Adjustments

Life with an infant is all about adjustments.

Learning to leave the house an hour before you need to be anywhere.

Calling 3 hours of uninterrupted sleep, “sleeping through the night”.

Having one cocktail on date night instead of three because the thought of even a slight hangover brings tears to your saggy, exhausted looking eyes.

Getting back into a workout routine requires a little extra flexibility than it did pre-baby. Our morning walk has been a staple of our daily routine since Hayden turned two weeks old and I got the clear from my doctor to walk more than the length of our driveway. Until last week, those walks were the only form of exercise available to me and I took them VERY seriously.

Now that I have all of my old workouts as options (in addition to the walks) I went slightly overboard over the past week and wanted to do them all.

Elliptical? Did it.

Spin Class? Went. Nearly died, but went.

I’ve even managed to build up to a little over 2 miles on my runs, which I’m considering a huge accomplishment since I started at 1.4 miles the first time out. Intervals seem to be the best workouts I’m having lately and I’m ok with that. It’s 5 minutes on, two minutes off and I’m slowly building up the “on” time each workout. Even though I might not be able to plan when I can workout, it’s nice to have goals when the opportunity presents itself.

  
What I’m getting used to is not being able to plan my workouts too far in advance and jumping up to hit the gym whenever the opportunity presents itself. Since Hayden can’t go to the gym daycare until she’s six months old bringing her with me isn’t an option. On Tuesday Jim got home from work early and I was changed and at the gym within 15 minutes of his arrival.

It’s not just the logistics of getting workouts in that I’m adjusting to. Listening to your body is a whole different ball game after you’ve had a human removed from it and are spending your days raising said human. In case no one has filled you in, babies are exhausting and unpredictable. As a direct result, by the time Jim gets home from work most days I am also exhausted and fairly unpredictable. I’m sure it’s making his life extra awesome these days. I’m working on it. 

Last night I spent most of the day dreaming of getting out for my run the moment he walked through the door. When that moment actually came, I was so exhausted all I could think about was doing the dishes and going directly to sleep. At 7pm. For the night.

Part of me felt guilty for not getting outside on one of the few non-hot/humid nights we’ve had lately. The rest of me felt too sleepy to really care.

And with that, it’s time for our morning walk!

Past few days of FitBit data for your amusement! 

   
    
    
 Hope everyone is having an awesome week! How do you balance your workouts with everything else in your life? Any tricks from the moms out there for not being so exhausted? I’ve tried “sleep when baby sleeps” but I usually can’t fall asleep and end up more frustrated than when I laid down in the first place. 

 

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Training for Two

As I’m writing this the clock says 3:18am. Don’t get me wrong, I’m very happy to be blogging and keeping in touch with you all. I just thought I’d do it at a normal hour and with more than two hours of sleep behind me.

It turns out that having a puppy is like having a starter baby. He wakes up every couple hours through the night. He cries when he needs something. He has accidents. And we still love him with every fiber of our beings… because look at that face!

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Their love for each other is adorable.

Their love for each other is adorable.

Trying to train Buster and getting him on a schedule has made me realize the flaws in my own training lately. I don’t run at the same time every day or the same days. I run when it’s convenient and when the weather allows. Not having a set time or schedule is starting to really impact my motivation and improvement goals. Kind of like Jim allowing Buster to sleep in the bed made the crate seem like hell on earth. Why would he want the crate when the bed is so warm and cozy? Why would I want to go out for a training run when the bed is so warm and cozy and I have this little guy to hang out with?

This season I’m using the Nike+ apps new “Coach” feature to guide my training. There are a few things I really like about it so far:

  • It looks at your weeks by mileage and analyzes all your data by week. Having a clear picture of how you’re improving week-to-week is really motivating for me.
  • The program isn’t incredible aggressive, but is challenging enough that I feel myself getting stronger already. I’m not worried about injuring myself by over-training which was a major concern with the past two years programs.

Each run has a specific goal in mind and the voice over encourages you at each significant milestone in your run which is corny but actually really motivating. I like hearing the Nike lady say “You’re halfway there, keep it going!”. Yes Nike+ Siri, I will keep going. Thank you for the moral support.

