Run #2: some help from technology

I know I’m supposed to spread out my runs throughout the week, but I decided to do my second run the day after my first because I knew it was supposed to be extremely hot and humid for the next couple of days and I wanted to make sure I got it done.

I took off shortly after 9am and the humidity was already brutal.  Woooheee, it sure was hot.

The run itself felt a little bit tougher than the day before but I’m pretty sure it was the fact that I had sweat running down my face that made it so hard.

I did, however, find a couple of things to help make my runs easier and to keep track of what I’m doing.

First, I downloaded the free C25K app for my iPhone.  It was awesome!  Instead of looking at my watch over and over again (while trying to calculate what time it would be in 90 seconds), I just popped in my earphones and let the app tell me when to run or walk.  It even allowed me to play my music from iTunes.  I could listen to my music, which would get quieter when the voice would come on to tell me what to do.  It told me when I was halfway through and when I had one minute left.  Most of the time, I wasn’t really paying attention to the clock so it was a nice surprise when my minute of running was up.

The other app I started using was Digifit.  I still haven’t explored all its functions but I like that it tracks my route on a map so I can get a sense of the distances I’m running.  It also syncs with my fitbit.  I finally decided to replace my fitbit flex because I was finding it way to inaccurate due to the fact that I’m almost always pushing a stroller.  I’ve switched to the fitbit one, but I’ve only been using it for a couple of days.  I like it so far but haven’t really used it long enough to have a strong opinion about it, but based on what I’ve seen so far, I think it’s much more accurate.

I plan to take a day or two off from running while I start my mommy and baby fitness class.  Hopefully I’ll get a chance to do my third run on the weekend.

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Run #1: did it!

I survived my first run!

As I mentioned yesterday, I’ve decided to start training for a 5K race.  Since I’ve never been a runner, I’m starting from scratch and using run/walk type of program.  Shortly after I posted about my new fitness plans, I attempted my first ever run.

I’m a bit of a pessimist.  I know that isn’t anything to be proud of, but in this case (and, I find, in many other cases!) it actually helps me out.  When I go into something expecting the worst, often I am pleasantly surprised.  That’s what happened with my run.  OK, maybe “pleasant” is a bit of a strong word, but it really wasn’t all that bad.

I started out with a five-minute warm-up walk.  Then I ran for one minute and walked for 90 seconds.  The first minute of running was the toughest.  I looked at my watch when I started to feel winded and, good lord, it had only been 23 seconds!  Yikes!  After that, each minute got a bit easier.  Around the halfway mark, I wasn’t looking at my watch until about 45 seconds.  And then, shockingly, I ran 15 seconds longer than I needed to for the final stretch.  The total workout was 25 minutes and, although I was sweaty and out of breath by the end, I felt pretty pleased with myself for surviving.

For someone who’s always had a fear of running, I feel pretty good about my chances of conquering that fear.  Now that I’ve done it once, I know I can get out there and do it again.

 

Run fun?

Now that summer is nearing the end and holidays are over, it’s time for me to really buckle down when it comes to exercise.  By this point during my maternity leave with Littleman (six months postpartum) I was looking pretty good and feeling great.  I had lost more weight than I expected and was more fit than I’d been in a long time, possibly ever!

I discovered pretty quickly that it wasn’t going to be quite as easy this time around.  First of all, I gained more weight with this pregnancy.  Second, my life is just generally busier, with two kids to look after instead of one. Finding time to look after myself has proven to be more difficult.

I’m currently stuck at 5 lbs heavier than my typical weight and 10 lbs heavier than I’d really like to be.  I’ve been hovering here for a while now so I know I need to take some action and work a bit harder than I have been if I want to see a difference.

The first thing I did was sign up for my “mommy and baby” exercise class again.  This time, Bo and I will be going twice a week.  The class is intense and it’s a good way for me to do weights, which I am no good at doing on my own.

The second thing is a little more scary.

I’m going to start running.

Exercising is one of those things that I kind of love and kind of hate.  I’d rather sit on the couch and watch TV, but whenever I exercise, I feel so much better afterwards.  When I get into a good routine, I actually feel disappointed when I have to miss a workout.  But, running has never appealed to me.  In fact, I’m kind of terrified of running.

That is why, when my exercise instructor said she was putting together a group of moms to do a 5K run in October, I initially ignored her.  I mean, I’m not a runner, so why would I do a run?

