Category Archives: Biking

Workouts and running through pregnancy – third trimester

The third trimester goes from week 28 to technically 42. Baby Jasper was born at exactly 38 weeks, so my third trimester ended early.

This could also be called the trimester it fell apart for me! I was really sick for almost two weeks and did zero activity. Here’s a rundown (in a bit of a different format from the first and second trimester updates) of how everything else felt…

Running
I ran once in week 28 and once in week 29, both five miles and both on the treadmill since I didn’t want to risk running outside and slipping or having to walk home in the cold if I had to stop. I was surprised at a relatively good pace (in the 8:40s) considering I wasn’t out of breath or pushing the pace!

I was sick for a couple weeks and it felt fabulous to sweat and run in week 31 (another five miler in the 8:40s).

31 weeks and four days

31 weeks and four days

Sadly I had to break up with running after this. I celebrated my 31st birthday the following week and aimed to run 3.1 miles (5km). After a mile it just did not feel right so I stopped and walked, shed a tear, and said farewell until I’m ready to get back into it post-baby.

Although I greatly missed running, I felt really good about my decision and wasn’t upset like I get when I can’t run due to injury.

What felt good?
Throughout the entire third trimester, I felt great strength training- this included both weights for the upper body and body weight exercises for the lower body.

37 weeks

37 weeks

(photo taken after a 40 minute strength workout…as you can see…the strength workouts kicked my butt!)

On average, I strength trained four times a week. Sometimes it was all I did and other times I did a short session after a bike. Some days it was part of a higher intensity circuit, which I’ve really started to love!

I also continued do A LOT of hip work, which I read is really important throughout pregnancy and afterwards.

What was different?
I still kept up my biking on the trainer two to three times a week, but at some point (that I don’t remember and didn’t write down) it got pretty uncomfortable to even lean onto my foam roller. I don’t think baby loved it either, as his bum would really pop out in my upper ribs! So, I basically rode sitting straight up and then it felt fine.

Some days I rode steady and some days I added in a few faster intervals. The maximum time I rode for was 45 minutes. 

What didn’t feel good?
Running stopped feeling good, so I stopped. If something didn’t feel good on any day, I didn’t do it.

I was hoping to walk a lot once I couldn’t run anymore. However, that nagging pelvic pain I’d feel when I ran reared its head when I walked, too. So I never walked for exercise, and would just go when it was warm enough (and not slippery) to take Harold.

Lastly, I still followed along with some of the Tracy Anderson prenatal DVDs (there’s a DVD for each month of pregnancy and they’re split into arms and legs/hips/butt). I loved her arm workouts but towards the end the lower bodywork hurt my hips so I stopped that portion. 

Everything else
I kept up with prenatal yoga at least once a week, but some weeks I’d practice up to three times. I mostly used a Shiva Rea DVD. I remember when I followed it in the first trimester it was a breeze. By the end, I got quite fatigued doing it!

I cross-country skied nice and easy twice at the beginning of the trimester. It felt awesome since it’s so easy on the joints and it’s easy enough to go slowly! After that, I felt too off-balance to do it anymore.

Overall
I was happy to workout basically right up until the end of pregnancy. (I took a few days off beforehand to conserve energy for labour.)

Would’ve I liked to have ran more and for longer? Most definitely. Did I miss tough sessions and really sweating? Heck yes. Did I fall into the comparison trap sometimes and see what other pregnant women were doing/running/etc. on social media? Of course.

Do I regret how I played it? Not in the least. I wrote a post about learning to listen to my body, and I really think I did a good job of listening to it, and honouring it, throughout these 10 months.

I also loved the comments I received from moms on other posts who were so encouraging about running through pregnancy and afterwards. The blogging community really is a great one!

Thanks for following along. I hope to write a few posts about post-partum fitness once I’m there. I’m going to just go on easy walks and do some easy physio exercises to help prepare my body until I’m cleared for exercise (hopefully) at my six week follow-up appointment.

Any questions? Let me know in the comments or send me an email!

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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!

1527

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.

AnniversaryRace

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.

IMG_7846

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!

Floe Lake

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!

IMG_1267

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!

KT Tape review & giveaway

At this time last year I was desperate for healthy knees. I had two big races on the horizon and didn’t want injury to get in the way.

I took the usual routes and lowered my mileage, went to physio, did my prescribed exercises, and rolled my legs like crazy. Everything helped a little, but nothing helped a lot.

If you read my blog last year of followed my Instagram (thechangeofpace), you would also notice the bright tape I wore for all my races and any long rides or runs.

IMCdARun27

IM Coeur d’Alene 2013

Kelly, dealing my frustration, picked up a few rolls of KT tape for me to try. I was instantly a fan.

KT tape is an elastic sports and fitness tape designed for muscle, ligament and tendon pain relief and support. It creates neuromuscular feedback that inhibits or facilitates stronger firing of muscles and tendons (from their website).

In simple language, it provided my knees and quads the additional support they required and took pressure off my kneecaps.

