Getting Fit After Giving Birth – one program at a time

Archive for May, 2012

I feel as if it’s been one thing after another lately.  I’ve been dealing with some depression issues – without going into the gory details, I feel like I have too many children, I am not adequate to perform all of my jobs (home-maker, wife, mother), and have lacked motivation to get anything done (it might be mild postpartum depression).  Thankfully, I seem to be getting out of that funk just in time to get hit with the stomach bug.  It started with my oldest daughter on Wednesday, hit my husband on Thursday, hit me and my youngest daughter on Friday, hit my son on Saturday, hit me and my husband AGAIN this morning/last night, and hopefully we are on the mend from this disgusting yuckiness.

We were all feeling pretty hunky dory yesterday so we went on a bike ride.  I wont lie, it was tough.  Cycling is a work-out of sorts that I just don’t understand.  My quads get all weak and shaky, but they don’t hurt like sore muscles from other work-outs.  I was getting real frustrated during our ride because I know I’m not as out of shape as all that.  I’d cycle for about 2 minutes, then I’d be so out of breath, and my legs would refuse to go any further.  The really frustrating part was knowing that an hour after we were done, I wouldn’t feel ANY of it.

I might be one of those strange people who enjoys the sore muscles after a good work-out.  Especially after running, I love feeling that I’ve done something productive.  The next morning, I can stretch out the soreness, and feel myself getting stronger.  With our bike ride yesterday, there was no soreness involved.  Once I caught my breath (which took a lot longer than I would’ve liked), and replenished my water, I didn’t feel a thing.

My husband says that it’s because cycling is low-no impact sport, and while most work-outs involve micro-tears in the muscles that creates the sore effect, cycling does not.  Personally, I prefer those micro-tears, but I’m going to keep cycling because my husband enjoys it so much, and we can do that as a family (whereas running is just me and the pavement).

I was hoping to start the C25K again this afternoon, but seeing as this stupid bug has me horribly dehydrated, I will probably wait until I’m recovered.  Let’s just say that I’m thankful to have a nursing child, because otherwise I wouldn’t even attempt to eat or drink anything right now, but I’m doing it for her.

The stats:

  • Total distance: 3.3 miles

We did 2 miles nonstop, took a long breather, and then did another 1.3 miles.

  • Moving time: 30:16
  • Calories: 380
  • Max Speed: 11.9 MPH
  • Average Speed: 6.6 MPH
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Ready to go some more!

Mentally, I’m prepared to go out there and run until my lungs burst.  I can push myself to the point of exhaustion.  Physically, this child-birthing body is fighting back.

The plan was to run twice a week, and bike 3-5 times a week.  That plan hasn’t been followed.  I *need* my running time on Sundays, because those are such rough days for me.  My husband is an evangelist, and I end up dealing with all three children by myself throughout his sermon.  To sum it up: my patience, tolerance, and mentality are always stressed by the end of the day.  So, I go running at the end of it, clear my head, re-build my levels of motherhood so to speak.  However, this Sunday, due to lack of planning on whoever’s fault, it didn’t happen.

Sunday morning, we had been at the building for about ten minutes, and it was discovered that a very important something got left at the house (I’m being very vague on purpose, to protect whoever’s fault it was).  So, I loaded up my little bumblebee in the car, leaving ladybug and grasshopper in my husband’s very capable hands, and drove the 5 minutes back to the house to pick-up this something that whoever left.  Whatever incompetency I have decided to pound down upon my little being right at the moment: I could *not* unlock our front door.  So, I opened the garage and went through that-a-way.  The incompetence must’ve still been pounding down, because I got the heel of my pretty brown shoes stuck on the lawnmower and down I went.  I’m sure it was a *pretty* fall, with shoes flying, skirt flipping, hair exploding all over the place.  I landed on my leg.  The part of my leg that was **almost** recovered from last week’s shin splints.  I hope that you noticed the “almost” over there being outlined in DOUBLE asterisks.