Update: It’s now 9:30 am. Buster fell back asleep and apparently I followed suit pretty quickly. Love when that happens. Ok, so where was I…

Yes, marathon training in a Polar Vortex (I stand by this is not a real thing. It was what caused the world to end in The Day After Tomorrow). I’m trying to get myself to go outside as much as possible, but the weather this week has just been completely ridiculous, which I’m sure you know if you A. Own a TV B. Have looked at a weather report, or C. Have stepped outside at any point. No matter where you are, it’s cold and it sucks.

Not wanting to suck on Marathon Monday and also not wanting to die of frostbite, I had to improvise. Instead of running the distances the days Nike+ tells me I need to, I’m comparing the distance of each run to the forecast.

Have I mentioned my love of Nike+?

Have I mentioned my love of Nike+?

The 6 miler that I was supposed to do yesterday? That will be happening today when it’s slightly warmer. Todays 3 miles are going to be moved into the place of cross-training tomorrow. What about Sundays long run you ask? That’s going to happen on Saturday when  Mother Nature graces us with a tropical 55 degree day. It’s a little all over the place, but it’s getting done and that’s what matters.

I’m accepting that this is New England and this is winter and I shouldn’t be surprised that it’s bone-chillingly cold while I’m running. I’m getting creative with my treadmill runs and workouts and finding new ways to motivate myself instead of watching The Real Housewives of Wherever Happens To Be On The Gym TV.

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I’m coming back for you Boston.

How is everyones training going so far? I’m hearing from tons of friends training for Boston that they’re having a lot of difficulty finding motivation this year? Please tell me, I don’t sleep much these days. I’m sure I’ll need them soon! 

The Spontaneous Orgasm Is Real. Why This matters.

Yesterday I sent a tweet while on the way to school. I send lots of Tweets. This one seemed to get more attention than the others.

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I was more getting to the idea that I had accidentally worn yoga pants to a presentation. Yes, the presentation title was surprising on Twitter, but the class is Human Sexuality so to the class it was basically any other Tuesday morning. Last week our professor had a giant picture of penis on the projector on the board within 5 minutes of class. When we were still exhausted he said “Oh come on, it’s 9am and there’s a cock on the wall. Wake up!” He’s a riot. Which I guess you have to be to teach that subject to grad students. 

Anyways, the reactions I got on Twitter were pretty hysterical. I sent out the link to the New York Times article I was presenting. What I found funny is that no one was concerned with the actual finding that the spontaneous orgasm is real, or what it means for human physiology. The article itself is really interesting, but here are some highlights:

  • Women can essentially think themselves into a physical orgasm.
  • Brain scans showed no difference between these orgasms and orgasms achieved through physical stimulation.
  • This finding contradicts the work of many of the leading sexual researchers who focused on female sexuality to this point, proving we do not have as many answers as we think we do.

But in my humble opinion, these are just fun side notes to the most mind-blowing point. This proves the power of thought can have major physical impacts of the human body. There have been a lot of studies proving the power of prayer for terminally ill patients in keeping them alive longer, a positive mindset helping patients recover from surgery faster and the studies proving happy, optimistic people have stronger recovery rates from illness.  However, this is one of the first studies to show a mental thought having the exact same physical reaction as a tangible act. This blows the doors wide open for more breakthroughs in holistic medicine, mediation and other alternative treatments or illness.

This is also reminds us  how in control we are of our own physical performance. Think you’re going to PR at your next race? Reminding yourself that you really do not want that chemical-y, artificial snack food lying around the office? Your mindset can have a major impact of your physical performance in so many ways.

So the next time you’re nervous about toeing a start line or wondering if you really can lose those last few pounds remember this- I can think myself to an orgasm or a PR. My choice.

