One of the very first big changes I noticed during pregnancy was in the breast department. I wish I could say that in a more eloquent way, but plain and simple, your boobs get LARGE. If you are looking for really good … Continue reading
I thought I knew a lot before I had a baby. I realized the things I was “so sure of”, I’m really not so sure of now, and new challenges appear daily. Its the most pressing yet fulfilling time of my life. Here’s what I know now:
I thought breastfeeding would feel like such a sacrifice. Although I had a goal of doing it for 6 months or maybe longer, I secretly thought I’d probably give up earlier, because it would restrict my freedom and other knowingly selfish reasons. Honestly, I was dreading it a little. I was totally unaware of how powerful hormones were, and never thought I’d enjoy the one-on-one time with E as much as I have. My goal is now to do it for a year. Just me and her. It’s amazing. I look forward to coming home to feed her. Its one of my favorite times of the day.
I thought getting up at 4:30 am to pump then get my running in would be nearly impossible. I’m not saying its easy, but if you want something bad enough, you just do it. I cant really explain it. I just get up, get it done, and move on. There really isn’t time to put it off. Simply put, if I want to run, it’s gotta happen at zero dark 30.
I thought I’d still be able to have little side projects and time to do things I “somewhat” enjoyed. I say “somewhat”, because these are commitments I might have had before the baby arrived. I definitely enjoy them, but they aren’t things I’m so so passionate about. For example, submitting articles for a magazine out of Nashville. I’ve been doing this for 5 years, and now it’s all coming to a head and I’ve had to ask myself, “Can I still do this?” Or maybe it’s the handful of people I coach for running. I do it because I enjoy it, not for the money, but do I truly have the time to still do this? This season of life leaves little time for side projects. There just isn’t enough time in the day. I’m going to have to very purposefully choose what I want to do or who I want to see during “that one available hour.” The things I choose to commit to and the people I choose to surround myself with needs to be very thought out. If it’s not thought out, these “fire years” as Sarah Mac describes, will decide for me. These are the fire years.
I thought cloth diapering would be easier. We are doing cloth diapering because of the impacts (or lack thereof) on the environment, and the cost savings. The downside is it is a little more time consuming because you have to wash them. Is it that much more time consuming? No. It’s really not hard nor is it that gross. But, when you’re sleep deprived and it’s a matter of grabbing the drying diapers off the rack a few rooms away or the throw-away diapers someone gave you that are behind you in a bag, you grab the throw-away diapers. It’s just a matter of being a little more intentional with our decisions. I’m sure when those disposable diapers run out, we will just suck it up, but trust me, when you’re tired and looking for convenience, it’s easy to forget your idealistic ethical ways 🙂
I thought my fitness would take a long time to return. I stopped running at 30 weeks pregnant, but really, I probably stopped at more like 26 weeks, as those last 4 weeks were very minimal running and very uncomfortable. I am totally shocked at how fast it’s all coming back. I ran a 5k last weekend and won! What in the world?! This has been the most fun journey, and it’s not over. I can’t wait to see where it takes me.
I thought my non-parent friends wouldn’t be interested in hanging out because I have a baby. I’m the first of my group of friends to have a baby, which means a lot of things are different about my life compared to my friends who are either single or newly married without kids. I thought my life would seem so boring and I’d have to make new mom friends. I am making new mom friends, but I never thought all my non-mom friends would be totally obsessed with Emerson. It’s hilarious and the best! I love how they’ve taken her under their wing, offered to baby sit so Jon and I can go out, and just loved on our girl. I didn’t expect that.
I thought returning to work at 6 weeks postpartum would be so hard. I was completely shocked when my transition back to work went smoothly. I very much expected to have an emotional few weeks or months of missing Emerson, feeling the guilt of being away, etc. I didn’t realize how much I loved my job until I was about 5 weeks into maternity leave and I was “ready to go back to work.” I love Emerson soo much, but I do think going to work makes me a better mom. I look forward to coming home to see her, and I love our time together, but I love my job, too. I always thought I’d be a stay-at-home mom. This definitely took me by surprise.
I never thought my marriage would be stretched the way it has been. I am all about being open and honest, because I feel like if I am vulnerable, maybe it will open other people up, too. Vulnerability help us grow as people. Jon and I have an amazing relationship, but if there’s one thing that’s stretched us, it’s this beautiful bundle of joy named Emerson Ruth. She is a pretty easy child, but I keep going back to sleep deprivation, and we are actually sleeping 7-8 hours a night! Not getting the sleep you need (Jon and I both are heavy sleepers and Jon requires 9-10 hours a night, where I function best at the typical 8. We are high maintenance!) and having another human who requires so much attention, will make you say things you don’t mean, and it will make you selfish. It’s all such a learning thing. I can’t imagine where we would be if we didn’t have a strong relationship prior to the baby. It would be bad. With that said, I cannot stress enough, if your relationship is on the rocks or you are having troubles, do NOT think a baby is going to make things better/easier. It will make it harder! We have to be very diligent about putting Emerson down at 7:30pm every night so we can have time together. If we didn’t do that, Jon and I would probably never have a chance to catch up and just be together. We need this time. That’s a small example. We agreed from the beginning that our marriage comes first, and then the child. Everyone does things differently, but for us, we know a happy baby can only happen if there’s a happy marriage, so each day, we say a lot of “I love yous” “I’m sorry” “I’ll do better” and “How can I help”. It’s not always easy, but it’s worth it. It is and will always be worth fighting for.
