Tag Archives: running

Diary of a Strong Mom: Days 4 & 5

On Friday (day 4) I finally lifted. For weight training, I’m going back to the basics, which means the Starting Strength program. This is a quick, simple program that is as basic as you can get with a natural progression built in. Basically, you switch between two workouts with three lifts each and just do three sets of five for each lift. With a warm up, it never takes me more than 30min to complete.

This week I did:
3×5 squats @ 100#
3×5 strict press @ 60#
and 3×3 power cleans @ 70#

The picture above (aka my evidence) is mid-clean.

The squats felt pretty heavy, especially by the last set. The presses were very hard. But the cleans were easy – I probably should have started heavier. Technically, this is not my first workout of the program. I’ve been off and on trying to get started with this since February. If it were, my squats and press would be substantially lighter. Since the goal with this program is to add weight every single workout, you’re supposed to start out super light. And I did – my first squats were at 65# and my press were 45# (aka empty bar). So it’s okay that they’re heavier now.

I talked already about my goals for running, but I haven’t touched on my goals for lifting. I could just say I want to get strong, but what does that mean? Well, first I would like to get back to my old strength. For me that means being comfortable with 5×5 135# squats and being able to squat 165# x3. This also means getting back to 175# x5 and 200# x3 deadlifts. I was cleaning 115# x3 before I got pregnant, so that’s a good number to aim for.

After I hit those numbers and feel like I’m back to my old strength, I’ll reassess and set new goals. But I think it’s simpler to focus on just getting my strength back first.

And then this morning I went for another run. Almost 3 miles! What! It felt great and I got to watch some folks paddling around the nearby lake in funny, viking-esque boats while I ran.

Looks like I’ll be able to hit 5k much sooner than I thought. Not on the next run – I want to run with baby next, and so that’ll be a shorter run by necessity – but the one after that I will see if I can hit 3.1 miles.

My, what a difference sleep makes, huh?

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Diary of a Strong Mom: Days 2 & 3

It’s been a rough week. I initially ran a second time over a week ago (looks like Tuesday). I wanted to plot while I ran, so I only listened to music and used the Runkeeper app to track my run. Somehow I ran for almost 30min – huh! Didn’t feel like it. That’s always lovely.

And then I got sick. 😦 And Lady Jr got sick. So neither of us slept well and my lunch breaks became nap breaks instead. I lifted once with Dr Lady on Wednesday but didn’t get any further than that.

We did go for a walk on Saturday, which was lovely with all the leafs and green, but less lovely with all the mosquitoes. Seriously – wth Michigan?? It’s freezing for 6 months straight and as soon as it warms up past 50, there’s mosquitoes??? Ayyye.

Tips for keeping the nasty buggers off of baby would be appreciated. 😦

Last night Night before last I got 7-8 hours of sleep (interrupted, but I’ll take it). I took Lady Jr to baby school a little earlier than usual because she’d woken up earlier than usual and was left with almost an hour before work. Knowing that I might need to nap again on my lunch break (eff this cold), but feeling pretty good at that moment, I decided to go for a run.

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This time, I ran with my trusted (and favorite) Zombies, Run! It was fun and exhilarating and of course after every Zombies, Run! episode I desperately want to listen to the next one, which is added motivation to run again. Seriously, if you have a smart phone and you want to get into running, you should check out that app. It’s so good.

And there we have it. I actually wrote this Thursday (yesterday), but never finished it up. Last night Lady Jr only woke up once (!!), so I have high hopes for a day 4 update soon.

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Diary of a Strong Mom: Day 1

Bundled up Lady Jr in the running stroller and went for a run. Even though it was 45 degrees and windy, she seemed fine. I had a blast. This is the third time I’ve run with the stroller and it definitely has a learning curve.

I expected that pushing the stroller would tire me out, but this one (Thule Urban Glide, for those interested) rolls smooth as silk. In fact, perhaps too smoothly. I end up spending more energy keeping the stroller from getting too far ahead of me.

But I am learning. The first time, I ran for maybe 5min, mostly to let Lady Jr get used to the motion. The second time, 10min. Today: 24min. And at the end, I felt like I could keep going, if I really wanted. Next time I’ll try for 30min.

