What I thought I knew.

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.

breastfeeding wherever. i’m all for normalizing it. it’s a beautiful thing for mom and baby.

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.

one of the few runs when i’ve finished after the sun rose. usually i finish and it’s still dark. this was a treat, so I took a pic 🙂

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.

bubble baths? no more time for that. that’s okay.

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 🙂

E wears cloth diapers probably 80% of the time

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.

first postpartum race! Thanks Breakaway Running.

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.

my dear friend Jenna loving on E.

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.

coming home to them every day is the best. Jon’s in school, so this situation works for our family right now.

 

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.

love my fam so much

Until next time,

Katie

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The 6 week postpartum running update.

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.

First date night out! 5 day old baybay

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!

baby’s first visit to the track.

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!

6 weeks with this cute easter egg. 

How I came back from an Injury Stronger and the recipe I’m loving lately

Being forced to the sideline with an injury is never easy, but when you have your first race “back” after significantly lower mileage and intensity for 4 months, and the race is only 51 seconds off your PR, you share what you did for those 4 months. Because, in the future, friends may find themselves injured, too, and may need some guidance for “what to do”.  Catch my drift? So, save this post for when you’re injured and need a kick in the pants, because let’s be real, finding the motivation to cross-train/stay in shape while on the injured reserve list is just plain HARD.

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Biggest piece of advice:  find a group/workout buddy. This was the inarguably the best thing I could have done. You don’t have to be alone in your injury! You have friends! It just may take some searching 😉 I obviously couldn’t train with my normal running buds during my injury, but I COULD find a local swimming and biking group! Most cities have US masters swim teams and biking clubs with weekly meet-ups. Find a contact on their website (or heck, just show up like I did) and tell them you’re a newbie. They’ll love your tenacity and dedi     
cation to learning something new and being the best you can be at “their” sport.

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My Cross-training schedule during my injury. This doesn’t include strength training/PT appointments (**Also, I was able to run, but not much. I basically ran until it hurt, all the while trying to figure out what ACTUALLY was wrong. This took about 4 months. As you will see, I built up quite the cardio base. It did not hurt at all to bike and swim, so I did those a TON):

MON AM: 1.5 hours of getting my arss handed to me at the pool with the u.s. masters swim group

MON PM: hot yoga or a short/easy run

 

TUES AM: spin class at the gym

TUES PM: restorative yoga

 

WED AM: 1.5 hour swim…so freaking hard but love every minute of it

WED PM: 2 hour bike ride with a local club (usually by Wednesday night I can hardly walk after that much swimming and biking in one day)

 

THUR AM: rest/sleep in (thank the Lord)

THUR PM: light/easy run

 

FRIDAY AM: another morning, another u.s. masters group swim. 1.5 hours.

FRIDAY PM: kick my feet up and relax! It’s Friday!!

 

SAT: long-ish run (nice and easy for about 45 min to an hour)

 

SUN: either rest day or afternoon bike ride

Also, wanted to share something I’m loving lately.

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Let’s talk about salads-in-a-jar. Obsessed. I make them all on Sunday and have a bunch in the fridge to grab during busy week days!

Mason-Jar Salad: How To

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Makes 2 salads

Ingredients:

1 carrot, thinly sliced or shredded

1 cup quinoa, cooked

1 sweet potato, roasted

2 handfuls of the lettuce of your choice

Maple-Tahini Dressing

2 garlic cloves, minced

1 tsp coarse salt

¾ cup tahini paste

2 tablespoon lemon juice

¼ cup warm water

2 tsp chopped parsley

Instructions:

  1. For the dressing, combine all ingredients into food processor and blend until desired consistency. Depending on your preference, you may add more water or lemon juice to thin it out.
  1. Cook the quinoa according to the package instructions. Let cool completely.
  2. Cube the sweet potatoes, toss in olive oil and salt + pepper. Roast the sweet potatoes at 375 degrees Fahrenheit for 25-30 minutes. Let cool completely.
  1. Once ingredients are prepped and cooled, layer the salad in the jar.

Carrots

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Maple-Tahini Dressing

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Quinoa and Sweet potato

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Lettuce

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  1. Store in refrigerator until ready to eat!