Until next time,
I had (what I believe was) an unusually easy recovery from labor. Within 2 days, I was taking short walks around the neighborhood with E in the baby carrier, and within a week, I extended the walks to about 40 minutes. I felt immensely grateful and honestly, very surprised. You hear the stories about women being in bed for at least a week, unable to walk or really do anything on their own. Perhaps it was the rush of adrenaline from the hormones, but I felt pretty amazing, both physically and emotionally very quickly post birth. Those of you who kept up with my pregnancy journey can understand how much of a relief this was. Pregnancy was hard for me. I was allll over the place emotionally, so to FINALLY feel normal and like myself again, even just a few days postpartum, was the biggest breath of fresh air.
I promised I’d share my recovery plan week-by-week, so let’s get down to it.
Like I said, I was up moving around and going on short walks within a couple days. I remember being wheeled out of the hospital 24 hours after giving birth and thinking, “I really don’t need this wheelchair.” I didn’t say anything to the nurse or patient transporter just because protocol is protocol, but I honestly could have walked to the car by myself. Also, in full disclosure, I did have a second-degree tear, and a few stitches, but I never actually felt anything painful in that regard after birth. Tears really are not as bas as people make them out to be or what you think they might be. Like I said, I never felt it. I would describe the discomfort postpartum more as just, well, discomfort.
I gauged my activity levels the first week by the amount of lochia my body produced. One day I went for a 45 minute walk, and I knew it was too much when I was bleeding heavier than normal afterward. Again, not painful, just crampy, and I knew I needed to back off a little bit. During pregnancy, you become pretty self aware of when you’ve overdone it, and postpartum is very similar in that regard. You are the best determiner for your activity level. Your body will let you know, I promise.
My goal going into what I called “Week 0” in my training log was simply to start with short walks (20-30 minutes), and to also begin a core and pelvic “re”-strengthening program. I never really understood before I gave birth what people meant by “your core and pelvic area are totally wrecked after you have a baby,” but trust me, I found out veryyyy quickly what they meant. Lol. Basically, you have all this weight in the front of your body that steadily increases over 9 months, and then all of a sudden the majority of it disappears, so you’re left with most likely a tilted pelvis, rotated sacrum, and nonexistent abdominal muscles. Woof. Trying to run with all that jacked up is a terrible idea. Don’t do it. Don’t think you’re “different” and can just power through it. I maintained a pretty intense strength-training regimen up until the day I delivered Emerson, and I was STILL jacked up in the pelvic/core region. So, if there’s anything I can stress in this post, it’s to tackle that area first and foremost. And, be very careful at the same time.
|2/2/2016||Tues||baby is born! Emerson Ruth Taylor, 5:20am; 7lb 4oz|
|2/4/2016||Thurs||15 min very easy slow walk with Emerson in stroller|
|2/5/2016||Friday||20 min easy walk with Emerson in stroller|
|2/6/2016||Sat||25 minute easy walk (1 mile loop) with Emerson in baby carrier. feeling better each day!|
|2/7/2016||Sun||began core/pelvic floor stabilization exercises. kegels–5×5 seconds each lying on back. pelvic tilts on back–3×10 reps holding 10 seconds each rep. sahrmann ab #1–5 reps on each leg. 40 min walk at the park with Emerson in the baby carrier. walked to and from church too. prob overdid it today with the walking.|
Here are the pelvic/core exercises I focused on. I built my plan based on a variety of recommendations and sources, including Alysia Montano’s postpartum plan, to a physical therapist friend of mine, to even pinterest. I did these daily for the first 3 weeks postpartum, and then moved to every other day, adding in more difficult moves once these got easy. I am currently 8 weeks postpartum and still doing them every other day (you may find you need to keep doing them daily even up to 6 weeks or longer. Figure out what you need.) Whatever you do, DO NOT NEGLECT THIS. Your body and running will thank you immensely!
Pelvic Tilts against a wall (10-20 total. holding for 5 seconds each)
Pelvic tilts on all fours–similar to cat cow in yoga (begin with 10, gradually build to 30 total, holding for 5 seconds each)
Sahrmann #1 (this is best explained on this link
I remember my first postpartum Kegel. I could barely hold it for 5 seconds! Then, it got easier and easier, until one day I did probably 50 reps, and realized I was probably ready to graduate to something more challenging.
