Friday, July 29, 2011

The rarely talked about but very important reason to run while pregnant

Seriously. You are not going to find this in Runners’ World or Running Times or on the message boards of your favorite running community. You won’t find it in any pregnancy magazines, books, or forums. And certainly your OBGYN is not going to bring it up.

I mean really, nobody wants to talk about this kind of stuff. But it happens. It just does. And it often times catches you COMPLETELY off guard when it does.

But it is important, an EXTREMELY important reason to run while pregnant.

You see, it all started last night. I was pretty whipped and didn’t feel like running as is quite often the case by the time my girlies go to bed being that I’m 7 months pregnant. But I know, that when I suck it up and get on that treadmill, I’m going to feel worlds better and probably then have more energy to do all the many things that moms do.

So even though I didn’t really want to, I changed my clothes. I strapped on that heart rate monitor & I head downstairs to the treadmill. But when I got down there, low and behold, there was a surprise waiting for me when I flipped on the light. What I discovered is that I had dressed entirely inappropriately for my little exercise session. I’d have been far better suited with a pair of flippers, goggles and a swim suit.

Yep. Flood. Awesome.

My treadmill was sitting in about two inches of water. Apparently, sometime after my run Thursday night, our sub pump flaked out which was pretty unfortunate timing considering the 6 inches or so of rain we got that night.

Now my basement’s not finished or anything, but it is home to A BUNCH of stuff: all of my baby gear, Christmas and various other holiday decor, random items I’ve tried to sell in garage sales that still seem to end up in my basement somehow, other stuff that I just don’t know what to do with, and yes, my treadmill (alas, my poor treadmill!!! Report on that to come, but not tonight. The wound is far too fresh).

But here’s the thing, I really only go down to my dungeon, er…basement, to run.  What if I had given running up during my pregnancy? Who knows when I’d have gone down there next? It rained A LOT last night too. Can you just imagine the mess had I NOT been running? The mold? The stink? The damaged EVERYTHING? I shudder to think.

So whatever you do when you become pregnant, DO NOT, I repeat DO NOT stop running…or at least go into your basement every once in awhile. You’ll be glad you did.

'Til next time...

Wednesday, July 27, 2011

The Trick to Running with a Heart Rate Monitor

DSCF9193

Well…perhaps I should add, “while pregnant” to that title for it to be accurate because let’s face it, heart rate training and heart rate training while pregnant are two entirely different balls of wax. Entirely.

Wearing a heart rate monitor on your runs is a tremendous way to gauge effort, define and stay within set parameters for your workouts and track your progress. It’s an extremely effective way to train.

Wearing a heart rate monitor on your runs while pregnant on the other hand is stupid, annoying, and pretty much like running with your arch enemy who you will try to thwart at every turn.

I like to run. I like to run fast and I like to work hard on my runs. Being limited to a pace that falls under the max heart rate my OBGYN has prescribed to me is soooooooooooooooooo very frustrating at times.

Now, don’t get me wrong. I am thrilled and thankful that I even CAN run, the little bit though it may be, throughout my pregnancy. THRILLED. But dangit if I don’t wish I could do so without staring at my wrist every 15 seconds to make sure I’m not giving kiddo in tow more of a ride than he or she’s ready for.

So my pace has slowed down, waaaaaay down. And whenever my heart rate seems to escape me, I slow down some more and walk until I’m pretty well recovered. Then I go again. It’s basically working out to running for about 2 minutes and walking for about 2, give or take. But here’s the problem, my heart rate is not tied into soley my effort on the treadmill. It also happens to be tied into things like what I’ve done that day, what my kids are doing, and even just the thoughts in my head. If any of those things are just a slight bit (hmm…how to phrase this? let’s go with…) off, then I’m basically screwed.

A few examples:

If I’ve pulled weeds in 90+ degree heat before getting on the treadmill, my heart rate starts out of wack and is pretty much impossible to get down while running, walking or thinking about heat.

If my 5 year old who’s accompanied me to the tm to play video games while I run can’t get the controller to work and asks me repeatedly to fix it, which I try in vain to explain to her without getting off the tm over and over and over each time slightly louder than the last as if somehow the volume of my voice will suddenly make her GET IT, my heart rate goes up.

