Tuesday, 29 May 2012

I Survived

Here's another training week wrap and let me start by saying. . . I survived! And it wasn't the running this week that challenged me. Actually the running kept me sane. Hence why I was on the treadmill on Saturday night (sad, I know but we have a little baby not a wild social life).

It was scheduled to be an easy running week and to ensure that I did just that the powers that be threw a few obstacles my way:

On Tuesday Big A came home early from work. Before Little A and I could jump on him and bombard him with stories of our day he announced he was feeling crap and going straight to bed. Now in case you aren't familiar with the man flu its important to know that it is WAY worse than the normal flu! So I braced myself for a "hellish" week. But looking after a baby and a sick husband wasn't what duanted me the most. I was absolutely petrified of getting sick or worse Little A getting sick. I am the first to admit that I don't cope well being sick. I am a big SOOK. . . Maybe I get the man flu too???? We took Big A to the doctor where I was told to keep my distance from him as I was breast feeding it was more likely that I would get sick (yay!) and ironically because Little A was being breast fed it was less likely he would get it. Talk about putting ourselves on the line!!! Honestly though I was relieved to hear that most likely Little A would avoid this. I couldn't cope watching him suffer getting his immunisations how would I watch him suffer being SICK for days?!??!

Anyway the doctor obviously has no idea how small our house is and the only way to avoid Big A and his germs were if he was to sleep on the verandah! Which given the freezing temperatures was probably not going to help his recovery. All I could do was up my food, skip all High Intensity Training, get heaps of rest and pray that I was spared. I certainly didn't mind eating more and after 6 weeks of training I really enjoyed the lower intensity. But by saturday night I was ready to open my lungs up again and did a Tempo run with 25 minutes at 5 minute pace. (I was pretty happy with that!!)

Yesterday I returned to normal training with an interval session and I am looking forward to some more good speed sessions this week.

As for the home front Big A is feeling much better and Little A is being an absolute delight. With a bit of assistance from me he has also started to have longer (and less) naps during the day. I don't want to get too excited but at nearly 3 months we almost have a predictable routine. . .

Tempo run tonight. . . can't wait to see what these legs have got in them. I know my speed gains will slow and eventually plateau but one good thing about having a break from running is seeing those rapid gains when you return. Honestly I have completely blown my own expectations and my sights are set higher than ever (in regards to times not distances!) . . . Do you run faster after a baby????

Thursday, 24 May 2012

You know you are a mummy runner when. . .

A few weeks ago I took Little A to the family clinic for his immunisations. Before we left the house Little A had a nap and I had a window of opportunity to either:

A. Have a shower and make myself look respectable


B. Go for a run

I decided to go for a run. So when I arrived at the clinic and there were 20 other mums before me looking preened and cleaned I was feeling a little bit out of place all sweaty in my running attire. This was the day I realised I was going to be THAT mum that is always in her sports clothes. Little A's mummy is a runner. . .

Here are some other signs you are a mummy runner:

1. You ask for a new pair of sneakers for mothers day

2. Your feet look like something from a horror movie. They look this way because you are a runner but they've looked this way for 2 months because you are a mummy. Who has time for pedicures?

3. Your husband responds to your snapping with "do you need to go for a run?"

4. You put on training clothes EVERY morning just in case you get an opportunity to go for a run. If only your child would tell you how long they are going to sleep for before they went to sleep!!!

5. Your water bottle follows you everywhere. . . even to the dinner table at night. Yep, I am all class!!

6. You happily run WITHOUT music because you just love the peace! Before Little A I would never have dreamt of running without my ipod and would struggle to finish a run if it went flat. These days I prefer just to enjoy the peace and quiet.

Happy Mummy Running!

Wednesday, 23 May 2012

Goals... Check!

Little A is now 11 weeks old which means I have been back running for 6 weeks. It feels like yesterday I headed out for that first run.

After that first run (4km that felt like 42!)I set some goals for what I would like to achieve in my first six weeks back running (see here). So its time to check them off:

Long Run 6 minute pace
Check. The pace for last weeks long run was 5 minutes 47.

Tempo Run 5 minute 30 pace
Check. Last Tempo run was 5 minute pace (still buzzing from this!)

Intervals (100s-400s) sub 4 minute pace
Check. I have hit 16kmp/h for my 400s so smashed this one too.

