Marine Corps Marathon 2018 : Race Recap

“So he educated me on the long run…

The Marathon is an energy game… a game he had my attention. Going out to hard and surging wastes energy. You want to be smooth and economical. In the long run we are training the body’s energy system, to more readily burn fats over carbohydrates. You see this kind of efficiency in animals that migrate long distances, whales and birds notably- who glide with minimal movement slowly releasing their energy.”

~ Deena Kastor

My white board which hangs from my fridge reminds me of my mantras, as I head out the door … I whisper to myself… Fight + Keep Moving Forward, celebrate my pace every five miles, smile + run happy.

Here I am again, walking over to the Pentagon, under the dark early morning sky, waiting for the sun to make an appearance. Ready to toe the line at the Marine Corps Marathon, for the 5th time.

This time is a little different than the last. Last time, I had a solid training cycle, starting when Zoe was 10 months old ending when she was 14 months. I was able to fit in seven weeks of strength training after my c-section to rebuild my core, before attempting to run. Then I had seven months to build a solid base. I had three previous races under my belt, two ten milers, and a half marathon – in which I broke 2 hours. I set a new PR in the marathon.

This time, I only raced one race previously, the Navy Half Marathon, which I used as a time trial. Making it to the finish line in 2:10, I knew that realistically I could finish the marathon around 4:20:00.

This time around, Zoe – my very smart and energetic three year old, and Ava my “cuddle bug,” 7 month old baby, keeps me busy. Plus, I only had 5 weeks to base build after my c-section recovery. No time to strength train or work on speed. And now on race day, I am only 7 months postpartum, still breastfeeding, a mother of two.

There has been plenty of busy days, and sleepless nights. But I made it! I managed to fit in another marathon training cycle. Although, not as consistent as what I normally accomplish, the work still got done.

On race day, I quietly walk over to the start. I follow all the other runners. I over hear them nervously chatting among themselves, as I reflect on my training, and run through my game plan for the race. I continue to whisper to myself, “When things get tough I will … Fight, keep moving forward, celebrate my pace every 5 miles, smile, run happy.”

This is NOT a goal race for me, so no pressure to PR. I used this marathon training cycle, to regain my fitness after pregnancy, plus I was desperately craving the long run.

I recently listened to the interview of Paula Radcliffe, on the I’ll Have Another Podcast. She is the Marathon World Record holder, running it in 2:15:25. In the interview, she talks about the importance of building season upon season. One marathon training cycle and marathon is part of a series of steps, to your next goal race. So often, we focus to hard on one race, never thinking about the future ones or the big picture.

There is a season for everything. And this season is not about setting a new marathon PR, but rather regaining my fitness after pregnancy, and learning how to balance my life while including my two passions – running + motherhood.

This season Marine Corps Marathon, marathon number 5, is one of the series of steps to build upon. During this Marine Corps Marathon, I’m running for the experience. Instead of racing right passed everything, it’s time to take in the whole race – high five every Marine’s hand and thank them, gain energy from the spectators, laugh at every funny sign or T-shirt. Next marathon I’ll run for speed.

This whole marathon training cycle, I consistently, just showed up, to see what I could do. Now, I’m at the start of the Marine Corps Marathon, doing the same thing showing up to see what I can do. Let’s go!

THE START

After standing in the porta potty line waiting behind forty so other runners, I begin to run to check my bag. The porta potty line was moving so slowly I wonder if I’m going to miss the race. Finally at bag check, I meet my dad and we head to the corral. It’s pretty cool to run this marathon with my dad! I’m excited to cross the finish line with him.

My dad and I get down to the start, but it’s already crowded, we zig zag between people, but the best we can do is squeeze in at the 4:45 corral. Normally, I would have stood with the 4:15 corral or even the 4 hour, but it’s so crowded, so this will have to do.

Just as in years in the past, standing around in the corral waiting for the gun to go off, brought on all the exciting energy. I really love a big race. Nothing feels better than running a marathon on a beautiful day, with 35,000 other runners. It feels amazing.

Miles 1-5

Finally I hear the gun go off and the race begin.

Our first mile is slow, but I’m glad, because I want to give my husband a little more time to get my babies to mile 2, where they will be waiting and cheering. Down 110, through Rosslyn, up the Lee Highway hill. I spot them smiling!

A quick photo with Daddy and Ava, and I’m off again! (Ava’s first time cheering mommy on. Zoe didn’t want a picture.) Next time I will see them is in Crystal City at mile 22.

Mile 3-4 , we are looping around Spout Run, down and over the Key Bridge – leaving Virginia and entering DC. The Key Bridge is so beautiful to run over. Mile 5, the crowd support in George Town is over the top. So far we are running a pretty steady pace, and there is enough space to zigzag around some people, but still I pay attention to the fun. For example this runner dressed up in a Red Skins outfit dragging a Cowboy’s jersey.

MILE 6-10

Up Rock Creek and then down, to Hains Point. When mile 10 approaches I yell to my Dad, “double digit time!” Still feeling really good.

MILE 11-15

At mile 12, Blue Mile makes an appearance. The mile is lined with American flags, and photos of military men and women who have sacrificed their lives for our country and freedom. It’s quiet, and emotional.

MILE 16-20

Running along the National Mall, Washington, DC is always a treat. The view of the monuments take my breath away. It reminds me of how lucky I am to live in the DC area.

At mile 16, as I’m running, I tell my dad, “All we have is four more miles until we make it to the bridge, and leave DC entering into Virginia.” Once I run passed mile 17, I tell myself, “Back to single digits. Only 9 more miles to go.”

Soon I see the bridge – the 14th Street Bridge, mile 20. Two marines stand there yelling, “Time to Beat the Bridge.”

