Tips for Hotel Stays with Littles
My husband works a job that has a lot of travel involved. Most of the time he can get to and from where he’s going within the day, but sometimes he needs to stay over night. He’s the New England Sales Representative for the running shoe brand, On. Accessing places like New Hampshire at 6am or leaving Southern Connecticut at 10:30pm can be difficult and he’s better off to get a hotel. Sometimes, if it’s a family friendly event, or tourist town, the girls and I might join him and do our own thing while waiting for him to be “off the clock”. As a result, we’ve become experts at staying in hotels with little ones. That is not to say it goes perfectly all the time, but generally speaking, it goes about as well as things go at home. Today I’ll share some of my tips for making Hotels like Home. So whether it’s vacation, a day trip or a goal race, you have a few things you can try to make your stay better.
2. Be picky about your hotel
If you can afford it, get a better hotel room. If you can get a suite, DO IT! Check amenities like a pool, hot tub, or breakfast options. Raea loves using all the hotel pools. She likes to compare them. We usually stay in a Residence Inn so we can have a kitchen. Be close to a grocery store or a convenience store so that you’re in walking distance. There’s nothing worse than taking your kids out of a car after a long day of travel and having to put them back in... even if it’s only 5 more minutes of driving, it’s not worth it. Walking distance gives everyone a chance to move and stretch and recover from what could have been a traumatic trip (maybe tips on that part are needed...?)
3. Look at Pictures
Let your child look at pictures in advance to prepare them and excite them. It will be less strange when they’ve visually seen what it might look like and where they might be sleeping. We don’t need to do this anymore because we’ve stay in very similar hotels (Marriotts for Matts points!) but it did help in the past.
4 Give forced choices for EVERYTHING.
Giving a forced choice is my go-to behavior management style, but it’s especially important when in an unfamiliar place where your child feels they have lost all sense of stability and control. Here are some varying degrees of control and choices you can give to your child with the example of getting dressed (bane of my existence!)
No Choice/No Control: It’s time to get dressed, Here are pants for you today.
Free Choice/Full Control: Do you want to get dressed?
Forced Choice/Perceived Control: It’s time to get dressed, do you want the pants or the skirt?
I use this across the board... A healthy in between Free Choice and No Choice. Of course my threenager doesn’t fall for the game every time anymore and I’m met with “those are NOT MY CHOICES!!!” But if I’m on my A-Game (which you have to be in the Hotel, see Tip 1) I’m giving enough choices between highly preferred things (“your unicorn stuffy or your owl?”.... “Frozen or Moana?” “Pink shoes or purple shoes”) that she doesn’t always pick up on the “sleep on this side or that side.” Even if you are 99% sure your child will pick the pink shoes, it’s not about shoes... it’s about control. Taking your kid out of a familiar environment and expecting them to do a vulnerable thing like relax, let their guard down and....SLEEP... makes them seek control in whatever way possible... but of course they aren’t rational human beings so you need to guide most of their choices. This also goes for your toddlers who might not understand everything you say. They want control too and need familiar items to make them feel safe.
5. Pack it ALL
To add to tip 2, but expand on it, pack it ALL if you can. How can you give forced choices without enough items for choices? You want to have enough clothing, stuffys, books, that they have the comfort they need and you have the leverage you need. It also is useful to let them help you pack (tip 2!! “Do you want to pack this or that?” Or “choose 2 and remember once we leave you can’t change your mind)
But PACK THE MONITOR! We don’t have to do this anymore, but it was especially helpful when Maebel or Raea were too young to reason with. If your child or baby is used to falling asleep with bath, book, song, and you leaving the room... you have to leave the room! Since we often get a residence inn with two rooms it’s much easier these days, but I have many memories of Matt and I sitting in the hallway outside our door watching the monitor waiting for the baby to fall asleep. Other helpful “must haves” HDMI cable and computer, or your roku, you could call in advance to find out what you’d need to stream familiar movies or shows... but if your kids are struggling to settle... a calm, familiar TV show is my go-to. My kids love Daniel Tiger so I usually put on the daytime/night time routine ones or the one where he visits his granpere and has to sleep somewhere new.
6. Chocolate Melatonin
Probably, maybe, *supposed* to get a doctor for this but My kids are fine. It’s melatonin! And they think they are getting a piece of chocolate! It’s a great way to get through bath routine- I’m not above bribery. It’s called POSITIVE REINFORCEMENT! Anyway, before I put on a relaxing show I give them each one, quickly brush teeth, and lay them down in their beds. They usually fall asleep in 20 minutes and STAY asleep!
7 Call ahead for a pack and play or cot.
Many hotels have a few pack and plays so this limits bigger packing items so you have more room for all the...eh,em... choices. But be sure to bring a blanket or sheet of your own just for familiarity and to cover it. When I first requested one I was afraid it was going to be dirty, like my kid slobbers all over it! But they have always been very clean in my experience. The hotels we’ve used them at have fully washable covers so there’s not a single spot where a kid can chew on that wasn’t covered. But I still take my own cover just in case!
8. Spend time in the room
We usually have a Residence Inn so we eat breakfast and dinner in the room but go out for lunch. In a regular hotel room there’s always something to heat up water so I pack things that just need water added like Annie’s instant Mac and Cheese and Oatmeal. (Also favorites! Comfort in all areas you can provide within reason!). Remember, the more comfortable, familiar, and safe it feels the better! So spend some time there, even if it’s just the first day.
They are a thing. All those annoying lights that blink and might make your kid think there’s going to be a fire alarm... easy way to cover them is with black post-it’s. What else are you using them for? You might need to put a few on, but it works! Good luck with the crack above the door, though!
Don’t be afraid. You have to do it to get better at it. You can’t force someone to fall asleep- I know this because I try to force myself everyday and I just end up blogging into the wee hours of the night.... so your goal should really just be to provide as much comfort as possible... and from there sleep may be possible! The first time I went on an overnight with Matt I swore to never do it again. I was up ALL NIGHT down in the gym walking an almost 2 year old on the treadmill 7 months pregnant hoping she’d get tired... But... the only one fatiguing was me! Here we are, 2 years later and I’m still up all night, but my kids (and husband) sleep fine! So hopefully yours will too!
If anyone has tips on how to get adults to sleep at a hotel (or at home, also) I’m all ears! I’d love to wake up like this!
Any tips to add? Comment below! I’m sure you’re all thinking of the obvious “make them tired!” But I just call that parenting....”make kids as tired as possible so they will go right to bed” rinse, repeat.....
Hope you all had a fantastic Fourth! Despite Raeas overly dramatic initial reaction to the fireworks, we had a blast! But next year we will view them from further away to be sure no one is traumatized.
Week 8, this was a GOOD week! I didn't do much cross training or anything like that, but It was my first full week off from work. One more to go before I return for Summer School... and I'm going to try to make the best of all my time! This week I stayed busy, so busy I never got in a second blogpost. I thought for sure this blog would pick up this summer but... what can I say? I'm too busy living! Here's how the week went!
Monday: 2 Miles 11:00/mi
Since I ran on Sunday, this was my first back to back run so I reduced the overall cumulative time from the 30-40 minutes of walk/running to 25 minutes or so. 5 minute walk, 2x7:00 run, 5 minute walk. I followed up with some lifting but not much. I've been doing some very specific breathing work for my pelvic floor since I seem to have my breathing backwards still. When you inhale your pelvic floor should come down and when you exhale it should go up. When I think about it I can get that pattern going but when I'm moving I've been doing "check in's" and notice I'm reversed more often than not. I'm really not in a position to be lifting too much until I get this under control so Breathing and "kegal type" exercises have been my main form of strength training. I wont say that I'm doing kegals because when I saw the pelvic floor PT, I'm in a constant state of Kegal, so I've found a few things I'm trying out to see if it sticks. I'll share once I have a better grasp on it. Additionally I've been doing the band drills. I also put some goblet squats, and single leg dead lifts in this time but reduced the weight by 10-15lbs
You'll notice I've been doing less cross training lately as the running has increased. I just want to be sure I'm not doing too much. I'm not too concerned about my fitness (Nobody remind me of that marathon I signed up for!) I get into shape really fast. I just need to stay healthy. Every day I do the band drills and I've been foam rolling the CRAP out of my abs to help with that groin pain. It's been a lot less significant but still present. I also got an internal tool to properly access the pelvic floor. Sounds more exciting than it is... it's actually pretty painful, but since I've started using it I feel a little better. I'm also pretty sure the orthotics are helping my groin/pelvic floor pain, too because on days I've worn them less (now that I"m home I'm barefoot in the house if I forget to put my orthotics on) I've been more sore. The Podiatrist thinks I may have some permanent dysfunction, so I'm okay with it... just trying to get it as insignificant as possible.
