Friday Five – Five Brands I’m Currently Loving

Disclaimer: With the exception of the Mizuno running shoes, which I received as part of a FitFluential campaign, I paid for all products myself.  As always, all opinions are my own.

Its been awhile since I shared some of my favorite running gear, and since my body has gone through some changes recently (ahem, pregnancy and the birth of a child), which has led to me trying out some new fitness attire, I thought I’d share some of my current favorites with all of you.

1.  Moving Comfort sports bras

Prior to pregnancy, and throughout my pregnancy, I was loyal to a different brand of sports bras.  However, once little man arrived and I started breastfeeding, my once well endowed chest became even more endowed.  A couple of days before I was cleared to resume running, I went to our local running store in search of new sports bras, and quickly fell in love with Moving Comfort.  I’m currently wearing bras from two of their lines (Maia and Juno), and am finding that both lines are providing the support that I need.  One of the things that attracted me to Moving Comfort is that their bras are available in actual bra sizes, not just small, medium, large, and I’m able to wear bras that are true to the size that I actually am now.

2.  Road Runner Sports tanks

3 mile run

Wearing my new Road Runner Sports brand tank

While I was at Road Runner in search of new sports bras, which also happened to be on a day when the entire store was 25 percent off for VIP members, a running tank attracted my attention.  While I own and have worn several of the Road Runner brand shorts and capris, I had yet to give their tops a try.  That day I walked out of the store with one of their tanks, and the fit and feel has been incredible.  The tank fits well on the top, but isn’t super tight around my midsection.  Since I’m still trying to tighten up my core since giving birth, I’m greatly appreciative of having a well fitting running tank that doesn’t hug my stomach.

3.  Mizuno running shoes

Its no secret that ever since I was first fit for running shoes that I’ve been a loyal Mizuno wearer.  I’m loving my current pair of running shoes, the Wave Inspire 12s, which I received last fall through my affiliation with FitFluential.  Even if I hadn’t received this pair of shoes to review when the Wave Inspire 12s were first released, I would have still bought them.  They fit my feet well and provide the support that I need while running.

4.  Sparkly Soul

I continue to love Sparkly Soul headbands.  I absolutely hate flyaways, and not only do these headbands keep the flyaways down but they stay in place on my head.  Plus, they are available in a rainbow of colors so I can always find a headband that will compliment my running outfit.

5.  Thorlos socks

Since I started running I’ve been wearing Experia socks by Thorlos.  Not once have I gotten a blister (knock on wood!), and I’ve gotten very few hot spots.  I like that they are thicker socks and do well in absorbing the sweat from my feet while running while also keeping my feet try enough to prevent them from blistering.

QOTD: What brands are you currently loving?

As always, thank you to the DC Trifecta Bloggers (Courtney from Eat Pray Run DC, Mar from Mar on the Run, and Cynthia from You Signed Up For What?!) for hosting the weekly Friday Five Link Up.  Be sure to check out their posts as well!

DC-Trifecta-Friday-Five-linkup

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Rock ‘n’ Blog 2016!

You may recall that last year I was a Rock ‘n’ Blogger for the Rock ‘n’ Roll race series.  As a Rock ‘n’ Blogger, I ran Rock ‘n’ Roll Virginia Beach at 24 weeks pregnant and ran/walked Rock ‘n’ Roll Philly at 32 weeks pregnant.  I also walked the Mile on the Sand in Virginia Beach the day before the half marathon.  I decided that after a fun year as a Rock ‘n’ Blogger that I’d reapply for 2016.

After each of last years Rock n Roll races

After each of last year’s Rock ‘n’ Roll races

Yesterday around lunch time time I received a notification on Facebook to join the private Rock ‘n’ Blog 2016 group.  I thought “That’s weird, I haven’t received any sort of e-mail yet letting me know that I was reaccepted for this year.”  Turns out that I wasn’t the only person confused by this, but shortly after the excitement erupted in the Facebook group I received the official e-mail from Rock ‘n’ Roll.

