Training in Review {Boston Marathon Edition}

Not to beat a dead horse with Boston, Boston, Boston, but this is all a bit therapeutic for me. Honestly, though I’m physically recovered, I don’t know that I’m mentally or emotionally recovered. I worked so hard for that moment, that day, that race, that now that it is over, I feel a sense of loss. Strange?

I won’t lie to you, my running ego took a bit of a hit in Boston. While I never went into the race with a PR as a goal, it was a total blow to run nearly 21 minutes slower than my qualifier. I did not expect that at all. Yes, the course is much more difficult than Lake Wobegon, yes it was 40 degrees warmer without any shade and during the warmest hours of the day, yes those all impact performance.

I keep telling myself that it was a hard day for a lot of runners, but I find myself being jealous of my friends who are running marathons soon and are sure to PR and likely to qualify for Boston. I want those things for them. I’m so excited for them! I’m not a jealous person and find these feelings really unsettling. Running is an individual sport and I certainly don’t compete with anyone but myself. I think it’s just knowing that I don’t have an opportunity to qualify again before September to join them in Boston next year. I thought I’d do it once and not want to do it again, but I really want to. I want to run the race I know I can on that course.

Let’s look back at what worked well leading up to the race.

  1. My body handled the increase in mileage well. I was healthy, other than my silly shoulder, when I got to the starting line.
  2. My eating/carb loading was on point. I had zero stomach issues on race day and plenty of energy.
  3. Fueling also worked well. Honey Stinger gels have worked well for me, without causing GI issues. I ended up taking four gels during the race because I started to get hungry. I was also out there longer than expected. Luckily, I never hit ‘the wall.’
  4. I was well hydrated going into the race which was good because I dehydrated quickly.

Here are some things I want to work on or do differently next time.

  1. Heat conditioning. When I’m doing a race with the potential to be warm, I need to prepare myself. Sure this is easier when I train over the summer, training during winter in Minnesota, is a whole different animal. I’ve been reading on how to acclimate your body to heat even when you live in cool places. Definitely going to work on that next time.
  2. Try out salt tablets or some other sodium replacement. I was sweating profusely for a long time before it suddenly stopped. I think if I had replaced some of the salt I had lost, it may have helped my body regulate itself a bit more.
  3. I think I was trying to out run myself during some of my speed intervals. I don’t know if it was adding more miles to warm-up and cool-down or trying too hard to run at the high end of my paces, but some of those workouts were so hard. When I went back and compared my training paces from Wobegon, I sped them up quite a bit. I’d probably step back to my previous paces until they feel super easy.
  4. Add another easy run. Even if it means just a slow mile or two.
  5. I say this every time, but strength train more. I usually have the opportunity to run or strength train. I choose running obviously. I just started a strength training program which I hope will get me going again. I won’t be able to continue at this level during a training cycle, but will definitely have some moves that I can incorporate to a training plan.
  6. Get my weight in check. I very rarely weigh myself these days. Mostly because I’m afraid of what I’m going to see. It’s not even the number on the scale necessarily, I just feel flabby. My clothes are tight and my old jeans have collected dust because there is no way I can fit into them.

Boston is not the final chapter. I will run another marathon. I actually entered the lottery for London. Knowing that my chances of getting in are slim to none, I’ve started making lists of marathons I’d like to do. Hopefully I will be able to qualify again and have the opportunity to run a better, for me, race performance-wise.

Motivation Week – Go!

For Christmas I gave myself the gift of being back at my pre-pregnancy weight. My skinny jeans zipped right up and I only had slight muffin top thanks to my extra skin that is hanging around. Then I spent a week in the mountains eating. Of course most actual meals were healthy but it was these:

Plus cupcakes from our new cupcake store in town, biscuits, the homemade cinnamon rolls I whipped up to go with our chili and the hot chocolate after being out in the cold that did me no service. Sure there was exercise in the form of skiing, pulling Ella around in a tube, a little kettle bell and deck of pain action, and the pathetic attempt at a snowy/icy mountain run I did, but not enough to make up for the huge influx in sugar-laden crap I ate. I did enjoy every bite though knowing that I would never indulge in such a fashion on a regular basis.

