{More Mother, Less Runner}

Lately I’ve definitely been more mother and less runner.  It wasn’t what I had planned or hoped for.  I thought maintaining a healthy, active pregnancy would have me back at it sooner than later.  And I was initially, but it turns out that wouldn’t even be close to the plan.

On a 2.5 mile run at 35 weeks pregnant followed by a 3 mile walk and feeling great! 

Since about a month postpartum I knew my body didn’t feel “right.”  I felt amazing those first few weeks.  I was back in my skinny jeans with seven pounds to lose.  I felt eager to get back to exercising.  Baby girl was sleeping pretty well.  Life was just crazy enough I felt like I needed some time to take care of me.  It was the perfect post-baby storm to get back to running.  I walked when I could, did my pelvic tilts and kegels, and started easing into running very cautiously.

At my six week postpartum appointment I learned I had a significant abdominal separation (diastasis recti).  I was super disappointed, but kind of knew it was probably the case.  My back had been hurting.  My core felt off and not just the I just had a baby weak.  Still I kept running.  I wasn’t peeing myself running or having those types of issues.  I wasn’t having pain per say while running.  Everything I read along with my midwife said it was ok to keep running since I wasn’t having those issues.


I bought and read Katy Bowman’s book about DR.  Everything she said made so much sense.  I’ve never been a quick fix person.  I’ve always believed to get to the true root of the problem is key or else everything else is just a bandaid.  I’ve always had a huge issue with the number of prescriptions people are given for things without first trying to make lifestyle changes.  To have abdominal surgery or do PT for a set number of weeks would only fix the problem temporarily.  Once I returned to my old ways I would potentially be back in the same spot I am in now.

So I focused on my alignment and active sitting and standing.  Wearing flat shoes as not to throw my alignment off.  Core engagement as much as possible even when lifting kids and things and when sitting. I focused on reconnecting my body.  After a month of this, my gap closed by almost a finger (to just over 3 fingers), but it was still deep.  I still was feeling so much weakness and my hip had started to hurt on every run and after.

I knew and know that it will take much more than a month to undo a lifetime of poor alignment, pelvic tilting and ribs out.  It will take more than a month to undo over a decade of heel wearing, a lifetime of not dropping my ribs and walking, running and everything else in a non-neutral body.  I love Katy Bowman’s exercises, but it was hard to create a consistent program to go along with the lifestyle changes while taking care of two young kids.

After much research and consideration to my current life situation (two kids under two), I also purchased the MuTu System.  MuTu focuses heavily on alignment while also giving you set exercises to do in a 12 week program.  I don’t have time or money for PT appointments.  Any time I take off from work is unpaid.  With young kids and sickness, I can’t justify taking time off for PT, and outside of work hours are not an option either with daycare pickup and other demands of children.

I needed a program that told me what to do and could be done at home when I had time.  I started following the exercises and life was good.  I felt stronger and better after just the first week.  Then I went back to work and things kind of fell apart.  The exercises have to be done every single day.  Every. Single. Day.  With young kids and  going back to work it is just so, so, so hard.

The week I went back to work I ran my longest run.  Maybe it was all the emotions of going back to work and not feeling ready.  Maybe it had been a hard day at home.  Maybe it was all the nerves of being away from my baby girl for the first time. It might have been the discontent of not being where I’d hoped to be physically.  Perhaps it was the stress I knew I’d soon be under as a full time working and breastfeeding mama (i.e. prep and lunches pumping and scrambling) responsible for getting kids ready and daycare drop off and pick up every day on my own.  I honestly don’t remember.

What I do remember is my longest postpartum with baby #2 run was also my fastest postpartum with baby #2 run.  I pushed the pace and just wanted to run fast.  Feet turning over with quickness, pounding the stress and emotions into the ground with each step.  My body let me know for the first time it didn’t agree with this as I leaked urine for the first time.  

As embarrassing as that is to say, I’ve heard from many ladies who’ve messaged me and talked with me about similar issues.  This is a common issue post-baby, but it is not normal…meaning you’re body is trying to tell you something.  It likely won’t improve without specific work either.  Most women choose to live with it.  I will not.

