Rest is NOT Optional

Today, after I put Vera down for her morning nap, I didn’t lace up my running shoes. I didn’t turn on a workout video. I didn’t run around working on the myriad, never-ending chores waiting for me. Instead, I took a long, hot shower, put on clean PJs, and crawled back into bed.

I don’t think I actually slept. I’m a terrible napper. But it was a much-needed respite for my brain and body. I’ve been feeling incredibly worn down lately, and it’s no surprise. I’ve been running 3-4 times a week, doing yoga and strength training. I’ve been rehearsing for my show, staying up past my bedtime a couple of times a week. I’m still only sleeping in 3-4 hour chunks. I’ve been cooking and cleaning and trying to have a social life. And quite frankly, it’s all been a bit too much. While I’m not actually sick, it feels like it. My singing is suffering and my workouts are feeling exhausting.

It’s easy to forget sometimes that I’m only seven months postpartum. Only seven months removed from growing my baby and pushing her out of my body. While I wish I were at 100% of my pre-pregnancy energy and endurance, that’s far from the case. Most days, I feel a bone-deep exhaustion that never quite goes away.

It’s frustrating not to feel like myself most days. I don’t think I’ll get back to normal until I finish with breastfeeding. And that’s ok. I’m fighting against the nasty voice in my head that tells me I’m not doing enough. I’m ignoring the ever-present social media messages of “No excuses!” and “Never miss a Monday!” and “I lost all my baby weight working out 20 minutes a day and you can too!” and all of the other crap that I see telling me I can and should do it all.

Instead, I’m remembering that I am Vera’s primary source of nutrition, and if I don’t take care of myself, I can’t take care of her. I’m remembering that I get to determine what fitness looks like for me. I’m remembering that the overall picture of health has to include mental health. I’m remembering that rest is necessary. My body was telling me in no uncertain terms today that I needed to take it easy, so I did. And I don’t feel a single iota of guilt or regret.

How I’m feeling today is also an indicator to me that I need to clean up my social media follows. I don’t need help feeling guilty. I don’t need to see images and messages that make me feel bad. I shouldn’t have to type this, but I’m going to anyway: it’s OK to rest. It’s OK not to work out if you are sick, if you are tired, if you just don’t fucking feel like it. Giving your body the rest it needs is just as important as doing the work.

Do you ever feel like you need to force yourself to rest?

Manic Monday Training Recap – 02/18/19

Manic Monday

What Was Planned vs What Happened

Monday 02/11/19: 1.75 mile run | 1.75 mile run + hip strength
I warmed up with 30 each of squats, glute bridges, clam shells and leg lifts plus a quarter mile jog, then did 3 x 400 with 400 jogging recoveries. Short and sweet.

Tuesday 02/12/19: Strength | Yoga + Abs
My friend Penelope came over for a nice tandem yoga workout. I also did a 10ish minute ab workout of my own devising.

Wednesday 02/13/19: 1.5 mile run | 1.5 mile run + hip strength + stretching
1.5 mid-pace miles. Ben had a snow day so I got to do this on my own time instead of rushing to get it all in while Vera napped.

Thursday 02/14/19: Yoga1.75 mile run + hip strength + stretching
My friend who usually comes over on Fridays asked to come over today instead, so I got my Friday run done.

Friday 02/15/19: 1.75 mile run | Rest
I had planned to do a nice HIIT workout, but I was feeling run down and Vera was a bit feverish and needy all day, so I just skipped it.

Saturday 02/16/19: 2.25 mile run | 2.25 mile run
I warmed up for half a mile at a nice easy pace, then bumped up the speed one notch every quarter of a mile until I hit 2.25 miles. It was a nice little challenge, but not too hard.

Sunday 02/17/19: Rest | Rest
We went to a birthday party and an indoor water park and had a blast.

Weekly Mileage: 5.75

Total 2019 Mileage: 60.5

Woohoo, another week of 5k training down, and I didn’t miss a single run! It feels so good to have a plan, and to be sticking to it (for once, haha!). I’m starting to think more seriously about upcoming races and what I want to work toward this year, but the biggest thing for me is just getting back to regular running. If that means I just run and don’t put the pressure of racing on, that’s fine. We’ll see. For now, I’m a happy camper.