Wednesday: 3x10:00 run 1:00 walk (with 5 minute walking warm up and cooldown
I hit the railtrail today. It was really humid but fortunately it wasn't too bad in the train since it is completely covered. The Horseflies were loving my walk breaks but I just dealt with it. My groin felt really really good on this run but my right calf was a smidge tight. I thought of this as a good thing since all my PT assessments highlighted my left calf pulling because it was compensating for my right... so any slight fatigue on the right side was a good sign for me.... a sign that it's working. Now the key is to properly adapt the muscles.... which I feel I've been doing really gradually and appropriately.... perhaps more gradual than even necessary at first (sooo many days of 1 or 2 minute intervals!) but it'll hopefully pay off!
Thursday: 4.73 Miles of trails. Lots of stop and go due to technical trails
I was excited to have this week to regroup. My kids still had daycare 3 times a week so on those days I had a little bit of freedom so I could feel like "Caitlyn" before and not "Mom" or "Mrs. Germain" ... I got to be myself and fully embrace my own personal time. When I first had kids I was so concerned about the effect daycare would have on them having been raised in a house where I had a stay at home mom. I felt so much guilt for having to be a working mom. My debt left me no choice. I'm still so so so happy we managed to keep the girls home for the first years of their lives, but now that we've settled with a daycare that is consistent and reliable, it's so freeing. The girls really love it there (Maebel legitimately pushes me out the door when I try to give her one more kiss). These few days made me a better person. My work burns me out so much and, also due to my debt, I work summer school so I never get that full break that most teachers get... so a few days being able to catch up on laundry, take a nap, watch whatever TV I want to, eat my food without anyone begging at my feet, or go for a run wherever I want (within reason) and get to stretch and breathe after (literally... like those breathing exercises) is refilling up my tank that's been on E since January.
On my run I ran in the more technical trails that branch of of the wide railtrail bed that I run on frequently. When I popped out of the narrow paths to cross the bridge, I saw my 91 year old grandmother walking with my mom! It was such a surprise! I walked with them for like 10 minutes. I wasn't really attached to any specific running workout, I just knew I was doing two runs in a row so this being the second run, it had to be more relaxed. The trails keep me inspired but also slow, and my gramma helped keep me inspired and slow too. At 91 years old, the 10 minute walk with her was way more valuable to me than any run and I'll always remember it!
I picked the girls up after school and Raea was asking for the gym. I took her to my moms pool instead and fed them at her house. Another win! No mess to clean up at home!
Friday was a scorcher, and I was in a bad mood pretty much from the start of the day. I've mentioned it here a few times, but my debt has me stressed. Specifically my foot debt in this instance. I thought I had paid for all the orthotics and treatments (three pay period in May means "extra" money) but I didn't realize that the Xrays I got weren't covered by insurance. They are covered when I go to the ER (but I pay a fee for the ER) but in a specialist office I have to reach a deductible first... so I got slapped with that bill on top of the usual's that occasionally get me upset, those pesky student loans. I've been more invested than usual in the presidential candidates due to the fact that I'm a hardworking person who had to get a masters degree in order to do a thankless job where rates of Autism continue to increase and I am a specialist....and expert in a field that is undervalued and underpaid... and even if I had a perfect credit score I can't get a house because my debt to income ratio... ugh... come on, give me a break. There's been more chatter than usual about the debt crisis because I am not alone. I'm not asking for cancellation (but hell, I wouldn't argue either!)... but when you make a mortgage payment on a loan that is more interest than principal, someone is a criminal, and it's not the person who has past due balances. Anyway, I met Matt somewhere... He's been off working all week taking advantage of me being home he's been away... and what was supposed to be a good night ended up... Meh.... But we still went to the lake and a food truck festival, and the girls seemed to have fun. I wish I had my phone at the lake because they were so adorable! But, it was in the car overheating.
Saturday: 5.4 miles
We rebounded Saturday. We got off to a lazy start (which I loved! No dance!) The girls slept in so we slept in and phew! I ran out of melatonin earlier in the week and keep forgetting until I go to bed... Placebo or not, as a result my sleep has been terrible so the sleeping in was needed. Our friends were having a Baby Reveal party, and so we had to make a 2 hour drive to their house. Matt did his run before we left but I opted to do mine at a halfway point during our drive. So while I ran Matt took the girls to get "girl" and "boy" balloons and I ran on the Minuteman Trail. It was really nice! I have run here before but not this particular section. I always like running somewhere new. I did 2x2 miles of running with a 2 minute walk between and I felt good! My paces have been surprising me because I just started running, but I'm fit and I think if I can stay injury free I'll surprise myself even if the main goal is just to qualify for Boston. My hip still bothers me (do I write this every day!?) but I can manage it. There's a possibility it's permanent to some extent, and when I heard that I was both relieved and motivated. Relieved because I can stop worrying about working so hard to get it to 100% and instead focus on how to strengthen the areas that pick up the slack so that they can handle the extra load... but I'm motivated because challenge accepted... Permanent you say? I'll show you!... two polarizing feelings but it sort of gives me freedom to stop looking for answers if I am too tired and just move on to the acceptance phase... but on days where I have extra energy, I can still see what sort of progress can still be made. Again, it's only a dull pain most of the time (like wobbly and unstable)... but I think the orthotics have even helped a bit by stabilizing from the feet.
We found out our friends are expecting a girl! Which is super exciting since we have two girls! On our way home they both fell asleep for a while. We got home at 7:30 and I was like "crap, there's no way they are going down now!"... So we randomly decided to grab our Jammies, some bug spray, dinner and go to the Drive In in the next town to see Toy Story 4. No spoilers... but we did enjoy it. I love the ending of Toy Story 3... so a 4th didn't seem necessary, but it did not disappoint... and still pulled on those heart strings like the previous one. Go see it!
Sunday: 3.88Miles 5 minute walking warm up, 30 minutes consecutively, take cover!
Another day of mixing Showers with running. Literally. First I went to my cousins Bridal Shower. It was really nice and I loved all the food. I threw my gym bag in the car just in case I could get a run in before coming home. The day was scattered thunderstorms and so I was just going to go when I saw an opening. The Shower was at a country club, and right when it was ending a thunderstorm was also ending. I figured since there weren't any golfers out I could just run around the course until I heard more thunder and then whatever I got in I got in. This is my second set of two days of running in a row so I wanted to be more flexible depending on how my body was feeling. I felt really good (other than the fact that I ate dessert(s) 5 seconds before I changed to run) so I just went for 30 consecutive minutes. More consecutively than previous runs but less cumulatively. At this point I've gone a little rogue from the walk run program because I'm just about graduated from it and the marathon is 10 weeks away. I don't want to start training soooo gradually that I run out of room to gradually increase the mileage when the volume starts getting higher. I figure overtime it's safer to make the quicker increases now... especially since I've spent a month walk/running with no adverse or red flag days. I just really needed these orthotics and it's more obvious now that I have them. Hindsight. What can you do? As soon as I finished my 30 minutes I got in the car. Not ideal because I didn't want to tighten up, but the thunder had started again during my last 5 minutes and I felt like I was pushing my luck a bit. I didn't feel like dying. At home I made sure to do all the drills and foam rolling at night. (and glute bands!)
Overall it was a really good week and a good month. Here is my progression and totals for the month of June. I have PT on Monday and Tuesday (It's actually Monday right now and I just left PT, but no spoilers! More information later!) and I'm hopeful!
.Here we go! My first week that had some summer vacation in it! Sitting here writing this I can't believe I worked last week at all! It's been a crazy week! I like to feel inspired to write because at the end of the day it's all for me anyway... but I know there are some running nerds out there who really love to read about training, so I'll try my best to stick with it even though it is pretty redundant right now.
3 mile walk/run and 1 hour spin.
