Weeks fly by

Now that I’m not working, I don’t keep track of time in Monday-Friday workweek and weekends format, counting down days until the next holiday.

I now look at my life in terms of weeks. Jasper is 14 weeks old, I’ve been back running for seven weeks now, another week until we are back in the mountains, etc.

With that being said, it’s hard to believe it’s taken me six weeks to write a blog post. I have lots of ideas for them but just don’t take the time to sit and write. It’s a good thing since I’m enjoying my time being a mama! But I do miss writing.

I’m also still really enjoying running!! Stroller runs are so much fun since I’m a proud mom, and running in the wind or pushing a stroller uphill is hopefully making me a lot stronger! We ‘run’ errands, and I like doing that since it gives me a little break partway! Just today we ran to the library to return some books.

I’ve been lucky to spend more time in the mountains and have gone on a few amazing trail runs and a few mountain bike rides.

Trail running
The trail running has been kicking my butt. I went on my longest run of 1 hour, 10 minutes on the trails a couple weekends ago. The trails I took have a lot of elevation change. By time I finished I was seriously going a snail’s pace. But, man did it feel good!

The last couple runs I’ve felt fatigued. I’m chalking it up to lack of quality sleep.

I’m still running Garminless and on the trails I have no idea how far I go. I like it this way! No comparisons or pushing myself. For now I’m still really loving running just to run. (However, I know how long it took me to run up this one hill and pregnant I could run up it in 16 minutes…two weeks ago it was still taking me 16 minutes!)

On my favourite run a couple weeks ago, I ran 45 minutes on the trails and ended at the hot springs for a soak. It would be pretty amazing to get to do that after every run :)

Mountain biking
I think I only mountain biked twice last year. Since I can’t run every day (my body won’t allow it) I want to work on my mountain bike skills. I love to ride but would much prefer to ride on the trails than a busy highway or road.

My first ride back was daunting. I’m always a cautious rider but even more so after taking a lot of time away from it. I am more confident with each ride I take. I’ll never be a fast rider or choose technical trails over easier ones, but it’s a lot of fun to just be out there.

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I also got a pair of Pearl Izumi shoes specific for cycling (without having to be clipped in) and it’s made a big difference!

SUP
On Mother’s Day we packed up my inflatable SUP board and went to the lake. Kelly took Harold and Jasper for a walk while I had a peaceful hour on a quiet lake with stunning mountain views.

I don’t think I’ll get to SUP much this summer so it sure was nice to paddle around.

Life
Life is moving right along. Jasper is over 14-weeks-old and just amazing. At this age it’s crazy how quickly he changes is size and development. He’s smiling a ton and it still melts my heart every time. We took him swimming for the first time on Mother’s Day weekend. I hope to start taking him more; I want him to be a water baby!

Harold turns eight-years-old next week! Unfortunately we’ve noticed a big difference in his energy levels from last summer. He tires quickly and isn’t handling heat as well either. Luckily we won’t be going on long hikes this summer so he won’t be left out!

Harold on a short hike two weeks ago!

Harold on a short hike two weeks ago!

Lets hear a life update from you!

Currently

I love Erin’s currently posts so thought I’d try my own edition.

//reading

Ha ha- how my reading habits have changed. I used to read multiple books a month, mostly chick literature and some honest good reads.

The book I currently flip through on a daily basis? Healthy Sleep Habits, Happy Child by Marc Weissbluth.

And I can’t forget about all the kid books I read to Jasper. My personal favourite? Any from the Walter the Farting Dog series. So funny!

I also do a lot of middle of the night blog reading on my phone when I’m nursing Jasper. I’m generally too tired to comment, but I’m still reading lots!

//feeling

I feel more like myself every day. It feels like the fog is lifting. Jasper’s sleeping better (knock on wood), and I’m getting used to living on less sleep.

I think the longer days and lots of sunshine has something to do with it, too!

//watching

Grey’s Anatomy. I wish I had known how good this show was before! I started watching it on Netflix and am slightly addicted.

//training

I am loving it so much. I also think I feel more like myself since I’ve been working out!

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We got an infant sling for the Chariot, so I took Jasper on our first two runs last week. We didn’t go long, but you couldn’t wipe the smile off my face! I can’t wait to go on countless more runs with him!

//listening

I’ve never listened to podcasts before, but now I listen to one almost every day. Last week I listened to a few from Runner Academy with Matt Johnson. My favourite was RAO69 with Sage Rountree. I have a few of her yoga books and find her to be extremely knowledgeable and inspiring.

