{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

 

 

{IMM Training-Week #7}

Monday-7.25 miles (counted as last weeks miles)

Week #7 Workouts-

Tuesday-4.75 mile walk with friend, 30 minute upper fix

Wednesday-3 mile run/walk (ran 2 miles, then P decided he would not remain in his car seat in the jogger.  Carried P and pushed stroller home), 30 minute lower fix

Thursday-2.5 mile run, 30 minute Pilates Fix

Friday-off

Saturday-5.5 mile run, 4.5 mile walk with daddy and P.

He just loves to look around.  If he can see, he is happy.  I see I missed some toe jams.  🙂

Sunday-7.3 mile run, 30 minute Yoga Fix (Lots of thoughts and emotions on the run today.  It gets lengthy below.) 

It was a perfect day for a run…except I really wasn’t feeling like going.  P got up 5 times during the night.  I was exhausted.  I had things to do around the house and back to school is near.  Not one to make a ton of excuses or back out on a goal, I set out for my Sunday long run (12 miles) that was scheduled on my training plan.

Along the way I felt the familiar tweak of a muscle that gets painfully sore from time to time since training for my first marathon nearly eight years ago.  Earlier this week I wasn’t sure I’d make it more than a mile into one of my runs.  Some stretching and easy running and it nearly went away.

I’m loving running and working out, but am feeling the challenges of being on someone else’s schedule and balancing all the new mommy tasks. I can’t just run when I feel like it or move a run the way I could in the past if something comes up.  I’m feeling the exhaustion of a baby who has been getting up 3-5 times a night for the past three weeks after getting used to only one feeding a night for the previous five weeks.  To make matters more difficult, when P stopped getting up only once per night, he has also stopped taking a bottle so well.  Day time bottles from dad are usually ok, night-time bottles he refuses.  Last night I got frustrated with P for being awake AGAIN and not letting his dad give him a bottle.  In my head I kept thinking I had a long run planned for the morning and he was making it so hard to get up and run.

And then I thought, who gets mad at their baby because they have a long run the next day?  I immediately felt guilty for thinking it, but the fact that I had remained.

According to the Wonder Weeks app he has been “storming” all month (love this app by the way) and will be for another 11 days.  I counted. He is definitely going through some major development as almost everyday he wakes up doing something new.  One morning he found his feet.  Another day he began sticking out his tongue.  He loves doing pull ups with his hanging toys.  He adores knocking toys off his exersaucer that before he just stared at.   He hates riding in his car seat if he can’t see the world around him.

As I got a few more miles in the familiar tired/weak feeling returned.  It seems to show up near mile five in a run in the morning.  I just can’t figure out my fueling with breastfeeding.  I headed out on a longer route so I couldn’t cheat any miles.  As I turned down a country road that would take me past one of my favorite trees, I started to ask myself why I was out there.  If I’m not loving what I’m doing, then why the push?  As my favorite tree came within sight, I stopped to stretch and think about why I was so eager to get back to marathoning.  When I was pregnant I promised myself not to put pressure on myself to return to running or run to a point that I was overwhelmed and feeling unbalanced after baby.  I have not been holding true to this. I’ve been putting lots of pressure on myself.

As I neared my favorite tree I thought about the logistical problems that recently arose with running this marathon in Indiana.  I registered before our school calendar was out.  We have inservice on Friday, so we are not allowed to take a personal day.  I would have to take an unpaid day in order to get to the Saturday race.  I’m ok with taking an unpaid day if it means a weekend of family fun.  P is, however, not riding or sitting in his infant seat well as of the last two weeks.  A two-hour ride took forever last weekend.  There is no way he can make the 7 hour drive there AND back in two days.  After putting him through a road trip to Boston, we don’t feel it is in his best interest to even attempt this drive, so I will have to run this marathon alone.

This presents another problem.  I fall asleep really easy when I drive and I’m tired.  There is no way I can drive myself 6-7 hours Friday, run a marathon Saturday and then drive the same distance back.  I know myself.  I will fall asleep.  My goal of running 50 marathons in 50 states was always about exploring a state while visiting for a marathon, which I guess wouldn’t happen either.  More importantly, I don’t want to be without my boys for that long.

