supereli23

Running Through a Fulfilled Life


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Life With Two: 1 Month Update

Keeping the blog up to date was hard before having another bambino, but it’s been exceptionally hard since!  You would think taking 5 minutes to jot down some thoughts, words, sarcastic comments would be easy to squeeze into the day, but *surprise surprise*, a 24 hour day somehow just isn’t enough.  Baby Lucas has grown by leaps and bounds since he sling shot his way into this world at the end of March (which I guess is reflective of why I have no time, I’m either toddler chasing or have a baby hanging from me and using me as a giant cow).  At his 1 month check up, he measured 22.5″ long and 11 pounds, 1 ounce.  Just to put that into perspective, when we discharged from the hospital, he was down to 6 pounds, 14 ounces.  Eating obviously isn’t a problem, but washing in between his baby fat rolls could be.

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Throw your hands up in the air if you pooped!

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I wear my sunglasses at night, in the morning, during the mid day, and on weekends

Lucas has been incredibly more chill than James was at this stage, which is a total giant blessing.  He is up to sleeping 2.5 to 3.5 hour stretches during the night, which equates to waking up 3 times during the night with him.  He’s still sleeping in our room, so he’s already beat his brother’s record (James got evicted at 1 month old because of his gaseous grunting all night).

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Baby selfie!

Toddler James on the other hand, has been less than incredibly chill.  He’s definitely taken slight offense to having sibling competition and has been more loud, needy, and whiny.  This sounds horrible, but I’ve really been enjoying all the time I’ve been getting to spend with both of them on my maternity leave, so I’ll take all the “gosh darn it, this kid is approaching the terrible 3’s that I can”.  For as bad as those “I’m going to throw myself on the floor and cry by yelling the words ‘Waa waa waa’ which is total fake crying because you gave me the sandwich that I asked for” moments are, they are quickly replaced by snuggling boy whispering “I’ll love you forever, mommy”.  Those moments are the ones that melt my heart.

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I think really, the main difference with adding another little boy to the mix has been that I am constantly doing something.  My hands are never empty, they are usually full of diapers, babies, laundry, dishes, etc.  I am a whirling dervish of mommydom.

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These 3 dudes are my world

I have started doing some workouts over the past week, slowly adding running back into the mix.  I’ve been trying to really hit on my core and hip strength and stability, because I managed to totally and horribly throw my SI joint out the day before I got induced to the point that I could barely walk.  So yeah, that’s a work in progress to fix, but it’s getting better.   I can now run 3 miles straight (slowly) with good form, no pain and no female post-partum issues…victory!

I’m slowly shrinking back down to size, from week 1 up to week 4 post-partum.  Almost there, but when the pre-pregnancy clothes still don’t fit right, you know there is still work to be done.

Phew!  That was a lot of typing to get out, but I look forward to sharing my continued journey back into fitness, life, work, and family from here on out.  Hopefully.  Maybe.  Kind of.  Sort of.


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GCM Owens Corning Half Marathon Week 1 Training

Like I have stated in a previous post, I am using Hal Higdon’s training plan to get my ready to toe the line for the Glass City Marathon’s Owens Corning Half Marathon on April 26.  The Intermediate plan entails a 12 week training plan, which by my calculations, meant finally getting underway this past week.  The plan I’m using involves running 5 days per week, having 1 complete rest day, and 1 stretching/strengthening day.  I often modify as I find my body needs, so I am sure there will be times I substitute cross training for some of my easy run days.  This week, though, I was able to follow my plan exactly.

Monday–Stretch and Strengthen.  This involved doing chair squats, heel raises off the edge of our steps, stationary lunges, bridges, single leg bridges, and a bunch of core work.  Essentially, I had to do all body weight exercises due to being in the comfort of my own living room.

Tuesday–3 miles completed (at 8:13/mile pace) in the basement.  On the treadmill.  Where bad runs go to pass.  20150131_095603

 

 

 

 

 

Wednesday–3 miles completed with 5×400 speedwork including warm-up and cool-down.  I hate running speedwork on a treadmill.  The only thing that helped was imagining how bad slamming into our styrofoam covered wall would likely hurt should I fling myself off the back.