On the bridge, I start to hit the wall and start to walk. My legs and mind need it. It’s sunny and windy, but I know I have to get down to Crystal City looking good, so I start running again… My two running groups are cheering in Crystal City, and my husband, GiGi, and babies will be there too – can’t wait to see them.

Finally, off the bridge, nothing feels better approaching Crystal City. I’m out of DC, and back in Virginia. I’m passing mile 21, and I think to myself… “Only five more to go, my five mile easy run.”

Mile 21 – 22 is impossible to miss, my Oiselle team is there waiting to cheer … at their famous cowbell corner. I hear them screaming my name – “MEGHAN!!!” They are the brightest, loudest, and most electric, group I know. I high-five every single one of them. Their energy LIFTS ME UP and I truly begin to soar high.

Among the crowd I see a neighbor, so fun to say hello to another familiar face.

I keep going looking desperately for my husband, GiGi, and babies. They are here outside of Good Stuff Eatery. It’s like a mosh pit of people, so I was afraid I might miss them… but then there they are. After some quick hugs and sweaty kisses, I continue on.

As I approach the turn around, on Crystal Drive, I hear my name again… “MEGHAN.” It’s my friend Raiza and MRTT (Mom’s Run This Town) group. After a big hug, and asking if I need anything, she yells, “Go, Go, Go.” And I begin to run faster to the finish.

MILES 23-26.2

I feel a second wind, a burst of energy. It’s amazing how the excitement and positivity from spectators can really up lift you and get you moving. Now my dad and I are leaving Crystal City, and heading to 110.

On 110, I see the finish line in the far distance. It’s time to count street signs. To the Memorial Bridge street sign, I whisper to myself… the finish line is right passed that sign.

Then up the hill, we climb.

And the finish line is so close I can taste it. Finally my feet run over the finish, my dad right by my side. A Marine places a heavy red finishing medal around my neck.

We are Marathoners, #5 done for me and number 30 something for my dad.

On October 28th, 2018, I ran across the finish line proudly, of the Marine Corps Marathon for the 5th time. I showed up to see what I could do, and at 7 months postpartum, I finished 26.2 miles in 4:44:21.

My goals for this race were to fight, keep moving forward, celebrate my pace every five miles, smile, and run happy… so that’s what I did.

Goal accomplished!

Mission accomplished!

FUTURE GOALS

Although, I’m still smiling and running happy, I’m already thinking about my next marathon, my next season. And next time there’s going to be less smiling and more speedy miles accompanied with a whole lot of GRIT! Stay tuned!

CONGRATULATIONS

A special Congratulations to everyone who ran/raced the Marine Corps Marathon this year. And also congrats to those who ran/raced a fall marathon!

Lightning before the Thunder!

“I was lightning ⚡️before the thunder ⛈.”

Hello there,

it’s been a while… I’m one busy mama of a 3 year old and a 4 month old. I’m currently training for the marathon, and update daily on instagram. However, plan to start updating the blog with a lot more running content, including my marathon journey postpartum. Hope to have you follow along!

Lately, if you have been following along on my Instagram @sweat1xdaily, you’ll know… I have been running my long run on Friday night. However, this last Friday, thunderstorms were rolling in at night, and my training plan called for a 14 mile long run.

I decided that I was going to run 7 quick miles to get done before the heavy rain started, and run my 14 mile long run on Saturday instead.

My 7 miles felt amazing on Friday night, the breeze came and rain sprinkled during my last mile. Saturday was a different story, I didn’t wake up early enough, and had a long day of errands. I headed out at 5:30 pm to get my 14 miles done. I’ve never run a long run on a Saturday night, because in the past marathon training cycles I always run long on Saturday mornings.

And let me tell ya, the vibe of the trail on a Saturday night is really QUIET and LONELY. I hardly saw any other runners, why? Because they either already got their long run done in the morning and were probably out enjoying dinner, or they are planning on a Sunday morning long run. I saw a couple of cyclists, but really the trail didn’t buzz with the energy it normally does. If I don’t have the stroller + my babes with me, I normally run solo with no problems. But on this long run, I kept wishing for a BRF.

I’m in two running groups, I could have easily found someone to run with…

So as you can see, I was mentally checked out, during this run – it’s so funny how the weather and vibe of the trail can really determine the mood of my run.

I started my first mile slowly to warm up with the idea that I would pick up the pace, I never did. Physically my legs felt heavy. I was definitely running on tired legs, probably because of the faster 7 miler I ran the day before. Totaling 17 miles in two days, and running back to back.

So at 5 miles, I decided to turn back. I ended up doing a total of 10

miles instead of 14. When I got home, my baby was ready to breastfeed and head to bed.

After that run, I was feeling a little discouraged… Maybe marathon training is too time consuming for me as a working mom of a toddler and 4 month old baby who is still breastfeeding?!

But then I saw some really great quotes and stories from other runners on IG, that totally changed my mindset.

For example “Never let one run or race own your mood.” – Hollie from @fueledbylolz… or If you are tired, rest, don’t quit.” And these quotes really rang true to me.

So what, I had a bad run because I ran 10 slow miles instead of 14 fast miles. Maybe that was a hard run for me, but that doesn’t mean I’m going to have a bad marathon, and it doesn’t determine my marathon training this cycle. Also if I feel tired, I’ll rest more, and cut back to running 3 days a week, a short run, a mid distance, and a long run. I’ve done this in the past, and it has made me feel well rested and helped me avoid burn out.

So with that being said… it’s time to celebrate this 10 mile long run, and the fact that I had my highest weekly mileage postpartum and hit around 30 miles for the week!

Ava Giselle’s Birth Story

*Warning: this is a very long post, but for my own personal reasons I didn’t want to leave out any details.*

To try for a VBAC or schedule a repeat C-Section was always the question?

