Friday, 5 December 2014

Thirteen Months!

I'm sorry I missed 12 months! What kind of mommy does that? I will make it up to you in scrap book pages I promise.



Here is a recap of all things new and wonderful:

  • You are in a new daycare and loving it! We even went to your first Christmas pageant this week and were so proud of your tambourine shaking.
  • You and Grandma spent two weeks getting to know each other and I think she fed you a lot of treats. It has been a while since a lb/month weight change lol!
  • You can throw a ball and even try to kick them now.
  • You are liking reading more. Daddy has a strict bedtime reading regimen with you (mommy is more about the snuggles)
  • You started walking at 12 months and two weeks. You are very good at it now and can spin to change direction. You were showing me today.
  • Favourite foods are berries, yogurt, waffles, and pesto (but only sun dried tomato)
  • You love to dance.
  • You still have 6 teeth but I think a top molar is coming in.
  • You are in your new carseat!
  • You can sign more and all done.
  • You call Mommy!! and Dada (and a lot of other things I am not great at deciphering)
  • You are still pretty bald. Don't worry, mama was too.
  • You like to fall off of things (pool ledges, first steps, the couch)
  • You like to honk peoples noses.
There are so many more and you are changing every day (just like the size small theme song).

Love you much,

Mommy

December!

Wow. It has been ages since I have posted. We have been busy, very busy actually, with my return to work, some unexpected childcare problems, and a visit from my mom (related to the childcare issue).   W has changed so much in the past month it is incredible. Walking, saying words, playing his own games. I feel like I have so much to share from everything I have learned these past couple of months that I don't even know where to start!

I haven't been training for any races, but I haven't' completely stopped running. I commute home (although I was on crutches three weeks ago). I have thought about running longer runs on weekends, but I don't want to miss even an hour of the very little time I have with W.  And running after bedtime (7:15) means it is dark and cold and I have never been much of a lone runner. This sounds like a lot of excuses right? I don't really know what to say except my heart isn't in it right now. After months of physio, injuries and strange new pain, and realizing I ran too soon for my body, it feels good to take a break. My plan once we have a routine down, is to just continue with the 6k run home most days a week and see if the training bug bites me.

I must say, I have a new appreciation for working moms. I changed my hours to 7:30-4:00 so I leave every morning at 7:00 (sometimes W isn't even up yet). At 4:00 I run as fast as I can to daycare so we have more time together. By the time we have snowsuits, hats and mittens on and walk home it is close to 5:00. We eat peanut butter, snuggle, play timber, dance, eat dinner, splish splash in the bath, read, snuggle some more and already it is bedtime.

The transition to 2.5 hrs a day with your baby is hard. Harder than I expected. So hard that I spend a good portion of my free time dreaming of ways I could work less and be with him more. I keep thinking to myself, this is just change. It will be hard for a while but then it will be the new normal. It's funny how just when you get the hang of parenting (or think you do) you get thrown a new curveball.

In sum, this is where I am right now. This hazy place of figuring out who I am as a mom, a wife, a runner, a colleague, a sister, a daughter and friend.

Tuesday, 7 October 2014

11 months

How can this be!!

Yesterday you spent your first afternoon at the day home as I prepare to head back to work. To say I have mixed feelings about it would be an understatement.  I feel a tug in so many directions. To stay home, to work, to find a new job, to go back to school. I honestly don't know what is best for us little man but I am going to watch and listen to you for some direction. If you are finding it too hard, we can change things up. If you are loving your new friends, I will get back to our new normal.



Here are some funny things you are doing lately:

When we got to Winnipeg you go down on your hands and kneed to greet Lily (the pug) and started panting like a dog. It was so adorable and funny!

You are on a vegetable strike but are loving berries of all kinds. You messily try to use a spoon too and you are starting to show interest in using your right hand.

You are still not walking but I am letting you do it at your own pace.

You are super snuggly lately and will run over mid play to give a quick hug.

Your not sleeping that well. Last nigh was a pleasant exception, but you have been up quite a bit and early rising too.  Lets hope things get back to (your) normal before work.

You still have 6 teeth but there are others that must be trying to join the party.  The drool and extra grumpies are a dead give away.

You try to eat all the leaves in the backyard.

You love slides!! The swing is not your favourite, but the slide! You could play on it all day.

Right now you are kicking your crib while you should be napping. This is a new thing ; )

Love you much!


Tuesday, 23 September 2014

Hiking with Baby

This post is a bit late, but I wanted to take some time to share our hiking adventure with you! I will preface this by emphasizing that I am by no means an experienced hiker. It is J's thing. However, I wanted to try it out with Weston as part of our try anything new and expose him to the world parenting view.

Our original plan was to hike 11km to an Alpine Club of Canada back country hut. Mother nature had other plans for us and the forecasted snow fall gave us just enough time to make alternate plans.  Plan B: day hikes with Canmore as a base.

By far, the most challenging part was figuring out how to dress a baby appropriately for any and all kinds of weather.  As a runner, I know all about layers so I set out to find Weston sweat wicking clothes.



Here is my packing list for a baby (9-12 months)

  1. Rain suit - I really tried to find a used one but ended up having to buy one new (this one in yellow!). I am hoping we get some wear out of it next spring!
  2. Snow suit - yes I had to pack a snow suit ;(
  3. Fleece bunting - This one from MEC 
  4. sweat wicking t-shirts - this was the hardest thing to find but I lucked out when I was in Carters one afternoon. These are like mini running shirts!
  5. fleece pants
  6. wool socks - smart wool kids socks (these actually work really well as mittens in a pinch on tiny hands)
  7. winter hat
  8. mittens and fleece booties
  9. bug repellant 
  10. first aid kit - after bite, medicine, polysporin etc.
  11. baby carrier
  12. compostable diapers - I chose the G-diapers which are pretty easy to find and super easy to use!
  13. Baby food pouches and screw on spoons.




Doesn't that look like a beautiful summer vacation : )

If you are interested in the trail we took or any other details please let me know.




Friday, 12 September 2014

9 Months

You turned nine months old on Monday. Can you believe we have made it this far? Admittedly I feel like we are a much better team now than in those first awkward months when we were just getting to know one another.  When I think about going back to work tears come as I am not quite sure what our days will look like without one another.