Well, we’re back to reality and back to about five pounds over my pre-pregnancy weight. Yep, five solid pounds. This week was the start of my new motivation and attitude. I’m not going to call it a resolution, because come on, that just lends itself to immediate failure. It’s me getting back to my old, healthy exercise and eating habits (daily piece of candy or four at the office excluded from the healthy list). It’s also more about feeling comfortable in my clothes rather than the number on the scale.

Here’s what’s been going on this week:

Monday – 4.77 mile run
Tuesday –Jillian Michael’s Shred It with Weights
Wednesday – 5.16 mile run
Thursday – Jillian Michael’s No More Trouble Zones (ok so this isn’t done but it will be.)
Friday – Planned rest

This weekend I plan another longer run. I’m hoping we’ll have enough of the snow and ice melted off that I can do it outside. I need to get back out there to see where I’m at when I’m not on a steady paced treadmill.

I’m feeling good and though I’m tired thanks to two sick kiddos, I’m already experiencing more energy. Of course, that could be way more mental than physical. I also started working on my training plan for the Colorado Half Marathon last night. I’m gunning for that sub-1:50 half so I’m making my plan a little longer than it normally would be to get in lots of good speed workouts. I’m really excited to start training again. I’ll be doing three runs per week (Tempo/Interval/Long), cross-training at least two days a week and allotting myself 1-2 rest days.

So Happy New Year to me. May this be the start of really feeling (and looking) like my old self again.

Did you do anything to get yourself motivated to start or keep up your healthy habits in the New Year?

Taking Care of Yourself = Bad Mom: What?

Last week a rage and insult filled thread swept through my birth board over on Baby Center. Similar to the controversy sparked by Maria Kang’s photo several months back. The poster, though a bit attitude heavy, asked if anyone else was sick of hearing women use their kids as an excuse to not take care of themselves, lose the weight they gained during pregnancy or put on weight after having kids. She said that she made time to exercise and was back to her pre-pregnancy weight at four months postpartum. As I followed the thread, I was pretty shocked at how negative it got and the number of insults that started flying. Before the thread was shut down, out of 10 pages of comments, there were only a handful of other new moms who said that they too made time for themselves to exercise and were supportive of the original poster.

What I really noticed, is that immediately these women went into defense mode. Saying things like, glad you care so much about yourself and not about taking care of your baby, my baby cares more about my presence that me being skinny, etc. They started calling into question her parenting skills just because she said that she exercises and wondered why some women say, I don’t exercise, I have kids.

On another working mom board, a woman posted about how others find time to fit it in because she wanted to exercise but was breastfeeding, had a two year old and was having trouble scheduling it. I posted suggestions about what I do since we’re in similar situations. Every other comment was telling her oh, don’t exercise. You can exercise in a year or you know when your kids start school. She came back and said that she wanted to exercise and just needed suggestions on how to make it work. More comments about not sacrificing time with the kids to take care of herself kept coming because that’s what ‘good moms’ do.

Now, I don’t know about you, but I’ve always heard happy mommy, happy baby. I have excuses.  I even use them on occasion. I like most moms, especially working moms, do not want to miss a moment with my kids when possible. I want to be there to play with them, cuddle them and help them develop into their own persons. I’ve felt guilty for taking time for myself to do frivolous things like getting my hair done or going out for drinks, but I will not feel guilty about taking care of myself, nor should any parent.

I exercise when the kids are sleeping. Sometimes I only have the time or energy for 20 minutes. That’s 20 minutes better spent exercising than sitting in front of the TV or working on the laundry that will still be there to do over the weekend. Taking care of myself, helps me take care of my kids. It gives me energy, keeps me healthy both mentally and physically and sets a good example for them.

Now, do I think that women should be expected to rapidly lose baby weight and be back in their skinny jeans within months of giving birth, nope. After all they say, nine months on, nine months off. I’m lucky in that, though not all my clothes fit quite right yet, I’m within a few pounds of my pre-pregnancy weight. I definitely would not be if I hadn’t been in shape prior to getting pregnant, continuing to exercise during my pregnancy and without doing some form of exercise several times a week.

