As much as I want to believe anything is possible, I'm a realist, and the reality is that this is just not true. I expressed a similar sentiment in my most recent instagram post. Love me or hate me, I was coming at you with some pretty raw emotion having torn(?... I really don't know) my calf for the third time in 9 months. (sidenote: How is it that I was able to run and race pregnant with no problems and now I'm a hot mess? My odds. ha!) There are a plethora of variables that dislodge you from achieving your goals. There are a million and one reasonable excuses, and other commitments that can keep you from your own personal "Olympic Trials Standard" (you know, that perfectly out of reach goal that you are stretching and grasping for), but there are two major major variables that I'm referring to as Thresholds that will come into play at some point.
Talent and Time
Talent is a confusing word in the world of running. In general, we all know talent means someone who has a natural inherent skill. Running is so much more complex than we give it credit for. The word Talent, in my opinion and from my experience, is really just a bowl of multiple skills necessary to excel in the sport. So, in theory, you can be talented in one aspect and not in another and still find success... but the more you have, the better you are.
Let me explain: In my years of running this is how I see it... Talent in running is like a bowl. Your raw talent (what we typically think of as talent; Your v02max) is your bowl. How much raw talent you have determines how big your bowl is. But you know the saying "Hard Work beats Talent when Talent doesn't work Hard". Talent is useless. A bowl is useless until you use it and fill it with something. What do you fill your talent bowl with?
Here are some examples of other skills or talents that are typically important to have in your talent bowl:
1. Work Ethic
2. Physical Toughness
3. Mental Toughness
4. Stress Management
5. Time Management
These are all stand alone skills that not every Raw Talented runner possesses. Just as you can only improve your God Given running talent so much, you can only improve on other skills to a certain degree, too. Some skills, like work ethic, can be improved upon better than others. Mental Toughness, for example, is an area I feel is very hard to gain if it is not inherently there. (There's nothing tangible to help measure mental toughness, so how do you really know if you improve? and if you're not sure if you are improving upon a skill, how do you know if what you are doing is "working")
Then there is durability. I didn't include durability above, because I see it differently. Durability; What is your talent bowl made of? How much of the above can it hold without spilling or breaking, or dropping something? (think of a bowl made of straw vs. papermache, vs clay vs glass vs. plastic vs stainless steel.) How much do you respect it and take care for it? It doesn't matter how big your bowl is (how much raw talent you have) or how much you put in your bowl (all those subset skills) if it's just going to break or leak or fall apart before you are able to use what you're storing inside.
So it's not the raw talent that really changes. The size of your bowl is generally fixed (maybe some slight modifications can be made, but nothing major). It's what you fill your bowl with and how you protect and take care of your bowl that produce results (some require more maintenance than others. eh'em). As much as we like to believe our potential is endless, it's not. Once your bowl is full there's not much more you can do. There are always exceptions, but generally speaking, if you see someone dropping 30 minutes to an hour in their time, its not because they beat genetics, it's not because they were never a runner, it's because they suddenly became aware that this talent was there. They found this big ol' family bowl that hidden in the back of the pantry somewhere and started filling it up with that other stuff they naturally had or had learned over time.
The good news (depending on your perspective) is that most people are not going to hit this threshold in their lifetime. Most people will never fill their bowl to the top, so this is amazing because forever in your life you will always have the ability to improve upon something. keep on grinding and don't give up!
With that being said, the bad news is that the reason you will likely not maximize (truly maximize) your potential in your lifetime is because there is another threshold: Time. With each passing day, the durability of your body declines, which means holding onto all those skills you've mastered gets harder and requires more work. If we had endless youth, and endless amount of time, think about what you would be able to fill your bowl with! There's a benefit to age. One study showed that a 18 year olds ran similar times in the marathon to 55-60 year old's, this is likely because experience also matters so much is learned with age and maturity. Research also showed that you can still run like your 20 well into your 40's.... that's amazing! But with that being said, your body is still losing muscle mass, and overall the stability of your bowl is declining. You are continuing to fill it up with experience after experience, after experience... but you are constantly racing against time. Will you have enough time to fill your bowl before it breaks?
Why am I writing this? Am I trying to crush everyone's dreams? NO... I guess I'm writing this to refocus myself, I need to give myself a visual for what is going on right now. I'm frantically tossing shit in a bowl because I'm fearful of time beating me... Meanwhile I'm wasting my time because the only thing I should be focused on is healing. Truly healing. So that's what I will do. Meanwhile, I don't have to worry about not gaining anything. I think injuries build a lot of that mental toughness. That part I said was really hard to come by if it wasn't already there, so there is always always something to be gained. As frustrated as I am, I'm going to focus on that positive, and hang onto it. I plan to take time off until I am out of school and have weened Maebel a little bit more. I'm done thinking about my goals for a while, I just want to focus on my family and my happiness. I'm not going to keep filling my bowl up with stress and anger, and frustration. Good Vibes only!
"This was a good one to miss"
It's what I keep hearing, and what I keep telling myself... But it's the furthest furthest thing from the truth. The sting in my heart over missing this once in a lifetime race of epic proportions is worse than the sting in the hands and toes and defrosting legs of all the runners who braved the conditions on Marathon Monday.
This Hurts. It hurts bad.
My only consolation is going to be a baller marathon time in the future, but if that never comes, if my body always remains in this state of too injured to run and race fast, but not injured enough to not try at all... I'm never going to recover from this.
Growing up as a runner, in Boston especially, everyone has their stories about where they were when...
Where they were when the weather was in the 90's and the field was allowed to defer, where they were in 2007 when it was a Nor'Easter (also the day of the Virginia Tech Shooting), where they were when the Bombs went off, where they were when Meb won, where they were when the fastest marathon was run in Boston (not to be confused with the World Record. Boston is not eligible for a World Record due to the point to point, net downhill, and tailwind nature of the course. Of course we all know now about the sub 2 hour attempt that is faster than the time run in Boston), Now this. Where were you when.... when Desi won, when a blue collared man who has run in a Panda Suit won (Yuki is now my hero in life, can I be him?), where were you when the weather was so epic, and so bad, that 56% of the elite field dropped out. Where were you when the Boston Marathon finishing medal meant more than any other finishing medal from years past?
I can tell you where I was.
I was freezing my ass off on the sidelines with a red bib number in my bag (Wave 1, Corral 6) wishing I was freezing my ass off in the street with my comrades.
I was made for the cold, wind, rainy conditions. When it snows, I'm running outside. It rains? I'm outside, wind? outside, Thunder and lightning? Outside (although I do wait this out often because it passes so quickly... but if time is not on my side, I'm out there...). One of my favorite things about running is the extreme conditions. This is one of the reasons I favor Cross Country running over everything else and why I plan to spend my running retirement in the mountains and trails... because as much as I love to compete and go fast, being one with the Earth and feeling Mother Natures power and some how channeling that power through me is my favorite. When Mother Nature is pouring down on you the way it was Monday? Ahhhh! HOW DID I MISS THIS?!???! How did I miss battling against and with the most powerful force of all time? This is not to say I would have done well, or that I would have enjoyed it in reality, or would have finished at all.... but just give me a chance!
This was the worst one to miss.... but the force inside me grows stronger with every missed opportunity... Some days I wake up with the fire still burning and I think "Why wont that shit go out?" With every set back, and every obstacle I've had attempting to put out my fire, why is it still there?! GO THE FUCK AWAY!!!
