9 Months: Stasis

December 27th. This seems fitting to write a post as I am jumping back on the blog wagon.  I kind of predicted or set my year up for my blog to reflect what I thought would happen.  My year has been a year of stasis.  Not just blog inactivity but flying in a holding pattern as some things with my health took over in the cockpit.  My year was essentially focused on being pregnant, recovering from a c-section, then recovering from not being able to metabolize iron. Tonight my youngest will be 9 months old.  On the outside as long as he was on the inside.

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As I finished 2012 I was pregnant and told most folks to back off.  I started the year by living gratitude as much as I could for the possibility that my health or my baby’s health would take priority once he was born.  I actually freaked out a number of friends that wanted to know if there was something I was not telling them.  Nope, just covering my bases in case things did not go as perfectly as I planned.

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As we finish 2013 I am happy I made that decision to not put pressure on myself with obligations or expectations here and elsewhere in my life.  Kai was born 9 months ago via the most unnecessary surgery in my life, a c-section for a surprise breech.  Our recovery was remarkable as we left the hospital 40 hours after we walked in.  However I truly believe the Ayurvedic idea that it takes TWO years to heal from pregnancy and childbirth.  I went into post-partum with patience.

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There are some post-partum joys that did not go so smoothly.  For me it was iron metabolism – my body is now just barely starting to metabolize it again.  Iron has led to fatigue, low milk supply, etc.  I am hoping to continue to see it rise as we go into 2014, especially as I am joining a new performance training center soon.  I am having another iron assessment in February and hoping all is good.

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2013 was a fun year for being a Polar Ambassador.  I had to back off of a lot of physical training but they were patient with me and my gentle post-partum messaging.  I signed up to rep them at a few races and even donned the Polar singlet for a couple of half-marathons and a sprint triathlon.  Going into 2014 I hope to actually train for races, get on the trails a lot more, and enjoy the hell out of my nordic ski pass.  I am loving their new Loop product because for realsies my fitness feels like it is at a minimal baseline.

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In 2013 I enjoyed my Larabar ambassadorship but let it go for 2014.  I was a bit sad that even though I am local I never did any repping with them at local events – even when they had no one to rep at the events for them that I went to.  Instead there would be an empty table and bars.  I still love the product and buy it but I did not feel very useful as an ambassador mostly giving out bars to yoga students when I was out and about so much.

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The best health tidbit for 2013 for me was that my sugar cane allergy was reversed.  This is a huge game-changer and my post-holiday fitness efforts will reflect the newfound food freedom I now experience.

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There ya go.  9 months ago I had our family’s second babe.  We are done.  Maybe in 2014 I can give people here in onlinelandia something besides being a mom to know me as.

There will still be a lot of content about maternal fitness since I have 2 prenatal yoga certs, but I will expand on other types of yoga too, personal training, #realfood enjoyment, stress-less living, and my love for the simplicity of the natural world because we are jacking up the consumer-driven, man-influenced one.

This next year I will see ya around online and IRL in a few places. My 2013 was a year of stasis, but not of regrets.  I am happy I took pressure off myself so I could be gentle with my body and enjoy my loved ones.  I hope to have my priorities in 2014 be just as reflective of how I choose to live my life.

Namaste.

Iron Girl Sprint Tri

You have read me wax on about the post-partum body and taking it slow. This past week was no exception. I think the iron thing is worked out but apparently my body is still not at a healthy baseline to be buffered against a lot of stress. Last Monday I had a very stressful night at a yoga studio I was subbing at when I was locked in the building after my class with a few other ladies and had to scramble to get out. The cortisol to adrenaline flowing then calm resolution did not happen and by the end of the night my lower left back was tightly constricted. This led to a Jenga game of post-partum body compensation and by Thursday I was seeing someone to help realign my body and get full feeling back in my lower left leg.

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So there was a sprint tri on Saturday and I luckily felt o.k. enough to do the course but take it easy. Before the swim was over my back was stiff, on the big hill on the bike I had a muscle spasm and could do nothing but leisurely walk the 5K. I was a bit bummed because I was looking to sub 30 my run. However I was not mad. I knew it was gonna be slow going and I enjoyed myself. The swim water was 75 degrees and I actually did not want to get out of the reservoir. I really enjoyed myself strolling with a cold water bottle. Overall it was a really fun event again and I crossed the finish line ready to be in mommy-mode. Mommy-mode once a chiropractor tackled my jangy back and piriformis with his elbow at least.

