Category: cross-training (page 1 of 6)

Weekly Retrospective, Wanderlust Edition

It’s been years since I put polish on my fingernails. Years. So I guess it shouldn’t surprise me that the moment I have someone who actually knows what they’re doing have a go at them, I ruin them within 5 minutes. Bummer. It’s such a nice color, too.

Ah well. Life is like that.

And also like having a king-size bed all to myself, no kids, and no pressing obligations … and not being able to sleep.

Or like sitting through a class only to realize after 90 minutes that you already knew this.

Yep, small moments of frustration. All over the place. Over unimportant things. Yet they sometimes overshadow the big picture. Like how I’m sitting on a bench next to a beautiful mountain typing on my phone so I can connect with people all over the country. Or how I’ve met so many great people and done so many interesting things the past couple of days. Or how I’ll get on a plane I a few hours and in a few hours after that be back with my people — all the way on the other side of the country!

Amazing. Really and truly.
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Before I checkout for the weekend, let me share some things for you to checkout. And can I ask a favor? If you like anything I write and think others might like it too, please share! I’d appreciate it. :)

Here’s the full story of how we decided on our family bike. Maybe one of the options that didn’t work for us would work for you?

And maybe, if you love earth, you want to be a little more careful with you portion sizes and general food consumption. I’m just saying.

Also, interesting to think how much of an impact where we live has on our health and quality of life.

Stay cool, friends. And thanks for reading.

Weekly Retrospective

All of our wildest dreams have (sort of) come true.

It was just a few months ago, it seems, that we were dreaming of a family bike. In our imagination, there was a seat on the front for Little Miss, a seat on the back for Squish, Manchild would sit on the cargo rack and I would stand on pegs while Micah pedaled us all around. Great idea, right?

But then we got serious and decided to do a little research. And then we did some test drives. We tried a box bike. We tried a tandem. We thought about tagalongs. And then we heard about longtails. 946796_461264330615427_1649875910_n

Longtails, my friends, are the future. At least we think they are. And just about everyone we’ve talked to who has one says they think everyone should have a longtail. Since we heard about them, my dreams have evolved to include biking – with all three kids – to the park. And the grocery store. To playdates. To Costco, even. I’ve dreamt of Micah and I riding around Brooklyn (and Manhattan) on our date nights, cruising through the streets at our own pace free of subway fares and subway stairs.

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Yesterday, our longtail arrived. It’s a Yuba Mundo*. And we wasted no time putting it to good use. Micah and I rode it home from our date night, down the West Side Highway, across the Brooklyn Bridge, through downtown Brooklyn to our apartment. Even in the rain, even up the hills, we had a good time. (Okay, so maybe Micah didn’t have such a good time going up the bridge, but it was totally manageable, even with me and cargo on back.)

So, the wild date-night dream has come true. And we’re looking forward to making those other dreams a reality as well: the grocery store, the park, playdates, church. Wherever.

And wherever we go, whatever we do, I’ll be sure to share our adventures with you. After all, the more people we can take along on this bike with us, the more fun it will be. Right?

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And my Babble posts this week:

This world-champion kayaker is 9 months pregnant – and still winning.

Hydration is important! Here are some drinks to help it be tasty, too.

The 4-minute workout may sound like a good idea, but it misses a major point of exercise.

Micah and I have been working out together for a long time. It’s been good – except when it’s not.

Setting goals can be tricky. You need just the right balance of strength and flexibility.

 

*For those who are curious, our Mundo has two Soft Spot seats on the cargo rack for the boys to sit on and an iBert seat in front for Little Miss. We got two cargo bags to carry whatever it is we happen to need. And next month, when they become available, we’ll add the Monkey Bars to keep our little circus a little more contained. Any more questions? What else would you like to know?

