Category Archives: Cross training

Getting high – my first run back and post-partum exercise

The sun was shining. The day was warm. I was beyond excited. It was the day I got to lace up my runners and go for a run!

It was a whopping 13 weeks and three days since my last run (but who’s counting?!).

That is by far the longest I’ve ever gone without running. (The previous record was about six weeks in the summer of ’02, but that’s another story for another day!)

During pregnancy, I missed running but knew it was best not to when it started cause me pain. Post-pregnancy, I was shocked that I didn’t have the desire to run right away.

I think I knew my body had just been through an amazing experience and needed time to recover from it.

I started to get the itch around four weeks.

I started walking about two weeks post-partum and went on a couple longer walks and a hike at three weeks (the hike didn’t feel great). I started some hip exercises and did a lot of kegels.

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At almost six weeks I started body weight exercises and went on another couple hikes.

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I also carried Jasper on a hike for the first time. Let me tell you, climbing a mountain with him strapped to my front was tough!

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On his seven-week birthday I decided it was the day to try out a run. I was a little nervous. Would I pee my pants? Would it hurt? Would I even be able to run?

I tentatively took my first steps and was instantly happy. I was running again! I did a quick assessment and realized nothing hurt. My insides weren’t jiggly (another concern I had), my hips felt good, and my pelvic floor felt ok. I nursed and then pumped before I left the house, so thankfully my chest didn’t hurt either!

I planned to run/walk, but I felt so good I kept it at a slow run the entire time. I was happy that I felt strong cardio-wise, but I kept the pace really easy so maybe that’s why? I went about 5km but felt like I could go forever! It was farther than I planned, but I don’t think it was too much.

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#runhappy

By time I was finished, I had such a runner’s high!!!

I’m not sure when I’ll run again, but I want to try and really ease into it. I’m writing this the next day and my left hamstring and groin are a little tight. I better watch that. I’m also recommitted to doing a lot of strength and taking care of my weak muscles to prevent injury.

I’m using exercises from Deb’s (Deb Runs) blog post, Exercises to keep me in top running form. I’m also following professional runner Stephanie Bruce’s advice on rebuilding the core.

I know it’s going to be a long road to get back to where I was pre-pregnancy. But, I have no race plans and just want to run again for the love of running. I can’t wait to get out there pushing Jasper in a running stroller! Until I start exercising consistently, I plan to walk a ton. I hope to slowly incorporate some HIIT training and get back on my bike, too. And I can’t wait to use the TRX I got for Christmas!

What’s the longest you’ve gone without running?

If you have kids, how long did you take off before running again?

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Running {and workouts} through pregnancy – second trimester

I realize I should kind of write these as time goes by instead of trying to remember after that fact (I’m just past 28 weeks/seven months). I did write some crib notes throughout the trimester, and I tracked all my workouts, so at least I can remember some of it properly!

The second trimester is from week 14-27. Man, does the beginning of that seem like a long time ago!

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I’ll keep the same outline as I did for the first trimester update. I’ll talk about running first and then the other exercise I kept up.

Of note, my longest run was 1:10 with most around 45 minutes. I haven’t used my Garmin since February, and that was just for holidays runs. Essentially I haven’t used it since Ironman Canada in summer 2013!

So needless to say I didn’t know my pace for a long time, which I think is the best way to run: by feel. On my treadmill runs as of late, I’ve definitely slowed but by less than expected.

What felt good?
In all honesty, not a lot felt good about running after week 19! I ran twice a week until week 17 and then dropped down to once a week, with some weeks of no running.

In week 17 I ran a 12km/7.5 mile trail race. I took it easy and barely breathed heavy. In retrospect, I’m sure I could’ve run a lot harder. But I wanted to play it safe with both the tripping factor and pushing it. I think my biggest success was that I didn’t stop to pee during the race 🙂 Although I didn’t run hard, I was still pretty fatigued the next day.

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The race fell on our anniversary, and I hope we can make it an annual event!

The other thing that fits the ‘feeling good’ category is my Gabrialla support belt. I got it in week 21 and noticed a huge difference in comfort of my belly. It completely supported it and just felt right. I would highly recommend it to anyone who is running while pregnant. (Of note, I got a sized up and it fits really well.)

What was different?
There isn’t really anything new to add to this column. I still pee a lot more than normal, am a lot thirstier during and after, and need to eat before a morning run. (My record high is six pees on a six mile treadmill run!)