rock n roll e-mail

To say I’m excited about being a Rock ‘n’ Blogger again is an understatement.  Part of why my current race plans for the year are a bit up in the air is because I was waiting on receiving word from Rock ‘n’ Roll about this year’s blogger program.  I had so much fun last year running Rock ‘n’ Roll races and connecting with other bloggers and I very much look forward to doing the same again this year.

rock n blog 2016

So which Rock ‘n’ Roll races am I considering?  There’s Virginia Beach over Labor Day weekend, which I’ve run the past three years in a row and love.  There’s also Philly in mid-September.  I loved the course when I ran/walked the race last October, and would love to give the race another try while not 32 weeks pregnant.  There’s other destinations I’d love to try as well, but it’ll take looking at the calendar and our travel budget to determine which are realistic and which are just out of the picture for this year.  While I’d love to run DC next month, the reality is that since I just started running again that I will in no way be ready for a half marathon in just five and a half short weeks without risking injury to myself.  Definitely not a smart move.

Rock ‘n’ Roll races are well organized and also a whole lot of fun.  Interested in running a Rock ‘n’ Roll race this year?  Stayed tuned, because soon I’ll receive a discount code to share with all of you!

QOTD: Have you ever run a Rock ‘n’ Roll race before?  Which Rock ‘n’ Roll destination is on your bucket list?

Posted in Races | Tagged , | 59 Comments

February 2016 Monthly Goals

January was a unique month for me for many reasons.  Not only was it my first full month as a mother, but it was also the first time in I can’t remember how long when for much of the month I wasn’t allowed to exercise as I would have wanted to.  Although my exercise was also extremely limited in December, I hadn’t been told by a doctor not to exercise (until after little man was born on December 23rd), but rather to listen to my body and do what I felt up to doing.  In January, on the other hand, I spent three of the four weeks forbidden from doing any exercise other than walking.  It felt amazing to be cleared by my OB on January 20th to resume running, and I certainly didn’t hold back once I received the all clear to get moving again.

Despite being able to only walk for the majority of January, I got outside or hopped on the treadmill at the gym when time allowed, which helped me in surpassing my January mileage goal.  I successfully met my other two January goals as well.

jan 2016 goals

1.  Log at least 20 miles.

Grade: A

My January mileage total was a whopping 28.28 miles.  Surprisingly, it was more mileage than my November and December totals combined.  Clearly, I was motivated get out there and moving once both my body felt up to it and my OB gave me the go ahead to start running again.

2.  Continue to listen to my body.

Grade: A

Although I was out there and moving quite a bit, I moved at a pace that my healing body was comfortable with.  There were also many days when I wanted to either get outside for a walk or walk further than I did, but my soreness kept me from doing otherwise.

3.  Not to be too aggressive with resuming exercise.

Grade: B

I would say I was more motivated than aggressive.  There were only a couple of days when I probably pushed my body more than I should have, as evidenced by the soreness that I felt.

January was definitely about finding a balance between my overly motivated self and what I was physically capable of.  I’m still healing from giving birth, but I’m also eager to get back to my pre-pregnancy abilities.  I’ll be keeping that need for balance in mind while exercising this month.

feb 2016 goals

1.  Run, walk, and elliptical at least 45 miles.

This goal should be more than attainable as long as I follow my ZOOMA Annapolis training plan of running three times per week.  I hope to also incorporate at least one day of cross training into my weekly training.

2.  Run a sub 34 minute 5k.

This is far from my current 5k PR – 30:33, which I set last April.  However, since I resumed running about two weeks ago my pace has slowly been getting faster as I become comfortable running again.  Last night, I ran a 5k in 34:17, so that means I need to cut 18 seconds off of my 5k time this month in order to meet my goal.

34 min 5k

3.  Strength train at least twice a week.

Whether its at the gym using weights, or at home doing Baby Strong workouts with little man, I want to make sure that I make strength training a priority this month.  Not only will this help me to become stronger as I continue my postpartum recovery, but it’ll also help prevent injury as I slowly increase my mileage.

4.  Do something for myself everyday.

For the first two weeks of February, I’m participating in Mar’s 14 Days of Self Challenge.  My goal is to continue this practice for the duration of the month, even after the challenge ends.  Part of being a good mom to little man is making sure that I also make time for myself each day, even if its something as simple as taking a few minutes just to get in the shower.