All in all, the first week was primarily about 1. Bringing our baybay home, and understanding how to raise a newborn/taking in all the newness of a sweet little one. And 2. Starting to begin the recovery process for my body. Nothing crazy, just a little commitment each day (probably 1 hour total with walking and strength training). Honestly not bad, and with how much an infant sleeps, you’ll find it easy to fit it in, I think.
I finished up this week feeling excited, surprised (at how great I felt), and ready to increase my walking and other activities the next week! Stay tuned!
For fear of totally inundating you with a vomit of words on the screen, I’ll give a quick update, then focus on how I’ve managed to return to running and training amidst the millions of hours of breastfeeding, pumping, diaper changing, and on some miraculous days, getting my own life together and taking a shower! WOOF.
6 weeks. It’s the time in a newborn’s life when they “wake up.” All of a sudden this tiny little thing has LUNGS! They discover their hands and feet, and they even start to socially smile.
6 weeks. This is the week I went back to work, and Jon began his manny duties (he coined this term, not me). I will be honest and say it was a pretty rough transition in our house. Jon was incredibly helpful the first 6 weeks of Emerson’s life, but nothing quite prepares you to be a solo parent while the other whisks off to work. At the end of the day, I come home from my job all energized and happy to see them, and he is utterly exhausted. It’s all such a learning process. One thing I do know: he really is the best dad, and I can’t imagine a better person to be there for our daughter at this stage in her life.
6 weeks. By this point, I’ve been running for 4 weeks. I was so surprised when my midwife cleared me to begin exercising (“with caution”) at 2 weeks postpartum. While I was incredibly fortunate to have an easy labor and delivery, I know that I couldn’t have recovered so quickly had I not had a plan in place. At just 2 days postpartum, I was ready to do short walks and begin core and pelvic exercises. Prior to giving birth, I put together a recovery plan, and because it worked so well for me, I want to share!
Over the next few posts, I’m going to do a week-by-week breakdown of what I did recovery-wise that helped me bounce back so quickly. By the time this post goes live, I’ll be nearly 2 months postpartum, and up to about 30 miles/week with one speed workout + one long run. Overall, I feel good.
When I was nearing the end of my pregnancy and coming up with this plan, I remember trying to find some sort of similar guide for how to come back safely to running, and what you need to do to ensure you are doing what’s best for you, your body, and your baby. Unfortunately, a lot of women leave the doctor’s office after their postpartum checkup, and are told they can exercise again, but that’s about it. What is safe and reasonable is usually left out of the conversation. Additionally, while there are some very broad resources out there, I couldn’t find anyone’s personal journey, which is what I find to be most valuable. I’m looking forward to sharing what worked for me, and hope you’ll follow along!
Birth stories are so personal and intimate; I thought maybe I shouldn’t share about the day Emerson arrived. But, I also know both the benefit of writing my thoughts as well as having them documented somewhere. I’d like to say I think our daughter might want to read about the day she came into the world when she’s older. Maybe not?
If you didn’t catch part 1, the basic gist is I planned and hoped for a natural birth, and well, it didn’t happen. And long story short, I am totally okay with that. Like I said in the first post, I have a beautiful baby girl, and like everyone promised me when I was making my birth plan before she arrived, in the end, that’s all you truly care about. The plan can fall by the waist side as long as she’s healthy and happy. And, it’s so true 🙂
So, let’s get back to the story. If you remember, I was given Cytotec, which is a drug used to induce labor. It’s a tiny pill they insert into your cervix. It doesn’t work for all women, but for some, it can put you into full blown labor, and FAST. The midwife warned me I may go from 0 to 100 within a few minutes. I didn’t know what that meant, but I quickly found out.
No joke, within 5 minutes of my water breaking at 10pm, I was having strong contractions just 1 minute a part from each other. I remember one second I was joking around with Beth (my best friend) and Jon (my husband), and then the next, they were still talking and I was doubled over in the bathroom, unable to talk or really do anything. “Ohhhh, so THIS is labor.” Wow. There was no warm up period at all.
I moved from the bathroom back to the room, and I put my headphones in while I got on my knees and hovered over an exercise ball. I couldn’t handle hearing outside conversations happening, so I turned up my music super loud so I didn’t have to listen to them talk ha. What was the music of choice? Pandora 90’s hits. Ironically I made this station just a few days before we went into the hospital. Jon and I were driving and we all of a sudden had the urge to listen to some good 90’s music. So, as things were getting more and more intense, Christina Aguilera was telling me she was a genie in a bottle. Or something like that.
