This week was my first week since my calf injury that I was able to run 5 days. My coach is definitely taking my history of injuries seriously and building me from the ground up. I really appreciate that. When hiring a new coach, I was intimidated and afraid to admit that I couldn't do something. This is partly why my first few weeks ended in disaster. I was in pain and didn't speak up. I kept running through it hoping I'd turn a corner. Now, I'm realizing this isn't like some of those college programs out there that you either can handle it or you can't. This is individualized personal training, and I've honestly never experienced it before. I am in this position where I feel like I need to prove myself, and while I know that that feeling is in my head, it actually motivates me. The coach I worked with after college was an assistant coach from the college program, so he knew what I could do already. After I got injured and pregnant we lost touch, and I had my husband coach me for a year since I had so many new variables... Now I'm coached by Pardon Ndhlovu from McKirdy Trained. It's the first time I found a coach rather than the coach found me.... So it has a bit of a different vibe and I think it's been good for me. So far I've been really impressed with the patience, and responsiveness, and the shared belief in even my most far fetched (but NOT far fetched ) goals. #believe
This week I started off solo parenting to continue last weeks challenge. I had a personal goal of maintaining patience. I was starting to feel under the weather toward the end of last week and because of that I was quick to snap at students and my children. I wrote patience on the board for my students so that they, too, could help me achieve my goal by practicing being patient themselves. I notice that when I start losing patience that is when everything starts falling apart. So even though in the very moment it feels impossible to keep my cool due to lack of energy, I had to tell myself that in the end, losing my cool costs me much, much, more.
Monday 30 mins, 3.6miles, 8:14/mi: Once upon a time my toddler slept in. It was a dream. Going to bed early, sleeping in late... Gone are the days.... Now, I get an early (for me) wake up call ranging from 5:30-6:30... If I"m lucky I get to sleep until 7:00... but either way, our treadmill is in the garage, so if Matt isn't home I'm running at night. I just simply can't predict what time I should wake up to start running to be sure I'm done before Raea is up. This was particularly long day because I had a staff meeting right after school as well, but I went to bed early Sunday so I was feeling renewed. The end of solo parenting was in sight!
Tuesday: Surprise Morning run! 5 miles, 40 minutes, 8:30/mi It was supposed to be 50's and rainy today, but the morning started off with black ice and a 2 hour delay. My school is the last tier so some schools in my district start nearly 2 hours earlier than I do. This made me feel like the ice on the roads would be mostly clear for me to run. I had a babysitter coming to the house anyway, so that's what I did. I started really slow and it was slick in spots to begin with, but by the end it was just rain. Cold, wet, rain... (which is what I like!) I rushed around to get to work on time and was really really relieved to have this done. Taking another treadmill run out of the equation really renewed how I was feeling about finishing up the solo parenting days.
Wednesday: 1 hour on the bike: Another 2 hour delay. I actually didn't believe it... but after buses crashing all over yesterday, I think most places were being overly cautious. I had a cross training day today, anyway. So I got some awesome morning snuggles! I even got to work a little early so I could take care of some report cards and have one less thing to do as the week progressed. Matt also surprised me letting me know that he was coming home one day earlier... So THATS A WRAP! No more solo parenting this week (technically Thursday morning until the babysitter comes, but Matt will be home in the afternoon)! Not going to lie though.... this was the hardest one hour of exercise I've done in a long time.
Thursday: 45 minutes, 5 miles: Sneakerama fun run! I can't even tell you how nice it was to have my husband home and to be able to meet people for a run! I ran with Barbara McManus for the whole run. Somewhere around 8:50 pace. Part of me wants to run fast all the time and show all my progress, but I know that that is not how improvement happens so I was happy to take it a little easier.
Friday: 40 minutes with Fartlek. 5.5 miles, 7:22/mi: I was committed to making this day about me. After Matt was gone for 10 days, today I just wanted to relax... and by relax I mean get a really good run in and then do 75 minutes of yoga. I felt unbelievably smooth on this run. I think the combination of Matt being home and the fact that it's Friday and I was done work for the week (also had all my lesson plans and progress reports completed so I didn't need to do any thing over the weekend) had me feeling a huge sense of relief and freedom. My body felt it. Below is the data with the fartlek sections at the end.
Saturday: OFF Its so much harder to get motivated to do anything when I have the day off from running. However, I did do all my drills and bought myself some more liquid Iron and B12 to get my numbers back in the normal range. After getting my period back I could tell I must be hovering in the low normal or just below normal range. Also, I really have no idea why I don't buy this stuff off of amazon. SO MUCH CHEAPER! Pretty sure I paid like $40 at the vitamin shoppe. Whoops.
Sunday: 10 Miles, 7:48/mi: Brought my girls over to my moms today so Matt could meet a client to run and I could get my own run in. I wanted to run alone today, actually. I thought running with Matt would be nice but I was thinking it would be easier to honor my body if I'm by myself. I really want to make sure I can listen to any of the messages my own body will send me. I think at this phase I don't really have an established "easy" or "hard" pace. Once I add volume and workouts what feels easy today might not tomorrow... but for now, I'm pretty excited to genuinely feel great at sub 8 pace after a day off.
Total Mileage: 29.3
Average sleep: 6:45 (not consecutive)
Overall, another good week. I've definitely got some momentum on my side. I proved to myself that I'm capable of doing this even with my husband gone (but please don't leave me during peak week!) Maebel will be starting solids hopefully this week or next which should improve my sleep situation a bit. Some days are great others not so much... it's really inconsistent still. One thing I really learned while Matt was gone is that I have to be insanely flexible with the when and the where I work out. Some days I'll get to do my run at an ideal time, in an ideal place... and other times it's past my bedtime and I'm on the treadmill. I thought I would have to transition into a morning runner, but really I have to transition into a more flexible runner... figuratively and mentally. I need to be willing to do the run no matter what. Obviously there will be times it wont take priority (if I'm sick or the kids are sick)... but with a treadmill in the garage and a bike in the house, there's not much excuse. There's always time for something.