Do you know how much easier my life would be if I could just put that fire out? If I could stop caring? If I could just put my energy into being a better version of societies perfect mom or wife, or employee (the one with her shit together and nice hair, nails done, kids appropriately dressed, cooked dinners, clean car, on time for work, clean house, groomed yard, and a bank account that doesn't go into the negatives because of race entry fees and physical therapy bills)... Why can't that be me? Why can't I just forget about all this Olympic Trials bull shit?
For those of you who are feeling Post Boston Blues because you didn't have the race you wanted, I totally understand that. Let that rain and all the frustration light your fire instead of put it out. I don't know when I'll get to run Boston, but if Mother Nature doesn't make it Epic that day, I plan to.
Here are some of the things we used to stay dry while spectating at the Boston Marathon. Purchasing from any of the Amazon links included in my blog helps offset the costs of all the annoying physical therapy and treatments to get my hip up and running again. Every little bit helps, and if you see something you were going to get anyway, why not! Thanks Everyone! And congrats runners!
I'm trying to make sense of it all. Maybe I'm just not a marathoner... or maybe I just keep rushing the process repeatedly because I'm always up against a deadline that is fastly approaching.... maybe I pick fastly approaching deadlines because I don't have the attention span to make a goal that is far away.... I don't know... What I do know is that I've had the same calf injury derail or change my marathon plans for 3 different marathons... now 4.... and I'd be a fool to pretend that this time is different and it will somehow, miraculously, yield a different result simply because it's Boston.
After having Raea I had a beautiful build-up to the Vermont City Marathon (VCM) which was just shy of 10 months postpartum and the build up followed a 22 month hiatus from running due to knee injury, knee surgery, and pregnancy. Other than a small set back in February, everything went perfect, only to have it taken away in the last 10 days due to a calf pull that is basically identical to the one I'm dealing with now. I wasn't as familiar with the injury as I am now so I made a lot of bad choices. I tried to test it out and run way too many times on it for starters, every single time I ran on it I was catapulted back to the state of the original injury thus prolonging the time off from training all together. I signed up for a marathon that took place a month after Vermont thinking that I'd have enough time to recover and run a BQ there (because I thought a BQ was easy for me, I now know better than to use the word easy in relationship to anything marathon related ever again) but the only way I knew to trust the calf was to give it a solid 3 weeks of no running. I toed the line at the Great Cranberry Island (GCI) marathon without having run for an entire month (with the exception of the mile here or mile there that I foolishly attempted in that first week). This was not a good idea.
I set strict drop-out criteria for myself so I wouldn't cause more damage... The moment I was sure I couldn't BQ I would drop out. This was a last chance for Boston 2017 and all my family plans were centered around Boston 2017... so I really wanted that BQ. I should have dropped out at mile 6, the first sign of trouble, but I persevered until 18 when I knew with absolute certainty I wouldn't make it to Boston. I had to stop and walk. To my surprise it wasn't the calf that caused me to stop, but rather my IT band. Cross training can keep you fit, but it can not keep you prepared for the amount of impact you will endure across 26.2 miles. Vermont was flat, I trained for flat. Great Cranberry Island was not and I was still recovering from a knee surgery... It wasn't happening.
I'm looking at a very similar timeline right now. Here is a side-by-side comparison (although if you are reading it on a phone, which you most likely are, you wont get the full effects of the side by side! , sorry!)
Why am I even considering Boston? I know the result... I know this isn't going to go well. I thought last week that stopping at the earliest sign of trouble would make a difference, but obviously it doesn't. I've said from the very beginning that I was willing to sacrifice Boston for the bigger picture... am I?
From the very beginning all signs were not lining up for Boston, but it was worth a try since I was registered and... It's Boston... I still had plenty of time... At this point, however, all signs lead me back to where it all began: Vermont City. As I was writing this I stood up to help my daughter with something and a magazine fell off the table and this is what I saw:
Boston will have to wait, I've got bigger goals. I'm going to see if I can get as close to Sub3 as possible in Vermont and get as fit and strong as possible for the races after. I'm all in and throwing all I have at this. Now my Boston goal is to run with the elite women for my first Boston ever (which probably wont be the greatest experience, because I'll be in no mans land and the crowd will be thinner... but it would be ironic)
I've taken the instagram app off my phone because I need some time to process this. I'm not sure when I'll be back on- maybe tomorrow, maybe next week- Maybe after Boston... Maybe once I'm up and running again because then I can at least have a more positive outlook and not be as affected by the Boston posts.... maybe by the end of the night because I've been so transparent this whole time it feels weird to put up walls... But I needed a second to gather my thoughts on this without the influx of positive messages and well wishes and people saying "you can do it" when I'm now realizing it's just not what I want. So, in the meantime, I will keep blogging so if you are not subscribed, you should do that!
Some other Boston and Vermont related posts in case you missed them: Spoiler Alert, they all somehow have a calf injury mentioned in them. Not sure how....
I posted Last week Late so if you missed it click the link to check it out! Last week was my first week running more than 5 days... Looks like 4 days is the winning formula for me right now. Not my best week, Not my worst, but depending on how I recover from this week, the rest of my training may be completely different or my Road to Boston takes a big turn. My body continues to send me signs that running a marathon at 8 months postpartum isn't it's favorite thing. If it were any race but Boston, I would probably decided at this point that a later marathon would be better.... but it is Boston, and somehow, even though I've only completed two marathons, and both were 30 minutes ahead of the Qualifying standard, I can't seem to get my Ass from Hopkington to Boston. At this point, if I am unable to run Boston, I wont be able to do 2019 either (unless I travel for a summer marathon that isn't gross) so I'm just doing the best I can. This week I almost lost all hope.... and as I say each week, I'm not out of the woods. This time I"m not even close.
Monday: I had a cross Training day, so I did the stronger Yoga. I like going to this class because we try some really hard and fun new poses. So far I've been pretty successful with all of them (although I can't remember the names of them). The instructor said "What is great about these poses is if you are too strong, you're not flexible enough to do them, and if you are too flexible, you are not strong enough. We are trying to find balance between strength and flexibility" This really resonated with me, and when I was able to get right up into the pose (not in it's full expression, but in the way the instructor was telling us to start with) I thought to myself "this is a really good sign. I'm flexible. I'm strong. Exactly what I need to be." But I was still feeling under the weather quite a bit, and I was getting a cough. Boo!
Tuesday: OFF I had today completely off because I still wasn't feeling well and I was barely sleeping because of the cough and the baby. Suddenly Maebel does not want to sleep at all unless I am holding her. Sleep regression is kicking my ass. Anytime I've tried to let her "cry it out" she wakes up Raea.... and then I've got two kids up... and My husband is gone again. This day off was needed.
