Running On Average

Running Through Pregnancy

I am now 36 weeks into my second pregnancy (whaaa??!). I ran until 35 weeks the first time around, and plan to keep going as long as I can this time. While I don’t qualify myself as an “expert” on either pregnancy or running, I’ve definitely learned a thing or two and feel like I know enough to pass along some advice and tips that got me through these last two baby baking times. So, if you are hesitant about how it goes, fear not!, it’s not so bad.

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Tips For Running Through Pregnancy

1. Give Yourself Grace

This could probably encompass all the other tips I’m about to provide, but I want to put it here first. Whether you are a casual jogger or hardcore, daily runner, your running is going to change over these nine months. It’s not just you anymore. Even before you feel those sweet fetal movements or see the scale start to climb, there is so much happening inside that can affect your daily life and running. So as easy as it is to get frustrated that you aren’t reaching the same mileage or pace, don’t be hard on yourself during these months. If you are too tired or sore or sick to get a run in, THAT’S OKAY. Don’t beat yourself up. You are growing a tiny human inside you and that, my friend, is amazing.

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2. Get Your Doctor’s Okay

In most cases, running and exercise during pregnancy are beneficial and encouraged, but just make sure with your doctor first, please. There is no need to put the baby’s health at risk if you don’t have to.

3. Hydrate More

When I was a young girl in my early 20s, I never took water on a run under at least 10 miles. I just didn’t need it. Was it stupid? Possibly. But I survived (a fine example of “do as I say, not as I do”).

Now, if I am on the treadmill or running with the stroller, I almost ALWAYS have water with me. When I’m out on my own, I still don’t (#fail), but I do drink like it’s going out of style the rest of the day and make sure that I’ve replenished any water lost.

Even though you’ll have to pee even more (is that possible?!) it’s so important to stay hydrated for yourself and for your baby. Plus, it will boost your energy (relatively speaking… you’re still pregnant).

4. Focus on Effort

I can’t say that I’ve ditched my Garmin during pregnancy because I have a small obsession with knowing my mileage. Even when my mileage is low (30-40 miles per month), I still like to track it  so I 1) don’t get too lazy and 2) have an idea of what to expect postpartum. BUT, I have let go of running certain paces. I walk now if I need to, no shame in that game. Especially when I’m pushing Roo up a hill? Yeah, there’s no way me and my extra 25 lb. + stroller/toddler are running up a hill.

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Keep a steady effort and push yourself a little- but now isn’t the time to keeping going out of your comfort zone. Run for the joy of the run- not the numbers. You’ll still get a workout, I promise.

5. Train Safely

The other week I decided to take Roo out for a run while Dave mowed the lawn. It was an unusually hot day of 85 degrees. I knew going into the run that I would not be running the whole thing, or that if I did, it would be slow. I accepted the conditions before I took my first step.

I’m not saying to never run in the heat or to skip trails (at least not manicured trails) during your pregnancy, but be aware of your surroundings. Are you getting too hot? Slow down, walk, drink some water. On a trail? Keep an eye out for roots, uneven surfaces, and any other unexpected nature. Your gait may change, so pay attention to your footing. I’ve tripped more than once this pregnancy and had flashes of falling on my baby. Not what you want!

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You don’t have to give up running; you just have to be smart about it.

6. Listen to Your Body

If you’re tired, take a break. If you’re not recovering as fast as you once did, take more rest days. If something hurts, talk to your doctor. Like with my first pregnancy, I’ve reached the point now where I get shooting pains down the front of my pelvis during runs and you bet I chatted with my doctor about it (twice). I still have the okay to run, but I’m definitely being more cautious and realizing that my running days may be numbered and I may have to start exclusively walking soon. It does bum me out a little, but it’s worth it to not have those holy hell shooting pains and to know I’m doing what’s best for both my body and my baby.

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I’m no doctor and no running guru. I’m just a girl who loves to hit the pavement at an average pace for average mileage. But I remember being new to the pregnant runner game and looking for others who’d been through it before. So I hope this helps you, if that’s where you are.