Then I thought about it a bit more.  The instructor will provide us with a training program and organize weekly group runs leading up to the race.  It’s not like I have to walk out my front door today and run 5K.  And I’ve seen lots of people who are less fit than me train for and complete a 5K run.

What helped me make the decision to give it a try is the fact that I can run anywhere and anytime.  When I go back to work at the end of my maternity leave, I know that I’ll need to continue exercising.  But between work, daycare drop-offs/pick-ups and D’s work schedule, finding the time to attend regular exercise classes at a gym is going to be hard.  If I can learn how to run, I mean properly learn, then maybe I will have a good option for exercising, even when I can’t make it to the gym.

So there we go.  Maybe I’m crazy, but I’m going to run.  My new (and scary) fitness regime is about to begin.  Wish me luck!

Postpartum body update: love it or hate it?

It could be that it’s bathing suit season and we have a pool. Or perhaps it’s because my pre-pregnancy clothes are not of the loose or baggy variety. Likely it’s a combination of both that is making me realize that I’m not a big fan of my body these days.

I had a pretty decent body before I had kids. Sure it wasn’t perfect, but at 5’6″ and 130lbs, I looked ok.

I gained about 30 lbs with my first pregnancy and lost it all (and more) pretty quickly after giving birth. I was more fit than I’d ever been in my life during my maternity leave and felt pretty good about how I looked once I went back to work.

My body hasn’t been so forgiving this time around. I gained an extra 10 lbs with this pregnancy and it’s those 10 lbs that are being stubborn. Besides my breasts, which have to be storing some of the weight, I seem to have a rather unsightly bulge in my tummy area. I can fit into most of my clothes, but my muffin-top looks unattractive when I wear any of my more fitted tops.

I’m doing a weekly fitness class and going on tons of walks with the stroller, but my pre-baby body alludes me.

I am trying, I really am, but it seems that I’m losing the battle against my sweet tooth. In fact, as I type this, I’m waiting for some chocolate chip cookies to bake. You see, breastfeeding makes me crave sugar. I mean, I need it. Like ALL THE TIME.

Since I don’t think I’ll be able to stop myself from eating treats right now, I’m just going to try to do it in moderation. That’s the best I can hope for right now! (Does 6 chocolate chip cookies count as moderation?  They’re small.  Really small.)

In an attempt to motivate myself to move more, I bought myself a fitbit.  I’ve been using it for about a month now. It definitely helps, although it frustrates me because I don’t think it’s totally accurate. I bought the fitbit flex, which you wear on your wrist. I thought this was the best option for me because I can keep it on all the time. I’ve used pedometers in the past but wouldn’t always remember to clip them on before heading out. With the wrist version, it’s always on me.

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The problem I’ve discovered? My stroller. I don’t think the fitbit flex tracks my steps accurately when I’m pushing my stroller. My mom and I have gone on a few walks together and she always ends up with a lot more steps than me, even though we walk the same distance and would have similar strides. It’s annoying, although I suppose it’s better to underestimate rather than overestimate my step count.

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That being said, I generally really like it.  Some of the things I enjoy are:

  • It’s always on my wrist, so no fear of forgetting it or running it through the wash (although it is water resistant!)
  • It tracks sleep, so it’s interesting to see how shitty I’m sleeping these days (as if I don’t already know!).  I think I’ll like this feature better once Bo stops waking so much in the night.
  • The ability to have friends (who I secretly compete with).  I only have my mom and my brother-in-law right now, but I sure love it when my weekly step count is higher than theirs!  I’m terribly competitive so this helps motivate me, for sure.
  • The fitbit app, which lets me check my steps and distance on my iphone.  I’ve been known to do laps of my main floor when I’m close to 10,000 steps so that I can hit my goal before I go to bed.
  • The fact that it vibrates to let me know that I’ve reached my goal. There is nothing more satisfying than a little buzz on my wrist to remind me of how far I’ve walked (ok, maybe chocolate chip cookies are a little more satisfying!)

As I strolled through the neighborhood this afternoon, I ended up walking behind three teenage girls. They all had long, lean legs clad in tiny jean shorts. They had minuscule waists. There was barely an ounce of fat on any of them, and they certainly didn’t have belly flab or love handles.

I used to look like that. About 20 years ago. But still.

As my fitbit buzzed to tell me I’d walked my 10,000 steps, I thought to myself, would I like to trade with them? Would I give up my flabby belly, and all that goes along with it, for a body like that? I looked at my baby, asleep in his stroller, and I knew the answer. This belly gave me my two amazing boys. It might not look as good as it used to, but I refuse to hate it. This body, muffin top and all, has done amazing things.