The contractions continued, and I began to feel out of control. I knew induction drugs could do this, and I didn’t have any prior labor to compare it to, but I felt like I was just hanging on, almost like I was being thrown against a wall by a huge wave. There was no sense of time, but as soon as I’d be trashed from one contraction, another one would come within just a few seconds. The nurse came in at one point and told me the fetal monitors weren’t picking up the baby’s heartbeat because I was leaning over the ball and they kept falling down. We tried to get them to stay on (they are strapped to your belly with velcro) by holding them with my hand, but it still wasn’t picking anything up, and this made the nurse concerned. It made me pissed, because it meant I had to change positions, and I didn’t feel like I could stand up. All I wanted to do was lay on top of the exercise ball.
I eventually stood up, because the nurse said I’d have to get into the hospital bed if the monitors kept falling off, so I just basically leaned on Jon and Beth (read: collapsed on them as I tried to stand, still reeling from the pain which was getting even more intense). I tried to remember all the techniques we talked about in Lamaze class like relaxing, breathing, and having someone press on my back, but honestly, in that moment, I was approaching it like I do in a race; I tensed up and just pressed on. I didn’t breathe into it. My shoulders were tense, my legs were tense, I couldn’t relax. I should probably work on that for running, because that really can’t be good.
The damn monitors kept falling off. WHY WON’T THESE THINGS STAY ON.
The nurse came back in and told me I had to get in the bed so the monitors could pick up the baby. I don’t know why this upset me so much. I knew the baby was fine. I also knew trying to labor while lying on my back in the bed would be so painful. I didn’t want to lay down. But I had no choice. Once in the bed, I started having back labor. Oh dear Lord.
I got back on my hands and knees while in the bed. I started crying, leaning over Jon and remember saying softly to him, “I think I’m almost done. I’m trying so hard, but I don’t think I can go much longer. I know we talked about this, and you’re supposed to say to me that I can do it, but I’m telling you I can’t. And I’m okay with that. I’m okay with getting pain medicine.” I believe it had been 5 hours since my water broke.
The nurse came back in, the fetal monitors were picking up the baby a little better (still not great because I was still moving around quite a bit while in the bed), but I told her I’d like to get some stadol, a pain med that is essentially a drug that makes you sleepy and “takes the edge off” is what I had read on a few blogs. HA! Yea, it may have been 3 am, but I did not get sleepy, nor did it take the edge off.
About an hour later (I think . . .again, no sense of time during all of this. Just pain.), I said we needed to bring out the big guns. Let’s go for the epi. “I’m okay with doing it.” I said to my husband again. He told me he was proud of me, and that it would all be okay. Because I wasn’t hooked up to an IV (I just had a hep-lock), I had to get some fluids in me before they’d give me the epidural. The fluid bag needed to be empty, which takes about 30 minutes. At that point, even though I could see the light because the epidural was coming soon, I was still in so much pain. Trying to breathe, but watching the fluid bag get less and less was like watching the minute hand on a clock. Brutal. Time was moving so slowly.
The epidural finally came, and I told the nurse anesthetist that I loved him, and it must be fun having a job where you get to make people in pain happy again. He was weirded out, but I didn’t mind. He also told me during one of the contractions (because they were still going, and I was still being thrashed about), that I “need to cut that out. There will be no moaning or groaning.” At that point my love for him turned to anger. HAVE YOU EVER HAD A BABY? YEA, JUST STOP TALKING AND STICK THAT NEEDLE IN MY BACK. ha, I didn’t say that, but seriously, who has the nerve to tell someone experiencing the pain of child birth that they need to hush? SMH, MEN.
Pretty much as soon as the epidural was given, I felt some relief. It was amazing that with each contraction, the pain became less and less. Amazing. Truly amazing. Do I still want a natural child birth at some point in my life? If we have more kids, yes, I do. But, I’ve never been more thankful for modern medicine.
The midwife came back in to check on me an hour after the epidural, and I had dilated to a 10! I couldn’t believe it. I guess that was all I needed. Just needed to relax, and the epidural provided that. I was immensely grateful.
Time to meet this baby! The midwife set the room up for the baby to arrive, and it was time to push. 30 minutes later, at 5:20 am, Emerson Ruth Taylor arrived. It truly was the greatest moment.
7 pounds, 4 ounces, 20 inches long. Tons of hair. We are still so overjoyed and can’t believe it. Welcome to the world, E!
I’m breaking up the birth story into two parts rather than trying to cram it all into one. This is part 1, where I tell the details of my birth goals, and what actually happened leading up to it.
From the moment we found out we were pregnant, I decided I would do everything in my power to have a natural birth. “Natural Birth” means different things to different people. For me, the phrase embodies going into labor on my own, laboring for a while at home, heading to the hospital when things start getting intense, and pushing a baby out without medical interventions like pain medicine or induction drugs. That was my plan. I read the books, Jon and I went to 6 weeks of Lamaze classes, I tried to stay as healthy as possible throughout my pregnancy, etc. Basically, I set myself up for success, or tried to anyway.