Enjoy your pregnancy, enjoy your running, and if you’re worried at all…. talk to your doc! Smile They won’t mind (and if they do, they’re terrible and you should find someone else Winking smile)

Friday Five on My Mind

Lifestyle | March 24, 2017 | By

Going to try to start a series here with Friday Five on My Mind! It won’t be every Friday because let’s face it, I’m not that consistent yet, but it’s just going to be a roundup of things that have caught my eye or been on my mind lately. So without further ado, here is the first Friday Five on My Mind!

1) This refreshing article on being happy with a small life

Yesterday was one of those rare mornings where I was up, showered, dressed, and relaxing on the couch watching GMA before Riley woke up (thanks, kid!!). Honestly, I don’t like GMA, so I was surfing my phone and came across this article on Facebook. It is so refreshing and brings across a good point. That in a world where everything is extreme: up earlier work harder, no excuses, go big or go home, it doesn’t seem acceptable to want a mediocre life. But what is wrong with that? With being content with what you have and the small pleasures? Without needing to be the best or make a huge impact in the world? I still like striving for greatness, but it is a necessary reminder (at least for me) that living small is perfectly okay, too. That the people who know me and love me in my small life are what really matters- not worrying about people I don’t even know.

2) Tuesday afternoon

My decision to start spring on Tuesday was a success. The weather was gorgeous and Riley and I had a great time playing outside waiting for Daddy to get home. Smile

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3) My first sponsored post

Guys. I am SO EXCITED about this. It’s not for this blog, but I was asked to write a sponsored post for the Pittsburgh Moms Blog. I can’t give any details yet, but look for it in a few weeks!

4) Outdoor evening runs are back!

I just. Open-mouthed smile

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5) Iced. Lattes.

Specifically from Judy’s Java Joint. I’m still only drinking one cup of coffee or latte a day (or less) during pregnancy, so I want to make sure they count! Today, since it’s so perfect outside and Dave has the day off, we took Riley on a 4-mile stroller run and rewarded ourselves afterward with these delightful coffees. Iced Irish cream lattes may be my new favorite thing!

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What’s on your mind today? Have an amazing weekend!

Week of Workouts

Running | March 2, 2017 | By

Hey, all! We’re officially into March and with my plan to make this month one of action, here is a recap of my weekly workouts. Only two this week, because I’m battling my insides again this morning.

On Monday, I decided to try something new. I took Riley to South Hills Power Yoga for our first Mommy and Me yoga class! I was a little nervous because I had no idea what to expect and I haven’t taken a yoga class since before she was born.

Overall, the class went well. We placed our mats in a giant circle around a bin of toys and the kids could either participate with us or play with the toys and run around the empty half of the studio. Riley was the youngest of the runners; there were two babies who could only wiggle.

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The mama bear within me is apparently strong and I spent more time keeping an eye on her and making sure she was okay or not in anyone’s way than I did focusing on my yoga. I did get a pretty good workout in and had some struggles with certain poses. Going from high to low plank was a big one because my belly just kept getting in the way! We did a lot of chair and warrior poses and I can still feel it in my upper arms and shoulders!

The studio was right next to a Panera, so of course we went next door afterward for a latte. Winking smile

By the time we got home, Riley was passed out in the back seat so I think it’s safe to say all the running around wore her out!

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Tuesday morning, despite accidentally sleeping through my alarm, I managed to get up an run 3.25 miles on the treadmill. MUCH better than the two mile walk/jog I thought was going to happen going into it.

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I LOVE the feeling of a good run and taking pressure off myself during pregnancy has reignited my love of running. I’m so excited to see what I can do in July when I start postpartum running!

Catching Up and Gorgeous Weather

Running | February 22, 2017 | By

I don’t know where you all live, but here in Pittsburgh the weather is unusually gorgeous. Not just for February, but for any time of year. It’s not totally cloudy and it’s warm. Mid 60s warm! The birds are chirping and I’ve been able to take my workouts outside without ten thousands layers. Hallelujah!

Let me start off with a huge apology because I haven’t posted in over a week! Of course, I have reasons/excuses, but mainly I just didn’t know what to write. I felt like I was in a rut. But I’m back and ready to go (I hope).