You are my silly boy. You like to do things for attention and to test mommy and daddy like crawling quickly towards the stairs and looking back to see who will come stop your escape. You play peek a boo with us and love to be chased.  I especially love your little squeals when you think you will be 'caught'.

You love to eat. Your favourites are definitely banana, smoked tofu, pitas and almond butter. You still hate peas. So much so that you decided to throw them at mommy instead.

You sure are cruising around the furniture. Grandma and Grandpa think you are so close to walking when they see you on FaceTime. Today in the grass you stood up twice on your own!! I can't believe it but I quess the day is coming when you will take your first little steps.

You read books every night with Dada after bedtime routine is done. I don't think you have a favourite but you do like to crawl over and flip through your little basket of books.

10 months!

As usual, this post is a bit behind schedule but my oh my have we been busy!

It has been a trying month in terms of sleep, but I don’t blame you little man. You cut four teeth in two weeks, I’m quite certain you grew two inches, and every time you wake up from sleepy time I swear you have a new skill to show us.

So what did ten months bring?



You pretty much hate being fed purees now. You would much rather feed yourself, even though that means berry explosions and chunks of cheese stuffed in the sides of your highchair.

Your favourite foods are blueberries, peanut butter, smoothies and bananas. Tomatoes and cucumbers are off the list, as is broccoli.

Watching you walk with the little walker is so adorable yet scary at the same time. You have a need for speed and unfortunately that results in some tumbles. Any day now I think you will just take off!

Your favourite books right now are the touch and feel ones. Like touch and feel farm, that’s not my lamb and trucks.

You have become a real chatterbox whether it is babbling to yourself or screaming for more food. We are working on our inside voices but you don’t entirely grasp that concept just yet.

Your favourite toys are the music table, lumi sticks and your drum. You are quite musical I think and love to dance anywhere and everywhere.

I am soaking up as much of you as I can before I head back to work and you start your new homecare adventure. I am sure you will be the braver one though.

Love you much!


Friday, 25 July 2014

Setting new PBs

So this has take a WHILE to post, but better late than never is my new life motto.  Last weekend I raced my first 10k run since having Weston. I say race and I actually mean it. Although my time wasn't superb, I did get into a racing mind set for the event. Here is how it went down!

The pre-race week was tricky. It was so hot outside that I ended up doing one speed training workout indoors and one outside with the stroller. I treated that week as a training week and not a taper because I have bigger races coming up. Friday night I did a cross training class too that may or may not have been a super smart move.

I made some other mistakes that I will share:

  • I didn't hydrate well enough to accommodate the hot weather during the week or my bf'ing hydration requirements.
  • I ate way too early (5 a.m.) and didn't have any fuel pre race (9 a.m.).
  • I didn't carry water despite my gut feeling that I needed it.
  • I downed a glass of gatorade at a water station despite not having gatorade or running with it for about 18 months lol.
  • I made the rookie mistake of starting way too fast. Ok not fast by a lot of measures, but faster than I am capable right now. My first 5k were about 5 min kms that dropped to 5:30 for the last three. I overestimated my fitness level and endurance right now.
The good points:
  • It felt so revitalizing to run faster an be on course with amazing runners!
  • The medal is fantastic!
  • I have a base line to set training paces off of now!!
I finished 10k in 53:11. Not horrible, not ground breaking. I am pretty proud of it regardless and can't wait to get to more races!!




Thursday, 10 July 2014

Late to the party - compression socks

When I was given the chance to try out Dr. Segals compression socks I jumped at the chance for a couple of reasons. As a distance runner I have read a lot about the merits of training in compression gear but had never taken the leap to try it out.  Also, we all know I have been battling quite a few injuries postpartum so anything that could speed up recovery would be an ally in my court.

I received this pair of the running socks which have 15-20 mmHg of True Graduated Compression Therapy




According to the Dr Segal site, the benefits of their compression socks include:
  • INCREASED CIRCULATION helps push blood from the surface veins into the deep veins to promote more oxygen to the working muscles for faster lactic acid recovery - your legs feel less fatigued and more energized during your run as well as after by reducing the symptoms of muscle soreness the next day
  • REDUCED SWELLING and leg fatigue to give your legs increased energy
  • A COMFORTABLE FIT ensures plenty of room in the toe box and the sock band stays in place
Intrigued, I set out and did some more research.  Here are a couple of articles for your reading pleasure if you are also sitting on the fence about splurging on a pair of socks or sleeves:
Unsure of how to best make use of the socks I emailed the company with my questions and received this very helpful response:
We don't recommend using compression socks during a race if you have not trained in them prior to. Its basically like changing your diet the day of the race so to speak. So we can send you the socks immediately and feel free to start training in them if you like and see how they feel otherwise we'd recommend you using them during recovery!
So Sunday I am running 16km and I plan to wear them for recovery as I have a 10k race the following weekend. I will also wear them throughout the week after my shorter training runs. Stay tuned for my full recap!

note: I receive this item free of charge but the opinions shared are always all mine!


8 months!

Can you believe my little man is 8 months already! I can't. I also can't fathom the idea of going back to work in four months. We did however find an amazing day home that it literally five houses away so at least that puts us a bit at ease.  I say us, but J is already used to leaving him every day so I do think the transition will be harder on me at first.

What can baby Weston do at eight months? What can't he do is more like it!

You can crawl very speedily and gets into everything and anything. You love to climb the stairs, pull to stand and walk around furniture. Yesterday, you surprised me by walking while pushing a stepping stool around the kitchen.



You LOVE almond butter. It is really quite funny. Your favourite lunch right now is what I call a deconstructed almond butter and banana sandwich with little pieces of pita bread dipped in AB and chunks of banana. You don't like guacamole. In fact you spit it out on mommy today.

You have started to dance!! I first saw it when you were listening to the baby mozart machine and again yesterday at intellidance.

You still love to swim. You are in a new group and pool and last week you wore a life jacket for the first time and did back and front float. I love how much you adore the pool!

You like to shout and raise your arms. I am not sure what you are trying to tell me but you sure are excited whatever it is.



You had a great visit with your cousin from Winnipeg and went on your first camping adventure. You didn't love the tent but you sure do love the outdoors!

Next month will mark 9 months and we will have known you just as long as we waited for you to arrive!

Love you much!!

Mommy.






Wednesday, 25 June 2014

Making Plans

Weston will be 8 months old next week! Where has the time gone?