I remember thinking that they were ambitious when I set them. But consistent training, recovery and lots of focus on SPEED and not distance has got me there.

So its time to set some more AMBITIOUS goals for the next 6 weeks:

Goal #1
>35km per week (with a baby who cat naps so my weekday runs are limited to 30-40 minutes this is VERY ambitious and I am suspecting that some weeks I might be doing some extra long runs on the weekend to get over the line with this one!

Goal #2
1km Intervals at 4minute pace . . . Wahoo!

Goal #3
Long Run pace 5 minutes 30 (Ok so I am getting a bit crazy now but if I don't get this one in this round I will recycle it to the next 6 weeks)

That all said, running is a challenge this week. Little A is having a wonder week which means his already short day sleeps are shorter and when he's awake he wants my undivided attention. If that wasn't enough, Big A is home with the man flu. So I am super busy looking after my boys. Luckily its an easy week this week so I am just happy to sneak in little bits wherever I can. Yesterday was 15minutes, today was 30minutes and who knows what tomorrow holds. After 6 weeks of "hard" training my body is loving the light and easy load.

Some mummy posts to follow . . . Stay tuned!

Saturday, 19 May 2012

Another week done. . .

Another training week comes to an end and it feels like they are just flying by!

I love starting the week with my speed work. Firstly its a fairly short session so its an easy one to fit in with Little A but also its so nice to start the week hitting the big speeds (well big for me). This week was 200s and I managed to comfortably hit 17kmp/h on all of them.

Tuesday was the tough day at the office (home!) so I am super glad I got my Tempo Run out that morning. I don't know how I would have got through the day if I had missed it. My Tempo Run included 20 minutes at 5 minute pace. I was stoked to achieve this as it was only 2 weeks ago that I couldn't pull out 1km at 5 minute pace let alone 4km!

This weeks Easy Run was one of those runs when you are in your own world you forget you are even running! I was so in my own world I went 4 minutes over time. To be able to completely zone out of that run I knew I was hitting the right pace for an Easy Run.

Intervals this week were a 3 part series. . . Luckily it WAS an interval session so the stop start wasn't a problem. Anyhow a dummy rescue and nappy change later I finally completed my session. I have now built my 1km interval speed up to 14kmp/h!

Todays Long Run was set for success. Little A slept for 14 hours last night waking only once for a feed. So after sleeping in till 8am Big A and I enjoyed a nice breakfast together. Well rested and fuelled on Pancakes with Banana, Maple Syrup and a sprinkle of cinnamonn I squeezed out 13.8km. I decided to do a Treadie Run and stay close to home. Building distance is definitely the challenge at the moment. Luckily I have only set my sights on a half marathon. Until I can run with Little A in the pram my Long Runs will be limited to sub 2 hours and at the moment even 2 hours away from the little man is hard on mummy. My legs feel like I did a 3 hour run not 80 minutes. Hopefully they will start adjusting to the kms soon. In the meantime compression pants for me tonight!

Me and my legs are looking forward to an "easy" week next week.

Finally, here's a quote that I think is quite fitting to "speed work" and racing for me:

"If everything seems under control, you're just not going fast enough" Mario Andretti

Friday, 18 May 2012

Favourites for Fridays

I have read lots of posts about the Time Magazine article "Are you mom enough?" and I thought I would share my favourite one.

I think this mum has got it sussed. . .
Click here to read it.

The only thing I could come up with to add to that amazing list is:

I hope to raise children who love and respect their bodies and make their health, fitness and wellbeing a priority without being vain.

Enjoy your weekends. I have an 80 minute run planned and the rest of the weekend will be spending quality time with my boys!

Wednesday, 16 May 2012

Tough Times

Ready for work, Big A kissed me goodbye and turned for the door but before he could turn the handle I flung myself at his feet sobbing and BEGGING him not to go. Little A had only been awake for 30 minutes but already I knew I did not want to face this day alone!

Ok, so it wasn't that dramatic. Actually I was on the treadmill doing a kick-ass Tempo run when Big A left for work (I will tell you just how kick-ass it was in the weekly training wrap up - but in short I ROCKED!) Little A was asleep in his rocker. . . for the time being. But I knew from the moment that little A's eyes opened that morning that it was going to be a rough day. . . what I didn't know was just how rough.

