Thursday, March 26, 2015

Half Marathon Training: Midweek Retreat

It's coming back. Slowly but surely. More slowly than surely. But, still, it's coming back. I thought I lost it, especially after I began to feel dependent on my running buddy. The enjoyment of the solitary run. The being alone, but never lonely, of  the solitary run. It was what I craved day in and day out back years ago when I ran almost daily.

And it had been so long since I really had that solitary run that I didn't even crave it anymore. Sort of like when you cut a particular food from your diet, your body no longer craves it after so long. Well, this part of my life had been stripped away, albeit with my blessing, and I didn't even realize that I missed it. Until recently.

The single emotion of RUN FASTER came back like a tsunami of breathtaking proportions. Run faster than the day you had. Run faster than feelings buried deep into the pit of your stomach. Run faster than shortage of patience you're approaching. Run faster. Just run faster.

The problem is that I'm not fast. I was never really fast, but it's not really about the speed anyway. It's about the feeling of fast. My fast. Not Bolt fast. I simply want the feeling that I suspect he's feeling when rounding turn 4 and heading in the final straightaway at the track. I want the feeling of effortlessness. I was to run without thinking about running. I want to run faster until I forget I'm running at all and I just am. I am just me. Alone, but not lonely.

And as you read this, you might think that this post is leading up the fact that I achieved that feeling on yesterday's run. But that's not the case and I didn't. I felt every footfall. I wear my compression socks while I run and I have brand new sneakers. My feet get hot and they did yesterday. I felt every burning breath up the hills. I felt every downhill pull on my swollen belly and breasts. Even as I stripped my outer layer to cool off, I couldn't find that rhythm. That groove. The faster of effortlessness.

And there is no "happy" ending. I never found that groove. The run was forced, which to me, is a bad run. But then again I always say a bad run is better than no run. And I wholeheartedly believe that...

...and so I run again tomorrow. I will run again on Sunday. I will run again next midweek in an attempt for another midweek retreat to find that effortlessness. I will run for my son who is internalizing that running means health and fun. I will run, tomorrow, again, for me.

{you'll notice that my watch doesn't display my run time, but the actual time. this is called preggo-brain compounded my mommy-brain times two. i took a pic of the regular time without even realizing that I did. and then I edited the picture without realizing what I did. until this instant. my run was only 36 minutes and 8 seconds. that's the sort of stuff my preggo-mommy brain remembers. and that i need to soccer cleats and shin guards tomorrow.)

P.S. I can no longer see my feet if I look straight down. When I checked the pregnancy week by week tracker it said that by 14 weeks you should start to see a little belly bump pop out. That, my friends, is the difference between pregnancy #1 and #4. *smiles*

Monday, March 23, 2015

Half Marathon Training: Sunday RunDay

Running, nowadays, is always easier on Saturdays but even easier on Sundays. Before, especially while I still worked at my typical 9-5, the weekends were the absolute hardest days to fit a run in because I just wanted to be with my family. I usually had 4 or even all 5 runs in for the week by the weekend and I figured a rest day or two was okay. Plus, I didn't want to "waste" time away from them with "just a run." 

My how my thoughts and spirits have changed. I no longer have the luxury of the lunchtime run or able to sneak in 30 minutes of pavement pounding after work. The learning center we took the boys to was phenomenal in allowing parents to come within a typical time range and never on-the-dot scheduling. I was blessed with being able to run pretty much whenever and where ever I wanted. 

Then we moved to the country to build our forever home. Running takes planning. There are no roads right outside my door that are safe for a runner. There is no daycare to watch my boys. There is no treadmill so I can grind out miles while watching Elementary on the dvr. I truly schedule my runs and therefore the weekend, with Adam being home, are now my saving grace for running.

Saturdays, as the same for most, are a catch-up day and usually super hectic. Adam is usually down at the house-site from sunup to sundown. Sundays have a slowness to them that comes with all of us being together. Sundays I can run anytime. And it's wonderful.