Meanwhile, I have been busy making all the plans that will help us make the work/childcare transition. While it makes my heart ache to have to leave him, I count myself extremely lucky that I have the full year off with him.

Here is the good news: I found a home day care! It is half a block away from us, the home is immaculate and the child area in the basement is wonderful.  I will be paying to hold the spot until mid October or November (depending on when I choose to head back).

I am also trying to figure out what work arrangement would be best for us and how we can flex our schedules to allow for pick up and drop off. It is also in the back of my mind that we need to start planing fast and easy dinners. I am a horrible meal planner. We rarely eat together because one of us is always on the run and I really don't want that to be Weston's normal.

I have been finding a lot of inspiration from Mayim Bialik's cook book and her easy solutions for children. On that note, we also told the day home provider that we plan to raise Weston vegetarian and she was so accommodating.  That is another stress lifted.

The additional pro of the day home being so close to us, is we can continue with our plans to run home for pick up.  We found out this month that J is likely losing his subsidized parking spot downtown so we will need to make alternate arrangements.  While we don't drive at the moment, we had been keeping it as an option in case we had to drive Westie to his day care.  There are some major road works that will continue for two years (ugh!) so running home is actually the easiest commuting option. It is a ~6k run for me and 7 for J. I probably have the even faster route since I don't have to get through any of the downtown traffic lights.

I also see this as the best way to fit in any sort of exercising when I am back at work. I am not prepared to give up evenings with Westie and I don't think lunch time workouts will be an option.

Any tips to share on how to plan for the return to work are most welcome!

Sunday, 8 June 2014

7 months!



A couple of days late on this one, but that is because seven months old keeps me soooo busy!

I think you are over 18 pounds now. You are almost too heavy for mommy to carry you in your car seat.

You still have Aunty's grey eyes. People think you look like your dad but I see so much of Aunty in you it is crazy.

You are pretty much crawling now or finding some way to scoot around the room. You get frustrated on your hands and knees and seem to want to crawl in a downward dog position. I try to help you but that tends to make you even more impatient ; )

You are still sleeping well. You go to bed at seven and wake up at seven (plus the nighttime wakings but I am treasuring our quiet moments at night before they are gone).

You still have just the two teeth but boy are they sharp!

You finally decided to take a sippy cup. It is a green and white plastic one from Ikea that was $1.50.  You sure have your tastes.

You know a lot of consonants now! Da da, ma ma, and gurgling too.

You still love our walks and sitting outside.  Sometimes I move the exersaucer outside too so you can twist and turn and watch everything going on about you. 

You are a great swimmer! You can dunk under the water, front float and back float. It is my favourite way to spend a Sunday morning.

Your favourite rhyme at Intellidance is the washing machine.  Twist, twist twist in our washing machine!

Love you so so much!

Thursday, 5 June 2014

Adventures in Baby Food Making

Weston has been eating solids for a little while now so I thought I would take a moment to share how that is going.  He is generally a really good eater. He hasn't turned his nose up anything with the exception of prunes. I can't say I blame him.

In the month and a half he has had solids he hasn't has anything non-organic. Something I really hope we can keep up.

His daily menu goes something like this:

  • breakfast - 3T of fruits and/or vegetables
  • lunch - 3T of fruits and/or vegetables
  • dinner - 3tbs iron fortified cereal with water/almond milk or pumped milk.
The iron fortified cereal is very important right now because we aren't introducing meats. He has had egg yolk however and he really likes lightly curried lentils.

There are some really solid organic baby food products out there right now and we tend to use the pouches as a way to introduce new foods that we don't usually have on hand (like mangosteen) or fruits that require careful straining.  These are our tried and true brands:
  • Baby Gourmet
  • PC organics
  • Plum organics
  • Ella's Kitchen
  • Earth's Best

I generally stock up when they are on sale. $1.25 per pouch and $.79 per jar are pretty decent deals. 

To prep Weston's foods I steam it in a silicone steam basket and then puree it in our mini mixer which does the trick. If you need a finer puree you will probably need to use your blender.  Soft foods like avocado, egg yolk and banana are mashed with a fork.


I have been pureeing only single vegetable and fruits at a time and then mixing them later so that we aren't stuck with 24 cubes of the same thing. For some fruits I just steam them and cut them in small chunks (e.g. apples and pears).  All the fruits and vegetables are organic and either whole and fresh (sweet potatoes) or frozen (peas and mango because I hate peeling mangos!).


To store his food I freeze it in ice cube trays and then in marked freezer bags, use mason jars for 2-3 days depending on the puree, or add a little lemon juice to steamed fruits and pack them in his eat and go serving bowls.


I also attended a baby led weaning class that put me at ease about the complicates messages surrounding when to introduce foods. For the first couple of weeks I tracked things on an excel sheet but now we are way more laid back. I also let him taste small pieces of what we are eating. Tomatoes and cucumber are some of his favourites.

So that's it in a nutshell. Introducing solids is probably my favourite baby event to date because I love to watch his reaction when he tries a new food. Oh and they say if your little refuses a food on the first try, try again later. This was definitely the case with bananas for us!








Tuesday, 3 June 2014

Busy Bees

I apologize for the lack of posts. I have no good excuses other than we have been soaking up this blissful springtime weather.

My parents have been here for 5 days and it has been a blast watching them get to know Weston again. They leave today, and I have been told there are no tears allowed.

On the injury front, I am feeling so much stronger! I also just signed up for this mummy tummy ab challenge designed specifically for post partum women. It starts Monday.  I have been going to spin class every Saturday morning at 8:15 am and I am loving it. I am running 2-3 times a week now and I am ok with that. I have been talking to a lot of moms lately about the transition back to exercise and I am allowing myself to be more flexible and forgiving.

Our basement reno's are finally finished and work on the backyard started this week.  By mid July we should have a full finished home!!

I am also busily planning for our camping trip in July. Yes, it is only two nights but I am pretty anxious about camping with a baby. Where will he sleep, will he be warm enough, will we derail his sleep schedule.

Here is what I think we will need so far:

  • A pack n play or playard of some sort
  • Mosquito net to cover the pack n play
  • A large umbrella
  • A large tarp
  • Bottled water for his sippy cups
  • A bucket for baths
  • Baby bug spray (I am still on the search for a good one!)
  • Towels
  • A night light for the tent 
  • The baby ergo carrier 
If you have tips on camping with a baby please send them my way!