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This was the furthest week of running I have had since I was 37 weeks pregnant. Wow, my body has changed a lot since then! I almost hit 21 miles for my first attempt at training for Boston, but obviously my body wasn't ready. Now, I'm feeling stronger than ever in terms of imbalances that have been causing injuries, and I feel like I can finally trust my body again. I'm still not at the point where I 100% trust it. I still get nervous any time I have even the slightest ache or pain in my calf... but, I'm getting there. I'm working on it. I'm healing both physically and emotionally.
This was a particularly challenging week as my husband was gone the entire time. In a way I'm grateful that my mileage is still so low, because I am still working out some of the kinks training with the two littles and without much help. Here's what the week looked like:
Monday: 60 Minutes of Biking: Martin Luther King Day, so I was home. My husband was home in the morning but I couldn't get my shit together to get on the bike trainer before he left. Instead I took the opportunity to get some groceries and spend a few moments without my children as I was going to be getting plenty of time with them without help. I needed some last minute me time and didn't want to spend it on the bike (if I had a run scheduled I would have gone running, but the trainer is the same to me with or without kids around.... boring) The girls were so awesome I was able to do it in the common room without having to wait for them to go to bed.
Tuesday: Morning Treadmill Miles-30 minutes, 3.5 miles 8:26/mi: I had trouble sleeping. I got a little lucky that Raea didn't wake up early today. I set up facetime on the computer in my room and facetimed my phone that was in the garage with me in case Raea got up while I was on the treadmill. I set up a little breakfast for her at the desk with the computer. I worried so much about her waking up and coming into my room and myself and my husband not being there. This worrying kept me up at night but I just powered through and did the run. Fortunately she stayed sleeping and I even got to stretch after. I think night time runs are easier when Matt is away... I could maybe wake up to do my drills.
Wednesday: Night Run. I ran 40 minutes, 4.6 8:29/mi: instead of the 30 prescribed I did extra because I was supposed to get to 20 miles this week and feared if I didn't do a little more I would be tacking on more to my "longer" run at the end of the week and I just didn't want to have to do that. I have a cross training day scheduled for Thursday so now is the time to add distance so I can get a full recovery. We also had a snow day so I shoveled earlier and was trapped inside most of the day with kids... so even the treadmill felt freeing.
Thursday: Another 1 hour on the bike: I listened to a podcast while I did this and it went by relatively quick. I had a full night of working out though because I had drills scheduled for this night (I do them every other night and it takes 30-40 minutes)... and doing these two things back to back is exhausting, but worth it.
Friday: A run Outside! 45 minutes, 5.6 miles 7:58/mi Very thankful for my Mother in Law who let me get out for my run, and even made dinner. It made it much easier to get the girls in bed and relax for the first time all week.
Saturday: Off. I focused on rest a lot today. I'm feeling really run down. The girls aren't sleeping well this week between Raea being up early and Maebel teething.... I had drills to do and that is pretty much it. Bed by 9pm (unheard of for me!)
Sunday: 7.5 miles 8:11/mi This was the furthest run I have done since..... Hold on let me check....
Since June 9th. On June 9th I was 34(?) weeks pregnant and I ran an 8 miler in sub 9 minute pace that day. I also had a 1 hour run a bit more recently on July 16th, but I was running above 10:00/mi so it was 6ish miles. I don't even want to do the math to figure out how many days it has been since I have done either of those... but just know it has been a very long time and this felt damn good! My mom took the girls for an hour and I ran half of this with my friends Cat and Pat. It was a relatively hilly run, but not too challenging. I'm just relieved to check this week off. Moving to the next one.
Epsom Salt Bath
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After over a month, I finally made it to Week 2 of my Boston Training... and on paper it doesn't look like I've made any progress since my first Week 1 but I definitely have! This week I set the intention to go to bed earlier. I realize there's a good chance I'm going to need to transition to a morning runner in order to be successful, and I can't be a morning runner without going to bed earlier. I'm now realizing I may have to do mornings, I may have to do nights... I need to be flexible... but if I workout at night I need to learn to transition myself to sleep relatively quickly (after stretching, of course!)
Monday: I had a cross training day today so I did 60 minutes on the bike at night while listening to a Podcast. One easy way to know I'm taking this more seriously is to note how much of my favorite TV shows I'm missing. The fact that I missed watching the Bachelor?... BIG progress! I made sure to complete all of my drills as well as 20 minutes of stretching. This was a lot to fit in. Usually on the second Monday of the month I don't have a staff meeting, but because the first Monday was New Years Day, I was at work later than expected. On top of that Matt set up an event for Monday night which is very unusual. Most Mondays he is home so I can start the week off with an easy night having some back up from him. In hindsight I should have gotten up to workout early on this day because was in a rush to get to bed by 10:30 (my goal) and even though I just barely made it, I think I caused myself so much stress trying to stay on task that I couldn't get my body to settle down and I wasn't able to fall asleep until 12:30ish... so I didn't really benefit from getting to bed early, anyway.
Tuesday: 10 minute walk, 22 minutes of running, 10 minutes of walking. After the botched early bed time, it was hard to get up for this, but Raea has been getting up early anyway and once she climbs into bed with us, there's no sleeping left anyway. I got up, used the R8, and headed out the door. I was easy on myself with my goals for the day. I just wanted to run, blog, and get to bed early... so that's what I did. I averaged just under 8:30/mi for the run portion of my workout, and I was pleased with how easy that felt. The key to these mornings have definitely been preparing the night before. I'm so tired after work the last thing I want to do is prep my lunch for the next day, but it has helped dramatically!
Wednesday: 25 minute run 8:13/mi. I think more often than not I will find myself doing a morning run on Wednesday, but since I had a training for work today, I had an early start already. I had a commute that took 40 minutes longer than my usual 40 minute commute, and it also started 30 minutes earlier than my usual work day. The training only went until 12:30 so I was able to get a lot of my own free time! The training was at a hotel, so I asked the front desk for a key to the gym and got all my drills done. I followed up my drills with a nice relaxing run, and then I quietly ate a late lunch in the lounge while stretching and using the R8. I still got home and was able to relieve the babysitter early. This was my favorite day of the week, its not often that I see daylight on a weekday run between November and March.