I’m a Broken Record

I had hoped that by a month after Boston I’d be good as new. Well, I hoped that by a week after Boston I’d be good as new, but I realized that wasn’t going to happen by Mile 3 of 26.2. And then I hoped that if I just took it slow, rolled my IT band a lot, and only went a few miles at a time, I’d be fine. And then thought I was fine, so I’d speed things up, or wear high heels, or do some other silly thing and, whoops! re-injure my IT band. Again.

The good news is that it seems to be a 2 steps forward 1 step back kind of thing. Or maybe 1 1/2 steps forward, 1/2 step back? I’m not quite sure of the ratio. What I do know is that is that I’m able to run just a little farther before I start feeling my knee again, and it feels “normal” just a little more quickly each time.brooklyn half

After last Tuesdays’ 5-miler, I felt good enough to attempt a 7-miler on Saturday. Or maybe I was just so inspired by the half-marathon taking place on my running route that I couldn’t help myself? Anyway all went well . . . until the next day when I randomly had pain shooting up my leg. It was as bad as it ever was and I nearly swore off running at all for an entire week (!!!) . . . but then I took a nap, got a really great night’s sleep and felt next-to-new by Monday morning. (Seriously, at some point Little Miss woke up and cried and I didn’t hear a thing. Micah brought her into bed and I had no idea she was there until she started crawling on my head in the morning. It was fabulous.)

And once again, I am seriously tempted to declare myself cured since I’ve been pain free for over 24-hours. But I’m beginning to see the pattern here. And I think it’s time I really give my knee a rest. For more than a couple of days.

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Sigh.

Thankfully that does not preclude me and Micah getting up at 6:00 to get our trash kicked by burpees and mountain climbers. The good news is that our iron strength workout is not as hard as it was the first time. I can almost do 3 sets of burpees before my jump looks more like a shrug – but that doesn’t mean that I like it. Still, it’s better than nothing. And I’m hopeful that it’ll keep me from entirely falling apart before our half-marathon in less than 3 weeks. Maybe it’ll even help that knee of mine heal for real.

We’re Trying Not To Be the Worst

“There’s nothing worse than a weak-butted runner.”

Nothing. A weak-butted runner is the worst. Or so I’m told by the man who hosts the workout video Micah and I dragged ourselves out of bed for at 6:00am on a Monday morning to participate in. And after 20 or so minutes of jumpsquats, plyometric lunges, rotating planks, and push-ups I thought, “No. He’s wrong. There are worse things than a weak-butted runner. Like trying not to be a weak-butted runner.”

Still, we persevered through pain and the humiliation of not being able to do even one proper sit-up or burpee and were rewarded for our efforts by not being able to move without pain all day today.

And actually, the worst part is that I’m kind of excited to stop being sore . . . so that we can do it again.

Because remember how Micah has been nursing injuries for nearly 2 years? And how we’re running a half-marathon in just over a month? Well, we’re hoping that adding a little strength-training to the mix will help him to even his body out so he can run without getting hurt. I’m hoping for the same thing. I feel pretty blessed/lucky to have only had a little bit of IT band syndrome going on, but if I can do something to help me to not have IT band syndrome going on, then I think I want to do it.

If it gives me a strong butt on top of that, I am all in.

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I’m hoping to resume a more normal running schedule in the next week or two, but this past week I’ve still been trying to “rest” and let my IT band heal so that I can bend my knee without pain. But resting is not something that comes easily when I have a lot of walking to do to get Squish to and from school, or to play with friends, or to go anywhere and do anything. Resting is also not something that comes easily when my friend who is training for the Brooklyn Half invites me to come along with her on a run. I rationalized that it would be slow (she just finished up cancer treatments and is blowing my mind with her determination to run at all, let alone a half marathon) and that it wouldn’t be too far . . . but 7 miles later I realized that I’d miscalculated. (I also rationalized going for a “run” with Manchild, but seeing as how he’s still working up the stamina to make it around the block without walking, I think I’m okay there.)