Thursday–3 miles completed (at 8:24/mile pace) in the basement again.  On the treadmill again.  Accompanied only by the sweet sounds of our furnace and missed episodes of Hart of Dixie (yes, guilty pleasure watching).  Missing the sweet cold air and horrendous breezes off the Lake.

Friday–Rest day.

Saturday–5 miles completed (at 8:13/mile pace) outdoors.  I was super happy.  Until I realized that all my treadmill running as of late is killing my fitness.  As in, I no longer know how to run up or down hills or into wind.  Essentially, my confidence with my fitness/running is sucktastic.

Sunday–3.25 miles completed (at 7:41/mile pace).  Outdoors again.  Trying to encourage myself to run faster than an 8/mile pace.  It worked sort of.  Except I felt like I was grossly sucking wind.  Again, confidence low.

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Total=17 miles

I do like that Hal’s plans include a gradual increase in mileage since it’s been 2+ years since I’ve attempted anything beyond 6 miles for a race.  Not liking that my fitness is not where I thought it was, but hey that’s life and something I can work through.  It’s hard to remind myself that, “Hey self, you did just have a baby 6 months ago! Your body is not used to this and your muscles are not in as good of shape as they used to be! (because carrying the baby does not count as resistance training as much as I wish it would)” The good news is that I have 11 weeks to get where I need to be, which is plenty of time to do anything!  Now I can only hope that the snow piles continue to melt, the temperatures begin to warm up, and daylight continues to lengthen, so I can get more of my training outdoors.  Hopefully with this little guy in tow.

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Happy Training!


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Things I Can Relate To…

Starting next week, I will officially be kicking off my training plan for the Owens Corning Half Marathon.  It has been over 2 years since I’ve trained for a half, and I am excited and nervous at the same time.  I have been able to work up to running 6 miles as my long run, to develop the “base” necessary to start a 12 week training program.  Do I have a goal time yet?  I have ideas of what I would like to run, but it’s hard to set a goal when most of my running so far has been done on the treadmill.  And sadly, unless Glass City decides to move it’s course to running circles around my basement (probably won’t be happening), it’s hard to know if my treadmill running paces will translate appropriately to the outdoors world.  I think in the past 3 weeks, I have managed to run outside twice.  Yes, you read that correctly.  I’m a big baby.

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I tend to use a mantra whenever I train, something that I like to repeat in my head whenever the going gets tough.  My mantra has always been “one mile at a time”, but for this training cycle I can now add another mantra “nothing can be harder than childbirth” 😉 I doubt I’ll be able to find a wristband that says that though.

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In other life things, we’re staying busy.  Well, as busy as you can be when you’re holed up inside your home like hermits.
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Baby J just turned 6 months old, which means I now have 6 months left to plan his first birthday.  And, knowing me, I will wait until the week before to actually plan it.  J’s still a handful, we never know if he’s going through a growth spurt, cutting teeth, still battling a cold, or just really wants to eat diapers and cell phones.  All I know is that we’re dealing with a lot of this.
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Which has made for some pretty special, “let’s reserve this story for our future book about parenthood” or “let’s save this story for when we need to make sure J fully appreciates just how much we love him”.  When your kid’s hanging out in the trunk of the Rav4 in his diaper, with poop stained clothing and wipes everywhere, in 30 degree weather, it does leave you questioning your motives.

What races are you training for?  Do you have any crazy parenting stories that just make you shake your head? Am I the only one that hates winter?


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Welcome to Spring Running

Now that it appears that Spring has finally graced us along the LakeShore with its presence (thank goodness for that), there are some things to definitely keep in mind when it comes to running.  All, or the majority of these things, I re-acquainted myself with today since my seemingly inept pregnancy brain seems to forget everything these days.  I figured I’d post a quick run down, mainly to serve as a checklist for myself, and to get in a post that could be classified as more “running” versus “pregnancy”.