As my due date inched closer, I became extremely antsy. WHY ISN’T BABY HERE YET?! Like the majority of first-time moms, my due date came and went with zero signs of an impending labor. Honestly, I am sure my anxiety and impatience had something to do with the baby not descending. I just couldn’t relax! There was no dilation of my cervix, and pretty much no effacement when I went to my appointment at 40 weeks. I started to become anxious about knowing when baby would arrive. I remember saying, “If someone could just tell me how many more days it’s going to be, then I’ll be fine! It’s the unknown that is driving me insane.”
As part of the “natural birth” plan, we worked with a midwife throughout my pregnancy, which means you can imagine my shock when she said she really didn’t want me going past 41 weeks if I don’t go into labor on my own. (Normally midwives are much more lenient with waiting on babies to come on their own) “Wait, how will I have a natural birth, then?” became my thought process. I know that sounds selfish, but I truly had been envisioning this process for 9 months, so there was a little disappointment. I knew if I had to be induced, the dream of bringing a baby into the world without drugs would be nearly impossible. Most people I had talked to said laboring while on Pitocin or Cytotec (two drugs used to induce labor), is pure hell. So, as I inched closer to 41 weeks, I had to begin thinking about what an induction would mean, and whether my goals of a natural birth needed to change a bit. I was surprisingly okay with changing my plan. Besides, isn’t that what you hear all the time? Have a birth plan, but be flexible. The time had come for flexibility, and perhaps I was just so ready to get the baby out of me, that the drugs and possibility of needing an epidural really didn’t sound all that bad.
It was a Sunday, and I was 41 weeks pregnant. To be frank, I was not in a good mental state. Just sooo ready to not be pregnant and to meet this baby. I’ve never felt so impatient in my life. My husband and I were on a long walk to a local coffee shop when we had a conversation about inducing the following day. We both decided in the end, it would be best, and we would trust the midwife’s discretion on getting the baby out soon for both his/her health and mine, which would mean possibly foregoing my plan of a natural birth. I was really at peace about it. I had accepted that our plans don’t always go the way we want them to, and that is OKAY. The health of the baby is the most important thing. We would go to our prenatal appt the next day, and if there was availability at the hospital, we’d induce that day.
The plan to induce the following day came to fruition, and we headed to the hospital around 11 am Monday morning. I had heard horror stories about hospitals not letting you eat once you’re in the labor and delivery room, so we made sure to get some high-quality food in my system while driving downtown ha 😀
By the time I was checked in and all the paperwork was complete, it was 2pm on Monday. I met with the midwife, who suggested I try a manual dilation before we jump to using Cytotec. The less synthetic drug intervention the better. So we opted for a dilation technique called Laminaria, which actually consists of using sticks of seaweed that expand inside your cervix to dilate it. And that’s all I’m going to say about that. Yes, I was a little weirded out. So we tried the seaweed, with no guarantee it would work. And it didn’t. I was still just 1 cm after they took them out 6 hours later at 8pm. I honestly wasn’t disappointed. I had decided today was all about going with the flow, and I knew it was going to be a long labor, so I just relaxed and trusted the midwife. I was finally on the way to meeting this baby!
The next step? Cytotec. If you’ve never heard of it, google it. It’s a beast of a drug. It’s a tiny pill they insert into your cervix, and once it dissolves, there’s no turning back. Woof. It can make labor contractions down right brutal for some, and for others, like the Laminaria, it may not even work. 2 hours after taking the Cytotec, at 10pm, my water broke, and no more than 5 minutes after that, contractions came on in full force.
IT’S LABOR TIME.
Part 2 will be the actual labor, how I managed it, and ultimately meeting my beautiful baby girl. Stay tuned!
While my blog was pretty dormant in 2015 I still think “a year in review” is fun to write and read. One yearly recap I particularly loved reading was Tina’s. I appreciated that even though I get her posts in my inbox each week, the end-of-year recap still seemed like fresh news! Hopefully I can portray that same feeling with this post.
Without a doubt, I can say I grew more personally and even athletically in 2015 than ever before. Technically, even though I ran less than I have in previous years, the amount I gained in wisdom from various experiences will prepare me for the year ahead more than any workout could.
A year ago, on New Years Day 2015, I posted this to IG:
At the time, of course, I had no clue what “unexpected challenges” would mean! In short, 2015 was a phenomenal year, but not for the typical reasons you might think. Compared to 2014, where I was on top of the world, 2015 left me humbled and hungry. In 2014, I got married, excelled in running by PRing in every distance, and felt somewhat invincible.
This year, though, I learned so much, and sometimes that’s what we need most. Let’s dive a little deeper into the specifics:
The challenges that made me stronger:
Injury: At the beginning of 2015, I was coming off being sidelined from my IT band, but I cross-trained sooo much during that time, and truly reaped the rewards of that! After just a few weeks back running, I ran two PRs back to back in the 5k and the 3k. Cross training really does work!