Enjoy the sunshine!

Tuesday, 20 May 2014

Recapping the Long Weekend

Yesterday morning as I ate my customary bowl of oatmeal for breakfast and savoured my ONE cup of coffee I thought back to May long weekends past. How things have changed from long weekend camping and icy lake dips to car shopping and first time zoo visits.  I think I might finally be an adult!


I all honesty, it was just nice to have two parents home for three days.  We walked, sat on the deck int he sunshine, went to the farmers market grand opening, ate Pho with Weston (he ate pieces of cucumber from my papaya salad) and made plans for summer and fall.

I managed to fit in two good workouts - a 60 minute spin class on Saturday and an 8km run on Sunday morning.  This pretty much sums up my feelings during the spin class:



I am actually very happy with that 8k run. At one point I would have scoffed at that distance but now I treasure that I can run it pain free and happily. I also went back to the running room this weekend and caught up with old running friends. It was great to hear about their racing plans from the Ottawa half marathon next weekend to the Banff/Jasper relay. 

On the car front we have narrowed it down to three choices: Kia Rondo, Mazda 5, or a used Volkswagen Jetta Wagon. Now we just need to find the best deal. We debated becoming a two car family but in the end decided that there was a reason we move to a mature area and part of that was being able to bus to work. We aren't entirely sure how the daycare drop off and pick up will work yet, but we will find a solution. 

With the slightly warmer weather and longer cardio workouts I have been feeling SO thirsty so I have been sipping on Vega Sport Electrolyte Hydrator throughout the day. It is making a difference!


So that was my long weekend in a nutshell. Did you get up to anything exciting?

Saturday, 17 May 2014

Lately

Lately we have been very busy visiting family, completing plans for our house renovations and landscaping, shopping around for a new car and soaking up time with Weston.

Lately I have noticed that I find it much easier to stay home all day with Weston. Maybe it is because he is on the go and keeps me much busier than an infant, or maybe because I have finally found my groove at home with him. Either way, the days are precious and passing far to quickly.

Lately I have mixed feelings about going back to work and I am constantly thinking of solutions. Can I work a compressed work week, can I go to four days a week, how will pick up and drop off work? The biggest question that looms is should I find a different job?

Lately I have been far less concerned with schedules. It is a great gift to learn to go with the flow.

Lately I have been trying to reconnect with working out purely for fun. I joined the gym again after a five year hiatus. I go to spin class and body pump and I haven't had this much fun in years. I might even go to a step class this week.

Lately I have been running about 90% pain free. I am trying to not push it and respect my limits. I wish I had read this Q & A with Lauren Fleshman months ago.  This quote in particular has been a huge comfort this week:

"Don’t underestimate the trauma that birth can cause to your body. A lot of women have the baby and get so caught up in it, you forget what your body went through. It takes a full rehab and love and care"
Lately I have been inspired by the Ikea #houserules ad. Have you seen it? What are your house rules?


What have you been up too lately?

Monday, 12 May 2014

Let the sun in

Last week I was offered a complimentary eye exam at Iris optometry and I snapped up the chance. I was convinced that my vision has worsened since pregnancy and I rarely wear my contacts now because they are so uncomfortable.

It was a very thorough exam complete and I learned quite a bit about my eye health and how to be more proactive in my vision care. It turns out my vision is only slightly worse in my right eye, but my eyes are extremely dry and rough. I am going to chalk that up to breast-feeding and not being diligent enough with my water intake. The result = 1 week of prescription eye drops and NO contacts until they have improved.

I had a lot of questions for the optometrist. In particular, I wanted to know if she had seen an increase in visits due to poor eyelash extension application. I have only tried extensions once, and it was so uncomfortable I ended up peeling them off one by one myself (something you should never ever do). I am also always very interested in where people went to school so we chatted about that for a bit.

I confessed that I rarely wear sunglasses.  I can't run in them (I feel claustrophobic) and I don't usually drive while wearing them either.  Did you know sunglasses prevent cataracts or at least the early development of cataracts? I watched a little video about how the lens filters light and promised to attempt to wear sunglasses more regularly.

The highlight of the visit was begin gifted a new pair of Spy Sunglasses with the happy lens.
I am going to get back to you with a full review on how they feel once I am in the clear to wear my contacts again.


I chose the mint chip frame to try something different!

Do you wear sunglasses regularly?
Have you heard of the happy lens??


Thursday, 8 May 2014

Revisiting my spring goals

Last month I wrote a post about my Spring Rejuvenation Plan. Now that we are a week into May, I thought I would revisit progress on my goals.

Goal: Switch to half caff coffee 

I have been pretty successful with this and I am consistnely down to one can of (caffeine free) pop a day!

Goal: Dedicate every Sunday as new recipe day!

Fail :(

Goal: I am going to reactivate my yoga online subscription so I can do 30 minute or even 45 minute (gasp) classes at home.

I did reactivate my pass and then didn't do ANY classes lol. But I have been going to pilates and love it so so much that I am considering doing teacher training to spread the word about activating your core!

Goal: Read at least one book a month

I crushed this goal by reading three books!

Goal: Meditate

I sort of did this. I went to a three hour undalini yoga class and was completely out of my element but I didn't leave. That is worth something right. I didn't do very well during the meditation however. I feel I am having a crisis of faith at yoga lately. I can't really put it into words, at least not very eloquently so we will leave that subject for now.

Do you have any goals for May you want to share??



Tuesday, 6 May 2014

6 Months!

Six months! Half a year but it feels like a lifetime of new experiences. 




I think you are about 17 pounds now but will find out next Monday at your vaccination appointment. 

You still have Aunty's grey eyes. They seem to change with the light and the colour you are wearing.

You move so quickly scooting around on your tummy. We can't take our eyes off of you for even a second or you will inevitably end up on the floor, under the bed or under the coffee table.



You are sleeping like a pro. Sure you wake up a few times but you sleep and nap in your crib. Mommy misses our night time snuggles but I know it is for the best and I am so proud of you!

You have two teeth! I think there are more on the way too.

You have tried lots of different foods. You seem to like oats, green beans, banana and cucumber best. We are still working on the bottle. You can be a stubborn little guy.

You know some consonants now! Mostly dadadadeeda and sometimes a ba or ga thrown in for good measure.  

You still love our walks and sitting outside on the back deck soaking up the sunshine and noises.