Whatever you choose, Just make sure you’re in the appropriate setting. Those MarathonFoto guys like capturing your runners high, not your Big-O.

xoxo,

Brittany

 

 

Recovery and October Goals

Sunday was in every sense of the word, a let down. I woke up at 5am with every intention of putting my respiratory infection behind me and toeing the starting line at the Rock n’Roll Providence Half Marathon. I jumped out of bed, got into the shower and well… things just went downhill from there. I started coughing. I started hacking. Hacking led to wheezing. I got dressed for the race, still determined to put it all behind me. I got in the car, drove a mile or so down the road and had to pull over due to another hacking fit. At that moment I had to call it- RnR Providence just wasn’t going to happen for me.

I turned around, pulled back into my recently departed driveway and parked myself back on the couch. I tried my best to fall back asleep, but again, the hacking won. Hacking is a gross term, I realize that and apologize for its use here. There is just no other word to describe what my body was doing. Instead of sleeping I decided my iPad and I would catch up on Breaking Bad. When feeling down on yourself just watch the plight of meth-cooking, cancer ridden school teachers. You’ll feel better about your own life in a flash. You will also consider the pros and cons of a career in the drug dealing business. No one who has ever watched that show can tell me the thought never passed fleetingly through their mind. $80million is just too tempting.  

All the downtime gave me plenty of time to set some goals for the month of October. I think it’s important to start every month with a short term goal to keep you accountable when the long-term goals are still a ways out. Right now one goal is consuming my existence. 3:34:59 at the 2014 Boston Marathon. I trained for 2012 and had to defer. 2013 was out of my control. 2014 will be my year. Not just my year to finish and earn the medal I receive, but my year to earn my spot at the following years Boston the right way. Not through a fluke or tragic gesture of kindness.

So, with that said, October. What’s the game plan?

Get back on a regular training schedule. With school and substitute teaching taking up loads of my time I’ve slacked on sticking to a rigid running schedule. Come December that won’t be an option anymore. It will be easier to adapt now when it’s perfect running weather.

Lose 5lbs. Summer is full of day drinking at the beach, cookouts and parties. I’d like to get back to my pre-summer weight before Boston training is officially underway.

100 miles. Gotta set a base for the inevitable 50+ mile weeks that will be here soon. I’d like to feel prepared for them.

 

So that’s where I am as of today. October is my favorite month of the year so today is basically a kick-off party for me. Happy Fall everyone!

What are your short and long-term goal? How are you planning to kick their butt? Let’s hear it in the comments!

xoxo

Brittany

For The Love of Endorphins. And Beer.

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The best item in the 2013 Boston Marathon swag bag.

Some workouts are done with a specific goal in mind. A BQ at the next marathon. New distance acheivements. To win an impossible bet with your 6’5” boyfriend that was entered into over one too many beers. That last one just me? Ok. Fine. You know you’ve done it too but I’ll let you pretend.

Yesterdays workout was done with a less athletic goal in mind. Beer. Sam Summer to be specific. Jim came home with a twelve pack of the good stuff on Monday night and it has been staring me in the face every time I’ve opened the fridge since. Even though summer has yet to make an appearance for more than a few hours around here, rumor has it that it’s bathing suit season. With that in mind, I have been abstaining from the joy of an ice cold beer after long sweaty workouts. I knew I truly had to earn the beer this week. I may have taken that slightly overboard.

A morning of errands and healthy grocery shopping was followed by a morning Group Power class. I love Group Power and the way I feel like I’ve had my distance running butt handed to me following every class. If you’ve ever tried Crossfit, Body Pump or aerobics picture a combination of all three. It’s amazing but you most certainly feel it the next day if not immediately afterward.

After Group Power I went home and made Bob Harpers skinny pasta sauce to cover my spaghetti squash in. See, told you I went healthy grocery shopping. Does anyone else dream about food during their workouts or am I the only fat kid in the gym doing it? Just me. Again? Ok fine. Back to the pasta sauce. My amazing auntie Gina is full blooded Italian and I grew up eating her pasta sauce. Classico just isn’t doing it for me. Never mind all the sugar and chemicals in it. Just the taste alone. Ick.

Believe it or not, all these healthy things equal sauce. No sugar. No corn syrup. Imagine that.

Believe it or not, all these healthy things equal sauce. No sugar. No corn syrup. Imagine that.