Let’s begin by giving you a brief history, a quick overview of (my first born) Zoe’s birth story…

There was no debate or doubt when I was pregnant with Zoe… of course I would try an unmedicated vaginal birth. “I’m a woman! My body was made for labor…” everyone would tell me. So I watched all of the natural birth documentaries, and the thought never crossed my mind that a c-section could be a possibility.

Turns out, after laboring naturally for hours on end, at 4 centimeters, I wasn’t progressing. (I only made it to 5-6 centimeters). My OB started the interventions to help the active labor progress. First I got an epidural, then she broke my water – still no progress. Then she started pitocin. I was on the highest I could be for most of the day. Still only a little progress. At this point, it had been 36 hours, and although neither Zoe nor I were in any stress my OB suggested to have a c-section. I was ready to meet my baby, and thought it’s better to do a c-section now while no one was under any stress, instead of waiting for when an actual emergency happens. So off to the OR I went, to meet our baby girl, Zoe. (You can find Zoe’s full birth story here.

Now 2 years 7 months later, present time… Ava’s birth story.

Over all my pregnancy went well. (Stay tuned for some posts on my pregnancy and running through pregnancy.) I tried my best to stay fit and active, and nourish my body with the cleanest food. I ran most of my pregnancy averaging 15-20 miles a week, during the 1st and 2nd trimesters. I definitely eased up on the running once I entered the 3rd trimester, and started practicing prenatal yoga.

One day after prenatal yoga, I started chatting with three other mamas. Because of medical reasons, two of them already had their labors scheduled – one with a repeat c-section, the other one with an induction.

It made me think about my own birth plan, which at that moment was nonexistent. At the end of most of my OB appointments my doctors would ask, “When are you going to schedule your repeat C?” Only one doctor mentioned VBAC. It made me question what was the best and safest way to deliver… Did I have a medical reason that I didn’t have knowledge of? Was I not a good candidate for a VBAC? I was more confused than ever.

So at my next OB appointment, my doctor and I came up with a birth plan. I couldn’t be induced because I had a previous c-section, and pitocin causes to aggressive of contractions which could cause a uterus rupture. So I scheduled a repeat C-section for March 21, 2018 – two days before my due date. My doctor didn’t want me to go passed my due date, because of my history – Zoe was overdue by 4 days and she was measuring above average plus being in there for the extra days gave her a little more time to plump up even more. She came out weighing 8 lbs 15 ounces, which is a pretty large baby especially for my petite frame. I ended up with a c-section due to failure to progress because of her size. We didn’t want a repeat of the same thing.

I chose Wednesday, March 21, 2018 for my scheduled c-section, because it is one of the first days of spring and because my doctor (Amy Porter) who delivered Zoe was going to be available that day. She did a wonderful job on my C-section the last time and I felt comfortable with her. However, if baby decided to come naturally on her own, we would go with the flow and try for a VBAC. We also took a good look at my 36 week ultrasound to determine size of baby and position. I knew she was going to be a good size baby because she was already measuring 6 pounds which was similar to Zoe at the 36 week ultrasound, except Zoe came late and this one was definitely coming early, on the 21st if not sooner. She was head down and ready to go.

I was pretty happy with this birth plan. It made perfect since.

but… of course nothing goes as planned.

On Wednesday, March 14, 2018 I started to show early signs of labor. My cervix started to soften, and strong contractions began. That night I was up all night dealing with them.

On Thursday, March 15, 2018, I headed into work with more contractions. In my mind, I questioned, “Am I going to make it to my scheduled c-section, with contractions like this, a week early?” I didn’t want to head to the hospital too soon, because last time I progressed so slowly. If I was going for the VBAC the best idea would be to labor as long as I could at home. But I was a little worried, because I definitely needed to have an epidural, especially if I was going to try for the VBAC. My doctors strongly recommended an epidural because if they needed to do an emergency c-section I would already be prepped.

When I had a short break at work I called my doctor’s office to chat with Heidi, the nurse. I revealed to her I was showing early signs of labor with sporadic inconsistent contractions throughout the day and night. She told me not to come in until the contractions were 5 minutes apart and 1 minute long.

I downloaded an app called, Full Term, to record my contractions. This helped me keep track and I highly recommend it!

Later that night, I was up again all night long with contractions. I was exhausted. It had been two nights in a row with absolutely no sleep.

On Friday, March 16, 2018, after my cleaning lady came, I headed to the doctor in the afternoon to have my cervix checked. I saw Dr. Nicole McClendon, she told me I was 2-3 centimeters dilated and my cervix softened 90% . She suggested I go straight over to labor and delivery. She couldn’t promise I would be having my baby that day, but because I had a previous c-section and might try for a VBAC she didn’t want me laboring at home without a doctor’s supervision over the weekend. I questioned her at first, because of my history – last time I was already 4 centimeters dilated before heading to the hospital. But she told me every labor is different and although, unpredictable, labor could happen very quickly.

So off I went… But first I had to stop home. My house was clean, but my hospital bag wasn’t even packed yet. I had some things prepped, that I just needed to get it in the bag. I also needed to go home, to let Zoe, my 2 year old know I was going to be at the hospital for a couple of days to have her baby sister. She knew she would be staying with Gigi while I was in the hospital.

Around 5:00 pm, I arrived at Labor and Delivery. They hooked me up to a monitor for two hours to check my contractions. After two hours, still the same, no progress. Dr. Paik came in, to explain to me, I was in early labor, but not quite active labor. She went over my options.

Ideally the two safest options would be to either have a successful VBAC or have a controlled scheduled repeat C-section.

The least safe option would be trying for a successful VBAC, but then ending up with an emergency c-section.

She also told me that I could stay and have a c-section that night, but because I had eaten at 4:00 pm, I would have to wait at least 6 hours.