Wednesday: 7 miles. Big snowstorm coming in so I had canceled school. I was supposed to go to PT but I had to choose between running and PT for babysitter purposes. My mom came to the house and watched the girls as I went for a really slow jog up and down the insane hills near my house before the snow started to stick. I ran like 8:40 pace. Ugh. Somehow my husbands flight wasn't cancelled and he made it home around 1am. I was nervous so again I missed out on sleep that I very much needed.... and then there was Maebel.... cryfest all night unless she was in the bed. WTF child. Seems easy enough, bring her in the bed, but I only half sleep when she's in the bed since she wants me as a pacifier. I was too sick and tired to deal with her. This girl has no self soothing skills because I have just done whatever it takes to survive most nights. I keep saying I'll sleep train her after the Boston Marathon when I'm on school vacation... because I'm a working mom training for a marathon. I can't afford to miss any more sleep! But I'm missing sleep at this point anyway because I'm so annoyed nursing her at night. Before teeth it was fine, but she's vicious and bites me all night. I can't take it anymore. I need to do some aggressive sleep training and conditioning like I did with Raea... but it's just exhausting. Meanwhile, I've been potty training Raea for what seems to be a year, but she isn't a fan of going potty for the babysitter so we haven't really buckled down. Another thing I say I'll do after Boston on Vacation... but in the meantime she wakes up in the middle of the night to tell me she needs the potty pretty much every night. The problem is she wakes up having already wet her diaper... so she sits on the potty waiting to produce but there's nothing there. She wants a sticker so bad she wont get off the potty until she can show me she went. The middle of the night in the Germain Household is full of failed behavior modifications from the person who modifies behavior for work. But everyone shoud get to take a break from their "work" to sleep! #teamnosleep is not in favor of mom running a good marathon right now. Still coughing, still sick. I just need sleep.
Thursday: 8 Miles We got about 16 inches of snow, but by mid afternoon it was sunny out and the roads were melted and clear. I lacked motivation. I was tired. I slept a little extra since Matt was home. I just can't seem to kick this cough without sleep. Because of this, and the snow, we pushed the workout to Friday. From where I'm sitting now, I don't know if it was better or worse that we moved the workout. I guess I'll never know. These miles were 9:11 pace though... I couldn't imagine running faster. So tired.
Friday: 8 miles total... but was supposed to be more like 12. Today was my workout:
Looking at the workout, Maybe I should have gone slower, maybe things wouldn't have gone south so quick? But I can't help think that no matter the pace I wasn't heading in the right direction. How do you run an exact pace for 1:00 intervals... or for 12 minute intervals. The GPS watch can only give you so much information and really you shouldn't be a slave to it. You have to go off of feel. This is the problem I keep having is that my cardiovascular system has gotten fit much quicker than my physical body. I'm very excited about my progress because 6:40 pace was EASY even after the faster intervals (which also felt easy. I can't believe they were that fast, honestly) I ran all through pregnancy so my lungs got to do the work everyday, but my body has changed so much in that time. My center of gravity has changed, my weight has changed, and due to the extra pumping, I've probably needed more nutrients than I maybe have been getting. I can't seem to catch a break! At exactly 6 minutes into my 8 minute interval I felt a cramp in my calf and I immediately stopped. Having had my calf "blow up" on me so many times I knew that the next few steps would be the end of the road here. A calf injury puts me out for 3 weeks minimum, but usually closer to 5. I stopped before I really pulled anything. I think I kept this to a very mild strain. Of course this was the one day I ran phoneless, but fortunately my Aunt lives right on the route and she was just a few houses down so I stopped by and called my husband. I don't know if you are noticing a trend here, but my husband has been absolutely heroic throughout this training. We sort of had a pact going that he would put my running before his own for a while as long as I do everything to support his career. This is why when he is traveling and gone I try not to get upset at all. He put his career on hold for our family when we had Raea by staying at home with her and only working part time and now it's his turn to thrive with his career. I put my running on hold for our family both times I was pregnant, and now it's my turn to thrive there. We both took this "pact" very serious and I can't even tell you how impossible this would all be without him. Anyway, I also foolishly only packed half tights and it was squalling out and really got cold. I felt really warm, but I know feeling warm doesn't necessarily translate to warm muscles.
Saturday: Massage, ART: Today was a scheduled off day anyway, so I Matt and I have been having someone come to our house to do Massage and ART as opposed to booking an appointment somewhere. It's really hard with the kids to schedule something that we have a sitter for. Chris has two kids and has been doing in home treatments so his schedule can be flexible for his own family needs. It's great because he doesn't mind the kids playing on the floor while he works. Also, in this case I wouldn't have been able to get an appointment anywhere else because I had both girls and Matt was working. I'm very thankful for all the people who have been flexible for me and for my goals. Thanks to so many people I'm able to do all of this without having to sacrifice much time away from my girls or without needing to call for a sitter for an appointment. I feel that what Chris did was very effective, I'm just not in a place where I can fully trust my body yet. I'd rather have another 5 days off (which I don't think I'll need) than 5 weeks (dear Lord, NO!).
Sunday: 90 Minutes on the Bike: I was supposed to have 15 miles today, but instead I'm going to cross train on the bike for 90 minutes. I can't imagine I will have much to report so I feel comfortable blogging it before I do it. I don't want our whole day to be taken up by workouts so I write this post as Maebel naps and Matt runs... and I'll workout while the girls are sleeping tonight so I don't miss any more family time.
In case you missed them!
Check out some of these products that will *hopefully* help me return to running next week! I never post anything I don't believe in, so if it's something you'd like to try, purchasing from here helps me out just a little bit! Thanks in advance, you guys have been awesome!
I'm a little late posting this week... I've been.... Drained to say the least.... During training, we try to control all the variables. There is a long long list of things I do to control as many variables in training as possible. Avoid injury, illness, and any setback in between. I Stretch, Ice, Foam Roll, See a chiropractor, got to PT, to strength training, stability work, keep track of the mileage on my shoes, take epsom salt baths, track my water intake, track my food intake: am I eating the right food and enough food to fuel my body? am I sleeping enough (for me this answer is no. Every day it is no.... but not for lack of trying) This past week I had a major set back, and it was one that I didn't see coming and couldn't really prepare for. It is something only a breastfeeding or pumping mom could understand. The duration of either of those things is irrelevant... 2 days or 2 years... either of or both of those things for any amount of time, you, and only you, can fully understand the gravity of losing over 300oz of breast milk. Even worse in the midst of marathon training. So before I get into the weekly wrap up, here's a quick crash course on breastfeeding from one mother to another (Disclaimer: My knowledge on breastfeeding is from personal experience and from knowledge I've gained from discussing with other mothers and from Dr. Google when I'm freaking out about stuff at 12am with a baby attached to me... I am not an expert!) for anyone who may be pregnant and considering it (or anyone who is just interested in learning my perspective on it). It seems like it's not a big piece of my training, but literally everything I do, I need to consider breastfeeding.
When you breastfeed, you are using your own energy to produce food to sustain another life. In this sense, it is like exercise. Energy in (food you eat) energy out (exercise... except in this case milk via a pump or a nursing baby)... This is why breastfeeding moms claim to get back into shape or down to their pre-baby weight faster. You are literally burning calories while sitting on the couch.
Breast milk (theoretically) is supply and demand. The more your baby eats (or the more you pump) the more you produce. When your milk first comes in your body doesn't necessarily know how much to make yet. I happen to be one of these super over supplied people. So instead of pumping between feedings to tell my body to produce more milk, I had to do the opposite, pump just enough to relieve the pain, but not so much that I communicated to my body that I needed all this milk (no joke, Porn Star boobs except filled with liquid, which is heavier than fat tissue.... not good for running! and also left me exposed for mastitis... an infection that is worse fatigue than any flu you've ever had) Not every breastfeeding mom will experience their milk coming in the same way... but for me those beginning weeks are a painful balance of trying to reduce the amount I make without causing an infection (side note: I got two breast infections in the first 2 months on my right side. As a result she has a high preference for the left side... So my left side produces 2-3 times more milk.)