Then my hip started to hurt.  It wasn’t just a little hurt either.  It was an I’m walking funny two days later hurt.  Two months later and no running and it still hurts anytime I’ve been sitting for a bit and stand up.  I feel it when I walk on occasion still.  Clearly my core was not ready for running like that or perhaps running at all.

I’m anxious to get back to running, but have not been successful at all in making time to do my MuTu exercises while being a full time working and breastfeeding mommy to my kids.  Some weeks I manage a few days and think ok, I’m finally going to make this happen only to be met with a setback (sickness, kids waking early, life demands, etc.) soon after that stops me for days or even a couple weeks.

I won’t try running again until I’ve seen improvement with my ab separation and my hip is no longer causing me issues.  I know to get to running I need to regain my core strength, improve my body alignment and connections, and work on strength and  flexibility in various places (like my hip).

A lifetime of poor alignment and only running (very little cross training and core work) along with two pregnancies close together and a two finger ab separation after baby number one that I did nothing to fix and here I am.  Right where I should be I guess.

Lately I’ve been focusing on that idea.  That no matter how crazy stressful and hard life is right now, I’m trusting that I’m right where I should be.  As fate would have it, I began to finish this post yesterday morning while my daughter napped in the car.  I took an Instagram “break” and came across a fitness blogger I follow had posted this to her account:


I just have to believe there is a lesson for me to learn from all this and that the struggle will teach me something I may not even be considering right now.

Had I even known what diastasis recti was before maybe I’d have done things differently.  Maybe someone can learn from  my experiences.  Cross train.  Stretch.  Strengthen.  Save heels for special occasions not daily wear.  Work to have neutral body alignment and core engagement.  Fix your small ab separation after you have a baby instead of ignoring it and then having another (and much bigger) baby.

I hope and plan to begin MuTu again later this spring or at the latest in June when the end of the school year will allow me some time to refocus, reconnect and rebuild my body.  I continue to work on alignment and core engagement as I want to change my body for the better for good.  Walking is what I do when I can.

After two months of mourning, misery and wallowing in the fact that I don’t know when my next run will be, I finally felt ready to share what’s kept me silent for so long.

Some might wonder why is this so hard to deal with?  It’s complicated, but running is so intertwined with who I see myself as a person and an essential to my well being way I cope with everything and maintain my mental health, it’s no wonder I felt so many negative emotions over it for a while.


If you’re struggling with any of these post-baby issues, hang in there mama!!  With time we will be ourselves again.  Our bodies will feel like our own again.  They have to.  I refuse to believe I’m stuck this way forever.  No matter how often I feel like maybe I should just quit this whole goal and blog, I just can’t.  I keep returning to it.  I still hold hope in my heart.


And that’s where I am now.  Broken.  Grateful.  Struggling. Surviving on coffee, the smiles of my babes and that glimmer of hope.  Right where I’m supposed to be even if I’m not sure for how long.

Sarah

 

 

 

 

{Back to the Basics}

 

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I never planned to go over three years without running a marathon.  I didn’t know in 2014 that crossing the Missoula Marathon finish line, my second marathon in nine days, would be my last for a while. Two kids later and that’s my story.  With plans to cross another state off of my goal to run a marathon in every state coming in September, I’ve decided to use 2017 as a year of regaining fitness and strength. 2017 will be a year to return to the basics.

Since it’s been a while since I’ve trained for and ran 26.2 miles, I’m going to start small, build strength and endurance, and work up from there.  I’m going to train for a 10k first, something I’ve never done before (the training part).  I know I could run this distance without following a plan, but I want to slowly increase my mileage while letting myself recover from having a baby even more. I wanted a plan that would slowly add in miles and balance cross training.  After completing my 10k plan (8 weeks), I will reevaluate and select a half marathon training plan (12 weeks) and then a marathon plan (18 week).

The 10k plan has me running three days a week, which seems perfect for right now.  I will add in more days as it seems to be appropriate.  Hal’s plans are so customizable and adjustable for every runner’s ability level.  I’ve used many different plans in the past, but often come back to his.  His plans make it possible to adjust midway through to a tougher or easier plan if needed.