I was so confused on what to do, but because I had eaten, and was only in early labor, plus didn’t progress in the last two hours DR. Paik told me that I had time to think about it. She advised me to go home and even said that it was totally possible that these contractions could ease up and I might make it to my scheduled c-section on Wednesday the 21st. However, if contractions became unbearable I could call anytime, even if it was the weekend.

So I went home, to labor more at home. Turns out I was up again all night with contractions.

The Birth Story

On Saturday, March 17, 2018, I called Dr. Paik first thing in the morning. I had a strong intuition that I would be laboring like this with slow progression and it would end in a c-section. So I asked her if I could come to the hospital and have a repeat c-section. She told me she could take me now and asked me, how fast I could get there.

After dropping Zoe off at Gigi’s we headed to the hospital.

I was placed in a room and hooked up to a monitor. It would take about two hours to prep me before the c-section. At this point, they were checking for contractions and I not only would meet with Dr. Paik one last time before surgery, but also the rest of the team. They also did a quick ultrasound to check if baby was still head down.

Surprisingly, my contractions were closer together – they were four minutes apart. Ugh, maybe I was progressing. Baby was head down and ready to go. I met two students who would also be there during the c-section. I met my anesthesiologist, who would perform a spinal on me.

It was go time…

My husband got dressed and ready. We walked over to the OR together, but he waited in another room while I went in the OR alone to get prepped.

It was cold and bright. I started to tear up. The operating room is a bit overwhelming, not cozy at all.

I hunched my back and received the spinal. Within a minute my body turned really warm and tingly. I was numb from the chest down. It felt a little hard to breathe. Last time my arms were strapped down, this time they weren’t. Soon the blue curtain was up and my husband was by my side holding my hand.

My last c-section was super quick. I felt like everything was rushed and Zoe was out in ten minutes.

It might have been because there were two students there, or maybe it was Dr. Paik’s style. But this time around, it felt like it took longer.

I kept hearing the team chatting, maybe it was Dr. Paik explaining things to the students. I even heard a laugh, – the laughter relaxed me.

I whispered to my husband, “Where is the baby?” The nurse assured me that it always seems a lot longer than it actually has been. I made my husband peek over the curtain to see what was going on. Then the nurse told me that they had just pulled out the head. A couple moments later, at 12:37 pm, I heard my baby cry. It was the strongest, highest pitched squeal I have ever heard. I quickly saw her as the nurse rushed her to get her cleaned up. She has a full head of dark brown almost black hair!

I told my husband to run over to take photos of her, and soon enough she was in his arms while they were stitching me up.

The nurse said she was healthy and beautiful, then she asked, “Does anyone want to guess her size?” I knew she was a big baby. She felt so heavy in my belly.

Then soon enough she was in my arms, weighing 8 pounds 12 ounces. Measuring 19.5 inches long.

Although, I thought she was big, I didn’t think that big. Zoe came out weighing 8 pounds 15 ounces, but she came late and was in my belly for longer, 40 weeks and 4 days. This little one came a week early, being born at 39 weeks and 1 day. If she had stayed in there for the same amount of time as Zoe had, she would have been over 9 pounds.

Once baby was in my arms, we headed right over to the “Mommy and Me” recovery room.

Dr. Paik came into my room to check on me. She also informed me that she was thankful that we did the c-section because it turns out my uterus was very thin where the previous c-section was done. She told me that she saw a mass and thought it was a fibroid but then realized it was a hand. Maybe my uterus was thin from being stretched out from babies both weighing over 8 pounds close to 9 pounds. Also the fact that my baby was 8 pounds 12 ounces, there was a very great chance I wouldn’t have progressed and most likely would have ended in a c-section anyway.

Turns out that I’m not an ideal VBAC candidate. The best candidate for a VBAC is someone who has already had a VBAC or someone who has never went into labor, and had a c-section because of a reason based on baby, such as being breeched.

Anyway the recovery room was really nice. I stayed there recovering for 3 nights, being discharged on Tuesday, March 20, 2018 at 12:15 pm.

It was enough time to really get to know my newborn. I stayed up throughout the night nursing her and snuggling her. All of the nurses were fantastic. It definitely was a more relaxing time then the first time around.

However, I was totally ready to leave by the fourth day. Although, Zoe, my two year old, came to visit everyday, I missed her and was eager to get home and start adjusting as a family of four.

Zoe impressed me so much! She was so excited to meet the new baby. We captured the moment on video and I will forever cherish it. She also did a wonderful job spending the days we were in the hospital, with Gigi. And understood that I had to be at the hospital to recover and take care of her baby sister.

Choosing the name

Before leaving the hospital we had to choose a name. We didn’t choose a name until I filled out the birth certificate the day we were discharged. I had a long list, that included Demi and Lux. A lot of people were giving us Irish names since she was born on St. Patty’s day. However, we ended up choosing Ava Giselle. Ava has always been on the top of our list. It is a name that both my husband and I love. We like it because it is a three letter name, and has an interesting letter in it similar to Zoe. It also can’t be nicknamed and it is easy to spell. Overall it is a beautiful name and was one of the names we considered using when Zoe was born. This middle name Giselle has no real significance except that I always loved the name. We also love the spelling with the double L, similar to Zoe’s middle name with he double N.

After choosing a name we were finally ready to head home…

Now that we are home sweet home, I’m helping Zoe transition to big sister the best I can. We’ve had some great support from family too. Gramps and Grams are in town. Aunt Jackie even came for a surprise visit. Gigi continues to help out.