So since I knew I was going to train for a marathon, I knew I wasn't going to have the energy or be able to keep up with the caloric demand to produce the amount of milk I would need to sustain a 6 month or 7 month old. All they do is eat! So I took advantage of that high supply from the early stages and pumped extra until I had a big buffer. Worst case scenario, I have extra milk when Maebel is all done, and I donate it. Upon returning to work your supply will drop unless you pump as often as you feed at home (and even then it will probably drop. Babies are way more effective at getting milk than the pump). As a teacher, there's not a whole lot of time to pump. One and done for me every day. In the beginning that was fine because Maebel still didn't eat that much but as she got older, and I fed her less since I was at work, and as my training increased and her appetite increased, we've had to dip into that big freezer stash a little. No big deal. That's what it's there for.... Until it's not there.
So, Losing the stash in the freezer meant that I now had to find extra time to pump in order to increase my supply so that I could provide for my baby. It meant that I needed to eat more, drink more, sleep more (but yet, the best time to pump seemed to be when the baby is sleeping because it minimally effects her eating schedule...). Also, research shows that all the nutrients the baby needs will be taken from the mother. So if I am low on iron, I will be lower on iron. My body prioritizes for the baby, so when I said this week was draining, I meant literally. YES I could just supplement, but my baby is not thrilled with taking the bottle, and I feel like if I went down that road I would probably get lazy and eventually stop earlier than Maebel is ready. She is starting to eat solids, but not as a supplement for breastmilk yet. Every baby is different, neither of my babies ever warmed up to the bottles completely, so as a mother and as someone who doesn't generally have a milk supply issue, the only reason for NOT continuing to exclusively provide breastmilk was out of my own laziness or poor time management. Yes, this is hard, but I can do hard things. Anyway... That is a long Preface to what is to come... Spoiler Alert... I expel more energy than I have this week.
Monday: 6.3 Miles, 51 minutes on the treadmill. Matt was gone from very early in the morning. For some reason when he told me his schedule, I thought his flight was Monday night, so I thought I could run in the morning and go to PT in the afternoon, but his flight was in the morning. Treadmill it is. This is the day I discovered all the milk was gone. At some point during vacation we lost power in the garage, and I didn't know because there was no need to go to the freezer for anything since I was just feeding Maebel directly. When the treadmill wouldn't start I realized I needed to reset the power, and I also realized I couldn't hear the buzz of the freezer. I opened it and everything was 100% thawed. This set a negative tone for the week. For me, simply completing this run was a huge success. All I could think about was going inside to count what I had for Milk and starting to pump to increase supply right away.
Tuesday: 5.2 miles on the treadmill, 45 minutes, 15 minutes on the bike. This was aweful. I had horrible shin pain the entire run from the previous day. I had to run 7 miles with 30 second strides at 3k-5k pace across the last two miles. I just couldn't do it. I finished on the bike. I pumped 6 extra times today and without producing much more milk. I had faith in a few days I'd start producing more, but the extra pumping was exhausting. Plus, I'm single parenting. Ever pump while cooking? I have.
Wednesday: This was originally supposed to be my workout day, but I couldn't do another treadmill run and with my husband still gone, my coach and I agreed a cross training day was the best. I did one hour on the bike. and did more pumping... Starting to feel a little depleted. the kids weren't exactly sleeping well. Maebel especially. Due to the extra pumping, I think there were times she was not actually eating as much as she needed to make it through the night, so more frequent feedings and wake ups... and if I even attempted to let her cry it out, Raea would hear and get up as well. It wasn't a fun time.
Thursday: Workout- 2 x 15 minutes 1x10 minutes, with 3 minute recovery between, 11 miles total. This was hard. I was really run down all day, I could feel I was fighting off a small illness, but it was important I got this in. It was warm out, but lonely on the rail trail, and weird for it to feel so spring like and warm, and yet the sun sets so quick. I was able to do the repeats right on pace but at times I felt like I was going to fall asleep standing up. Also.... more pumping....
Friday: OFF. Praise the LORD! But I had a shit ton of school work to do so I stayed up until 1am working on it since I knew there was no way I would have the energy prepping for the 20 miler.
Saturday: The most annoying 8 miler ever. I'm just wishing this week away each and every day. I wanted so badly to not do this run because again, I've got this strange cold coming on (I keep telling myself if I sleep it will go away, but sleep is a foreign thing with the two kids a this point in the week) I ran really slow and also did a super hilly run. I was just pleased it was over.... But I still had only a vague plan for my long run the following day. Stressin.
Sunday: 20 miles 8:01/mi: I had a mild panic attack the night before. SO much anxiety around my sleep. I wanted to sleep SO bad because I felt like I was getting sick, I hadn't slept well in a long time, and I had this big 20 miler the next day.... but of course.... Maebel had the worst night of sleep ever. I said some things I really shouldn't have (and certainly didn't mean) in relationship to being a mother. I had never felt so much stress weighing on me. Matt offered to feed her with the bottle but due to the milk supply issue, that only stressed me out worse. You couldn't imagine how much the milk effected me this week. Originally we talked about my Mother in Law watching the kids for this, but we took too long to confirm and she made other plans. Then we talked about me meeting Matt at work (one hour away) and me running from there... I talked about my dad watching them while I ran as part of a 30k my mom was doing... but that's just too many hours for my dad and also I was encouraged to stay on a flatter route this week. This 30k course is NOT flat! The final option, which is what we went with was my mom watching them in the afternoon after her 30k... I thought she would be home before my husband was, but it was pretty much the same time. She watched them anyway and what was nice was Matt dropped fuel off for me. I did an out and back and he met me at the 10 mile turn around and ran the last 10 with me. It literally was life changing to know I didn't need to be by myself for that many hours running. I've just been in a mental funk all week and the thought of nearly 3 hours by myself on the roads was... horrible... . Despite all the setbacks, this turned out to be a pretty good run. Once I took that first gel with caffeine I was feeling much better (about 5 miles in). The week turned out to be okay too, although from where I'm sitting now I definitively over did it by not sleeping enough. One day at a time though, Everyone keeps saying Boston is so close, but a lot can happen 40ish days out... both good and bad.
Extra: relentlessly pumping, PT, and Chiropractor one time.
Sorry for posting this one so late. It was a crazy busy week and I barely made time to take care of my body let alone take care of writing about taking care of my body. You get it!
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Another successful week, although writing this right now I am quite sore! But lots of recovery planned to get myself through week 9! This week was my school vacation, and although I have more time on my hands, in many ways Vacations tend to be the hardest for me to fit in a run. Even if I don't go anywhere (which, I never do....) I fall off my schedule and that makes it a little easier to get a bit lazy. Also, Matt planned his work trips around my vacations because we work really hard to have the kids with one of us as much as possible. As a result, when I have a stretch of days off, he has to make up for work he didn't get done because he was home with the girls. It's nice that one of us has a flexible schedule! I surprised myself a lot this week... I can't believe how much I'm progressing with still only 4 days per week. Next week will be a real test as I we will be adding a run into the week. Hopefully I am able to stay in one piece.
Monday: Matt was home today as he is most Mondays. I think he met someone for something in the morning and when he came home I did 45 minutes on the bike. After that I spent most of the afternoon being lazy with the girls. I love our lazy days! They still love to snuggle and so do I! Especially the day after a 16 miler! Later on I met my friend Chrissy for yoga at Metrowest. This yoga class is really helping me. It is becoming more apparent to me that a lot of my pain is related to alignment because I feel significantly better after yoga. When I got home we all ate and then Matt and I tag teamed bed time. I took an Epsom Salt bath after.