Still, my knee continues to feel better. I haven’t felt it at all today, but I’m not sure if that is because it is healing or because the soreness of the rest of my body detracts from the pain in my knee.

Run Swim Bike Cook 2013: Ironman Meets Ironchef

It’s here, people! It’s here. February. I know you’ve been looking forward to it because nothing is more exciting, more enjoyable, more fun than . . . the doldrums of winter. You’ve been looking forward to this gray, cold, wetness since August, and now it’s finally here!

Hooray . . . ?

Okay, maybe not. But since it’s here anyway, at the very least you could make February go faster by . . . going faster. Running. Swimming. Biking. That kind of thing. Maybe celebrate your accomplishments with something good, and good-for-you, to eat.

Yes, that’s right. It’s time for the Run Swim Bike Cook Challenge! Christy, the intrepid host of this event, has been doing the challenge for years. She was kind enough to invite me to co-host again this year, which I’m ever so grateful for because this challenge makes February so much better. (See here for previous years’ challenges.)

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 If you aren’t familiar with the challenge here are the details:

You have 28 days to do one of the challenges, some of the challenges or all of the challenges. You decide based on your fitness level.

Challenge 1: Run 26.2 miles (I suggest a mile a day)
Challenge 2: Swim 2.4 miles*
Challenge 3: Bike 112 miles**
Challenge 4: Cook 3 of the 4 superfood “iron-chef” challenges. You have a week to come up with a dish that blows us away.

Now before you freak out and run screaming, remember you have 28 days to do this. Unlike the amazing Ironman competitors, you get a whole month  to do your triathlon. And this is no two hour culinary competition with  glaring lights and TV cameras and hyper announcers. Nope. This is you,  your superfood of the week, and your kitchen going at it for seven days.

Still not convinced? You can do all  your running, swimming and biking (and cooking!) inside. Or outside.  Your choice.

Since I am training for the marathon, I’m going heavy on the running. Super heavy. In fact, I’m going to see how close I can get to running all 140.6 of the miles. Should be fun.

Notes:
* One water aerobics class = 0.4 miles
**One spin class = 12 miles

Rules: First and foremost, have fun. Second, send an email to Christy (christy DOT spackman AT gmail DOT com) for weeks one and three’s challenges, and to me (lizzie AT motherrunner DOT com) for weeks two and four by the following Tuesday at midnight, including a link to your blogpost for the week. Your post should highlight where you are in the event, and/or have a mouthwatering  pic of your ironchef entry for the week.

For our first Ironchef challenge, Christy has chosen the long-standing yet humble Mediterranean “superfood,” rosemary. Chop it up, mix it in, and spin out the perfect rosemary containing breakfast food.

Got that? Rosemary. For breakfast.

Christy says: “Of the currently hot foods, herbs carry about quite a bit of culinary and historical luggage. Rosemary may soothe, it may excite, it may fight cancer. No matter what you think it does, it most importantly brings a bit of beautiful green into the drab of winter.” And Christy knows her stuff, people.

Okay, let’s rock this February thing!

This Week in Marathon Training

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We all have our limits. I may (or may not) be able to wake up before the sun three days a week. I may not blink an eye before going out to run in the rain (though sometimes I blink several times in an effort to blink the rain away). I may, occasionally, forgo a lazy, cozy evening at home to sneak a run in before a big storm. But when I wake up and the “feels like” temperature is -1? Forget about it. Marathon training is supposed to be challenging, not miserable.

So, this week in marathon training looked a lot like many weeks before marathon training: not a lot of running going on. I did manage to get up on Monday (a first for this training cycle) for an easy 5, followed by some strides (speed up to near-capacity over 100 yards, recover, repeat). I told myself the strides were a “reward” for getting out on a Monday, and as the week went on and the temperature refused to break 20 degrees, I was glad that I’d snuck some speed work in. If you can’t go far, you might as well go fast.

