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.

Simplify: Traveling with Baby

standard September 18, 2017 Leave a response

If you’ve ever wanted to simplify your belongings and your life but thought to yourself, “I could never get there” or “I really NEED all this stuff,” then go take a 6 or 8 week trip. There’s nothing like an extended time away from home to make you realize what you actually need every day to not just survive but thrive.

We traveled for 6 weeks with a 3 month old baby. We packed two suitcases, 2 computer bags, a diaper bag, and a car seat. And no, we didn’t even use everything we packed, but it was pretty close. And yes, we bought stuff once we arrived at our destination. Namely, baby necessities and a few household items. Our goal was to make the day-to-day as normal as possible for our daughter, in order to make our lives easier (i.e. NAPTIME). However, despite our best efforts, traveling across time zones and being away during that dreaded 4 month Wonder Week/sleep regression is generally going to be a nightmare. Even our best efforts didn’t do much to help with that, but we survived.

Navigating airports, home rentals, cable car hills, and numerous skipped naps taught me a few things about simplifying travel with a small child. Namely, you really don’t need that much, but the few things you do need, you really will get every penny of use out of.

Top 3 Things to Take When Traveling with a Baby

1. Baby wrap or carrier.

LIFE. SAVER. If you only take ONE thing, take this. Child doesn’t want to nap, and you need to get stuff done? Child is unsure of new surroundings and needs to get used to environment? You desperately need to get out of the house? Babywearing is the way to go.  Especially when going through airport security and a long flight. I prefer my Solly Baby wrap over a carrier, especially at the airport, because I was able to also carry a backpack without the straps from a carrier getting in my way. I also easily got a sweater or jacket on and off without looking ridiculous.

2. Lightweight stroller.

We decided not to lug our beloved BOB stroller with us, just because of its weight. Instead, we ordered a smaller, lighter stroller to be delivered directly to our rental and then flew home with it. And while I missed being able to run on days I was solo parenting, it was really nice to have something that maneuvered easily through city streets and hills without the added weight.

3. Sound machine.

A sound machine was not on my baby registry. It was not even on my radar, until I was reading something online and stumbled upon a blog post that highly praised the NEED for one. I immediately hopped on Amazon and bought that exact one, and its been amazing. It’s just enough white noise to drown out almost anything without being super loud. And no matter where you are, it makes the room your baby is sleeping in sound and feel like home. I honestly don’t know where we’d be without this item right now. Along with my breast pump, it was the only other thing I insisted upon having in my carry on vs checking because I could NOT risk it getting lost in transit.

How have you handled traveling with an infant? Any other must-have items you’ve learned about along the way?

 

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Weekly Menu: Freezer Favorites Round 2

standard September 11, 2017 1 response

Before having my first baby earlier this year, I spent a few weekends stocking up my freezer with breakfasts, entrees, snacks, and smoothies to get me through the 4th trimester with as little cooking as I could. And I am back to report that it was the BEST. DECISION. EVER. If you’re pregnant and reading this, carve out a weekend and cook and freeze all the things you can! Especially things other people can heat up for you. No cooking. No dishes. And no greasy takeout. (YES, takeout has a much-needed place in this season, but especially with breastfeeding, all the nutritious, filling foods you can get are so needed to keep everyone healthy and happy).

Now that my freezer is empty again, I am back to share how I’ve gotten even more efficient at this process, with prep instructions to help anyone tackle this seemingly daunting task in just one weekend. I got almost 2 months of meals made in under 8 hours and for less than $150. And now I’m ready to get through a super busy work and holiday season.

Recipes

Pick 2 breakfast dishes. Add 2 smoothies. Throw in a sweet treat. And then 7-8 entrees that work for lunches, dinners, singles, or a crowd. The more versatile the better. Here is what I made this past weekend:

  1. Blueberry Buckwheat Muffins
  2. Baked Oatmeal Cups (whip up your favorite oatmeal recipe and bake in muffin tins vs the stove for easy single servings to reheat)
  3. Pumpkin Berry Smoothie Bowl
  4. Autumn Glow Milkshake
  5. Almond Butter Chocolate Chip Cookies
  6. Vegan Enchiladas Verde
  7. Spanish Quinoa & Chickpeas
  8. Cannellini Bean & Broccoli Rabe Meatballs
  9. Peanutty Stewed Blackeyed Peas & Collard Greens
  10. Back Pocket Stir Fry with Noodles
  11. Cauliflower Walnut Taco Meat
  12. 1 Pot Lentil Dal
  13. Tofu & Broccoli Curry

Prep 

  1. Make a grocery list. Take stock of what you already have in the pantry and fridge. Shop for all the ingredients you need.
  2. Divide the list in half.  Set aside 3 hours over 2 days or one giant 6 hour day to cook.
  3. Read all the instructions. Soak beans, chop veggies, marinate, freeze, thaw, etc according to recipes. You don’t want to be stuck with dried beans that need soaking overnight when you’re about to cook the recipe.

Plan

If you’re tackling everything in one day, write out an order of operations sheet. Which things get dumped into a pot and left to simmer, allowing you to work on something else in a similar time frame? Which items can cook at same temperature and go in the oven together? What takes the longest and should be started first? What gets put in the slow cooker first thing in the day? If you write out a list and make things one by one, it will make everything go faster and run more smoothly.

Make sure you have freezer containers ready to go. I like to store everything in single serve containers, because most recipes I eat alone when the husband is traveling. Or he wants a separate meat dish, and we can just thaw what we both want without having a whole casserole dish of something sitting in the fridge going to waste. These containers stack great, fit in tight spaces to maximize your freezer, and are super cheap, so if they break or get lost or stained, you don’t feel bad about tossing them. Freezer bags are also a great option for smoothies, baked goods, breakfast burritos, etc.

Most of the dishes I made work well served over a grain, so I also cooked up giant batches of rice and quinoa and froze in single servings. Quinoa cooks rather quickly, but the last thing I want to deal with on a busy night is 45 minutes of brown rice simmering on the stove. You can buy precooked frozen rice, but a bag of dried rice is so cheap, I just add it to my batch cooking list and make my own.

Follow Up

You can either label each dish or make a list of what you’ve made and keep it near the freezer so you can check items off as you eat them. I find this makes it easier to always know whats left without digging through everything.

Now you can sit back, relax, and enjoy your evenings again!

 

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