There are Sundays when I'm up when the sun's up because I'm running with my running partner-in-crime and that's when she can make the run work. There are Sundays, like yesterday, when I can wait for the warm weather of afternoon to run and walk along the back country road that leads to our church. But I still Adam; he needs to drive me up our road to where it meets this windy road of spiritual renewal. 

But once I'm there, I'm free. Of course I still have to keep my wits about me since it IS a ROAD. And this Sunday, it truly hit me how happy I was to be running again. After so many months, probably close to a year, that I wasn't running I am so filled with great joy to be back doing what I love. 

Don't get me wrong, that lack of running lead me to find a new love of working out, Beachbody, a new career, more confidence, and an amazing group of friends...but that time away also showed me how I had started to take running for granted. Not any more, I tell ya. Not any more. 

I thought, as I rounded the bend that is around 15 minutes, I AM A RUNNER. Period. Sure, I love being able to have an outlet that I know will get me in shape in the convenience of my own home. I one hundred percent love it. But running is something else entirely.

It's more mind strengthening than legs, lungs, and speed strengthening. It lets out what was from the week prior and makes room for what will come in the week ahead. And that's mightily important nowadays to me.

I was super happy with this time considering I am still running and walking together. The road is just shy of four miles. Me and the babe are picking up some speed!

Friday, March 20, 2015

Half Marathon Training: First Friday Run

This past week was the first official week of my half marathon training that will culminate in a June 8th race. No, I'm not racing it, but I do have to the endurance to safely cross that finish line. I am incredibly invested in this goal because I ran a half marathon while pregnant with each of my sons. I can't wait to cross the finish line in June so that all of my kiddos will have completed a half marathon during their stay with mom.

My training partner and I are doing a hybrid of the famous Hal Higdon training plan and I am doing my Beachbody programs for my cross-training. Now that there is Beachbody On Demand, I can't wait to try some great Tony Horton programs!

All of these runs are actually run/walks and during all of them I listen to my body because my goal of 4 minutes run/1 minute walk doesn't always happen. But it's more important to listen to my body rather than push and not be able to achieve my goal in these later weeks.

Warm up = walking 3 minutes
Run = 4 minutes
Walk = 1 minute
Final Time = 47:43.31

I do not have a Garmin or Tom Tom or Fitbit or any other type of tracking watch. I don't run with my phone; it stays in the car if I run without the stroller. I don't run with music except on a treadmill. All I know is that I ram 47 minutes and I hope that I hit close to 4 miles. I would love to some day have a Garmin, but that time will have to wait.

I didn't want to push any more time because it was almost dark and I knew Adam would start to worry. What makes me smile is that my jacket isn't just puckered because of the zipper being stiff or the fabric being stiff -- that's my growing belly at 13 week 5 days. Second trimester on Monday!!

It's been a while since I have ran in the evening and when I ended my run the social wing of the church that owns the lot I park my car in was so lit up from their Lenten fish fry. 

I am loving the feeling of relief, freedom, and well-being that I am gaining back into my spirit. I will always be a runner first and foremost because it lifts my spirits like no other sweat there I can think of. Sure, I truly enjoy the sweat I get with Insanity. I really, really do. I feel accomplished, but it's a different accomplishment. It's more of a I-am-strong-beyond-my-own-belief accomplishment. Running serves my soul in a way that is more akin to a mind-body format. I can just go. My thoughts can just flow in and out freely. I'm not busy counting on the 8s and making sure I'm keeping up with a trainer. Of course I am aware of my surroundings and my times to run and walk, but I am able to disconnect, recharge, and come back to my home renewed in the most satisfying way. 

And it truly is the only alone time I have with my newest babe. Just him or her and me. And we talk. And I tell him or her that they're loved. 

And I just keep putting one foot in front of the other.