Love you so so much!

Thursday, 1 May 2014

Running 101 - Stretching

I thought today would be a good time to talk about stretching.  In the injury prevention post I suggested this topic was entitled to its very own post so here we go!

Last week I attended an injury prevention seminar by The Running Clinic.  They covered a lot of really interesting info, but the part that struck a chord with me was their take on stretching.

Here is an overview:

  • Stretching before running has a negative effect on running performance (especially if held over 60 seconds)
  • Stretching before a run does not decrease the risk of injury.
  • Stretching does not prevent DOMS.
  • Stretching does not improve post workout recovery
If you are wondering right now why you have been stretching and whether you should even bother the answer is YES.

This is why:  Stretching normalizes the muscle stiffness that is unique to you. We all have different imbalances and aches and stiffness will show up very differently in each person. Just last night I talked to people who experiences upper back soreness, calf pain, and hip pain after doing the same run.

Some guidelines on stretching:.
  • Always stretch AFTER your run (not before).
  • Here are some examples of stretches from The Running Clinic.
  • Do not stretch if you are hyper flexible (I think I mentioned I have hyper mobile hip joints)
  • Stretch your proximal (closest to body) and not distal (furthest from body) muscles. Think quads and hamstrings and not your calves.
This really is just a sampling of all the info out there on stretching.  As I said before, if you have a tried and true stretching method that works for you, stick with it! If you are noticing that stretching has very little positive outcomes, you might want to consider the guidelines above. 

Lastly I want to share something very interesting with you! If you suffer from tight IT bands and gluteal muscles (including the dreaded piriformis) you have probably tried out the yoga pidgin pose stretch at some point.  I certainly have! This article has some great info on why this probably isn't the best stretch for you.  Here is what they suggest is the BEST IT band stretch you could do:


You can thank me later for sharing this little gem :)

So tell me... do you stretch??





Thursday, 24 April 2014

Virtual Run Date - Regina

Hi runners! After a bit of a hiatus, I am so happy to share the third post in the Virtual Run Date series.

Meet Erin!
Hi all! I’m Erin from Running Tall and I’m currently running and living in Regina, Saskatchewan, Canada. It’s a prairie city where it’s 30+ in the summer and -40 in the winter (Celsius!). Classic Canada, right?



If I were visiting your city, where would we go on a run?
The prettiest and most popular running route in Regina is definitely the path around Wascana Lake, a manmade lake in the middle of the city. Once around the lake is about 5km but it also hooks up with a city wide trail so you can get your long runs in too.


The city even clears the path in the winter so you can safely run year round.  Love hitting the Wascana Lake trail with my favorite running partner – my chocolate lab Sadie.



Where should I stop for a pre-run coffee?
My favorite coffee spot is Brewed Awakenings, mainly because they are one of the only places in town that offer almond milk. I love a good vanilla almond milk latte! 

Where is the best spot for a post-race brunch?
My brunch heart belongs to Fresh & Sweet! It’s a local downtown breakfast and lunch spot that serves up some amazingly creative sweet and savory dishes. It was even recently featured on the Food Network Canada so it’s kind of a big deal ;)

I forgot my shoes/gels/running socks… where can I get some new gear?
Stick with the tried and true – The Running Room

What is the must-run race of the season?
Definitely has to be the Queen City Marathon that happens here in early September. We’re a small enough city that this race sells out and still feels nice and intimate. You can do a 5km, half, full, or full relay and it’s even a Boston Qualifier. Pretty legit! I'm running the half for the second time this year and looking to PR – fingers crossed! 

Is there anything else you would like to share to rep your hometown? 
I’m pretty freaking proud of the hardiness of Regina runners! Like I said, it gets COLD here in the winter and there will always be some runners out there killing it in layers and a full face mask in the dead of winter.

Connect with Erin
@running_tall



Tuesday, 22 April 2014

Injury Update

I haven't run in 11 days. Three chiropractor appointments and two physio sessions later I feel a bit better! I also went to a Moksha class to stretch things out and spent an hour on my bike doing some light spinning.

I asked today if it is normal to take this long to heal and I think the Chiro may have thought I was a bit crazy. I apologized for my impatience. My physio also calls me Dr. Google and told me I will only increase my anxiety by looking up all the things this pain could be.

I am trying to be patient and a bit more forgiving because this body has been through a lot in the past 12 months.  I also underestimated the effects of relaxin and the fact that nursing Weston would increase the length of time my body produced it.  On the one hand this can cause pelvic instability, but it can also make you more responsive to chiropractic care.  If you want to read more about running while breastfeeding this article has some good info.

I am remaining optimistic and hopeful that in the next week or so this injury will be behind me and I will be on my way to happy running again. My plan for rehabbing includes:

  • Orthotics (I was able to see my foot scan and how different each of my feet are during my walking gait on the scan - it looked something like this)
  • Some serious core stability work. I have weak glutes. Admitting it is the first step.
  • Starting from scratch and not jumping ahead on run training even though I feel like I could.
  • Paying MUCH more attention to form during all activities and exercises. (i.e. my sagging lower back during a burpee probably isn't ideal).
  • Yoga 1x a week. I am happier when I do yoga too which is a pretty good side effect.

On the plus side, with all this down time I have finally finished my case study! I just have a few more edits before sending it off and then I can start my case study with a real client!

Hope you had a wonderful Easter!




Tuesday, 15 April 2014

When Pain Means Stop


I guess I should have knocked on wood when I wrote the injury prevention post, or maybe paid a little closer attention to my bodies signals.

It looks like I will be off running for a while. I have an L5/S1 disc bulge which is causing some serious secondary muscle pain. The thing is, it wasn't really a gradual build.

Last Thursday I went for physio to see about the apparent diastatsis recti I have (only 2 fingers BTW which isn't really that bad). I don't know if the manipulations there awoke a sleeping giant, but 3k into a friday run I had to walk. 500m yesterday I had to walk again, this time in tears.  I have never had running pain like this. It is not the gradual build kind, it is the kind that flares with your first step and screams STOP!

After an 8am chiropractor appointment, things look pretty bleak for the rest of the month.  I went to a new chiro and he used the tens machine for about 15 minutes to get the muscle to release followed by some pretty uncomfortable ART. I don't have serious nerve pinching which is positive.