The rest of the week I “cross-trained” with my B-B-boyfriends, Billy Blanks and Baron Baptiste. It’s good to get some core work in, right? Right.

Thankfully, by Saturday the temperature was above 20. And it even “felt like” it was in the double digits. I thought I’d better take advantage of the heat wave and get some miles in. I did 7, which was half of my planned run, but 7 is better than a poke in the eye. Also, better than no miles. I’ll take it, and be grateful for every day that is warmer than 20 degrees.

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Practice, Practice, Practice

The physical education portion of our homeschool is one of our most consistent classes. Riding bikes around the block 4 times in row counts as phys ed, right? It’s perfect because the boys blow off energy, and all I have to do is tell them how far ahead of me they can ride. To the corner. To the blue bins. To the wooden box. To our building. And around again.

The people in the bakery probably laugh to see us going by yet again, and the neighbors in general are getting the hang of our routine and don’t worry so much about the two little boys on bikes speeding toward the corner when they realize that the boys have been trained to stop and wait for me before they turn, so I can always see them.

But the boys are young. They crave adventure, a challenge, something new. Riding around in circles is fun, but it’s hardly “physical education” if they can do it in their sleep. So today, we practiced. We practiced standing while riding, with some success. We practiced turning in a tight circle. And we practiced going as fast as we could and then coasting to a stop. And when I say “we” I mean that Manchild did it. Squish tried to get in on the action too, but it’s hard to stand on the pedals when you don’t have pedals. And I don’t have a bike, so I’m totally out of it, although it could be argued that my tight circle was even tighter than Manchild’s.

I wished, for a moment, that the boy could have been as excited about practicing his handwriting yesterday as he was about practicing his bike riding today, but you know what? Riding a bike is more fun than holding a pencil. And they’re both good skills to have.

Besides, practice is practice. It’s work to master a skill, no matter what skill you have to master. Might as well be something fun, something that takes you out in the sun. Especially on a beautiful December day like today. 

Powder Puff

Did I tell you about the time, last week, when I played Powder Puff football with some friends?

It was pretty intense.

And awesome.

Mostly, we didn’t know what we were doing.

But we pretended we did.

And by the end we looked almost like we did know what we were doing.

Almost.

But even if we didn’t, at least we had fun pretending.

Getting Over Betrayals and Mental Hurdles

Katy asks a good question: I’ve been off running for entirely too long, with some back issues. I’m finding myself too scared to start again, because I fear I’ll re-injure myself. Any tips on getting over an injury mental hurdle?

I think this isapplicable to so many situations in our lives. There are things that we like to do, love even, but something happens and we develop a fear for this thing we love. Because it can hurt us. It can lead to discouragement and pain. We feel somewhat incomplete without it, but we have a hard time committing to it anyway.

I’ve felt this way about writing.

I’ve felt this way about having kids.

I’ve felt this way about having friends.

In fact, I think we all have to face the prospect of giving up some of the things we love most in our lives because we are afraid of the pain – physical, mental, emotional – that comes when something you love hurts you. It’s a big thing. It can be really traumatic. It may have been a huge part of your life and your identity, and then it came and bit you in the back. Ouch.

So, Running is your friend, but she’s hurt you, and now, perhaps, you feel slightly betrayed by her. You think she is worth forgiving and being friends with again, but you don’t know where this betrayal came from or if she’ll do it again. Maybe it was a fluke? An accident? A misunderstanding?

Already you’ve taken a break from her and realized that you miss her and you would like to hangout again, just like old times. But will it be like old times? Will it be awkward? Will she come back and bite you again?

The good news is that you don’t have to commit to spending 26.2 miles together to find out. You can start by just taking a quick turn around the block, and see how that goes. Do you sense any awkwardness? Any twinges? Any hints that maybe you didn’t spend enough time apart? Then you can slow things down, walk a little, maybe give yourself some more time to heal.