Friday Free-For-All – 02/15/19

Friday Free-For-All

My orchid is blooming! A few weeks ago I mentioned that it had buds, but I wasn’t sure whether or not it would open. Well, I’ve officially got one flower, and it’s beautiful! Yay!

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Three-day weekend coming up! Ben decided to take a personal day on Monday, so we have a three-day weekend, and it’s jam-packed. Friend visits, birthday parties, and visits to indoor water parks, ahoy! I can’t wait to put Vera in a little bathing suit ❤

Valentine’s Day was super low-key for us. Vera and I went out for a Galentine’s lunch with my girlfriend Nikki and her son, and then Ben and I did a simple gift exchange. I got him ointment for his dry, cracked winter hands, and he got me Sour Patch Kids and herbed goat cheese. We wrapped up the evening watching Archer in bed and going lights out at 9 pm. #romance

Are you a green thumb, or a black thumb, like me?

Manic Monday Training Recap – 02/11/19

Manic Monday

What Was Planned vs What Happened

Monday 02/04/19: 1.5 mile run | 1.5 mile run + hip strength + stretching
My body felt refreshed after taking a full rest day on Sunday, but I still kept the pace nice and easy for this run. I also did 30 each of clam shells, reverse clam shells, side leg lifts, glute bridges, and air squats, and finished up with my split stretch routine.

Tuesday 02/05/19: Strength | Arms + Abs
I did a couple of short workouts from the Tone It Up Girls’ bikini series. It’s crazy how weak my core is post-baby, but I’m committed to working on it regularly.

Wednesday 02/06/19: 1.5 mile run | 1.5 mile run + hip strength + stretching
This workout was EXACTLY the same as Monday, just a tiny bit faster on the run portion.

Thursday 02/07/19: Yoga | Yoga
I pulled up Yoga With Adriene’s “Yoga for Runners” video. It was just what I needed.

Friday 02/08/19: 1.5 mile run | 1.5 mile run + hip strength
Another short, easy run, and a bit of hip strength. I didn’t get to do my whole routine because Vera got fussy.

Saturday 02/08/19: 2 mile run | Rest
We traveled down to my parents’ for an overnight, and I opted to take a rest day with the option to run on Sunday instead.

Sunday 02/10/19: Rest | Rest
Oops. Yeah. After a huge Sunday breakfast of pancakes and mimosas, then the drive home, I didn’t feel like running.

Weekly Mileage: 4.5 miles

Total 2019 Mileage: 53.25

Not a bad start to my 5k training plan. I didn’t get to my “long run” on the weekend, but I’m not too upset about it. I know that distances of up to 2.5 miles feel pretty good right now, and seeing my parents was a good excuse to miss a run.

Did you run long this weekend? How did it go?

Friday Free-For-All – 02/08/19

Friday Free-For-All

I had my first ever flat tire experience on Tuesday night. I hit a pot hole and instantly popped my right front tire. Luckily, I was able to pull into a convenience store parking lot, where I had light and people, instead of being stranded on the side of the road. I may have panicked briefly, but I’m actually well-versed in the mechanics of tire changing, so I jut got to it. I had several dudes stop and offer help, and two actually stayed for moral support until I was done, which I was grateful for. From start to finish, the change took me about 45 minutes, but most of that time was wrestling with the jack. By the time it was done I was very wet, very cold, and very dirty, but also proud of myself for handling it like the badass I am. Unfortunately, this means that, mere days after getting the CR-V back on the road (brake issues), we are now back to having only one carseat bearing car.

We’ve had some crazy bad roads lately. Lots of freezing rain and mixed precipitation have led to tons of accidents, near accidents, and school closures. Of course, not for Ben’s school. They don’t even do delayed starts because his district doesn’t own their own buses. SO MANY schools were delayed or closed yesterday, but not Ben’s. Laaaaame.