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My race report: slow, steady, mindful, joyful.

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Another fun aspect of the event was that I was there officially in capacity for Polar Heart Rate monitors. I ran the information booth for the expo (except when I was on course and had my husband encourage giveaway participants), did the course, and gave away a FT4T for Polar during the awards ceremony. I am an ambassador for the company so was eager to meet so many other Polar enthusiasts as well as answer questions for those getting into HRM training or had issues with their units and needed the friendly hand of customer service extended to them.

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Georgetown to Idaho Springs Half Marathon 2013

VLAWGGG…

I had a lot of fun on the Georgetown to Idaho Springs course and have a lot to say. 4 months post c-section a lot has been going on with my body. I have been low on iron and fatigued so have missed a lot of training and knew that going into this event. A good many things contributed to the sorry lack of training state including healing from a c-section, returning to vegetarianism, exclusively breastfeeding a big baby who is over 18 pounds at 4 months, having 3 menstrual cycles in less than 4 months, and trying to to be active. When you add that all together I was realistic in not expecting for myself to wow my socks off with records or training.

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I relied heavily on my heart rate monitor to go slow and used the Polar Beat App that held up well until about mile 9 when I would only see a percentage and was getting wiped. My phone eventually died so when I needed some biofeedback most it was not there. That is when I had to relax in my head for that “zen running” experience. I was on track to beat 3 hours but my calves started spazzing with less than 2 miles go. I finished just a hair over 3 hours.

Am I sad? HELL TO THE NAW!!!! This event was FANTASTIC!!!! I seriously love this race and how I strategized to do it given all the lame factors against a solid performance.

#1 – I realize why I am not a fan of the big traveling, gimmicky races. They do not have that community, local support like a race like this has. This event is in its 35th year and benefits the high school booster club. EVERYONE comes out for it or has their businesses open during to support it. It reminded me a good deal of my fave 1/2 marathons back in California for this reason. Just running and supporting a great cause where most of the money goes back to that cause.

#2 – The course. ZOMG. Check out my vlog and here are some pics…

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When I did finish my little tyke was ready to trot the last few meters with me…

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I wish I could give my stats but like I wrote my phone died. Here was the last little screen shot I saved. My strategy was to go until my heart rate got too high then back off and walk until it stabilized low. I tried to stay tethered in some less strenuous zones. This strategy paid off because when I crossed the line I had to go straight into mommy mode and could not afford to be wiped. The day after the race I felt fine and even taught two yoga classes in the morning.

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#3 The price. I jumped into this race so early post-partum only because there was a great one-day deal to celebrates its 35th anniversary with the original race entry from back in the day of $15 with the option of not getting a shirt or medal. If you know me at all I do not go for race bling and rarely do I get excited for shirts. However my husband decided to pump money back into the community and shop while I ran. He gave me these darling earrings once I crossed the finish and we got our first few hugs and kisses out of the way. In the future I do see this as a race to pay full-price for because it was hosted well with amazing support like port-a-potties, aid stations, and personnel everywhere to take care of runners.

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Overall I am very proud of my effort and execution of this event. I ran a half marathon a couple of days ago and did not hurt myself. I am happy.

The Post-Partum Health Plan

I am due with a kiddo any day now. I am trying to live in the present but I admit to being a little ahead of myself and where my body will take me next. I have gone back and forth with my 2013 vision board and think I am in a good position to keep the momentum going.

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Here are the priorities I have with my body for the rest of the year after the baby gets here:

#1. Breastfeeding. Above all doing what I can with my nutrition, weight, and rest to feed my baby. Sadly I am not one of those people who dropped all kinds of magic weight breastfeeding my son. Actually every time I dropped weight my milk supply dropped and I consciously packed on pounds to bring the supply back up. Feeding my kiddo is the big goal though.

#2. Heart Health. I declared in my vision board that this was a year for heart health. I am fortunate in being able to be proactive not reactive in this goal with any health scares or family history of complications. My goal is to eat and move with the goal of a healthy annual exam around my birthday in September.

#3. Fuel for functionality. This is not dieting as in deprivation or anything, but dieting to optimally fuel endurance activities, strength training, mommyhood, and satiating my palate. I love cooking, I love food. This is something I hope never changes.