I’ve always liked the way a training plan simplifies the process of reaching a distance goal and have used many different versions. I like being able to look at my plan and know what to run and how without having to put too much into organizing these details.  There are so many training plans out there that I don’t need to create my own.  The plan I’m following lets me choose my cross training, which gives me plenty of personalizing (and I’m so excited to mix it up with some fun workouts).  Right now my life is chaotic to say the least so looking at a piece of paper and seeing what my workout is for that day is what I need. Being able to rearrange days is also essential as my days don’t always go as planned.

My 10k plan started last week and will last 8 weeks.  Because gaining strength all over and remaining injury free is my goal, I’m following a novice plan with cross training days being essential.  On cross training days I will continue my workout DVD’s (Knocked Up Fitness and Katy Bowman are a couple I use) and DR exercises from Katy Bowman’s book Diastasis Recti and several I’ve found online.  Cross training will remain a key part of my marathon training.  As I progress in strength and fitness, I will add more running and speed.  I also plan to change-up my cross training as my DR closes.

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It’s been nearly 4 years since I trained hard for a marathon.  I missed qualifying for the Boston Marathon by 1:36 at the RnR Arizona Marathon in 2013.  Since then I’ve had two babies, which has made it difficult for me to remain committed to my training.  I plan to revisit this goal when I’m in better shape and have more time to devote to it.

Three years is a pretty large gap in marathons and my body is in no shape to be chasing after a PR.  My training will reflect that.  There will not be many speed workouts or tempo days.  You won’t see multiple high mileage weeks in a row.  I won’t be doing several 20 milers or more.  There will not be two runs in a day.

You will see rest days and a gradual increase in miles.  My training plan will in a way follow my baby getting older.  I like that this should prevent me from becoming too overwhelmed and make my small goals lead to accomplishing my big goal.  It really takes the pressure off and lets me enjoy being a mom while letting me do what I love.  It should also set the stage for advancing my training the next marathon cycle.  Why I thought jumping into a marathon training plan after my last baby was the only way to go I don’t know.

This time I feel so much more confidant in my ability to do this largely in part to the progressing plans plan I have.  When choosing a training plan the most important aspect to consider is how it will fit into your life and your current fitness level.  If the miles and workouts don’t match your current life (fitness level, demands outside of running, etc.), then you will have a really hard time succeeding.  Even with the perfect plan will it still be hard?  Yes!  Will balancing training, working, being a mom and breastfeeding still be overwhelming? I have no doubt!  Will some difficult choices and sacrifices have to happen? You bet!  Will it be worth it? Of course!!

If you’re returning to running in any capacity (new, former, had a baby, kind of been slacking) this is a perfect goal for 2017.  Join me in reaching your fitness goals by starting small and working your way to your big goal for 2017.  I will be documenting my training here and on Instagram (sneaksandstilettos) to help myself stay accountable and hopefully get some of you to go after your 2017 goals.

We have to start somewhere; let’s start small.  Baby steps!

Sarah

{Conquering the Midwest-50 States Plan Update}


A few days ago baby girl demanded to be held while she napped.  Of course I didn’t mind too much. As the end of the year approaches and people start setting their goals for 2017 it had me thinking about mine.  Her napping in my arms and thinking about goals at the same time was the perfect combination to do some race researching and planning.


I learned the hard way about setting goals that were too lofty for me post-baby the first time around.  I both underestimated the attachment I would have for that boy and overestimated the amount of training I would be able to handle while sleep deprived and exclusively breastfeeding.  While I wanted and even craved to run, I experienced a high level of separation anxiety when it came to leaving him.  This made long runs a challenge. On top of that he didn’t sleep through the night until he was 9 months old and breastfeeding and pumping was like a part time job on top of working full time.  I’m not saying you can’t make it work and manage it all, but I couldn’t and stay sane and not feel immense mom guilt.

I had planned to run the Indianapolis Monumental Marathon last fall as my come back from baby #1 marathon (I even documented my training in several blog posts), but as I mentioned above it didn’t happen.  This time around I didn’t make any definite goals while pregnant, but now that she is here I’m ready to do so.  Instead of planning to run a marathon at six months postpartum like last time I’m looking more at around a year.  This gives me much more time to get in shape and get strong, increases the chance for sleep and nears the end of my breastfeeding goal of one year for each child.