The good

It really does help. I fell in love with the tape instantly. Sometimes I doubted its ability and thought it might be placebo effect. But each time I tried to go long without it, my knees hurt. Each time I used it, I felt great.

You can wear KT tape for virtually any activity. I wore KT tape to bike, run, and even swim. I wore it for a half iron distance triathlon and two Ironmans. The tape stayed on throughout the full 12+ hours!

IM Canada Whistler 2013

IM Canada Whistler 2013

It’s user-friendly. The KT tape website has instructional videos for nearly every body part. (Side note- don’t know why I haven’t thought of it before…I’m going to try it on my hamstring!)

It also comes in handy strips and easily tears for application. You can put it on anywhere. (I actually put extra KT tape in my transition bags in case I’d need to reapply during my races, as I knew it would be easy to do.)

Comfort. I wore the tape literally hundreds of times over the summer. It never irritated me, and most of the time I forgot I was even wearing it. KT tape flexes with your movements.

Pops of colour. Call it superficial, but I love the colour selection of KT tape. It’s bright and reflective. I made it my mission to match my KT tape to my outfits!

AbbySummer4

The bad

Tan lines. Depending on where you need the tape, it can make for bad tan lines!

IMG_5600

Cost. KT tape can be expensive if you’re using it often and for multiple body parts. But, it is on par with other tapes out there. To me, you can’t put a price on running/biking/insert your activity here pain free!

Adhesion. The website says you can wear it for up to five days but I found I couldn’t wear it for more than two. With the amount of sweat and water I poured into the strips though, I couldn’t have asked for more.

Truthfully, there aren’t really any negatives to KT tape. I am convinced I wouldn’t have made it to the start line of both races, nonetheless achieved a personal best in one.

Since I started using it, I’ve recommended it to numerous people! If you have a niggle that’s causing you problems, or if you’re trying to recover from an injury and still train, KT tape may be the answer.

Giveaway time

One reader will receive a roll of KT tape to test out! Here’s what you can do to win…

USE THE RAFFLECOPTER LINK to enter! : http://www.rafflecopter.com/rafl/display/85a9af0/

Mandatory: Visit the KT tape website and leave me a comment about what colour you’d like or what body part you’d use it on.

Optional extra entries:

The giveaway ends Sunday, April 27 at midnight. Open to residents of the US and Canada.

*KT Tape offered to send me a roll to try. Since I know I love the product, they offered to give one to a reader! I wasn’t compensated for the review; I just truly believe in the product.

The walk of shame

You know what I’m talking about…
…things didn’t go as planned.
…maybe you feel sheepish or a bit embarrassed.
…sometimes you even have to swallow back tears.

I’m not talking about that walk of shame.

I’m talking about when you go for a run only to find out you’re hurt or sick and have to walk the rest of the way home.

I’m no stranger to it: I’ve walked for long distances, I’ve called family to pick me up, I’ve walked in the middle of winter when my clothes are soaked with sweat and not nearly warm enough (one of the main reasons I always try to run with a phone now!).

It’s happened to Kelly, and I’ve run home to get a vehicle, we’ve called family, and he’s even hopped in a passing cab.

With the exception of one time (gut-wrenching cramps), it’s always due to injury-related pain that stops me from going any further.

I’ve had the walk of shame a few times in as many weeks.

Luckily I haven’t made it more than a block from home, so it’s been a short walk. That doesn’t mean tears of frustration don’t threaten to bubble out. Unluckily, it means I wasn’t able to go more than a block without intense pain.

After my IMS treatment, pain moved into the upper calf muscles of my left side. It was so sharp and severe I had to stop immediately. It felt like something was going to explode.

I talked to a few people about it. One physiotherapist thought it was just really tight calf muscles, so he gave me stretches to work it out. (Unfortunately, those gave me knee pain!) Another person thought it was a bursa sac bothering me.

I stretched the best I could, tried to roll it (so painful), used tiger balm, and wore compression socks.

IMG_4399

I’m not out of the woods yet, but it’s been feeling much better. I ran on the treadmill last weekend so I wouldn’t have to walk home dejected (again) if the pain came back. It was a success! I ran again on Wednesday on the treadmill, incorporating six miles into a circuit.

On Saturday I rode long (and at better watts than ever before for 80km/50 miles). I’ve been itching for a good run in our spring weather, so Kelly and I planned a Sunday morning date.  We went for about an hour and 20 minutes and my calf felt awesome!

My left hip and hamstring got pretty tight, but I’m going to baby them for a few days and stick to strength and cycling.

I miss doing all my workouts in the fresh air!

Kelly’s gone mountain biking the last two weekends, but I’m not brave enough to go in freezing temps. Hopefully soon.

Have you experienced the walk of shame? (Either definition…no judgment!)
Tell me about it! 

Better together – working out with a significant other

In honour of Valentine’s Day, I thought I’d write about the benefits of working out with a significant other. It’s no secret that Kelly and I share a common love of activity. We often participate in the same events, and even if we don’t race them together we train together for many.