1) Change in Temperatures: This winter has been cold as the Cold Miser’s Toilet.  Therefore, most runners and other outdoors enthusiasts are used to blowing snot icicles after a nice jaunt.  A drastic change in temperature, even though 66 degrees is a welcome relief, can feel like Satan’s Toilet in contrast to the nice 20 degree days we were just having.  Scale back on your pace.  It takes several weeks in order to adjust to a change in climate, a change in temperature.  

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2) Sun=Chance for Sunburn.  It can be April and you can get burnt.  Put on your sunscreen please you pale idiot (points at self) and embrace that you now smell like a coconut.  Sun can also be warm and promote sweating.  Make sure to drink fluids regularly and not allow yourself to go to the place known as “I’m seeing dark circles” which usually precedes the place known as “I am now passed out”.

3) LakeShore Winds:  The Lake Erie Shore is always windy as all crap.  I hate wind.  Wind causes another chance for burning my skin that can’t be blocked by the fragrant coconut sunscreen.  It also serves to hand you your butt on a platter in slices when attempting to keep your pace running right into it.  Scale back your pace.  I do believe the South Wind I ran into today was gusting 20-30 mph consistently and it was ever so enjoyable to watch my Garmin drop it like its hot from an 8:45/mile pace to a 10:15/mile pace.  Womp womp, such is life.

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4) Dress appropriately.  Always dress for a run like it is going to be 20 degrees warmer than the air temp.  Otherwise you will end up dying inside your clothing.  I ran outside today in a tshirt and capris.  I saw a runner out wearing tights, a long sleeve, a vest, headwrap, and mittens.  I think that person was seasonally confused.  And also very sweaty.

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5) Trails are likely Mucky.  When aren’t trails mucky and muddy?  Spring=rainfall and rainfall=mud.  Be prepared to destroy your lovely new running shoes.  Or be smart and wear an old pair.  Or get yourself a good washing machine.

6) Be prepared for anything.  It’s warm out again and likely there will be many others planning to take advantage of the warmer temps.  You will see runners, walkers, bikers out there.  Be courteous.  Be prepared to maybe get chased by a dog.  Be prepared to maybe get chased by a runaway bucket (and do the Good Samaritan thing and chase it down for the older woman who was attempting to use it to garden before it runs away into the busy road).  Be prepared for cars and drivers to forget to look for you.  Always be safe.

Happy Running!


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Back to Back Racing 101

Since my recent brush with injury, I have been trying to keep things simple.  KISS (keep it simple, stupid) anyone?  I have been avoiding running back to back days and have been mixing more variety into my workouts.  Box jumps WHAT?  Only within the past 2 weeks have I even attempted 2 days in a row of running, but it has taken a while to get over the soreness that it sometimes causes.  So being the brilliant human being that I am, I decided to race both days of this past weekend.

Saturday: Beach City 5K
Location: Beach City, OH
Start Time: 9AM
Weather: Terrible.  My least favorite running weather: aka a downpour.

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The Good: I stayed mentally tough during not so nice running conditions.  Splashing through puddles tends to weigh down my body and my contact lenses kept sliding out of focus which is hazardous considering I’m pretty blind without them (just ask my husband)
The Bad: I missed setting the age group record for the course by 9 seconds.  I feel if the weather had been different I would have gotten it.
The Ugly: prune feet and ugly runner face
Finish Time: 22:26 (7:14/mile) 4th OA (out of 94 females), 1st AG

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Sunday Race: Brace Against Hunger 5K
Location: Canton, OH
Start Time: 9AM
Weather: A brilliant turnaround from the day before.  In the mid 50’s, sunny, minimal wind.

