Bring it on, half marathon! A Guest Post by Susie

Hey everyone, 

I ran my final long run for this marathon training season. It was a 20+ miler this last Saturday, 10/15/16. I am officially in TAPER TOWN!  Because I have been tapering I have only been running shorter runs, and I have had a lot more time to blog. I am working on some really amazing posts for you guys, about my marathon training, my race day plan, and food. So I look forward to sharing those with you in the next days leading up to my marathon, the MARINE CORPS MARATHON. 

In the meantime, I would like to introduce to you my good friend, Susie. She is a fashion blogger and runner!  This is my first time having a guest blogger write a post at Sweat1xdaily. And she is talking all about her favorite running gear, which helped her comfortably run her 2nd half marathon, in the heat of August!  I hope you enjoy this post about Susie’s favorite running gear, and you can always learn more fun fashion tips from Susie over at Susie in Style.

Bring it on, half marathon! 
I recently ran the Madison Mini Marathon. This was my 2nd half marathon and I ran with my mom/running buddy in my beloved hometown Madison, Wisconsin.

My 1st half was in Madison in 2010 which I ran on a whim. I had just gotten back from a semester abroad in Spain and hadn’t trained. My mom was signed up for the half and she asked if I wanted to do the 10k race. I was eager to get back into running longer distances so I agreed. When we went to pick up her packet before the race and register myself, the 10k was full…It was decision time because the half still had openings. I thought “what the hell, why not” and signed up thinking I would just do a run/walk. But me being stubborn, true to my Virgo zodiac sign, ended up running the whole thing. It was an adventure, but I persevered and got it done. 
This time, I was much more prepared. I trained for 4 months, gradually working up my distance. Since I’m a runner AND a fashion blogger, a big part of preparing was making sure I had the right gear for both functionality and style. Functionality proved more important, but I’m glad the style was still there for my loyal fab fashonistas. 
Me with my mom and her friends after the race. I’m in the pink tank top!

When Race Day Came, Heres What I Wore:
Compression Shorts: If you run, you know about the horror of chaffing. For shorter distances, I always apply deodorant on the inside of my thigh area and that does the trick—sometimes even the most stylish runner has to use tried and trued methods. But I knew I couldn’t rely on deodrant alone for this one so I made sure to get compression shorts. My shorts have the compression layer underneath to protect from chaffing and on the outside theres a looser, mesh layer so I didn’t feel exposed. These shorts did the trick—they gave me much needed compression to avoid chaffing and provided a flowing exterior. Perfect for the fashion conscious runner!
Nike Cool Breeze Dry-FIT Tank: I got this tank at Macy’s. My race was in August and I can’t stand being too hot when I run so the lightweight material allowed me to stay cool. The only thing I don’t love is that its a little transparent. Luckily, I bought two (1 in pink and 1 in blue) so on race day I just layered the blue top under the pink one and that solved the transparency problem. 
Fabletics Sports Bra: See the Graffiti sports bra from my Fabletics Review. This was awesome for race day and I love the print. The colors also happen to match my running shoes. 

Brooks Ghost 8 Running Shoe: I get my shoes at Berkley running company in Madison but you can fond them at your local running store. I used to be an ASICS girl but over the past few years I’ve made the switch to Brooks because they feel lighter and have more of a cushion. 
Added value: buying local can be both functional and fun. My favorite salesperson from Berkley that sold me these shoes was on the course with a mic cheering people on at mile 10. 
My high school Cross Country team was also working at one of the water stations. It was awesome to have that support and community feel to push me those last few miles. 
Nathan Running Essentials Belt: It took me awhile to get used to running with a belt ,but I was really glad that I had it on race day. I carried energy beans, running GU, and Chapstick). I used the beans and GU at about 3 or 4 different points during my race. You’ve got to have fuel in the tank to compete! The belt was also essential for training so I could keep energy aids with me on my long runs and have a place to store my keys. 
Garmin Forerunner: For my birthday present, my mom bought me the Garmin Forerunner 15 watch so I could track my pace. Its comfortable and the teal/white color combo adds flare to any running ensemble. I had trouble getting it to find a GPS signal so it didn’t end up working until I got to the 1st mile mark, but I hope to work out the bugs soon. Anyone out there know why this might have happened? I’ve tried using it on several other occasions since but keep running (literally) into the same problem.
And lastly, here is a picture of the awesome medal that I got at the finish line. It also serves as a bottle opener because… well, why wouldn’t it? 🙂