But maybe it feels good to be back together. Really good. So good you want to just jump right in where you left off. To which I would say, slow down. A turn or two around the block is a good start. If things go well, it’ll leave you wanting more and eager to go out again soon. Running seems to still be your friend, but you don’t want to overdo it. Maybe go out for a couple of short runs until you feel comfortable together, both mentally and physically, and then when the awkwardness and pain is gone, you’ll know you have your friendship back.

The other approach I might try is to branch out. Running may be your best friend, the one you spent most of your time with, and that’s why it hurt so much when she betrayed you. So, if you haven’t already, it might be time to make some new friends. That way, if running does betray you again, you aren’t left completely alone. You can hangout at the swimming pool or the yoga studio or on the bike so that you aren’t quite as vulnerable to the loss of your friend. You’ll still miss running, I’m sure, but because you are well-rounded and have other interests, you won’t have as much mental energy to dwell on the pain she caused. And if she does come and bite you in the back again, you might be stronger than you were before so that you are able to rebound more quickly.

Does anybody else have any ideas for Katy? Any experience overcoming the mental part of an injury that we can learn from?

Staying in Shape Through Pregnancy: Prepping for Labor

Last Friday afternoon I practiced some of my labor “exercises” for the first time this pregnancy. Relaxation exercises, to be specific. The kind in which I lie on the couch and see how close I can get to falling asleep without actually being asleep, visualize my body opening like a flower, and “breathe the baby down.” Sure, it only lasted 20 minutes or so, but I must say I’m feeling pretty confident that I remember all the right moves from the previous pregnancies. At least, I felt so relaxed that I had a hard time shaking that relaxed feeling right up until I lined up for the 5-miler on Saturday morning.

(This is what I see when I visualizing my body opening like a flower . . . .)

I fully endorse practicing all the relaxation techniques in the book in preparation for labor. Fully endorse. But I also know that sometimes your body doesn’t want to take things lying down. Sometimes your body wants to be up and active as it pushes that baby down and out. And so I think it is good to prepare for that possibility as well. The more tools you have in your box the better. The more prepared, the less scared. Right?

So let me suggest a few other exercises to practice in preparation for birthing a baby:

Kegels. I am not in love with Kegels. I can think of a million things I’d rather do than contract my pelvic floor 8 times in a row, and let’s not even talk about holding it for 10 seconds. And yet. It is a good thing to do anyway. It improves circulation to the area, may help your body prepare to push that baby out more quickly, and helps to heal the area after birth. So, do your kegels. Contract your pelvic floor like you would if you were trying to stop your pee. Hold it for 10 seconds, or contract and release several times in a row. Do it many times a day. Whenever you think about it. Whenever you’re bored. And get your abs and glutes into the act as well. Contract them while you contract your pelvic floor. Keep them all nice and strong and working together.

Squats. And when I say squats, I don’t mean just the half-way-down-like-your-sitting-in-a-chair kind of squat. I mean all the way down, bum almost to the ground kind of squat. This is the kind where you really have to open your hips, which is something you’re going to want to do when you are passing a human being through them. Stand with your feet hip-width apart (maybe a little more) and toes pointed out. Relax your shoulders, keep your chest up, and lower your tailbone to the floor. Keep your weight mostly toward your heels. Once you get all the way down, use your legs to push yourself back up. If you need to, use a chair to help you keep your balance. Repeat 8-10 times.

Tailor Pose. I like this one. It’s another hip-opener and it’s also called butterfly, I believe. Sit with your back straight up againts a wall, with the soles of your feet together and your knees as close to the ground as you can get them. Relax your hips, let them open, and gently push down on your knees to encourage your hips to open even more. Breathe, relax, and hold the pose for as long as you can/want.

Anybody else have some recommendations for exercises/poses to practice in preparation for labor? Please share in the comments.

(Also, I apologize for the lack of photos of the exercises. My photographer is away  and I don’t want to wait for him to get home. If you really want me to, I’ll add some later this week.)

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