Recipe Inspired by Topwithcinnamon.com

Answers to my IT band issue: FINALLY

In case you missed my honest and borderline over-sharing post on where I am with my IT band, basically, I’ve been dealing with IT band syndrome since October. Not.fun.

I felt I had tried everything, and in the words of Lauren Fleshman, The IT band has hit rock bottom.

Here’s a rundown of what I’ve done thus far:

  • Completely rested for 4 weeks
  • Rehabbed with hip/core Physical therapy exercises
  • Tried ART therapy
  • Tried Graston Technique
  • Got a Cortisone injection
  • Spent Hundreds of dollars on massages
  • Took Ibuprofen like it was my job (despite my aversion to NSAIDS)
  • Read Dozens of articles on how to fix it
  • Foam rolled like it’s my job

Do you get my point? Are you still reading? I have exhausted myself!

After all this, including my post a few weeks ago on “surrendering”, and accepting where I am right now, albeit still somewhat injured and just as confused as the doctors about my issue that doesn’t seem to line up with the typical IT band description most have, I believe I am FINALLY seeing a light at the end of the tunnel.

You see, my IT band has been so tricky. This entire time, it has never hurt while walking, it has never hurt while going down stairs, I never feel it on the bike, never feel it swimming, nothing hurts except when I am running, and I do not start feeling it until I’m 45 minutes into my run. It never hurts POST run! With that said, I’ve still been able to train at a lower intensity level.  I do need to make something clear: RUNNING THROUGH AN INJURY IS DUMB. We all know that. Don’t do it. I rested for a month, and resting, in this case, was not making it better. There have been other injuries I’ve had that resting was the most appropriate treatment plan.This was not the case with my IT band.

Moving on.

So, after telling these symptoms to all the professionals, one would assume eventually we’d figure out it has GOT to be my running form, right?! Well, it took 4 months and my dear friend Jeni, who isn’t even a physical therapist (yet! She’s almost finished with school 🙂 ) to hit the nail on the head.

A few days ago, I asked Jeni to film me running on the treadmill. She recently began analyzing running form, and while still in the learning phase, we both felt it would be good practice for her, and heck, maybe we’d learn something about my injury. Although I had already been filmed and analyzed a few times back in the fall, it wasn’t until this go around that we believe we finally learned the issue.  You see, before all this, my form looked “pretty good” according to the physical therapists and gait analyzers.

I want to show you the screen shots of the video to see if you find what Jeni found:

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Do you see it? Did you notice my “cross-over” gait on the second photo?

I could bore you with the latest medical journals saying people with cross-over gait are much more likely to experience IT band problems than those who don’t, but take it for what it’s worth. It exponentially increases your chance for IT band problems. Boom.

As we were figuring all this out, I was practically freaking out in my head.

No, literally. I was freaking out. DOES THIS MEAN I CAN FIX IT? TELL ME WHAT TO DOOOO!!!

So, what IS next?

I talked to my physical therapist I’ve been working with, showed him the film, and yep, he saw what Jeni saw, too. And agreed, this could definitely be the culprit.

Well, apparently fixing it is quite simple

A conscious effort to run “wider” rather than “narrow”, while being careful not to overdo it as you are stressing new areas of the body.

And obviously continuing with #allthegluteexercises , specifically, hip hikes:

Hip hikes for the win.

To say I’m excited and hopeful is an understatement. To say I’m sold would be a lie. I’m taking all this with a grain of salt. Maybe this isn’t the answer, and maybe I still am dealing with this in 3 months from now, but I sure as hell hope not.

Here’s to a celebration.

My husband left me a note on our bathroom mirror yesterday that said this:

“WELCOME BACK!”

I think we all can agree spouses of runners/endurance athletes should all be given a hug and a martini. They rock.

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Snow Day Survival: Day 2

Because we are all getting a little cabin feverish over here . . . So I actually ended up going into work yesterday, and the photo above is how I felt about it. This morning I woke up and my … Continue reading

#KeepingItReal

You guyssssss, I did it again. Fell off the blog wagon. Good thing I don’t do this blog thing to gain followers, because I think that’s one of the keys to having a regular readership—consistency. Ha. Oh well.