The Climate

I was nervous about the timing of the race, considering it was in August, and Wisconsin weather can be unpredictable. The night before the race, I was checking the forecast constantly.
The good news was it looked like it was going to be in the 60’s around race time. Perfect running temperature. The bad news was it was supposed to storm right when the race started. The Madison-Mini Twitter account and website were both staying optimistic but encouraging runners to check back first thing in the morning and make sure the race was still on. I wasn’t sure what would be worse: the race getting cancelled after all my training OR running in a downpour with soggy socks and rain pelting my face. I went to bed that night feeling discouraged. 
I woke up in the morning ready to go—rain or shine—and fortunately the running gods were on my side. The storm had passed through earlier than anticipated during the night, and it was just drizzling at the start of the race. Soon after we started, the drizzle stopped and it was mid 60’s and overcast. My ideal running weather. 
One benefit I had of training in DC during the summer is that I got used to the humidity. After the race, I regrouped with my mom and her friends. They said that the humidity really challenged them, but I didn’t find it humid compared to the swamp that is Washington in May – August. 
The Course
Overall I enjoyed the course. It was great to run through some of my favorite parts of the city. There were about 3,000 people who ran the mini marathon. They organized us at the start based on our estimated finish time. They didn’t start in waves like some other races so I was nervous it would get crowded. Fortunately, I didn’t have trouble breaking out to my stride. 
The last mile was hard. Thats when my legs and knees were getting sore so I stopped at the mile marker to stretch which helped get me through the last leg. The finish line was on the University of Wisconsin campus. . My biggest complaint about the course itself was there were two hills on mile 12 and It twisted and turned around campus buildings, so I couldn’t see the finish line until I was about 200 yards out or so. I like to see where the finish line is around the last quarter mile so I know how much energy to exert.
Some parts of the course were off the beaten path. Around mile 11 we went down a trail that was quiet and difficult for observers to get to so there weren’t many people cheering. That was the point I could have used encouragement the most. 
I’ve heard from runners that have done this race multiple times,the organizers are very responsive to feedback so hopefully for next year, they’ll adjust the course so its not so hilly and remote towards the finish. 
Unfortunately, I forgot to apply bug spray before the race. As a result, I got a few mosquito bites when we ran through the arboretum trail. Luckily, I didn’t get bit up too bad but I heard other people who were also wishing they had sprayed.
I would do this race again. The hardest thing about it, was the timing being in August which meant training in the hottest months. Wisconsin is a lot cooler than DC though, and the race starts at 7am so even on a hot day, its not going to be too hot at that time. 
So What Were My Results?

Time: 2:18:32 
Pace: 10:35
Place Overall: 1677/2757
Divison Place: 151/258
I was happy with my time and I felt good and comfortable.
Traveling to Wisconsin 
If you’ve never been to Madison, Wisconsin before I encourage you to visit. Its a beautiful and active city. Its not too early to register for the 2017 Madison Mini Marathon on Saturday, August 17th. There’s also a 5k option.
Here are some other things to check out while you’re in the Mad City:
Union South – This is where the packet pick up and after party were. Union South is the “New” Union. Its a lovely building with lots of restaurants and activities. If you have more time in Madison you should also head over to the Memorial Union and have a Spotted Cow by the water while you listen to local music.
Babcock Hall Dairy Store – After the race, treat yourself to ice cream at Babcock Hall. You won’t regret it! They also have cheese curds to snack on and a breakfast and lunch menu. 
State Street Brats – This is a fun and laid back place downtown and a great spot to grab food after the race. 
Porta Bella Italian Restaurant – Looking to carb up the night before the race? Try this quant Italian Restaurant near State Street.
For places to stay, I recommend these hotels in the Downtown area, close to the race location:
Double Hill By Hilton – The official hotel for the Madison Mini Marathon. Check out the race site for information on discounted rates. 
The Edgewater Hotel
Sheraton Madison Hotel 
My Advice To You
If you’re training for a half, don’t underestimate the importance of preparing. Give yourself plenty of time to train, and be sure to find appropriate running gear. Its important to train in the equipment you plan to use for race day so you can test it out and allow yourself time to find the right outfit.
Question of the Day…
What running products would you recommend for long distance races that are both functional and fashionable?

So that’s all from Susie! I hope you enjoyed that! You can find Susie at Susie in Style! 

And again I can’t wait to share with you some details about marathon training, race day plan, and food! All of this will be up on the blog in the next days leading up to my marathon. If you can’t wait, you can always find all the details and inspiration through photos on Instagram, follow me @sweat1xdaily. 