I know there is a good chance that I’ll never look the way I did before. I may never love my body. And I know it certainly won’t happen while I keep eating sugary treats. So for now, I will try my best to eat better and work out more, while quietly thanking the fashion gods that loose flowy tops seem to be in style right now.

12 weeks old and enjoying the warmth!

Where does the time go?  It feels like just yesterday that we were freezing our buns off in the midst of a miserable winter and I was sending my mom out to buy Bo more newborn sleepers.  Now, it’s hot and humid (no complaints here!) and I’m frantically digging out Littleman’s summer baby clothes so Bo doesn’t have to sweat it out in his pants and long-sleeved onesies!

Baby Bo is almost 12 weeks old.  I’m feeling really good and, while we don’t quite have a schedule or routine going, we still manage to be pretty busy during the day.

Now that the weather is nice, I’m walking a ton.  I love my stroller and can walk happily for hours.  Bo is (usually) just as happy as I am to be out with the stroller.  It’s a good way for me to get some exercise while he gets some napping.  Win win!

After one of our walks yesterday, Bo was still asleep so I decided to plant some of the flowers that we bought for our front garden.  We had just walked home from our mommy and baby fitness class, so I figured I might as well get even more dirty and sweaty before I showered.  I sure am feeling it today!  I’m not sure what hurt me more – the exercise class or the gardening!  Either way, my poor body is very sore and I am very tired.  I’m using today’s rain as a nice excuse to stay inside and play with my baby boy while I rest my aching muscles.

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Getting my body back (or at least trying to)

So, I’ve officially started exercising again.  Not just walking around the neighbourhood (although I do a ton of that too) but full on, intense exercising.

When I was on maternity leave with Littleman, I found a mommy and baby fitness class to join.  I’ve always preferred classes to exercising on my own because I need the motivation of someone telling me what to do (and, since I tend to be a teeny bit competitive, I work much harder when there are other people around!)

I ended up loving the class and did it a couple of times a week for the majority of my time at home.  I met some great friends, spent time with my baby AND worked out.  By the end of my maternity leave, I was in the best shape of my life.

I was super excited to start taking the classes again this time around and it didn’t disappoint.  The same instructor still teaches the class and it is just a hard as I remember.  I was pretty much dying after the warm-up but I kept reminding myself that it would be worth it.

I’m back in my pre-pregnancy pants but I still have some unsightly belly flab and extra weight to lose.  Breastfeeding makes me starving (and causes me to crave sweets!) so I know I need to find a way to balance it all out.

Once the weather gets more consistently nice, I plan to join a strollerfit class as well.  Nothing like running up a hill pushing a 14lb baby in a stroller to make you sweat (and hopefully help shed those pounds!)

I don’t expect my results to be as good as they were the first time around… I’m not totally delusional!  But I hope that, by working hard, I can get a little bit closer to having my old, pre-pregnancy body back.

Postpartum check-up

I had my postpartum check-up with my OB last week. It always feels a bit weird to be back at that office and NOT be pregnant. I noticed that none of the other patients in the waiting room were noticeably pregnant, so I’m guessing the gynecological appointments are scheduled on a separate day. Makes sense, I guess. After my miscarriage, I certainly wouldn’t have wanted to see a bunch of pregnant ladies at the doctor’s office…

Although I’m happy to not be pregnant anymore, the one part I used to love about my regular pre-natal check ups was listening to the heartbeat. So, I think I’ll kind of miss this stuff:

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Anyway, back to my appointment. Everything checked out just fine and I got the “all clear” to resume exercising and sexual activity. Good thing, because Bo and I have signed up for mommy and baby fitness, which starts tomorrow! (And the sex. Of course, there’s that. Maybe when I’m not so tired. Or flabby. Huh.)

We talked about my birth control options going forward. D and I don’t plan to have anymore kids and we’ve discussed vasectomy at some point, but we just aren’t really there yet. I’m not super keen on going back on the pill at this point in my life so I’m considering IUS (Mirena). My doc gave me a prescription to fill whenever I feel ready and then I can make an appointment to have it inserted. It sounds like the best option for me right now but I’ll probably do a bit more research before I make a decision.

I’m glad that everything checked out ok and that I’m feeling good physically. I’m pumped to be ready to start working out again because it feels like ages since I’ve done so. I was in the best shape of my life during my last mat leave so hoping I can get close to that again!