Monday, November 23, 2015

EWEB Run to Stay Warm + Weekend

Woohoo, my first postpartum race is in the books! I'll chat a bit about our weekend below, but first a bit of a race recap. 

Yesterday's EWEB Run to Stay Warm half is a local race in which all proceeds go to help families who have difficulties paying their water and electric bills in our community. EWEB is our local water and utility board and they put on the race that includes a 400m kids race, 5K, 10K and half marathon. The race follows the bike path along the river and is always pretty crisp given the time of year. 

Henry woke up around 6:40 a.m., so I nursed him and put him back down (usually he's awake for the day, but sometimes I can get him to go back to sleep for another hour or two). I then ate some pb + banana toast and had some tea while getting ready. An hour later I had a small bowl of cereal too. 

Finally, at 8:00 a.m., the little guy was still sleeping, so I pumped a bit and headed to the race while Pete stayed home with Henry. 

The beauty of a hometown race: leaving your house 30 minutes before the race starts and having an 8 minute commute. 

The race started at 9:00 a.m. and it was in the low 30s at that point. I was happy to have an earband and a thin pair of gloves on. And for once, I think I actually dressed almost perfectly for the weather. Often, I overdress for the cold.

Jessica and I planned to take this race pretty easy being that she ran the Portland Marathon in early October and this was my first race post pregnancy. It was honestly really nice to just chat and run without worrying about hitting specific splits. I don't even own a GPS watch anymore (my Garmin died a while back), but my cheapo Timex does the trick.

Jessica's husband and two daughters were out on the course cheering as her husband ran with the stroller to a few different points and my mom was out cheering for us at a few spots too. We were expecting to see Pete, but apparently the little guy took his sleep seriously and they just barely made it to the finish in time.

Our pace was sort of Goldilocks: not too slow, not too fast, but just right. And I was surprised how quickly the miles ticked away as we chatted.

At mile 12, I urged us to pick up the pace a bit as we headed into the finish. And thankfully, the finish line for this race is just after a short downhill, so it's a fun, fast way to end the race.

We finished in 2:00:15, which is about a 9:11 pace. It was my slowest half to date, but also completely enjoyable, which I can't say has always been the case. It was a good way to come back from pregnancy and adjusting to life as a new, sleep deprived mom. 

Side note: does anyone actually like getting race medals? I could really care less about them and wish races would spend their money elsewhere. 

Smiles = goal met

Thankfully, Jess will forever be the person who dragged me into running, forcing me to run long distance track with her in high school. 

It was 36 degrees at the end of the race, so we didn't stick around the finish line long. The coffee had already been polished off, so I grabbed some chocolate milk, a few orange slices, and part of a bagel w/ pb and headed home to shower. 

Our little fam

I didn't have a chance to stretch really at all as I had to shower and get ready for work at the running store, so that will be the goal over these next few days. 

As for our weekend, it was really nice to have company in town. While little ones make everything about 10x more complicated, it was a lot of fun. 

Friday night I prepared salad, pasta and bread for the gang. Saturday morning was breakfast out (pancakes + bacon = mmm), packet pickup, playing at the park in 30 degree temps, salted caramel lattes, naps for the wee ones, a walk through the UO campus and wood fired pizza. 

Besides the fact that I'm looking off into space, I really love this photo and the huge tree behind us. I'll just go ahead and say it again: fall is the best time of year. 

After getting just a taste of racing today, I want to look for another fun race to train for in early 2016. 

What was the highlight of your weekend? Favorite race distance?

Wednesday, November 18, 2015

Race Week is Here

The last eight weeks really have flown by (not to mention the last five months for that matter). It's funny how when you start training for something, eight or 12 weeks sounds like plenty of time, but before you know it, race day has arrived.

For the most part, I did a good job at getting in consistent runs each week and almost every week I did a long run, increasing my mileage by about a mile each week, starting at 5 miles for my long run and ending with a 10.5 mile run. By far, this was the most challenging training cycle in terms of fitting in my runs.

Being a new, nursing mom requires a bit of juggling with the timing of feeding, sleeping, and then of course having someone to watch the babe (whether that's dad, a family member or childcare). At least once a week, I did either a headlamp run after Henry was asleep and Pete was home, or the little guy accompanied me on a stroller run. You gotta do what ya gotta do!

For long runs, I would often nurse Henry around 6:00 or 6:30 a.m., eat some p.b. toast, quickly get dressed and run from the house in order to get back in time for the next feeding. Last weekend, I did a 7 miler for my last long run and honestly, my legs still get sore by mile 4, so it's clear that my running fitness is still slowly returning. But all in all, half marathon has been really good for me in that it forced me to get out on a run on my own a few days a week and clear my head a bit.

So, what are my plans for the next few days and race day?