Postpartum

Although, I am eager to start running and lifting again, – gotta get the glutes in shape again- so I see a lot of dead lifts and squats in my near future. I’m excited for my fit postpartum journey to begin, and see the progress I can achieve. However, for now it’s important to slow down and heal up. I’m trying to be kind to myself, since I had a c-section, which is major abdominal surgery. I’m also trying to take it easy and enjoy this time loving and snuggling my newborn, my two year old, and my husband! Cherishing this family time is so important because this time will go by so fast.

Motherhood is an incredible thing, and I can’t even express in words how thankful I am for my girls.

Welcome to this beautiful crazy world Ava Giselle. We love you, even before your very first breath.

Hospital Bag Essentials for Labor Day and beyond…

Guess what?

We are at the hospital!

Even though, I waited to the very last minute to pack my hospital bag – it was one of my favorite things to do to prepare for the hospital stay after the arrival of our second baby girl. I thought it was fun, but because others might find the task stressful I’m sharing with you some of my favorite essential products that I included in my hospital bag. (Side note: I am not affiliated with any of these brands.)

1. Robe: Wether you deliver vaginally or c-section, make sure you bring a soft and cozy robe that opens in the front. That way you can easily do skin on skin and if you choose to breastfeed, it makes breastfeeding easier.

2. Nursing bra: I brought 2 nursing bras. My favorite ones are made by the company Storq. They have no underwire, are made from the softest material, and pull to the side so breastfeeding becomes easier. While I’m in the hospital I usually don’t wear a bra, because I’m breastfeeding on demand or at least every 2-3 hours. But the bra goes on when I have visitors, and for the car ride home.

3. Nursing pads: I brought a couple nursing pads to the hospital just in case my milk came in during my hospital stay. But keep in mind that it takes 2-5 days for milk to come in, during the first days the baby is receiving colostrum from you.

4. Nipple butter: I personally love the products Earth Mama Organics (aka Earth Mama Angel Baby Organics.) The nipple butter is soothing, organic, lanolin free and non sticky. It smells amazing, and is safe for baby’s mouth. This product keeps the nipples hydrated and safe while breastfeeding. It is also very healing. If for some reason your baby is struggling with latching on, and you are feeling painful pinches instead of gentle tugs, nipples can become bruised or cracked, this nipple butter will save the day.

5. Another product line that I love is Zoe Organics. I packed my belly oil and belly butter by them. This way I can continue to hydrate the skin on my belly, and soothe any stretch marks and continue to avoid them.

6. A dry shampoo is also a must have product. My favorite one is R+Co Skyline. That way if you don’t have the time to shampoo, condition, and blow dry – you can still have fresh hair.

7. Deodorant is a must have, especially if you don’t have time to shower. I am currently using a natural deodorant by Primally Pure.

8. A going home outfit. Again, keep in mind you are still going to have a belly. Instead of a huge 40 week pregnant belly, you are going to look 5 months pregnant. So pack your maternity leggings. My favorite are by STORQ. I also brought with me the pink T-shirt also made by STORQ. Don’t forget socks. Your feet might get cold, and it’s just nice to have a for walking the hospital halls. Again I have a great pair from STORQ.

9. Bellefit Postpartum Corset. I have yet to try this, but this one is the product I am most excited about!! I never used a postpartum belt, girdle, or corset during my past postpartum experience. But my friend, Mariana, swore by it! She loaned me her belt, but I never actually use it. So this time around I did some research to find the one that would work best for me. Turns out I ended up coming across the Bellefit Postpartum corset and loved everything about it. It is a FDA registered medical certified product, which is used to help support the body during postpartum. The product is safe to use for both a c-section or vaginal birth. I’m excited to use it to help heal and support my postpartum body. I’ll be recording my progress.

10. Another thing in my bag is my postpartum/Fourth trimester books and a ball of yarn to start a new project. This is for the waiting game. Whether you are in labor waiting to reach 10 centimeters, or whether you are waiting for your schedule c-section. Either way it is important to have something to do to help your relieve stress and relax. They are also good to have when you are in the mommy and me room when baby is napping.

11. One of the most important thing is baby’s outfit for going home in and a soft warm blanket for baby, for the car ride home.

The one thing that I wouldn’t pack is my breast pump. You may think, “oh I need to pack my breast-pump,” but turns out you most likely you won’t need one. And if you do need to use a pump, the hospital can, on your request, provide you a hospital grade pump during your hospital stay. You can also rent one for home at a monthly fee.

Tip: Honestly, if you don’t have time to pack your bag, don’t worry, the hospital actually has everything you need. The reason most people pack a bag is so you have your own stuff to make a more comfortable hospital stay. Especially, if you have a c-section. Some mamas that have vaginal birth with no complications get discharged from the hospital the very next day, while mamas that have a c-section with no complications end up staying on average 3 nights, 4 days, getting discharged on day four.

Also another great tip is to bring a bag with lots of space so you can bring home any extra stuff you collected from the hospital.

So there you have it, my favorite tips, extra information, and my essentials for my hospital bag. Now let’s have a baby!

What’s favorite things you packed in your hospital bag?

Planning for the Fourth Trimester aka Postpartum.

“The first forty days is a period of time unlike any other. It is a short season of life that follows the delivery of your child – an almost six week long period that arrives after many weeks of pregnancy and who knows how many hours of labor – in which you recover from birth, your baby unfurls slowly into the world of bright lights and sounds, and together you devote yourselves to forging your relationship outside the womb.

Though brief, it is s time of amazing intensity and massive adjustments. Your body transforms – again – and your heart throbs with more feelings than you ever knew possible. Your internal rhythms ping-pong as days and nights merge. Your stamina and serenity get tested like never before. Your connection to the world you knew before loosen, or even comes undone, and your sense of who you are begins to change and morph.