Feeling fairly accomplished for my day off, I parked my butt on the couch for an hour and read this months Runners World. After Wednesday night it just felt right to read the stories about the true heroes from that day.

After a couple episodes the little voice in my head started whispering “You’re being lazy. Go do something productive”. It turned into more of a yell than a whisper rather quickly, so I went back to the gym for a run. Nothing crazy, especially since all the treadmill running I’ve had to do lately is boring the crap out of me. I have such a beautiful running route now that staring at a TV screen just feels terrible.

My obsession with Nike+ is still going strong.

My obsession with Nike+ is still going strong.

I got home, checked the sauce was doing what Trainer Bob told me it should be doing and jumped into a wonderfully hot shower on a rainy day. I don’t like warm showers. I prefer to feel like an ambulance may need to be called at some point if I stay in one spot too long. My only mandatory criteria in the rental property was that it had incredibly hot water and good water pressure. The beach was a bonus.

After drying off and changing into sweats I re-parked my butt onto the couch and saw a text from my friend Ida.

“Spin?!?”

Sure?

I knew going into it that the class would be downright painful. My legs were already pretty tired from the two other workouts of the day but I love spin and there was a different instructor Ida had been telling me to try. So I went. It was worth it.

John’s class is all up tempo, upbeat, happy riding. Yes, the hills made me want to cry at certain points. I cursed his name and swore I would come back next week and do twice as many hills if he promised to let me off the hook. No deal. Oh well, I tried.

The end of the hour came faster than I could have expected and to be honest, I wanted to keep going. I was on that crazy endorphin high usually reserved for 16 miles into a run where you haven’t hit the wall quite yet and feel like you could run on forever. I took that feeling home with me where I fell onto the couch in a post long run glory type of way.

Thankfully Jim came home soon after because I’m pretty sure if I was left to my own devices I would have slept in my sweaty clothes right there. The endorphins were still there but even those weren’t enough to get me on my feet at that point. I yelled to Jim to take the pizzas out and he yelled the three words every woman loves to hear at the end of a long day.

“Want a beer?”

Yes. Yes I did.

Cheers and happy Friday everyone! Are you running any races this weekend? Let me know!

Thanks, Boston

Sometimes it takes a complete stranger to put things in perspective for you. Last night, I worked a private party for a solider returning from Kuwait. The party was about 30 or so older people congratulating an Army commander on his return from an overseas deployment that had lasted about a year. There were a lot of really kind words and big smiles. For all military families go through, it was really nice to see such a happy celebration. I had never met them and I couldn’t stop smiling for them.

Near the end of the meal a man in his 60’s walked over to me.

Man: “Excuse me sweetie, I heard you ran the Boston Marathon this year?”

Me: “Well, the first 22 miles of it, yes.”

Man: (extends hand) “I just wanted to congratulate you. I feel like with everything that happened you runners had your accomplishment, what you went through that day and the months of training overlooked. Congratulations young lady, I will be there cheering you on next year!”

I was dumbfounded. First, I had no idea how he found out I had run the Boston Marathon. I hadn’t said anything more personal than “Could I offer you another drink” to him at any point during the meal.

Secondly, the idea that this man wanted to go out of his way to congratulate me rather than offer his condolences. For the past two months every time someone has asked me about the race it has started or ended with “I’m so sorry you didn’t get to finish” or ‘Really makes you think how unimportant things like the actual race really are in the grand scheme of things”. For the first time since April 15 I felt proud of what I had done that day rather than guilty for being one of the 27,000 reasons people were drawn into a trap.

I’ve learned a lot about myself from this years race. A few days after the race Jim and I went to dinner and I confessed that I hated my job. Jim simply said “So quit”. That was it. No plan, no what-if’s. Just quit. His idea is that if it wasn’t making me happy, pack my desk and find something that would.

And that’s what I did. That Friday was my last day in marketing, and by the next Tuesday I was re-enrolled in my graduate program as a full time student. I’ve never been one to pull the trigger on life that quickly but if Boston taught me anything, it’s that life is short and precious. Don’t take it for granted and don’t think you can do anything tomorrow.