I was on the treadmill for the run again, but today I didn't have the girls in Kids Korner. I could have run outside but since I'm still adjusting to running in the orthotics it's easier to be on the treadmill so I can just take them out if I need to. I started with a 5 minute walk and then did 3:00 runs and 2:00 walks for 35 minutes and covered exactly 3 miles in that time then got straight in for spin.
Spin class was really hard per usual, but really celebratory of the hard year of work I did in school this year. I've mentioned before that the spin instructor is my coworker and so a lot of the songs and themes were related to school being out which made me so psyched! I really still can't believe I made it through this year. It was so hard (that was the other blog I started writing... but... ugh, teachers can't complain about work the way normal people can, especially when it involves a specialized population like my work does so I didn't publish it even if I was done tastefully.) I did the glute warm up stuff before the run today so that was about all I did for strength work today.
I did not do anything after school today. I was just very, VERY happy to be done with school. I spent the whole day at work getting prepped for next year. I went through every students IEP on my list for next year and prepared assessments and binders, and so much work ... The kids had a pretty low key day of mostly movies and cleaning. Sometimes that can be really difficult for kids with Autism because the schedule change is tough, but they handled it well and that really was helpful. I hope that the work I've put in to prepare for next year eliminates a lot of the stress I feel in the beginning of the year. I don't have time for that stress I've got a marathon to run!
Wednesday: 4.2 Miles with double stroller.
My husband had a big meeting in Boston so he left really early. He's been very busy since he returned from Switzerland. There's a light at the end of the tunnel! His deadline is approaching and I'll be really happy when it's here! Even though he's home a lot, he's really busy. I wasn't going to be able to get the kids into Kids Korner today because I had Raea's dress rehearsal for dance so I didn't want to kill an hour in commuting. So instead I took the girls to the rail trail and got in a walk run there. Run 5 walk 1... first time in the orthotics for the full run. It was really humid and as a result really buggy so maybe the rail trail wasn't the best choice. It was fine as long as I was running, but the walk breaks were no fun. It could have been worse, but certainly got chased by bugs more than I wanted. Raea was even saying "mom! You can't walk! They're going to get us!".... I put bug spray on all of us before so the mosquitoes mostly just flew around us.... but still annoying. I felt okay, but felt a little sore in my hip today. I have to assume it's because I'm pushing 100lbs and that is putting stress in areas differently. I don't know. Whatever. I rushed home to get a late lunch for the girls and start getting ready for the rehearsal. I was so proud of Raea for getting up on stage and doing so well! She was nervous but when the lights were on, she was nothing but smiles! Kids are so resilient! She loved watching the other dancers. I noticed my coaches daughter dancing. She was born when I was in high school, and she had a solo. I might have cried a bit watching her and thinking about him not being there. Ugh! Being a parent has made me cry for pretty much everything in life! Anyone else?
I went to the podiatrist in the morning and got the okay to increase runs and or keep the runs the same and do one back to back. When he pressed around on my heel, I still had pain so that was annoying, but the good news is I don't feel it when I wake up or walk around. It's still healing but it's able to heal since I'm not putting much stress on it anymore. I was really hesitant with the orthotics. I hate this idea that I am dependent on something or that I need something unnatural to function optimally.... but alas, he said that my quick adjustment to them just shows how much I needed them.
Friday: 3.5 Miles
Still walk/running, but now I'm doing 5 minute intervals. It was really pretty out even though it was insanely humid. I thought a lot of my old coach, Kevin Kirk, who passed away 5 years to the day. He’s been on my mind a lot for many reasons, 1. As mentioned earlier in the week, I saw his daughter dance a solo with lyrics and grace that made me cry, 2. The mount Washington road race always remind me that the anniversary of his death is approaching. I was up in the mountains as close to heaven as you can get around here and even with the limited service i got a text sending word he passed. It was one beautiful day in the clouds.... perfect for the man I thought of as a second father. I focused on enjoying my health this run... and that’s all he ever asked of me.... that and to “breathe”....
I got my hair done in the morning and actually added color to it. YIKES! I'm getting used to it, but I also chopped off a lot so I felt really light and free. It feels so nice to not have hair smacking me in the back or pulling on my head an causing a headache. I felt decent on this run and since my kids were in daycare I had a chance to do some really focused pelvic floor work. My sister started a program and told me about it. I've tried a few of the breathing exercises to see if I like it the program. They are really hard!
I was miserably sore in my abs today. It had to be from the pelvic floor stuff. I spent the whole day lifting and doing stairs helping my mom and dad clean the barn where all of my siblings and I have stored our crap for the past decade. We made a lot of progress! It was kind of fun to look at all my old things!
Sunday: 4 miles
Walking warm up, 7 minute run and 1 minute walk x 4. I felt pretty good today even though it was so hot. It was the first really hot day and I wasn't prepared. Usually, when it's going to be hot, you plan to run at night or in the morning and be sure to hydrate. I wasn't sure when I'd get to run today because we had Raea's recital. I certainly didn't do a very good job hydrating (I was afraid to need the bathroom 100 times during the show!). We ordered some pizza for immediately after the show to have at my moms house (where Maebel was waiting with my sisters) and pretty much right when I finished eating I snuck out for a run while Raea was playing with her Aunties. It's so nice when they are home for the summer. Starting next week one of my sisters will be working at the gym in the Kids Korner! We joke that she'll finally be paid to watch my kids. I'm so lucky to have them watch the girls without even batting an eye... and my daughters love it!
So I'm starting to really run albeit only a few days a week, but I'm excited for this training cycle. I'm honestly excited to just focus on running a BQ and to dial back the goals to something that doesn't scare me or put the pressure on. It makes it a lot easier to just enjoy the process and I think I really need that right now. who knows maybe as things start picking up I can change my goal, but for now... just staying focused on staying healthy.
I arise today
Since Global Running Day I've been trying to write a post about the person who inspires and has positively influenced my running, but I could not put it into words. And then Gabe Grunewald died and I tried to do it again... and then I tried again when I wrote my weekly recap.... and now, 5 years after his death, I still can't put into words how much my high school coach, Kevin Kirk, meant to me and how much he influenced my life, and still continues to. He was as stoic and poetic as it comes... and any of my words wouldn't do justice. Words aren’t my thing, but Running is. I try to continue to express my gratitude when I run and do my best to be present when I run and honor him that way... the only way I know how....
Rest In Peace, My friend. Thank you for everything.... You are loved and missed.
And until we meet again,
I’m movin’ along guys. I’m running, I’m waking up without sharp pain, and I’m feeling less injured. Like I've said before, my foot has been manageable. If I wanted to try another training cycle, I’d likely make it pretty far without any intervention beyond the rest I gave myself between shamrock and Easter... but if I want to do and be the best I can, my foundation needs to be stronger and more stable. That foundation is my feet. The custom orthotics are the most firm thing I’ve ever had on my feet. Very stable for sure! I’m almost in them full time and the progress is clear. So far I feel they have been worth the money and I wish I tried them sooner. I just was always managing so why put a ton of money into something that isn't that bad? The difference between then and now is that it went beyond managing just to run... I was just managing in every day activities, too. I couldn't take it and finally took action! I'm super excited about what is to come! Even if it doesn't look anything like my hopes and dreams for myself two years ago... at this stage to be able to train and race uninterrupted would be a dream. So right now that's the goal... that and a BQ
Monday: 1.5 mile run, Spin
I have always been blessed with people around me that hold me up when I can’t hold myself. Heading into this last week of school with Dance coming to an end and Matt doing the work of at least 3 people in his job spreads me a bit thin. In a hurry. Always in a hurry. I wanted to do Monday spin but it was Sunday when I decided to sign up and it’s typically booked. I went on the app but to my surprise it wasn’t! So I added myself to what I thought was the 5:45pm class. I drove home after work (30 minutes) to pick up the girls, drove back to kids korner. Just enough time to get changed and squeeze in a short 30 minute walk/run and double with a spin. Since my runs are lots of walking still, I’m keeping the cross training efforts high until running gradually replaces most of it. I have a marathon in 12 weeks. Gotta get to work! Anyway, it was 5:10 and I was putting my towel on the bike and getting the seat and bars adjusted to my preference so I could walk in right on time and not miss a beat. There were people already there! I asked if the class was 5:45 (I get being early but... aren’t you really early?) and, nope, 5:30. Shit. I got the time wrong. I swear it was 5:45pm but whatever. I’ll walk/run for a quick 15- 20 and skip the cool down walk because I’m going to get right to spin so NBD. I felt fine on the treadmill and managed just under 2 miles, and then when I got to spin the instructor was like “yeah, I knew there was no way you were coming to my morning class...”( 5:45am...it all made sense now). “I switched you to this one, you’re lucky I had a cancel!”... the instructor, Meagan, is the adaptive PE teacher in my program at school, so she’s seen me roll into work late. NOT a morning person! She had my back! Spin was hard AF, but I think it will be really good after long runs to get blood flow back. Hoping to make Monday more regular! I may have to ease up on my intensity though but I think, especially for this training block where I’m only going for a BQ, it will be a good alternative or addition.
