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?

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Postpartum Fitness: Six Months In

Wow. I had a baby six months ago. This has been simultaneously the longest and shortest six month period of my life, but I wouldn’t have it any other way.

I figured now would be a good time to check in on the whole postpartum fitness thing, since it’s been half a year (!!!). When last we left it, I was determined to do my best and not put too much pressure on myself to “bounce back” and lose the baby weight. I started pretty strongly back in the fall, running distances up to four miles and generally feeling pretty good. But then between illness, sleep deprivation, and an early-onset winter, I fell off the bandwagon.

The good news is, even though exercise hasn’t really been happening, I’m already within five pounds of my pre-baby weight. The bad news is, my body composition is still very far away from where I’d like it to be. My endurance is shot and I’m nowhere near as strong as I was before I got pregnant. Taking nine months off of exercise and growing a human will do that to you.

Now that sleep is back on the menu (thank you, Ferber method sleep training!) and I have a treadmill literally in my house, I’m hopeful that things will pick up again. I already started my New Year run streak, which I’m excited about, and I’m trying very hard to find consistency with yoga and strength training as well.

As of this writing, Vera is taking 2-3 naps per day that are anywhere from 30 minutes to an hour and a half. My goal is to just put on my workout clothes and do whatever I can during her first nap of the day, which tends to be her longest nap. If all I can manage is a 1 mile run, that’s better than nothing. But I think, as her nap schedule evens out and I get my running legs under me again, I’ll be able to hopefully start covering longer distances and getting my speed back.

My main fitness goal at this point is to simply feel more like myself. I currently feel like a bit of a stranger in my own body, and I miss feeling strong and confident. Also, we are still planning to have at least one more baby, and I’d like to be as fit as possible before putting my body through another pregnancy. I fully attribute my healthy pregnancy and uncomplicated delivery to how fit I was before I got pregnant with Vera, and while I know it’s no guarantee that next time will be the same, I’d like to at least give myself and the next baby the same head start.

Mamas, what was your favorite form of exercise after your little ones arrived?

Manic Monday Training Recap – 10/01/18

Manic Monday

Postpartum Recovery – 09/24/18 – 09/30/18

Monday 09/24/28: Rest
Continuing the trend from last week’s recap, today was a rest day. Between another rough night with Vera and being out of the house for a huge chunk of the day due to baby yoga, I didn’t manage a workout, and I’m totally cool with it.

Tuesday 09/25/18: Postnatal Core + Tone It Up Bikini Arms
It was a chilly, dreary day, so rather than running, I did some strength work. It’s humbling to realize how much strength I’ve lost this year, but I’m committed to getting back at it.

Wednesday 09/26/18: 75 Minute Postnatal Yoga Class
My yoga studio opened a new location that’s about 20 minutes closer to where we live, so I’m PSYCHED. My lower back has been incredibly sore lately so it felt wonderful to get a good stretch in.

Thursday 09/27/18: Rest
No excuses, just didn’t get it done.

Friday 09/28/18: Rest
See Thursday.

Saturday 09/29/18: 5k Run
2:1 run/walk intervals. Perfect running weather. Happy runner.

Sunday 09/30/18: Rest
We had a busy day of visiting Grammie, grocery shopping, and wandering around the Underhill Harvest Market.

Not the week I had hoped for, but it is what it is. This week is supposed to be week one of training for the Turkey Trot 5k, and I’m a little anxious. Training plans and I generally don’t work out that well, and now that I have a baby I suspect they’ll work even less well. Still, all I can do is try.

 

Manic Monday Training Recap – 09/17/18

Manic Monday

Postpartum Recovery – Week of 09/10/18 – 09/16/18

Monday 09/10/18: Rest
I decided to take a full rest day to give my knees a chance to feel better.

Tuesday 09/11/18: 75 minute postnatal yoga
Vera and I hit up a lovely postnatal yoga class together. She was a champ and I got most of a workout in.

Wednesday 09/12/18: Rest
I wanted to give my knees another day to rest up after the pain I experienced this weekend, so I took a full rest day.

Thursday 09/13/18: 2.5 mile stroller walk
After Ben got home from work, we went for a family walk on the rail trail. It was a lovely evening, and felt great.

