2014: The year I learned to run pregnant and as a new mom

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This year I learned so much about this body of mine. I learned to love it, respect it and use it to help my baby grow.

It’s pretty amazing, really, what we can make our bodies do, and what they’re meant to do.

At the beginning of 2014, I was about 14 weeks pregnant. I had just finished a December run streak, and we had just started to share the news with family and friends that we were expecting a baby.

I tried to keep running as that baby bump grew. With such a snowy winter, I continued with most of my runs on the treadmill, at the gym. I kept going until my hips started to hurt. By that time, I was about 28 weeks pregnant. I actually kept running longer than I expected I would.

After that, I tried to stay fit by doing spinning classes, walking and doing strength exercises.

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Throughout my pregnancy, I gained 35 pounds. I tried to find a balance between listening to my body and nourishing my baby and not giving in to every craving. I was really lucky to have a healthy pregnancy and a normal childbirth (although “normal” is actually crazy, intense, PAINful! And yes, I had an epidural!)

On June 27, 2014, our baby boy, Silas, was born. And oh, how our lives changed. He filled us with immense love, happiness and, well, fear.

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My expectations for getting back into running after hitting the traditional six-week mark flew out the window. Every moment was consumed by caring for our son. I don’t think I really understood how life-changing having a child would be until it happened. He needed me all the time. For months, his only naps were in the cozy arms of mom or dad. Nights were tough at first, then better, then challenging again. I had to learn that getting stuff done could wait. Baby was and is priority no. 1.

Unexpected challenges with breastfeeding ultimately lengthened my recovery time until Silas was about three months old. Only then did I start feeling like some semblance of my old self. Except now, it’s April, the Mama. And I love it. It feels like the person I was always meant to be.

My first post-partum run wasn’t until mid-September. At that point I still had nurses coming to change my dressing every couple of days. But I couldn’t wait to get outside.

Those first few runs and workouts were so hard. But gradually they became a little easier and I realized I wasn’t completely starting from square one again (probably thanks to my fitness during pregnancy).

In late October, I decided I wanted to sign up for the Santa Shuffle. It’s just a fun run, but I needed a goal. It turned out to be a good decision. The registration forced me to get out for three runs a week. Not only were those runs good for my sanity, but they helped me get some confidence back.

I’ve kind of let my running slip over the past couple of weeks, with the hustle bustle of the Christmas season. But yesterday I signed up for the first run of 2015: the 13K Lorneville Loop! So things are about to get real!

This year, my running all but came to a halt. But I’m picking it up again. I’m learning how to juggle motherhood and fitness, and admiring all those fit moms out there who manage to make it work.

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Hope you all can take time to acknowledge your own accomplishments of 2014 as we look forward to another year and whatever challenges and blessings it may bring.

HAPPY NEW YEAR!

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Donuts, head colds and exhaustion

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All of these things are not conducive to running.

But I am not going to force myself to run regardless. I’m taking a little break, for as long as I need.

Back in April, I had a bit of a cold, but I kept up my running routine without slowing down. The cold ended up lasting more than a month and turning into bronchitis, nearly derailing not just my half-marathon training but an awesome trip to Jamaica.

Ever since I finished two successful races earlier this month – the 10K at the airport and the half-marathon in Fredericton – I have laid off. I still go to my CrossFit bootcamp twice a week, and I did a spinning class on Saturday, but not much running has been happening.

I really want to be running. But since I don’t have any new race commitments (yet!) I’m not going to push it.

Well, I say that, but then I still ended up coming down with yet another cold this week. I’ve been running ragged. Just normal life stuff. Work, transportation issues and early dental appointments have depleted my sleep (which, for me, sets up the perfect conditions for a cold).

And then there was this:

The Filthy Fifty
The Filthy Fifty

Probably the toughest workout I’ve ever done. Fifty reps of each activity listed here. I was OK until the wall balls, but my ball was too heavy (14 lbs) and I had no gumption left. I kind-of started to cry. I had that hopeless I can’t do it feeling. Then I came home and felt so tired I almost immediately went to bed.

Hard workouts and my self-pity aside, the point of this post was to reinforce the importance of rest, one of the key elements of staying healthy.

923205_506141296101137_1854037719_nLife is busy and it’s too easy to let sleep and proper rest (even resting your brain, shutting off the screens) fall to the back-burner.

 

Dabbling in CrossFit

I am a new kind of tired.

Like empty-the-tank tired.

Training for a half-marathon is tough enough, but adding new, challenging exercise to the mix is zapping my energy.

Now, what kind of crazy person would start a new workout routine less than a month before a half-marathon? I’m nodding my head. Me.

But I’m not alone, at least not on the crazy, new exercise routine front:

Julie, Amy and April
Julie, Amy and April (missing is Jen)

Some great friends and I have decided to take our first plunge into CrossFit, a strength and conditioning program that is taking the world by storm.

We joined a six-week bootcamp, with classes twice a week. It should give us a real taste of the CrossFit world, and, two weeks in, I think we already have a pretty good idea.

CrossFit describes its program as “constantly varied, high intensity, functional movement.” Workouts are typically short and intense, demanding all-out physical exertion.

The classes usually consist of a warm-up, learning new moves, the workout and stretching.

The workouts are usually only 10-15 minutes but they leave you completely drained.

Tonight, the workout was done in pairs. We each ran 400 metres, then split 100 kettleballs, 100 push-ups, 200 flutter kicks, then ran together for another 400 metres. Trust me, it’s so much harder than it sounds. The push-ups are my least favourite. I feel like I have zero upper-body strength.

The classes are a little competitive. Each workout is timed, which I kind of like because it pushes you that little bit harder. Jen and I kicked some butt tonight but didn’t manage to beat the stealth of Julie and Amy.

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After the workout, we were blessed with a “special treat.” Squats done in tabata intervals. I don’t even have the energy to explain (nor can I tackle household stairs).

The classes feel so exhilarating and terrible all at once. I guess that’s the point.

Now I only hope I’m not limping too much tomorrow for my planned 8K easy run, my last training run for the YSJ 10K on Saturday.