In other times, and in other places around the world, a postpartum period of healing and adjustment was expected and allowed. After the rigorous and demanding act of birth, it was considered critically necessary for the whole family – and society at large- that a woman be given the first forty days to heal and rest. Other people in her community would feed her, nurture her, and take all responsibilities off her plate, so that she could focus on one thing only, transitioning healthily and happily from expectant woman to mother.

For the first forty days – a new mother stayed secluded from the busy stream of life, tucked indoors with her infant by her side. She received special meals to rebuild energy, replenish lost nutrients, and help her body produce breast milk. She followed traditional practices of keeping rested and warm to prevent exhaustion and depletion.

The understanding was the new mother was as vulnerable as her newborn, requiring her own steady stream of attention and care. A dedicated time of postpartum recovery could help to keep future illness – and equally important, depression – at bay.

Today in the West, we are waking up to the importance of cocooning baby in the weeks following birth. The understanding that baby is not quite ready to meet the world at large when she/he emerges and is still in the early stage of development that’s come to be known as the “fourth trimester” has awakened us to the value of holding baby close and sheltered for some weeks, so she/he can shift slowly and gradually into life outside the womb.

But somehow, we have forgotten the time honored wisdom that this special cocoon of care should extend to the mother as well…”

~ Introduction from the book, the first forty days, The Essential Art of Nourishing the New Mother. By Heng Ou with Amely Greeven and Marisa Belger.

Life has been so busy, that I haven’t had much time to write during this pregnancy. I have been running the majority of this pregnancy so logging stroller pregnancy miles have taken up much of my free time. (I have a blog post written about my fit pregnancy journey that I will be sharing with you next week or follow me on Instagram @sweat1xdaily.) But now at 36 weeks pregnant, I am starting to use my free time to relax and rest which translates to read, knit, and write.

BOOKS

When I was pregnant with Zoe, I read all the baby books – I was very concerned with knowing what to do with Zoe once she was home and in my care. But this time around, because I’ve already read all the baby books, I am really focusing on my postpartum journey aka the Fourth Trimester. This phase is crucial for my physical, mental, and emotional healing, and will forever leave an imprint on both my newborn and my toddler.

The books I am currently reading are…

  • the first forty days, The Essential Art of Nourishing the New Mother. By Heng Ou with Amely Greeven and Marisa Belger.
  • The Fourth Trimester by a Kimberly Ann Johnson.

My desire to learn about the postpartum phase came about partially because of social media. On Instagram, especially, so many women are posting their pregnancy and postpartum journey. Some seem to unrealistically, “bounce right back,” while others are very honest.

As an American woman, we are always expected to “Bounce right back,” and do more faster.” These expectations are doable, but are they the healthiest? These high demands need to be replaced with more support.

When I was in the postpartum stage with Zoe, I focused on her, and our new family of three adjusted successfully. Also because I had a c-section it was very important to give myself time to heal physically.

Although, last time was a success, it wasn’t necessarily easy. This time around I want to be more prepared. This time around, it is even more important for me to SLOW down. I will be juggling both a newborn and a toddler, so I’m expecting it to be chaotic. However, by slowing down and focusing on this postpartum/Fourth Trimester phase, Zoe will have a smoother time transitioning to her new role as big sister.

“Self Care,” the big trend for 2018 – I see it on every healthy lifestyle blog. Although, it is not necessarily used when describing motherhood, it should be. The postpartum/Fourth Trimester period is not just about caring for new baby, but it is also about caring for mama too. Happy mama, happy baby. When mama is happy and feeling good, so is baby and the rest of the family.

With all that being said, it’s crunch time to really prepare for this special postpartum/Fourth Trimester phase. In the next few weeks I will be…

  • Preparing nourishing meals, that will help aid in the healing process, physically, emotionally, and mentally. Having these meals on hand, will eliminate the urge to order unhealthy take out/delivery. Not having to cook will also allow me to have all the time, relaxing with my newborn and toddler.
  • Schedule house cleaning, so I don’t have to fuss with it, and can fully relax and rest with my babies. Plus a clean house will create a comfortable, refreshing space to really enjoy while staying home.
  • When reading about the traditional fourth trimester, practiced by other cultures – it is common for mommy and baby to stay curled up in bed together, breast feeding and practicing skin on skin for the full 6 weeks. Because of my personality, this idea already makes me feel cooped up. When Zoe was born, we walked every day, and I healed up from my c-section pretty fast. I needed the fresh air and vitamin D. So although, I want to slow down, I definitely think being outside and taking leisurely walks will be more beneficial for me and my family. With that being said, remember when reading books, that these are just ideas, and it’s best to customize this phase for what works best for you and your family.

Ultimately, my goal is to help Zoe have a smooth transition to big sister and for all of us to adjust comfortably to a family of four.

Did you prepare for the fourth trimester?

Flash Back Friday – Race Recap : The Parkway Classic 10 Miler

~ Photo taken by Swim Bike Run

The Parkway Classic 10 Miler (2017)

It is still dark, but I feel the vibration of my phone, (my quiet alarm). I tiptoe into the bathroom while my loved ones are still dreaming. Get dressed – my race outfit was already laid out the night before. I grab an applesauce on my way out, and sneak quietly off, to the start of the race.

The sun is starting to rise as I arrive. It is still pretty cold, so I wait until the very last minute to strip down out of my sweats, and check my back – my race outfit perfectly on, my bib number already pinned to my Oiselle singlet. I use body glide one last time as a precaution.

Five minutes to spare, bag is checked, so I hustle to my corral.

The gun goes off, and my feet leap over the start, as my garmin goes on.

I hear thousands of quick feet pound the pavement, as I turn on my iTunes playlist.

The views are breathtaking.

A canopy of green trees shade us as we go down hill.

The sun shines on the river making it sparkle as we go up hill.

These hills are rolling but mild, so they actually help my legs turn over faster.