I did not run on Tuesday. My Mother-in-Law was watching the girls at the house, and I didn't feel like shoving them in the car and rushing around. I had been restless all night following along with Gabe Grunewald's husband on instagram. She. died on Tuesday and although we didn't find out until much later at night, Her husband had shared a few intimate posts about her declining health and it just pulled at my head and my heart. I had trouble sleeping thinking about her and how she could be taking her last breaths any second while I slept. I thought about my coach, Kevin Kirk, who died of cancer a few years ago (almost to the day. June 21) and how a few years ago I was visiting him at his house and trying to find words to say goodbye without saying goodbye because you don't want to say it and make it real. He was like a father to me. I have a father who I love and who is still alive.... but outside of family influence, no one in my life has more profoundly impacted me than Kevin Kirk. It's weird to think that someone can impact your whole life through a sport, but athletics and the community it builds is that powerful. I learned a lot about the power of sport, running in particular, through Kevin Kirk... and I found myself reliving a lot of those feelings, memories and realizations through following Gabe's story and rewatching interviews with her and how important running was to her. Kevin Kirk would always say to me "Enjoy your Health". No matter what result I received or even what injury I was bitching about, those three words were always his response. And although Gabe was sick for a long time by many peoples standards, I thought about those three words in relationship to the life she lived. She enjoyed her health... every ounce she had she used and squeezed out of her life... and as a result we don't remember her for her cancer, we remember her for her strength and the amazing things she did with whatever bit of health she had................................... anyway... this weekly recap has taken a sharp turn... but apart from sharing articles on facebook and screenshots on instagram, I haven't really said anything about the situation that has shaken the running community to the core... It's kind of a weird thing when someone you don't know can impact you or touch your heart in some way. Is it selfish to share and to feel feelings that maybe should be reserved for family members and close friends? Is it wrong to somehow insert your own story into the narrative? ... I just couldn't figure out what to say... but I hardly edit the weekly recaps on my blog so, this is a very stream of conscious unfiltered reflection on the events that unfolded in our community last week. Truthfully, I only posted one blogpost last week because I was writing a post on jumping on the "Bandwagon" for the Boston Bruins.... but in the wake of all the posts with Gabe, it seemed inappropriate or insignificant... to summarize, I'm a big fan of the bandwagon. I hop right on!... but, it's a little bit more delicate when it's over a life and not over a championship game (and then the Bruins lost anyway, so the bandwagon fizzled quick! but that was on Wednesday... Moving on!)
I did warm up glute exercises, pelvic core engagement and release drills before hopping on the treadmill. The girls were in Kids Korner and were super excited to go today. I did 2.3 total miles of walking and running. Intervals were between 2-3 minutes. with 1-2 minutes walks (plus warm up walk and cool down walk). I used my orthotics for only two of the intervals just to feel it out. Super firm! but I could feel immediate stress come off my calves when switching from no orthotics (after spending the whole day at work in them) and then putting them back on. This may just work! Please! I did some quick box drills (single leg box squats, step ups, bulgarian split squats) and then noticed an empty bike as spin class was starting and Meagan let me jump in. I didn't attend the whole class because my kids can only stay in Kids Korner for 2 hours, but did the first 30 minutes. I was really run down and tired anyway. Of course I skipped my shower because I have never left the kids in the Kids Korner for a whole 2 hours, usually just 90 minutes and this was 1:45... so I rushed to get them thinking Raea was going to give me hell that I took too long and instead she took one look at me and said mommy! why are you back!? I'm not done my castle yet! while building with legos. I quit people. I just can't win. Damned if you do, Damned if you don't. Lesson learned, and extra 15 minutes for a shower never hurt anyone!
I took another day totally off. I'm just trying to appropriately manage my time and energy as the end of the school year approaches. Matt is in a big selling season so although I see him every morning and night, a lot of the night time duties are on me and even the mornings, too. If it wasn't raining I was considering walking at the Fun Run or at the Rail Trail.... but it was going to be too buggy with the humidity and moisture to be walking. I'm not really feeling like I'm behind on fitness, I'm fit!... I'm behind in specifically running. I wasn't supposed to run today anyway so anything I chose to do would just be to say I did something and not necessarily have a huge benefit. I tried to figure out what would benefit me most today and I decided to continue to prep summer school and IEP assessment binders for next year to alleviate the potential stress I'll encounter in August when the school year starts and I'm in peak marathon training. I think it's been worth it. I've never been one to be ahead of the game, but maybe my job will stress me out less if I can somehow get ahead for once.
Hot Damn... Happy Friday! I ran outside today and Hell Yes it was perfect! I've been on the treadmill in order to keep myself contained at a specific pace, and also because I need the Kids Korner... but wow nothing compares to being on the trail! I tried to not pay too much attention to anything except for how I felt and I felt perfect. I got a bit carried away on the side trails and ended up turning back a little later than planned. 4 miles of walk running today. Most of which was running. Right as I was finishing up my run I stopped to walk and I hear quick stride coming up behind me. Like quick. I know 95% of the faster runners in the area so when I turned I expected to know the person, but didn't expect it to be my podiatrist. Sure enough, Dr. Saviet coming up behind me in his Providence jersey (In case anyone didn't know he was fast, he had the jersey to prove it!) He said something along the lines of that he was proud of me for walking and taking it slow and not wearing the orthotics. He followed it up with "I'm in marathon training, time to hammer"... for reference, we are both running a last chance BQ in the same weekend (his in Boston, it was closed before I had a chance to register)... he's hammering away and I'm walking. Yes, I'm going to bring this up at my follow up appointment... but for now I'm just happy to be running at all and to be doing normal every day things without foot pain. Relief!
I'm a dance mom now, so Saturday morning routine has been Dance, Kids Korner, Panera. Today wasn't much different. Kids slept in so we were running super late for dance, the last class before the recital, so I left without breakfast and fed them granola bars in the car. #momoftheyear. I'm so proud of Raea and how much progress shes made in her confidence in dance! We were lucky and actually won a raffle for a full year in dance, but we will for sure be continuing. I never expected this to be part of my life so young (or at all), but she really lights up for dance so we will keep going! After dance I was super hungry and expected they would be too today so when we got to the gym I just did an easy bike for 45 minutes and got out of there ASAP. We went straight to Panera (which is so close to the gym, hence why this is part of our new schedule) I had noticed a tiny rash on Maebels feet in the morning, but I thought it was sweat from the new crocks she had. I really thought nothing of it at all because we also used a different soap.... but she puked while we were leaving Panera, and then I got more concerned. I checked her belly and noticed more subtle rash. I worried about a bug bite she had on her ankle that looked really nasty... potential tick bite... Lyme disease has all sorts of strange symptoms (learned the hard way, my husband got Bells Palsy from it!) ... Not wanting to even wait until Monday, we took her to Urgent Care even though she seemed to be back to 100% after the vomit (in hindsight she totally inhaled her Mac 'n' Cheese and overate... I mean, who doesn't make that mistake sometimes?). Even though we were second on the wait list when we signed in, not one, not two but THREE traumas came in while we were there so we waited for a long time to get zero answers. I had hoped that if it was nothing and just from new soap they would at least give a doctors note so she could go to school on Monday... but they wouldn't even give us that. They ruled out Hand, Foot, and Mouth based on the fact that she had nothing in her mouth and was super happy... but were checking for Scarlet Fever or the strep rash. Full results weren't available until Monday so we were told to keep her home. I'm 90% sure she had Hand Foot and Mouth now (sores showed up in her mouth the next day)... so I felt immediate guilt for her being at the Kid Korner. That's how kids get these things, though... You usually don't know they have something until it's too late! Not the way I wanted to spend the day off with Matt, but at least we were together. Raea wanted to come sooo bad (she wants to be a doctor) so it was nice that we at least got time as a family, even if it was in the waiting room
I left all the running time for Matt today since it was Father's Day. He was gone for about 3 hours in the morning between commute to trail and the run itself. He's been unreal supportive of all the ridiculous expenses and time I've required for a sport I've barely participated in for the last two years... so I figure one day for just him to not have to arrange his run around me isn't such a hard thing. I also got him a gym membership for fathers day so maybe we can work out together again once his big selling season slows down. We visited my dad a bit and just had a pretty low key, rainy day after that.