I managed to regain my composure, thankful that this tumble happened in the garage out of site of ANYONE that could’ve seen it. Limped into the house, not sure if I’d be able to walk properly again for the rest of the day.  Ditched the heals for some VERY flat flipflops.  Then, I spent the next 5 minutes scouring the house for the something that whoever had left.  I failed to find it, and returned to the church building a bit worse for wear.

All that to say that I managed to re-injure my leg, and have not been able to go running/cycling since.

I am beginning to really dislike this physical body that has had so much abuse over the past few years.  If I ever get into shape, I vow never to get out of shape again.  It’s the getting into shape that’s probably going to see the death of me though 😛

Proper Equipement

Equipment

If you don’t have the right equipment, your work-out could be torturous, and even worse, result in no gain.  You have to have the right equipment.  By right, it needs to fit your specific body, it needs to offer the right kind of support for the activity, and it has to look super chic right?  😛

For running: Shoes.  I started off running with my cheap worn out tenis shoes, and it was murderous on my knees.  They couldn’t handle the stress.  Special shoes designed for running that will absorb the shock, and in my case, support weak arches due to having too many children (loose ligaments cause for stretched bones, etc.) can lighten the stress in your joints.

Women need proper undergarments.  ESPECIALLY if you are rather busty (or breastfeeding, or in my case, both).  Seriously, there is nothing more uncomfortable and awkward than having your ladies doing more moving than you are.  Some women prefer to bind those beauties with tight-fitting sports-brands.  If your breastfeeding, that may lead to other issues, so just make sure that you use something *VERY* supportive.

Cycling Bike at Night

Cycling Bike at Night (Photo credit: epSos.de)

For Cycling: a proper saddle.  I took a 20 minute ride the other day on the saddle that came with the bike…that was four days ago and I STILL have a sore tooshie from the experience.  I opted for a noseless saddle.  Again, I’ve had too many children too recently, my body will not put up with the stress.  It rebels, but it is not union so what choice does it really have?

You’ve gotta have the proper place to do your work-out.  Whether this is a gym, a track, the equipment, a road, your living room floor, wherever.  You can’t do ANY work-out with the place to do it.  At a gym, I would consider cleanliness to be a concern (I really don’t know, I’ve never worked out in a gym, unless you count middle school).  Any equipment that you use (elliptical, weights, treadmill) needs to be in proper working order.  The use of damaged or broken equipment can result in serious and long-lasting injuries.  If you do your working-out in your living room floor (core strengthening, weight training), there has to be room for you.  You don’t wanna be cramped, or have to be worrying about hitting your head or your foot on something.

Women: Something to control your hair is a must!  I have this issue with running upon occasion: Even when the bulk of my hair is in a pony tail, my side-swept bangs become UN-swept and then I can’t see where I am going.  It isn’t just about being comfortable and lessening your worries.  If your dealing with other equipment, your hair can become hazardous getting stuck or even causing scalping!!!  THAT would be pretty gruesome.

Various shoes for sale in Quarry Bay, Hong Kong

Various shoes for sale in Quarry Bay, Hong Kong (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

When you’re exercising or working out, you are focusing on your body.  Your attention is on what you are doing, how many reps you are doing, how long you are doing it, you really don’t want to be worrying about things that just don’t relate.  Although there may be some things that you just can’t control: Like, I cycle with my children in tow, that’s the only way that I can do it.  However, the older two are buckled in tight so I don’t have to worry about them climbing out (which they would totally do), and the youngest one is nestled nice and tight so she isn’t going anywhere either.  So, while I do have to be aware that they are there, I don’t really have to worry that anything is going to happen with them.

So, today’s stats on Cycling.  We actually decided to cycle over to the church’s building (my husband is an evangelist), just to see how long it would take.  It turned out to take less than 10 minutes one way, so we might be making the cycle on a regular basis as a means of transportation 😀

Distance: 2.1 Miles

Time: 18:51

Average Speed: 6.8 mph

Max Speed: 10.1 mph

New plan – Cycling AND Running??

Pictograms of Olympic sports - Cycling (road)....