Tuesday 8 Miles: Matt had a meeting for work that went longer than it was supposed to. I had PT at 1:30 but I had planned on running before PT so I could be evaluated on fatigued muscles (it takes about an hour for my leg to really start bothering me) but unfortunately I wasn't able to do my run before. It was mid 60's today so I was really itching to get out! PT eval went well. I had a lot of really obvious weaknesses... I just hope it works! (Note: I've had a lot of requests to share my PT exercises. I'm hoping to make a video soon, but I'm very busy! I'll do my best to get to it! I just simply don't have time today since I'm returning to work tomorrow. I will post on my instagram story and profile when it is done) When I finished at Physical Therapy, I headed right over to my favorite place to run! The West Boylston Railtrail! I knew there was a good chance there was still some ice and snow on it, but I thought it was worth the risk! It wasn't horrible, but definitely enough to slow me down. I had an 8 mile run and it took forever. I was also bonking pretty bad since I wasn't planning to run after PT and didn't have enough to eat. I thought a lot about how lucky I am to have Matt. I was away from the kids for 3 consecutive hours between the PT and the run, and it doesn't phase him at all. Sometimes I feel guilty, like I should have no free time to myself, but I think my girls are very lucky to have equal relationship with their mother and their father. We truly are a team and we truly share roles and each have 100% involvement in the decisions for the girls and in their lives. (Although, I do have the added responsibility of breastfeeding and pumping, Matt takes care of the diaper genie 100% of the time to make up for it!)
Wednesday: Workout: 2 (4x800) 10 miles total. My prescribed pace was 7:00 and dropping to 6:30 the fastest... Well I did this on a track without proper markings so I couldn't tell what pace I was going and I hit 6:30 pace right out of the gate with a 3:15 800. Oops. So I tried slowing down the next time. Fail: 3:13. These were feeling really easy. At this point I had a sense of the track and slowed down to a 3:22. Now I was back on pace for what I was supposed to do for that interval. 3:19 for the last repeat of the first set. The second set I was supposed to get progressively faster. I was naturally so far ahead of pace that for these next 4 I ran conservatively but made sure to get faster with each interval. 3:14, 3:12, 3:09. 3:06... This was easy. I was surprised it was so easy. 10 miles total with Warm up and Cool down. Matt left for Colorado when I arrived home. I took the girls out in the yard for some fresh air and did some raking. It was so warm!
Thursday: 60 minutes on the bike. This was a crazy day. Especially after a crazy night (see text message with husband below.... Lots of typos, it was late and I was frazzled!)
It was a long night of cleaning the bathroom and trying to convince Maebel that it was still bedtime even though Raea was up earlier. I was tired the next morning, my sister lives about 1:40 from me, and my mom and I planned to visit her and my 5 month old Neice. I spent all morning packing Raea and Maebel up and getting them ready to go (I thought they'd sleep in because of the late night.... #fail). Just as I head out the door we notice it's icing out. It's also supposed to snow.... We cancel our plans with Mary but I still had to go to the bank because I needed a temporary card. My debit card had some fraudulent charges (they were returned) I needed to get some food! Since Matt was gone I had to take both girls to the bank, this was not easy! But they waited so nicely! Then we visited my mom for lunch and headed home. I stopped at the chiropractor and brought the girls in with me for the first time. Maebel is in the carseat still so she's easy, but Raea I worried about. She sat so nicely and just waited! Knowing I can easily get through an appointment with the two of them ensures I can continue to get adjusted 2 x per week even if Matt is gone. We had a nice dinner and then I got on the bike once they were sleeping.
Friday: Operation visit Mary part 2, 4 miles. My mom said she would watch the girls for an hour before we headed to visit my sister Mary since there was no snow today. My mother goes to church with my Grandmother every Friday so at the last minute she changed plans and wanted to bring my Grandmother up to New Hampshire, this meant I had to put off my run until after the visit. When you need help getting your run in, you have to be willing to be flexible around everyone else's schedule. We had a lot of fun visiting Mary, and on my way home it started raining and so I thought I should check the weather for my long run on Sunday. Freezing rain. Two weeks ago I really struggled with the freezing rain and Saturday looked so warm I texted my coach to switch days. Since I hadn't run yet, he shortened my run to 4 miles instead of 8 and agreed a Saturday long run was better. I was actually excited to have a (short) run in the rain so I could try out my new On running jacket. Yes, my husband works for the company, but bias aside, this is the best hood I've ever worn. You really need to check it out!
Saturday: 18 miles with alternating 1, 2, 3 minute pickups at the start of each mile from 6-18. This was crazy. I was supposed to meet a friend but probably better she wasn't feeling well and couldn't come. It took some of the pressure off with the logistics. I planned to run the Boston course on Sunday after Matt was home but switching to Saturday made more sense with the weather but not necessarily more sense with Matts schedule. Here's how it went down:
8:30-Matts flight lands in Boson, ma, I begin getting girls ready and myself ready to go.
9:30-Sunglass on, Girls and I leave and head for Ashland, Matt picks me up gel at a store in Boston and heads for Ashland
10:45-Matt and I meet at a playground just next to the course in Ashland. I get my fuel ready in my brand new Nathan belt for myself and hydration stuff ready for him while he lets Raea play. We vaguely plan out what parts of the course he should stop for me.
11:15-I pump and prep bottles for Maebel. Raea continues to play (she will be in the car for most of my run so we wanted her to get lots of play time in)
12:00- (Mile 4ish of my run) Matt give me my first water
12:30- (Mile 8ish) Matt give me my second water and reminds me to stay on Rt 16 in Wellesley. Totally would have screwed that up! Matt goes to Whole Foods in Wellesley with Raea and Maebel for lunch. It's right on the course.
1:20ish?-Matt makes sure I don't miss the turn at the Fire station in Newton (I may be dumb, but that is the one part of the course I felt confident about...) But I was really happy to see him drive by when I was crossing highways... I was a bit concerned I missed something. Wellesley was so packed I could have lost.
A little later... I have no concept of time at this point: Matt attempts to take a picture of me at the top of heartbreak hill... but my phone was wet under the case so #fail.
A little later, I make it to BC!
After I finished Matt picked me up and brought me right over to Brookline Marathon Sports. I was able to Roll out and he could make sure the store didn't need anything for him and check in to see how the shoes are doing there etc. (that's basically what is job is, visit specialty running stores and talk about shoes) I fed Maebel while there.
Right next to the store is a vegan smoothie place so Matt got me some food and we drove back to Ashland.
From Ashland we drove in separate cars home. I stopped to pick up a couple bags of ice and pints of ice cream. Pulled into the driveway at 5:00pm. Long day, Long Run, #worthit
I have lots to do for school today. I plan to take an Epsom Salt bath and do some yoga at home. Maybe 30 minutes or so.... I also plan to eat a LOT of food!
Thanks for your Support! Especially on my most recent Instagram post for my long run! <3 If you'd like to support my blog you can purchase a T-shirt from my store or buy anything you might need from the Amazon Links posted at the bottom of each blogpost. I include items that I personally use and recommend!