What didn’t feel good?
Week 19 was where running started to fall apart for me. I would get really bad hip flexor/groin pain at the end of a long run. It would last for the remainder of the day. Kelly and I went for a long trail run during week 19 and I had to walk the last km, and then I couldn’t walk for the rest of the day without serious limping.

Two weeks later I successfully ran but afterwards had bad back pain, and the next day my groin/pelvic area was extremely sore.

This is kind of how it’s been going ever since. I should really stop running but the stubborn part of me doesn’t want to yet.

During week 22 I knew I couldn’t run after a couple minutes and then the next week felt good. During week 24 I had to stop after 10 minutes because of serious back cramps (something totally new to me).

Week 25 was another upswing. I ran two days in a row, which I haven’t done in a really long time! They were both on the trails, so I went nice and slow. Surprisingly, I felt a lot better on the uphill than the down!

Since then running has been touch and go. I’ve limited my max run distance to 5 miles/8 km and that seems to be a sweet spot. Nothing hurts while running, and afterwards, at that distance, my groin/pelvic area doesn’t hurt.

I *may* try running once a week until it acts up again. At that point, I think I should force myself to stop.

I don’t want to continue running to stay in shape or to bounce back into running faster afterwards. I just honestly love it and don’t want to go so long without it (the remainder of pregnancy and then however long afterwards). But, if it’ll do me more harm than good I need to stop.

Everything else
I biked a lot this trimester, all on my trainer. I don’t remember exactly when, but we propped a foam roller on my handlebars when it started to get uncomfortable to lean over.

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Awesome solution, and essentially free since we already had it!

I ride a steady pace, and I still do some interval workouts too. It feels good to breathe a little! My longest bike ride has been 45 minutes this trimester. And that’s more than enough!

Other than that, I’m keeping up my strength training, incorporating some strength/cardio circuits into my routine each week, and doing Tracey Andersen prenatal DVDs every couple of weeks.

I got in a few awesome hikes, mostly at the beginning of the trimester. One weekend we hiked over 20 miles but that was absolutely all I did that weekend!

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On the last true hike we went on, I really tired on the way down and despite wearing my support belt, my stomach was very heavy.

I continued with yoga once a week, and in the last few weeks I practiced 2-3 times a week.

I’ve also been lucky enough to cross-country ski a few times!

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Twice was on holidays and then I went once here at home. Unfortunately I started to feel the same pain as when I run, so I cut my last ski short.

Overall I’ve been keeping up my weekly workout sessions (five or six days a week) but they are much shorter and with a lot less intensity.

I can tell you that in the third trimester this will definitely decrease as time goes on. I’m starting to feel more fatigued (not sleeping well…at all). And I’m really starting to notice the extra weight. I don’t really know what I weighed when I got pregnant, but I would estimate I’ve gained 20 pounds already. That feels like quite a difference with everything except biking and yoga!

 If you worked out/ran through pregnancy, feel free to chime in with tips, suggestions, how you felt, etc! 

If you have any questions, let me know!

Rest and relaxation before the holidays

A couple weeks ago we took time off work and headed to the mountains for 10 wonderful days.

I wanted to relax and sleep as much as possible while getting in some good workouts, and Kelly wanted to have fun in the mountains!

We both got our wishes. We woke up on our first morning to tons of snow so busted out the cross-country skis for the first time this season.

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Kelly leashed Harold to his belt and we had a blast skiing for an hour and a half, and laughing at Harold running like a puppy through the snow!

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Sadly, all the snow melted by that night.

The bright side was that the trails were clear so I got in nice runs on the trails the next two days (also the first time I’ve ran two days in a row in months)!

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Meanwhile, Kelly went deeper into the mountains and got to enjoy non-pregnancy approved activities like downhill skiing and ice-climbing.

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It ended up snowing again, so we got out to xc ski one more time. It was a bluebird sky, temperatures were mild, and it felt so good to exercise in the fresh, mountain air.

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The R&R was just what I needed before the busy holiday season!

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reading material

What’s your favourite winter activity?

I must admit I was envious the days Kelly went downhill skiing, but ice climbing scares me 🙂 Cross country skiing definitely tops my list.

Last hike of the season

We headed to the mountains this weekend for one last hurrah before the snow hit! (At least that’s what Kelly desperately hoped since he cannot wait for winter activities!)

