Sunday, January 6, 2013

Resolving to...

So I had a rough November & December. By rough, I mean that I have been in a huge running rut. An everything rut, really. I've had a hard time juggling long-ass work days, not much daylight, and little no motivation. Even my beloved Runner's World Magazine has the most cliche-est of cliches on the cover which I fall for every year: New Year, New You! So I need to work on some running resolutions. I love resolutions. I always forget about them though. Not that I don't want to do them or fall of track. I forget. Kind of like I kept forgetting about my 100 Push-Up challenge. Maybe I'll make 2013 my 100 Push-Up year. I'd like to set my running resolution as a mileage goal. I got my new running log which makes me seriously giddy. So here goes:

My 2013 running resolution is to run 1000 miles.

This is lofty. Pre-baby Kristin would have no difficulty reaching 1000 miles in a year. It's roughly 20 miles a week. For me right now, 20 miles is a really, really good week. I've been struggling with injury & finding time to run, but this is it. I'm shooting for it. What happens if we don't reach a resolution? Nothing. Seriously nothing. But now it's on the interweb...with all of my devoted followers (my family...and only when I tell them to read my blog!). I've committed to it. First week of 2013=14 miles. Base miles, right? Here we go! I'm excited.

I have a million other resolutions, one of which I partially accomplished today: organization! I love to resolve. I make up mini-resolutions all the time. I think it's healthy but I have no data to back this up. My wheels are always spinning to come up with new little (or huge) goals to set for myself.

Run on.

Sunday, October 28, 2012

"The sky fell on my toes"

I got out this weekend for my first post-injury run. It's only been 6 weeks but a torturous 6 weeks at best. I love fall running. It's the best. I felt pretty good. I'm excited that the cross training I did actually helped! I didn't really feel like a lost a lot of fitness. Just some heavy legs, but otherwise I felt great.

September & October are hard months for me; they mark the passing of my mom & my sister. It's been 6 years since my mom passed away and (gulp) 12 years tomorrow that my sister passed away. I can't believe it. Some days it feels like a lifetime ago, sometimes it feels like last week. Running played an important, albeit different, role in the healing process for each of these losses. My path was determined by a decision I made to keep running; if I had not have made that decision, my life would be much different today. I am grateful each and every day that I am able to do this. I'm happy again. I never thought I would be, but here I am.  I'll write more on this later. For today, I want to relish in the fact that I got to run again.

It was a beautiful day. Forty degrees. No wind. Sunshine. Crunchy leaves everywhere. 4 miles. A bit slower than my usual easy run (about 8:15-8:25 per mile) but I'll take it.

Sunday, October 21, 2012

Next week!

Next week. I'm going to lace up and get out for a run. My first run since the stress fx that kept me from the marathon 6 weeks ago. I'm excited & nervous. But mostly excited. I feel like my overall fitness is pretty good--I've been like a rat in a wheel at the Y. Lots of Some elliptical, spinning, rowing and deep water running. Now if this leg will just hold up. I'm thinking about getting some new, cushioned shoes to help ease the pounding on the pavement.

Taking a break from running is always a refreshing reminder of why I do it in the first place. I live in a great running community so I always see a lot of others out running when I'm out. However, that number seems to mysteriously multiply when I can't run for some reason. Everyone and their mother's uncle are out for a run when I'm resting. Seriously. I'm so glad I can stay connected in a way with the running community during my time off via Facebook and the ridiculous number of running blogs I like to frequent. I started this blog mostly for me. For my family & friends to see what I am up to so they can hold me accountable. I'm starting to think, though, that it may be a great opportunity for me to connect with others in a running/mothering camaraderie on this platform as well. We'll see.

I've been doing pushups! I'm up to about 133 in a matter of 5 sets. I will be at 100 consecutive pushups in no time! My husband (Hunter) has joined me--our little lady was even trying to mimic him doing them the other day. My dad and his wife are in on it, too! Family fun!

Fall is my favorite time to run. Crunchy leaves, brisk weather. The smell always reminds me of cross country and thus glory days...ahh, glory days. The photo above is from the I <3 to Run Facebook page, which I love. It's all about the positive message and feelings we get from running. You should check it out!