QOTD: What are your goals for February?

Posted in Motivation, Training | Tagged , , , , | 40 Comments

Let the Training for Half #7 Begin!

Even though I resumed running just under two weeks ago, its already time to start thinking about training for my first major post postpartum race, ZOOMA Annapolis.  As long as training goes well, I’ll be running the half marathon on June 4th, otherwise I’ll drop down to the 10k.

logo_annapolis

ZOOMA Women’s Race Series

For all six of the half marathons that I’ve run, I’ve followed a modified version of Jeff Galloway’s 18 week half marathon training plan.  His plans promote running only three times per week, as well as a slow increase in mileage.  Since it feels like I’ve been starting over with my running, a slow progression in mileage is exactly what I need right now.  An 18 week training plan also offers me plenty of flexibility when it comes to making necessary changes as needed without sacrificing the importance of completing all of my long training runs.  Whether its another blizzard that comes our way this winter, unforeseen circumstances with little man, or trouble balancing everything when I return to work from maternity leave, an 18 week training plan will give me more than ample time to feel more comfortable running again, even if I have to miss some of my planned runs.

Preston and I got to meet Jeff Galloway at the Disney World Marathon Weekend expo back in January 2014

Preston and I got to meet Jeff Galloway at the Disney World Marathon Weekend expo back in January 2014

I’m very excited about ZOOMA Annapolis.  Not only will I be running in a city that I’ve never run in before, but I’ll also be running as an ambassador for the ZOOMA race series.  You can join me in Annapolis, or sign up for one of the other ZOOMA races (Cape Cod or Ameila Island) and save 10 percent off your race registration using discount code KATHRYN16.

I’ll be kicking off my training tonight with a three mile run on the treadmill at the gym.  I’m excited to see what kind of progress I can make during the next 18 weeks.  My current thinking is that my main goal for ZOOMA Annapolis will be just to cross the finish line, but who knows, maybe training will go differently than I anticipate that it will and I’ll be able to push myself to a new half marathon PR (though I know that that’s probably unrealistic).  As I have with my past training cycles, I’ll be recapping my weekly training here on the blog, starting next Monday, as a measurement of holding myself accountable and staying on track with my training.

QOTD: What’s the next major race on your race calendar?

Posted in Races, Training, ZOOMA Annapolis Half Marathon | Tagged , , , , , , , | 52 Comments

Friday Five – Five Signs You’re a New Mom

So much has changed over the past five and a half weeks since little man was born.  While I love my little man dearly, there are some changes that I either wasn’t expecting, or I was hoping I’d avoid having happen to me.   When you read and/or hear stories from other mothers about how their lives were altered by the presence of a baby at home, you often think or say to yourself, “Oh that won’t happen to me!”  While I’ve been able to avoid facing some of those scenarios, others have simply been unavoidable.

So what are some of these new realities that I’ve had to face, or what I’m deeming “Signs You’re a New Mom”?  (Some of these I expected to have happen, but others I could have never predicted would have happened.)

1.  You used to be able to shower, eat, and pretty much do anything you wanted at whatever time you wanted.  Now, your world revolves around baby and that means that even things as simple as taking a shower have to be scheduled, particularly around baby’s eating and napping routine.

2.  Working out used to be so much a part of your routine that if you missed one day, it wasn’t a huge deal.  Now, you fit a work out in when you can and see it as a chance to escape the house and have a little “me” time.  Some days, that “me” time is so necessary, especially on days when baby has been extra fussy.

3.  Prior to becoming a mom, you’d come home from the gym and immediately shower.  Now, you come home, feed the baby, put them to bed, eat your own dinner, and then decide that its about time that you finally get in the shower.

4.  You thought you were great at multitasking, and then multitasking is taken to an entirely new level once baby enters the picture.  When the baby is crying and things need to be done, you figure out a way to do it, such as balancing both the baby and the laptop on your lap because the baby cries whenever you try to put them down but at the same time you have time sensitive things that need to be taken care of online.

multitasking

5.  What constitutes a “clean” house also takes on an entirely new meaning.  Prior to baby being born, you thought that having a clean house meant that it was spotless – everything was put away, dusted, and well kept, and that there wasn’t any dirty laundry.  Now, a “clean” house simply means that things are relatively tidy, there aren’t dirty dishes in the sink, and that the dirty laundry pile is manageable.