My goal with running – aside from just getting out and having fun – is to get back into 5k shape. We live near a park that has 5ks almost every weekend and I want to participate in one of those – with the stroller – before summer’s end.

For May in general, I’ve decided that my only goal is to get consistent again. So if I can run with Lady Jr at least once a week, and run in general twice a week, I’ll consider that goal met. Come June, I’ll take a look at the 5k schedule, pick one, and commit. I don’t care about PRs yet – just completion.

Anybody else run with a stroller? Tips? Stories? General love? ❤

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Happy Days Project – Day 7

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Almost every single moment leading up to a run is filled with resistance. And every moment during and after is filled with gratitude – that I did it anyway, that I can do it, that I am alive and can feel the pain and the exhilaration and the wind and the ground beneath me.

I like to run even though I’m not very good at it. Where my huge quads are awesome for lifting and biking, they slow me way down for running. I haven’t tried to improve any of my times for well over a year, and I like it that way. Running for me isn’t about getting faster – it’s a kind of meditation. I get my best ideas on runs and whenever I’m feeling drained creatively, all I need to do is put on my headphones and shoes and get out the door.

This (yesterday now) morning was a good example. I felt crummy and puffy with excess carbs and was also stuck in my rewrite. Halfway through my run I felt light-footed and great and had figured out where to go next in the plot. By the time I walked through the door, I felt so much better.

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Reevaluating My Relationship with Running

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Running.

Oh, running.

You are such a simple thing. Put on shoes (or don’t). Step outside (or don’t). Run.

But you’re also so easily complicated. Put on shoes (what kind? what size? minimal? cushy? barefoot? socks? what kind of socks? compression? wait, laces? what about velcro? weight of shoe? color? do I even need shoes?). Step outside (where? what kind of ground are we talking about? asphalt? concrete? dirt? and what about the weather? is it humid? snowing? full sun? sleet?). Run (when? how often? how fast? how far? how?).

I picked up running way back in high school, when I decided on a lark in senior year that maybe I should do a sport, and maybe that sport should be cross country. They couldn’t turn me away, so for a few months I trotted out miserably with the other runners every afternoon and forced myself to run in the high heat and humidity of Florida. I dreaded and hated it, and was so relieved when the season finally came to an end.

I came back to it sporadically despite our rocky relationship in the years since then, although more often as a form of punishment than anything else. For example, when my heart was hurt in college, I ran myself to exhaustion to get through the pain. Other times I ran to appease the Calorie Gods for having sinned and gained weight. I would push through each run thinking about all the fat I was burning to atone for having eaten too much. Needless to say, my relationship with running was not a healthy one.

Then we joined Crossfit. Running 400m, 800m, and a mile were regularly part of the warm up and the actual workout. I approached the running like I did every new thing in Crossfit – it was hard and I wasn’t any good at it, but I’d push through regardless. When I found out that a regular Crossfit workout was to run 5k, I grew afraid, and then determined. I wanted to be ready if I walked in one morning and “5k” was scrawled in sharpie across the white board.

I tried to run regularly outside of the workouts, but it was in fits and spurts. I finally managed to run a whole mile without stopping (two weeks and two years ago). Then I got some proper running shoes and tried to run a little every day. That started out promising but crashed and burned when I hurt my foot. I stopped. And then I started again, because the Thanksgiving 5k was just around the corner and I really wanted to participate. I ran 5k the day before for the first time, came home, signed up for the race, and ran that as well. I pushed myself over the finish line, forcing down the urge to throw up, and limped to the car. It was terrible. It was wonderful.

But I still couldn’t commit to running regularly. I ran another 5k six months later with the bare minimum of training right beforehand. Then I did it again in September, with an equally minimum amount of training. I beat myself up when my race time didn’t improve. I tried to force myself into a program, running 20min and trying to reach a greater distance each time, then feeling defeated when I didn’t. Or I shaved off two seconds. It was disappointing. I stopped running again.