Big things next week! The LAST DAY OF SCHOOL! So there will be a shift in my workout schedule which usually is bad at first and then I adjust. stay tuned! (better late than never!)
Better late than never. I’m trying to get a hold on the blogging consistency. I’m managing 2 blogposts a week, one weekly wrap up and another mixed bag of things- tips, throwbacks, running psychology, family, etc..... once school is officially out I think I’ll get into a better rhythm... or not... but I’m determined to just keep blogging even if I’m late. So it’s Tuesday morning, I have a prep period I don’t need because I’ve been prepping so far in advance I’m able to relax (for once). The printer here is also out of ink so I'm trading the prepping I normally do at school and doing it at home... so the things I normally do at home (blog, for example) I'm trying to squeeze in during my prep at school. Everyone else is cleaning their class and organizing during their preps, but I’ll be here all summer so I’m not that concerned! In the meantime, here’s another week of training... I ran!
Monday: Spin Class
Matts back from Switzerland but he’s doing some crazy amount of pre-sales for new products and so he’s got a cray schedule with long hours. Monday he had the girls with him, so I went to spin class and killed myself there. I understand that the spin bikes probably measure miles based on revolutions not on power, but I “rode” 24 miles in an hour... my watts were just under 170. I actually had a lot of fun, but no a lot of time to do anything else.
Tuesday: RUN! and bike.
I did 10 minute walk, 5x1:00 walk/run at 11:00/pace, 10 min cool down walk. Almost 2 miles. WOO! My right foot hurt a little more than my left foot. I took this as a good thing because maybe it means I'm not compensating so much....? and then my right hip was a bit sore after spin... but again in a pretty good way. My orthotics still have not come in so I'm just itching to start breaking them in and getting moving again! I wasn't overly enthusiastic about running again. It always feels a little wrong when you start again. Kind of like a baby deer learning to walk. It seems like it should just come so naturally if everything is healed, but that's just not how the body works. Those early phases post injury are a delicate balance between what you are actually feeling and what you are perceiving you are feeling based off of fear or history. When you are only running one minute at a time there's not a lot of risk involved. My PT gave me a return to run program that I'm sort of following with some minor changes from my podiatrist. The return to run program that my PT has me doing is an hour on your feet (most of which is walking) but my podiatrist wants even less... at least until I get the orthotics. I'm still waiting for some clarification on how to increase next.... but if I don't get an email back soon I'm going to go rogue and that's probably not a good thing! After the run I biked easy for 30 minutes and then I finished up with some single leg box squats, step ups, glute band stuff, and some pelvic floor breathing. I'm really trying to get the pelvic floor stuff back under control. I know, I know, it seems like I should be done with all this postpartum stuff, but the reality is once postpartum, always postpartum and I've learned that the hard way this year.
Wednesday: Happy Global Running Day!
I did pool running. I did a quick ladder workout similar to what I posted in my Water Running 101 post, but I shortened it to only 2 ladders instead of 3 since I was pressed for time before a class came in. I did a lot of reflection on the running experiences I've had. How many hours I've probably spent in the pool injured, how many I've spent as supplemental work, how many hours I've spent devoting to this sport in general. It's a lot. I used to think I lacked discipline, but really I don't... Motivation and dedication aren't the same thing. I'm often overworking myself so motivation is thin. But I'm learning to balance it better with age, so I'll get it right one day!
Thursday: Walk/Run 30 minutes
Today was another day where I had to drive all the way home to get the girls and all the way back to the gym to get the use of kids korner. I think soon I can take them outside in the stroller, but Raea chose the gym so that worked for me. She had her FIRST EVER field trip so I think she was tired of being outside. It actually worked even better than I could imagine! A co-worker of mine was having a retirement party. I knew what day it was because I remember checking and thinking oh, I can't go, Matt isn't home. But I didn't realize that the location was actually at the bar IN MY GYM. So I showed up with my kids not even aware all my coworkers were there. I worked out and then went to socialize a bit. I fed my kids some of the food and it worked out great because one less thing to clean up. I had a ton on my plate that night because I promised my students I'd make us T-shirts for Spree Day. I had not started yet and I got home at 8:00... It was a fun night. I finished at 12:30 which wasn't actually too bad considering all I squeezed in on a Thursday. 30 minutes of walk/running wasn't much, but it was something, and pretty much no noticeable hip or foot pain.
Spree Day! I spent the whole day on my feet at work and outside. The kids at school had a TON of fun and were really well behaved. I spent the whole week talking about waiting in lines and choosing to wait only for your most favorite things. I had them write about their favorite things and took note of their top 3 so that none of them missed out on what they wanted to do the most. Bouncy Houses, Slides, Horses, face painting, tattoos, colored hair, cotton candy, snow cones, dunk tank, and more relay and field games than you can ever imagine (and this is coming from someone who has spent 12 hours at a track event specifically for relays). Anyway, Spree day was enough activity for me. Just as I was leaving school I checked my voicemail and my Orthotics were in. I picked them up so I could spend the weekend breaking them in and by Tuesday I'd be in them for a full work day. When I got home I just wanted to spend time with my kids and then I did a Date Night In with my husband.
Crazy Saturday. The usual. My husband is off to work early everyday and home late during his big sales season, so even though I do see him each day I'm basically parenting solo. I took Raea to dance with Maebel. After dance I took the kids to Kids Korner at the gym. I did about 40 minutes of walk running but mostly walking. It felt weird since I was in my orthotics for 2 hours before and then had to take them off to workout. I'm still adjusting. I didn't do much more. Just foam rolling and practicing Pelvic Floor breathing. Afterward I had a few errands to run. I needed to get the car inspected because it was a few days overdue, we all needed to eat, and I had to get a gift for my friends bridal shower the next day. I thought I was being super efficient when I pulled into the autoshop right next to panera, right in front of Home Depot. This is great. I'll drop off my car, get an oil changed and an inspection, walk over to panera and eat while it's getting done and then walk up to home depot. The kids wont even need to wait!....
Well, it didn't go that way. As it turns out my registration was expired a few days ago, too.... and it's technically my husbands car because I sold mine and he drives the company car... and my husband was in a giant tent sale.... so the only way I can get my car inspected is to re-register the car online... but I need all his info, and then I need to somehow do it on my phone while my kids run around like crazy, going behind the desk, licking the windows and screaming at the top of their lungs because I'm raising a bunch of animals and it was Maebels nap time. I was super stressed about this but thank the LORD another little girl came in with her toy puppy and my kids settled long enough to let me finish what I was doing. Then we needed to wait for the registration email to come in and it just wasn't coming... and now I"m freaking out like I need to wait until business hours or something... and I'm 90% sure the carshop isn't going to let me drive away with an unregistered car, so... W.T.F... I walk over to panera with the impatient girls (and I'm starving BTW because my kids decided not to be an alarm clock today and we were running really late for dance so I skipped breakfast) and the second I step through the door I get the email I was waiting for. We eat, then walk back to the car place.. wait some more... give the proof they need and the registration number, walk to Home Depot and grab a gift card and then I just pushed them in the cart for literally no other reason but to keep them contained until the shop called me and said the car was ready. Dear Lord please pass inspection. We go to get the car and all was good. Great customer service and way more patience with my kids than I had... although I do admit the food gave me the patience I needed! The car passed, I wasn't really worried until I was having one of those days and thought that would be the icing on the cake... but instead the icing was ice cream! right as we were about to leave, the ice cream truck pulled up and I just happened to have cash from all my students parents giving me some money for their spree day shirts. The wait was worth it, Raea never saw an ice cream truck before. She was excited and wants to go back to the car place... Next time this year I will. Someone remind me.
