Friday, August 28, 2015

5 Months Postpartum

The past few months had been frustrating for me. I hadn't lost any more weight and I felt like I wasn't improving very much with my running. This month rolled around and I finally felt like things were coming together. The weight started coming off again, thank goodness! Now I just have 4 more pounds to go until I'm back down to pre-pregnancy weight! My runs have gotten faster too. Now I'm running 9-9:30 pace with the double stroller most days rather than the 10-10:30 pace I was running. I still have days that are slower, but I just feel so much stronger. I ran a really hilly course this past week and was able to maintain 10:00 pace with the double stroller. Pushing that beast uphill is no easy feat!

There have been a few changes that I feel have contributed to the success I am finally seeing. After my appointment last month I realized it was time to give my body a break to let it heal. The only explanation for my continued bleeding was I kept overdoing it physically. I stopped doing speed work and voilĂ , no more bleeding. Since doing that I've been running all my other runs so much faster! I also switched Elise to straight in the stroller rather than in the car seat and snapped in. That has made the stroller lighter and easier to navigate although it didn't immediately make me faster. We also moved Elise over to her crib in her room and I am sleeping so much better. The added rest has helped me in so many ways! 
Elise and Carter ready for Elise's first run strapped directly into the stroller.
Now that it has cooled off I can run pretty much whenever but when it was still 100+ degrees I got up early to go run before Ty left for work at least a couple times a week. It was nice to get my run in without the stroller and when it was cooler. I also liked that it gave me more time to play with Carter and Elise. Now that it has cooled off I just can't bring myself to get up before the kids, especially since little miss sporadically wakes up 2-3 times at night and I've dropped naps from my routine most days. I'm up to a 10 mile long run and was pumped to hit under 9 minute pace! So far I've been getting up at 5:40 to get my long run in before Ty leaves for work at 7:30. Now that we have a few less busy weekends coming up I'll probably start doing my long run early Saturday morning. It was stressful for me worrying that I wouldn't make it home in time and I'd make Ty late to work. One day Elise woke up hungry right as I was leaving so I fed her. Luckily I was able to hit a minute per mile faster than I had planned for so I didn't have to cut my run short. The last few weeks I added tempo runs back into my workout schedule. I've done a 3, 3.5, and 4 mile tempo run. My goal was under 8:00 pace and I was able to hit an average of 7:30 for the 3 miler, 7:35 for the 3.5 miler, and 7:41 for the 4 miler. I'm going to wait a little bit longer to add speed work back in since dropping it stopped my bleeding. I don't want to add it back in too soon!

When I stalled out with my weight loss I got discouraged. I'd have a week where I had ice cream twice a day and I remained the same weight. I'd have weeks where I ate really healthy and skipped dessert and I still stayed the same. For whatever reason no matter what I did that number on the scale didn't budge. Then we were in St. Louis visiting Ty's cousin, Megan, and I saw she was wearing a Fitbit. I asked her how she liked it and she ended up offering to sell me her old zip. I never would have tried a Fitbit otherwise. After the first couple days I was hooked. It was so much fun to push myself to hit a daily step goal. Instead of focusing on my weight I had a new set of numbers to focus on. Counting my steps was so rewarding because I had direct control of the numbers I saw. It also got me thinking about my day in a totally different way. I picked up little habits like walking around as I brushed my teeth and opened mail. Just little ways to add more activity into my day.
The most adorable running buddies ever!
Then a blogger who I follow and enjoy reading posted about a new app called wellcoin. You post healthy activities you partake in and receive points which you can later cash in for prizes. Seeing some of the ways to get points made me add in more healthy habits. You get points for parking far away so I started doing that everywhere I go. It also motivates me to eat a healthy snack rather than just grab something sitting out and easy because you get points for eating a healthy snack. I was gunning for a pair of shoes that were worth 20,000 wellcoins. I reached my goal in time to nab the last pair which just happened to be my size! Not a bad deal for just posting things I was doing throughout my day that were healthy. I'll post pictures of my shoes when they arrive.

As I started to feel better and less tired I was ready to be more active at naptime. I started using the first part of naptime to clean and then skipping a nap if I didn't have time. I've come up with a weekly schedule where I do one cleaning chore per day during naptime and it works out great. Monday I clean the bathrooms and do laundry. Tuesday I dust and finish laundry. Wednesday I scrub the kitchen counters (which I do every day with a sponge but Wednesdays I use cleaner) and sweep and mop the kitchen and playroom floors. Thursday I clean the windows and vacuum. Friday I clean the entryway and organize and catch up on any chores I was unable to get to earlier in the week. I usually have a couple days when Elise struggles to go down or wakes up right as Carter goes down which means I am not able to complete my chore for the day or I don't get to finish it.
The other day I pulled out a pair of capris to wear. They were previously the only pants with a button and zipper that had fit. I had other pants I could zip and button but the capris were the only ones I felt comfortable in and didn't leave me with a muffin top. I hadn't worn them in quite a while since it got so hot and was pleasantly surprised to find they were now loose and actually bagged off of me a little bit! It has been so nice to finally start seeing improvement with my midsection. I'm also feeling much stronger running and am enjoying my runs a lot more. There's something freeing about running fast and letting your legs fly, turning over at a rapid pace. I've missed it. There's also something about flying past someone out running by themselves when I'm pushing the double stroller that makes me feel pretty bad ass. I've been bad about comparing my running right now (August) to the August after Carter was born and I feel disappointed that I'm not there yet. I have to remind myself I was 3 months farther out from giving birth. At that point I was 8 months postpartum and that makes a big difference. I ran a 1:38 half marathon the October after Carter was born and I am working on being okay with not being anywhere near that this October. I'll only be 7 months postpartum compared to 10 months with Carter and those 3 months make a huge difference. My race pace for the 1:38 was sub-7:30 per mile. I'm barely holding onto that for a 5k right now. So I have to be realistic. Maybe 8:00 pace for the half is a realistic goal. I hit 8:52 pace for my 10 miler so I'm hopeful.
Finishing the Blue Moon, a 5k I ran this month. It was a blah race because the temps were out of hand and it was super humid.
1st overall in my age group and 2nd overall female at the Blue Moon in 23:14 despite extremely hot conditions.

It has been a huge month for me running wise, weight wise, and just feeling back to myself. It has also been a huge month for Elise as she's becoming less dependent on me. I can carry her on my hip, she can sit with support, she rides in the stroller without her car seat, she sleeps in her own room. And she smiles and laughs and generally just brightens the spirits of anyone she's around. I loved 5 months and I know it will only continue to get better!

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