Thursday, March 19, 2015

First Trimester Clothing Must-Haves

Since this is my fourth pregnancy and most likely my last, I thought that I would share some of my thoughts from a been-there-done-that mom as to boiled down to a very small list actually. Anyone who has multiple pregnancies knows, those third and fourth pregnancies really are pronounced from the moment you pee on a stick. Rarely do you have the ability to keep your pregnancy under wraps until the second trimester like a lot of women like to do.

The body's muscle memory, especially for expanding to accommodate a growing babe, seems to work too well and you have that baby bump in no time flat. Now I have no peer-reviewed literature to support this except my actual peers who can also confirm their own situations, but it seems like we're out of the are-you-just-gaining-weight-or-are-you-pregnant phase before 10 weeks.

I didn't even gain any weight by 10 weeks with my first.

And with Babe #3, but my fourth pregnancy, I am in full-fledged maternity clothing.

Here is a list of MY must-haves and though these are essential for my 1st trimester, you might like them later on in your pregnancy.

First things first -- your boobs HURT beyond words in the first trimester. This sensitivity does not change from first to second to third to fourth and beyond....Under wire bras are the devil for most of us, so I used my old nursing bra from Bravado. It was pricey at the time, but I've gotten so much wear out of it that it was well worth the $50 price tag. Want so awesome news? This company made a version for Target that is half the price. Still the same comfort, still the same amazing clips for when it's time to nurse, but there aren't modesty cups available in the ones at Target. Fine with me since it's still cold outside and I'm not wearing just thin shirt with no sweater or sweatshirt yet.

Speaking of tops, I love these tops so much that I love to find ruched tops when I'm NOT pregnant. I think that they are just flattering and actually make a women look smaller. Plus, isn't a great way to celebrate the curves a women's body gains while she's pregnant? Not all of my tops are ruched, but when I find them I get them!

With tops being covered (hahaha, see what I did there?!), let's talk about pants -- both jeans and yoga pants. I'm going to lie; I'm over being overly cute now that I barely have time to do anything since I'm always on the toilet peeing and/or with the kiddos. Plus, I just want to be comfortable; therefore, I have said good-bye to the under-the-belly pants (they just push on your stomach) and have {FULLY} embraced the over-the-belly maternity panel. 

Yes, especially in the jeans. I am NOT a jeans gal. I actually all but hate them when I'm not pregnant. I just don't like the feel of denim on my skin anymore. But these jeans. Oh my. They are heavenly and feel as good at the yoga pants. But they're are decidedly not jeggings. They are easily found at Target because of course Liz Lange Maternity made them. 

And quite frankly, how many pairs of yoga pants come with a fold-down panel anyway? Lots of them, so this panel just extends a bit more upwards and over-the-belly-wards. What's great is that when I pair a sweater or a really nice top and a pair of flats with them I get an instant date night outfit outta the deal. Not too shabby!

With those faves covering most of my day to day activities, I felt like I should share my essential running gear....and again, the list is short. Two things. Roomy pants and compression socks. 

The compression sock, you might argue, are used by a lot of long-distance runners anyway and have not a whole lot to do with pregnancy. I would tend to agree, but also add that for me I rarely use them for a 5k when I'm not pregnant. More importantly, they help with my second worst complication I get when with child -- severe varicosity issues -- meaning that my veins have a hard time accommodating the increased volume of blood my body produces. It makes my legs swell up and the compression helps to keep all of my blood flowing back up to where it needs to go. I can INSTANTLY tell a difference when I put them on or when I take them off if I had them on all day. 

These socks, and daily activity, are the cornerstone to keeping my legs healthy all those pregnant months. 

My traditional running tights have to be swapped out for more relaxed and roomy pants. I feel like I'm running in men's apparel, but I try to remember that I'm out running and comfortable and there are no fashion police on my training runs. 

Lastly, since my belly is growing so quickly, I felt I needed to try this to help support my muscles while I ran and cross-train with a Beachbody program.  

What are your favorite and/or essential maternity pieces for the first trimester? I'm curious to see how my list changes or stays the same as the weeks go by....and man, they are flying by!