Tuesday, 21 February 2012

The Comeback Plan

The other day I enjoyed some last minute baby shopping & lunch with a gorgeous friend and mother who inspires me very much. After lunch she asked me if I had a plan and timeline for returning to training post baby...

OH DO I HAVE A PLAN!!! I have spent every spare minute reading up on and writing a training plan for my running "comeback" post baby. Actually I am on version #3 and I am sure there are more versions to come. Each time I finish another book I have some new ideas and training principles that I want to try and so this plan is constantly evolving and being revised.

However, no matter how good the plan I know some of the hurdles of my return to running can't all be all be addressed with a good training plan. Here are some of the big challenges I am anticipating I will face and need to overcome:

Bits will wobble
For a sginificant period of time the body I return to running with will be very different to what I am use to. Even though I honestly believe it will all strengthen over time and return to its former glory I know that I will have to be patient with it and work with what I've got while I go from incubator to a performance machine.

Back to absolute basics
I have no balance, I am clumsy and my running muslces have been on an extended vacation. You would think after months of carrying around the extra weight I would come out the other end stronger but honestly I feel completey unstable around the hips and pelvis and can't imagine pumping out speed sessions without some serious basic strength training first. I honestly took for granted how "structurally sound" my body was. Now after the the transformation my body has gone through to grow and birth a baby I will have to really focus on building back strength and balance that can handle the intensity and speed of my desired training.

Contending with boobs
To date I have been very fortunate to be able to throw on a sports bra and not have to worry about anything after that in this department. I dare say feeding will bring about some new challenges for running, namely; support, milk supply, lactic acid in the milk and just the overall comfort of the whole thing. Hopefully there are some fantastic maternity and feeding sports bras out there to help me in this area. Keep an eye out in the review section. Also my training is going to have to have the flexibility to fit around my feeding responsbilities. So as much as I will try for routine its not going to be a given and I am just going to have to make the most of the opportunities I get.

Pelvic Floor Muscles
I don't think I need to elaborate on this one. Suffice to say I could write a whole post on Pregnancy and the Pelvis. Thank goodness the muscles can be trained like any other so there is hope! Kegels here we come!

On the odd winter morning when my husband has looked so snug in bed I have struggled to tear myself away but otherwise I generally find it easy to slip my sneakers on and escape for my run. I don't doubt for one second that having a gorgeous little new born at home will tug at the heart strings when I am trying to get out the door. But I honestly believe that taking this little bit of time for me and my health (mental and physical) will make me a better mother and I hope that focusing on that can keep me on track. Not to mention its going to be a great time for baby and daddy to have together!

Well, it will be interesting to return to this list of things in a few months and compare it to the actual challenges I have faced. What challenges did I not anticipate and what things will be easier than I thought?

I think a good plan is always a good starting point but for this particular goal I know it is going to take more than that. I will also need determination, patience and tenacity to overcome many new challenges... simple things that I have just taken for granted in the past.

So here starts the joy of being a running mummy! Wish me luck!

Thursday, 16 February 2012

Where's the finish line?!?!

I am a very impatient person! I can't wait to meet this little guy and hold him in my arms. I want to see what he looks like and I am just dying to start our life as a family.

I am also very soft when it comes to pain. I have taken just about as much pelvic pain, and discomfort as I can without loosing my mind. So suffice to say I am finding these final weeks a tad testing.

So much so, that at todays weekly ante-natal check up I struggled to supress the urge to reach over and grab my obstetrician by the collar, shake him violently and threaten him until he agreed to get this thing out of me. I'm sure pregnancy hormones can take a little credit for the irrational thoughts but mostly I'm just impatient and soft.

The hardest thing about all of this is not knowing where the finish line is. The little guy could come tomorrow or he could come in 4 weeks! How do I pace myself to get to the end?

I have always been an advocate for finishing races strong. I (almost) always leave enough in the tank to finish with a little surge and a smile. But I'm afraid this hasn't been the case with pregnancy. Instead I feel like I went out too hard and now that I'm near the end and having powered through the most of it my body and mind is paying for it. I can't even fathom how I am going to make it to the end and I get disheartened thinking about the not set finish line.

So screw the finish line. I can't think about it anymore. I am just going to take one day at a time and keep "putting one foot in front of the other" until I'm done. This is easier said than done for a self-confessed numbers person. Its all about times, splits and countdowns. But not this time, until this little boy is in my arms I am only going to think about the day ahead and enjoying it.