3k PR and 7th place in a division 1 college track meet. What a great day!
Pregnancy: I’ve talked a lot about this already, so I won’t go into detail, but in short, I’ve learned patience and the beauty of slowing down, both physically and mentally. I’ve also learned to dream really big, which I’ll go into later.
New aspects of my training I implemented:
Cross Training: I really can’t express how much cross training helped me in 2015. I joined a masters swim group, met up with a local bike club on occasions, went to spin classes, and borrowed my friend’s elliptigo at various times during the year. I’ve tried to cross train at least once per week, and especially during pregnancy, as I’ve stopped running, I’ve cross-trained even more! I am confident it will pay off when I begin running again soon.
Strength Training: I didn’t start taking strength training seriously until I had my IT band issues. Isn’t that how it always works? Once injured, I religiously did a 15 minute hip routine every day for 6 weeks, and voila, my IT band got better! Magic. Since then, I’ve kept up a general strength routine, and really have enjoyed the classes at my gym. I should not be left to my own devices when it comes to strength training. I like having someone to tell me exactly what to do! I hit up the classes 2-3 times per week, and supplement with some hip strength on those same days, since I know that’s a problem area for me. Periodic Physical Therapy Appointments: I found a great physical therapist in the area, who has been phenomenal in helping me solve any imbalances, and prevent injuries before they occur. He specializes in gait analyses and works with endurance athletes. I have even gone to him during my pregnancy, too, to see how I’m doing with mobility/strength/flexibility, and what I need to work on. This just keeps things in check! I’ll go after I have the baby, too, to get another evaluation, as my body is going to be quite a wreck 🙂
Massage/Trigger Point Therapy/Yoga: Massages can get expensive, so I’ve learned to improvise a little. In a perfect world, I’d love to get a massage every week, but financially, that just isn’t realistic for us right now, and that’s okay! You can do a lot of self-massage through foam rollers, the R8, trigger point balls, etc! I probably get a professional massage every 6-8 weeks, and try to go to a restorative/foam rolling yoga class every couple weeks. I do massage work at home on my own a few days a week. I can be more diligent about this in 2016.
What’s on tap for 2016:
By the time this post goes live, it’s possible I’ll have brought a tiny human into this world! Whoah.
So, with a brand new baby, navigating going back to work full time, and trying to lead a balanced life, what am I thinking for 2016 in terms of running?
My first and primary goal is to be present for my family. This mindset has taken a while to come to fruition, but I am confident that if my faith and my family are balanced, then running will fall into place how it should. Does that sound too vague or does it lack ambition? It may sound vague, but I truly am so motivated. I am excited to get back to training. I’ve poured over race websites carefully trying to decide which races I’m going to complete, what shoes I’m going to wear, and what mileage I’m going to run. Yes, it’s as neurotic as it sounds! It wasn’t until recently, though, that I realized the insanity of all this planning, and said to myself, “Katie, all of this is going to be so new. Enjoy being a new mom, and run hard. Don’t overcomplicate it. Don’t overplan it. Let your coach do that.” It’s a shift in the previous mindset I had that I felt I needed to prove something or be someone with my postpartum running. I have nothing to prove, nothing to lose, and everything to gain (except maybe baby weight lol). I truly have no expectations for my postpartum journey other than to be the best I can be–the best wife, the best mom, the best runner that I CAN BE. I will run hard and be smart with my return, and I can’t wait for you guys to follow along. It’s going to be a fun and crazy ride.
With that said, here are my running plans and goals for 2016:
-Rock’n’Roll Chicago 1/2 Marathon (July 17th, 6 months postpartum)
-build confidence over longer distances (long tempos, 10k-1/2 marathon races, aerobic threshold paced runs)
-be patient with my body as it makes it’s return to training
-no specific time goals. I believe with proper training, patience, hard work, and fun, the improvements and PRs will come.
-continue to race without a watch; both PRs I set in 2015 were “watchless”, and I am such a huge advocate for concentrating on effort over pace during a race.
-And finally, be a good example to my child by showing him/her what it means to work hard and go after your dreams, no matter how big.
Thanks for following along on this journey!
This is part 2 of 4 of my running/pregnancy/life catch up I’m doing on the blog.
Here is part 1 if you missed it!
Two lines. Seeing them on the pee stick was like having an out-of-body experience. I sat in the bathroom and cried for a long time. We called my mom and told her and my stepdad the news. It wasn’t anything like I had always imagined it would go, with balloons and a cute card saying “Congratulations, Grandma!”. Through tears I just muttered the words: “I’m pregnant.” Why did I feel so scared?
