Run Austin: Postpartum Edition

standard September 25, 2017 Leave a response

I had grand plans of running all throughout my pregnancy. Of being one of those women who made fitness and pregnancy weight gain look easy and fun. Then morning sickness hit. And pregnancy exhaustion. I was pretty much flat out on the couch nauseous and napping for months, well past the end of the first trimester. Everyone said it would get easier after week 12. For me, it took well until week 14 or 15. My last run had been at week 5, so once I had the energy to get back out there, it had been long enough that my body was starting over, confused, heavy, and slow. Which IS OKAY! I accepted this and kept my run/walk routine until it no longer felt good, and I moved to just walking.

I managed to run two races during my pregnancy. One at 16 weeks and one at 24 weeks. I was shocked at how well I did during the first race, having very little training beforehand, due to the abovementioned exhaustion and nausea. And the second race was awesome. But also the last time I really ran, and ran strong. I mostly walked with some sprints after that.

Postpartum, I was not cleared to exercise in any form until 9 weeks postpartum, and even after that I wasn’t supposed to run right away, instead, letting my body ease into movement again. So it was maybe 11 or 12 weeks in that I even attempted a 1 minute on/off plan.

I very slowly started a couch-to-10k plan, repeating days and weeks as necessary. And now, 6 months postpartum, I can manage 5 miles in an hour, though still with some walk breaks. Running with a stroller is no joke! I finally signed up for my first postpartum race, the same one I ran at 16 weeks pregnant, the Run Free Texas 80s 8k. Not sure how I will fare with those hills and a stroller, but we will see! The goal is to beat my pregnant time of an hour, and since we’re still a few weeks out, that seems manageable to me.

I had grand plans of running a marathon this year. But my body isn’t there. My heart isn’t there. My head really isn’t there. Just thinking through the logistics of racing that long with breastfeeding is more than I care to figure out at this point. So marathon plans are on hold until next year. And instead I think I’m going to tackle Decker as my big end of year goal. Maybe the entire Distance Challenge again. But we’ll see how this first race goes first.

The big lesson learned? Listen to your body. Go slow. And know its okay to change course. Our bodies are amazing in what they can do, especially if we give them the love they need.

Anyone else gearing up for the 80s 8k? This is the third year I’m running, and it’s slowly becoming one of my favorite (albeit hilly!) Austin races.

Run Austin: Fall Racing Plans

standard September 23, 2016 Leave a response

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WAYYY back in January of this year, I signed myself up for my next marathon. Before Austin. Because we had grand plans for 2016 training and racing. And because the price was crazy cheap. I thankfully had the foresight to purchase a refundable registration that I can cancel with a note from my OBGYN. Yet, I also already have my eyes on a fall or winter 2017 race, because, you know, annual marathon tradition and all. Plus, motivation.

In the meantime, I am focusing on staying moving forward as long as I can. Weeks 6-10 of pregnancy were horrible in terms of nausea. And for me, running only made it worse. Then, illness and a toe issue derailed me a few more weeks. Today, I managed a happy, slow, solid 4 mile trek, and am so grateful to be able to keep running, at least for the time being.

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On paper, Miami Marathon training starts next Thursday. And even though I am going to be canceling my registration (because Zika. And travel restrictions. Don’t worry. I was crazy enough to try to figure out how to still go for a while. Sometimes you just need friends to tell you you’re crazy), I am still determined to see how much of my training plan I can complete. Without goals, I do nothing. I need a game plan, even for the every day. So why not use the one I already made, with a few modifications? Here’s how it’s going to work.

  1. Walk. Yes, walk. Run/walk methods have been my friend ever since I first started running, and they work. This will force me to slow down, enjoy the process, prevent injury and issues.
  2. Decrease mileage. I can guarantee you I won’t be doing a 16 miler anytime soon.  By decreasing a few miles out of a training day, opting for a walk day instead of always running, or rethinking speed workouts, solid training can happen safely and happily.
  3. Rethink running. Some runs will turn into elliptical sessions at the gym. Some speed days will turn into cross training with strength and Pilates classes. But miles will be done. Activity will be completed. And we will both be healthy and happy.

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So what about racing? Yes, I’d LOVE to keep racing this fall as the weather cools down. I have refused to sign up for anything until the last minute in case I cannot complete the race. I’d rather pay more and know it’s feasible, than sign up in advance at a cheaper rate and feel pressure to run it even if it doesn’t feel right. Right now, I am looking at the Run Free Texas 80’s 8k, Run for the Water 10 mile (or 5k), and the annual Turkey Trot with my family.

None of this may work out the way I want it to. But having a plan gives me a focus, a start, a joy in continuing something I love despite limitations.

Anyone else running through a pregnancy? Would love to hear your stories and tips!

Run Austin: Statesman Cap 10k 2016

standard April 11, 2016 Leave a response

I had zero plans to run this race. I ran it last year. It’s crowded. It’s humid. It’s the same course that numerous other races include, at least in pieces, on their race courses. I was done racing. Ready for a break after Austin. Then about 20 different people convinced me to sign up. So I did a test hill run on Friday, deemed myself in shape enough to do it, and called it good enough to go.

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And yes, it was super crowded. And yes, I thought I was going to pass out from heat stroke until I got cup after cup of water to dump on my head. And thankfully, I knew exactly where the course curved, where the hills snuck up, where I could slow down and speed up accordingly. So we weaved in and out of walkers and strollers and costumes and cut tangents as best we could and tried to not get run over by other runners and danced and high-fived and sprinted to a long finish line. And then went home and ate brunch in my backyard and crashed. And it was good. Probably one of the best, most relaxing days I’ve had in a while. And yes, it included a 5:00 am wake up and 6 miles of sprinting hills. Call me crazy. But I love it. Thanks, Austin!