Friday 09/14/18: TIU Lift and Tone Booty Workout + 1.5 mile stroller walk
I kind of hate the TIU Girls, but I have to admit that their workouts are short and effective. In the afternoon, Vera and I took a walk on the rail trail and met up at the playground with my friend Nikki and her son Kalamack.

Saturday 09/15/18: 3.15 mile run/walk
I switched to 1:1 run/walk intervals today, and am happy to report zero knee pain and one happy runner!

Sunday 09/16/18: Rest
I was tired and sore after two days of decent workouts, so I took another rest day. Ben and I went to the Grand Point North music festival and left Vera with her grandparents for the firs time. It was hard, but wonderful.

I’m proud of myself for listening to my body and taking the rest I needed after noticing knee pain, rather than trying to push it. My body simply isn’t as fit as it used to be, and I need to give it time. I’m feeling pretty much 100% today other than a bit of DOMS, so I hope to go for a run/walk when Ben gets home from work tonight.

When’s the last time you went to a concert?

Manic Monday Training Recap – 09/10/18

Manic Monday

Postpartum Recovery: Week of 09/03/18 – 09/09/18

Monday 09/03/18: 3 mile walk/run
This was another 3:1 walk/run outing, and despite my stomach being a little dodgy due to running too close to breakfast, it felt great!

Tuesday 09/04/18: Postnatal Core
Vera slept through the time we needed to leave for yoga class, so I did a quick postnatal core workout at home while she was napping.

Wednesday 09/05/18: Postnatal Core & Postnatal Full Body Workout
It was too hot to leave the house, so I did some workouts I found on YouTube: two postnatal core workouts (about 20 minutes total) and about 75% of a full body workout (Vera woke up from her nap and I didn’t get to finish).

Thursday 09/06/18: Rest
Vera had a doctor appointment, and after her shots she was VERY sad and sleepy, so we just did lots of snuggling.

Friday 09/07/18: Rest
Between Vera being extra sleepy and fussy from her shots, and a last-minute visit from my parents, I wasn’t able to get a workout in.

Saturday 09/08/18: 5k walk/run
My first walk/run with 2:1 intervals. I had my fastest post-baby 5k and my fastest post-baby mile!

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Before baby, I would have been ashamed of this “slow” pace. I probably would have beat myself up over it. But guess what? This was my fastest after-baby 5k, with my fastest after-baby mile. 2:1 walk/run intervals. • It’s so easy to worry that I’ll never hit my before-baby paces again, but here’s the thing: I truly believe that my strongest, fastest running days are AHEAD of me, not behind. After all, I was only a runner for six years before baby. I have the rest of my life to see what my after-baby body can do! • #runnergirl #vtrunner #motherrunner #womensrunningcommunity #postpartumfitness #postpartumjourney #returntorunning #instarunners #momswhorun #runnermom #nineweekspostpartum #lvrt #hokaahari2

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Sunday 09/09/18: 3 mile walk/run
Unfortunately, some knee pain surface during this run. Both knees. Which is new and different for me. I tried really hard to just focus on using good form and taking it nice and slow, but the soreness continued even after I was done. Boo.

So. Knee pain. I’m not sure if it’s due to the new shoes, lingering hormonal weirdness post-pregnancy, or maybe just irritation because I’m heavier than usual. Whatever the cause, I plan to take a few days off from my new walk/run schedule and focus on mobility and strength. Time to bust out the foam roller!

Any tips for dealing with knee pain?

I’m Ready for a Comeback

As I teased on Friday, I’ve registered for my first postpartum race: the Zack’s Place Turkey Trot 5k on Thanksgiving.

I ran this race in 2012 (pre-blog days) and loved it. I was registered to run it again in 2014 but DNS’d due to a foot injury. The race is in Woodstock, VT, which is just a few minutes from my parents’ house. We’ll be with them for Thanksgiving this year, so I’m excited to do this race again. The registration fee is only $30, and the pre/post-race perks are great.

Needless to say, I’m feeling both excited and nervous. As of Thanksgiving, I won’t have run a race in over a year, and I haven’t yet started running postpartum. At this point, I don’t have any goals, other than to get to the starting line healthy. I’m sure some goals will become clear over the course of training. In the meantime, I just can’t wait to start running again!

Who else will be running a Turkey Trot on Thanksgiving?