When we started telling people the news a few months later, friends would ask if I took a bunch of tests to make sure, and honestly I didn’t even think about that. I just took 1? Taking multiple tests is a thing? I had no idea what I was doing (still don’t. does anyone?). I just knew I was pregnant and scared.
The next 8 weeks, also known as the first trimester, are a bit of a blur when I look back. I was really sad. I cried a lot. I didn’t know how to handle the news. I realized deep down that this would be a blessing and all the things I knew I was supposed to say, but I constantly asked myself, “Why do I feel so empty? I am being given one of the greatest gifts in life, one so many women dream of, and something I’ve always wanted, yet I feel like my life is suddenly changing and selfishly I’m not ready for that.”
Because I know you’re wondering, and because I was very open about this prior to getting pregnant, no I was not on the pill. In fact, ironically there is a draft post that I never published on why I went off the pill and how it was one of the best decisions personally and athletically for me. I still stand by that. So, technically, I should have been prepared for what could happen. Duh. It was a decision my husband and I made together, and we still stand by our decision, except he handled the news of having a baby wayyyy better than I did. It literally took him 48 hours and then he was all, “THIS IS AWESOME I’M GONNA BE A DAD!” Perhaps I thought I was immune to Mother Nature. Regardless, it truly took the entire first trimester for me to feel connected to baby.
My running changed pretty much overnight. I wanted concrete answers to how training should go during the next 35 weeks. I poured over blogs and books and talked to people I knew who ran while they were pregnant. Everyone just said, “You’ll know what to do.” WHAT THE HECK DOES THAT MEAN? Tell me exactly what to do! Do I wear a heart rate monitor? Do I still train hard? So many unknowns. With the future of having a baby and how to be a mom being so unclear, I desperately wanted answers and something I could control. Releasing the death grip on having a set-in-stone plan for running was difficult. This would become a recurring theme throughout my entire pregnancy. I’ve learned so much.
We celebrated my birthday in mid June with a fun 5k downtown and a nice dinner at one of my favorite restaurants. Jon planned the whole thing. It was such a treat, and getting to tell my good friend Julia the news was great. She’s been such a huge support and a phenomenal friend over the last 8 months.
As I approached the 12 week mark, I began to feel like the fog was being lifted. I did a happy dance when I made it a few days without crying. People asked me if I ever had morning sickness or extreme fatigue during the first trimester. I didn’t. A little nausea and food aversions, but nothing too terrible, honestly. I think it would have broken me had I experienced the physical pains on top of the mental. God is great like that.
I did eventually figure out a rough “plan” for running, one that worked for me. Because Memphis is insanely hot during the summer, I wore a heart rate monitor for the majority of my runs in the beginning. My coach still sent me weekly “plans”, but they were not set in stone, and I eventually became okay with that. Here’s my training log from a typical week!
|6/8/2015||Mon.||6 min easy, 12 min threshold, 6 min easy||AM swim. 1000 warm up, 9×100 progressively getting faster, 6×100 with fins. very hard to get out of bed, but i was glad i did it.|
|6/9/2015||Tues.||10-14 x 90 sec. @ 5k effort with 2 min. recovery||this went great!! to avoid overheating, i did the workout inside on the treadmill. 1 mile warm up. 12 repeats. started at 6:30 pace and worked my way down, last 3 were 5:50. Heart rate never hit 170! feeling good.|
|6/10/2015||Wed.||cross train||strength trained and biked a bit.|
|6/11/2015||Thurs.||6 min easy, 12 min threshold, 6 min easy||this was my “test” run for saturday. i wanted to see what my heart rate could handle, so i started at 6:30 pace for the middle portion. eventually had to slow down pretty significantly to get my heart rate back down. saturday will be a nice little “trot” ha.|
|6/12/2015||Fri.||14-18 x 10 sec. @ 400m effort with 2 min. recovery||did 6 min easy, 7 min at threshold, 6 min easy.|
|6/13/2015||Sat.||cross train or complete day off||Gibson 5k. just paced my friend Julia. 7 min pace. She didn’t race as well as she wanted to, but i felt great. it was really hot.|
|6/14/2015||Sun.||30 minutes easy||nice and easy recovery run with friends!|
The main thing was staying hydrated and making sure I could laugh during a workout. Initially, I was very focused on my heart rate and not going over 175 (my lactate threshold), but eventually I realized the laugh/smile/talk test was better, and let me be a little less rigid, without having to constantly check my watch or wait for it to beep to tell me my heart rate was too high. That’s how I gauged the intensity and when to back off. I also trained with a talented high school xc team during June and part of July, which really helped with motivation, and feeling like I wasn’t totally losing all my fitness. Those girls gave me more than they realized during those 6 weeks. I began to find a groove as I approached the second trimester, started feeling happy and confident that I could maybe do this motherhood thing after all!
This is part 2 of 4 of my running/pregnancy/life catch up I’m doing on the blog.