I have a few drafts waiting to be published, as well as a few race recaps, but as I was doing my post-run foam rolling/stretching this morning, I decided I should do a “Keeping it Real” post. I love this movement Lauren Fleshman started. So much.

To bring you up-to-date, I took 3 weeks off running COMPLETELY recently, and I’m just now getting back in the swing of things. I feel awkward, a little pudgy, and out of shape. But, it was absolutely necessary. I felt some twinges in my knee that didn’t feel right, and after a really hard 8 months of training and racing, it felt only necessary to be kind to both my mind and body and give them some rest. So, that’s what I did. Ironically (or really not so ironically), during those three weeks, it seemed like a ton of elite runners I respect (Hellooo Tina Muir!!), wrote key articles on the importance of rest and recovery. That honestly made my time off so much easier, knowing without a doubt I was doing the right thing. Was it optimal timing for the St. Jude Memphis ½ marathon coming up? Nah. But, honestly, I probably shouldn’t have even signed up for St. Jude in the first place with all my crazy running this summer and fall, and zero planned recovery. Whoops. You learn and you adjust. That’s what I love so much about this sport. I’m constantly learning what works best.

So, here I am, 4 weeks out from St. Jude, a little out of shape, but I feel no sad feelings because I truly had a phenomenal 8 months of PRs out the wazoo, and tons of happy running. I can’t complain one bit. After a fun race at St. Jude on December 6th (no plans of PR’ing, just going to run it because I already signed up for it, and it’s a great cause.), I’ll begin a new training cycle with my focus being the 10k and ½ marathon this spring. It should be fun, but also really humbling too because I’ll be running St. Jude with a teeny bit of me wishing I were racing it.

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So, what did I do with my time off? First of all, I didn’t cross train. I chose not to, because a.) I mentally can’t handle the elliptical for more than 10 minutes. It’s awful. And b.) I wanted to rest completely from all cardio.

What I DID do, was be proactive with my time. I visited a few physical therapists to look at some of my weaknesses, including one who specializes in gait analysis, got two deep-tissue massages (helloooo treating myself!), went on some perfect fall walks with Eli, and started working on some muscle imbalances I need to fix before this next training cycle. I really just lived in the present, and tried my best to embrace where I am at the moment, and not freak out about getting out of shape. Trusting the process!

This week was my second week back, and like I said, I do feel awkward, and slooowwww. In the spirit of honesty, all my runs this week were around 9:30-10:30 pace! Yes, that’s correct. I am taking my easy/recovery runs very seriously (something I have always felt passionate about!). How am I supposed to do my 1500 meter pace workouts at sub 5 minute pace, and my 5k pace workouts at 5:30-45 pace like I was doing at the end of this last training cycle if I’m not fully recovered, rested, and ready to hit it in a few weeks? It is impossible to hit those paces if I’m not recovered. So there’s that.IMG_9677.JPG

I hope you are enjoying this fall season, and embracing where you are currently, wherever that may be. Trust the process and live in the present, I promise your outlook will be a lot less frazzled. Happy Friday!

 

 

Spring 1/2 Marathon Training: Week 13 of 16

I originally thought I’d probably drop my mileage a bit this week following the race, but I recovered rather quickly, so I went with it.
the deets:
45 miles. 5 total runs. 1 cross-training session. 1 strength training session. 1 Core workout. 1 professional deep tissue massage. 1 day of complete rest.

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MONDAY, MARCH 24:
Complete rest day.

TUESDAY, MARCH 25:
6 easy recovery miles. 8:36 pace. Core and Strength Training.
Legs felt significantly better today after resting yesterday. Starting to feel some spring in the legs again following the Andrew Jackson 1/2 marathon.

WEDNESDAY, MARCH 26:
6.16 miles. 8:32 pace.

THURSDAY, MARCH 27:
Burt Yasso 800s workout.
This was a good confidence booster. Did the workout with Beth and Audrey, who are both training for their spring marathon. (Beth for Boston, Audrey for Louisville). The.wind.was.brutalllll.
Splits: 3:00, 3:01, 2:57, 2:56, 3:00, 2:59, 2:57, 2:55.
Recovery was 3 min jog in between each. We did 8 repeats. This workout made Audrey and I think about our old high school track days (We’ve been running together since she was 14 and I was 17!) Here’s a little throwback for ya. That’s sweet little Audrey in front, and I’m the tall one in the back. We pretty much dominated West TN distance running 😉

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FRIDAY, MARCH 28:
55 minutes of easy spinning at the gym.
Watched this interesting documentary about  Tom Shadyac, the producer of Ace Ventura, the Nutty Professor, Liar Liar, etc.

