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!
Below are some blogposts you might have missed! Check them out! <3
Here are some products relevant to this post. I never post products I don't believe in, so if you see it here, it is something I use myself (obviously the cadbury eggs are the most essential part of my training!) If there's something you get or need anyway, getting it here helps me out! Anything you buy I really appreciate it!
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!