QOTD: What was one reality that you had to face as a new mother?

As always, thank you to the DC Trifecta Bloggers (Courtney from Eat Pray Run DC, Mar from Mar on the Run, and Cynthia from You Signed Up For What?!) for hosting the weekly Friday Five Link Up.  Be sure to check out their posts as well!

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My Long Awaited 2016 Goals

I purposely didn’t set any goals for 2016 prior to now.  While I set my usual monthly goals at the beginning of January, I wanted to wait until after I was cleared by my OB to resume running and other forms of exercise to set my big picture goals for the year.

Last Wednesday when I completed my first postpartum run

Last Wednesday when I completed my first postpartum run

2016 will be all about rebuilding – rebuilding my strength, my stamina, and my overall fitness abilities.  While I was able to successfully remain active for much of my pregnancy, including continuing to run until I was 32 weeks pregnant, I of course had to make numerous adjustments to my exercise regimen, including slowing my pace down and reducing the amount of weight training that I was doing.  While I’m eager to get my pre-pregnancy body back and return to my pre-pregnancy abilities, I’m also realistic in that I know it will take time and work for that to happen.

Since being cleared by my OB a week ago today, I’ve been able to run once as well as start some strength training exercises.  While I would have liked to work out more than I have over the past week, a combination of this past weekend’s blizzard as well as the realities of being a mother to a five week old baby have prevented that from happening.  I’m also trying to not overdo it.

My focus for 2016 will be centered on three main goals:

2016 Goals

1.  Get back to my pre-pregnancy shape, not just my pre-pregnancy body shape but also my pre-pregnancy running pace and endurance.  Though I’m excited to be able to be physically active again, I also recognize the importance of pacing myself as I exercise and to not push myself too hard too quickly.

2.  Train for and run half marathons #7, 8, and 9.  In 2014 I completed three half marathons, and I completed another three in 2015, two of which were while I was pregnant.  It seems natural to set my sights on completing another three this year, two of which have already been chosen.  I plan to run ZOOMA Annapolis in June and Wine and Dine in November, so that leaves me with only one other half marathon to choose.

3.  Focus on running quality races this year.  Like I shared last week, I will not be focusing on completing a specified number of races this year.  Instead, I want to be pickier in the races that I choose to run.  This choice is for a number of reasons.  For one, my priorities have shifted, particularly when it comes to wanting to focus on quality family time over the weekends.  Much of my weekend time last spring and summer was spent on training for and/or running races, and I don’t want that to be the case in 2016.  While running will continue to be an important part of my life, I want to ensure that I’m finding a balance between working out and being a mom to my little man.  In the past I’ve gotten very wrapped up in the excitement of running lots of races, and I don’t want that to be the case this year.

So there you have it – my three fitness goals for 2016.  I’m excited to see what 2016 has in store for me, both personally as well as physically, and will continue to use my regular monthly goal setting to help me stay focused on making progress towards meeting these three goals.

QOTD: What is one of your goals for 2016?

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Scenes from Blizzard 2016

This past weekend we lived through a historic blizzard here in the DC area.  At our house in Northern Virginia, it snowed from 12:45 p.m. on Friday until just before midnight Saturday night.  Nearly 35 hours straight of snowfall resulted in over 30 inches of snow.  Its amazing to look at the pictures of the snow on our deck and see the progression of just how much snow accumulated during the storm.

On top - 8:15 p.m. on Friday, about 7.5 hours after the snow started On bottom - 8:15 a.m. on Saturday

On top – 8:15 p.m. on Friday, about 7.5 hours after the snow started
On bottom – 8:15 a.m. on Saturday

On top - 8:15 p.m. on Saturday On bottom - Sunday morning after it snowed 30 inches over the span of almost 36 hours

On top – 8:15 p.m. on Saturday
On bottom – Sunday morning after it snowed 30 inches over the span of almost 35 hours

Over the weekend, Preston was on shoveling duty while I was on baby duty.  He spent countless hours on Saturday and Sunday clearing our driveway, front steps, and our deck.  The last thing we want to face is a potential deck collapse due to the weight of 30 inches of snow.  But now we can get to our grill, and plan to put meat on the grill for tonight’s dinner.  Priorities, right?

shoveling the deck

I never expected to have to shovel a deck, but at least we can make it to our grill again!