My favorite tree…one of them.

I hate when people back out of commitments.  I never make goals and not follow through with them.  I’ve never signed up for a marathon and not ran it.  I was feeling so guilty at even entertaining the idea of not running this race.  I waffled back and forth for another mile beating myself up with my own thoughts.

As I made the turn towards town and home, I thought about how lately my heart, mind and body have not been so into this training.  The song changed on my iPhone to the Zac Brown Band-Loving You Easy.  I instantly smiled a big, dorky mom smile. I dance with Pierce to this song in the kitchen while I sing the words to him often and he smiles this biggest, heart melting smile each time I sing the chorus to him.  Running along I was flooded with emotion and tears glistened in my eyes.  I missed my baby.  I could feel his soft skin.  His little hand when it curls around my fingers when he nurses.  The delicious smell of his sweet baby smell.  His gummy grin.  The way his whole body smiles when I walk over to him, limbs waving with excitement.  All of this talk in my head on this run was not important.

The decision I’m waffling on is not worth the memories I might miss or the stress I’m putting on myself.  I want to run what I feel like on that particular day based on how many times I was up the night before, how Pierce’s day is going, or around other family time.  I just finished the 21 Day Fix today, and I really enjoyed doing the workouts, but combined with my training it is a lot.  I want to make time for parts of both, not do both.  A run here, a 30 minute fix there.  Balance.  I’m also loving my weekly yoga class that I missed twice since picking up training.

I always believe in honesty and hate how social media often makes life look so perfect and cookie cutter.  Life is messy.  My cookies never roll out perfect each time.  This is just another example of that.  So, I’m 95% I won’t be on the starting line of the Indianapolis Monumental Marathon like I planned and thought I wanted to be.  Instead I will aim for the Houston Marathon in January as my first marathon after baby.  I have my sights on a fall half marathon or two since this distance is much more manageable for me right now.

I don’t regret setting this lofty marathon goal only to change my mind.  It’s not a failure.  For the $50 I paid back in December I got my butt moving after having a baby.  I walked a lot so I’d be able to start easy running sooner so I could then start training for this race.  I credit this goal with getting me back out on the pavement and to yoga sooner than I would have without a goal. This helped me remember to give myself some time each day and got me outside with baby early on.

My marathon goal also helped me gain some much needed perspective.  I want to do it all.  I want to be a good mom, wife, friend, daughter, sister, runner, teacher, …and on and on.  But, we can’t be perfect at all of them all the time.  Focusing on what is important led me to realize that my goal to arrive at the starting line of my next marathon with balance in my life just isn’t possible right now as a new mommy.

Balance right now means not training for a marathon that will happen in just over two months.  Balance right now means not following an exact training plan and giving myself some flexibility with accountability. Balance right now means a run one day, yoga another, and coffee and serenading my sweet baby everyday.  Loving him is easy.  Making this decision wasn’t at first, but in the end I know I will enjoy this time even more without the pressure I’m putting on myself.  I will be a better mom to P.  A nicer wife.  And that’s what really matters…along with singing and dancing in your kitchen, which is exactly what we did as soon as I got home from my run.   

Cue the chorus!

Look to see a post each week as I continue running, 21 day fixing and working on balance with this whole new mom thing.

Sarah

And, in case you wondered…

     Weekly Miles Ran-17.3 miles not counting     Monday’s 7 miles

21 Day Fix Recipe(s) I Loved This Week aka Yummy, Healthy Eats!

This was so good.  I was skeptical since the flat-out is so thin, but it was delicious.  Minus the vegan cheese-Think Kraft     singles, but so, so much worse.

Flat-Out Pizza 

{Firecracker 4 Mile Race Report}

  
Finally a post about running! It’s interesting how this blog was solely about running, then some of life sneaked in, and for the past nearly year it has been all about pregnancy and the arrival of baby. Having a baby does change your priorities, but back to the running.  