It is such an amazing feeling, running fast, on a beautiful spring day, with a couple thousand of other runners.

Before I know it, I’m approaching Old Town, mile 8-9.

Up a hill, down a hill, and a sprint to the finish.

I hear my name announced as I cross the finish line.

A volunteer places a finisher’s medal around my neck.

Official time – 1:23:46.

2018 Goals

  • Support Community
  • Race a new and different 10 Miler

The Parkway Classic is one of my favorite races, and I run it most years. However, this year 2018, I won’t be able to run it… I have two good reasons though, 1- I’ll be at my sister’s wedding. 2- I will be 4 weeks postpartum cuddling a new born, and won’t even be cleared by my doctor to exercise yet. However, supporting the running community is very important to me, so even though I won’t be in town for this one, I do plan to watch and cheer at more races from the sidelines.

And just because I won’t be able to race this one, the 10 mile distance is one of my favorites to race and I know I can go faster. So as of now I’m on the look out for a different new 10 miler. I hope I find one as rejuvenating and refreshing as The Parkway Classic.

And as for the Parkway Classic… I can’t wait to race you many times again in the future.

Happy Running!

What’s your favorite race distance? Have you ever ran the Parkway Classic?

Race Recap: Parkway Classic 10 Miler – my second Postpartum race

The Parkway Classic is one of the first races I ever wrote about on this blog, (read about it here) actually it may have been my very first blog post. And yet again, I am running it and writing about it. It is just one of those races that I love to run, year after year.

Of course last year, I was pregnant with Zoe, so I didn’t have the chance to race. But this year, being 8 months postpartum I was ready to take on the course again.

Earlier this month, I ran the Cherry Blossom ten miler in 1:31. To prepare for that race, I had run a couple 8 milers as my longer runs, and then 3-5 milers during the week pushing Zoe in the Bob. I ran that race, without any mental strategies, because there were no goals I was trying to reach, instead I just wanted to run it to have fun, and test my fitness level.

THE TRAINING

To prepare for this race, I considered the Cherry Blossom ten miler as my long run, and used the next three weeks doing a combination of shorter runs 3-5 milers and late night weight lifting sessions in the gym.

When I was running with Zoe, I slowed down to engage my slow twitch muscles, and tried to stay in an aerobic heart rate zone. But when I was running solo, I worked on speed, and got those fast twitch muscles fired up.  Every time I ran, I incorporated both some up hills and down hills. Unlike the Cherry Blossom ten miler (totally flat course), the Parkway Classic is a course made up of small rolling hills. Although, they are small, they are still rolling for about 8 miles.

After I put Zoe to bed for the night, I hit the gym. I never worked legs, because I didn’t want them heavy or overly tired – they needed to be ready for running. So I focussed mainly on, chest, back, and core.

THE NIGHT BEFORE THE RACE

Like always I did my night before a race ritual, prepared my race clothes and accessories.

parkway classic outfit

THE RACE

This race is put on my Pacers, our local running shoe store. Because it is put on by runners, they know their stuff. Everything is simple, and well organized. There is no expo for this race, you just head to the Pacers store and pick up your bib.

On Friday, Zoe and I went on a short 5K run, and then headed to the store to pick up my bib. I was considering running with Zoe during the race. I had been training with her, so why not race with her. She loves our runs, so it would have been really fun to bring her. However, strollers weren’t allowed on the shuttle buses heading over to the race. And because the race is a point to point race instead of a loop, it was going to be really hard to get both of us down there and back. Plus, I had to head to the salon, to work a full day, right after the race. It would just be easier for me to run solo, so that is what I did. Now I’m on the hunt to find a different race to do with Zoe.

The night before the race, I did my regular night before a race ritual. Chose my race outfit, laid it out, just making sure I have everything organized and ready to go.

Getting to and from this race was so easy. I parked my car at the pentagon parking lot, and walked across the street to the shuttle bus. The buses ran between 5:30 and 6:30 am. I got on the last bus leaving at around 6:30. The bus driver waited an additional 10 minutes for any stragglers. Two 5k ladies got on the bus. There was a little confusion when the bus driver dropped them off and then was unsure where to drop us off. All of us ten miler runners gave him directions. We eventually made it to the start- better late then never.

It was 7:30 when I arrived, the race start time was 8:00 am.  I got off the bus, and went to check my bag. It was a crisp morning, so at first, I kept my long sleeve shirt on, but then turned around and decided to check it. I was very comfortable running the race in my usual running shorts and tank top. So thankful I checked my long sleeve shirt, never during the race did I feel hot or to cold.

At 7:50 I walked over to the start to line up. I stood right in front of the 9:00-959 pace sign. I had a good idea, that I could manage that pace, considering my last race I ran, thats what I did. Also all of my shorter solo runs during training were right under a 9 min/mile.

At 8:05 I was running over the start line, pressing the start button on my garmin, and on my strava app. “Here we go!”

The course is by far one of my favorites. It is always beautiful, running under a canopy of trees, parallel to the Potomac river. The trees make everything green, and the sun hits the river making it sparkle. The parkway is also slightly rolling hills, which I actually prefer in a course rather than a flat one. My mental strategy was to consistently run under a 9 min/mile the whole course, running in the high 8s going up hill, running in the low 8s going down hill.

I stuck to my plan, and felt amazing the whole race. I walked through the water stations, eating some sports beans at mile 4, skipping the final 2 water stations. It felt so good running on the down hills – I actually felt like I was flying.

I ended up getting to the finish line in 1:28:49, faster than the race I ran earlier this month, and under a 1:30 which is always my goal for a 10 miler.

Parkway Classic

Parkway

The Finish Line

It was a beautiful day and the finish line is right by the the water. I walked around, but didn’t stay long because I had to head to work. But I got my medal, another piece of bling to add to my collection.Parkway Classic finish

Next races coming up will all be in the fall. Training starts in July.