Hands down with no competition even in sight, it was the hardest day since Little A has come along. For most of the day (or at least all of his awake time) Little A was completely beside himself and by 5 O'clock so was mummy. Not soon enough bedtime came, Little A went to sleep and Mummy recovered from the ordeal of a day with chocolate and foot rubs.

This morning when I went in to collect him from his cot and start our day I was met with a beautiful beaming face and all that was yesterday, felt like a distant memory. Like a bad run those tough times seem so insignificant when you have something so amazing at the end of it (like a PB or a beautiful boy).

One of my all time favourite quotes that I think of EVERY race:

The pain wont last forever but the memories will" - Young

Parenting is much the same. There are crappy times (yesterday reached new levels of crappiness!) but they don't last forever and at the end of the day you always have this beautiful child that brings you so much joy!

Monday, 14 May 2012

Big Gains

This week it has been about intervals, intervals and more intervals. I also managed to squeeze in a tempo run, an easy run and a long run. By Saturday I felt like this. . .

The reason for so many interval sessions being that I started the week doing the interval session that I missed from last week due to Little A being unwell. After a trip to the doc and some medicine the little guy was back to his lively self the next day and so was my training.

This week I have seen some awesome gains in my fitness as I have hit new speeds in all of my sessions. Generally I have felt a lot stronger and a lot more like the pre-baby runner I once knew. Is it because I am finding my groove in my easy runs and getting better quality speed sessions or is it all my speed work paying off? A bit of both I think.

Unfortunately as my running has increased I have let my core training slip a little. I was very consistent and commited to my core training in the early days of my return to running knowing that Post baby this would be the most important step in returning to running. But now I am well and truly back and as I have built up my sessions I have just struggled to find another block in the day for more training.

I thought that by doing lower mileage I could take a more relaxed approach to my pre and post run regime. But with high intensity sessions I am discovering that the actual running is STILL only 1/4 of the picture. Strength training, Recovery and Nutrition still play equally important roles.

I simply can't dedicate the time that I have previously to these areas though. Here are my time effective solutions that I am trying (or about to try) at the moment:

Strength Training
My body has given me a warning this week as I really felt my lower back getting tired in the last few kms of my long run. So starting from this week I am going to try and do 5 minutes each day. This may be a couple of hovers in the lounge room, some pelvic floor exercises before going to bed or some leg raises at the play ground on my walk with Little A. Whatever it is, it will be better than nothing. I just need to pull my finger out before I get side lined with an injury

I will start "Foam Rolling" on the floor when Little A has his tummy time. I am usually lying on the mat with him so I might as well be rolling while I am down there. He will also be a good distraction from the pain. . . oh foam rolling I dread you! At night I am turning my electric blanket up to max for the first 5-10 minutes to warm my muscles and trying to use the wheat bags on anything that is tight after a hard session. If I am really sore or tight I will also wear my compression pants under my trackies.

Since all my long runs are sub 2 hours I am not having to worry about Carb loading for my runs. As for post-workout I have been having a Sustagen Sport shake after my run in addition to my normal meals and snacks. This is also to help replace any energy I have burnt on the run so I am not getting too much of an energy deficit while I am breast feeding. Because YES exercising while breast feeding is fine (with adequate energy intake!). . . I'll save this rant for another day but for now, lets just say you wouldn't want to be the next person to ask me if running is a good idea while feeding?!?! And I don't mean literally during a feed!

Hopefully all these little bits and pieces that I CAN fit in to my day will keep me injury free and running strong. . . we will see.

Anyhow back to the washing for me. Amongst the mountain of Little A washing I have some awesome new 2XU pieces that I scored for Mothers Day. Can't wait to break in the new clothes with some more awesome sweaty sessions this week.

May all your miles be Merry!

Saturday, 12 May 2012

A Celebration of Mums

I wasn't going to do this but being a new mum still in the (overwhelming) adjustment stage combined with post-pregnancy hormones & wanting to honour the spirit of Mothers Day I just couldn't help myself!

The cover - a controversial picture.
The story - the great debate on attachment parenting.

Now I am neither for or against attachment parenting. How Big A and I raise our children will be a little bit from column A and a little bit from column B. We will do what works best for each of our children and us at the time. We do seek advice and reassurance from our friends and family whom are all parents we admire but we are also balancing this advice with the fact that our child (and hopefully children) are different and so is our family life.

