Saturday, March 28, 2009

Measuring Progress

How does one measure progress when running with a jogging stroller? The seemingly obvious answer for gauging progress in running is speed, but as you get stronger and faster, your kids also get heavier! I guess I'll just keep working at it.

Saturday, March 21, 2009

Diet Advice

Having been inspired to try to stop eating "crap*" between meals and before bedtime, I gave it a try the last couple days. It seems, however, that only leaves me with about 1200-1500 calories a day. Not enough when my day includes running 11 miles and nursing the baby about 7 times.

Back to the drawing board...or at least back to my post-baby diet after my first child was born: punctuate every meal with a PB & J sandwich. I want to lose 5 pounds this year - not 5 pounds this week.

*I define "crap" as anything that includes, is derived from, or is coated in chocolate chips.

Great Nursing Jog Bra

I am now in my 39th nonconsecutive month of breastfeeding a baby and only now have I finally found a nursing bra for high-impact activities, such as running!

Any "sports" bra I've tried from Motherhood (maternity store) has been woefully nonathletic with one exception that appears to have been discontinued and I think that one only really works because it is a size too small.

I've tried the regular sports bras with a zipper on the front for "easy access", but it also leads to easy chafing.

I've even tried the one nursing bra offered by Title 9 Sports, but its stated use is for low-impact activities and they are right.

But it turns out that La Leche makes bras and they are great. I don't know whether it had been there all along and I just found it or if it is a relatively new item, but I highly recommend it. I wore it for the second time today on an 11 mile run with a break at the playground in the middle which included nursing the baby before heading home. It was very comfortable and there wasn't any chafing. It is available elsewhere, but was least expensive at Expressiva Nursingwear.

I considered including a picture - of the model, not me - but thought that might be a little weird.

Thursday, March 19, 2009

Over-Dressed to Kill or Dressed to Over-Kill?

One of the biggest benefits of running with a stroller is that you always have a place to put stuff. You don't have to start out your run freezing cold because you can just take off the layers and stuff them into the stroller as you go. This only works, however, if you remember to wear layers. The weather has started to warm, if inconsistently, but my clothing choices haven't caught up, it would seem.

As I found myself suffering through another run in pants that were just too hot, I tried to think motivational thoughts:
1. Maybe the extra warmth will help prevent my joints and muscles from injury.
2. Resistance training.
3. Sweat off a couple ounces.
4. Better to run hot than run in my underwear.
5. Mental toughness.
6. I've got to get home somehow.

Wednesday, March 11, 2009

Dear Jen

Q: I'm about to have my 2nd baby in April and am VERY anxious to get back into running. I already signed up for a couple of fall marathons. Ambitious - but I think I can do it. I've been running with our Bob stroller for a while, but will soon need a double wide and wondered what brand you like. Have you been training with your new baby in the stroller and did you have to use your car seat for the extra support for such a young child?

A: Congratulations. I run with a Dreamer Design double. I bought this one b/c it was and is my only double so I also wanted to use it to walk to the store, etc., but if I was choosing only for running, I think I'd go with a Baby Jogger. If you love your BOB, definitely consider their double, but I didn't prefer the extra weight that comes with the bells and whistles, the extra effort it takes to push through the suspension to turn and the extra cost.

Both my second and third kids have started going for walks in the jogging stroller at 2-3 weeks old and jogging by 6 weeks and I haven't used an infant seat. Really, at 6 weeks post-partum, we're moving at 6-8 MPH - on a good day. Hardly breakneck speeds. I just use one of those head cozy upside down U things and some rolled up blankets. I will say that even though it was really hard mentally to wait 6 weeks, my midwife had a really really compelling argument about internal organs, so I recommend that as well. I just started up the low impact stuff like STEP aerobics and careful weight training sooner (~2 weeks post).

I've always done my first "comeback" race at 3 or 4 months post. Previously a sprint tri or half marathon. I don't see why you couldn't do a marathon in the fall, though I will say that I've struggled with racing while still nursing because of the hydration and electrolyte balance issues. If you have any suggestions on that point, I'd be happy to hear. My first big spring race is in about 3 weeks, but I still nurse my 7 month old constantly so it looks like I'll need to come up with some solution - and quick. I've heard that salt tablets work well along with all the water.

Tuesday, March 10, 2009

The Psychosomatic Response to Poorly Mixed Energy Drinks

There are some energy drinks (gels, bars, etc.) that are only really palatable when you really need it in the midst of a workout. And then there is that same energy drink mixed with the incorrect powder to water ratio. I'm sure you've encountered it at random water stops along a race course. You might grimace a little, but it is that or nothing, so you gag it down. But now let's say that you were really hurting at that point in the race - totally overexerting yourself - maybe you even yack it up at the finish (sorry), but my point is, every time you drink it in the future, that is the moment you remember, right? And it just never tastes good again.

So, flash ahead to the day my third child was born. My loving and supportive husband (who, by the way, hates anything and everything to do with food preparation) was tasked with bringing stuff to drink because I was busy BEING IN LABOR. Anyway, he mixed it wrong. You know that overly dilute bitter taste. Yeah.

So now that I'm back on my B game, we came home from a ride and mixed up some Accelerade but, as it turns out, he still doesn't measure anything. Wow. Total recall of being in labor. Still tastes bad, but at least the baby is really cute.

Everyone Can Vs Everyone Should

First, let me say that I am not trying to be unsupportive of anyone training for a marathon right now. It is an ambitious goal. Is it a realistic/ideal goal for everyone? I don't believe that it is.

Tonight there was a program called "Marathon Challenge" on PBS. Very good message about how running throughout one's life has great health benefits, but I felt like they really glossed over the question of whether running a marathon is really appropriate for everyone. A 300-pound former linebacker isn't the traditional physique of a runner for good reason. In addition to the pounding on joints, the ratio of slow-twitch vs fast-twitch muscles isn't ideal.

To be fair, after running four marathons in the past eight years and with a half marathon PR somewhere around 1:35, I continue to consider whether running marathons is even right for me. My current conclusion is that I should only try another marathon if I can do it "right" which means, for me, not just training well, but that I can do it fast. It is a little bit of pride and a good dose of avoiding too much wear-and-tear.

Marathons have become very mainstream, but didn't the very first Greek to run a marathon distance, keel over and die at his destination? I fear that the popularization of marathons is short-changing shorter distances as a really good goal to get people exercising and even competing.

On the other side, I also do NOT consider the marathon to be the ultimate test in fitness - as mentioned in an earlier commercial for aforementioned TV program. A marathon is just an entry point into the world of crazy-stupid endurance events ;)

Motherhood in a Dish Drain

Breast pump . . . coffee pot . . . pretty much sums things up.

Sunday, March 1, 2009

Ode to my Rain/Windshield

Rain? Doesn't matter. Cold winds? Not a problem. I highly HIGHLY recommend that you get a weathershield compatible with your jogging stroller. It's like a little greenhouse in there so the kids are really comfortable even when it is only 20 deg F outside... though my brake cable is still frozen and I'm sucking it up on the outside. But we call that mental toughness :)