#4. Skin Care. Perhaps the vainest of my vision board goals was to adjust my diet for skin care. I want to glow and get rid of this pregnancy melasma – I also know eating for skin health will pack a lot more phytonutrients into my diet which is not a bad thing. I also like raw food so this will be fun to play with as I get away from so much meat I have consumed this pregnancy. I have pre-ordered Kimberly Snyder’s new book in anticipation of playing in this world.

So here is my plan. Have baby. Take at least SIX weeks off from physical activity. Cross-culturally this 40 days/6 weeks metric exists for a reason. Start the Hal Higdon Novice 1 Half-Marathon training program around Memorial Day weekend to train for the Georgetown to Idaho Springs race on August 10th. I will do a 5K the last week in June at Fitbloggin that falls in line with the training schedule. During this time include swimming and biking on the cross-training days including the Boulder-based Stroke and Stride series and some open-water and/or tri clinics and/or joining a tri group. August 24th will be the Polar-sponsored Iron Girl Sprint Triathlon. This will also be about week 2 of the Hal Higdon Intermediate Half Marathon training program for the Denver Rock n’ Roll 1/2 on 20 October. In this middle of this training I am also planning on my first trail race up in Vail in mid-September.

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In a perfect world that last paragraph would happen with no issue but I know I will be a newly post-partum mom. Once again look at that Polar Ambassador badge – I am not going for speed this year (even though HRM is a great way to increase speed with body efficiency, just not my goal for 2013). I will be using heart rate monitor training to build my base for 2014 with all the planning above. I am also a queen of adaptive management because my BIG priority will be focused on being the most functional mama providing food and care for the new kiddo. And for those without kids, tired happens. Tired, having a worn-down body, and needing some rest even when your training calendar says today is a long run day. Thank goodness I always have yoga by my side as I take this journey – all kinds of yoga from restorative to more rigorous practices. Yoga will be ever-present.

Polar Challenge with LeVar

I am a new 2012 Polar heart rate monitor ambassador and in such want to hook my friends up as much as a I can while spreading the gospel of heart rate monitor training.  I have been brand loyal to Polar since 2004 and am a fan of Phil Maffetone (the godfather of heart rate training).  In letting others know about Polar products and what they can do for you I asked my good friend LeVar to partner with me for a challenge among other Polar ambassadors and their partners.  Challenges are a fun part of the Polar Personal Trainer site that is complimentary to the community that uses Polar products.

I will go into the nuances of the products and site at another time but for now I want you to meet me and LeVar.

We have about 75 days in our challenge to burn calories – pure and simple.  My goal is to drop some weight but more importantly build my endurance to prepare for summer events.  LeVar’s goal is to drop weight.  With the Polar watches we have we are take fitness tests that work with heart rate as we are active and the watches then audibly help us realize if we are training in a fat burning zone or performing maximizing zone. The watches are a tool to be more efficient with how we use our bodies.

For LeVar this will be an interesting 75 days as he works to develop more consistent eating habits to eat breakfast, eat consistently through the day, and cut back on the alcohol. I know the fat is going to melt right off of his midsection. He has no need to get silly with a strict diet but we did sit down to meal plan in an effort to make this living transition as easy and enjoyable as possible. He is already being an animal and geek with seeing data from his watch. When I saw him he had burned 850+ kCal and was determined to hit 1,000 before the day was over. We will check in with him in a couple of weeks when the novelty of the watch has worn off and the pressure from social obligations gets stronger. We will see where he will be standing with his priorities.

In the last couple of weeks I have gone through 2 watches learning how to use them.  My FT60 was super easy to set up and even came up with a training plan based on my goals.  I did not have a flow link to easily add data to the Polar Personal Trainer site and was in the works of getting a more complex watch (RCX5) as I am training for some triathlons for the year and this is a more suitable watch to collect data in between training disciplines.  The sad thing is that when I got the RCX5 and did my fit test I was in the middle of cold and sinus issue. My fitness at that moment was sad.

However it is Monday – the last bit of illness are almost gone and I am back on the slow and steady train to get some calories burned. Now I just have to catch up to LeVar because he is killing it with the numbers he is racking up.

For FTC disclosure purposes this is not a paid, prompted, or requested post. I am a Polar Ambassador and with this program I am comped watches and gear but with no obligation to post about them on this site. As my partner for this challenge LeVar was given a Polar FT40 and Flowlink with no obligation to vlog or blog. All of these opinions are my own.