When deciding what race would be my first marathon since having kids I assumed I would pick the Indianapolis Monumental Marathon as originally planned.  It turns out it won’t be “the one.”  My husband has his masters class that weekend and it is almost a seven hour drive.  That’s also a lot of travel for our season of life right now, which means the kids would need to be at a grandparents for longer.

So what’s my plan?  My first marathon after baby is going to be not too far of a drive and on the way to a grandparents where the kids can be watched for one overnight.  The kids will be almost 1 and 2 and a half so I’m sure that’s all we will all be ready to leave them for.  A race happened to meet this criteria perfectly and, according to marathonguide.com (I love to use this site for learning about specific races), has really good reviews for 50 state seekers like me.  For these reasons the Sioux Falls Marathon in South Dakota will be “the one.”

The race is September 10 which is a bit earlier than the late fall target time I had planned to race, but a doable adjustment to my training.  Training for this marathon will begin in May hopefully right after a local half marathon.  This gives me 4.5 months before I begin marathon training.

Looking ahead to other races I know my plans must follow a similar criteria. During this season of life I must find a way to balance my goals and the needs and demands of my family.  Two kids under two and a husband working on his masters means I will not be able to just race whenever, wherever.

I’ve outlined my “Conquering the Midwest” game plan below.  I’ve already completed at least one marathon in the following states: Wisconsin (Madison Marathon and Wisconsin Marathon), Minnesota (Grandma’s Marathon and Twin Cities Marathon) , Iowa, Illinois, Michigan and Kansas.  I have race reports linked to each state for those interested in reading or new to the blog.  Some are more detailed than others as I didn’t really blog in the beginning of this goal.

2017-South Dakota (Fall-Sioux Falls Marathon)

2018-North Dakota (Fargo Marathon-Spring). I ran the half a few years ago, but want to run a full in every state.  My Fargo Half Marathon race experience was a good one.

Indiana or Nebraska (Fall-Depends on the husbands master classes, but lots of options for races.

2019-Missouri or Nebraska (Spring-It’s a little far out to say for sure on this one.  St. Louis Go Marathon would mean taking the whole family.  If it’s the Lincoln Marathon in Nebraska probably just the husband and I will go.

Ohio-TBD ??

While my kids are young, the nights interrupted, the budget tight and the demands of me great, this is my plan.  I love this phase of life and know how quickly it will pass, so I want my priority to be family.  As my kids get a bit older and more independent I will feel better about leaving for a bit longer and my wallet will be able to afford flights and weekends away.  My training will also be able to target some back to back races.  Until then, I will be conquering the Midwest.

Stay tuned!

Sarah

{To run or not to run…with diastasis recti?}

That’s my big question that only I can answer.  I knew something was going on before I headed to my six week postpartum appointment with my midwife a week ago.  I suspected DR, but didn’t want to check it myself and really face reality that I was going to have some real work ahead of me.  Work I would not enjoy, look forward to or likely ever really want to do.

Why the suspicions?  I felt so weak in my core when doing everyday things, but a different weak than last time postbaby.  My lower abdomen easily became sore, but different from last time also.  Sneezing was very painful.  My posture was terrible.  I’d consciously sit tall and seconds later I’d find myself so slouched.  My belly looked so different from last time-loose skin, dimply and pregnant by the end of the day despite me having just six pounds to lose from pregnancy versus the 15 pounds last time around.  My running form felt off, too. My feet were barely lifting off the ground and my paces were so slow despite any effort I expelled.

Last Tuesday my midwife confirmed or answered my concerns with a significant diastasis recti diagnosis as measured by me having a four finger gap between my abdominal muscles.  After my previous pregnancy my gap was a 1-2 finger gap.  Upon arriving home I was neither upset or discouraged by my appointment.  It didn’t seem to be that significant.  That would come later.