Here are a few things that may be contributing to this issue:

  • Pregnancy obviously had more impact on my pelvis than I first thought.
  • Weak gluteal muscles from the first two months of caring for a newborn and couch time breastfeeding.
  • Running with the jogging stroller because it is so different form wise.
  • Some weird stretches I did last week that I saw on competitor.com 
I feel frustrated and a little sad because I really have been conservative with my mileage, backing of when I felt sore and generally following injury prevention protocol. 

Please cross your fingers for me that this heals quickly! Any suggestions are welcome. 

Friday, 11 April 2014

New Shoes!

Have you heard of ShoeMe.ca?

I discovered the site recently (during my many hrs of internet browsing while Weston naps) and made my first purchase today. What did I buy? New running shoes of course!

I have been really wanting to test the new Skechers running shoes and when a $40 off promotion popped up today I couldn't resist.

I ordered the new GoRun 3 in silver and lime green.  The runner's world review seems very promising and when I used the Runner's World "shoes like mine" advisor it suggested that the GoRun would be pretty similar to my beloved Saucony Kinvaras.

Here is more info on the shoes from the Skechers site and a pic of the shoes I chose.

Also, did you know that Skechers brand ambassador is Meb Keflezighi?!? That's right. "Keflezighi wore them while winning the Olympic Marathon Trials in January 2012". My new running shoe motto just might be "What's good for Meb is good for me". 

This post is in no way sponsored, but when I made the purchase I did receive a coupon code for friends and family to receive $50 off their first purchase! $50!! So if you are in the market for a new pair of shoes or some Friday afternoon retail therapy here is the link: http://shoemeca.refr.cc/TBK57G3

Have you run in Skechers? What are your initial thoughts on the shoes?
Do you own more running shoes than you probably need?


Wednesday, 9 April 2014

Spring Clean Me!

It is Spring. Our days are full of planning gardens, rubber boots splashing in puddles and spring cleaning. We moved into our housing in July so this is our first spring here an admittedly, there isn't a ton to do. However, there is some room for spring cleaning in our day to day living.

Here is my Spring Rejuvenation Plan

Drink Less Coffee
I for one have slid down a slippery slope of post pregnancy coffee consumption from one Tassimo pod a day to two, then maybe a decaf latte later and sometimes a diet coke. (in case you are wondering, even decaf coffee has a little bit of caffeine and is highly acidic).  I am going to follow Kris Carr's 11 Tips to Kick Your Coffee Addiction (again) and will be drinking a lot of green tea!



Goal: Switch to half caff coffee for remainder of April (baby steps!)

Get Cooking
I am not eating well. I am not eating junk food, but I am not really taking time to cook either.

Goal: Dedicate every Sunday as new recipe day!

Stretch Daily
I am not taking time to stretch. As a new mom, 90 minute yoga classes became almost impossible so I just stopped all together. I need to do better.

Goal: I am going to reactivate my yoga online subscription so I can do 30 minute or even 45 minute (gasp) classes at home.

Read More
I need to read more. Don't get me wrong, I read blogs and articles all day long. Mostly about sleep training, sometimes about baby food and the odd one about running. I need to read books! I downloaded some new ones:

Goal: Read at least one book a month



Meditate
This one is new for me but it is something I really want to try. Ever since I read The Monk Who Sold His Ferrari I have wanted to learn to meditate. I have no excuses except it kind of scares me. I know I have an overactive, wandering mind and I struggle to sit still for any length of time. All signs that I probably need a meditation practice in my life. 

Goal: On April 17th I am going to attend this Monthly Group Meditation session.  I missed the March class, but I really would like to take it in the future.

Are there any areas in your life that need some spring cleaning?
Do you meditate?


Monday, 7 April 2014

Weekly Workouts (March 31 - April 6)

Monday, Mar 31 - 60 minute HIIT
Tuesday, April 1 - OFF
Wednesday, April 2 - 4km Stroller Run
Thursday, April 3 - 30 minute walk with Weston in carrier
Friday, April 4 - 60 minute HIIT
Saturday, April 5 - 6 km run (avg pace 5:25)
Sunday, April 6 - OFF

Recaps!

  • 2 runs! Not exactly meeting my goal of three but I am on track this week because I ran today : )
  • Running on pavement is 1 billion times easier than running on ice and gravel (especially with the running stroller).
  • I reread Crazy Sexy Diet yesterday because I have plans to clean up my act. I also bought some spirulina. I am crediting it for my stellar run performance today. It certainly wasn't due to being well rested : )
  • J has an injury to his lower leg. It is pretty serious because he can't run for two days (eye roll).
I posted this on twitter but want to share it here too for some Monday motivation:


Sunday, 6 April 2014

Running 101 - Injuries

It has been a while since I did a running 101 post, but I thought this topic might be fitting as J is experiencing a nagging injury as he trains for an upcoming half marathon.

In my coaching program, we focus more on injury prevention, as we aren't qualified to diagnose or treat injuries. That said, there are some common injuries that we can definitely take note of, make referrals to specialists and amend training programs to allow for recovery.

As a runner, chances are you have had some sort of injury at some time. I know my running group regularly talks about our aches and pains and have at times been sidelined by injuries. My laundry list includes IT band syndrome, shin splints, piriformis syndrome and a stress fracture, all of which could have probably been avoided.

There is no single reason for injury, but there are a number of contributing factors that will increase a runner's susceptibility:

Foundation Factors
A triad of muscle weakness, poor flexibility and biomechanical issues often lead to running injuries. To address these areas you should include the following training elements:

  1. Strength Training - A well rounded strength training program could be your biggest ally in injury prevention.  For example, I have a very weak glute med which causes a whole host of problems. Regular exercises (from my physiotherapist) include clam shells, hip hikes, and stability ball bridges. Here is an example of a strength training routine designed for runners. The only caveat here is to make sure you are performing exercises with proper form.  An improperly executed squat cold put undue stress on your knees causing more harm than good!
  2. Joint Mobility Exercises - Foam rolling & stretching are a must! Here is more on foam rolling. There is still some controversy over whether stretching is more beneficial before or after running, how long to hold stretches and whether stretches should be static or dynamic. I think this is one of those grey areas where if you find stretching helps you, by all means continue. If you think it is contributing to running issues (i.e. I believe pigeon pose causes me more harm than good) go with how you feel. *note: if you have been advised to stretch by a health practitioner follow their advice and protocol.
  3. Assessment of Running Technique - stride length, cadence, and arm swing are just a few areas where a properly trained athletic therapist can assess your technique. I can give you a great example of areas where I have problems. Last year, when my coach video taped my running technique I could finally see what he meant when he said I was "spilling my guts". I allowed my lower belly to loosen which I later found indicated I wasn't firing my transverse abdominus right. I have also seen people with a side to side arm swing, shuffle or hunched position that can affect their mechanics and lead to injury. If you can, go for an assessment. The video is a little embarrassing but so worth it! I think we have all seen some version of this photo making the rounds:



Training Factors
How many of you know someone who signed up for a race on a whim, ran their heart out, and could barely walk for two weeks after. While extreme, this is an example of what happens when you don't allow for proper training and adaptations.  In fact, one study found that 60% of running injuries are caused by doing too much too soon.

