Sunday, January 29, 2012

Pregnant and Streaking

Oops! I meant to publish this yesterday, but I fell asleep at 7:00.  So, here you go.

Saturday, January 28
First, let me say that pregnancy is not the time to up your mileage or begin training for a big goal.  I know this.  I follow this.  While it is extremely important to maintain fitness while pregnant, you've also got to be aware of the limitations and changes.

Why do I preface this post with that statement?  Well, because I've been increasing the frequency of my runs gradually since our move to the new house in December.  Since December 15, my normal week has been 4 or 5 days of running and 2 or 3 days of yoga, sometimes with a walk thrown in as well.  Am I crazy? Nope, I don't think so.  Am I harming baby Alfie?  Absolutely not; she's kicking and growing, and I'm gaining about a pound a week at this point.

When we moved in December, and I got both a neighborhood, trails, and a treadmill (I know- I am so lucky!), I knew I wanted to become the runner I've always been inside, in spite of the excuses born of a long commute and living on a country highway.  Since college, I've run three times a week, maybe four.  We've always lived on non-runnable streets, and I've always lived at least 15 minutes from work and a 10-minute drive from a park.  Before The Bambino, I fit in runs anyway.  After his arrival, my three or four runs turned into two or three.  To supplement, I used the elliptical.  As for strength, I've always enjoyed yoga, pilates, lunges and squats, and basic weights.  Briefly, I've kept in shape.  I've worked out 5 days a week or more, in some form or fashion.

When we moved in, however, the opportunities were literally on my doorstep.  I suddenly had nearly an hour more day in my day from moving close to school.  I could run from my house safely.  Then we got our treadmill for the garage, complete with a television and DVR so that I could watch Downton Abbey after The Bambino goes to sleep.  With all of these chances, how could I not run more often?  I'm a runner!  A distance runner, at that.  I like to run!   My fitness is high, my resting heart rate is low, and I'm an efficient runner.  I don't look at what I'm doing as upping mileage.  To me, I am simply converting more of my exercise time to running and less to cross-training like the elliptical.

Even with this gradual increase in my runs, this week was something new.  This week, I ran five days in a row.  I've never done that, that I can remember.  I didn't run far every day, and i certainly didn't run fast, but I ran.  By day 5, my legs were a little tired at first, but they rallied.  I didn't feel sore, or tired, or grumpy (well, more grumpy than your average 26-week pregnant mother of a toddler who also teaches high school).  I was more hungry than usual, but there's a simple and easy remedy for that: I ate more.

  • Sunday- 3 miles on the treadmill
  • Monday- ran 2 miles on the treadmill and then walked a little
  • Tuesday- ran 1 mile with my dog, who behaved admirably.  I will run with him more.
  • Wednesday- 3 miles on the treadmill.  My right foot hurt a little, but I think it was the shoes.  Mizuno is a great company, but the Creation is not for me!  Also did about 20 minutes of yoga.
  • Thursday- 2 miles in the neighborhood.  My legs were tired at the beginning, but they perked up.
So, the total running mileage is only 11.  I've run that much in five days before, maybe even pregnant, but in the past I've clumped the miles together differently, running at least 2.5 miles at a time and resting more often.  I've just rearranged the miles, that's all. 

What I learned this week is that I want to run often and that my body can take it.  I hope that, if I continue to run more days of the week, that this will translate into a nice post-baby base.  If I'm comfortable running easy 5 days in a row now, then I should be able to run 5 or 6 days a week this summer and fall and get back to my "normal" pace pretty quickly.  

Yesterday was a rest day because I didn't feel like running.  I was tired and it was the last day of the week.  Since I'm not trying to push myself beyond reason or reach some specific mileage goal every week, I simply run when I want to and not when I don't.  It's that easy.

This morning, after shopping for a dining room table, we went for a walk in the woods to take pictures.  As you can see, the results were at times touching, at times hilarious.
 Here's Baby Alfie and I.  She's certainly growing!

 The Bambino trying to get Alfie to kick him in the face...

It's the Guilford College Woods.  What better place to hug trees?

Saturday, January 14, 2012

25 Weeks!

Monday I will be 25 weeks pregnant.  I'm well over halfway, especially if the babe comes early like the midwife thinks.

I took Tuesday as a rest day, and I think it was well-deserved.  Being active is so important, but so is rest.  This is even more true when your body is busy growing another human being.  Wednesday I ran a quick two miles on the treadmill after school, ate an early dinner, and then went to my first prenatal yoga class in three years.

When you picture yoga, do you picture gentle stretching?  relaxation? meditation?

Yeah, there was a little of that, but there was a lot more standing poses, planks, and goodness gracious we did about a hundred slow squats!  Two days later I still couldn't quite walk.  I ran a mile Thursday to loosen up the quads, and I ran 2.5 yesterday while finishing last week's Downton Abbey.  I even played with pace, as much as someone in my condition can.  Well, as much as I can.  I'm guessing Kara Goucher ran a little bit faster during her pregnancy.  Just sayin'.  With a base pace of 5.5 mph, I added in 2-minute intervals between 5.7 and 6.0 with one-minute rests at base.  It was more entertaining than my recent treadmill runs, so that was good.

