Moving on

I finally decided to pull the plug on the good old blog.

A particularly gorgeous sunset over the Purcell mountains last week. #nofilter

A particularly gorgeous sunset over the Purcell mountains last week. #nofilter

I’ve loved to write about running, triathlon, travel and life here. Mostly I’ve loved to connect with other people writing about the same things! (And I’ve been so inspired by so many women accomplishing amazing feats, pushing their physical limits, and encouraging other women to do the same.)

My life has changed a ton in the last year, and the pace has definitely changed along with it!

Although I still love to train and will get back to racing one day, I love spending time with my baby and doing what’s right for us right now. And, this blog was never intended to be a mommy blog!

I’m walking that line between wanting to overshare Jasper’s life and not wanting to share anything online. (Of course not completely; I’ll still be on Instagram @abbykokolski!)

Maybe one day I’ll go back to blogging- with more of a training / mom / family adventures twist.

In the meantime, I’ll enjoy my bundle, disconnect a little more, be present and just embrace time.

Best wishes to every one of you- in running, triathlon, and life! Thank you for reading and making this little space of internet a fun one for me.

Fitness after baby (five months post-partum)

I’ve written a little bit about my fitness journey since having Jasper, but I thought I’d do a full post on just that topic.

I’m working out 5-6 days each week. It’s usually a combo of running, HIIT, and biking (mountain if I’m in the mountains and trainer if I’m in the city).

I took seven weeks almost completely off and am so happy I did take that time away. It was a good break for my body and gave me a chance to recover well post-partum.

So how is it going? Great…for me!

Running
I’ve been upping my mileage at a glacial pace. My longest run has been 1 hour, 20 minutes. Most of my runs are in the five-mile range.

I’m running a combination of trails, stroller runs on the pavement, and a few treadmill runs when Jasper is napping.

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I don’t wear a Garmin, so on the trails I have no idea how far I go. However, I do go slow. I tried going faster one day and bit the dust hard! Over four weeks later I can finally kneel lightly on my left knee.

The good news is I’m running lots of hills and feeling strong. I’m pretty sure I could run forever but I know I couldn’t go fast!

I’ve done a few hills with the stroller and let me tell you, that builds endurance! One hill took me 12 minutes to climb and I hope to incorporate that into my usual running.

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I’d like to continue slowly increasing my run times but don’t want to increase too much when I’m not training for anything since I easily get injured.

Biking
I’m trying to mountain bike once in a while and I’m still gaining confidence. It gets my heart pumping like crazy when I have to climb, and it’s so great to be on the trails for ‘me’ time.

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I’ve started riding the trainer again when Jasper is napping. The good news is I make each trainer ride count and get off dripping sweat. The bad news is I don’t ride for longer than 30 minutes since he’s not a great napper and I never know how long I have before he wakes! (And I prefer to shower before that happens :) )

HIIT
I love making up my own HIIT workouts and kicking my butt. These workouts are the easiest to do since they give me the most bang for my buck! I breathe heavy, my legs and arms are shaky, and I’m toast at the end of a 20-30 minute workout. I always incorporate strength and core into them.

Hiking
I never really used to count hiking as a workout although it can be HARD. Now that I sometimes carry Jasper, I certainly do count it! We don’t go often and we don’t go for long (that darn hot sun!), but it’s so fun and he’s turning into a little mountain lover!

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SUP
I’ve SUPed a few more times and still love it. If I lived closer to a body of water, I’d make it a regular part of my routine.

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Race plans?
I’ve always loved to train, but…I’ve never loved to race whether it’s strictly running or triathlon. (I took almost five years away from racing before with only a couple races on a whim thrown in!) So, I don’t feel a need to get back into it right away.

I hope to run one trail race in September and am tossing around some ideas for next year. For now, I love running to run, biking to bike, etc.

The mental challenge
The only tough thing about this is the comparison trap—comparing to my former self and to others, mostly through social media! (I love baby_fitgym on Instagram, but darn she makes me want to work out all the time and chisel my abs!)

None of my old pants fit. My thighs are a lot bigger. And I’d be lying if I said I was happy with my hips/stomach area.

However, I constantly remind myself that I had a baby five months ago. It’s worth a little extra skin and fat! I’m still exclusively nursing (he’s up to 18 pounds, 14 ounces now!!), and I’ve heard your body hangs on to fat a bit more. I’m not sure if that’s true, so I’m not banking on it!

Basically I’m not satisfied with how I look but am trying to practice grace and treat myself kindly. I love being active and fit and so long as I’m healthy and getting in some sweat sessions, I should be happy!

I’m still working with Jasper to nap more consistently and for longer. Hopefully when (if?) that happens I can start to get in longer workouts. Until then I’m really happy with how everything is coming along and love to incorporate Jasper into some training, whether it’s on a run, a hike, or strength training.

Oh, and Jasper’s learning to love exercise, too!

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The best rattle!!

What’s your next big race? 

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!

StrollerRun

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!