As a coach, it would be my job to monitor how you are responding to your training program and add in components that can address foundation factors. We can incorporate hills for strength training and a regular stretching regime for flexibility.

Proper route selection may also help. If you are always running the same loop on the same camber, it may explain why you are having knee pain. The trail camber will cause a shift that changes your biomechanics and calls on weaker stabilizers to balance your hips or other points in the kinetic chain (there is a much better explanation here).

Running Shoes
This probably seems like a very easy fix. There are generally three types of running shoes: motion control, cushioned and neutral.  A proper running analysis will help determine what kind of shoe you need based on whether you are a pronator, supinator or neutral runner. I think running shoes deserves an entire post so we will talk more about that later. The general summary is, make sure you are running in the right shoe for your food type and PLEASE don't run in your cross trainers from the gym. If you are interested in reading more on foot mechanics, this article is very helpful.

Later this month I am attending a seminar on injury prevention so I should learn a few new things to share. If you have questions specific to this post (I know it is lengthy) please feel free to ask and I will do my best to answer them. Also, if there is a topic you want to discuss please let me know!

Saturday, 5 April 2014

5 Months

Five months! How can my little baby already be five months old? You have changed so much this past month and it is so exciting to see your little personality emerging.




You are almost 16 pounds now and have your Aunty's grey eyes.

You can roll both ways like a pro and are just itching to move around more. Be patient Westie, there is plenty of time to start crawling.

You will fall asleep on your own sometimes, but much prefer to be with mommy or daddy. We are working on that.

You started solids! Your favourites seem to be the oat cereal and pear. We haven't tried much yet but you are really enjoying your meal times in the high chair.



You babble away and smile at other people to make there day!

Love you so so much!

Monday, 31 March 2014

Drafting a Family Food Policy

I mentioned a post last week that we were going to develop a family food policy. While we haven't sat down and crafted ours yet, Weston started solids last Thursday at the suggestion of our paediatrician so the need is becoming more pressing.  It has also been weighing on my mind a lot lately, as I want to give him the best start in life through a healthy and nutritious diet.

Find these on Etsy


Here are some of my initial thoughts:

  • We eat our meals at the dining room table. 
  • The dining table is a stress free zone. (aided of course by fun artwork that I am coveting on Etsy!)
  • Our food choices are based on the following principles: Is it nutritious? Will it provide me with healthy energy? Do I know where it came from/ how it is made?
  • We will stick to buying organics according to the dirty dozen list.
  • Homemade is better than processed (unless we are at one of our favourite organic spots)
  • Weston drinks water and milk period. (with the exception of smoothies I might make him, this will be a no juice household). I will be sourcing organic milk for Weston (we don't drink milk).
  • Me and J will serve as role models for how we want Weston to eat.
  • We will eat local products as much as possible and emphasize fair trade (i.e. bananas, coffee, chocolate).
  • We will all have a say in what is for dinner. 


Thinking of developing your own family food policy? Here are some articles I found very insightful:
Do you have your own outlook on nutrition that guides your every day decisions?

Weekly Workouts (Mar 24-30)

Monday, Mar 24 - 60 minute HIIT
Tuesday, Mar 25 - OFF
Wednesday, Mar 26 - OFF

Thursday, Mar 27 - 60 minute HIIT
Friday, Mar 28 - OFF
Saturday, Mar 29 - 6 km run (avg pace 5:25)
Sunday, Mar 30 - 75 minute yoga flow

So last week was less than stellar and I completely missed a recap of my Arizona week. It did include two solid runs.

Here are some key events from the past month:
  • I participated in Edmonton's Bust a Move HIIT class and got to be on stage!
  • We are getting Weston into a pretty solid betide routine which means I need to workout between 6-7pm now.  This is actually a good thing because I have a set time!
  • I am getting a bit faster (slowly). I am excited by this even if it is just over the shorter distances.
  • I mentioned that I found out I have diastasis and I am going for some pretty serious rehab. Initially I was told no running but they loosened up on that.
  • I am almost finished by case study for marathon coaching. If I pass I can move on to coach a real live runner :)

Saturday, 29 March 2014

April Challenge

Is it just me or does this seem less and less like a running blog. I apologize!!

Getting on a running schedule was harder than anticipated and the weather has not been kind. Lately I seem to go from good weeks of 3-4 runs to zero. With April on its way and (hopefully) and less ice on the sidewalks things are going to change. I promise.



My plan this time is to plan less. The other day I stopped by my office and my running friend/co-worker mentioned to me that she had read an article on map my run that essentially advocated not running any "junk miles". I interpret this to mean "run with purpose".  Lately my runs have been purely to run again, which is fine for base building but if I am honest with myself I have a pretty solid 5-8k base that I can build upon.

Things that are starting to get easier:

  • Warmer temperatures and more daylight means I can run when J gets home from work.
  • Weston's paediatrician gave the go ahead for the running stroller based on how strong he is (I had been nervous because of the 9 month recommendations)
  • Physio is helping my core get stronger.
Extra motivation:
  • There is something very exciting happening in the Edmonton running community that I can't wait to share. In the next few weeks I will have more details!
  • Ummm I am signed up for a 10k at the end of the month. It might not be pretty : )
Goals:
  • Three solid runs a week (long run, tempo, intervals/hills). I am not making a schedule because that seems to be setting me up for failure lately.
  • My core/diastasis work every day (I set an alarm on my iPhone to remind me)
Seems simple right? 

Have you been in a rut lately and need some extra April motivation? I would love to have some accountability here or on instagram to share your runs or other activities. 