Saturday, 11 February 2012

Sherry Arnold

Well its Saturday the 11th February here in Australia. Which makes it Friday 10th Febraury in the US. I am sitting here thinking about the the thousands of runners there who will be getting up tomorrow morning and running for a reason... Sherry Arnold

The recent tragic events that rocked the world have also united the running community like never before. It doesn't take many clicks on the cyber world to see how runners from every corner of the planet are coming together to mourn an unthinkable and tragic loss and honour the life of a mother, teacher and runner.

To read more about Sherry Arnold and the virtual run that is being held around the world click here.

At nearly 37 weeks pregnant I can't manage a run but I will be doing a "waddle: in honour of Sherry. All my thoughts and prayers are with her family in this tragic time.There are no words for their loss but I hope this "world-wide" action speaks louder than any words could. We are all with you!

Wednesday, 8 February 2012

Count down

Now that I am on the official "home stretch" its all about numbers. So here's a little countdown...

10 weeks until I run again (4weeks + 6 weeks post partum recovery)
9 months since my last run
8 is the number of races I have completed to date
7 days until I am considered "full-term"
6 days I have been pregnancy “pain free” and feeling good again
5 km will be the distance of my first race post baby
4 weeks until baby is due
3 hours I spent reading my R4YL magazine cover to cover today
2 km is the longest walk waddle I have done in the last week
1 Run is all it will take and I’ll be a "runner" again

Wednesday, 1 February 2012

To Rest Or Not To Rest....

Today I am feeling something I haven't felt since I was running. It is that dreaded internal conflict when you are sick or injured. That conflict between the needs and wants of your body and your mind.

So here's the deal.

I am in the tail end of this pregnancy and getting nasty pains in the pelvis, hips and groin. They last for hours at a time and are responding less and less to panadol. Yesterday I got home from my walk and felt like I had pulled every muscle in my groin region. Despite feeling comfortable and pain-free walking it was clear an hour later that my pace must have stretched all my super relaxed (thanks relaxin) muscles a bit too much. Of course the obvious thing to do is rest and well lets face it I don't have any exciting races or events (besides labour!) on the horizon so whats wrong with a bit of rest????

Well firstly the extra 9kgs I'm carrying is putting a lot of stress on the base of my spine and walking loosens it up and helps everything fall back in to place and structurally I feel "reset" every day from it. Mentally the walking gives me a high that gives my energy levels a boost. Which is very helpful because I can get through about 1/3 of what I use to so its nice to get little hits of energy where I can. When I walk I tend to always sleep better. Not to mention that staying active helps with all the other pregnancy stuff like water rentention and helping to stimulate labour etc.

So even though I ended up in excrutiating pain yesterday I still am not ready to give up on it. So first step today is to take a rest day and then tomorrow I am going to head out at an absolute "dawdle" of a pace and see how I feel after that.

But before I came up with this plan I spent the night in conflict. My Obstetrician told me yesterday that my walking might be contributing to my problems. All I want to do is the right thing by my body and if that is rest than so be it. But time and time again when I am in this situation I am not always convinced that rest is the best.

For example when I start to feel a little bit flu like but not yet overcome by it I find myself in this dilema. Of course if you ARE sick then you need to rest. Your body needs all your energy to repair and recover itself and stressing it physically is just crazy. But sometimes in those early stages before it has taken hold I feel like a good training session will help to "shake it". By raising my core body temperature and by really getting my body switched on it might have a better chance of fighting it. It feels as though as soon as I stop I am going to get sick.

Another example is niggles. Not a full blown-injury because again anything but rest is stupid. At what point are you better resting and what point are you still better off running through and keeping good blood flow to the area and keeping all the surrounding muscles strong?

These are the dilemas that from time to time in my training I have faced and on some weird level am facing now. Do the benefits of continuing or continuing a modified program outweigh the benefits of all out rest. OR does rest now save weeks of half-arsed training and recovery later?????

There is so much information and so many guidelines out there. One that I have always followed when it comes to "colds" is if the symptoms are above your neck keep training but once its below you must rest.

This sounds like some good general advice. Obviously if its below your neck than its hit your respitory system and well training on an already compromised respitory system is not beneficial.

I think the answer to these tricky situations is very individual. Just like a training program. Some people can do 3-4 heavy days per week and some can only do 2. Some people can train through low level of stress and illness and some need to rest.

So this year I am going to try to log in my training diary my health and well-being and see if I can get in tune with my body's well-being. Rather than feel conflicted by general information I am going to tailor make my rules for rest and recovery based on my bodys history to stresses of illness and injury.

Hopefully what I learn will help me to make good training decisions for many years to come.

So with that in mind I am not going to stress about "to rest or not to rest" I am going to do my own gentle trial and error of activity to keep as active as I can all whilst doing the best thing for my number 1 goal - bringing a healthy baby into this world.