And then…2 o’clock hit and I could barely keep my eyes open. Meet my newest obsession.

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SATURDAY, MARCH 29:
10 comfortable miles. 8:18 pace. Deep Tissue Massage.
Slept in a bit (started our run at 7:30 rather than 5:30 😉 ) for which my body was thankful.  Wasn’t the greatest of conditions (lotsa’ wind and rain), but I will say this: I think if I would have switched my 10 miler to Sunday, and did my long run on Saturday, the 10 miler would probably have been more like a 6 miler. Glad I ran the 10 miler the day before.

It was a heck of a weekend of running for me.

After the rain run and before the massage, I scarfed down some brunch. Just take a look at that french toast piled with coconut butter, pb2, and cacao nibs.

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20140329-173117.jpgSUNDAY, MARCH 30:
15 miles. 7:51 pace.
This is definitely on the longer end of my usual long runs. And, I was quite pleased with my overcall average being sub 8! Was a little nervous going into the run, especially after 10 miles the day before, but this is the time during a training cycle when you are stretched a little bit. Your body has to be stretched and stressed just enough to grow stronger. This week was that for me.

If there is one thing I believe is helping me recover quickly, it’s the vega recovery accelerator. This stuff is the perfect 3:1 carb and protein combo, and I’m not one to jump on bandwagons, especially supplement ones. This mix, though. Definitely a fan.

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Overall, a great training week for me! Looking forward to the next few weeks of hard training before tapering begins. Race day is April 19! 

Spring 1/2 Marathon Training: Week 12 of 16

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 “This week was a little weird. Cue the “middle of the road smiley face” above.  I was in a bit of a racing funk. You know, thoughts like these:
-“I really just don’t think I’m capable of my goal time on saturday.”
-“My motivation to race this weekend is zerooo.”
-“I feel like (insert expletive). My legs, and well, my whole body for that matter, feel like they weigh about 10,000 lbs.”

WAHOO! YAY FOR RACE WEEK!

Needless to say, I let those emotional thoughts just roll on through, realizing I would need to pull it together on Saturday. I did (!), but the week in general was just blahh.

Monday: 7.5 easy miles, 8.20 pace. Hips + Core Work during lunch break
Nothing fancy on the run here. 5:30 a.m. usual route with the gang (I run with 4 friends every morning). The only thing I wrote in my training log was, “Need to get something for my stomach.” Dairy just doesn’t work well with my digestive system. It’s terrible, and the last time I had to take something for it was in September of 2013 (I try to avoid dairy as much as possible). But, it happens, folks. 

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my training group (L to R: Audrey, Me, Beth, Tiff)

Tuesday: 6 miles, 8.09 pace.
Same time (5:30am), same downtown route, same friends. I think if we ever raced this route, we would slaughter the field. Except this morning, I was recovering from said medicine the day prior. Had to do a pit stop at the downtown gym 2 miles into the run, but after that, golden. 

Wednesday:  1 mile w/u, 5 miles at 6.48 pace, 1 mile c/ d. + Core
Beth’s goal time for Boston is the same pace as my goal 1/2 marathon, so our tempos work out nicely this training cycle. She planned on running the full this weekend, so we did a quick 5 miles to get our legs moving for Saturday. It took a few miles to get into it, but we finished strong, and we both agreed we felt ready for Saturday.

Thursday: complete rest. 

Friday: easy 5 miles in the a.m. with Beth

Saturday: Andrew Jackson 1/2 Marathon RACE DAY!
race re-cap coming soon, but I ran a 1.31 and a huge PR! Also grabbed first place overall female! It was a great day 🙂

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Beth and I right after she crossed the finish line

 

Sunday: Easy post-run shakeout with Beth; 4 miles
We talked about how we felt the day before (she did the full; we both felt pretty beat during and after the race). It was a great talk-through session about life and training. Thankful for her friendship