In addition, I've made a tentative race schedule so I'll be posting it soon! I know you are all super excited for it! What's on your agenda?

Wednesday, October 10, 2012

100 Pushups??

With my "marathon" behind me (if you are wondering about the "" marks, please read my previous post), I decided to take on a new fitness challenge, of sorts. I've been spinning my wheels at the Y on the elliptical and bike, and doing some deep water running at work over my lunch break and have LOTS of time to think about what to do to keep in some sort of shape until I can run again. Seriously...lots of time. Anyway, here's what I've come up with: I'm going to try to do 100 consecutive push-ups. Crazy, right? Here goes!

I read about this a long, long time ago on some other blog but I can't remember where. There is this website that is 6-week training program to get you ready to do 100 consecutive push-ups.

I'm a push-up pansy. I get tired really easily. I like to do other forms of weight training because it's a bit easier to cheat. There's no kidding with a push-up. So I did my initial test, today is my first day of the program.

I did the initial test on Monday. I'm doing knee push-ups (Not girl push-ups. I hate that.) I can do plenty of regular push-ups, but as I laid out in my previous post, I have all of these core imbalances that I continue to work on, and I know if I did lots of regular push-ups I would compensate with all of the muscles I am supposed to be turning off and I would forget about all of those I am supposed to be turning on.

Initial test: 10/8/12--32 push ups. (My husband was counting for me though he declined to participate in the challenge with me. I know that when I am able to do a hundred of them, he'll be jealous and likely try it for himself)

Per the program recommendations, I'm starting at week 3 and I'm scared that's way too many but I'm off to give it a go. Game on.

Sunday, October 7, 2012

First pelvis, now leg

I had this dream. A daydream. An image in my mind of what I thought it was going to be like. Like so many parenthood things, it’s not going to turn out how I had imagined. And it’s OK.

My dream was that I would have this picture of my daughter and I. Her as a baby and me as a sweaty, but beaming, new mom, marathon-finisher.  A picture she could have always. I was hoping to be inspirational. There she would be, on my hip, smiling at the camera with me. I wanted to do this when she was a baby. I don’t know why. It was a goal I set for myself when I was pregnant. I wanted to do a marathon shortly after she was born. I’ve done lots of marathons. This wouldn’t be much different, right? I wanted to do a marathon.  That’s what I set out to do.

The pros do it all the time, right? They run on their anti-gravity treadmills during pregnancy, decrease their mileage from 120 miles per week to a mere 90. They swim. They get pregnancy massages. They run on trails to decrease impact on their joints. They run the days their babies are born. They have the baby and then are running a week later, baby in the stroller happy as a clam, wearing only their sports bra to bare their amazing six pack abs. I can be like the pros, right?

So I chose my marathon: Twin Cities Marathon, 2012. Scout would be a little over 13 months old. Here goes the training.

I started running shortly after Scout was born. I had a pretty difficult labor & delivery which lead to a pretty torn (literally) up mama. I had nothing but confidence in my midwife after she delivered the most beautiful, healthy baby girl, during what was a dicey forty-one hours of labor. (Yep. Forty one hours. A marathon takes me around three and a half hours. That’ s nothing, I kept telling myself).After I hit the road for the first time, I quickly learned that my pelvic floor was not what it used to be. I couldn’t run more than a step (again, literally) before I would totally lose it. My bladder, that is.

I tend to be very open about most things. I probably share more than most people think is comfortable. I talked to a lot of people about it. I also posted online in my running moms Facebook group at length. Most women who I talked to, runners and non-runners alike, were able to relate. Please use caution while reading the rest of this if you are weak-stomached or if talking about pelvic floors makes you blush.

I am fortunate to work with other occupational therapists and physical therapists who know a lot. And since I overshare personal things at work, they pretty much all knew about the issues I was experiencing. My co-worker who specializes in women’s health referred me to a physical therapy clinic that specializes in women’s health—I overshare, but I was not comfortable being treated by a co-worker in these matters, nor did she want to treat me and then come back and sit next to me in our cubicles and do paperwork like she hadn’t just been all up in my business.