Just because we were snowed in didn’t mean that I sat still though.  Through my affiliation with Fit Approach as a Sweat Pink Ambassador, I was offered the opportunity a couple of weeks back to participate in the Baby Strong Workout Challenge.  I received the deck of workout cards a little over a week ago, but being snowed in gave me the perfect opportunity to pull the cards out and get my sweat on here at home.  On Saturday I completed the first day of the challenge, and today I plan to complete day two.  I’ll share more about the challenge in a separate blog post once I complete it, but for now I’ll share that I’m loving the exercises, not only because they allow me to workout from the comfort of my own house but also because it gives little man and I the chance to have some mother-son bonding time, as all of the workouts are intended to be done while holding your baby.

Working on my core while holding little man

Working on my core while holding little man

Schools around here are all canceled today, and the federal government is also closed.  Today will be another day of digging out (hopefully our street will finally be plowed today!).  On Saturday we only lost power temporarily, about 5 minutes the first time that it went out and for about 10 minutes the second time.  Thankfully the power quickly came back on.  I can’t imagine what life at our house would have been like with a newborn if we had lost power for longer than we did.

Here’s to everybody staying warm, and if you were affected by the blizzard hopefully you’ve been able to make progress digging out.

QOTD: What is your go to at home workout?

Posted in Miscellaneous, Training | Tagged , , , | 58 Comments

Friday Five – Potpourri v. 11

Wow, what a week!  Between doctor’s appointments for both little man and myself, as well as a lot of attention on the weather, its been quite an eventful week.

1.  Like I shared on the blog yesterday, I was cleared Wednesday morning at my four week postpartum appointment to resume exercising again.  It felt amazing to complete my first run Wednesday night after not having run since the end of October.

3 mile run

2.  In anticipation of Wednesday’s doctor’s appointment, I went to our local running store Sunday afternoon in search of new sports bras.  With me breastfeeding little man, I was in need of larger, more supportive sports bras, and as luck would have it I bought the very last sports bra in my size that they had in store.  I came home and ordered two more online, but until they arrive I’ll be using the one and only sports bra that I have that currently fits.

3.  We’re in for a major blizzard this weekend.  And by major, I mean that the weathermen keep saying that this is going to be a record breaking event, and will likely be one of the top five snowstorms that the DC area has ever seen.  All this talk about the blizzard is giving me flashbacks to February 2010 when Snowmageddon pounded the DC area and caused schools to be closed for an entire week.snowmageddon

4.  We finally had little man’s newborn photos taken last Saturday morning.  We were referred to a friend of a friend, who came to our house for the photo session.  We spent nearly two hours having little man’s pictures taken, as well as family photos, and I cannot wait to see how they turned out!

5.  Believe it or not, little man will be a month old tomorrow.  A month old already!  Time is just flying by!  Its quite exciting that he’ll get to celebrate being a month old with his first major snowstorm.  I’m sure we’ll all enjoy the extra cuddle time that we’ll get to spend together while we’re snowed in during this weekend’s blizzard.

little man

QOTD: What exciting things are going on with you?

As always, thank you to the DC Trifecta Bloggers (Courtney from Eat Pray Run DC, Mar from Mar on the Run, and Cynthia from You Signed Up For What?!) for hosting the weekly Friday Five Link Up.  Be sure to check out their posts as well!

DC-Trifecta-Friday-Five-linkup

Posted in Miscellaneous | Tagged | 44 Comments

My Return to Running

Yesterday morning I had my four week postpartum follow up appointment with my OB.  Ever since scheduling this appointment, I’ve been crossing my fingers that I would be cleared to resume exercise, particularly running.