CalgaryHugs

After our first triathlon, Calgary 70.3

I absolutely love training with Kelly and wouldn’t want it any other way! Here are my top five reasons why it’s better together.

Quality time
Kelly and I don’t have frequent date nights, or so I thought until I realized every bike ride we go on and run or ski we do together is our version of date night. We may wear spandex instead of stylish clothes and burn calories instead of eat them but the essence of a date is the same: spend time together without interruption and have some fun.

We’ve gone on some amazing ‘dates’, from seeing bears while biking to gorgeous sunrises on the trails to SUPing in Hawaii.

EdmontonTrails

I am so thankful I get to share the experiences with Kelly.

In it together
We battle the bad and praise the positive…together. Have you run in shin deep snow, biked in a thunderstorm, or scaled up a sizeable mountain? I have both alone and with Kelly. Believe me when I tell you it’s a lot better when you’re with someone. Frustration turns to laughing and it just doesn’t seem as tough or intimidating.

FreezingRun

Understanding
A six-hour bike ride, a triple brick, waking up early on vacation to beat the heat. Some people just can’t comprehend why we willingly do this. If your significant other does it, too, then at least someone close to you understands (and will often do it with you)!

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

When I suffer from injury, I can be extra sensitive (or grumpy depending on who you ask!). Since Kelly’s been there, he understands where I’m coming from and gives me a little leeway.

Protection
There’s this one farm dog on my favourite bike route. He despises me, and I swear he knows I’m coming from miles away. He chases me, barking, with his ferocious teeth bared. If Kelly’s with me, he hangs behind to stay between the dog and me.

I can also be a timid trail runner whether it’s in the city (scared of lurkers) or in the mountains (wild animals). When I’m with Kelly, I generally forget about worrying and just enjoy the run!

Lastly, I’m not the best with mechanical issues on my bike. Actually, I downright suck at fixing a flat tire. If I’m alone, chances are it’ll take me up to an hour and sometimes even then I need to call for a ride because I’ve gone through my supply of spare tubes or CO2 cartridges. If I get a flat with Kelly, he can change it in what feels like seconds!

Motivation
Call it competitive drive, but it keeps me motivated to work out and race with Kelly! Whether it’s running or biking further than planned, going faster, or just being silly and trying to plank for longer, I am motivated to do better and be better.

amCdA

“I’ll tell you one thing, it’s always better when we’re together.” – jack johnson

With all that being said, many people use running as their ‘me’ time. I think that’s wonderful and sometimes nothing cures a grumpy or introspective mood better than a solo run or ride!

Also, it doesn’t have to be a significant other. It can be better together with friends or training partners, too!

Tell me: do you think it’s better together or better alone?

What are your favourite activities to do with someone and by yourself?

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!

Training lately…

It’s been nearly five months since Ironman Canada. I have no 14 in 2014 race goals, no ‘A’ race on my agenda, and no races even on my calendar.

I’ve been throwing around tons of ideas but have yet to land on anything concrete.

Don’t let that fool you. I’ve been a training machine! I’m switching things up and loving it.

After my six weeks of strength and speed, I’ve made an effort to keep up some faster/anaerobic training. I use the bike for speed work. I try intervals (a variety of times/distances) and ladder workouts.

I am still thoroughly enjoying strength and although speed workouts are crazy hard for me, I feel really good once I’m finished them.

I’ve been on the bike trainer and running to keep up my endurance. I love to run outside and used to run in any condition, including ice. Not this year. I don’t want to risk falling and hurting myself! So I’ve spent a lot of time on the treadmill and actually don’t mind it. It takes me about 30 minutes to get into it, but then I can go for a while. (On Saturday I ran 13.1 miles for #megsmiles, and so did Kelly!)

treadmill

I focused on endurance and endurance alone for a long time. It’s my true running love, but I know I need to diversify.

I’ve still been doing circuit work with explosive and fast movements. Sometimes I incorporate treadmill speed and other times I stick to more of a HIIT session.

One of my newest things is barre in our bonus room! Kelly rearranged that room and moved our computer into it. Turns out wainscoting is a perfect barre replica! I just find a video on YouTube and have my very own class.

barre

After last Saturday’s race, I discovered a few more things I need to work on. My hamstrings were so sore, like bordering injury. I think it was a result of faster running, running outside (lots of treadmill lately), and snow underfoot. Although the conditions were good, even running fast on tightly packed snow can be tough.

My hips, and in particular my left hip, still need a lot of TLC. I do physio exercises a couple days a week but could bump that number up.

I also realize I need to work on racing and not simply running! After doing major endurance events the past couple years without time or placement goals, I’m just not that competitive. If I want to run shorter races, I need to get that edge back!

So, that’s what I’ve been up to lately!

What’s your cross-training of choice now? Does it change with the season?

I really miss cross country skiing but the conditions just haven’t been very good this year.