What races did you run this fall? What are you training for? How did your first postpartum races go?

I love connecting with people, especially other runners. Please connect with me on INSTAGAM, @sweat1xdaily.

© 2016 sweat1xdaily

 

 

 

Meeting Meb Keflezighi and Running my first Postpartum race.

Last Sunday (April 3, 2016) on one of the record breaking windy weather days, I ran my first race postpartum – the Cherry Blossom 10 Miler.

In 2008, the Cherry Blossom 10 miler was my first race I ever ran. I have run this race every year since, except last year when I was five months pregnant with Zoe.

I love this race because for me, it symbolizes spring, the end of the cold winter, and the start of my training/race season.

TRAINING

Most of my runs have been shorter runs during the week. I normally run 3-5 miles with Zoe. Pushing the stroller really has made me faster and stronger. I am just beyond thankful that both my baby and I enjoy runs together. It makes it so much easier for me to fit my runs in. I usually wake up early with her and we head out for a run. Running is now part of our morning routine.

  
On the weekends, I would get out there and run a little further. I personally define a long run as any distance 10 miles and further. But when training for this 10 miler I didn’t feel the need to go further than 8 miles. So I did a couple 8 milers at a pretty decent pace.

Lina met me for an 8 miler on Easter morning and we ran to the cherry blossoms and back.

EXPO

As always, I headed to the expo to pick up my bib. The expo for this race is always held at the National Building Museum. I browsed the expo to see if there were any good sales or new vendors.  It was at the Cherry Blossom 10 miler a couple years ago that I discovered Newton running shoes. So you really don’t know what you’ll find that might be a major game changer for your running. So enjoy the expo and explore a little.

 One new brand that I did find at this expo was Mana Threads. It is a fitness clothing brand owned by two Brazilian sisters. I bought a sports bra and tank top from them. The brand isn’t necessarily for runners. But the colors were amazing and fabric soft. I’m getting really bored of lululemon and just want to have some fitness/running clothes that are NOT lulu.

MEETING MEB KEFLEZIGHI

However, the absolute most exciting thing about the expo was meeting Meb Keflezighi. I was definitely star struck.

For those who don’t know… Meb Keflezighi is a famous marathoner. He won the Boston marathon in 2014. He also is heading to Brazil to run in the Olympics. Anyway, it was pretty exciting to see him and hear what he had to say.

He talked about his first marathon ever, and how he was a couple seconds shy of making the olympics. Although, he is really fast, his story was one any runner could relate to. My favorite part was when her said… the marathon was so painful he made a vow to himself that he would never run another marathon. That sounds pretty familiar, so many of us have said the same words.


He also ran the Cherry Blossom 10 miler race. He told everyone he would be running a 6 minute pace. And although, there is no way I would be running that fast, I did look for him on the course. It is just amazing to have run a race that he also was running in.

NIGHT BEFORE RACE RITUAL

As always I laid out my race outfit, so I would be ready early in the morning. The sports bra and tank are by Mana Threads – the new ones I purchased at the expo.

 

Turns out the night before the race became super windy. And I ended up wearing a long sleeve top. Just to put it in perspective how cold it was, there has only been two other races, that I have run in long sleeves. It is very rare for me to race in something other than shorts and a tank top.

THE RACE

Lina met me at my house and we drove over to the metro together. By 6:30 we were off the metro and heading toward the bag check. We waited around the start freezing our butts off.  It was cold and the wind made it painful.

 The race starts and finishes at the Washington Monument.


Look at those American flags blowing aggressively in the wind.

Finally we headed to our corral.


And off we went.

Because of the wind, the course had NO mile markers. The only other race that I ran with no mile marker was the North Face Endurance Challenge half marathon, and that race was a trail run.

Anyway, because there were no mile markers, I decided to just enjoy the race, and run based on how I felt. So I didn’t look at my watch, not even once. 

This was my first race postpartum so I wasn’t working for a new PR, instead I was just seeing how I would do. I was mainly using this race as one to help me measure my fitness level.

I recorded the race on my Garmin 620. This was my first time racing with this watch and it was awesome. The watch vibrates at every mile, so although there were no mile markers, I still knew where I was at.

Just for fun, I also recorded my race on Strava.  I’ve been using this app as a back up record for my runs. It is also really awesome because it allows me to connect with other runners. I am actually following Kara Goucher. Because she is an elite runner seeing her runs gives me inspiration.

RACE STATS (using Strava)


My official time was for this race (Cherry Blossom 10 Miler) 1:31:12.

Honestly, I felt really good running this race. My form and stride felt effortless. I just kept going. The wind was crazy though. Sometimes we were running right into it, other times it felt like it was coming from all directions.

The last two miles we were running right into the wind. Because of the wind I felt like I was slowing down, but after I crossed the finish line I felt like I could have kept going. Sometimes in running, you find that really comfortable pace that you just settle in – I found that pace during this race and it felt like I could run forever.

Because I felt so good, I actually didn’t eat any of my sports beans. I normally always take them every 6 miles, but because I didn’t train using them, I decided not to use them.

FUTURE GOALS

Over all I am really happy about my first race back postpartum! I am feeling more and more like the athlete I was before pregnancy. I am very pumped to keep pushing during my runs and to become even more consistent with my lifting.

My future fitness goals-

I need to find a way to stay even more  consistent. Consistency is key when seeing results.

1) Keep pushing hard with my runs. Working on distance and speed.

2) Continue lifting consistently. I am currently on the livefit trainer week 5. Can’t wait to see more results by getting stronger and building more muscle.

© 2016 sweat1xdaily

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

 

 

 

 

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!