I’m not trying to pretend that I had all positive, life-affirming moments after Boston. It wasn’t until last week that I started to sleep through the night, and even that has only been a couple nights. I still can’t bring myself to display my medal, race bib or anything else from that day. I certainly couldn’t run the One Run Boston last month and cross the finish line. Not yet. Not without 26.19 miles behind it.

One day this will find its place in my house. For now, the sock drawer will do.

One day this will find its place in my house. For now, the sock drawer will do.

I’m trying to take a silver lining and let my experiences have an overall positive effect on my life. I can’t control what happened, and I can’t go back in time and warn everyone. But I can live my life to the fullest and take pride in the 22 miles that I accomplished.

Getting Back to Normal

You may be wondering where I’ve been. To be honest, I was wondering that for a while too. Life has thrown more than a few curveballs in the past few months and while they all were leading to something pretty fantastic they certainly threw me off my game for a bit there.

From the time I was born I have not been known as one to seek out major life change. Arriving a month and a half past my due date (sorry, mom!) my family eventually admitted they should have taken that as a sign that I am content in routine and will change that routine in my own good time. So when I came home in October and broke the news to my family that Jim and I were buying a house 45 minutes away from them and I left my job to take a new position closer to the new house they were understandably a bit shell shocked. To be honest, I was too. At 27, I was finally ready for the much needed life change I had been craving for so long.

October feels like a world ago. The universe decided to have some fun with my little plan and challenged my Type A personality in a declaration of war type way. I’ll sum it up like this- if you can at all avoid it- do not buy a short sale house. We spent 5 months with our money and time sucked up into a home that fell through on closing day. I cried for days. I refused to see any silver lining in the situation and every time someone reached out to offer their sympathy about the situation I immediately had to hand Jim the phone while I had a mini breakdown in the corner. It wasn’t dramatic at all, I promise. However if you happen to know of any official “Boyfriend of the year who stayed with a woman clearly having a psychotic break” awards, please let me know. A friend of mine wants to nominate someone. Again, just asking for a friend here.

A few weeks later Jim told me he found a perfect rental for us while I mourned the resale of our dream first home. He reminded me that there will be a million other houses and that this was a great opportunity for us to take a year and live together in a setting outside of my moms house and do whatever we want. After all, we didn’t have a mortgage to worry about. We looked at the rental house, I cried again, and told Jim do whatever he wanted I would hate everything anyways. Again with the positive outlook on life. I’m a winner.

We moved in last month and I have to admit I couldn’t be happier. It’s a perfect house for just the two of us, located 5 minutes from my job and 10 minutes from his. Grad school is 25 minutes away. Oh, and this is our backyard.

 

 

This does not suck. In the least.

This does not suck. In the least.

Overall I’m adjusting pretty well and I think running has been a huge part of that. I’m such a creature of habit and as strange as it sounds, changing my morning routine was my biggest concern about moving. No longer would I have a Marylou’s Coffee shop where everyone not only knew my name but usually had my coffee made perfectly waiting for me by the time I walked through the door. I wouldn’t have a quick breakfast with my brother in the morning before we played musical cars for whoever had to leave first. For all the things I don’t have- I still have my run. It’s not at the same gym on treadmill days, it’s not in the cemetery on perfect weather mornings, but it’s still my run and that’s adjusting too.

These days every run is done with the end goal of a BQ at Boston 2014 in my head. It’s going to be tough. I’ve never really trained for speed before, I’ve only trained to finish. I’m excited for the challenge and ready to put in the work. Before Boston I have a slew of other races to get through, including my most ambitious race yet. In October I’ll be running the Cape Code Marathon Chowdah Challenge. Like the well known Goofy Challenge during the Disney World Marathon Race Weekend, it’s the half marathon on Saturday followed by the full 26.2 on Sunday. I’m excited. I’m terrified. I’m sore already.

If any of you nice folks have any advice on how to run a double race weekend and not die I’d love to hear it. Looking forward to more daily posts and getting back to the wonderful world of run blogs!