Any suggestions for inspiring running/fitness podcasts?

//hoping

I keep saying I want time to slow down. I know Jasper is only two months old, but jeez I know what parents mean when they say time flies.

With that being said, I can’t wait for summer and am hoping for many weekend excursions in the mountains!

What’s your currently?

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?

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!

Two weeks and counting…

Our little son, Jasper Casey, was born over two weeks ago on Friday, February 20. He weighed 7 lbs 10 ounces and measured 20.5 inches. He is perfect!

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Since that day I’ve learned a lot, but the only constant is that every single cliché about parenting and motherhood is true.

“Sometimes the smallest things take up the most room in our hearts.” – Winnie the Pooh

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Nothing anybody said could have prepared me for the love I’d feel for this little man. And watching Kelly as the proud papa? Brings tears to my eyes.

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These two weeks have gone by in a blur of love, exhaustion, and recovery. They’ve been nothing short of amazing.

We’re trying to cherish every moment, from his little stretches and funny faces to the first time he peed all over Kelly, to Harold kissing his ears every time he has a chance, even to his middle of the night cries.

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I’m going to keep this short since my brain isn’t functioning too well right now.

I plan to post my third trimester fitness post sometime soon. And I’d like to write a few about post-partum fitness once I try to cross that bridge. In the meantime, I’ve only gone on three walks in two weeks and am just trying to soak up as much newborn love as possible!

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Thanks to my talented sister, Carla Marie Photography, for the amazing keepsake photos. 

Thanks to everyone on Instagram for the love, and for not unfollowing me with all my baby pictures!

Learning to listen to my body

As someone who has pushed my body pretty far at times, and learned so much about it in the process, this pregnancy journey has taught me even more.

For years I was a runner. I started running cross-country and track in grade 7 then joined a club and ran even more. I realized the longer the distance the better I did. So, I started running road races.

Then came the longer distances: my first half marathon when I was 18 and my first marathon at 20. I trained for my first 26.2, but not well, and body and heart carried me across that finish line.

RNR AZ 2004

RNR AZ 2004

Then I asked my body to do things that, many times, I never thought I could do.

I started to road bike and was talked into a half iron and full iron distance triathlon at 26-years-old.

Despite being on the course for over eight hours at this point, I was having FUN!

Ironman Arizona 2010

I trained, I hurt, I prepared as best I knew how. I fueled my body. I nourished it. And I took care of it when it needed special care.

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I also ignored it at times. (Ok, many times over the years I’ve ignored it and gone on that run or bike when it needed rest.)

I took these steps three more times at 28 and 29-years-old.

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Ironman Canada 2012

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Ironman Coeur d’Alene 2013

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Ironman Canada – Whistler 2013

I asked it to bike in extreme heat, run in snow and windchills of -40, hold together for X more miles when it was tired, hungry, and hurting.

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My body answered me each time.

It has climbed many mountains. It has strength trained. It has carried me very long distances – up to 140 miles at a time. It has gone fast and it has gone slow.

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I’ve beaten it down and each time it rebuilt. It listened to me.

Just like any relationship should give and take, it sends signals to let me know when enough is enough.

It took nine months to conceive this baby, and over that nine months I had to listen really hard to what my body was asking. It wasn’t always easy to drop the miles lower and lower, and add some weight to my hard-earned muscles, without knowing how it would respond.

I hesitantly continued to listen to my body. It gave me so much when I pushed it to new limits for years.

Once I got pregnant, I realized I was good at listening to what my body needed. And most importantly, I knew I had to listen to it.

Run, but slower. Take a nap. Exercise to help ‘morning’ sickness, even though you’re tired. Keep up strength training. Drink more water. Do more yoga. Stop running. Stay active, whatever that means on any given day. Rest more.

My last run at 31 weeks.

My last run at 31 weeks.

I am now over nine months along, the same amount of time it took to get pregnant. I barely recognize myself physically, and I just don’t feel like….me. I crave a good sweat session but know that it will come in time.

I am tired. My back and my hips hurt, and this time it isn’t from going that extra mile, not refueling properly after a hard session, or being hunched over a bike for hours at a time.

This is my body preparing for something new, something it hasn’t done before, and something that scares me. (Sounds kind of like how I’ve felt before every new race distance and almost every race!)

It’s been refreshing to listen to my body, and truly listen to it. To let it tell me what it needs instead of my constant demands on it.

I have faith we’ll make it, just as we have done before. And next time I’m training for a race, I hope to take that time to stop and really listen to what my body needs. After all, it’s done some amazing things.

How good are you at listening to your body?