If she actually gets the game to work and she’s kicking butt and taking names, I get excited. Hello max heart rate so nice of you to drop by again.

If I ate within a half hour of my run, it is apparently too much to ask of my body to house a baby, process food and also move, my heart rate starts high and the teeniest increase in pace sends me over the max.

If my thoughts drift to politics, everything I have to do when I get off the treadmill, or why my Tiger is not the slightest bit interested in potty training, I’m quickly back to walking.

If I see that my heart rate is nearing that dreaded max and I’m still not quite to my arbitrarily set 2 minutes of running, I start to panic that I won’t get those 2 minutes in and inevitably that makes my heart rate shoot up. So I don’t.

If I actually do keep my heart rate down and time starts to creep all the way to 4ish minutes of running and I’m still well within my OBGYN’s guidelines, I get worried that maybe my heart rate monitor is not on properly or it’s not working properly. But the good news is that all that worrying raises my heart rate. And so **PHEW** no heart rate monitor problems, but the bad news: also no running.

So what I’ve learned from all this heart rate monitor running while pregnant is that the one trick to keeping your heart rate down is this: You must run in a Zen like state. Do not think, hear, see, smell (especially if you also happen to have a Tiger not interested in potty training) or feel anything about the world around you. Be entirely immune to the wild calls of “Mommy, mommy, mommy, MAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAMAY!!!” that surround you. Be one with the soft purring of your treadmill. Then and only then, will you be able to run while pregnant at a satisfying pace for the amount of time you desire without adversely affecting your heart rate and thus the precious little one you have the privilege of carrying within you.

And once you all figure out how exactly to make that happen, feel free to let me know :-)

 

'Til next time...

P.S. Special thanks to RunSis without whom the making of this blog post would not have been possible. She’s the one who loaned me the heart rate monitor & Garmin to use throughout my pregnancy since I am too cheap to actually go out and buy my own. Although, it’s been a couple of months since she had her little bundle of joy and she’s already well on her way to training for her next race and I’m sure she’ll be wanting it back soon. Just a couple more months RunSis, a couple more months…

Saturday, July 23, 2011

Scape Sunscreen Winner

I know, I know.  I’m late again. I promised to announce the winner of our Scape Sunscreen Giveaway yesterday. There was only one problem. I wasn’t home the entire day. Between two parties & a visit with some family friends, we didn’t roll back in until well after midnight and my pillow can be mighty demanding when it wants to be. I succumbed to it’s calls rather than write the post.  Sorry!

But yada yada, just get to the winner already right? So let’s do that! The winner of the Scape Sunscreen care package is…

KELLYLANE

Congratulations! Just send me an email at runfastmommy@gmail.com and I’ll send you all the details.

If you don’t happen to be KellyLane, no worries. I have something fun for you too! There’s lots of online running communities out there on the web, but sadly I’m yet to find any exclusively designed for running moms, at least not until the other day that is. Now enter our new blog sponsor, Mom on the Run Community, which is just exactly that. If you haven’t stumbled across them yet, hop on over and give them a peek. It’s free to join and you’ll find lots of other mothers just like yourself, doing their best to mix two of the things they love most, mommyhood & running. Check it out!

'Til next time...

Wednesday, July 13, 2011

I got lost running my half marathon last night…

I should’ve known it wasn’t going to go well when I got to the start late and most of the other runners were already gone.

I thought about scrapping the whole idea. I mean, I am nearly 7 months pregnant and this was a new course I’d never run before, part of which was supposed to be trail through the woods. Maybe this was a bad idea. But I could still see a few back of the packers I could follow and it was after all, being chip timed so I figured what the heck and crossed that first timing mat alone.

The narrow paved street I started on almost immediately began weaving upwards and I quickly lost site of the those back of the packers I had planned to follow. Despite all the twisting and turning of the particularly curvy road, a high brick wall on either side made it impossible to see anyone else in the race. But still, there was really only one direction to go, so I just kept moving.

Eventually, the narrow road turned to a well worn soft packed dirt trail that led through the woods. It was nice, quiet, and peaceful, a big change from my noisy otherwise hectic kid filled life. I liked it. That path wound it’s way to the side of a large building on the campus of some university who’s name I somehow managed to miss.