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This week was a huge improvement from last week.Last week was full of disappointment and this week was quite the opposite. I think I'm in this state where I feel very much like the underdog of my former self, and it's taking some of the pressure off. Sometimes, especially if you are entrenched in the world of social media, it feels like training should just trend upwards all the time if you're consistent, and do all the right things; the truth is it doesn't. Sometimes there are two steps forward, one step back, or in my case I feel like it's been had 3 steps forward, 5 steps back, 2 steps forward, 2 steps back, 5 steps forward, 4 steps back... and this week maybe another 2 steps forward.... I'm just making all that up, but the point is I've had almost as many setbacks as I've had breakthroughs, but you know what? With nearly all the set backs I've gained more knowledge about my postpartum body and that has propelled me forward. Most of my blog posts are obviously highlighting my training for Boston. My goal is to break 3 hours at Boston, but I realize a lot needs to come together at the perfect time for that to happen. I will only be 8 months postpartum, and with the very slow recovery I've had from this pregnancy, it wouldn't be wise to tether my happiness to Boston or measure my success in this sport to that one race. Instead, I'm going to just continue to focus on a gradual upward trend (which may involve some dips in there) and hope that come April 16th, I'm where I want to be (and that all those other annoying Boston Variables play to my favor... like the weather... 40 degrees and overcast, please!!! Also, does anyone know the rules on breast pumps? With my mastitis history I need to pump as close to the start as possible). Boston is a benchmark to a bigger goal, so everything I do is to support THE goal which is to hit the Olympic Trials Standard of 2:44 (shooting for 2:43 to be safe!). Some of you may be following my blog to learn more about my training, some of you to just see if I do this, others to make fun of me in my attempt. I get it, I've been all of those people... but I've especially been the hater. It's easier to sit back and watch people fail than it is to fail yourself.... but I'm not afraid to fail anymore... When I look into the eyes of my daughters, I know I already have everything I need in life, but I want to demonstrate for them what it's like to really go after something.... even if you come up short. This was a quiet goal of mine long before I had kids... and it's been sitting on the back burner for too long. So if I should fail in Boston, I fail forward... and if you fail forward enough times, you just might make it.
Monday: Yoga went really well last week, so I did it again this week. I went to the slightly "easier" class, but in actuality it wasn't easier at all. Last week I went to a class called "stronger flow" and we spent the whole time preparing for headstand, but the Headstand part itself took up a significant part of the class and it was a lot of sitting and learning and experimenting. This class was flowing the whole time (75 minutes) which challenge me more cardiovascularly than I expected. Also, it was packed wall to wall to wall to wall of yoga mats. I don't think I've ever poured so much sweat... this includes Bikram classes I've gone to. My mom, brother, and his girlfriend were all there, which made it fun. We were spread out and arrived at different times but it was still cool to experience with family members. The class had a good energy, but I was hesitant about doing any deep adductor stretches, and I also modified side planks. I've avoided a lot of drills that I have been doing for weeks just because I'm not 100% sure why my hip seems to be improving, but I'm not going to add any extra stress to it. I felt incredibly balanced after this class both physically and mentally so I'm going to stick with this as long as my wallet and husbands schedule allows.
Tuesday: 7 Mile Morning Run (8:13/mi) As much as I wanted to explore some of the roads I'm not super familiar with, last week was not good so I stuck with a boring out and back course. There's not much snow on the ground, but lots of black ice from the melting and refreezing... because of that I hit the main road. Keep in mind, I live in the sticks, so the main road isn't even traveled that much. Mostly just buses and some commuters. It was hilly... because where I live it is literally impossible to not be climbing... from where I sit right now, I barely remember how I felt which I think is a good thing. Having a run that isn't memorable means nothing when wrong. I do remember at one point I was running next to a bus for about a mile and kids were cheering for me. The bus stopped nearly every other house and every time it stopped I'd catch up and pull ahead and we went back and fourth for about 5 or 6 stops. Needless to say, that was my fastest mile. Other than that, nothing memorable which means my hip felt fine.
Wednesday: WORKOUT! Last week when I did faster intervals, I could barely walk for the rest of the day and I was panicked about the state of my hips postpartum. It literally felt like I was less than a month out from having Maebel... there's no way to describe to someone that has never had a baby what your pelvis feels like after having one.... but its not good... and to be blasted back that far really freaked me out. I took the paces I was given very seriously this time and checked my watch frequently for guidance as opposed to running blind and checking data later like I did last time (not like that really helped most of the time... I seemed to check my watch whenever it was reading something really glitchy like "10:30/mi" or "4:50/mi"... Obviously, NO) This weeks workout was 2 mile warm up, 6 x 5:00 @ 7:15 dropping down 5 seconds each interval. Obviously without a track you can't know for sure what pace you are going, so I did the math based on mileage and figured I was a little under 6;50 after the first repeat. I spent the next 3 trying to slow down (and it went by so fast because I was calculating mileage and pace while I ran. I can't add, but I can do elapsed time no problem!) Once I got back to the pace I was supposed to run I just ran off of feel and tried to get a sense for what it felt like to speed up each interval. I don't want to train my body to slow down at the end, so I didn't want to get *too* caught up in hitting the paces, but I also wanted to run cautiously (especially in the beginning with so much of the work in front of me) for the sake of my hip. Once I felt confident in it I relinquished a little control and checked the watch a lot less. My actual paces were 6:48, 6:59, 7:06, 6:39, 6:39, 6:33 with quite a bit of incline on the way out and decline on the way back (which is harder for my pelvis). I got to run this mid-day because I had a training that got out early and it was simply beautiful out! Totally felt renewed in my goals after this run. I also had 2 hours of driving today to listen to Beyond Grit and really get my mind in a good place.
Thursday: Bike Not much to report here. I didn't want to do this because we had a guest over for dinner and I was so tired and knew I had to get up and run in the early morning... but I got it done anyway with the help of the Ali on the Run show. Her episode with Emma Coburn got me through the whole hour. Although, I checked how much more to go an exceptionally large amount of time.
Friday: Morning Miles 8.7 Slow and pissed off. It's pathetic to be mad at a 6 month old, but I was. Happy 6 month sleep regression! Maebel was particularly a pain in the ass, or more like a pain in the boob(s) Thursday night. At one point I keeled over sobbing (and swearing...) to my husband that I simply couldn't do it. I was too tired and sore to feed her (Ouch, teeth!) and he kindly told me I was putting too much pressure on myself and I'm sure I barked some mean response back. He offered to feed her the bottle but this happened to be the first day I really under produced during the day since she ate so much more than usual and I only pumped 12 oz (which usually is what she takes when I'm at work and then she clusters when I get home to make up for it. She's never been 100% comfortable with the bottle) so I was almost 10 short for the day and the thought of having him feed her with the bottle didn't help because I was just going to have to pump anyway. The thing was she wasn't hungry. I kept trying to nurse her to get her to sleep, but she was just latching and biting and laughing at me. and I was yelling "What the fuck child! You're so fucking cute but this isn't fucking funny!" (yes, all those F-bombs and more at my 6 month old, myself, and my husband... I think this is where I should say, you'd have to know me. I have exaggerated ways of expressing myself) I'm not sure if I was laughing or crying at one point when she smiled and laughed and looked at me with an adorable "I own your life" smirk. NOT. FAIR! Then I spent the whole night in and out of dosing trying to get her to nurse in the bed and she was biting, kicking and playing. My husband got up for the bathroom and I asked him what time is was... I knew it had to be close to when I was waking up, but was hoping I had 30 minutes since she was sleeping now. He said "5:30" I was like No! Fuck NO, NO NO NO NO! My alarm went off seconds later and I threw the covers and yelled "I'm leaving" Meanwhile, Maebel woke up laughing just as she had been all night. I should have run much longer than the 1:17 that I ran, but I had to get to work. I was feeling relieved to have it done because only a day of work between me and my vacation... and I had a hunch my students were going to earn a movie for the afternoon. I wanted them to earn that movie more than anyone else, but it was one of those days where they were off the walls too, and finding something to reward was not easy! TGIF!!!!!