After doing some reading on the topic, I realized that my fitness goals and plans really are on hold or need to be modified.  I can’t jump into any real training for a longer distance race without addressing this issue or I will end up injuring something else or making the separation worse.  My plans to head back to yoga class and use 21 Day Fix to get back in shape and cross train will have to wait as they both use too many core exercises that not only do nothing to improve DR, but can make the DR worse.

Now that this post baby issue was jeopardizing my running and my related goals it became personal.  I was mad. I don’t have time to do extra exercises.  I don’t have time to read books and research what exercises are safe and which ones are not.  I don’t need something else to worry about.  I know in the scheme of life and real problems this is not important, but we all can be dramatic at times.

The next day I had some negative thoughts running through my head.  Since I don’t have time to fix this problem, I was going to become one of those mothers who HAD a goal. Who WAS a runner.  Who HAD abs-the least of my concerns.  Who HAD dreams…before she had kids.  It was kind of a dark few hours thinking about throwing away a goal.

Then I remembered how insane I become when I can’t run and how much happiness I feel when running and chasing down a goal.  I remembered how much better a person I am when I’m focused on improving myself.  I remembered how much more patient I am as a mother when I’m being active and running.  I thought about the places this goal would take me and my kids and the experiences I hoped to share with them.  This goal is not just a selfish goal, and even if it were, a mother can dream and have goals and still be a good mom.

Elle Woods was totally spot on about this!


After thinking about all of this, how could I not make, find, steal and create the time to fix my DR and get back to my goals and what I love.  Going forward I am taking the advice of my midwife and a physical therapist relative.  You should always take advice from your own doctor and not from an online blogger with no medical training (that’s me!)  Of course other’s experiences are valuable to me and after reading other bloggers and websites, most said running with DR is ok, but I would likely have issues if I didn’t work to fix it.  I also read many online experiences that suggest less running is more especially early on.

My midwife cleared me to run, but explained some issues I might experience such as leaking urine when I run (not currently an issue for me (yeah!!), but common with DR and pelvic floor issues) if I don’t do anything about it.  She said she could refer me to physical therapy right away or she recommended Katy Bowman’s online videos and her book on DR as a more lifelong approach to strengthening a weakness. If after giving my DR some more time to heal and close along with following Katy Bowman’s work, I still don’t see improvements she can refer me to physical therapy.

Check out the time on this…up with baby!


I’ve purchased the Nutritious Movement for Pelvic Health in the digital download version and Katy Bowman’s book Diastasis Recti. Her message is all about “you are how you move.” We create most of our body aches and pains by how we move. Her exercises encourage not a six week program or do these five exercises and your fixed forever, rather change how you move on a regular basis to get stronger and aligned.  Her exercises are based on the idea that by changing how we move and doing more moving in general we can make many of our issues go away.


I have to admit that so far what she blogs about and says in her book make a lot of sense to me. Let’s just say if her work were candy, I’d be the kid in the candy store. This is also so encouraging because it means I may not have to find so much extra time in my day, rather I could change how I move and see improvements that I will work to maintain as I continue through life.

This week I’m also starting to do exercises a physical therapist in the family recommends to patients she sees with DR.  She recommended the following websites for fixing diastasis recti and this website for more information on DR.

I am hoping that a combination of the above will help me return to my old goals (running long distance races, and someday faster) and achieve my new goal (closing the gap.)  As a teacher, I can’t believe the irony of my problem and one of the bigger educational achievement issues in our country.  Sometimes you really can’t get away from work! Again, consult your own doctor, please.

As for running, I’ve decided to not make an official plan.  My unofficial plan is to not run back to back days to make sure I have time to listen to my body.  I will run only 2-3 times a week and cut back if needed.  I will keep my runs to 3 miles and under for the next month. I will run all easy pace runs (as if I could run faster now.)  I will reevaluate in a month.  My sights are set on a half marathon in the spring (roughly six months postpartum) and a late fall marathon (roughly one year postpartum.)

Here’s to closing the gap!

Sarah

 

 

{Why you should consider streaking!} #rwrunstreak 2016


I can’t say enough about my #rwrunstreak experience this summer.  In the past streaks have been hit or miss, and I’d never been as successful with streaking as I was with this streak.  I’m super proud of running 34 out of 36 days during the streak.