I learned quickly that it was not that my pelvic floor wasn’t strong. I did Kegels during pregnancy like it was my job. I did Kegels in the hospital bed the first night after my baby was born—my little lady screamed whenever we put her down, so I spent the first night with her sleeping in my arms, doing elevator Kegels, quick, quick, slow Kegels, etc.  

I was referred to a urologist who encouraged me to get a pubovaginal sling and then have my future babies via planned c-section. He was even emphasizing how easy and convenient c-sections are: “You get to choose your baby’s birthday!” I’ll avoid that if possible, thank you very much. Seriously. And we wonder why healthcare costs are out of control…I digress.

I finally made my way to a physical therapist where I learned that my pelvic floor muscles were working just fine and firing when they needed to. They fatigued more quickly than they should have, but they weren’t all that bad. The main culprit was my pelvis being in poor alignment. I had a host of muscular imbalances that had likely been in place long before I got pregnant. My hamstrings were too flexible, my left adductor was lengthened, my left gluteus medius was weak, my right gluteus maximus was too weak, my transverse abdominus was pretty much not working, and my left oblique was weak. My back was working way too much and was chronically tight due to the overuse.

I had stack of papers filled with PT exercises. I did them religiously most of the time. In the midst of training, working, mothering, etc. I did them when I could. I did them when I remembered. I could feel a difference and I felt like they were helping. The leaking had decreased but not gone away completely. I finished one of my 20-milers, dry as a bone! I was ecstatic.

While the pee problem hadn’t gone away completely, I was feeling pretty good about it. It was getting better. I was actually feeling prepared for this marathon. Then came another blow: It was a Thursday.  I was out for an easy 4-miler with the stroller on a perfect late summer evening. At about mile 3 and a half, I felt kind of a pop feeling in my left lower leg. I could barely walk, but since I was only about a half mile from home and I had the stroller to help keep me up, I hobbled home. I rested on Friday since my last 20-miler was the following Saturday. 3 weeks to marathon!

I planned on doing a 20-mile race for training. Running with a friend and a whole bunch of other people (likely training for the same marathon) around White Bear Lake twice sounded like more fun than running the same paths along the river as I always do. My leg hurt the first mile. It wasn’t unbearable yet. I kept thinking to myself, “If it doesn’t get any worse, I can make this happen.” Then shortly after the 1-mile mark, the pop happened again. I couldn’t walk without limping and trying not to bear any weight. I knew it wasn’t right. I limped back to the start line and threw some ice on it. It was swollen. Not bruised, just swollen. I knew in my heart of hearts that it wasn’t just something muscular. I got it checked out by a PT at work. She consulted with a friend of hers. Diagnosis: stress fracture. (Did I go see a doctor? No. I’m a stubborn person and a therapist at that. I’ll go in eventually if it doesn’t improve. I know what I need to do at this point. I don’t need a doctor to tell me that training for a marathon and breastfeeding wasn’t a good idea—most doctors aren’t runners.)

I applaud those moms who are back at it right away. I want to applaud every mom. Even those who are faced with a reality much different than they had imagined their comeback to be. Parenthood is hard. It’s unlike anything else. It will leave you in tears—both the good and the bad tears. Sometimes it will make you ugly cry.

The race is this weekend. The course runs just a few blocks from my house. I’m going to go watch—I really don’t have a choice if I want to leave my house at all! I’m going to be happy for those moms out there running. I’m going to be happy for everyone out there running. Watching them will remind me I can always do this. Maybe this year it’s not for me.  No picture of me and my baby at the finish line. There’s a part of me that is heartbroken. If I was a younger, more immature me, I would have been in the pool these last 3 weeks, and tried the marathon anyway, no matter the consequences. The new mom-me knows that there will be marathons in the future.

I’ll get that picture. She’ll always be my baby. 