Saturday: OFF Raea fell asleep on the floor at the same time Maebel fell asleep in my arms... so I fell asleep, too. Glorious 1.5 hour nap on the couch with the Incredibles in the background. I spent Friday night looking for information on the Obterator Internus and how to treat it by myself at home. I'm 90-99% sure that it is the source of my problems. This blog I found helpful and he has a video on youtube. I incorporated these drills into my day. Fingers crossed they help! After the random and much needed nap time, I hit up the playground with the girls before the snow came back.
Sunday: 16 Miles, 7:45/mi with 2:00 pick ups Matt and I were planning to run together Wednesday for Valentines Day, but Raea had a tiny fever so I didn't want to call a babysitter just in case it got worse (it never got over 99, this happens often when she refuses to poop... weirdo). So, we did our Run Date today and it was beautiful out. It snowed about 7 inches over night but the temps are supposed to hit 60's in the next few days and already started to rise before our run. There's nothing more beautiful than a run in the sun with the sparkling snow! On our way to my mothers house we dropped waters and a gatorade (not my drink of choice, but it is what Boston uses, so I think it's important to keep it in my rotation... lemon lime, the taste of the marathon....) and then we dropped off the girls. I practiced fuel and hydration every 30-35 minutes per recommendation of my coach. I usually fuel every 40-45, but last week with the really cold rain I bonked a little bit since I spent so much energy keeping my body warm. This run I had more in the tank... at least another mile or two. Even my hip handled it well. I struggled a bit with the downhill pick-ups at the end, but I have been doing this loop purposefully because of the downhill finish. Boston is net downhill but the back half has a reputation of chewing up peoples quads, so I'm working on getting my body ready for this in every way possible. My pick-ups were 7:06, 6:47, 6:35, 6:05, 6:00, 6:06/mi pace. I was very pleased with this because it felt easy. I'm looking forward to seeing what next week will bring!
Ice Packs: EVERY DAY!
Epsom Salt: 2x
Obterator Internus Drills: 2x
Some of the things I use that you can get on Amazon! Big thanks to those of you who purchased last week! I made my goal of filling my gas tank! Lets keep this going! Every little bit helps and if it's something useful to you anyway, your purchase here supports my blog. Note: I fully control what you see on this blog and never post anything that I don't believe in!
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This was my hardest week yet, and not because of intensity or mileage. My emotions got the best of me and I sank into a negative thinking pattern. As I write this, I am in a more positive state of mind than I was for the majority of this week. I've divulged into habits that are going to keep me positive during the weeks to come that may or may not lead me to Boston this year. I've tried to adopt a 90/10 where the general idea is to spend 90% of your time focused on the process to achieving your big goal and 10% of your time focusing on the goal itself. When the big goal becomes stressful and starts to overwhelm or cloud your process goals, you should know that it is not productive to be thinking about the big goal in that very moment. I adopted this way of thinking from one of the early chapters of a book I am listening to right now called "Beyond Grit" I like to have the copy to listen to while I drive and while I do mundane tasks like ride the bike or run on the treadmill, but I also really enjoy a hard copy so that I can visually see what I'm working on and go back to helpful sections at any time. If you are interested in this book, purchasing from one of my amazon links also supports this blog, Thanks in advance!
Anyway.... The big BIG goal is to qualify for the Olympic Trials, but I do have a stepping stone or benchmark goal in there which is to break 3:00hrs and I'd like to do it in Boston. I have 9 (or is it 8?) weeks. When I think about that goal, especially when coupled with this weeks setbacks (yes, MORE setbacks) I get stressed. SO what do I do? I think about the process. I focus on what I can control every day. I master the things I can and leave everything else in the hands of God. When I think about the fact that I can't control everything it actually eases my anxiety. There's less to worry about when it's out of my hands. So I focus on the day to day. The drills, the stretching, the runs themselves. The hydration, the sleep, the diet (and weight loss.... which is a small part of it, but I'm still close to 20lbs over my pre-pregnancy weight)... Then there are the family things which just add another layer to the cake (yeah, my training is a multi-layered cake that is going to taste SO DAMN GOOD when it's done!) I've said it before, and I'll say it again, I'm willing to fold on the Boston Goal in order to obtain the Olympic Trials goal.... and this week I thought "there's just no way" but from where I sit now, I don't actually know... and right now don't care. One day at a time.
Monday: I had a staff meeting today. They are scheduled until 5:00 but sometimes we get out early and I'm able to make a 4:30 yoga class. Yoga was my cross training goal today but I missed the class I planned to take. I called my husband who is home most Mondays, and asked him if he cared if I went to a later class, and like the amazing and supportive teammate he is, he said it was totally fine and I should go. Note: he missed his run because of this. He planned to rest today, but there was an outside chance he'd be able to get out if I got home in time.... but with the decision to let me do yoga, he let his run fly out the window. After many years of my body being sacrificed for our family, he's been insanely supportive putting my running goals first. What a guy! Yoga was AWESOME! I was so worried because it' is called Strong Flow... and I"m over here like "On a good day I can touch my toes" and literally the first sentence out of the instructors mouth was "we're going to spend today's practice preparing for headstand"... yup. Okay. See ya!.... But I stayed, and I did it! and it was awesome! If you're in the Central Massachusetts area, you should check out Metrowest Yoga. I haven't had an instructor that I didn't like yet, but now that I'm not pregnant, these more challenging classes are going to be fun!
Tuesday: 8.3ish miles... Truly unquantifiable. Man, This week was weird. As I recap it altogether it's even more strange than I thought in the moment. I mapped out this great run the night before so that I could run free of the GPS. I don't have the ability to just "not check" the splits as I'm running, so I ran somewhere different with my phone in my flip belt running strava, and my old school timex watch as an insurance policy if the phone died from cold. Worst case scenario I also have a milestone pod which I love for the treadmill but it isn't very accurate when it's hilly (which it really is by me)... anyway... I had a lot of ways to acquire data on my pace later, but none that were easily accessible as I was running. I wanted the freedom to run in the moment and just listen to my body as I watched the sun rise... Well, that sunrise was so pretty I took my phone out to take a picture of it (which doesn't even come close to capturing it). After the photo I thought I'd sneak a quick glance at my pace so far. Well, I was running in the moment alright... because not only was I moving pretty damn slow, somehow I missed a turn... and out where I live, there aren't many more options. I was already 6 miles in and I only really gave myself a "getting lost" or "running slow" buffer of about 15 minutes... so I sought an alternate route. No big deal, I looks like if I take the next left (about a half mile away) and I can cut across to the main road and get back in roughly 10 miles. Now, I mapped a run specifically to avoid the main road because at commuting time it's horrific, but... a girls gotta get to work! I picked up the pace but not for long. I took the left and about another half mile later I came across a sign that said "unmaintained road, travel at your own risk" I pulled up the map. It very clearly goes through to the main road, it can't be much more than a half mile long, and yeah, it was a bit icy, but I could use leave for traction and trees to hold on to... (wrong, wrong, wrong... on all accounts, wrong).... Without getting into too much detail, I will simply say at one point I had no other option but to sit on my bottom and slide down the sheer sheer ice. I was soaked, cold, and had to call my husband to pick me up on the other side. There was no way I could make it to work. What a champion he has been, he packed up two kids in the quickest amount of time and headed out for a rescue mission. He picked me up about a mile from where the unmaintained road ended and 2 miles from home. He gets even more points for taking the girls to work with him since our babysitter cancelled while I was out on my run. I went to the chiropractor after school because although I didn't fall on my butt, the slip sliding and loss of balance had me feeling a little off.