This repeated over and over in the following year and I notched more 5k’s on my life belt. But they weren’t as much fun and I wasn’t improving and I really didn’t want to get out there and actually commit to a training program. I ran a 7 mile race in April and then just. stopped.

We went walking. We took a hypertrophy course. We took a break from Crossfit for three months. We walked our neighborhood. Swam. Hiked. Lifted some weights.

And then I started running again. Except this time, it was different. This time I ran began I got the urge to. I put my earbuds in and stepped out the door and ran until I wanted to turn around and then I did. A day or two later I did it again. Rinse, repeat, and almost a month later I’m running regularly. And I think I’m going to keep going this time.

Why? Because I’m running to run. I’m running to destress. I’m running to listen to bright and peppy music. I’m running to watch the sunrise.

I’m not running to lose weight. I’m not running to PR. I’m not running to train. I’m not running to punish myself. I’m not running to beat anyone else. I’m not even running to get better at running.

Maybe this is just another part of my running cycle and in a few more weeks I’ll abandon it again. Maybe. I hope not. I kind of like this new relationship I have with running. It’s a lot simpler. Put on shoes. Step out door. Run.

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October 1,000 meters a day Challenge

With the success I’ve found in my personal 1k words/day for a year challenge, I’ve decided to transpose the basics of the challenge onto a month-long running program. As I’ve noted in past posts, I am in no way, shape or form a runner. I’ve tried multiple times to take up running – from cross country in high school to running with a partner and jogging sporadically in college to the couch to 5k program – and every time I fizzle out after only a few weeks, if I even make it a few weeks. Cross country was the longest span I’ve ever consistently run, but I never could run a full mile and every 5k we raced in filled me with anxiety and shame; the anxiety before, the shame after when I once again had to walk half the time and was always the last one on my team to finish.

Every time I run, I’m so utterly self-conscious about it. I don’t run on roads because people might see me and my jiggly legs. I don’t run during the day because again, people might see me. I’m slow and awkward and can only run such a short distance. In my head, every person I pass is judging my form, my pace, my distance. I notice each step and force myself to take the next. Running, for me, has always been agony.

So why do I want to keep doing it?

All the benefits – easy cardio you can do anywhere, anytime, ability to flee from zombies and/or mountain lions, health, competition, greater lung capacity, quicker ability to get from point A to point B – aside: I’m stubborn. I tasted runner’s high in August when I ran a full mile for the first time and I haven’t been able to shake that feeling. I finally understood why some people turn running into a religion. There is a point you reach where it’s no longer step-after-step-after-agonizing-step. You fly. Running becomes as effortless as walking.

Since then I keep trying. I’ve run a number of miles in the last month, but none of them as beautiful or effortless. Nothing consistent. Nothing fun. Our half and quarter mile warm up runs at crossfit have been getting a little easier, but that’s it. I was ready to give up altogether on running when I came across this quote over at No Meat Athlete:

If you hate running, it’s probably because you’re not yet good at it. If you want to become a runner, you’ve got to accept that the first few runs might not be so much fun.

But your second run will be a little easier than your first. And after a week or two, you’ll start noticing gains […]

And then one day, you’ll realize you’re a runner. That you, the last person on earth who could ever like running, actually like running.

So I decided, fine, before I throw in the metaphorical towel on running, I’m going to give it one last chance. And this time I’m going to give it the attention and space to really see if this works. That means a daily commitment. None of this once or twice a month maybe business. That kind of sporadic running doesn’t bring any results, just anger, anxiety and pain.

I will give running a thirty day trial. Using the 1k/day method, I will set a daily goal that is both somewhat challenging, but low enough that skipping it would bring more mental anguish than it’s worth. Also low enough that I could go above and beyond quite easily, if I were in the mood. And most days I likely will.

1,000 meters – or 1 kilometer – will be my baseline. Since I still struggle with one mile, one kilometer is an easier goal to achieve every day, mentally and physically.

My goal is to hit at least 5k by the end of the month. My other goal is to better my 1k running time substantially by the end of the month. This Saturday I’m going to grab a watch and see just how fast my 1k is.

But my primary goal? To find out if I can finally love to run.

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