  
Saturday I ran my first post-pregnancy race. It was a 4 mile race which I loved because 5k’s just seem too short after running marathons, but anything longer I wasn’t sure I was ready for. I also have never ran a 4 mile race, so there wasn’t any previous times to compare my performance to. I could just run my race comfortably. I was not interested in racing or pushing my body too hard.  

  
During the race my goal was to run under 36:00 minutes and to stay comfortable since I’m still trying to make running feel consistently good. The race ended up being a first date away from the baby for my husband and I and our first run together since baby. Having a running partner was very motivating. There is also something about a race that gives you that extra go power. 

  
Since the race was short I don’t have a mile by mile report, but was able to accomplish all my goals. We finished in 35:36 running comfortable and confident the entire time. I’m most proud of our 4th mile where we picked up the pace some. We ran an 8:09 pace which tells me that while a lot of my runs don’t always have the ease and comfort of the past, I am making progress. I’m getting faster and feeling stronger even if I don’t see or feel it everyday. It felt awesome to race again!  

  
Returning to running has been both easier and harder than I thought it would after having a baby. I felt awesome physically the day after having a baby and that feeling continued after heading home. That was great, but also caused me to raise my own expectations of what I expected I could accomplish.  

While still pregnant I had no set agenda as to when I would walk and run and for how often or long after giving birth. This is the best approach in my opinion. Feeling so good after delivery though made me start to change that plan.

   

 Feeling so good made me think I’d be running earlier and with greater ease. Add to it that week 2 after baby I walked 20 miles with the little guy in the jogging stroller without too much effort. During the fourth week post-partum I went for my first (very short) run prompted by a screaming baby who wanted to eat during a walk stat! It felt good…too good. I wanted to run again. It had been a long time since I’d felt those endorphins! 

A week later I ran 2.25 miles and it felt AMAZING! I also kept walking and hit the 100 mile mark with Pierce that week. My confidence was soaring!  
  
My next run a few days later was the same distance, but went very differently. It brought me back to reality. My legs felt like I had anchors attached to them. My lower abs were sore after. Many of my runs since have felt tired legged. They’ve been slow. They’ve felt good after for the most part, but haven’t been easy. Maybe once a week I have a great run. Luckily, the lower ab soreness went away a week ago.  
  
All of my early successes made me think I’d be breezing through a 4 mile race much sooner than the 4th of July, but in truth my original time table was much more accurate. I ran 4 miles for the first time almost a month before the race and ran 5 miles more than a week before the race and again yesterday, but that distance is still not always easy.  

Everyday is different. Running sleep deprived is no joke. Sometimes the day gets away from you and you can’t run until 8:45 at night. Other days the only time to run is in the peak heat and sun of the day. Sometimes your husband calls when you are on mile 5 of your planned 6 mile run to say the baby is hungry, how close are you or should I heat up a bottle? Some days the answer might be warm up the bottle and other days, like yesterday, I swear the baby felt my misery and I came home. 

I’ve learned you just do what your body says you can do. It won’t always feel awesome, but there is a difference between discomfort and out of shape and pain. Ignore your watch for the most part. Be realistic! Even after being active during pregnancy you may not be able to jump right back to what you used to do. Learn as you go! Be proud of the small steps you do accomplish!  

  
I’m new to the whole juggling act of being a mother runner, but I’m loving it! A 4 mile race was the perfect distance for me to return to racing. Longer than a 5k without the stress and obligation of a longer race. Plus, there was time for the husband and I to get a quick coffee together before heading back to our handsome guy who turned 11 weeks on race morning!

  
11 weeks ago mommy was doing a different type of endurance event   

Now I’m looking for at least one fall half marathon to work up to as part of my training for a full marathon in November where I will finish state #17-Indiana. Any suggestions?!

Firecracker 4 Mile Race       
Time: 35:37
Pace: 8:55
Overall Place: 173/501
Gender: 79/312
Age Group: 10/49