Today was jsut a yoga day.  My legs are still sore!

Tomorrow's plan is to run outside, possibly with a dog, during the Bambino's nap tomorrow.  If he chooses not to take a nap (which has been happening more and more lately), I'll work something out.

Tuesday, January 10, 2012

9-Day Streak!

Up until yesterday, I exercised every day of 2012.  For a pregnant lady, I'd say that's not too shabby.  Honestly, to day I planned on running a few miles, but sleep did not go well last night.  I was up twice because our otherwise wonderful cat was purring like a diesel engine in my ear (and knows how to open doors- that's the second one) and twice with the bambino: once for a lost blanky-bear and once because the darn cat opened his door and curled up on his bed.  All this plus normal second-trimester tossing and turning equals very little sleep.

So, here's a recap of my streak:
January 1- Resolution un-Run with Dad.  3.1 miles
January 2- 4-mile walk to and from a playdate, plus 1 mile run on the treadmill.
January 3- Treadmill while watching Biggest Loser.
January 4- 30 minutes of yoga
January 5- 2-mile neighborhood run
January 6- 2.6-mile loop from the house
January 7- 30-minute yoga
January 8- 30-minute yoga
January 9- 3-mile treadmill run

How do I feel?  A little run-down, but I don't think it's from exercise.  I am fighting off a cold right now.  Judging by the number of students who have been absent this week already, it's probably a losing battle.

And for tomorrow?  I want to streak again!  My legs did not feel overly tired, and the yoga helps me sleep.  I feel like building up my frequency of workouts now, while the intensity and speed are down, is a good way to maintain a real base when it comes to training.

Sunday, January 1, 2012

Happy New Year!

I know a lot of people who don't do resolutions; they feel it's silly/overrated to make a to-do list at the beginning of the year, or perhaps it seems like procrastination to wait until a certain date instead of just changing habits today.  Well, I like New Year's resolutions.  I like to-do lists, I like plans, and I like goals.  I always have resolutions, and my running goals are usually successful.  The other goals, ranging from finances to books to organization and other things in between, don't always go so well.

Looking back...
My 2010 goals were to run a marathon, run a sub-23 5k, and do a pull-up.  I did the first two, but the pull-up was elusive. My first marathon was surprisingly fun and successful, and I was hooked.

In 2011, my fitness goals were to run a sub-22 5k, improve my marathon time, and do a pull-up.  Well, I improved my marathon time, from 3:50 to 3:44.  I am so proud of this!  I ran a 22:04 (:05? I can't remember) 5k last January 1, but I never got under 22:00.  So pretty darn close, but not all the way.  And the pull-up?  No dice.  I think I am biomechanically malformed for pull-ups.

I have trouble coming up with goals for this year for the obvious reason: a baby is arriving on or around May 1.  She is my most important goal.  I also, however, want to have running or fitness goals, especially since I know I'll run at least one half-marathon in 2012 and a marathon in 2013. But I also do not know how quickly I'll be able to run again or how much I'll want to run, with not just a newborn but also an active toddler.  With bambino #1, I started running with him early, and it was easy to put him in the jogging stroller.  With two kids, the juggling just gets more challenging.  And what if the new baby (named Alfie by my son) isn't a good sleeper?  Will I be able to run on four hours of sleep?  Will I I want to?

Those are my concerns, but I also have assets.  The first is my partner; I am not a single parent, and she is so supportive of my running (even if, deep down, she thinks the only reason to run is if a pack of wild animals is chasing you).  I'm lucky to have someone who supports me going on three-hour long runs once a week and thinks that a race is a sport for the spectators, too.  (You win if you see your runner a lot of times on the course.)  The second asset is our new house, with its trails, neighborhoods, parks, and runnable roads nearby.  Now a three-hour long run doesn't actually mean four hours, including commuting to and from a place to start.  That's big.  And the third weapon is my new best friend, the treadmill.  My Achilles' heel  in the past has been consistency, and the treadmill, however boring at times, will let me run 4-5 days a week.  My last marathon training cycle, I averaged 3 runs per week, supplementing with the elliptical and rarely getting over 35-40 miles per week.  If I can do a 3:44 marathon on 3 runs a week, most of them 3 miles or less, having neighborhoods to run and a treadmill for rainy days and late nights is definitely going to improve my time.  I would love to get my base mileage up to 25-30 miles by the end of this year, but I'll be flexible with my body as it recovers from Alfie's arrival and reacquaints itself with less sleep.

So, after that ramble, here are my running-related goals for 2012:

  • run consistently as long as possible before Alfie's arrival and get back into running six weeks after, if all goes well
  • run a half-marathon in October
  • do a pull-up! come on, it can't be that hard.  
What are your goals?  Any big races or plans?