Wednesday: Snow Day! 9 miles and first Quality workout. I will preface this by saying I slept horribly the night before. I spent the whole night before rolling out my quads, glutes, and hamstrings like a maniac to make sure I was well prepared for a faster paced run in the morning. I may have rolled too much because I had trouble sleeping. This was the second time I have done this. At the time I thought the pain was good, but in hindsight, I'm not choosing the right recovery method. My hamstring, hip, adductor, and lower abs were sore. A lot of sore places! But the workout seemed to melt all that soreness away! Truth be told, this was a failed workout. I went way too fast, but I'm in this very confusing stage of running where my fitness is progressing so rapidly, my internal pace clock can't be trusted. Pardon gave me 10 x 2:00 with 90 second recovery starting at 7:20 pace and working down to about 7:00 pace if I felt like I could sustain it. I wore two watches, my timex beeping every 30 seconds (It helps me break up the interval and also makes it so that I don't need to reset my watch for recovery and I can just keep running and focus on counting beeps. Time really flies this way!) and then I had my GPS watch under my sleeve so I couldn't look and I just kept hitting the split button though my jacket so I could record the data for later. I focused on running with a very smooth breathing pattern and I focused on that word "sustainable" and found a pace that meant that to me. It's hilly in my town so I ran back and fourth on a side road that is relatively flat for the entire workout. I felt great until the last mile of my cool down I realized while going downhill that I had some serious hip pain that I had not had since right after I had Maebel. My hips felt really separated, my adductors felt inflamed, my tendon in my lowerab felt like it didn't function. Every part of my right side of my pelvis felt unstable. I was crushed. If I can't handle one workout, a marathon is impossible! It became clear I needed help and that my postpartum body was still very much a postpartum body with postpartum problems. ugh. Cryfest the remainder of the day. Snowday Pity Party.... but truthfully, the I ran too fast even when I was trying not to. The good news is that my lungs handled this workout just fine!
Thursday: 50 minutes bike I spent most of this day researching everything and anything I could on postpartum problems. I went to the chiropractor and he talked to me a bit about my pelvis and lower back needing some retraining and he also said to ice after adjustments, and maybe that contributed to some of the pain. I was able to book two additional appointments, 1 with my OBGYN and see if she can get me some imaging (I'm afraid of having a small sports hernia or having a tear in my groin somewhere, I'd like to rule that out). and one with a PT to see if they can confirm or deny my other theory: external rotating muscles being way too tight (obturator internus, piriformis, etc) and causing my pelvis to rotate out in the wrong direction (and the relaxin hormone not quite helping here) and over stretching my adductor causing a strain. Also, I never did a good job rehabbing my adductor after my knee surgery, so I'm sure it's still pretty lame. One thing is for sure, something I am doing for recovery is not helping and I need to narrow that down, so I've taken out all the drills right now and all the rolling and will add back in one variable at a time and see how my body responds. My first instinct is to keep rolling my glute but not to roll hamstring... so I'll start there. The biking makes me a little hesitant since the majority of my pain is located right where the damn seat is, so I biked with padded shorts and with a blanket folded up and put on the seat. I'm not taking any chances!
Friday: Another day on the bike, but this could have easily been a running day. Everything feels back to my normal, which I realize now is not normal and needs to be addressed, but it is manageable while I'm waiting for some answers. No sense in putting everything on hold when I don't necessarily need to. I'm taking this one day at a time. I did 45 minutes on the bike listening to Beyond Grit. I could easily have a negative and self defeating attitude in all this, but I'm taking precautions. I know my limits mentally, and I know when I need support, which is why I'm listening to this book and reading weirdo intention cards, I need help staying positive, but the help is working. I'm genuinely okay with this. I realize that this is not happening to me. This is happening for me (I stole that from the book but felt it before I even heard it)... This is all going to help me be a better runner in the end.
Saturday: 4.5/ 7:54 mi. So far Saturdays have been scheduled off, but lets not let this whole week slip away even when it seemed doomed from the very start! I did a GPSless run with my phone in my belt and clocked exactly 4.5 today from my parents house (my mom was watching the girls). I was shocked at the pace because I felt no pain, but I should not surprised. I'm fit. I'm making progress. I'm still working on some areas of weakness, but I have to forgive myself for those areas... they were a necessary part of bringing Maebel into this world and I wouldn't want it any other way. In hindsight it's possible that if I stopped running around 35/36 weeks this wouldn't be a problem, but it's no guarantee. I dwelled on this thought a lot on Wednesday, but I have to stop. It's in the past and that pain was present walking, running, sleeping, and especially driving. There's a good chance I had no control over it and it was just a natural consequence of a bigger than average baby and how she was positioned in my body (8lbs 9oz).
Sunday: 15 Freezing Rain Miles 8:12/mi. Like I keep saying, I can manage my hip pain, but it's still there and will not go away easy. This run it didn't really show up at all until around mile 9.5, and it was really dull until the last 2 miles where I had to run a relatively steep downhill section... In reality my hip was hurting but so was everything else. It was pouring rain and the temp hovered around 36 degrees. For most of my run I wasn't cold... or was only a little cold... the last 4 miles were windy and I wanted nothing more than to just be finished. It was my first 2 hour run so beyond the freezing temps and the lame hip, there was a bit of bonking. It's hard to plan meals pre-run and to fuel appropriately when you are trying to rush two kids out the door in order to meet your mother after her run. I brought along two gels, and had a Ucan packet before I left but I probably should have had more to eat closer to the run. I took the gels every 5 miles... but I was using so much energy to stay warm I could feel it. Also, the urge to pump or feed my baby was strong. I didn't do that as close to my run as I normally do because I had to drive to my moms first. I just wasn't thinking. Anyway, I'm blanketed in ice as I write this, and my hip is better post run today than it was post run Wednesday... so I'm happy with that.
Total: 36.9 Miles
Epsom Salt Bath:2x....
Ice Packs: Daily, I couldn't stomach an icebath this week. TOoOOoOo Cold!
Also, stay tuned for a Hydration Survey coming. I didn't feel like it fit in with this post, but I've started tracking my water intake and working hard on taking in 106oz per day (recommended for my weight, height, and activity level). It's a lot of going to the bathroom! I have my second quality workout this coming week, and I'm going to wear my GPS on the outside and look at it the whole time to run slower! I'm going to be much more careful about my recovery process being a solution not a problem. Stay Tuned!
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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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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.
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Welcome to my blog! I blogged my entire pregnancy in 2017 and I had high hopes for where I could take my running after baby number 2, but my body had other plans. At some point I got too discouraged to write and recently realized that it is essential for my personal growth and development to keep putting feelings into coherent(ish) thoughts. I hoped to run sub 2:45 in the marathon one day, but I was recently diagnosed with a rare disease called fibromuscular dysplasia and I'm reinventing this blog to share information on what I learn for my single subject size. You can come along for the ride, apologies in advance for grammatical incorrectness!