Thursday: 60 Minutes of Cross Training (bike trainer): I actually am really starting to like using the Bike. I keep the resistance pretty low but try to keep the RPM high. I think this is helping me to keep a faster cadence when I am running as well. I talked to my sister most of the session, and followed up with 20 minutes of yoga. Zero part of me wanted to do yoga, but it was one of my goals. I was in bed by 10:30 and actually fell to sleep this time.
Friday: 2.8 miles with Cat (I think): I did this after work. I met my husband so I could feed Maebel instead of pump and then drove over to Cats. I had to walk 15 minutes and run 25 and then I think we walked 10... My watch died partway through this workout so I don't have exact info. I have my milestone pod, but it doesn't quite get the stats right when I have a walk run. It was down pouring and a bit dark. We were running while many cars were commuting so lots of road crossings and stop/go etc. But I didn't mind. So nice to run with a friend! I totally did NOT want to do my drills when I got home, but I did and then I took a warm relaxing bath. I wanted to keep my three goals for Friday light because next week will be hard, and also I don't want to burn myself out trying to do everything all at once.
Saturday: OFF It's weird having Saturday's off, but nice to spend time with the girls. I was really tired this whole day. I set the goal to do two loads of laundry (but specifically wrote down to NOT count folding, because I just can't be bothered with that!), write another blogpost, and then stretch for 20 minutes. It was weird to basically do nothing all day. The last thing on this Earth I wanted to do was stretch, but it felt really good when I finished. I fell asleep at 9:30 on the couch watching the Pats.
Sunday: 5 miles with Chrissy, 8:09/mi I was given 35 minutes but was also told if I felt good I could go a little bit more. I'm not sure I should be given the authority to make that decision since so far I've always chosen to go a bit more... but I just really finally felt like I was running, and I liked it! I felt good, but when I got home I was surprised how tired I was for my drills. more drills one would think they'd be getting easier by now, but NOPE! Maybe they will feel easier next week.
Total Running Miles: 13.5
Average Sleep: 6:54 per night
Drills: 4 days per week
I worked hard this week. I set three goals everyday and hit each one. I set the intention of going to bed earlier, and I was able to do that. The big test is coming up this week when my husbands work demands are high and I'm left to take care of kids by myself more often than not. There will be many mornings or nights on the treadmill or squeezing in stretching and drills at more challenging hours, but I think I'm ready!
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Some other posts you may have missed:
"Hard work beats talent
Most of us are familiar with the concept of the quote above. It is basically saying that if you work hard you have the ability to surpass someone who is more naturally gifted at something than you are simply because you are "out working" them (or working smarter than them, I should also say).
You're going to be getting a lot of reflection posts from me these days because I've been having these revelations as I get further and further from a part of my former life that really held me down. Feeling the freedom to think my own positive thoughts without having a negative interjection counter it has made me realize a lot about myself and my approach to the sport in the last 7 years or so....
I was that talented kid that didn't work hard. That was always me. It's not to say I didn't work at all I'm simply saying that until my senior year of college, I never gave it 100%... or even 80%... probably not even 75%. In High School, when I started with this sport, I worked hard 180 days of the year (school days) and a handful of weekends... So maybe, just maybe, I was giving it 60% effort. When I was at practice, I was 100% all in, but when summer came and we had our workouts prescribed on paper and no one watching, I did nothing. I saw people from other schools training all summer and I laughed "why are they working so hard, I'm just going to beat them"... and that's usually what happened. When your talent is reinforced, instead of your hard work, it's more difficult to become a hard worker... even if that's what is necessary to get to the next level.
In education, praising someones work ethic as opposed to their natural intelligence or talent is all the rage. There has been a plethora of research done by Carol Dweck suggesting that praising a child for being smart can lead them to have a "fixed mindset", but praising them for trying hard, doing something challenging or outside their comfort zone that maybe they aren't so natural at produces a "growth mindset"
What if we apply this same level of thinking to sports? Is there a danger in calling someone talented? Maybe you know someone who was really talented but quit early due to a fixed mindset? I think there is a danger in how you praise (this is a huge part of what I do for a living in my special education classroom), and I am a direct product of praising inherent abilities rather than work ethic. I'm not writing this and moping because "wahh wahh, woes me, I'm talented, people called me talented, poor me" No, please don't interpret this post as me feeling sorry for myself and excusing all my shortcomings... I'm simply processing how to shift my mindset so that I can see more growth this upcoming year and beyond, and maybe this will reach someone else who is reading this who has also felt stuck.
Looking back, winning the Presidential Physical Fitness award in the 6th grade was the start to this partially Fixed Mindset and also the beginning of the word "talented" being thrown in my direction. Only three people won it in our school, and one of the other people happened to be my cousin who is doubly related to me (our fathers are brothers and our mothers are sisters). Maybe she was more talented than me and got it without trying, but I worked for that award. No doubt it was mostly talent. Ann and I have such similar genetics, it couldn't be a coincidence that we were 2 of the 3 people that achieved this highest honor. The running came naturally, and I weighed next to nothing so I could do push ups and crunches easily, But I was NOT flexible. There was this part where we had to stretch a certain amount of inches passed our toes and I worked for that. I was 11 years old I have a distinct memory of having my sister push on my back as I exhaled so that I could try and get 5 inches passed my feet (Mary can vouch for how annoyingly hard I worked). However, when that award was given, no one talked about the work I did. No one talked about how I improved from 2 inches to 5 inches, everyone just praised me for my talent. Naturally, I was proud.