Xo

copyright 2016 sweat1xdaily

Race Recap: Navy Air Force Half Marathon – 3rd postpartum race.

The Expo

Friday, 9/16/16: Through the Nats Stadium, I headed to the expo, as my baby napped, while I pushed her in our BOB running stroller. She continued to sleep peacefully as I picked up my bib for my third postpartum race.

It use to amaze me, whenever I saw a mom, with a young baby picking up her bib. “Wow”, I use to think, “I hope to be like that! Fit, healthy, happy, postpartum, racing a full or half marathon while lovingly caring for a tiny human.”

Now, here I am doing exactly that. 

Night Before the Race

Saturday, 9/17/16: As always, I preformed my night before race ritual of laying out my race clothes. Hashtagging Flat mama, flat Meg. (Which means laying out your race clothes without you wearing them, meaning they are a flat version of you.) Side note: I was really excited that I would be wearing my oiselle singlet and sports bra.

The Race

Sunday, 9/18/16: It was still dark outside, but I tiptoed around the house at 5:00am to get dressed and ready. The metro is not opening early for the race because of safe tracking, so I drove to L’s house and we took a cab from there. We arrived to the start as the sun came up.


Most people that I know who are also in the middle of training for the Marine Corps Marathon used this race as a training run. They practiced running marathon pace. At the start, I’m still trying to decide if I want to do the same, or race.


As we lined up to the start, the gun goes off, and the race has officially began. After mile one, I was feeling really good, the weather was perfect, it is then that I decide, I’m going to race. I thought to myself, “I paid for this half marathon, if I needed to practice my marathon pace I could have just run another training run on the trail. Plus there are still many opportunities to practice marathon pace.”

Next thing I realize I’m at mile six, and approaching a water station. Perfect time to refuel with some sports beans. I was still feeling really good and I told myself, “Just keep up this pace.”

At one point, we headed up Rock Creek Park. It’s a bit hilly, but I always like the mix up. While we were heading up, the pro/elite runners were sprinting down. It was really inspiring seeing them, including a female pro/elite runner wearing a oiselle singlet.

All of a sudden I was approaching mile ten. I couldn’t believe I only had 3.1 miles to go.

The last 3.1 miles went well and I sprinted across the finish line in 1:53:54.


This race was not a PR for me, but I was really happy I ran it in under 2 hours.

After all the marathon training in the heat wave of a summer, this race brought my confidence back.

Motivation and Inspiration

These are a few of my favorite things. 

  1. My favorite thing about the race was seeing so many Oiselle Volee team members along the course and cheering on the side lines. It’s so cool to have such awesome support and meet some of my team mates for the first time.
  2. I also loved how the race directors automatically texted your split times through out the race. This kept my pace on point.
  3. Seeing the pro/elite runner through out the race made me pumped.
  4. The race was one of the smaller races in the area, which was a nice change. It never felt over crowded.
  5. Rock creek park hills was a nice switch up from the otherwise flat city course.

In the end…

I got my bling! 

And as of now, to her, it may just be a pile of colorful medals that make noise. But when she is older, I will teach her what they really symbolize …


PASSION, DEDICATION, and the idea that anything is POSSIBLE if you work hard.

So that’s all for now. Next up, Marine Corps Marathon!!

Let’s Run all the MILES!!

copyright 2016 sweat1xdaily

Oiselle Volee

K A R A   G O U C H E R. 

In 2014, the news spread quick that Kara Goucher was leaving Nike. Oiselle, who never thought they could compete with the big well known shoe companies, were totally starstruck when Kara claimed she loved what the brand stood for… (and wanted in.)

This brand stands for sisterhood. It is all about building a strong powerful community of women, where the women complete eachother, rather than compete with eachother. 

Shortly after Kara joined Oiselle, I started to see the brand everywhere. Maybe it was always there, but because I was aware of the brand, I started to take notice. 

I kept noticing a lot of the girls that make up the running community on Instagram always wearing the Oiselle singlet, using the hashtag oiselle volee. 

What is this? 

Turns out, Oiselle has a running group. I contacted one of the girls on Instagram and asked how I could join. It was simple. Just sign up for their news letter and they will notify when spots open up. 

This year when spots were open, I decided to apply. And I received a welcome email a couple days later. 

Now I have a singlet of my own. I love being apart of Oiselle, and it is very important to me to only support brands that stand for ideas I believe in. I’m also excited to connect with some other birds from the flock, especially with marathon season approaching. There are quite a few birds in my area, and plenty on social media. 

Let’s see where this running group can take me. If not anywhere… At least I will have endless inspiration to push me to my fullest potential as a runner.