Sunday: Another day of no working out and I'm not sad about it. I had a bridal shower to go to and then I spent the rest of the afternoon prepping for next fall. Did I mention I signed up for a marathon? It's a last chance BQ, Erie Marathon, and I'm basically going to be doing peak week when we go back to school and racing right around the time everything starts to really take off. Needless to say, it's going to be a stressful month to run a marathon, so I figure if I can get everything organized for next year it will help remove some of that initial start of the school year stress. This year was really stressful because I had a mostly new batch of kids. This coming year I will have most of the same students, so it gives me a little bit of a better opportunity to prepare. I enjoyed the rest of the night hanging out with these cool kids!
It's been over 21 years of ups and downs, and I have grown so much. I have a lot of words to say on this global running day, but most of all I can only say thank you.
Thank you for the confidence I never knew I had.
Thank you for the friendships I've gained across the years,
Thank you for the bond I share with members of my family,
Thank you for my family. Without you, maybe we wouldn't be here.
Thank you for the opportunities.
So many opportunities.
Opportunities to connect with my inner self,
Opportunities to breathe when we often don't take them,
Opportunities to pray,
Opportunities to sweat,
Opportunities to move my body... especially as I age and being an athlete loses it's glory.
Opportunities for the glory... even if I thought it was bigger (much bigger) than it actually was.
I thought I was the shit... Thanks for teaching me humility too.
I learned a lot through success, but even more through failure.
Man, you gave me so many opportunities to fail.
...and fail ugly
... I was a sore loser at times.... but you didn't care. I even embarrassed myself for how I accepted failure (or didn't accept failure) but you were still there. I was so young and passionate, and growing.
I needed the opportunities that you continued to give me.
Opportunities to fail again
and fail a bit more gracefully each time.
... so many lessons in the failures.
a constant reminder that I can choose to stay down or get back up.
I learned to get up when I failed in other aspects of life too.
I learned to understand that failure is part of the process to success across all endeavors, not just with you.
I was once a 12 year old girl checking the oven clock, and jumping out the door racing a few blocks to see how fast I could go and realizing, by most peoples standards, I could go fast.
But fast wasn't enough.
I wanted more.
There once was a time I wanted you to go away.
You haunted my dreams.
I wanted my dreams to be real so badly and I got mad when they weren't.
I felt like you owed it to me.
For all the time and energy I put in.
You owed me ...
I was owed a victory or owed a PR or owed healthy leg (or foot, or hip, or back <<<>insert injuries here <>>>), or owed back time in my life that I invested where things didn't pan out the way I thought they ought to... (Like that time I missed Nationals by .24 seconds. That wasn't fun.) ...
If you weren't going to give me those things...
I didn't want you anymore....
But I didn't know life without you so I just kept going...
and kept growing...
and kept changing...
and now I'm a mom. I'm still racing that oven clock... but most often for things like if I burnt the food yet, or shuffling out the door to get to work, or dance, or daycare always in a hurray, always moving fast. .....I race that oven clock for bedtime... how fast can I get kids to bed so I can get a bit of time to breathe again? When can I breathe?
I used to think I was giving to you.
I was giving you my time
giving you my energy
giving you my life
and all you could do was just be
and never give
so I got nothing in return.
or so I thought.
but you do give
You give me time to breathe.
Every day I get to run I get to breathe...
I used to want everything so fast but now, when I run, it finally slows down.
No matter what pace I run, the world slows down.
You give me that opportunity to live in the moment
see the beauty in all the world
forget about all the things I have to worry about
and just be.
Being able to just be is powerful.
You are that for me
You give that to me
PS: I still do want to run fast, though. Let’s get it right this time!
In the month of March I pulled the plug on the Shamrock marathon and decided to fully heal before I started training again. In the month of April I thought I understood what fully healed meant... started training, and then pulled the plug 4 weeks in realizing I was doing myself a disservice to repeat this same old pattern. Manageable pain is only manageable until it’s not... and by the time you realize it’s no longer manageable you’re too deep into training to stop. Too invested, too much work to waste... so you risk it all until you lose it all. I’ve repeated this pattern a few times. I manage pain well... a thing I used to be proud of... but as I age I know I need to give my body a better place to start from. It’s so hard for me to trust my own insight on this having made so many repeated mistakes. In the month of May I took this more seriously. I’m 4 weeks in to the Last Comeback but still have not run a step. I still have pain but extremely limited in comparison to previous benchmarks. I also feel like I’m about to make enough changes that the result will hopefully change. This will hopefully be the last week of NO running. But next weeks totals are probably going to be <5. A less than gradual approach. But enjoy my last recap that has ZERO running.
Monday: I don't know if it's bad or good that I've already forgotten. I had to look this up. It appears I did nothing on Monday and on Sunday. I think it was Matts full day back from Switzerland and I just wanted to not think about fitting something in the schedule.
Tuesday: Pool workout: 10 min warm up; 10x (50sec hard/10 sec easy, 40 sec hard/20 sec easy, 30 sec hard/30 sec easy); 5 x 90 sec (faster every 30 sec) w/30 sec easy between each; cool down. This workout was directly from my coach. The pool at the gym I joined is not a deep water pool. The very center of it is 5 feet deep so if I wear a belt I can do deep water running if I turn around every 15 seconds. I basically just go in a small circle in the middle of my lane like a lame fish... but I also did use the shallow end for the warm up, cool down, and the 90 second repeats. It takes me roughly 30 seconds to run a length of the pool so it was easy to run down and back for 90 seconds and measure if I was getting faster or staying on pace. I wrote a whole blogpost on water running with a few workouts on there if you missed it. Check it out! I also had my last Shockwave appointment. I'm still not 100% but I'd say my range is now between 95-99% on any given day. I more notice pain or chronic tightness in my shin and calf. The podiatrist feels pretty confident that the orthotics are going to relieve a lot of that.
Wednesday: 60 minutes on the bike and glute band drills plus box steps and other box stuff. I was shockingly sore from the pool workout so just kept it easy! I've been having real trouble sleeping lately so I'm trying not to overwork myself.
Thursday: Squeezed in a quick sprints pool workout (FREE on my Water 101 post!) before heading to get a massage. My massage hurt really bad. Lots of deep abdominal work done reminding me that I still have a long way to go in terms of pelvic floor stability. However, reading this blogpost that Sarah Canney put together I felt hopeful. I can perform all the exercises mentioned but my guess is I can't perform them after a run or after a workout or without putting thought into it. It takes a lot of concentration for me to breath correctly! Being able to do it without fatigue is, to me, just the baseline. I need to be able to do it when I'm tired, so that's what I will work on. My massage therapist keeps saying "it's not a strength thing, it's a vascular thing. You are strong enough, you just aren't getting enough oxygen and blood flow, you're not breathing correctly". So I got this little thing called "expand-a-lung"... I had heard about it on Tina Muirs podcast and it helps with the diaphragm and emailed her guest who is local to here. I remember when I went to pelvic floor PT I had an issue with my piston breath and my diaphragm lowering on inhales because it was so tight. My massage therapist basically did deep tissue massage in that diaphragm area and I gotta say I've never felt so good (and sore... in a good way). The expand-a-lung puts some pressure against the breath to sort of force the correct engagement and coordination... I guess it increases your lung capacity which sounds cool for runners, but Again, I just got it because the guy on the podcast is legit and recommended it to me when I emailed him about my pelvic floor. at least that's what I understood from the podcast episode it was mentioned in! Here is a great video below that the pelvic floor PT I worked with sent to me. I fall in the category of tight upper abs and diaphragm. I do not leak at all though because my pelvic floor has compensated and is in a constant state of contraction in order to hold everything up since my abs and diaphragm are not fully expanding and contracting either. Anyway, I was able to get correct movement almost 2 years ago when I saw the PT, but again, I think I need to do it really conscientiously and it doesn't happen when I'm running or doing sports or transporting or restraining a child at work... as a result I sometimes have pain and sometimes do not.