It wasn't until I started entering bigger ponds that talent started to recognizably hurt my way of thinking. I was always able to win the important race in high school. I am still one of 6 people that have ever won three consecutive CMASS titles, and I'm the only runner to win in both Divisions.... but I always under performed at the States. I would say "well, I can't win that, so I don't care." as if the results were fixed... just like my way of thinking. The only year I ran well was the year my team had a chance to win. That was the only year I beat World Record Stroller Runner, Dianna Chivakos but it wasn't until later that that became important. College took some adjusting. I spent most of it feeling horrible because I simply couldn't win anything and I didn't even realize that the girl winning everything was Dianna. She saw me in the bathroom and mentioned she recognized me because I out-kicked her at States. I was in her families home video or something. Whaaat? I beat her? HOW? I realized I had to give more, why is this person that I beat in High School minutes ahead of me? I needed to rely on something other than talent. Before entering Senior Year I finally started running over the summer (yes, I never ran over the summer). My hard work was immediately reinforced with a 19:08 5k right off the bat, a 30 second PR. Later that season, I made it to the NCAA National Championship. I was so proud of the hard work I put in, but I remember someone telling me "well, it's about time!" I knew that was their way of celebrating with me, but it voided all my hard work. I worked hard, this wasn't something someone handed to me... I worked hard... for the first time ever, I worked hard" and it didn't matter that I worked hard because all I did was finally, finally meet the expectation people already had for me based on my talent. In that moment I stopped feeling proud, instead I felt ashamed. Have I been letting people down all this time?
As you can see, my inner dialogue was always concerned with what people thought of me. Am I Good Enough? I would never describe myself as insecure, but this was as close as it got.
fFI've been fighting a battle with a Fixed Mindset for a long time as it was the foundation I had laid early on. Fortunately, I had a lot of people (my high school coach, especially) pushing me in the direction of a Growth Mindset and I developed enough of that to never quit. It's really hard to change what is already there; change the foundation in which you built everything you've ever achieved on top of. The only real way is to destroy it all and rebuild from scratch. The knee surgery, the injuries, the two pregnancies; these, I guess, are the things that made me realize I need to start over. I'm not "rebuilding" a foundation, because I don't want the same thing. I'm simply building something totally new. I'm building a totally new physical and mental foundation. It's only been 12 days of the new year, but these 12 days I have spent looking at my new blueprints, my new map, instead of trying to put patches in places that just keep breaking or taping together my old map that really leads to no where. For the first time ever I’m excited about the hard work rather than the result. Maybe I fail a few times, but having the goal to work hard is completely in my control, and so far—I LIKE IT!
Do you struggle with a Fixed Mindset in any aspect of your life?
What steps do you take to overcome this way of thinking?
What do you attribute to forming your Growth Mindset?
So far the New Year has lead me to do a lot of reflecting.... Having a big goal such as Qualifying for the Olympic Trials when I can barely run 10 minutes pain free seems... Irrational... But I know it's not.
I've been very focused on the negative in this postpartum comeback process... and when I look at the last 5 years of my running career, given the amount of changes my body went through, it's actually remarkable!
November 2013: My first Marathon- 3:05:42
January 2014: Slip on Ice, Kicked at Work, Injured
November 2014: Diagnosed with Fat Pad Impingement Syndrome (yes, I was unable to train that entire time.... I have a long, long, long list of things I tried to get me a diagnosis or heal me... but that part is not relevant anymore- I needed surgery)
November 2014: Found out I was pregnant and had to cancel surgery
March 2015: Knee Surgery
August 2015: Gave Birth to Raea
April 2016: 20 seconds off of my PR half
May 2016: Calf injury right before my marathon
June 2016: DNF marathon due to injury
September 2016: Two hospitalizations related to unknown allergies.
October 2016: Marathon PR (and some XC pr's too!)
November 2016: Pregnant
August 2017: Gave birth to Maebel
November 2017: Calf injury
January 2018: Start training
April 2018: Boston Marathon, sub 3:00hrs
December 2018 (?): OTQ
That's a whirlwind! A crazy roller coaster of ups and downs! I'm so hard on myself that I would only look back and see the negatives. I have so much baggage with this sport (that goes back well before 2014) but when I look at the list above, what I see now is "Damn, I still PR'd after a surgery and a baby, and two years off from running? Imagine what I can do with some consistency!? "
Instead of looking back to see where everything went wrong, I only want to look back to see what went right... or don't look back at all!
Take out the trash
"Take out the Trash..... The trash is the thing that is keeping you from the only thing that matters.
I had some pretty big changes externally in the past year (I mean, I grew a human), But I also had a lot of internal changes as well. A lot of it had to do with letting go of things or people or ideas that didn't serve me in the way I need. This may even include getting rid of friendships that are no longer good for me, or getting rid of something as simple as a TV show... or unfollowing someone on instagram or facebook that for one reason or another, doesn't necessarily lift you up.
I was surrounded with a lot of negativity for a long time, and realize now that I was actually swallowed by it. Sometimes you think something is good for you until you have been freed from it for a while. You have more energy and are less tired, you feel enthusiastic about new beginnings and big goals rather than unsure of yourself. I've taken a step away from some things that I truly valued at the time they were part of my life and realized that I was not getting out what I was putting in or not getting out what was essential for me at this phase in my life.
The crazy thing is that in November of 2014 I remember crying tears of sadness and fear when I found out I was pregnant. It was a total shock. They require a blood test before surgery, so I got one. I tested negative so I proceeded with Pre-op tests. I had 7 Xrays in my hip and knee area as well as an arthogram, lidocaine injections, and an MRI just to be thorough... so when I still didn't have my period the week of my surgery, I took another test and this time it was positive. I freaked out. I was angry. I assumed my baby would die because of all the tests, or what if it lived but had terrible birth defects because of my decision to get all those tests?! I'd feel horrible! I even, selfishly, though WTF?! "I just got a diagnosis! I just got married, this is not what I wanted!" I always pictured myself hitting the Olympic Trials Qualifier before kids, traveling before kids, having a house (as opposed to living with my husband and 3 other teammates) before kids.... but God always has a plan.