My plan was to wake up and trail run on Saturday and then go for a hike. Good thing Kelly kindly reminded me I should choose either the hike or the run since I probably couldn’t do both. Otherwise I’m sure he would have had to carry me down the mountain 🙂

I chose to hike since it’s been a while since we went on a good one. We headed back to Mount Swansea, a hike we did at the very beginning of the year. It’s a perfect shoulder season hike and not nearly as challenging as some we tackled this summer but enough for me to count as a workout.

There was a crazy thick fog that morning, so some of the views were pretty cool since you could only see above a certain level.

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the abyss

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At the top, the wind was howling. The storms were blowing in.

The hike certainly wasn’t easy for me. I really depended on my hiking poles for the steep sections, and I took quite a few breaks! Since getting pregnant, I huff and puff a lot more when hiking than running.

But it felt SO good to be outside and moving for a substantial amount of time! (I forgot to mention in my last post that only my a handful of my runs and bikes have been over an hour.)

We woke up this morning to a snowy and cold forecast. I think the snow is here to stay!

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What did you do this weekend?

Weekend camping in Radium

We spent the past two weekends camping, hiking, and just enjoying the mountains. It certainly is hard to come home when you’re surrounded by this beauty!

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We’ve been going to Radium Hot Springs, a small village on the edge of Kootenay National Park in the Rocky Mountains in BC. The weather is typically a lot warmer there than our beloved Jasper, so it has been nice to hike in shorts!

Two other things stand out: the varied flora and fauna, and all the bighorn sheep! I think they’re Radium’s unofficial mascot, and they can be seen nearly everywhere from the trails to walking the streets.

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On the first weekend, we went on two very different hikes. One was a typical mountain hike that started at Sinclair Creek and went up and up! We ended at the hot springs but had Harold with us so didn’t go for a dip…this time!

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The second day we did a short hike around the hoodoos near Fairmont. I was terrified of going close to the edge, but Kelly had no fear!

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This past weekend we went on two more gorgeous hikes. On Saturday we went to Mount Swansea, which is a downhill biker’s dream! They also have hiking trails. We ended up taking the long way up, but I’m glad we did as it was longer (got my sweat going) and had various lookouts!

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We saw a bunch of hang/paragliders, and at the top we saw the launch pad. My stomach felt weak watching them floating in the air!

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The next day Kelly went for a trail run in the morning; yup, my heart was broken! Then we went on a walk close to town along the creek. Harold was pretty tired, so it was nice to walk mostly flat ground. And my quads were trashed from coming back down the mountain!

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The bears are out in full force. On our drive on Friday we saw a bear rubbing his scent on a tree, and one crossed the road right in front of us! They had a lot of hikes temporarily closed while the bears are predominately in the valley bottoms.

I can’t wait to get back out to the mountains and explore more of the area! I know Harold’s excited, too!

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Are you afraid of heights?

Yoga for runners, part II

It has been almost a year since I last posted my favourite yoga poses. Since then I’ve attended more classes, tried more DVDs, and I still use my books and the Yoga Studio app.

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However, some of my original favourite poses still feel the best to me.

I am a workout at home gal, but I simply love the soothing energy the instructor provides at class, from her cues to her voice.

The most beneficial cue to me is when she reminds us to breath into a stretch. After she says it and I focus on doing so, it’s a lot more comfortable.

Here are five poses that I love now.

  • Fire log pose
    My hips are a constant hassle, so I try to take care of them focussing on exercises to help them out. In turn, they need some work to stretch them. This pose opens my hips up so nicely. It also helps to stretch the groin.
  • Wide-legged forward bend
    I’ve been battling super tight hamstrings, my left in particular. This pose feels awesome on them, and if I shift slightly it reaches even deeper or focuses on one side.
  • Warrior two
    I like this pose for the sole reason that it makes me feel fierce and strong, which I suppose is why it’s called warrior and named after an incarnation of Shiva, a fierce warrior!
  • Runner’s lunge, toes down
    from the athlete's pocket guide to yoga by sage rountree

    from the athlete’s pocket guide to yoga by sage rountree

    The first time I did this, the stretch was too intense in my tibialis anterior muscles (beside the shin). I worked into it, and now it’s not painful but man is it good!

  • Thread the needle
    This feels so good on my shoulders during a lunch hour class when I’ve been working at a desk all morning.

I am still very much a beginner at yoga but hope to continue practicing and learn more poses.

What’s your favourite pose? 

How often do you practice?

Thanks for reading! I scheduled a few posts to go up while I’m cruising the California coast with my family. I don’t expect to be online much, so I won’t be commenting on blogs or writing trip updates on here. However, I hope to post to my Instagram feed (thechangeofpace) when the mood strikes!