Sunday, August 26, 2012

So here I am my daughter’s first birthday shortly after my daughter’s first birthday. It’s August and my last post was in November (of course I started the post on her birthday but it didn’t get posted until now. Such is life). So it’s been a while. I had, indeed, all the best of intentions to blog about what I was doing, particularly running. But alas, motherhood and working has gotten the best of me. I thought I’d snap back more quickly than I have. Instead of running, I’ve been slapped with this stack of exercises:  

I’ve read a million running mom blogs and read Runner’s World about professional running moms who were running 100 miles a week when their babies were just tiny. Well that wasn’t me. It is hard to get out the door when the babe is relying on you (and only you!) for food. And this is not even touching on the mom-guilt that comes with leaving your baby for anything that you don’t “need.” Well I need running (otherwise I’m a bear. Just ask my husband), but it’s still easy to convince yourself that that should be the first thing to go when baby needs something. It’s also discouraging when struggling with post-baby injury or other issues—in my case a pelvic floor that just didn’t hold up very well to the childbirth process.

Slowly but surely I’ve been seeing some improvements with my pelvis/hip/pelvic floor issues that have been plaguing me since pregnancy. (More to come on what has helped me in a future post. I know that a lot of women go through this but it’s most definitely not something people talk about enough, in my opinion). I’m planning on running the Twin Cities Marathon on October 7th. I would set a time goal, but at this point, my main goal is to not pee my pants. It will be difficult, but I like to set lofty goals. As for time, I just want to finish. I am fully aware that this first race back after baby (albeit 15 months after baby) will likely not be my best. I just needed a goal and a reason to get out the door. I had to run despite all the pee and the wet shoes, because heaven knows you can’t fool a marathon into thinking you trained when you really didn’t.

In a nutshell, here’s how training has gone: I’ll have a good week, meaning that I run 2-3 times during the week and then get my long run in the weekend. Usually a bad week follows where I run 1-2 times during the week and (fingers crossed) have time for a long run on the weekend. I’m feeling pretty confident in my ability to simply finish because of getting [most] of my long runs in; however, I know I won’t excel at this race by any means. I haven’t hit the gym once during training. My cross training has been quite limited—I’ve been swimming a handful of times and done a couple 20-minute sessions of deep water running.

I’ll try my best to keep posted how the rest of training for this marathon goes as well as what else I have in store. Happy running (or whatever it is that you love…happy that-ing)!

Thursday, November 24, 2011

Working on my balance.

I went back to work a little over a week ago. I am slowly trying to figure out a way to balance my life so that I can spend time with Scout, run, cook, be a good wife to Hunter, and maybe do some reading (I'm working on the last book in "The Hunger Games" trilogy. How I love tween fiction.). I feel like most of my free time at this point is spent washing bottles and parts to my breast pump (TMI maybe? After childbirth, it feels like nothing is TMI. I actually used the words "breast pump" in a conversation with my grandpa last week. I never thought that would happen and it was as weird as one might expect).

Last week I ran only 12.5 miles. I was going to try to get out on Sunday for a long-ish run to make it a nice, clean, even 20, but it snowed and I found almost every excuse in the book to avoid running. Of course, like always happens, I regretted it by the end of the day. So for my first almost-full week of work, I didn't run until today--Thanksgiving. The Drumstick Dash was calling my name. I ran with some great friends and had some great conversation. Since all of my runs since Scout was born have been on my own, talking and running simultaneously proved challenging, but I made it. I, like always, was talking loudly and maybe about inappropriate things, but whatever, I had a great time.

This week I'm hoping to get in maybe around 20 miles (kind of like I've said the last 2 weeks). I'm also trying to get in some knitting for a Christmas present--most of my knitting is getting done when I am pumping (the hands-free pumping bra has changed my life!). I'm also hoping to finish the last book in "The Hunger Games" series because I've got book club in about a week and a half. We are working on a new way to get Scout to sleep at night which has proven challenging on some nights but she is, thus far, proving adaptable. She's so great. And big. With cheeks that rest on her shoulders. Perfect for kissing and smooshing up against my cheeks. I have felt lately like when I get home she looks at me like, "Where have you been all day, lady?" But I usually get to squeeze out a few giggles before I put her in the tub, put on her jammies, and then get to the business of putting her into bed. Hunter (who was number 4 on the list above, though he beat out reading!) has been ever-so-helpful in calming my fears that Scout won't remember me and think that someone else is her mommy.

Here is Scout on her 3-month birthday!