As I mentioned before, I'm approaching this half marathon in a very laid-back fashion. My good friend Jessica is coming down from Portland to run it with me and we'll likely chat and laugh through the 13.1 miles. And I'll happily walk through water stations if we want.

Running at Cannon Beach in 2014

I did a short recovery run on Monday (30 min) and a 3.5 mile stroller run with Henry and friend Laurel Tuesday as well as a bit of strength training. I'm hoping to get in one more easy run Thursday or Friday (~3 miles w/ a few strides) and a few short yoga stretch sessions before Sunday.

I also want to stay hydrated (which is much more challenging these days) and be conscious of not eating too much fiber from Friday on.

And finally, I already have it in my mind to treat myself to a salted caramel latte from a local caffe afterward. Yum... #treatyoself

What's the next race or adventure on your horizon? Anyone running a turkey trot this year?

After EWEB Run to Stay Warm, I'm really hoping to get back to studio yoga once a week and head out for some more trail runs when I can. 

Sunday, November 15, 2015

Sippin' Cider

I hope you're having a great weekend! It's been a while since I did a coffee chat, but seeing as how I'm currently sipping on some warm Trader Joe's spiced cider, it's going to be a cider chat.

It's fall and I know many of you will agree that it's truly the most wonderful time of year. I love the warmth of summer and the festivity of Christmas time, but November is really where it's at. The air is getting crisp, the holiday bustle hasn't quite begun, we haven't all started gorging ourselves with goodies, the trees and leaves are gorgeous, layers, boots and flannel are acceptable. What's not to love about November?

Recycled from last fall

With the cooler temps and leaves everywhere, it's definitely feeling like fall. Because it feels like this time of year passes so quickly and all of a sudden Christmas is upon us. I thought it would be fun to do a quick post highlighting what I've been doing, wanting, reading, etc.

Doing - Hiking the Ridgeline Trail. In addition to fitting in running, it occurred to me I really wanted to get out on the Ridgeline before it starts pouring. It's one thing to run or hike in the rain by yourself, but it's another thing to bring along a baby (and because I figure he wouldn't be so fond of being drenched, I'm doing it now). I've been trying to hike at least once a week with Henry. On Friday, Lindsey and I hiked for over an hour and then grabbed coffee. So good for the soul.

Wanting - A massage and a pedicure. Yes, my toes are in desperate need of some pampering and my back and shoulders hurt on occasion, but more so, I'm pining for a few solo hours to simply zone out.

Reading - Summerland and Winter Street by Elin Hildebrand. These are quick reads and probably qualify as chic lit, but most importantly, they've inspired me to hole up with a book and just read after the little guy has gone to sleep. This week I also picked up a few cookbooks (Mark Bittman's VB6, Moosewood) and a few on baby feeding and more quick reads from Elin Hildebrand.

Eating - Gone are the days where I'm preparing anything that takes more than 30 min tops to make. Dinners lately have been rice & bean bowls, pasta w/ veggie marinara, tofu Thai stir fry and grilled sandwiches. And I've been eating far too many sweets because well, I'm hungry all the time and they always sound good.

Laughing - At this little guy who is keeping me on my toes. At five months and 16 lbs (I still owe you guys a few Henry updates), he really has outgrown this chair, but on occasion I set him in it so I can do something quickly. Gone are those days as he's now rolling over and trying to crawl over the back side.

Feel free to join in. What have you been doing, wanting, reading, wearing, etc?

Monday, November 2, 2015

Ramping Up the Running

I'm officially six weeks into half marathon training with only three to go! And you know what's  exciting? I finally hit 25 miles of running for the week recently for the first time in oh, at least seven months!

For whatever reason, 25 miles has always been that magic number where I consider myself really running seriously. Sure, 20 miles per week is good, but 25 just feels like I'm really having to put effort into making time for my runs. And that's even more true now.

Now days, in order to get my training in, it often means I'm running while Henry is sleeping, whether that's after his morning feeding before the manfriend leaves for work, or after bedtime requiring me to don a headlamp. I've been trying not to do too many stroller runs simply because they aren't that fun and I think they mess with my stride a bit, but sometimes they are necessary.

Last week's workouts:

Monday - Yoga with Adriene flow

Tuesday - 25 min strength workout while H napped + 3+ mile headlamp run

Wednesday - 4+ mile stroller run

Thursday - 15 min strength workout + Flyers speed workout (10 min warm up, drills, 25 min tempo run, 6 x 300m @ 5K pace, cool down) Holy moly. Anything that hurts this bad has gotta be making me stronger/faster, right? 

Friday - rest

Saturday - 3.75 miles easy around the neighborhood + 10 min yoga flow

Sunday - 9.6 mile long run (The legs were still feeling Thursday's workout!)