What was unexpected about this streak is all the benefits I gained from maintaining my streak.  I share them with you in hopes that you might try your own streak or join in the fall/winter streak from Thanksgiving to New Year’s Day later this year and benefit, too.

{Benefit #1-Build on or maintain your fitness level.}


Even more rewarding than the number of days I ran was the way streaking helped me maintain and even build my fitness.  I attribute streaking with being the main reason why my recent 5 mile race at 24 weeks pregnant felt so great.  Running a mile feels like nothing most days now.  I also feel much stronger during runs of several miles than when I started out even though I’ve gained more weight and bump as my pregnancy has progressed.

This makes streaking a perfect way for runners to get back into running and to build fitness without overwhelming the body.  Because you get to pick the distance you run each day (as long as it is at least one mile) you can listen to your body.  Legs tired from your run the day before? Run one easy active recovery mile.  Legs feeling great and strong?  Go for a longer run.  You can always run just one mile tomorrow.  Maybe you just ran a marathon? A streak where you determine the miles not a training plan can be a perfect way to recover and find joy in running again.

{Benefit #2-Find you love of running.}

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I know, I know streaking requires running everyday.  How can this make you love running? You get to control your run everyday.  You get to pick where, how far, how long, etc.  You can get creative with your route or run the same route each day.  You can determine your miles before you leave or run by feel and turn around whenever you want.  There is no training plan telling you what you must do.  Just you and your running shoes out for a run. Whether a newbie runner or an experienced runner getting back into running, you can find enjoyment in pounding the pavement.  Starting is always hard, but it will get easier!  Just don’t expect to love it right away.

I found that being able to run what I want, when I want made me find a lot more joy in running.  Yes, some days I dreaded getting out there, but I got to have that I-just-ran accomplished and awesomeness feeling, you guessed it, EVERY SINGLE DAY (well, except two.)  Talk about loving your run!

{Benefit #3-Lose the I’m busy excuse.}

I get it.  We are all busy.  I find myself using this word so much that I actually annoy myself.  But, guess what?  We all have time for streaking.  One of my biggest barriers to working out is feeling busy and like I don’t have time.  Make time for at least that mile and you will find making time for running gets easier and more important.  What is important to us we do.  I started planning ahead and over the course of the streak have gotten much better about making time in my life for running than I was prior to starting the streak.

Because you get to run what you choose each day it allows for the craziness of life to happen.  Have an unexpected event come up?  Run just one mile when you get home.  Have a crazy day ahead?  Run just one mile in the morning before your day begins.  Find yourself with some extra time?  I know me neither, but go longer.  It is the perfect plan for the busy person.

{Benefit #4-Lose the other excuses, too}

It is so easy to make excuses.  I’m pregnant so don’t even get me started on this.  If I wanted I could come up with an excuse every SINGLE day.  I’m tired.  My bump feels heavy. I’m nauseous.  I didn’t have a chance to eat yet.  I’m dehydrated.  My feet hurt.  My arches hurt.  It’s too late.  It’s too hot.  We have somewhere to be soon.  My back hurts.  I have a headache.  It’s raining.  I have heartburn.  I’m bored with my running route.  My Garmin is dead.  My phone is dead.  I’m sick of my running playlist.  The list goes on.  I’m pretty sure all of these excuses crossed my mind at least once during my streak time.  We all make them at times, but overcoming them can be so good for us.

Streaking helped me realize that I do have time to run that one mile before my packed day. It helped me see that running a mile at 9:30 p.m. is both doable and rewarding.  Streaking helped me see that no matter how hot, wet or dreadful the conditions a mile or two is definitely possible.  Overcoming excuses everyday has helped me make less of them.

{Benefit #5-Find your me time again.}

We all have demands in life.  Some days we feel like someone always needs us for something.  Our to do list is longer than the time in our schedule.  We just want some time for ourselves once and while.  Even just 10-15 minutes would have a rejuvenating impact.

