry.com. This is a website that lets you combine items from several different stores. Also take note: If you are going to get a running stroller, you may consider getting it at REI. My husband surprised me with our running stroller and car seat. He ended up getting it at REI on sale during Memorial weekend.
  • This brings up a very important question… what do you need? ¬†Do you really need all of this baby stuff? Our moms and grandmas raised us just fine with out all this extra stuff. When choosing baby items, it really depends on your lifestyle and living space. At the end of the day, the ultimate question is not do you need all this stuff, but rather, what will make your life easier?

If you are in the process of making a baby registry, check out my registry for ideas. Or if you have already made one, you can compare your registry to mine.

My baby registry at Buy Buy Baby and Amazon.

What is your must have baby item? Was there a product you or your baby couldn’t live with out?

© sweat1xdaily 2015

BellyBuds: One of my favorite Pregnancy Item!

During this pregnancy, one item, that I would have never thought I needed, but absolutely love are the BellyBuds. In the beginning of my pregnancy, I saw an advertisement for the BellyBuds and was very curious about them, and then around 20 something week I ended up receiving them as a gift.

bellybuds

Your baby can start hearing around 20 weeks. BellyBuds are similar to head phones, but instead of putting them in your ears, you stick them to your belly, allowing your baby to hear. There is an area where you can plug in you own head phones as well. That way you and baby can listen at the same time.

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The Bellybuds also have a VoiceShare option, which allows you to record your voice or one of a loved one. That way your baby can hear your loved one’s voice. After birth, your baby’s eyes are not fully developed, so they will use their ears to follow your voice. This ¬†VoiceShare option is especially good for military fathers/husbands¬†who are deployed during their wife’s pregnancy.

Babies memories begin at 30 weeks. Allowing a baby in utero to hear soft music has many benefits. One of the many reasons why it is beneficial to play soft music is because when your baby is born, during anytime when they may be feeling stressed, you can play the same music you played while they were in the uterus. In most cases, they will recognize the music and immediately feel soothed.

“The advantage of singing to your baby during pregnancy is that he will learn the songs while he’s still in the womb and will respond to them well after birth. A great lullaby is a way of calming yourself and your baby at the same time, and a calm baby usually nurses better.” ¬†– Ina May (midwife)

My experience with the BellyBuds has been awesome. Any question I had regarding whether they work or not, was thrown out of the window, when my baby started kicking more than ever.  I have been playing Lindsay Sterling, and plan to play Lana Del Ray in the future. I also like that this is a green product.

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If you want to connect a little closer with your baby, I highly recommend the BellyBuds.

Has anyone used BellyBuds during their pregnancy? What was your experience? 

© 2015 sweat1xdaily