A few random thoughts: 

  • Yoga with Adriene has been a fun new way to fit in yoga at home. I love her super laid back, but positive attitude and the fact that I can pick from a ton of different kinds of classes (morning yoga, yoga for when you're sore, foundations, etc.). I'm also embracing that in this season of my life I'm not looking for "kick my ass" yoga like I might have before. At this point, just regaining some flexibility and challenging myself here and there is what I'm looking for in my yoga practice. I hope to get back to taking classes in the studio on occasion, but this works for now. 
  • My average pace these days (w/out the stroller) is around a 9:00 per mile, which before was more of my easy or warm up/cool down speed. I don't care so much, but I am curious how long it will take to regain my old pace. But at this point, I'm happy being the tortoise; slow and steady wins the race. 
  • Two weekends ago I joined in on a little trail run for my friend Laurel's birthday. It's been so long since I've run trails, but I was still surprised at just how sore those 4 miles left me. At least it was fun!

Dear trail running, I forgot how much I miss you. 

  • Breastfeeding + running more has left me hungry all.the.time. these days. Sometimes I just stare at the cupboard or fridge wondering what else I could possibly eat to fill me up that doesn't consist of nuts or nut butter. 

How was your weekend? What are your favorite go-to snacks or meals that keep you satiated for a while?

Thursday, October 29, 2015

When Your Time is Not Your Time

Most days around here are pretty good. Sure, there's a lot to do to care for a baby that needs you to do oh, pretty much everything for them, but after almost five months you settle into a good routine. The baby no longer feels "breakable" and you generally know why they're crying at any given time.

But some days, some days are hard. Some days the baby wakes up five times in the night leaving you foggy between the ears, staring off into space on the edge of your bed as you contemplate having to go in and pick him up, feed and change him again. Some days the baby cries on and off a lot of the day (for no apparent reason) and despises the idea of you putting him down for 30 seconds to (god forbid) pee, chug some water, or grab a snack. Some days putting the baby down for a nap takes longer than the nap itself. <--- emoji="" here="" i="" insert="" sobbing="">

Monday was like that. All I had wanted to accomplish (besides take care of Henry) was to respond to a few emails and do a bit of writing for a project while he napped. 

Around 4:30 p.m., when I hadn't accomplished those things and it looked like he would be skipping his final nap of the day, I took a deep breathe and said to myself "Your time is not your time." It's not as if this was a new revelation, but rather than stewing in the frustration of it, I decided to let it go, appreciate my little guy, and take him and the dog on a walk to enjoy a sunny fall evening. 

I guess the moral of the story here is, baby or not, sometimes we have expectations about how something is supposed to go and when it doesn't happen that way we throw a little pity party for ourselves. But the truth is, what you can't control you gotta just let go. 

So when I'm exhausted or frustrated I haven't accomplished something I was hoping to, I'm going to continue reminding myself how incredibly lucky I am to get to raise this little guy. And who knows, I may go back to full time work in a few months or a year, so I want to enjoy these moments and not worry about the little stuff so much. 

I also owe you guys a four month update on Henry before five months rolls around (which is next week). Yikes!

Tell me what's new with you? Are you doing anything fun for Halloween?

Even though it's sort of a kids holiday, I still enjoy the festivity of it all, the decorations, and an excuse to eat a little chocolate. And we've yet to get a photo of Henry with a pumpkin yet this fall, so I feel like I need to make that happen in the next few days. 

Tuesday, October 13, 2015

Fall Favorites

Ah, fall. I've decided you truly are the most wonderful time of the year. It's crazy to me that we're already halfway into October. Here are just a few of the things that I've been loving this fall.

All the plaid. Don't get me wrong, I've pretty much always loved plaid, but as fall rolls around each year, the love for it is reignited as I see everyone digging out the pattern. I bought this cute little button up for H at a recent baby sale and our family friends bought him a few adorable shirts from Old Navy recently. I only wish they had the flannel in my size.

Fall Harvest Salsa
I tend not to try too many new, fun items at Trader Joe's because often they are packaged dinners or cookies that don't make a lot of sense nutritionally, but when I saw this salsa I knew I had to try it. I especially like that it has pumpkin, apples and butternut squash in it as well as some peppers that add a bit of a kick! to it.

The Changing Leaves
Yep, another obvious favorite. Whether I'm running through them or just staring at the trees that are soon to drop their leaves, I can't help but smile.

Pumpkin Smoothies
Somewhere, I saw mention of this pumpkin gingerbread smoothie via Barre3. I put my own spin on it using a bit less molasses and nut butter and adding a little coconut milk I had and it was surprisingly tasty. 

I wouldn't be surprised if I come up with another fall favorites round up in the next few months. It's a pretty perfect time of year. 

What fall things are striking your fancy? Any ideas for cute baby costumes? I'm debating on whether or not to dress up Henry. 