Being a mum is a tough gig at times. Having experienced it now I would have thought mothers would be the most empathetic to other mothers as they truely appreciate the demands and just how different each child can be. Unfortunately I think that instead of empathetic we are quite a judgemental bunch. Truth is we all do it hard at times and sadly you can fall into the trap of judging others to make yourself feel better.

For all the joy, wonder and amazement Little A brings to my life I still have moments when I feel inadequate. . .and when he is incessantly screaming I think he is tending to think that way too! At those times I cling to the beautiful words of praise I have received from friends and family. Amongst all the negativity, pressure and judgement thank goodness for the encouragement and support of friends and family.

Here is a beautiful quote from birth.com.au

Babies are born, mothers are not.
Mothering is learnt

And learning every day I am! I will never know if I did everything "right" and I am positive I will look back and see things I could have done differently. But I will always know I gave it my best shot and did what I thought was right. That combined with the copious amount of love I will drown my children in is enough for me!

Any woman that brings a child into the world commited to doing the best they can by them is a hero in my eyes. I believe it is up to each individual to decide what is best for their child. Part of that is looking after the mother... as this blogger's story tells, what good is any approach if the demands, expectations and pressures of it take a mother away from a child?

So back off everyone!!! And Mums don't buy into this tripe!

Do not compare your children but cherish them for who they are. Stand up for yourselves and your choices but keep a soft heart of tolerance because everyone has the same right to be as individual in their mothering as you!

Tomorrow is Mothers Day so to every mum whether you breast feed or bottle feed, co-sleep or not, whether you returned to work or stayed at home . . .


Friday, 11 May 2012

Favourites for Friday

So glad its Friday :)

Here are my three favourite running/mummy t-shirts:

And my absolute favourite ever...

Tuesday, 8 May 2012

Round the world

With hopefully more babies on the cards in the next few years, I am not planning too many races ahead but that doesn't mean I don't dream about them. I don't know when and what I will race over the next 5 years while growing our family is the main focus but I do know that these 6 marathons MUST be done at some stage in my life:

1. New York
If I could only run one more race in my life this would be it!

2. London
Ok this would just be an excuse to visit some super cool friends in London but I do consider this one of the greats and coming from Australia where I have never even seen snow it sure would be a new experience running in really cold conditions.

3. Paris
Running down the Champs Elysees! I also heard a rumour they serve wine at the drink stations. . . now we are talking!!!

4. Disney
Need I explain this? When I do get to Disney I would like to do the Goofy Challenge. . . Half Marathon one day and the full marathon the next day.

5. Gold Coast
Fast, flat, scenic and super well organised. What more could you ask for? The Gold Coast half marathon has been my best race experience to date and I would just love to experience the full marathon.

6. Canberra
Beautiful, cool conditions and totally on my radar.

Of course I would also love to run the Adelaide marathon being that I live in Adelaide but after looking at the new course map I am a little scared I would get lost! This year I will just be sticking to the half and hopefully I can improve my map reading skills in the meantime!

Sunday, 6 May 2012

The need for speed

Straight off the high of my race the training week started well. I took Monday easy with walks, wheat bags and compression pants and then kicked off normal training on Tuesday. I got in 4 great sessions this week - a tempo run, an easy run, speed work and a long run (which wasn't actually long just long run pace). I am still one run short from my plan though. . .

This weekend I had an interval session planned and I decided to do it this morning. Last night I laid out my clothes ready and planned to go straight after Little As morning feed. Unfortunately getting into my running gear is as close to a run as I have got today. I am not defeated yet though. . . I am still hoping to get the session out on the treadmill after the Little guy goes to bed. Not the nice outdoor run I was looking forward to but it will be better than nothing. And if that doesn't happen then this will just be my first (and not the last) planned run that has fallen casualty to the responsibilities of being a mummy.

Anyhow back to this weeks training. I think all my speed work is starting to pay off and I am starting to feel faster and stronger every day! I have to confess though that prior to this week I was getting disheartened by my speeds. My warm up, cool down and easy pace was a lot slower than I liked and it was hurting my pride to have dropped the pace so much. Also I was worried that my body would start adapting to this slower pace.