Read the article about when, how, and why, Kara Goucher joined Oiselle. 

Do you wear Oiselle? If so what’s your favorite piece of clothing Oiselle makes?

 

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

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! 

 

Blizzard Running – How to run in the cold.

Last Friday, the East Coast got slammed with a record breaking blizzard. We got 2-3 feet of snow depending on location.

So of course all of us runners were trying to squeeze in one last run before the storm started. And then we were all desperate to get running right after the streets got plowed.

Although, it was a little tricky to find a place to run, right after the storm, I did, and it was awesome. I started out slow, but finally got into the 8s. At 5 months postpartum I am finding every new day I am feeling closer and closer to the fitness level I was before pregnancy.

Anyway, I love winter running. Running while it snows, or surrounded by snow can be very peaceful. During, the winter, the trails are less busy – maybe there are less runners training for spring races, or maybe more people are jumping on the treadmill instead of the pavement. Another great thing about winter running, is that the winter air can feel extremely refreshing, and that coffee post run, even more rewarding -warming you up instantly.

With that being said, still so many runners are still confused on how to have a comfortable successful winter run.

 So here are my top tips for winter running. 

1) Always dress warm enough. 

Normally, the trick is to dress as if it is 10 degrees warmer out. For example, if it is 40 degrees out, dress as if it is 50 degrees out. Your body will warm up once you start running. However, the bold words above say, always dress warm enough and what I mean by that is with accessories. A hat is key. You loose a lot of heat through your head so keep it covered. Also consider wearing a scarf and gloves. The best part of staying warm with accessories is that when you are to warm you can take them off. Also wear the appropriate running clothing. Instead of wearing a sweatshirt actually consider wearing a technical running jacket made specifically for winter running. This goes the same for socks, try smart wool – which will keep your feet dry and warm. Never wear cotton, always wear a sweat wicking material that will absorb moisture and keep you dry. For more information on this check out my blog post on why it is important to invest I. proper technical running gear. 

2) Always be seen. 

One of the hardest parts of winter running is that the days are shorter. Meaning there is less time during the day, less sunlight. Some early morning runs are done before the sun rises and others are done at night, after the sun sets. A lot of runners are running in the dark. So always wear bright colors, reflecting gear, and/or a light. There has been so many cases when runners have lost their lives from being hit by a car. It is super important to always be seen.

3) Hydrate.

Although, you may not feel thirsty the intense way you feel while running during the summer months, you still need to drink the same amount of fluids. This seems like common sence, however time and time again runners end up dehydrated during the winter months. The air is much more dry and wind can also play a role in dehydration. So drink up.

4) Use the wind.  

If possible choose a running route where you begin running into the wind. That way you have a more difficult time when your legs are still fresh. Then as you head home you run with the wind. That way the last half of your run is faster and easier.

5) Always warm up your muscles.

Start out slower and warm up your muscles. Because of the cold, you are actually, more likely to get injured. Once you are warmed up, pick up the pace. If you need to stretch, stretch after you run. This gives your body the opportunity to warm up all the muscles, so when you stretch you can stretch deeper.

So those are my tips for winter running. Now get off the treadmill and let’s run outside!

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!

December Goals, Post Pregnancy Workout Update

 
December is the last month of the year. Because of the holidays, December is always packed full. It is very easy for me to get stressed and wrapped up with all of the gift giving and Christmas decorations. But this year, I am not going to let December sneak on by. I am going to cherish this month and really reflect on 2015. I’m going to use it to crush the last of my 2015 goals – it is my last chance to really end 2015 with a boom, as one of the best years yet. 

Things to Do this December

  • Crush Gym and Running Goals
  • Organize closet, out with the old… Have a fresh clean minimal closet for the new year.
  • Stay clean on diet, cook more, meal prep, bring meals to work.
  • Continue to take Zoe on long walks, enjoy this beautiful weather while we have it – Winter will be coming.
  • Decorate for Christmas and enjoy Christmas holiday festivities with Zoe

Update on Post Pregnancy workouts

Livefit – When it comes to my workout routine I am half way through the livefit trainer. Sometimes I feel like working out is hectic because I don’t have a set time I go to the gym, like I use to. However, following the livefit trainer brings me some organization because I am able to have a set plan each time I go. I’ve been seeing a lot of progress in muscle gains and I am lifting at the weight I use to lift, before I got pregnant.  I also have some gym essencials at my house. This helps when I can’t make it to the gym but still need to squeeze a workout in. 

