This Runner's Trials
31Jan/1330

To the beginner

Posted by runnerstrials

It’s OK if you think you’re awesome because you can finally run a mile without stopping. It’s OK if you want to let everyone know that you’re training for your first race. It’s OK to feel like a child on Christmas morning every time you reach a new PDR.

It’s also OK if you don’t know what PDR stands for. You can tune out lingo like negative split, fartlek, tempo, interval, and compression. At least for the time being.

While you’re at it, you can ignore me, all the other running bloggers out there, and every more experienced runner you come across. Don’t let our negativity influence how you feel about running. I know what you’re thinking when we say we have a crummy race. How can any race you finish be “bad”?

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Don’t worry about your time, and resist the urge to wear Garmin or a watch. There’s no need to know your pace right now.

Don’t overthink fueling, cross-training, or clothing options.

  • Training for a 5k or 10k? Water will likely be plenty. For longer distances, try anything. For my first half marathon, I ate saltines and licorice jelly beans.
  • You don’t have to cross-train, but can if you want to. Taking rest days and upping your mileage slowly are what matters.
  • Wear whatever is in your closet. You can run in cotton t’s and shorts. Will you chafe? Probably. But there’s also a good chance you’d chafe in fancy running clothes, too. Like all things with running, it’s a matter of trial and error.

It’s also OK if you don’t like running. It isn’t for everyone.

Finally, don’t be scared of us. Never feel embarrassed by your times or how few races you’ve run. We were you once. There was a time when we couldn’t run a mile either. We know how you feel, and we want you to to fall in love with our sport, too. Ask us questions.

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I know we may seem like we know it all and you may wish you were in our shoes. But in reality, we’re jealous of you. The honeymoon period goes by in the blink of an eye, so enjoy it while it lasts. Don’t make running complicated. There will be plenty of time for that. Just put on a good pair of running shoes and hit the road.

Happy running.

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29Jan/1310

Running: In sickness and in health?

Posted by runnerstrials

I used to follow the “above the neck” rule when deciding if I should run when I’m sick (though I still don’t understand if my throat is above or below my neck…). But I pretty much always ran when I was under the weather. This behavior didn’t speak to how hardcore or foolish I was. Rather, it showed that I rarely got sick. In fact, I only remember being sick sick twice since college, and that was sadly a long time ago.

At least that’s how things used to be. I’m not sure if it’s due to having super-close contact with a 20lb. germ magnet, breastfeeding said toddler, or the virulent illnesses going around this winter, but in the past two months, I have been sick more days than I’ve been well. First it was the never-ending bronchitis, then Wyatt shared his norovirus, and now I have a cold.

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I’m actually lying. This germophobe knows why she keeps getting sick and she shouldn’t be surprised.

I don’t get enough sleep. The reasons for this are twofold: my son likes waking up when the clock reads 4: something and I can’t ever seem to get in bed before 10pm. The sad thing? These 6 uninterrupted hours seem like they should be plenty because after last year, my perception of a good night’s sleep changed. But I think I need more than 6 hours per night. Especially because I already had a sleep debt, which isn’t completely the baby’s fault. I chose running over sleep on many occasions, and while that felt like a wise decision at the time, a part of me always knew it was reckless and unhealthy. Well, it finally caught up to me and now my immune system sucks.

I need to fix this. I’m sick of being sick and I’m tired of being tired.

I could keep willing Wyatt to sleep in until 7, but that hasn’t worked for the past 14 months so I doubt it’ll magically be effective now. So, I need to do the right thing. I need abide by that whole “listen to your body” rule.

I need to stop running and start sleeping instead.

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Well, until my cold is 100% gone at least. And I vow to replace running with sleep at the first sign of any future scratchy throats, stuffy noses, or dry coughs. I will no longer run when I’m sick.

This new leaf better be my path to good health. I really don’t want to pop garlic pills or take shots of apple cider vinegar. Ick.

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25Jan/134

Fitting in exercise as a new mom

Posted by runnerstrials

Disclosure: This post from my archives is being re-run as part of BlogHer's Smart Mom's Guide to Being Busy editorial series, brought to you by Rice Krispies and BlogHer.

When Wyatt was a month old, I went to the gym. As I stepped off the treadmill, a fellow gym-goer approached me and we had a brief conversation.

Woman: "Didn't you just have a baby?!"

Me: "Yup, he's a month old now."

Woman: "And you're here?! Must be nice to have a baby who's sleeping so well."

Me: "Umm, it must be. But I wouldn't know…"

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The truth is, until this past weekend (knock on wood, knock on wood, knock on wood), I didn't have a baby who slept well at all. Never mind not sleeping through the night, he resisted going to bed for hours and regularly woke up 3, 4, or 5 times during the night.

Why did the lady at the gym assume Wyatt was sleeping so well? Because what kind of sleep-deprived new mom would spend whatever "free" time she found exercising instead of sleeping?

One who likes to workout, that's who. And one who knows that she needs to exercise for her sanity.

Still, people have asked me how I have the energy and time to train for a half marathon. (Yes, I am a stay-at-home mom, but SAHMs don't exactly have all the free time in the world. I've also been freelancing for 25-30 hours per week since February.)

I don't have a magic answer. I simply love to run. So, I find ways to fit it in.

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This means I often choose running over sleep (which isn't exactly smart). I figure if I'm going to be sleep deprived anyway, I may as well get some exercise, too (which is not exactly smart either, but it is what it is).

Here's how I fit in workouts (of course, I don't do all of this in one day):

  • Work out first thing in the morning. Wyatt (usually) wakes up between 5-6 a.m. to eat and then (usually) falls back to sleep for another 1.5 hours. After he eats, I burp him, put him in his crib, go pump (I've been blessed with a good supply so pumping before exercise is a must, even after a feeding), inhale coffee and a banana, and head out the door to run. I leave the freshly pumped bottle out so Jeff can feed Wyatt if he wakes up before I get home (it doesn't matter how long he sleeps for, he always wants to eat as soon as he wakes up). If I'm lucky, I can run, shower, and eat breakfast before baby is up for good.
  • Get moving with baby. I run with the jogging stroller about once a week. I'm too much of a wimp to do it any more often than that. We also head out for a walk almost every day.
  • Exercise while baby sleeps. Wyatt rarely naps for more than 30 minutes in his crib at once. That's not always enough time for an entire workout, but lifting weights or doing intervals for a few minutes beats no exercise at all.
  • Be active while baby plays. I'm trying to encourage more independent play. I realized a couple months ago that maybe it's not the best idea for me to always be in baby's face trying to entertain him. I lay Wyatt on his playmat, crank up the Wiggles tunes, and I grab my free weights while he grabs his toys.

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Honestly, the real reason I'm doing so well in the exercise department is because I'm really slacking off in other areas. After caring for Wyatt, my next priority is taking care of myself, which means running regularly. I'll let the laundry sit in the dryer or forget about cooking dinner yet again, if it means I can use that time being active. My body may be in pretty good shape, but I can't say the same for my house.

It also helps that my husband and I are on the same page. Exercise is just as much a priority for him as it is for me, so he has no qualms about waking up early and pitching in (he works out after work).

I'm always curious to hear how other new moms make time for physical activity. I still haven't taken Wyatt to the Y's childcare yet. It's on my to-do list!

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