The truth is these slower speeds are where I am at. If I did increase my warm up pace I think I would compromise the actual training segment of the session so I hold back. I have to train where my fitness is at NOW not where I want it to be and not where it use to be. It sucks at times but every session this week has seen an improvement in one aspect or another and yes I am slowly increasing pace.

As a PT I would often hear new clients come in and tell stories of what they use to do. A lot were disappointed when they magically weren't back there doing those things in a matter of a few sessions. I found it amazing that people held on to the past and couldn't just enjoy their present journey and celebrate their current sucesses. I have been one of those people this last month.

So why does a number on a screen make me feel inadequate.... Its crazy and its a bit of de ja vu. When I fell pregnant I finally stopped caring about the number on the scale and just listened to my body. I was a skeptic at first. I didn't trust in my bodys ability to judge what it did and didn't need. I thought this lax approach would have me the size of a house in no time. I was pleasantly surprised that this wasn't the case and even more happy to discover I could continue this approach post baby with the same result.

So how does that all relate to my running pace. Well again I find myself letting a number dictate how I feel about myself. Considering the purpose of easy running is to turn over the body at a pace that is gentle on the body then it seems insane that there would be a set speed for these runs.

So my challenge now is to ignore the numbers on the treadmill and garmin for my warm ups, cool downs and easy runs and find a pace where my body FEELS like it is doing what it should be...gently preparing for a session or gently recovering from one. Some days this might see me running at 10kmp/h and some days at 8kmp/h. With all the speed work that I am doing there are plenty of opportunities to focus on numbers and times.

I will admit I am a little scared that going by feel will have me running even slower but I am going to give it a shot. Hopefully by being in tune with my body I will prepare and recover better so I can perform better in my speed sessions and eventually get faster. Nearly 12 months ago I trusted my body to decide what it did and didn't need in regards to food and embarked on complete and utter unrestricted eating. As scary as it was as I had always had "rules" when it came to eating, it has paid off and I am now just enjoying my food each and every day. So now I am going to entrust my body with my all important running training. Who knows maybe my body will get it right again and i'll be making new PBs before I know it?!?!

Finally here's a quote that was quite fitting when I was having my pity party. . .

"No matter how slow you go you are still lapping everyone on the couch"

Saturday, 5 May 2012

2 Months

You know your baby is growing up when people ask you how old they are and you answer in months and not weeks. Soon it will be years!

The last 2 amazing months have seen Big A and I completely and utterly consumed with the new addition to our family. At times we even forget there is a world outside our home. Its hard to believe I had 28 years of my life without this little guy and now I couldn't and wouldn't imagine a day without him.

Every week has brought with it massive changes to our little guy and to our lives. Although some things have been constant. . . 63 nappies, 189 wet wipes, 17 loads of washing and more than 5 litres of breast milk each week, yeah that hasn't changed! Here are some of the highs and lows of the last two months

Pure and utter elation
First we had each other, then we had you, now we have everything

We get to keep him?!?! It was all so surreal. Until we actually came home with him I couldn't comprehend that this was our son. . .all ours!

After 4 beautiful weeks as a family Big A finally had to go back to work. Who's going to watch him when I go to the toilet?!?!

Are you seriously going to leave me alone with HER????

Every smile, laugh and coo has filled me with more joy than I could ever imagine.

Look what I taught the Little guy

This week Little A and I went head to head. He had only cat-napped during the day and wasn't going back down to sleep. After an hour of getting no where I decided to put him in the pram and go for a walk. Usually this would have him asleep before we even left our street but not this time. 10 minutes into the walk I peeped into the pram and was met with this face:

Nope. . . I'm not going to sleep!

But eventually after 20 minutes. . .

1 for mummy : 0 for Little A

I love that he is strong-willed and that he has a real "fight" in him but little does he realise that mummy is just as stubborn as he is and would have walked to Melbourne that day if thats what it took!

I will never have an empty laundry basket again!

How could you not love this???

And finally, the worst of all I have experienced since Little A arrived was this week when I took him for his 8 week immunisations. All I can say is my heart broke in two. I am confident the whole ordeal was much harder on mummy than it was on Little A. The only plus . . . a super sleepy baby. Little A slept 12 hours that night and most of the following day.

Well it has been a busy couple of weeks for us and we are looking forward to a much quieter month for May. Hopefully lots of play and development time and lots to report for the 3 month update.