Having my kids has taught me a true lesson about "living in the moment" because kids (babies especially) don't know any other way! They don't know about yesterday, they don't know about tomorrow, they only know about now... and while that can be insanely difficult when your 2 year old daughter is being demanding and can't understand the word "wait", they truly are my teachers; my best coaches when it comes to "Taking out the trash"
Additionally, everything important to you becomes impeccably clear. It's easy to get rid of the things that don't help you progress, because you really don't have time for anything else. In January 2015 when I slipped on ice, I had announced my official retirement that morning (I was calling in my Brett Favre retirement, because obviously I'd be back as soon as temps were above freezing) and I can't help think that God threw me on this 5 year roller coaster to get right here where I am now. Maybe the roller coaster would have been shorter if I didn't resist so much... but I see the plan now (if I got things the way I originally planned, I would have run Boston 2017 and I'd be pregnant now... But WOW Maebel is so perfect! How could it ever have been any other way?!). I have a newfound love for this sport that I started to hate (simply out of the constant obligation to be doing it...) and I've found support in the places I once mocked (yes, instagram... if you want to be an elitist and make fun of my instagram pictures, or my fitsnap usage, or my strava, that's fine. I'll just add you to my growing pile of trash.) I'm doing this for me now. No one really cares if I qualify for the Olympic Trials or not. No one really will judge me if I don't get up one morning because I'm tired from being a working mother, no one really cares what I do anymore. I run for a team, but we run for the love of it, and if it's not fun we don't run at all. There's no pressure on me except for the pressure I want. All I'm doing now is Three things every day that will help me get to my big goal... and maybe I'll never reach my big goal, but so far every day I've put in the effort, I feel more alive and more free than I have in years.
I'm hungry. Hungrier than I ever have been, and I'm not going to stop until this goal of mine stops keeping me up at night. (melatonin for the win!)
Thanks for all your support!
What helps you stay in the moment?
What are things you have had to let go of to propel yourself forward?
When you stop and think are you someone that criticizes someones hard work because it's not the way you do it?
Be honest with yourself, It takes way more energy to be negative than it does to be positive!
Postpartum running has not been kind to me. Not too long after I posted my Week 1 (take 1) I found myself debilitated with shin pain. Could I have run through it? Yes. In the most excruciating way... but knowing this happened in my first postpartum comeback, I decided to get in front of this one a little more. I took some time to cross train right away. For cross training I alternated between the bike trainer and walking on the treadmill. I needed to get my shins adjusted to some level of impact without setting myself back. After about a week or so I ran again and it went really well! At this point in time there weren't too many really cold days... but one morning I woke up and winter had arrived. I warmed up my legs with some looseners inside and headed out the door. A few miles into my run my calf muscle cramped up and pulled... bad... an injury I'm very aware of (read about it at the end of this post). My best guess is that it was from my shins and since I bought spenco inserts to help the shins, I just changed where the force was and BOOM, problems. I also found out that I have an accessory navicular bone, and it's really wreaking havoc postpartum with my ligaments and tendons being more loose.
After about a week and a half of limping around, I was able to resume cross training, but no way was I ready to try out my calf. My coach sent me a list of 11 strength training drills to do so that's what I committed to. We decided I'd start with a 3 minute run and the rest of it walking at the 3 week mark just to give the calf a test run.... BUT that didn't happen either. I was hit with the worst cold and sore throat I think I've ever had! Turns out I probably got two different viruses at the same time.... which I guess is better than another interruption in training. I really needed to rest but with no sick days at work and Christmas around the corner, I couldn't afford an unpaid day. Also, I was determined to make sure neither of my kids got sick, so I decided to pump extra breastmilk for Raea so she could get some of the antibodies Maebel was getting to help fight what I had. This was very draining, but worth it. Neither kid was sick for the Holidays! I was way too depleted to start running during this stretch, and there was literally no benefit to starting now. I took it as a sign from God that my calf needed a little bit more time to repair. I started cross training again once I was better. On December 26, I tested my calf with a 20 minute walk, 5 minute run, 20 minute walk. I was so nervous about my calf, but grateful it turned out okay! Since then I've officially considered myself in "training mode" albeit very mild training and barely running.
I set some big goals for 2018, and I'm officially in pursuit. I had some bad breaks, but everything cleared up in time for the New Year. How cool that the New Year started on a Monday. It must make all you OCD loggers tingle with happiness!
So without further explanation, here is this my second first week of Boston Training.
Monday 1/1: 50 minutes of Cross Training on the Bike Trainer. I listened to a Podcast featuring Molly Huddle and that got me through very easily. Using Podcasts instead of music is so nice! I've been missing out! So many great interviews to catch up on! I also added the R8 to my morning routine, and got back on my supplements. I'm pretty sure I'm anemic again due to some random bruising. Breastfeeding sucks the life out of you if you don't stay on top of it!
Tuesday 1/2: 45 minutes total. 18 minutes of walking (to safe ground) and then 15 minutes of running. I have my watch tucked in my sleeves when I'm running and I was so surprised I averaged under 8 minute pace with real ease! I think the Cross Training helped more than I thought! I got nervous about my calf but I felt no pain. Only some weird lingering pelvic instability (which probably contributes to the calf pain in some way or another... but I'm doing all the strength to help this). I worked all day and the concrete plays a huge role in how fatigued my legs feel at the end of the day. I made sure to do some stretching and R8 Rolling.
Wednesday 1/3: 20 minutes of running in the morning. It ended up 22ish, I ran 2.5 miles in 8:41 pace. I was really proud of this day since I got in my drills and also a good amount of rolling and stretching. I even drained my legs for 15 minutes. Concrete floors!!!
Thursday: 1/4 Bombogenesis didn't bother me! I only had 40 minutes of Biking, so it worked out that I had to stay indoors. I enjoyed listening to Gwen Jorgenson. If she can set such ambitious goals after her baby and no one is making fun of her, I CAN TOO! On top of that I also did yoga, and all my drills plus some bonus drills that I'm adding to my coaches list for my groin. The instability in my pelvis needs to go away. Des Linden got me through the yoga and drills.