My stomach has started to really be wonked out the past week/two weeks. I’m not sure if it’s just the joys of pregnancy or if my ulcerative colitis is finally rearing its ugly head again (I’ve been in delightful remission since Riley was born). It made working out or even the desire to workout unappealing. I’ve been tired, my stomach’s been in pain, and on the back end…. yeah. It makes me hesitate to go outside even though the weather is beckoning me.

Let’s start with Valentine’s Day.  Dave was away on business Monday-Wednesday night, so I only got one early bird treadmill run in on Tuesday morning. 3.25 miles at a respectable (for me right now) 10:30 pace. A treadmill dance party was also included because my playlist is just so ballin.

My next workout wasn’t until Friday when I took to the streets with Riley for a midday run. This was prompted by me NEEDING to get us out of the house. We popped out 4.5 stroller miles around the neighborhood and Roo fell asleep during the last half mile.

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Sunday, my stomach really wasn’t feeling a run- or I wasn’t confident in my stomach’s ability to handle a run- so instead Dave, Riley, and I took a nice walk around the hood for 3.1 miles. It was actually really nice to take a break and just talk with Dave without worrying about housework or meal prep or chasing Riley, who was chatting contently in the stroller.

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Yesterday, I took Riley to the park for a stroller run and some time on the playground. We ran 2.15 miles out and almost back, stopped at the playground and played for about 25 minutes, then ran the final .8 miles back to the car. It was our first time on the playground and it was the best part of my run. Winking smile She was so happy and giggly, the weather was in the 50s, and life was just good. So that was another winner of a run!

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How have your workouts been lately? And how’s your weather been? I know it’s wrong for this time of year, but sometimes being wrong feels so right!

What Pregnancy and the Postpartum Journey Have Taught Me About Running

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Running teaches us a lot about life. It teaches us about hard work and perseverance, chasing goals and pushing past our perceived limits. it becomes a coping mechanism when we’re weak, and a
“high” when we’re strong. We learn to be better people. Running helps us to lead bigger lives.

This is my second time on the pregnancy journey and with a one-year-old to look after, my life has changed drastically from where it was two years ago when I was running high mileage weeks and 8:00 minute paces. The things I’ve learned from running helped me a lot through pregnancy, including endurance during a water-broke-on-Pitocin-19hours-labor. It helped me bounce back after delivery and I was able to run a marathon at 6 months postpartum.

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Hatfield and McCoy Marathon

But I’m still learning. Running has taught me so much about life, but this journey has also taught me so much about my running. So without further ado…

What Pregnancy and the Postpartum Journey
Have Taught Me About Running

1- Priorities Change

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Back when it was just me and Dave, I ran a lot. Part of this is due to the extreme convenience of lunchtime runs at the office gym, but in the nice weather, I would almost always run outside after work. This meant getting home from my run after Dave got home, dinner being pushed back, and as a result, our whole night being on the later side. I’m a night owl by genetics, and I don’t trust running in the dark, so evening runs are my favorite and when I do my best. During peak marathon training, this could mean 8-10 miles after work, but to me it was worth it.

Now, I barely want to run at all when Dave gets home. Instead I want to make dinner and eat as a family, which includes Riley. Since she has a bedtime, pushing dinner back too far isn’t an option. And besides, I would rather be with my little family than on a treadmill. And I’ve learned that this is okay. I’ve started ditching my night owl ways for 5:30 mornings so I can run before anyone else is awake. When the weather is nice, I bring Riley with me and we go on stroller runs. She loves to go with me and is a great coach. If I slow down, she “yells” at me because she wants to go faster! Then, when Dave walks through the door, we can all relax as a family and not worry about rushing dinner and bedtime.

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2- Pace Isn’t Everything

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I’ve never been what you would call a fast runner. My race-official 5K PR is in the 24-minute range. This never stopped me from pushing myself hard to become faster and for farther distances. I love to feel the wind while sprinting. The rush from a fast, well-raced 5K can trump a marathon finish high. I love speed. (Perhaps this is how track got me hooked on running.) But speed isn’t easy when you’re exhausted or when you’re 35 weeks pregnant and 25 pounds heavier. You have to learn to let go of that deep seated desire to go faster. Instead, find a comfortable pace- one that doesn’t make you have to pee every half mile- and settle in, knowing that running no matter how fast or how slow is still an accomplishment. Hell, even walking can be good!