It seemed odd to me that this half course would include running through a building, particularly since the door I ran through led into the stairwell. I seriously did not remember reading that anywhere in the course description and was starting to think perhaps I had run off course. I mean, where were those aid stations and gosh darn mile markers for crying out loud?!

But then again, there really hadn’t been any place to make a wrong turn so I had to be in the right place. The only decision I needed to make was to go up or down the stairs. Since I could hear quick footsteps coming from not to far below me, I figured that had to be the right way to go and I set off to catch the unseen runner ahead, below.

I have no idea how many flights of stairs I ran down, but it was A LOT. And every once in awhile I’d catch a glimpse of that runner just ahead of me, an elbow, a shoe, but it wasn’t until I hit the bottom floor and found myself in the basement that I actually saw him.

He was skinny, super skinny. Not much more than skin and bones and he was wearing a singlet that was ridiculously too large for him. It was flowing behind him almost like a cape and he was some sort of superhero or something.

I could tell he was running fast, but for some reason he wasn’t getting that far ahead of me, yet I also wasn’t running fast enough to catch up. He was light on his feet and although his running had made plenty of noise in the stairwell, for some reason now as he ran down the cement hallways of the basement, he wasn’t making any noise at all. He’s the butterfly runner I thought to myself, floating like a butterfly through the race with his billowing singlet wings.

I knew at that point that this was all crazy, that I was entirely lost and that chasing some weird running guy through the basement of this university building had nothing to do with the race that I entered and was just a crazy thing to do. In fact, it was not only crazy, but sort of getting creepy. Still, I just had to keep running and for some reason I figured butterfly runner would eventually lead me out of this massive building.

Fortunately, he did just that and then he was gone. I have no idea where he went and I frankly, didn’t care. I was just glad I didn’t have to climb any stairs to get out of that place. I was already pretty winded and being so pregnant that’s not the condition my OBGYN has given me permission to run under. So I stopped. I still wasn’t particularly panicked that I had no idea where I was, but I was starting to get concerned.

Until I saw them, not more than a few feet away, a couple of bibbed runners. I was thrilled to have somehow found my way back to the half course. And they weren’t just any bibbed runners, one was my mom. The other? Well, the other was Walter Matthau…
Walter Matthau
My mom and Mr. Matthau, kindly led me back to the point where I had gotten off course so that I could finish the race. Interestingly enough, that point happened to be Walter’s house, which actually was far smaller than you’d ever imagine a celebrity’s house to be and full of much more clutter.

We were all pretty far behind the rest of the running field, so we went in to take a little break at which point I learned that Mr. Matthau is a huge conspiracy theorist and fairly certain that government agents are out to get him. As he went downstairs for a moment to provide my mom and I with proof, there was a knock at the door which happened to ironically be from a government agent out to get him.

Fortunately, Mr. Matthau had foresaw as much and came up from the basement wielding some sort of hi tech black market silent sort of weapon that no one has ever seen before and used it to knock the agent unconscious before he ever knew what hit him. And then…

My alarm clock went off.

Weird pregnancy running dreams. Gotta love ‘em! I suppose that’s what I get for researching half marathons that I can run about this time next year too close to bed time. Now, as for Walter Matthau (God rest his soul) and how he worked his way into my dream. No clue.

'Til next time...
P.S. Have you seen my Scape sunscreen giveaway yet? Cool little sun protection care package + some really funny entries. Check it out here.

Thursday, July 7, 2011

Giveaway + The Little Miss Running Ready Position

So…maybe it’d be a good idea to lighten the mood just a tad around these parts after that last post eh? And btw, I fully intend to go back and reply to all of your comments, but not tonight. Tonight let’s have a little fun and maybe a few giggles. So how about we get to that giveaway?

Remember awhile back when I reviewed that Scape sunscreen face shield (and love love loved it. Review’s here fyi.)? Well, Morgan over at Scape had said if you all were interested she’d be happy to give some away. You were. And so she is. YAY!!!