Friday: I planned to get up early but slept 5hours and 3 minutes according to my app (which usually means I slept less than that). It was the Flag Day show at school and it took every bit of energy I had to make sure every student was happy and able to participate nicely so that I didn't need to transport anyone out off the stage with a million parent eyes on me. It's part of my job and I'm trained to correctly and safely remove children who are a threat to themselves or others, however no one wants an audience for something like that... especially when it's supposed to be a celebration! Fortunately the kids were great during the show(s) (they perform twice), but a change in schedule for kids with autism is hard on everyone and I was psyched to just go home and chill.
Saturday: On Saturday I took the approach of doing two back to back classes in order to make it a "long run" day. I did the shallow water H2O class which wasn't exactly hard, I can make it much more challenging on my own, but the introduction of some impact is good before I start running next week so I just went with it. Some things were very hard and others were... meh... but I reminded myself that long runs shouldn't be hard... jut long. I followed up with a spin class. To be honest, I didn't love the instructor. Mostly because I couldn't hear her and didn't know her cues and had a really large (like tall) man blocking my view so I also couldn't see. But I give her a pass because I overheard her telling another member of the class that she ran 3:32 in the marathon "Not the BQ I wanted, at one point I was on pace for a 3:11"... Knowing nothing about her I wanted to be like "if you were looking to BQ why 3:11 pace?..." sounds like she got out too hard. Anyway, I was impressed she could spin after because spin class is legit hard for me! But not sure I would take her class again. Too much of the class was centered around the music for me. I would rather be told "30 seconds" than "find the beat"... I don't run with music and really don't want music to dictate my workout. When I finished up I headed over to Raeas dance class to trade off with Matt and made it back just in time to check out her handprint being added to the wall! So cute!
Sunday: Everything about this day just wasn't good. I don't even want to get into it because I worked really hard to just let it go and don't want to rehash it.. but I will say that I posted about it in my story on instagram and was overwhelmed by the support by other parents out there! I honestly got so many messages of support I couldn't even respond to them all individually. Amazing amazing people willing to support a total stranger! It's funny how we can be that way online, but I wonder if I would have received the same support in person. It reminded me to be kind. Always be kind. You don't know what someone else is dealing with. We Can't be perfect all the time (not even close, for me)... but I pulled my head out of the fog and meal prepped... that's all I could manage for Sunday. My kids also returned to their angelic state (after the devilish one that sent me for a loop) and I got this adorable footage of Maebel reading with Raea. Love them so much!
Hope you had a really great week! Sorry I’m a little inconsistent with posting in terms of day/time. I’m going for weekly consistency (2-3 posts per week always with weekly training recap)
Have you ever done spin class? what parts you like or don’t like?
Tell me your parent fails
how was your week of training?
Today (Tuesday) was my last Shockwave appointment and although I'm still waiting for my orthotics, I got the green light to start running 1 minute at a time one mile at a time (one minute run one minute walk for a mile) starting next week! Woo Hoo! I need to start rebuilding tissue tolerance and adapting to the impact after all this time off. My foot is feeling great after all the treatments! I wish I got some done to my calf though, because now that my foot feels good the pain is back in my calf... but it sounds like the orthotics could solve it all. I'm so hopeful! I've spent A LOT of money on this! Thank GOD I had three pay periods (as opposed to the usual 2) in the month of May. We have no extra money, but if there was ever a time for us to indulge, it's a month with three pay periods. In addition to the 5 shockwave treatments and the big bills for the orthotics, I also got a gym membership. I typically don't need a gym since I'm very much happy with outdoor activity, but these last four weeks having various bikes and classes, and weights, and available babysitters has made me feel less depressed and less like I'm missing out on something. The reason I got the membership in the first place is because my favorite form of cross training is the pool. When I first joined it was closed for 2 weeks for annual cleaning (of course) and then with Matts travel there was a class going on during the babysitting hours so I didn't have the freedom to do whatever I wanted, but today I finally got to use it! This is my go-to cross training method of choice, and here's why it should be yours too (plus a few workouts to try!)
1. Little to No Impact
Generally speaking, when people talk about water running (or aqua jogging, or pool running) they are referring to running in the deep end of the pool with a buoyancy belt (essential!) where your feet can not touch the ground. You can also run in the shallow end with less impact depending on how shallow you run. I spent many of my high school summers running circles in my parents above ground pool. I also did this when I broke my foot and began to reintroduce impact. It was before the alter-G was a thing where you could remove "X" percentage of your weight... It just was something I did on my own intuition. For most injuries you want to stay primarily on the deep end, but there is some benefit to gradually reintroducing your body to some impact and force with the use of a pool before you hit the pavement. This is why people might walk after a surgery in the shallow end of the pool. Standing without full weight but still standing. The majority of running related injuries are lower extremities. Achilles, calves, shins, and feet (sound familiar). All these things can benefit from pool running. No take off to hurt the Achilles and calves, and no landing to hurt the shins and feet. If you have a hamstring or hip injury, pool running may not be the best for you, especially if you are new to it and may make some mistakes while getting comfortable. Over extending in the pool could hurt the hamstring and the resistance of your knee drive could bother your hip... but I still recommend you read ahead just in case it is a good fit or worth trialing!
2. Sport Specificity
The best way to get better at running is to run. Cross training, and strength training are all supplemental training to running. If you want to get better at running, YOU MUST RUN! Unfortunately, running related injuries are common due to the high impact nature of the sport, so you may find yourself needing cross training either as a way to reduce impact and avoid injury or just during a time of injury in general. Not all of us were built with durability to withstand 80-100+ mile weeks so although running more in theory produces better running results, it only works if you don’t get hurt. Biking, lifting, swimming, rowing.. these are all great ways to maintain your cardiovasular fitness, but water running is running... just in the water... so in that sense it is the most specific to the sport itself with little to no impact. Unlike other forms of cross training where you may be using or building muscle groups in a different way than necessary for running, workouts in the pool mimic your real running form and mechanics (and can actually improve it, too!!) so it is the ideal choice for cross training. Specificity to sport is also why when I do strength training, you will see a lot of single leg exercises. This is specific to running. There is no point in your running stride that you are on two legs, so my lifting routine primarily involves working the muscles on one leg.
The pool offers resistance that only a really windy day can achieve! I’ve seen a lot of crazy things people are willing to do to add resistance to their running. Parachutes, bungee cords, sleds, even weighted vests! (Ouch! I think my leg just broke thinking about that!). I’ve mostly seen this for sprinters and track athletes trying to shave off tenths of a second, but mostly because with distance running there is no easy way to add resistance for the duration of a workout. You can do hills, you can train at elevation.... OR you can run in the pool! The pool has a great benefit of offering the resistance for both when the belly of the muscle contracts AND when it expands. Every direction you move in you are met with resistance to give you a little extra something when that resistance is taken away! You will notice your arms will get a really good workout in the pool, too! You may find yourself hungrier than ever after a pool workout because you're working everything (and are even burning calories just to stay warm)
Piggy backing on the above, the resistance also can help improve running form. Your body is going to look for the path of least resistance, which is the most efficient way of moving. For example, if you have any side to side arm swinging while running outside, you will notice immediately when you are in the deep water! With the resistance of the water you will actually move side to side instead of forward so you will quickly learn to monitor and change that arm swing! You are also able to slow down your stride due to the buoyancy (note: you should always wear a boyancy belt. Don't be a hero, we are not treading water, we are water running!), Make sure you’ve got your spine lined up nice and tall, your pelvis tilted and tucked, and a nice forward lean (but not too much. We're not swimming!). drive those knees up and elbows back, but don't overreach with your arms and pull yourself forward. It will feel a little like running in place but you will still have some forward motion. Overstriding isn’t going to happen in the water. Try it (unless you've got a hamstring issue!)! You’ll see how hard it is to pull your body forward through the water and then transition to a push. You should keep your cadence similar to running (around 180 is a good goal for me... or higher if I'm doing a "sprint") but remember, with resistance it will be harder work to achieve that. Overstriding most certainly is not going to allow you to do that, and it will be even more noticeable than it is on land. Keep in mind that proper form in the water is very important. If you are sacrificing form for speed, slow down and get it right so you can reap the full benefits of this method of cross training.