Wednesday, October 7, 2015

Long Live the Bike Date

By now, you probably know about my love for bike dates. The manfriend and I have always loved a good bike adventure paired with good food and/or beverage and I'm so happy that hasn't been lost forever. Yes, there is hope for life after baby (with the help of a grandparent or babysitter)!

Last Friday, my mom came down to watch the little man while we headed out for what I believe was our second date since Henry was born. 

Downtown Eugene is only a few miles from our house, but just enough that it makes the journey exciting and I can poke fun at the manfriend, sing random songs, or say silly things. -->There's something about being on a bike that just makes me act like a kid. 

Our plan was to head to the Whiteaker neighborhood for beer and then move on to ice cream so we would have a few different stops rather than going out to dinner and coming right home.  So, we had a quick dinner at home and then hopped on the bikes and headed straight for Ninkasi. I had the Dawn of the Red and he had the Quantum Pale. 

As usual, we bumped into a few friends (Eugene is small like that), had some good conversation and tasty beer, and jumped back on the bikes with our sights set on Red Wagon Creamery

If you ever visit Eugene, you should definitely check out Red Wagon. They use high quality, locally sourced products and the flavors do not disappoint. After tasting their specials, I opted to go with the Pumpkin King, which just so happened to have Ninkasi's Pumpkin Sleigh'r Ale in it + a pumpkin butter swirl. Yuuuum.

Because the manfriend likes his beer (and I like him), we popped next door to the First National Taphouse so he could have one more beer before we hit the road for home. I sipped on water thanks to my lightweight status. ;)

And then we got back on the bikes and headed home to this little fellow. 

Thanks, mom for watching Henry so we could have a fun little date night! It was a good reminder that making dates (and plenty of laughter) a priority is important, even when raising a wee one. 

P.S. How funny does he look in these tight little jammies sitting in the bumbo chair? He is currently wearing 9 month PJ's because he's so long!

Friday, October 2, 2015

Week in Workouts + A Goal

Since the last trimester of my pregnancy, I've been itching to sign up for a race. You know, just to have something motivating to look forward to. But, it wasn't until a few weeks ago that I finally felt like my body finally caught up with my brain.

Over the last several weeks I have been slowly increasing my run intervals by doing "wogs" or walk/jogs. I started with :30 of each and slowly increased my running time until I was running 4 minutes at a time and then walking for :30. And finally, I felt strong enough to just GO for 10 minutes straight.

Shortly after that, I was able to knock out a few 3 mile runs without stopping, so I knew I was back in business!

hello, fall

Well, that was all the confidence booster I needed to put down the $$ and register. Okay, well that and the fact that our local EWEB Run to Stay Warm half marathon is affordable, proceeds go to a great cause, and it's in Eugene so I can realistically nurse Henry right before and after the race without too much hassle.

So, November 22, I have a little date with 13.1 miles of pavement!

And that goal, in case you hadn't guessed, is to simply finish the race and enjoy it. If I have to walk a bit, so be it. I definitely won't be setting a PR this year. --> Just looked this up -- the last time I PR'd the half was in 2010.

Last week's workouts:

Monday - 4 mile headlamp run (you do what you gotta do to fit in your miles)

Tuesday - 25 min yoga flow @ home

Wednesday - 3.5 mi a.m. run (before the manfriend left for work) + 20 min strength training

Thursday - 5 mi w/ speed work (.5 mile warm up, 4 x 800m @ 10K pace, 6 x 100m @ 5K pace + jogging 100m between each, 1 mile cool down). This was my second speed workout after having Henry and boy does it hurt, but I know it will help remind my legs how to run fast again.

Friday - 25 min full body strength + 1hr stroller walk

Saturday - 5.3 morning miles - First long run in a while; whoa hammies and quads.

Sunday - Rest

Thoughts on Training
I will say that training now is definitely an afterthought rather than the priority it used to be, and that's okay. However, the manfriend and I have agreed to try and make it work so that I can do the speed workouts every other Thursday. It requires him to meet me at the workout and do the baby swap, but it's nice to be able to do a group workout again and see my running buddies.

Also, this getting back into running shape thing really makes me wonder how in the world I ran on a trail for six hours in 80 and 90 degree temps. These days, a mile feels hard. Perspective.

Happy Friday, friends!

And good luck to Lisa who is running the Twin Cities Marathon tomorrow!

Sidenote: You probably heard about the shooting yesterday at Umpqua Community College in Roseburg, OR, just an hour or so south of Eugene. I can't even imagine what those families are going through. But I do know that now having a little one, it means something different. 

As I put Henry to sleep last night, I said a little prayer that he never experiences such violence. Yes, I want gun laws to change, but until then, I can only hope that putting good out into the world (in whatever capacity) makes some kind of difference.