In fact, she’s got a little Scape sunscreen care package put together with a face shield, lip balm, and a mini lotion all waterproof and sweatproof with an SPF of 50 blocking both UVA AND UVB rays (so the ones that cause burns AND the ones that cause cancer) for some lucky running mamma out there. Here’s a picture of all the goodies:

tigers5ktrack 072

So if you’d like to score yourself a Scape care package. Here’s what you’ve got to do:

Required:

1) Be a U.S. and/or Canadian resident (sorry my international friends).

2) Be a follower of this blog and/or “Like” Secrets of a Running Mom on Facebook.

3) Tell me something funny that one of your little darlings has said or done with respect to yours or their running (and ok, it can be non-running related if you’ve got something way funnier you’d like to share.) No kids? That’s ok just tell us something funny that you did or saw while running. I’m just looking for a laugh here folks that’s all.

And that’s it. No extra entries for this one. We’re just going to keep it simple this time.  So once you’ve done all of the above, leave me a comment to let me know you want in. All entries must be received by Thursday, July 21st, 2011 at 11:59:59 PM. I’ll randomly select the winner (well, actually, I’ll probably have one of my little girlies draw the winner out of a big bowl of names as usual. I think it’s Tiger’s turn this time). Then, I’ll announce who the lucky gal or fella is the next day.

And to kick off the giveaway, here’s my own funny kid running related photo, the Little Miss’ Running Ready Position. Now, I almost hesitate to show it and giveaway one of her super fast running secrets, but alas, I do believe I promised it in an earlier post. So here she is lined up at the start of the 55 meter dash:

tigers5ktrack 064

But Coach tried to help her adjust her position a little some today. You know, get her in a proper starting stance and all.

tigers5ktrack 065

So here’s how that turned out:

tigers5ktrack 066

Swear. I promise you I did not just take two before pictures. At least that front foot is now pointed in the direction she’ll be running and she DOES look pretty pleased about it.  Might be kind of tricky to maintain though when starting blocks are introduced. Ah well, we’ll cross that bridge when we come to it.

'Til next time...

For the record: Stay at home moms DO work

Thank-you very much.

And before I dare even say another word, let me just say this to all the employed moms out there. In no way, shape, or form, is what I’m about to say meant to disparage or belittle what you do on a daily basis. Whether you are employed because you prefer it that way or you have to be because your family is relying on your income, you ARE AWESOME!!! Being a mom is not easy and a lot of hard work no matter what else you have going on in your life and in no way do I mean to suggest otherwise.

That being said, I had an incident today and it’s not the first time it’s happened. But today it’s bugging me more so than usual and I’m in the mood to write, so you all get to hear about it (thank-you for indulging me as this has very little, ok nothing, to do with running).

I had to go get that 1 hour blood glucose test done today. You know, the one you take when you’re pregnant and they make you drink that really sweet stuff that doesn’t taste anywhere near as good as something that sweet SHOULD taste to see how your pancreas reacts. That one.  And I’ve got to admit, somewhere about mid way through my hour long wait before my blood draw I realized I was really enjoying my time all to myself (in the waiting room with a half dozen strangers that is). I did a little writing. I tooled around on Facebook. Then, I watched the weather and read the news. No one climbing all over me. No one shouting demands. No one to say “No!” to five thousand times or pry little things that don’t belong out of their fast furious little grasps. It was kind of nice. Before I knew it, the nurse, who shall heretofore be called Nurse Clueless, called me in for my blood draw.

She seemed nice enough, had a bright cheery smile on her face and started to engage me in a little chit chat. “How are you?”, “Ready to be done?”, “Is this your first baby?”, “Do you know what you’re having?” etc. But then she asked me this: “Do you work?”

Now, I’m really not an easily or quickly offended person and I honestly don’t have a problem with that question. I knew what she meant. Do I have a job? And so that’s the question I answered. “No. I stay at home with my girls” I told her.  An answer to which I believe there are any number of appropriate responses to give. Things like: “Well, I’m sure that’s plenty of work.” Or “What’s that like?” Or  “Do you enjoy that?” Or even just “that’s nice.” But the response I got was, “Oh.” Followed by a pause and a follow-up question of, “Well, what does your husband do?” (There’s less smiling going on now btw, in fact, eye contact is virtually gone). I answered her and then, I got silence…for pretty much the entire rest of the time I was there, which was really only a few minutes more but somehow felt really awkward. Then she told me I was all set and to have a nice day. 