Well, as I discussed a few days ago, it seems that my running ability is not on par with the C25K Beginner’s program.  My body is just so messed up.  In all truth, it really is my fault.  I was a HUGE couch potatoe throughout all of my pregnancies.  With my son, I had mild edema, pre-ecalmpsia, and high blood pressure, so I was *ordered* to take things easy.  With my oldest daughter, my hips were SO messed up that it was extremely painful to be active.  The more active I was, the worse my hips would be and the less my mobility became.  When you already have one child, you really cannot afford to lose your mobility.  Plus, I was so super sick during my pregnancy with her (lost 20 lbs. the first HALF).  Then, with my youngest daughter, I was just doing my best to survive.  I really was just living day by day, struggling to get my chores done, and taking every advantage of nap times.  Emotionally, I was a wreck, had no clue how I was going to deal with 3 children under two and a half years of age (another story for another blog).  Any type of exercising was out of the question.  I wouldn’t say that I was lazy during any of my pregnancies, if your a stay at home mother, you really are anything except lazy.  But, I wasn’t too terribly physically active…couldn’t handle it.

Now that I’m trying to get up off my butt and doing something, my body is fighting back.  My lungs can handle it.  I can push my lungs, control my breathing.  However my legs are not liking the *abuse*.  My knees disagreed with my shoes, my tibias are arguing with my shins, and my glutes have strife with my pelvis.  Running 3X a week just isn’t going to work RIGHT NOW.

So, I’m going to start slower than beginner.  At first I was really frustrated at myself, I hated my body, I was angry that the wonderful gift of children came with such an unexpected burden.  But I have a plan now, and I’m ok with everything that’s gone on.  Allow me to share my plan, and maybe someone else who has similar issues may want to join in?

I go running twice a week.  I follow the idea of the Cool Runnings program, but what would take a normal person two weeks to complete will end up taking me three weeks.  And then, on days that I’m not running, I cycle, twice a day.  Running is something that I can do by myself without my children, and cycling is something that I can do with my whole family, and also help my husband get into shape.

Cycling

So there you have it.  A plan.  Having a plan is the first step to correcting a situation.  I’ll be sure to keep you updated on how this plan works, so far, I’m quite happy with it!

Today’s cycling stats (using Strava cycling app for iphone):

First time

  • 1.6 miles
  • 16:06 minutes
  • 6.0 mph average
  • 10.4 mph max speed

Second time

  • 1.6 miles
  • 19:04 minutes (had to stop to adjust the kids…silly)
  • 5.5 mph average
  • 9.6 mph max speed

Stuck on week 1 (of the C25K begginner’s running program)

Well, I guess I’ve done the first week of the Couch to 5K beginner’s running program about 4 times in the past year.  Why keep starting, why not just don’t quit?  Well, there are quite a few different reasons and I’m just so stinking frustrated about all of them!

It was last year, I guess right about this time – in May – I got through the third week, and discovered I was 7 weeks pregnant.  Overall, probably not something to be frustrated about, but as far as the running went…well…I had to stop.

About two months ago, I got through the first week and my knees gave out.  I’ve never had great knees anyways, but I was trying to run in cheap worn out tennis shoes…this just doesn’t work.  It was another four weeks or so before we could afford to get me some new, meant for running, shoes.  I was so stinking frustrated, I came home fuming and totally pigged out on M&M’s – I know, way to counteract those burned calories.

A month ago, I got through the first week and then my husband diagnosed me with shin splints (I wrote about that HERE).  My leg hurt so bad I didn’t know if I was going to be able to drive home.  Again, I was so angry that I came home and pigged out on ice cream – again counteracting the burned calories.

Once again, it seems that the shin splints have flaired up.  I was attempting the first day of the second week, it shouldn’t have been too hard.  The weather was absolutely perfect, and I was ready to really push myself and do it.  45 seconds into the first running segment, I noticed that my shoe was untied.  So, I stopped and tied it, and noticed a slight aching in my leg.  I thought, no big deal, it’s probably just that muscle getting worked a bit (I was very diligent tonight about warming up, stretching, and getting my legs ready to run).  I finished that run segment and felt great!  I was hardly out of breath, I could feel my blood pumping, and I thought “I can totally do this”.  However, as I continued with the walking segment, my leg just got worse and worse.  By the time my clock hit 2 minutes, I could hardly walk on it.  I limped the rest of the way around the track and somehow managed to drive home.  Talking to my husband about the situation, I just about cried all over him because I was very unhappy.  This time, I came home and pigged out on pizza.  For some reason the pigging out makes me feel better.