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The Good: I responded well to having tired legs.  I stayed mentally tough on a rolling, hilly course and didn’t have to give any piggy back rides to the finish (these guys at the starting lines have some jokes eh).  I stayed so tough that I managed to outkick the 2nd Place Girl that I battled throughout at the end.  I may not be good at many things nor know what I am doing with many things involved with running, but I take pride in my flat out speed.  Ain’t nobody be beatin me in that final stretch.  I stayed so tough, in fact, that I captured a new PR accidentally.  21:23!  I can only hope that once I am able to do speedwork again that my times will continue to improve.
The Bad: Hills really take it out of me and I probably sounded like a chain smoker by the finish.  This race had some issues with post-race awards but it appears the race director is planning to take these concerns seriously for next year.  So I will forgive them!
The Ugly: The douche that apparently was offended enough that a girl caught him from behind and chicked him, that he found it necessary to cut in front and almost take me out at the finish line.  Can I emphasize DOUCHE enough?  It caused the race announcer to not even announce me as the winner because no one could see me.  DOUCHE BEHAVIOR FTW.

Finish: 21:23 (6:53/mile) 1st OA (out of 307 females) and the best part A NEW SHINY 2013 PR!! I didn’t think I would ever PR this year.  Gosh dang injury.

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Needless to say, I was a little tired after the second race.  And since being tired means you should drive up to Cleveland, narrowly avoid a gnarly car wreck on I-77, and visit with your favorite college friends like it’s back to 2004, I was really tired but had a really awesome runtastic and friendtastic weekend.


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Eli in the Jungle

With #OperationComeback in full force, I have tentatively been getting back into the swing of things.  I have continued to cross train, strength train, and throw in the intermittent run.  My goal has been to start with 3 days per week with running and I have found that is more than enough.  I have been a good little girl in that I now STRETCH both BEFORE and AFTER my runs (what the heck is that concept!?) and use things that are referred to as ICE and sometimes IBUPROFEN if I am a little sore.  I am listening to my body and my body is responding with a big

“WTF is this Eli and where did the old one go.

I even put on my big girl pants and in a fit of courage registered for my first race post-surgery on August 10.

I am not expecting anything whatsoever.  I just want to run it A) Pain-free B) Have fun and C) Renew my love for the run.  No goal time.  Goal times can complicate a comeback, and since I have worked up to running 5 miles straight with an average pace of 8:20-8:30/mile  I am expecting something similar pace wise.    Speed will comeback eventually.  I just must have patience and faith in the run.  And faith that my legs will take me where I need to go.

In other news, besides #OperationComeback, I have been a pretty busy girl

First it was an epic Christmas in July at PIB to celebrate my brother’s birthday since he is now all adult-like.

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This past weekend, I was able to witness and be there to support the beautiful wedding of Jess and Ryan.  I swear I am straight out of Wedding Crashers when I say that my favorite season is Wedding Season!  Jess looked absolutely beautiful and I teared up when she started to walk down the aisle and I caught the glance that passed between her and Ryan.  So full of hope, love, admiration, excitement, wonder, and faith.  A true moment that causes time to stop.

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It’s All In The Hips

Females have crappy biomechanics.  Our hips are generally wider than males (for popping out babies), causing our alignment of our leg to be entirely different.  The angle at our knee (generally described for those wanting fancy terms as genu valgus) is slightly larger.  The angle at our hip and relation to knee (known as our Q angle) is greater.  We have higher levels of estrogen running amock in our bodies causing our ligaments to be slightly more lax.  We have less muscle mass.   What does all that nonsense mean?  That women in sports are generally at a higher risk for knee and specifically ACL injury.  I have been there, done that twice and I can tell you…a) it’s not fun at all and b) if you can prevent injury, definitely do it.

When it comes to running, our flaws in mechanics are magnified.  We can take 180 strides or more per minute.  That’s 180 times or more that you could be doing something completely wrong and detrimental each minute.  Over the course of miles, weeks, months, or even years it can lead to injury.  As most runners want to “run for their lifetime”, it is a good idea to keep our flaws in check.

A lot of mechanical issues start from the hips and work their way down to the foot.  Weakness of the hip external rotators and abductors or tightness/overuse of the hip internal rotators leads to the following consequences: Increased internal rotation at the hip at heel strike and stance–>increased valgus force at the knee–>overpronation at the foot—>decreased ability to “push-off” into the next stride.   This same movement pattern is exacerbated with fatigue, which is why our form tends to breakdown towards the end of a race.