Friday: 1/5 I ran outdoors in the snow for 15 minutes with walking on either side for a total of 55 minutes. My calf didn't cause me any trouble, so I think it's safe to say that as long as I stay on top of the strength training, and stretching and rolling, My calf should be back to its normal self (although I need to make it better than that, obviously!)
Saturday: 1/6 It's weird to take a day off when you're hardly doing anything. I was tempted to do some Cross Training, but instead I focused on doing drills and I got some yoga in at night.
Sunday: 1/7 This run was everything. I walked 10 minutes, then I ran 25. 25 amazingly awesome (and surprisingly easy) minutes! After all this time, I finally felt strong and like I could trust my body! I went downhill, I went up hill, and I ran somewhere in the 8:15/mi pace which is way faster than I thought would feel easy. It just goes to show that the cross training on the Bike is paying off for the cardiovascular element, and the strength training is really getting my legs ready to bare the extra weight I still have from pregnancy. I finished up with a 10 minute walk.
TOTAL: 7 miles So I did a total of 7 miles running. Not very impressive, I know. I'll just remember how far I've come when I get to Boston (and beyond). However, if you don't look at the miles, and just look at the minutes, I did 3 hours and 24 minutes, and that isn't all that bad for time on feet at this early stage.
Here are some products mentioned or seen in this post. Every product below I have and use often. Each one plays a key role in getting me to the next level! If you're interested in getting any of these, the links provided below also support this blog. Thanks!
If this last week is any indication of how the rest of the winter will be, better invest in your winter running gear now because we have a long and cold journey ahead!
This week the temps were below zero almost every day! While, there are certainly temperatures that NO gear can quite save you from, here are some tricks I have learned as a primarily outdoor runner. A true "All terrain, All weather, ANYTIME" type of girl.
The Products Linked in this post are not necessarily the exact products I've used. They are something similar from brands that I trust. Most of my gear is at least 5 years old since I've been injured or pregnant for most of that time, I didn't invest in anything new! That also speaks to the durability of the clothing I use!
So lets get going.
First thing's first, If your goal is to stay warm, and stay safe, throw out your expectation of looking hot, trendy and sexy for your instagram. It aint gonna happen folks! There's nothing hot about freezing tempts, but with these layering tips, you might be warm enough to survive. If you feel so inclined to spend extra money than that's your choice... but winter running can freeze more than your fingertips, your bank account could also be in jeopardy... so I'll discuss which items I feel are worth the money and which you can probably go with a generic brand of find a cheaper option.
Shirts, Jackets and Tops
Lets get this straight, you need to keep this part of your body warm. Stop running shirtless you fools! Guys and Girls I see your abs, I feel you, you want everyone to see how hard you work, but don't be dumb. Staying warm isn't going to win popularity contests, but you can't win one of those when your dead so... if you have pants on, you better have a shirt on. and NO! arm warmers and a sports bra don't count as a shirt, JUST NO! (racing is an exception but still questionable. If you need pants, you likely need a full length singlet) This is the layer covering all your vital organs keeping you alive and keeping you moving. It's very important that you don't mess this layer up or you will get cold everywhere else very fast. Your body will prioritize where to keep warm, and I'll give you a hint, it isn't going to be your hands! (cold hands sound familiar?) So lets start here... even though most of you will probably skip to the part about keeping hands warm.... (it's last)
Objective: Wick away moisture, absorb sweat.
This might be, in many ways, your most important layer. It is the layer that touches your skin, and also the layer that absorbs and wicks the sweat away... or... doesn't (which, can cause you to get even more cold) Your base layer should be tight and should be able to tuck into pants and gloves. I usually like my base layer to have a turtle neck or a half zip as well so that I can easily keep my neck warm by tucking in a buff, or my face mask. DO NOT, DO NOT, DO NOT base layer with cotton. You will regret it.
I typically run in an under armor base layer. At one point in time this is what under armor was best known for... not the Tom Brady recovery pajamas (link to My brothers commercial, He's the last guy) So while it's probable another brand has produced a similar product that may or may not be as good, I can't tell you what I don't know... BUT what I CAN tell you is that I have been running in the same base layers for 10-15 years or more and they still keep me warm and still are in good condition (other than the fact that they kinda have a perma-sweat-smell...but that could be a laundry detergent issue.... or the fact that I just let them air dry and re-wear them multiple days in a row before I wash... I'm a hippie when it comes to that stuff.) It is likely no one will ever see your base layer so don't worry about what it looks like. Find something that fits you, feels good, and WORKS. Something you could picture yourself wearing every day, and get it. Get a lot of it.
How to Save Money: I'm all about saving money, but do not buy an off brand to do so. Especially for your base layer. Wear the same shirt all the time if you need to (works for me!). If a cheaper version works, than that is because it's not cold enough to matter and in that case I would say don't bother buying it at all. Plenty of races give out long sleeve tech-tees that will come as part of your entry fee.. but on a true cold cold day you need the best of the best. You can save money on brands like under armor by purchasing when they go on the clearance rack at the end of the season or by buying a lot at once and save on shipping.
The middle layer is a layer that probably varies from person to person the most. The job of the middle layer is to insulate. I'm not often wearing my best gear as a middle layer, but if I am, I definitely want something that has a half-zip in case I get too warm. There is a science to running in the winter. You need to keep yourself warm enough to function, but cool enough to not sweat... because when a cold wind (we're talking below zero winds at times) blows through you when you're wet with sweat... you wont be warm enough to function. So when the wind is making it really cold you zip up, and when the wind is at your back or settles down, you unzip (that goes for outer layers coming up next.) I also like to have a layer that is a vest. Vest is Best. This way I can keep my organs and core warm without losing the ability to move my arms freely.
How to Save Money: This is the easiest layer to afford because what I typically use for middle layers is given out for free (aka: as part of your race entry... is anything truly free?) at most races. This is where I use the race t-shirts. I even sometimes will use a cotton as a middle layer because I do feel like it insulates, but I typically do not sweat enough to sweat through the base layer so that could be a problem for you if you sweat more. (If you do sweat a lot, a more expensive middle layer might be what you need... but like I mentioned, if you buy something of good quality it can last a really long time... just might not be as cool on your instagram). Those cheap old navy fleece vests work well, and I even know people who use wool sweaters for this layer. You can go to a Good Will or Salvation Army and find a cheap wool sweater that will keep you insulated. Again, this is why that base layer should not be cheap because you will sweat and you need to keep the sweat off of your body.