Well, we should be scheduling a doctor’s appointment soon, and maybe I’ll get some legitimate answers, figure things out, and start over AGAIN.  Yeah, this little Mamma is ready to get into shape :-\

Beating Down The Judgments

Couch to 5KI am not a thin person.  I mean, seriously, I’ve had three children!  I’ve got a belly pooch that makes me look AT LEAST 6 months pregnant.  Yes, I am *very* self conscious about it.

I run in a very public place – the local park.  There is nothing private about my running.  Anyone can watch me run, they can decide whatever they want to about me.  I am very slow, so naturally there are other runners (and even walkers, I know, how embarrassing) who pass me up.

There is a 123.7% probability that my own insecurities are playing against me, but when I am running, I feel EVERY SINGLE pair of eyes staring at me.  I can sense their probing brains thinking: “What is that fat girl doing running?”  With every person that passes me up I shrink a little bit smaller.  So, just how do I overcome these emotions?  Let me suggest 5 different ways that I have overcome them.

  1. I Love Running.  That’s it.  I’m not running to lose weight, I’m not doing it to get in shape, I’m not doing it for anyone else.  I run because I enjoy it.  If someone else wants to pass judgment on self-enjoyment, then I can totally call out their wine/beer drinking, or their magazine collection, or whatever else that they may do as a means of pleasure.  At least this form of “escape” has some beneficial value aside from mentality.
  2. C25KI’ve just started.  A quote that I read on the lovely world of pinterest: It takes four weeks for you to notice, eight weeks for close friends and family to notice, and another 12 weeks for the rest of the world to notice, keep going.  It takes TIME to lose the weight.  Especially after you’ve had a child, like they tell you, it took you nine+ months to gain the weight, it’ll take you at least that long to lose it.  Be patient, you’ll get there.
  3. I’ve had three children.  I know that not everyone can use this as an excuse for their weight.  How about “I went to College (freshmen fifteen, right?)”, or “I’m only 16”, or even “I just realized that I need to do some sort of physical exersize and this is what I’ve chosen”.  Find a legitimate excuse.  Don’t use this excuse as a reason to not get out there and run, just use it to quell those judgmental stairs that you feel as you travel past anyone else on the playground.
  4. How are you going to judge me, when you’re just as heavy/out of shape?  Yes, I’m pulling out the comparison card (which really is a big No No, because you don’t know the other person’s situation).  If just to keep your own mind at ease, go ahead and pull it out, but please, keep this one to yourself.  Just as you don’t like feeling that accusatory stare, so others wont appreciate it from you.
  5. JudgmentHow many people in the world are sitting on their big fat butts, NOT exercising?  Another quote from the lovely world of pinterest:  Doesn’t matter how slow you are going, you’re still lapping everyone on the couch.  Again, I’m pulling out the comparison card, but if a person has enough precious time to sit on the couch and watch television then they can certainly find the time to do SOME physical exercise.  Because like I said above, a little is better than none!

So there you have it.  At least the ones that I use to keep me going.  Also, having a good soundtrack should keep you a bit distracted from those non-existent staring eyes, but distractions are going to be covered in a later post (go ahead and subscribe so you wont miss it!).

((If you’d like an invite to pinterest, simply let me know and I’ll send one right over to you, it really is an awesome social site!))