Ok. What the crack? Why am I suddenly not worth talking to because I’m not a “working mom?” And can we just get one thing straight. It’s not like I’m laying around all day watching soap operas or judge shows and eating bon bons while my kids run around unsupervised like wild hooligans. My kids are 5 and 2. I AM WORKING. ALL. THE. TIME.

In fact, I am working 7 days a week, 365 days a year from 8AM-8PM (on a REALLY good day when one of the SLEEPS IN and I’ve run the snot out of them so they both fall asleep quickly.)  And when my “shift” is over, I’m still on call at ALL times in case of nightmare, illness, thirst, mosquito bites that won’t stop itching, middle of the night toilet paper shortages, sudden urges to play for no apparent reason, and whatever other random reason one of my kiddos walks into my room or screams my name for.

I get no vacation days, personal days, sick days, or holidays. I don’t get smoke breaks, coffee breaks, or lunch breaks. For crying out loud, I can’t even get a 30 seconds to pee break without someone walking in or pounding on the outside of the door yelling “Mommy! Where are you?” (apparently, I disappear when I walk into the bathroom and shut the door…right in front of them).

I mean, come on. It’s not like I never had a job. I know how physically, mentally, and even emotionally exhausting they can be. But so is a job as a stay at home mom. Staying at home with small children means being ON EVERY second and not just on and ready for anything, but also being two steps ahead of whatever precarious position they may put themselves in. It’s a complete and utter giving of yourself, putting yourself and your needs behind those of the little people who have been entrusted to your care. It’s repeating yourself over and over and over and still having your tiny little co-workers ignore your request creating MORE work for you in the process. There simply is no slow or down times. EVER.

Listen, I made the choice to give up my career and stay home with my girls. I own that choice and everything that comes with it. And I still believe for me and my family, it was the right one. So I don’t say all this because I’m frustrated and I regret leaving my job. Or I think I made a mistake. I don’t.  I love what I do every day, exhausting though it may be. I just do NOT understand why we as women and mothers sometimes pick each other apart or look down upon one another when it comes to this issue. Because unless you can completely and entirely get into my shoes and walk (or run) in them for a few weeks, you’ve got no business thumbing your nose at me because of what you THINK my life is like on a daily basis and I’ve got NO business doing the same to you. Everybody’s different. Everybody’s kids are different. Everybody’s families have different needs. So instead of tearing each other down, let’s really be women shall we? And give each other the mutual respect and admiration deserved for doing our very best at THE hardest, toughest, most rewarding job out there. Motherhood.

So the next time someone like Nurse Clueless asks me, “Do you work?” I might respond a little differently. Something more along the lines of, “Do I work? Yeah. I’m a stay at home mom. I work my a$$ off!” But then again, I’d probably have to explain myself, or I’d get drawn into a debate or argument or something. And who’s got time for that? Certainly not I. Too much work to do Smile

'Til next time...

 

P.S. Check back tonight for the new giveaway!

Wednesday, July 6, 2011

Suppressing my inner competitor

Because really, there’s just no place for her at a 5 year old’s track meet.  And let’s face it, by competitors I’m not talking like the kind of fierce competitors at the front of the pack of the marathon at the Olympics or anything.

No, my inner competitor’s more of the average do better than I did the last time and for the love of all that’s holy do NOT let that 80 year old shuffle-run-walking woman wearing nothing but an American flag sports bra & short shorts finish ahead of you no matter how many times she’s run all 50 states.  Or the inner competitor that once drove me to chase down and fly by this other mother who on more than one occasion seemed entirely uninterested in correcting her daughter’s exceptionally rude behavior to mine. I caught her in the last 1/2 mile of her race. A 5K. I was running the 10K that started at the same time. I PR’d that day. (Sorry lady, looks like your kid’s gonna be too slow to keep up with mine on the playground anyway. So there.)

That’s the kind of inner competitor we’re talking about here.

But you see, my daughter is just 5 years old. And while she likes to win a ribbon as much as the next kid, she is also just as interested in running through the sprinklers, pulling up a handful of grass and tossing it just to see it fly, and bouncing around on the high jump mats at her track meets. So every week when I go to these meets, I am forced to bite my tongue some.  Because that inner competitor in me wants to yell things like this:

“FOCUS!!!”