Over the past four weeks, I’ve been consistently walking, progressively walking at a faster pace and for a longer distance.  My first couple of walks after delivering little man were quite trying.  Between my then lingering sciatic nerve pain (its pretty much gone now) as well as being sore from the delivery itself, my first walks were more of a shuffle down the street than an actual walk.  Over the past couple of weeks, walking has become progressively easier, and on Saturday I completed an almost three and a half mile powerwalk on one of the trails near our house at a pace that I was quite pleased with.

3.46 mile powerwalk

As the day of my appointment became closer and closer, I began to worry that I wouldn’t be cleared to start exercising again.  I’ll spare you the TMI details, but let’s just say that my OB had to stitch me up for about thirty minutes after little man was born and that I’m still quite sore.  My OB shared at yesterday’s appointment that she was expecting my stitches to be a bit more healed than they are at this point, but was okay clearing me to resume running as well as some other exercise, with the disclaimer that I have to listen to my body and not overdo lower body weight training.  While she didn’t 100 percent clear me, I’ll take what I can get, and am hopeful that at my eight week postpartum appointment that I’ll be further along in the recovery process.

To say that I was excited to receive my partial clearance from my OB is an understatement.  I’d been hoping and praying for the good news for so long, and was of course eager to go for a run as soon as possible.  Thankfully, Preston didn’t have to work late yesterday, and once he was home and little man was fed, I headed off to the gym to run on the treadmill.

The last time that I ran was at Rock ‘n’ Roll Philly back on Halloween.  I was anticipating that my first run in almost three months wouldn’t go well at all.  I knew that my pace would be much slower than I’m accustomed to, but my endurance was actually much better than I feared it would be.  My three mile run on the treadmill went so much better than I had mentally prepared myself for, and as I finished it felt incredible to know that I’m officially back to running.

3 mile run

I’m not sure when the next time that I’ll get to run will be.  With an impending snowstorm anticipated to start mid to late in the day on Friday, getting out of the house will be even more difficult than it is with just having a newborn at home.  We’re under a Blizzard Watch, and as of last night are estimated to get anywhere between 18 and 24 inches of snow between Friday and Sunday.

Photo Credit: NBC Washington

Photo Credit: NBC Washington

I’m hopeful that I’ll be able to run again sooner than later.  And until my next run, I’ll be basking in the glory of having conquered my first postpartum run.

QOTD: What recent fitness accomplishment do you want to brag about?

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2016 Race Calendar

Unlike the past couple of years, 2016 will be unique for multiple reasons.  Not only will my postpartum recovery shape much of my fitness decision making during the first part of the year, but my priorities when it comes to my running, specifically racing, have also shifted.  In past years, I sought to complete 14 races in 2014 and 15 races in 2015.  I will not, however, be going after 16 races this year.

Instead, I want to focus on being pickier in the races that I choose to run this year.  I will be prioritizing quality over quantity when it comes to my 2016 races.  With priorities having shifted at home now that my little man is here, I don’t want my focus over numerous weekends during the spring, summer, and fall to be on running races.  However, because I use training for races as motivation to keep up with my fitness, I still want to train for and run races.

I currently only have one race on my race calendarWine and Dine Half Marathon in November, which Preston and I decided to defer from 2015 after finding out that we were pregnant.  I will also be running ZOOMA Annapolis in June, and though I intend to run the half marathon I may switch my plans to running the 10k depending on how my running is going once I’m cleared by my OB to start running again.  (And speaking of ZOOMA, you can save 10 percent on any ZOOMA Annapolis, Cape Cod or Florida race by using discount code KATHRYN16.)

I can't wait to run my next runDisney race in November! Photo Credit: runDisney

I can’t wait to run my next runDisney race in November!
Photo Credit: runDisney

Those are the only two races that are currently on my calendar.  Sure, there are plenty of other races that I’d like to consider adding to my race calendar, but there’s a number of variables that will affect the races that I choose to run this year, including how my return to running goes, as well as how balancing training with raising little man goes.  Its something that I’ll just have to play by ear, and I’m sure in the coming months that I’ll have a better idea of how to balance the two as well as a better idea of how many other races I might be able to register for this year.

QOTD: What races are you planning to run this year?

Posted in Races | Tagged , | 58 Comments