These mommy wars seem to affect every possible facet of our lives. Stay-at-home mothers vs. working mothers, breastfeeding vs. formula feeding, exercising vs. not exercising, it’s ridiculous. Look, if you’re doing the best you can, providing your children with nutrition, clothing, a healthy home, love, affection and attention, you are doing great. Taking care of yourself is good for you and your family, don’t let anyone make you feel guilty about it. Overwhelmed or not into exercising right now, don’t feel guilty about that either, but certainly do not tell someone who is making a different decision that they are any less of a mother than you because they take a little bit of time to exercise.

Being a mother, hell being a parent in general, is hard. It’s rewarding, but it is hard. Instead of focusing on the external and letting it get to you, just focus on you and your family, it will be fine. Other people can only make you feel bad if you let them.

Move That Body

We’re almost through week two of being back at work and our routine is holding. Thought it means utter chaos from the time we get home until both kids are in bed by 7:30pm, it also means there is time for me to exercise. Woohoo! I don’t need to start training for my spring half until February or so, but I would like to start building mileage, endurance and working on my pace. Dropping these last few pounds would be nice too.

I’m still battling my nasty cold and Josh is working swing shift this week, so this has been my planning week. I did a brief Jillian Michaels workout on Monday and Josh got home around 8pm, so I was able to fit in a little over 4 miles on the treadmill at the gym. His schedule is unpredictable this week, so I’m planning on doing another home workout tonight. My plan moving forward is:

Monday – Rest day. Who really wants to workout on a Monday night? Not I.
Tuesday – Run. Eventually this will be an interval workout.
Wednesday – 30 Day Shred or something of the like
Thursday – Run. Eventually this will be a tempo run. Not quite ready for that though.
Friday – Rest day.
Saturday – Run. This is my planned long run day.
Sunday – X-training of some kind. Likely another home workout.

I think this is doable. Of course it won’t always go as planned, but I’d rather have a good grasp on what I’d like to accomplish physically each week, than not.

I’m starting to think about another marathon. My mom wants to do Marine Corps next fall, but I’m kind of thinking about Portland. I’ve heard great things about that race. With two kids and a husband to think about though, I’m hesitant to sign up for anything just yet. We’ll see how these next few months go.

Maybe I’ll make it a goal in 2014 to run some sort of race every month. I tend to get so wrapped up in endurance races, that I forget how fun 5 and 10ks are.

Favorite jeans, I’m coming for you!

12 Weeks Postpartum

A few weeks ago I expressed my discontent with my postpartum body. Josh reminded me thatI didn’t get back down to my pre-pregnancy weight after having Ella overnight and that I shouldn’t be so hard on myself. He was right, I was being too hard on myself. I’m not a supermodel and I am certainly not willing to subject myself to wearing multiple pairs of Spanx or crash dieting. I am a normal woman, who has had two babies in two years.

In the past several weeks I’ve been running when I can and being more conscious of what I’m eating. I still have a cookie or sweet treat every day, hello birthday cake, but try to make sure the rest of what I’m eating is fairly healthy. I tracked everything in MyFitnessPal for a few weeks, but once I felt comfortable with judging how many calories I was taking in, I stopped. I lost 3lbs the first two weeks.

This of course was really exciting. I dropped from 140lbs to 137 with little effort. Then I plateaued. Other than the walks I’d been taking Anderson on, exercise was totally sporadic. Luckily Jill and I were able to start scheduling runs twice a week. Running between 3-5 miles with her twice a week helped a lot. I dropped two more pounds.

Here I am 12 weeks postpartum. I apologize for advance for the bathroom pics. No time for timed real pictures with Josh working swings this week.

photo 2 photo 3

Not all of my clothes fit yet. Most jeans I can get up and buttoned, but they are not flattering just yet. I’m down to 132 lbs, which means I only have 5 lbs to go until I reach my pre-pregnancy weight and a handful of inches until I take on my usual build.

My body looks a bit different. I have wider hips and a softer belly, but I think I look pretty great. I’ll lose those last few pounds and get back into my clothes when my body is ready. I’m not going to push it. This week and the next several are for settling into a new back to work routine and cuddling with my babies (and husband) as much as possible when I’m home.