Hello, #rwrunstreak!  Without intending for streaking to give me time to myself, it ended up giving me time to myself multiple days a week.  Some days were stroller runs.  Some days were family runs.  A lot of days though were just me and my music and my running shoes hitting the pavement.  It became a chance for me to clear my head, breathe the fresh air or catch up on some guilty pleasure TV while running on the treadmill.  It was time I would have struggled to give myself otherwise and I felt happier all around because of it.

{Benefit #6-Make running a habit.}

On the last day of my streak I mentioned to my husband feeling a sense of loss that the streak was ending. What would I do when I didn’t have to run?  How would I organize my day if a run wasn’t in it?  Without forcing it to or trying to running had become a need and something I wanted to be a part of each day.  Not running seemed, well, weird.

A few days post-streak with a few days off and I’m itching to run.  I feel grouchy having missed a couple of days.  I like that I have a need and desire to run each day again.  It makes it so much easier to keep at it and enjoy all these benefits when I want to run.

{Benefit #7-Get over a distance requirement.}

In the past if I didn’t “have time” to run more than two miles I wasn’t going.  I always thought what was the point?  I wouldn’t feel like I worked out.  It would be a waste of time when I could get something else done.  There is no fitness benefit to such a short distance.

Post-streak I know this is absolutely not true.  If you are not training for a long distance race, then running even just a mile a day can feel like a workout and build fitness.  It can relieve stress and make you feel more relaxed.  A mile IS enough to change a bad mood or negative attitude.  A mile can make you feel accomplished.  And all those one mile runs add up over 36 days.  Even running one mile each day is 36 miles at the end of this streak.

Of the 66.6 miles I ran during my streak, 21.5 of those miles were from runs of less than two miles.  21.5 miles I would have skipped in the past because they wouldn’t have been enough or really counted for an experienced runner like me.*  I’ve had a change of heart and now see the benefit in running “just one mile.”  There is no mileage requirement to be a runner after all and this helped remind me of this.

*Keep in mind for a beginner or someone getting back into running this is great mileage.

{Benefit #8-Run further.}

Some days your run a mile and you are ready or have to be done.  On occasion though everything clicks and a planned one mile run turns into two and then three miles or more. You got yourself out the door, the hardest part, by saying “just one mile.”  Then running took over and you ran further than you thought you would.  Streaking allows you this opportunity everyday.  If you give yourself a chance, you might surprise yourself.  I know I did on a multiple occasions.

Before you think streaking is not your thing or say you can’t, consider the benefits!  You have nothing to lose and everything to gain.  Now go run just that one mile!

Sarah

{No 26.2 miles or bourbon for me today}

  
Today I was going to run the Kentucky Derby Marathon.  I signed up in February after starting a training plan and successfully running three long runs on weekends in a row.  I finished 13 miles mid-February and felt amazing.  I registered and booked my flight and hotel.  I pinterest planned my weekend…hot air balloons Friday night, race Saturday, Opening Night at the Kentucky Derby and mint juleps Saturday night.  Maybe check out Louisville Slugger or a bourbon sampling.  

  
Later in February I started not feeling great.  I was so tired all the time.  I was feeling nauseous off and on throughout the day.  I was gagging on green vegetables.  Alcohol hadn’t sounded good in a while.  In early March my milk supply started dropping.  What was going on?  

I said I swear I felt pregnant several times, but that couldn’t be.  I knew there was a chance I could be since we were on the not trying, but not not trying plan.  EXCEPT I had taken two pregnancy tests the month before and both were negative and I had my period.  It wasn’t until this happened that I registered for 26.2.

Except…I was pregnant.  The tests taken slightly early for my long cycle.  The period actually a hemorrhage that showed up in an ultrasound in mid-March after two positive tests the week before.  Everything is ok now!

I could have never said a word about my plan to run 26.2 today, but I was following my dream and still getting after my goals. Even though I have not been frequent in blogging or instagraming as of late, I’m still working hard on my dream to run a marathon in every state.  I am just once again experiencing a delay.  

  
I’m not upset about the delay at all.  How can you be when it means another bundle of joy.  I’m sure this will temporarily make my goal and dream a little more put off and for sure even more of a challenge, but babies are only little for a while.  Having one has taught me that the first year goes by so fast.  There will be challenges, but it is only for a blink of an eye in a lifetime that these unique challenges exist.  