Here is part 1 if you missed it!
I honestly don’t know what happened. Oh yea, I got pregnant. Let’s try that again. I got pregnant! (can you tell it was a bit of a shock and a little bit hard to swallow at first? More on that later…We’re having a BABY! It still blows my mind that I will be in charge of a tiny human soon.) But, that’s not really an excuse for my absence during April and May. April and May were actually pretty decent months running wise. How do you catch back up when you haven’t blogged in nearly a year? My husband keeps telling me he’s waiting to see a post in his inbox, so I promised him I’d catch up the blogging world. These past 9 months have been a whirlwind. I really love reading blogs, so it puzzles me why I’ve had such a hard time writing. I think about this space often, but I suppose I felt like I lost my identity as a runner when I got pregnant. I know that feeling isn’t logical, because pregnancy isn’t a disease, and I won’t be pregnant forever (despite feeling that way at 37 weeks currently). Nonetheless, I really became dormant fairly quickly. It might be because with pregnancy, your running truly can change overnight. I had no idea of this. One day I ran 7 miles, and the next I decided that would be the last run. Of course, I was wrong. Some running days truly feel like a fairytale, while others are miserable, just picking up my feet, trying not to feel like my uterus is falling out of my body. #dramatic
While it may seem a bit narcissistic (aren’t all blogs a little, though?), I’m going to attempt to recap the months of April + May in this post, and then I’ll follow up with the first trimester. YAY, ALL ABOUT ME! I promise (SCOUTS HONOR) I will not leave you high and dry, and I’ll also follow up with second and third trimester posts. I know if anything, I’ll appreciate reading them down the road. Honestly, it’s probably best I waited this long to recap, because like I said, I was quite literally ALL.OVER.THE.PLACE in my brain (actually, I still am) during this pregnancy, so looking at everything from a birds-eye-view rather than in the moment will make me seem less like a hormonal psycho. #forrealz pregnancy is no joke. I’ve cried and laughed in the same sentence way too many times the last 8 months. Here we go.
I had just PR’d in the 5k after months of rehab and cross training from my IT band issue. I don’t know how. I still don’t know how I did that on such low mileage, except that cross training really does work. You guys, I can swim now! Here’s what my training looked like during April.
|4/13/2015||Mon||6 min easy, 6-10 minutes @ threshold (about 6:45 pace), 6 minutes easy. No joke. That’s it. I would supplement with swimming in the AM.|
|4/14/2015||Tue||8-10×1:30 @ 5k with 1:00 min walk recovery|
|4/15/2015||Wed||cross train (either swimming or biking)|
|4/16/2015||Thu||same as monday (6 min easy, 6-10 min moderate, 6 min easy)|
|4/17/2015||Fri||8-10x:30 sec @ 800m with 1:00 min walk recovery|
|4/18/2015||Sat||cross train or complete day off|
|4/19/2015||Sun||30 min very easy on trails|
During April, despite my low mileage, I started to string together some great workouts, and my confidence was coming back. Knowing I was in good shape after running a 18:35 5k at the end of March, I was ready to tackle some more races, and see if I could snag some more PRs. I mean, If I can do well on 20 miles a week and stay injury free, heck I am one happy girl! I emailed the coach at University of Memphis to see if I could jump into the 3k at their upcoming invitational.
The word for May was consistency. I told myself to just stay consistent and keep rehabbing the IT band to make sure that nasty injury doesn’t come back. It worked. I raced in the 3k at U of M like I had hoped, and even though it was my first 3k ever (automatic PR 😉 ), if it had been a full 2 miles, I would have PRd by 20 seconds! Despite not feeling great during the race (had no idea I was pregnant at the time, but that explains why I needed to puke up my lunch the entire 7.5 laps, woof), I ran the 3k in 10:37, and snagged 7th place in a division 1 college meet! It was a really great day, and it was so fun to have some great friends there cheering for me.
The next, and final “race” I would run in 2015 would be the Knoxville, TN Expo 10k over Memorial Day weekend. Every year, we go to East TN during this weekend to visit friends, and I look forward to this race. Even though I felt terrible during the 3k a few weeks prior, I knew I was fit, and I was looking to go under 40 minutes this year. I did this same race in 2014, and knew it would be HARD. Hills in East TN are no joke. I was ready to have a great day and work the hills, though. Well, what happened? I felt terrible again! I went out with the lead pack of females at around 6:15 pace, and totally bonked. I was really disappointed. Why did I feel so terrible? Was I dehydrated? Did the hills get the best of me? It was after this race + sleeping literally all weekend + drinking all the water I could get my hands on that I realized maybe something was up. I took a pregnancy test on Memorial Day when we got home. Everything changed so fast.
Stay tuned! I’ve already got a reminder on my calendar to publish the first trimester post. No getting around it.