Running has been a little bit slower progress. I am still waiting on new shoes and I am questioning which shoes I should get. I’m definitely planning on a shoe rotation. 

However, there is a possibility that my body has changed because of pregnancy. Hips are a big issue for female runners, but even more so to those who have been pregnant. It is possible that the hips have changed or shifted. They could be tilted more forward or spread wider because of pregnancy. 

The hips can effect everything and is the reason for most running injuries in women. Really if you have knee pain or foot pain evaluate what is going on with your hips. Normally when you have pain it also means something is tight and you may have inflammation- that is why ice is a runner’s best friend. It is also a sign of muscle weakness. That is why I am spending a lot of time in the gym trying to gain strength. The stronger I am, the better my running form will be.  So at this point I have only run 3-4 miles. I am taking it slow and really focusing on running form and cadence. I am also waiting on new shoes that I ordered through my local running store. When they come in, I will have someone at the shop reevaluate my running form and fit me for shoes. That way I can be sure I am running in a shoe that is right for me, at this time in my life. 

I have seen some amazing progress, but I still have a lot of work to do. I have to keep reminding myself that my workouts were totally different while I was pregnant. 9 plus months is a long break from not running or lifting. I’m trying to be patient, stay positive, and enjoy the process.  

Prenatal Yoga at Refresh Yoga Studio (28 weeks pregnant)

“The mind is everything. What you think you become.”

 -Buddah 

This Saturday morning, I met up with my friend Rita, for some prenatal yoga. bumps rita and meg

Rita is about one month a head of me, due date July 19th. She too is expecting a baby girl. So many baby girls are being born, these days.

If you have read my previous posts, you may already know… for the last month I have been doing prenatal yoga, and it has become my new found love. I have tried prenatal yoga at JounreYoga and Mind the Mat. But today, Rita invited me to join her at the studio she has been practicing at – Refresh Yoga Studio in Old Town, Alexandria.

refresh yoga

Rita and I started our morning with a 40 minute walk around Old Town. The weather this Memorial weekend has been amazing. So our walk was refreshing. I also saw another mom, with the BOB running stroller, and asked her how she liked it. She claimed it was the best baby item she owns. Everyone loves the BOB! I haven’t heard one negative thing about it.

Our walk ended at the front door of the yoga studio. Although, the studio space was small, it had positive energy and a very zen yoga like vibe to it – my favorite type of vibe! The room was small and so was the class, only six moms to be, and one instructor. But the smaller class size was nice, and more personable. The less people you have the more attention you get.

Erin was the instructor, and she was fantastic. Like most prenatal classes she opened the class with us introducing ourselves and telling the class how far along we are. This week I am 28 weeks. Happy – first day of the 3rd trimester – to me!! She also customized the class, by asking us what we wanted to work on. Most of us wanted to work on hip openers. She also wanted it to be an individual practice, so we quietly chose our own word to focus the class around. I chose Courage.

This class started out relaxing, but as the class went on became more strength building, with some squats, warrior poses, down dog, and prenatal push ups. It ended relaxing with a gentle scalp massage, and a cool towel over our eyes.

yoga mat prenatal

Some of my favorite things during this class was the breathing techniques, and the combination of relaxing and strength building. This combo really made the class a full body workout.

I also really enjoyed some of the postures, such as, down dog, dolphin pose, goddess pose, pigeon pose, warrior pose 2, peaceful warrior, triangle pose. I also like the squat work and the prenatal push ups. I use to be the push up queen, but didn’t know they were safe for pregnancy, but I am definitely going to include more push ups to my workouts during the week.

Over all, this was a great yoga practice, and a lovely studio. I definitely plan on going on a regular. Being pregnant, has opened my mind to different kinds of work outs and yoga poses. I have been having a lot of fun trying the different studios and instructors in the area. Each class is so different, and each instructor has something to offer.

PREGNANCY UPDATE

It is hard to believe that today, I am 28 weeks pregnant, or in other words 7 months pregnant. It is the first day, of the 3rd trimester for me. I really can’t believe how fast this pregnancy has gone by.

In a way pregnancy is much like long distance running. The first few miles you feel uncomfortable, but once you find your groove, you can comfortably keep running. When you take it one mile at a time, you begin to really enjoy yourself.

When it comes to pregnancy, most women are the most uncomfortable in their 3rd trimester. For me so far, everyday that goes by, I am feeling more and more comfortable. And because I don’t have much more to go, I am living in the moment, and enjoying this pregnancy more and more.

It is a pretty amazing thing, creating life.

© 2015 sweat1xdaily

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