This Eventide’s Data:

Total Time (From walking on to walking off the track): 23:39.6

  • Warm-up: 3:11.8
  • Run: 1:07.3
  • Walk: 1:37.2 (I got a bit distracted)
  • Run: 1:05.7
  • Walk: 1:30.4
  • Run: 1:00.7
  • Walk: 1:31.2
  • Run: 1:04.6
  • Walk: 1:40.8 (got distracted again…haha!)
  • Run: 1:05.2
  • Walk: 1:42.2 (I’ll admit, I didn’t want to run anymore at this point)
  • Run: 1:10.9 (but I pressed on, and really tried to push myself!)
  • Walk: 4:51.1 to get all the way around the track

Total Distance: 1.5 Miles

Calories Burned: 207

Pace: 15:46

Sound Track

  • Earth Wind and Fire – Let’s Groove Tonight
  • Yellowcard- Way Away
  • Matchbox Twenty – 3 a.m.
  • Weird Al – Star Wars Cantina
  • Earth Wind and Fire – Let’s Groove Tonight
  • Blues Brothers – Ghost Riders In The Sky
  • Tarzan – Trashing the Camp

Self diagnosed with Shin Splints?

C25KDidn’t do so great tonight.  It was a lot rougher.  Didn’t go as far or as long either.

Maybe it was the meat loaf for dinner.  That’s a heavy meal that sticks with you for a while.

Perhaps it was the dehydration.  I’m awful at drinking enough water.

It could’ve been the rougher terrain.  Hail storm a couple nights ago knocked around LOTS of debris.

Apart from the stitch I got in my side (this is a side affect that I have noticed before, when I try to do physical activity without being properly hydrated), by the fourth running segment, I starting feeling a pain in my shins.  I tried to shrug it off, no big deal, pains come and go all the time.  But, as you can see from my times listed below, during the fifth shift of running, it was too bad to ignore.  A pain unlike any I had felt before.  It wasn’t muscle pain, or fatigue, but rather a dull ache right down in my bones.  This pain was present in both legs.  It was so bad that I had trouble driving home.

Talking to my husband about it after I did manage to get home, he diagnosed me with shin splints.  Having no idea what a shin splint was, what caused it, how to keep it from happening again, I did a bit of googeling.  I came across these two awesome websites (WebMd and Medical News Today) which answered any questions about shin splints that I could have, and confirmed in my little head that my husband had diagnosed me right.

Running with Shin SplintsTo save you the tedious job of reading through these websites, let’s just say that shin splints are an inflamation of the shin bone (the Tibia) and my shin splints are probably caused by my flat feet running on the hard concrete.

I haven’t always had flat feet; but being pregnant tends to make your feet go all out of shape.  See, what happens is, when you are pregnant, you have this hormone that causes your ligaments to relax (you’ve gotta be able to get a 6+ lb child through your pelvic girdle, the ligaments stretch).  However, this hormone isn’t focused to your pelvic region, it effects EVERY ligament in your body, including the ones that hold your feet together.  My feet grew a half size to a whole size with each pregnancy and they don’t shrink back afterwards.

What am I going to do to combat these shin splints?  Get inserts for my shoes, for the arch support.  That’s it for now.  If that doesn’t do the trick I might have to try something else, or even more drastic, go to the doctor.  But for now, this is going to have to be enough for me.

Do you have some sort of physical condition that might keep you from physical activity?  How do you combat it and fight through it?

 

Tonight’s Numbers:

Total Time (From walking on to walking off the track): 26:06.9

  • Warm-up: 5:01.2
  • Run: 1:01.6
  • Walk: 1:30.8
  • Run: 1:02.1
  • Walk: 1:30.5
  • Run: 1:02.1
  • Walk: 1:31.6
  • Run: 1:01.0
  • Walk: 1:32.2
  • Run: 0:51.4
  • Walk: 10:01.2 to complete around the track

Total Distance: 1.0 Miles

Calories Burned: 228

Pace: 26:06

Sound Track

  • Reliant K – Must’ve Done Something Right
  • Stepenwolf – Born to Be Wild
  • Relient K – Mood Rings
  • Smashmouth – All Star
  • Reliant K – Must Have Done Something Right (again, played twice?)
  • Journey – Any Way You Want It
  • Switchfoot – This is Your Life
  • Yellow Card – Life of a Salesman

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