 

My favorite running shirt already!

 
I’m working hard to balance being a full time working, pregnant mom of a one-year-old who is also a baseball coaches wife.  Fitting in runs and workouts now is near impossible with the husband gone so much.   Caring for my son, home and everything else some days feels like a workout by itself.  

  
I’m still planning on some spring and summer races depending on how things are going. I already feel so much better running this time around.  So much less pressure and discomfort.  Time will tell.  I’m sure I will again be documenting the journey to a family of four.  Sometimes I still can’t believe it!

Currently I’m recovering from a nasty cold and my first experience with pink eye.  Wash those hands people!  

Stay tuned!!

Sarah

{The things no one wants to hear, but are true!}

It’s still January…the month of resolutions, goals and hope.  Maybe you set some for yourself this year?  I spent some time reflecting on my goals last night which prompted this post.  

  
Over the past months I’ve learned a few things after losing 36 pounds of baby weight and then a few extra pounds (unfortunately mostly muscle). Combine that with being a runner for almost 18 years and I have some ideas to share.  

None of these ideas are new, but they are the foundation of transforming yourself.  Sometimes we ignore the common sense suggestions looking for an easy fix, but there really just isn’t one.  Setting goals is a great start, but it is so much harder than a sentence on paper or in your mind.  

Rather than cheer you on I’m going to say what may be unpopular and what no one wants to hear, but is true.  The past 9 months and 39 pounds are evidence of these statements.  

1) You can do this…maybe. Whatever your goals are you can find success, but it will be challenging and take sacrifice. If you can’t or won’t accept this, then you’re not likely to achieve your goal(s).

  
2) Body transformations take time. If it came off really fast, then you can probably gain it back equally fast. Instead go for slower but steady improvements that you achieve by changing habits that you can make your lifestyle not a fad.

  
3) Exercise is amazing for your mind and body! Stressed? Anxious? Depressed? Exercise can help with all of these things and help your body transform into a stronger and leaner you.  You’ll like what you see in the mirror more, feel more energetic and happy, and be more confident.

  
4) Abs are made in the kitchen. I know people hate this saying, but it’s true. I’ve only averaged working out a couple of times a week since 4.5 months post-partum (5+ times before that when I wasn’t working), but I have eaten a dairy free and mostly healthy diet. I’m always conscience of what I put in my body and really believe food is fuel and you are what you eat (or feel like what you eat). 

  
As much as I’ve never wanted to admit the level of impact diet has on results, going dairy free for my son (imagine no cheese, no pizza, no ice cream, no milk chocolate, very few packaged foods-most have dairy), has proven to me that it is significant.

I have to attribute most of my weight loss in the past 4.5 months to what foods I do and don’t put in my body.  I knew I had limited time and was struggling to workout as much as I wanted to, so I really focused on food choices instead of just giving up on myself.  The impact has shocked me into really believing abs are made in the kitchen.  
5) Making mistakes is part of the goal and body transformation process, but getting back on track ASAP is a must.  You can still find success when you work to overcome your setbacks.

  6) Writing your goals down is more effective than saying your goals.  Checking in with yourself weekly is needed to keep making forward progress and hold yourself accountable.

  
7) Everyday you have an opportunity to be a healthy role model to the little people in your life. What do you want them to learn by watching you?  Healthy eating habits?  Perseverance? Hard work? Determination? Pride in achieving goals?  Overcoming setbacks?  The list goes on!

8) To experience maximum success and feel your best you need to combine a healthy diet AND exercise, and make goals for yourself in both areas.  I did not say execute both perfectly.  Even the smallest steps in a positive direction in these areas will benefit you.  In my experience, exercising makes you want to eat better and eating better encourages exercising.  When one is missing from your life both seem to suffer.
Goal or no goal it is never too late to invest in your physical and mental health and start making positive habits. It is never too late or a waste of time to take care of the only body you get. You will be so glad you did.  Make an investment in you! 

I did and do!  I’m still working on my goals, but subscribe to the above eight everyday!  No magic tricks, not just luck, no easy fix-just hard work and determination in the above eight statements.

Let’s rock those 2016 goals!

Sarah