This also applies for getting back to running postpartum. I waited the full six weeks and when I got back on the treadmill. The first time I ran at a 12-minute pace with plenty of walk breaks. It was tough, but it was exhilarating. Speed is good and fun, but it’s not everything.

3- Sleep Wins (Listen to Your Body)

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Many people pride themselves on getting up and getting that workout done early, despite a late night or poor sleep. While I understand that this can be motivating and can even boost your energy levels, pregnancy or life with a newborn is not the time to skimp on sleep. Your body needs to rest and recover, your baby needs time to grow strong. Jeopardizing any of this for a few miles truly is not worth it. As I’ve mentioned before, the first few months of pregnancy see a serious dip in exercise for me. I am overwhelmingly tired, and I have learned to go with the flow. Running will always be there waiting, ready for me when I know that I am ready to return. I knew the first few months with Baby #2 that sleeping in the morning was much more important than a few half-assed miles. Now that I have more energy, I am able to get up and get that run done. It’s still hard to do, but I know that my body is ready and can handle it. But don’t ever jeopardize your health or your baby’s just for the pressure of saying “I got it done.”

4- How to Run for Myself

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I am SUPER competitive. Silently, (though she probably knows it) I have always been at secret competition with my best running friend. This was never a particularly healthy thing to do, but luckily I learned to let it go. When I was 5 months pregnant with Riley, I ran a local 5K with this friend and it was the first time that I didn’t even consider finishing at the same time. I simply wanted to finish in under 35 minutes. I ran a relatively easy sub-30. She placed in our age group. But it didn’t matter to me. I was proud of her for her speed and proud of myself for racing at all!

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Everyone is at different places in life. Don’t judge your runs based off someone else’s. There are so many variables. I’m not saying to never be competitive (I do think it makes you work harder), but running for myself and for my own happiness, health, and strength has lifted a huge pressure off my shoulders and made the sport so much more fun.

5- The Treadmill Isn’t That Bad

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I hate the treadmill. It’s boring as f**k. And it always feel so hard (probably because it’s boring). But you know what? It’s really not that bad. Actually, it’s hella convenient. Pregnant and postpartum women aren’t exactly known for having strong bladders, so when you have to pee frequently during a run, a treadmill is usually located relatively close to a bathroom. More privacy than behind a bush, less fragrant than a porta-john. Win-win. It’s also great for those early morning, late night, freezing cold, blazing hot, sauna humid, pouring rain, blizzard condition, or baby’s napping runs. I can say all these because I own a treadmill, but at least six of those can apply to gym treadmills, too. So let’s give a hand to the dreaded ole treadmill. We don’t appreciate you enough!

6- Why I Run

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Finally, my pregnancy and postpartum journeys have made me do some soul searching and rediscover why it is I run in the first place. It’s not because I made a deal with a friend in college. Although that started it, it’s not what kept me coming back day after day, year after year. Running is hard. There is no argument in that. It wears us down and sometimes tears us down and humbles us. But it offers so much more. It is my sanity. Raising a child is hard, time-consuming work and mom-guilt is a seriously real thing. Running helps me to alleviate my stress and recenter myself so I can be a better mom to Riley and #2. It also gives me the strength and energy to chase and carry my babies.

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But I don’t just run for them. I run for me. Because when you take away the watch that tells you your pace and distance, your splits and how much slower than you were two years ago, what’s left is the feeling of your legs in rhythm, your chest pounding (ignore that stabbing pain from your lungs), and the wind as you cut threw it. There is nothing so refreshing. It has built up my confidence and given me something to be proud of about myself. I have raced everything from the 55m to the marathon because I enjoy that feeling. I have seen so many cities and made friends. I am a runner for myself and for the opportunities it brings me.

Have you run through pregnancy or while raising kids? What has life taught you about running or exercise?