Objective: Protect you from the elements
OH man, when I find a jacket I like, I run in it until it literally falls off my body and I'm a little embarrassed to admit that I actually don't own any of the three jackets below, but if I didn't have access to them all the time (explained below) I would buy in a second. I am so passionate about the few jackets listed below. When it's cold, it's usually dark, when it's dark, you need to be seen. Reflective qualities are essential. If you run in the day time, if it's really cold it's likely there is snow on the ground and if that is the case it's very important that you are wearing something very bright so that you are seen. I have a few absolutely favorite jackets that I do not own, but... kinda do....
How to Save Money: Do what I do and beg borrow or steal?... Or, don't save money at all. The jacket could literally save your life, so it's worth having a good one. Don't skimp on this. Just look for sales or buy off season.
Pants and Bottoms
Bottom Layer: Just like above, don't wear cotton underwear. I think this section is probably most important for men, but my butt tends to get very cold so I just wear a pair of spandex shorts with the built in underwear. It just adds a little extra.
Tights: I have a few pairs of CW-X tights that I swear by. They have a wind proof layer and are water repellent. When it's just mildly cold I hate these tights because they are so warm and TIGHT (damn! My postpartum body isn't a huge fan right now!) but that's the idea I guess. They are supposed to support ligaments and joints as well, and that may be why I've been running okay since it's been so cold (even though I can barely get my ass into them!) What's nice is that these pants often eliminate the need for two layers and since you really need full range of motion in your legs, this is a great perk. If you're not into the stability of these tights (they aren't for everyone) Try a spandex that has some wool or fleece. I had some New Balance tights that I ran in for so long the knees frayed and got holes from friction. I sewed them back together for a while until my husband tossed them. It was a sad, sad day. If it is REALLY cold I may wear another pair on top of these, but more often than not if it is that cold I will simply stay inside. When it comes to pants you want to avoid things that don't have a drawstring or a high waistband (essential for tucking and tying the upper layers into it). Also avoid cotton (common theme here), and anything that has mesh behind the knees or weird material for cutouts or decorative style. Like I said, your instagram ain't gonna be poppin' in the winter weather. (although those rainbow CW-X tights below are pretty cute AND functional! Me like!)
How to Save Money: Wear the same tights every day. Yes, I do this for everything! I'm broke. I have two CW-X pairs of pants and when I finish my run I take them off, hang them up and wear them again. I don't know about you, but my legs just simply don't sweat enough for me to care about washing them right away... when I feel like they are too dirty for another day, into the wash they go, and I change into my other pair.
Hats and Headgear: I hate hats. Hats are not meant for someone with the plethora of hair that I have. Even if I get one of those cute hats that has a ponytail hole, it doesn't line up correctly and I'm still a hot mess. Hats are not something I wear often (winter hats anyway)... So If I'm wearing a hat it's 9 times out of 10 something cheap, because I have yet to find a really good one anyway, so if I'm going to be uncomfortable in a hat, It's going to be one I didn't spend a lot on. I usually stick to masks, and buffs. Occasionally I have real ear warmers on (usually over or under the mask of buff, but not often.) There's really not too much to this one. I keep it very simple. The same buffs that I use for a regular headband,in the summer, I use in the winter. I have like 4 of the very same one and I wear two for every winter run. One for my neck and face, and one for my head. Otherwise I have my facemask. My issue with most face masks is that they, once again, can't accommodate my hair, so my hair ends up pulling the mask back and off my forehead. Because of this I wear the buffs as well. If I have a jacket with a hood, I will use that if it's wet, or I will put a cap on with a buff over my ears and around my neck. Don't wear just a headband in extreme cold. Heat escapes from your head even when you don't feel it.
How to Save Money: Here's a secret- Vaseline. I once did a science experiment with my 1st graders to demonstrate how fat insulates animals that hibernate. I had two thermometers and a bowl full of ice. One of the thermometers I covered in Vaseline (the fat)... and even I was totally surprised... Literally NO change in temperature! It protects you from the wind, and the cold, and the rain. The only downside is that some people have very sensitive skin and maybe would break out from this, but I haven't heard anyone that has... Just some people told me they probably would. I say it's worth the risk to find out. I break out without it because my skin gets so dry. So if you want to get the Dollar store bandanna instead of the more expensive buff, or just as back up when the buff is in the wash, make sure you have Vaseline on hand.
There's a common theme here: Wool. Get Wool. I'm a big fan of feetures socks, and they do have wool options, but they are much tighter than I like in the colder weather. For some reason the really tight socks don't seem to keep me as warm. I really like my smart wool socks that I bought for hiking. They come up higher on the ankle and aren't adding compression. Some people use compression socks to add a layer to their legs (and because they like compression socks, I can't understand that) but if you're wearing the CWX pants, you'll need something a little less tight. Something not made for compression necessarily. I'm not really too picky about my socks as long as my ankles are covered and I keep my feet dry, usually I don't have a problem with my feet... and if I do, I'm better off inside that day because that means it's -30 out...
How To Save Money: Vaseline is life when you are a runner... but especially in the cold, so if you need extra insulation, it's your best friend. It can also protect you from blisters if you run in cheap socks. The wool socks are pricey, and in the summer I don't want to wear my wool socks, so lots of times I just run in my usual running socks in the winter and I buy a cheap package of tube socks, and cut the ankle part off and put that on over the ankle of my shoe and over the bottom of my pant. This way I don't get blisters from running in cheap socks, but I also don't get frost bite on my ankles or break the bank buying socks I can only wear in one season.