5. Go Hard More Often
Since you do not need your body to recover from impact you can really incorporate more workouts more often (but should always still have "easy" days). Additionally, your perceived effort might be harder than your heart rate suggests. Since you are buoyant, not taking any force, and in water that is not warm (although you might sweat, your core temperature is probably still lower than usual), your heart rate is generally lower even when you may feel like you are really cranking. As a result, you are able to do hard efforts more often without much difficulty, and also can do it with less recovery between intervals.... which is a good thing, because the pool can be BORING without having a constant change of pace! Below are some workouts you can try!
You can also just do your prescribed running workouts and convert it to Minutes. That might get boring (especially if you have a 2 hour long run....) so you may need to invest in some waterproof headphones etc. to keep it entertaining... but again, since there's no impact and your heart rate stays low, you can mix up the type of effort you do quite a bit without having to worry about overreaching.
Some Final Considerations:
Since we've talked about all the good with water running, one might think that when they can return to running on the land they don't need to go as gradually. This is not correct! Remember, your body is not taking any force with pool running. When you return to the land you still need to follow a return to run program that will gradually increase your load. You should wait 4-6 weeks from a long term injury before you add in workouts on land. Continue to do your workouts in the pool while you increase the duration of your runs on land.
Week 3, my hardest week of this comeback yet, but not because of workouts or anything fitness related.... rather, because I was solo parenting Monday to about 1 hour from now when my husband comes home. I'm tired. Pardon gave me a super flexible schedule and basically was like "just do what you can" ... 4 weeks ago I would have done next to nothing, but once the train is rolling, I don't want to stop. Last week Matt was gone for a few days and we tried out the Kids Korner, so this week was more of the same... a lot less lifting than previous weeks but time was not on my side.
Monday: 5 Miles on the bike and band exercises plus single leg deadlift and bulgarian split squats.
I was able to get up in the morning to do this workout because Matt was leaving mid day. To be honest, I wanted nothing to do with it because I felt like I had zero recovery from our weekend getaway and then from the previous solo parenting in Philly. The family time last week was nice and needed but sandwiched between two big trips for Matt left very little time to recover and prep for the big Switzerland trip which is a bigger Pain in the A$$ because of the timezone difference. I forced myself to get going in the morning. Just when I adjusted to mornings I had to do afternoons for the Kids Korner, and then back to mornings, and then afternoons. I'm really tired. Last week I became a monster of a mother to Raea one of the solo parenting days when she wouldn't go to bed. After some thought I realized how hard it is for her since she does not understand when Daddy is not coming home. So Monday night we made a schedule together and based on the experience with Kids Korner last week I knew I needed to build in a lot of really fun stuff for them to allow me to get to do the stuff I wanted with less trouble. This schedule definitely was the key to my success this week, but also felt like my demise some days. Pretty much every day I was like "whyyyyyy didn't I put more relax icons on there?"
Tuesday: 45 minute circuit training. Heavy on the squats and the glutes. I just foam rolled after. On paper Tuesday seemed like the easiest day. The girls were at my moms with my sister and my mom all day, and my mom is two seconds from my work and 2 minutes from the gym. Kids Korner opened at 5 so I put pool on the schedule before. Well, the pool is only family swim at 3 on Fridays, on Mondays it's at 7pm. W.T.F. So... this schedule that is designed to help me not get in an argument with my 3 year old over dinner (which is strategically all her favorites chosen in advance by her) and over where she has to go each day is now fucked. She's way too smart. If I miss one thing on the schedule, she'll know we can miss other things like... kids korner (I printed a copy that said babysitting, but then realized I had to type Kids Korner because Raea will argue who the babysitter is if I don't be specific and although she can't read the schedule followed her to school and to my moms house and with Grammy... so I needed them to use the same language... she's a smart cookie) So what do I do? I take my kids to the pool at 7pm even though I usually have them in bed by that time and I live 30 minutes from the gym and they haven't eaten yet. We're off to a great start! Fortunately the pool tired them out and it was really easy to get them to bed.
Wednesday: 10 minute warm up, 5 minutes hard, 1 minute recovery, (then 4, then 3, then 2, then 1) and 5 x :30 on :30 off. cool down... 10.9 total.
I left work, drove 30 minutes home to get the girls from Grammy who brought my nephew so she didn't have room in her car to take them to me (which is not a big deal because Kids Korner wasn't open yet anyway) then drove 30 minutes back to the gym just to get a workout in. I set a goal to increase wattage as each rep decreased. My watts were somewhere in the mid 200's for the 2 and 1 minute and RPM was around 90. Then for the :30 seconds I wanted the RPM in the 110s with lower resistance to be like "strides". Maebel saw me through the window when I got off the bike to walk on the treadmill next to my cousin-in-law who is also dealing with Plantar Fasciitis, so my gym session ended early. No lifting, and no shower until home (I really liked being showered before I had the bedtime shuffle). but I'd rather that than my kid crying because I walked right by her.
Thursday: Spin Class and some light lifting... more of the same
30 minute Drive home to get the girls, 30 minute drive back and then just in time for spin class. I brought my bike shoes but they won't clip into the new spin pedals. My shoes are a little stripped ... they clip into my bike fine, but I couldn't get them to clip in. I guess it's a common problem with the bikes... I think I'll just stick to using the cages, whatever. My quads are now absolutely shredded between all the biking and the squatting and the lifting....This was the most smooth day at the gym so far. I didn't need much strength after, this was a really hard class of climbing. I still did glutes and rolled and stretched but I was tired. Pizza was on the schedule for dinner and my sisters were both home from college, so I invited them to come. They were psyched because my mom "left them to fend for themselves" for dinner so it worked out because sometimes it is the worst waiting for food, but my sisters always keep the girls happy and entertained. Actually another easy night. But... soo happy that the work week is almost over at least!
Pardon wanted me to take at least one day completely off this week and so far I hadn't. After updating my Vdot to say "my quads are shredded" I got a little "remember- lets do a day off this week" reminder. I already knew I needed Friday and possibly Sunday so NO PROBLEM COACH! We still had some things to check off the schedule. Raea said she was too tired to go to Panera (phew! Me too!) so we could just have mac and cheese at home. and then when I asked her if she still wanted to play at the playground (please say no) she called me a cheater. "Cheater, Cheater, CHEATER! Home is not on our schedule now!".... Yikes. Victim of my own success. We went to the playground.
Saturday: One easy hour after Dance, glute band work, then pool drills
Raea's dance studio is just a few minutes from the gym so after dance I dropped them off at Kids Korner and did an easy hour on the bike. I was feeling down because I weigh 147lbs, but then I got over it. Whatever. Read more about that here... could be baby weight, could be because I'm lifting... could be because I'm no longer vegetarian and my body is figuring out what is going on... Who cares, my results will speak for themselves. The girls are getting really good at swimming with their puddle jumpers that I really can get some hip loosening drills done while watching them swim around. It's kinda nice! Today felt like a really well rounded day because we went home and finally got to relax after.
Sunday: Day of Rest... or cleaning like a mad woman because my husband is going to come home to a disaster. I kept up with as much as I could throughout the week but so much stuff accumulates as the week goes on and I prioritize cleaning things that make the house dirty... like food and dishes and trash... and the clutter takes a back seat. papers piled up on the table, backpacks on the floor, and stuffed animals everywhere. And laundry. Mountains of laundry. The house is pretty close to spotless now. Phew, I feel better. After I finished cleaning I got the kids out of the house to finish up our schedule before daddy comes home. Some biking and playground and ICE CREAM!
Overall a good week, but not my best with sleep... Raea asked if she could sleep in my bed when daddy is not sleeping in my bed... and I said yes. That's a lot of days to co-sleep. It sounded a lot cuter in my head, and even looks cuter... but not much sleep to be had. The main thing is I didn't absolutely lose my shit as a parent which I had the previous week.... so... victory! ... and the main reason I think I didn't flip out was because the girls were really very good, and actually... Maebel is always pretty good... she's starting to show resistance, but I'm going to soak up the sweetness while it's all she's got. Raea is a constant challenge (really good kid, but way too smart and quite the negotiator) but the schedule helped keep her in check. She enjoyed it and there wasn't much up for discussion which was... a tiny slice of heaven.
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 still hope to run sub 2:45 in the marathon one day, but for now I’m trying to focus on the process and I’m learning to enjoy it. You can come along for the ride, apologies in advance for grammatical incorrectness!