Me demonstrating what NOT to do when landing a jump on one leg.

Me demonstrating what NOT to do when landing a jump on one leg.

So what can be done? Specific exercises to correct imbalance.  Stretching out your IT Band, Hip Rotators, Hamstrings, Gastroc/Soleus, and becoming BFF’s with your foam roller is essential.  Drills to practice running form.  Have someone video tape you running on both a treadmill and outside.  Change up your terrain.  Don’t overtrain.  Incorporate appropriate cross training into your routine.  If you are attempting to switch to a different strike pattern (heel strike, mid foot, forefoot, barefoot running) make sure you are training your muscles to handle that (i.e. barefoot running requires significant intrinsic foot strength).  Some of my favorite exercises to use to correct this faulty form pattern are the following:

Walking Lunges: Emphasize good form. Knee should not advance beyond toe.  Watch for knee collapse inward.

Walking Lunges: Emphasize good form. Knee should not advance beyond toe. Watch for knee collapse inward.

Chair Squats: Keep back straight, squat down to touch butt on edge of chair.  Stand back up.  Work up to 50  with good form (no knee collapse).

Chair Squats: Keep back straight, squat down to touch butt on edge of chair. Stand back up. Work up to 50 with good form (no knee collapse).

Side Step with Sumo Squat: Stay low.  Side step, squat, side step, squat.  I like to use a resistance band around my ankles on this one.

Side Step with Sumo Squat: Stay low. Side step, squat, side step, squat. I like to use a resistance band around my ankles on this one.

Clamshells: Lay on side with the leg you want to work facing up.  Rotate hip/knee upwards to ceiling.  Hold 1-2 seconds.  Relax back down.  Work up to 100 Reps each side.

Clamshells: Lay on side with the leg you want to work facing up. Rotate hip/knee upwards to ceiling. Hold 1-2 seconds. Relax back down. Work up to 100 Reps each side.

Bridges: lay on back with knees bent, feet flat on ground.  Lift butt off ground hold for 5 seconds.  Work up to 30 reps.

Bridges: lay on back with knees bent, feet flat on ground. Lift butt off ground hold for 5 seconds. Work up to 30 reps.

Single leg bridge variation

Single leg bridge variation

Fire Hydrants:  Get on all fours.  Lift leg you want to work, rotating out to side as if you indeed are peeing on a fire hydrant.  Work up to 30 reps each side.

Fire Hydrants: Get on all fours. Lift leg you want to work, rotating out to side as if you indeed are peeing on a fire hydrant. Work up to 30 reps each side.

Bird Dogs: Get on all fours.  Lift opposite arm and leg and same time.  Keep back flat and avoid rotation.

Bird Dogs: Get on all fours. Lift opposite arm and leg and same time. Keep back flat and avoid rotation.

Foam Roller Plank with Leg Lifts.  Get in full plank position, hands on roller.  Alternate lifting one leg up at a time.

Foam Roller Plank with Leg Lifts. Get in full plank position, hands on roller. Alternate lifting one leg up at a time.

Foam Roll plank with Donkey Kick:  Get in plank position hands on foam roller.  Alternating lifting one leg kicking back as if doing a "donkey kick".

Foam Roll plank with Donkey Kick: Get in plank position hands on foam roller. Alternating lifting one leg kicking back as if doing a “donkey kick”.

It’s also a good idea to work on balance and proprioception in a single leg position.  It’s good to alter your variables here as well.  Practice on even and uneven surfaces.  Eyes open and closed.  Up on toes.  Challenge your limits of stability by tapping your other foot away from your body.

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Finally, I like to work on challenging single leg stability dynamically.  Practicing hopping onto one foot and landing with an appropriate loading strategy (flexed knee, stick the landing, knee does not migrate inwards) helps develop the stability needs to land each footfall when running.

I obviously still need to be working on these but it is much better than the first picture earlier on.

I obviously still need to be working on these but it is much better than the first picture earlier on.

Thanks to Julie for giving me the idea for this blog post!