I bought Vera a dress to match the dress I’m wearing for my Disney show. It was on clearance for $4.78 and I just couldn’t NOT purchase it. I’m very much looking forward to this and many more occasions of twinning with my daughter 🙂

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Coming back to fitness after pregnancy and childbirth is extremely humbling. I did 20 minutes of strength work on Tuesday–a 10 minute arm workout, and a 10 minute ab workout–and I am still embarrassingly sore. Like, had a hard time getting out of bed this morning sore. But hey, DOMS means I did some work, and work will get me where I want to go.

Have you ever had to change a flat tire?

January Recap and February Goals

I can’t believe we’re already a week into February. It feels like I just barely sat down to make some January goals. I swear, every passing year seems to go by faster, especially  now that I have a kiddo. Yikes!

Anywho, a new month is time to look back at the previous month to see how far we’ve come, and make plans for the future. As a refresher, my goals for the month of January are below.

January Goals

I am proud to say that I kept up with pretty much all of these goals to my own satisfaction. There was only one week I didn’t do an actual yoga workout, but I did plenty of stretching on my own. I ran at least one mile every day for the entire month of January. I did strength training every week thanks to Barre3 workouts with my friend Penelope. Ben and I planned our meals out every week, and I did things like make overnight oats and wash and chop lettuce to make healthy eating easier. I’ve published several new blog posts, and I’ve been a lot better about commenting on the blogs I follow instead of just lurking.

So what’s next for February? Well, you already know my run streak is over, and I will be trying to work up to more distance and speed instead of trying to run every day. With that in mind, here’s what’s up for February:

  • Run 4 times/week
  • Strength train once/week
  • Yoga once/week

So, in other words, “Follow my 5k training plan.” Nothing too crazy. Rehearsals for my Disney show will be ramping up in the coming weeks, so I want to set myself up for success. I do plan to keep up with meal planning and prep as much as possible, but I don’t think I need to make it a goal for the month. It’s pretty much habit at this point.

Are you training for anything in particular at the moment?

Goodbye Streaking, Hello Training!

When I started my run streak at the beginning of the year, I mostly wanted to just make running part of my life again post-baby. I was having a hard time finding motivation, and needed a fitness goal. In the back of my mind, I hoped that I would be able to make it the entire month of January, but wasn’t making a big deal out of it. I just wanted to see how far I could get.

When I reached the end of January, streak intact, I started seeing starry-eyed visions of streaking for the entire year of 2019. It was exciting and a bit scary and I so wanted to keep going. But this past Friday and Saturday, I started feeling some worrying niggles in my right knee. I hemmed and hawed and hoped it would go away. But I when I woke up at 2:30 on Sunday morning to feed Vera and felt that twinge, I decided immediately and unequivocally that it was time to practice what I preach and quit before a niggle became a full-blown injury.

I have to say, I absolutely loved my run streak. I loved the consistency of knowing each day that I had to get down to my treadmill and get it done. I loved pushing through hard paces. I loved cruising through easy miles. This run streak helped me feel like a runner again. It helped me reconnect with a body that had started to feel foreign and uncomfortable. It made me feel like me again.

I’m proud that I made it through 33 straight days of running; I am equally proud that I listened to my body and quit before I hurt myself.

To be completely honest, part of me is scared that without the streak to keep me going, I’ll stop running again. It’s cold. It’s dark. I have a 7 month old baby. Motivation is low this time of year. I need something else to keep me inspired now that the streak is done. Therefore, I’ll be loosely following a Hal Higdon 5k training plan. I say “loosely” because I always mix up the days a bit, but generally follow the recommended mileage for the week.

It’s an eight week “beginner” training plan, which has nice, low mileage. I probably won’t actually run a 5k race at the end of this plan, purely because there aren’t many races available during Vermont winters, but I’m looking at it as prep for the races I hope to run this spring and summer.

 

I’m excited to build up my mileage again. The longest I’ve run since Vera was born is 3.5 miles, and that was months ago now. I don’t necessarily want to do a lot of distance running this year, but I’d like to get to the point where a distance of five miles feels comfy and doable, cause right now that feels almost impossible. When I complete the plan, I’ll have to reevaluate and see what’s next, but I’m hopeful that by then, running will be back in my life for good.

What running/fitness goal are you working toward right now?