Gloves and Mittens
The moment you've all been waiting for... because keeping hands warm is the number one complaint that I hear from other runners, and mine get warm enough to sweat. If you feel like spending money, I'm willing to bet that cycling gloves are really effective, but I wouldn't know, because I run in non-running gloves. They are big, they are bulky, but they are awesome. I have mittens from The Mitten Company which I just realized in making this post is under new ownership! (I thought they closed!) At the moment they do not have any mittens, but basically they recycle old sweaters and make them into awesomely cute mittens! These are for extreme temps or if you are pushing a stroller. My hands actually sweat in them even in negative degree windy days. I literally don't feel any cold in these things (unless they get wet) They are about $40. I also do a fold over mitten that isn't as warm, but is warmer than your typical running glove. I do have sleek expensive running gloves, however. My favorite are a craft brand because of the bright colors and the reflective quality. They are linked below. Safety is my primary concern!
How to Save Money: The Clark Family special (10 people under one roof,) is a huge money saver: buy cheap gloves, layer with socks (you can use the bottom part of the tube socks you cut for your ankles. But if you keep tube socks whole, you can keep your wrists warm, too.) Another trick my mom uses is Vaseline covered hands, latex gloves on top, slip those latex gloves into another pair of gloves, mittens (or socks), and you're good to go! You also come back with nice soft hands! (still not as good as the Mitten Company)
So there you have it, some tips and tricks to running in frigid temps and how to not die. I linked a lot of products in this blog, most of which, I have used but again, my stuff is old so the brand may have updated or changed it a bit! I will never post about a product I don't believe in! I do not make money from these companies, but if you purchase through one of my links you can help out me and my family just a little bit! Maybe I can get a new pair of socks!
I think I'll do a post on safety tips next!
What are your favorite products?
Learn anything new?
Happy New Year!!!!
Yesterday I blogged on my 2017 goals and how they went. It's just as important to reflect on your goals (even if they didn't go so well) in order to grow. I think the reflection phase is often more important than the actual goal setting in many ways. Of course we want to achieve our goals, but if we achieve all of them then maybe they weren't pushing us hard enough. If we achieve none of them, then maybe they were unrealistic and too hard.
Every year my husband and I have had a Goal Setting party with our running team on New Years Eve. This year we did it a little early so I had extra time to adjust my goals after some feedback from teammates as well as listening to their goals. I realized that sometimes I set a goal with really good intentions, but I'm so rigid and so eager to check off the goal, that I often lose sight of the intention or purpose of why I set a goal.
A big example this year is that I set a goal of running 1000 pregnancy miles (not one of my New Years Resolutions, but something I saw other people shooting for and wanted to do so also). This goal kept me very motivated throughout the difficult running days during my third trimester, BUT this goal also caused a lot of the struggles I'm dealing with now. There is no question that I should have hung up my running shoes at about 970 pregnancy miles because by the time I got to that mileage, my baby was big, sitting very low in my pelvis, and causing a lot of discomfort that my body said "no more". I stubbornly persevered for the sake of the tangible goal even though the intention behind the goal was to stay fit and healthy during my pregnancy so I could make a quick comeback.
I can't predict what is going to happen in the next 365 days! I'm not even sure where I'll be living... So the big question:
How do I set a goal, and measurable steps to get there, if I don't know what tomorrow will bring?
So for 2018, I'm focusing more on the intention rather than an annual goal. A year is just too damn long to know what you are able to do, or not do.... Some days or weeks, or months you can handle a lot more than others.... and your goal should reflect that need for flexibility in some way. You want your goals to be limitless, not limiting...
My Three Intentions for this year:
With one of my Christmas Gift Cards, I joined the cool kids club and bought one of Lauren Fleshman's Believe Training Journal's. Seeing people post pictures of their week got me used to the format it offers and made me start visualizing my own training and my own goals in this format.
I've set the BIG GOAL that will probably take more than one year (but you never know!)
Then I set another smaller goal that I'm willing to be flexible on if it's not serving the ^^BIG GOAL^^
Running a sub 3:00hr Boston at just 8 Months Postpartum with all the setbacks I already have had is still *possible* but I want to be smart about it and if it's better for me to train through this marathon instead of doing a full taper, than I'm willing to do that. I'm going to give it a shot! Boston is very unpredictable in terms of weather, so I'll control the variables I can, and leave the rest up to God.
And here's where I set a goal to set myself up to achieve those other two goals. In a strange way this is the *big* 2018 goal. The thing I am going to do EVERYDAY. It's measurable but flexible.
It's quite simple actually. Every day might look exactly the same for a while... but some goals (like morning and night routine) might not need to be goals once I get in the swing of things and I can start setting goals like "Myrtle Drills" or "Do Laundry" (see previous post). No one can be perfect all the time there will be days I missed my alarm, or didn't have time for a smoothie, or had a day off and decided to forego something. THAT'S FINE! I can adjust my daily goal to my daily needs so that I'm never failing. What if I'm sick? no sense in running 12 miles if it's not serving me. I can set a goal like "2 hour nap" or "see the doctor" if that's what will be best for me. I am going to let the list of intentions DRIVE the daily goals. Also, If I so choose, I can have 4 daily goals, or 5! If I'm really lacking motivation? I can set the goal of getting changed into my running clothes. I know this seems like I'm over simplifying things... but maybe that's the point? How often do we put off the simple day to day tasks? If we really believe it's the little things that make the big things possible, we should focus on the little things and the rest will fall into place.
Want to get a Believe Journal of your own? Buy it here and support my blog in the process!
Welcome to my blog! I've been blogging for a long time on various platforms. My intention has never been to reach the masses, but rather to give myself a chance to reflect and journal. I feel it at least challenges me to be somewhat coherent, however you can expect ramblings and grammatical incorrectness here!
I've recently been diagnosed with CECS and fPAES and had it treated with BOTOX of all things... So I suspect to see more and more people looking for answers with that in the future and hope to continue blogging so there will be easy to access follow-ups as that was helpful for me.
NOTE: Apologies that some of the pictures incorrectly load sometimes. I try to keep up with the glitches, but can't always! Hope it doesn't impact the blog experience for all the PAES visitors.