“Get ready!”

“Look straight ahead!”

“Push it all the way to the finish line!”

“Go get that girl in front of you!”

“Do NOT wait for your friends!”

“I know you’re faster than that!”

“Run as hard as you can!”

But I don’t. Instead I just yell, “Good job!” and “Go Little Miss Go!!” And when she finishes, I give her a drink and tell her she did great and that I’m so very proud of her.

Because she is after all, just 5. They’ll be plenty of time to fuel that inner competitor in the future. But for right now, I just want her to have fun, enjoy running, and do her very best. And I believe that IS exactly what she’s doing out there when she stands at the starting line in her new “running ready position” that makes her look like she’s some sort of tiny ninja in pink poised for karate chopping someone’s head off (got to get a picture of this for you all too btw). That’s also what she’s doing when mid-way through the 100 meter dash she spots a white fuzzy floating above her lane so she leaps like a gazelle to catch it before continuing on her way.

It’s what she’s doing when she takes a little rest on the high jump mats she supposed to be crawling over during the obstacle course and what she’s doing when she gets all the other kids to chant the name of the smallest little boy in her age group who nearly always comes in dead last as he gets ready at the starting line. And the same goes for when she slows down to cross the finish at the same time as her newly acquired friends.

So even though, it’s driving me NUTS that this one little girl is winning EVERY race by just a few steps and I can hear her parents a few feet away as I watch gloating (albeit quietly, under their breaths, I’m sure they don’t even know I hear them) when I’m fully aware that if my kid ever actually turned it on their little darling wouldn’t have a prayer (at least, that’s what I like to tell myself), I’m going to continue to bite my tongue with the hopes that this little crush she’s developing on running will turn into some kind of long term relationship.

funrun

Now as for me on the other hand, I may actually end up with a hole in my tongue by the end of the season, having bit clear through it. Maybe I can find a stud for it or something. Tongue rings? Those are still cool and all right?

 'Til next time...

P.S. There’s also big news on Tiger’s running front!!! She ran in her very first race this weekend. I even have it on film. Well, sort of. RunDad had a difficult time separating his jobs of videographer and adoring fan. So needless to say perhaps, but there’s a few confusing moments. It’s only about a minute long though and kind of cute (IMO). As soon as I get around to bringing the video camera all the way upstairs and uploading the exclusive footage, I’ll post it.

P.P.S. Giveaway tomorrow!

Crave the Cute Giveaway Winner & Last Call for the GNC Winner

In a strange twist of fate, despite her own comment that winning was out of her grasp since she was the first person to enter and the first person to enter never wins, she has in fact, defied all the blog giveaway odds.  Because this time, this time the first person to enter DID win. The winner of our Crave the Cute running hairbow is:


Congratulations!!! Send me an email at runfastmommy@gmail.com and I'll send you all the details. If you didn't win, you can still purchase your own adorable hairbow for the littlest runner girl in your life (or a bigger grown up sized girl who still likes to look stylish on her runs) from their HUGE Run Like a Girl Collection at Cravethecute.com and remember if you "like" Crave the Cute on Facebook, you can get 10% off your order by using the discount code: FACEBOOK10

Onto GNC. Remember way back when, at the beginning of June when I wrote you all about the Hydration Police and ran the GNC $100 giftcard giveaway? Did you enter that? If you did, did you enter that under the username lwknop? If so, I need you to contact me asap. In fact, I need you to contact me by Sunday, July 10th, otherwise I'll be choosing a new winner from the original entries. Unfortunately, you've left me no trail to follow so I've got no way of tracking you down to award you your prize and I can't just sit on it forever here. And listen, if there's some wise guy out there thinking about pretending to be lwknop to just get the goods, save it. Lying and cheating is not cool and entirely unacceptable. And If you try, you'll get nothing. How will I know? I'm a mom. I just will. I mean it. Picture my most serious mom face here as I point my finger at you. Do NOT try me.

'Til next time...

P.S. Another post tonight and a giveaway tomorrow? Sound like a plan?

P.P.S. Also still looking for mom to the 4th so I can send you your running mamma sticker. Send me a message if that's you.