Wednesday, 26 March 2014

Get The Junk Out

I was at a family event yesterday with some distant relatives that Weston hasn't yet had the chance to meet. We got on the topic of introducing solids and talking about how Weston reaches for straws now (and pretty much all food in general).

One of the moms shared that her son, who is 9 months old, had a fast of a Tim Horton's iced cap and now you have to hide them from him. An Ice Cap!? Like the caffeine, creamery sugary drink from a machine that even adults probably shouldn't over indulge in. I was flummoxed. (for the record, a medium iced cap has a whopping 55 grams of sugar!)

The conversation then went on to "hiding junk food" from children. It has never for a moment occurred to me that we would hide junk food from Weston. Is this a common thing?

I am of the mindset that we should all eat healthfully and junk food really has no place in our home on a regular basis. Treats, absolutely. But I want Weston to grow up understanding why we eat healthy foods and what will provide him the most nourishment to grow.



The marketing of junk foods geared towards children is shocking. Although these stats are from the US, I would assume they are quite similar in Canada. A review of children's diets revealed the following:
I don't want to create and environment of "good" and "bad" foods, but there are some things I just don't think belong in a child's diet.  This is also something I am considering as we look into potential day cares. I have pretty much accepted that I will probably end up packing his foods if we want him to always have high quality vegetarian meals. And I am totally OK with that.

Do you have food policies for your home? 
Do you provide treats in moderation?
I would love to hear your ideas because this is something that isn't really talked about.



Monday, 24 March 2014

Last Minute Adventures

Last week I took a bit of a break (mostly due to no internet connection). We booked a last minute flight to Phoenix to visit with my parents for four days. While the trip was short and sweet, it was so nice to let my parents see Weston.



I got in two really great runs there and the feeling of dry, smooth pavement felt amazing beneath my feet. We ran early to avoid the heat because by noon most days it was nearing 30 degrees.

Other than that we enjoyed lazy days in the backyard and taking short road trips to the hills. Every time I see my parents now it gets harder to leave. Maybe it is because I have a baby or I am becoming more sentimental with age. Living away from your family is a hard thing. While you get to miss a lot of the family drama, you miss the little things too. Like coffee with my dad, shoe shopping with my mom and even watching TV together on the couch.

In other news, I found out that I have a mild case of diastasis recti or post natal ab separation. I suspected something wasn't quite right but shrugged it off. I will be going for physio to try and improve it but it is very frustrating to thing I have been doing ALL the wrong core work. I might have to start running with ab ab splint but will find out more after my complete assessment. I have found this resource very helpful in the meantime.

Does anyone else feel like we don't talk enough about proper post natal after care?? In the rush to get back in shape, we gloss over the importance of pelvic floor health and core stability.

Postpartum fitness really is a journey!

Saturday, 15 March 2014

Get to Class: ViPR HIIT

On Thursday I wen to my last class as part of the #fitmamasyeg challenge: ViPR HIIT. While I thought ViPR was just the name of the weight, it turns out  it is an acronym  for Vitality, Performance and Re-Conditioning.  If you have never seen a ViPR before it looks like this:




Overview
This workout was 100% new to me! It was in the same studio as the TRX class and I kept telling the instructor how much I loved it! It was very challenging even with the lightest ViPR (4kg). 

The workout was set up tabata style with about 8 exercises for 20 seconds x 8 reps with a rest between. Exercises included jumping jacks holding the ViPR overhead, lunges with a wood chop motion, lateral shuffles tipping the ViPR end over end (sorry if that explanation doesn't make sense), and russian twists cradling the ViPR at chest height.

This video of the top 10 ViPR exercises is probably much more informative than my attempt at explaining the moves:



Equipment
ViPRs come in 4, 6, 8, 10, 12, 16 & 20 KG options. The ViPR is made of rubber and has specially moulded hand grips that you can see in the photo above. According to the official site:
You can also place your hands through the ends or use the single handle on the other side for a grip. This allows maximum variety and comfort for clients to lift, shovel, push, pull, rotate and throw while integrating the whole body through movement at the same time.
My thoughtsI loved it! I am considering getting a ten pass for the studio just to go to the class more regularly.  The ViPR didn't feel cumbersome and the total body workout was intense.  I also tend to need new types of workouts to keep me motivated.

Have you tried ViPR before? Did you love it??

Monday, 10 March 2014

Weekly Workouts (Mar 3 - March 9)

Monday, Mar 3 - OFF

Tuesday, Mar 4 - OFF
Wednesday, Mar 5 - 60 minute mommy & me yoga class, 60 minute HIIT class
Thursday, Mar 6 - Strollercize
Friday, Mar 7 - 60 minute HIIT
Saturday, Mar 8 - 60 minute TRX workout
Sunday, Mar 9 - 5k run with the stroller!

Thoughts his week:
  • It has been a long time since I felt ready for a rest day (workout wise). Today it felt good to just hang around the house with Weston and do some crafty things during his downtime.
  • It was so warm it go very slushy during our run and we had wet feet! I didn't think I would ever be so happy to see (and run in) slush! 
  • Our basement is being finished right now so there will be no workout DVDs for a while... at least not any that I can't do in the space of a yoga mat.
This week will be spent soaking up these spring like temps!!


Sunday, 9 March 2014

Get to Class - TRX

Yesterday I went to a TRX class as part of the #fitmamasyeg challenge. One full hour of nothing but TRX. When I mentioned to J that I was going he said something like "isn't that the workout that was really popular 5 years ago?"  Fine, so I am a little late to the game on this one but I might as well share my experience right?



Overview
I have done TRX exercises before with a trainer and at strollercize, but I have never taken a full class.    We worked our whole body from piston squats to chest press.  The instructor warned us that we might feel dizzy during the class and I was surprised when I actually did. Like nauseous dizzy.  I am going to assume it is because the TRX straps are moving so slightly that you don't really notice, but it is enough to make you feel a bit queasy.  Or, I am out of shape : )

Te hardest exercise for me by far, was the suspended hamstring curl. 10 reps in and my hamstrings were screaming! 




Equipment
A TRX system, a mat and your body weight are all that are needed. The gym had all the TRXs suspended from a big frame, but neighbours of ours just had their basement ceiling reinforced so that they could do the workouts at home. I might be popping over for some suspended pushups :)

My thoughts
It was a very good workout! I am already sore as I type this and I found it a bit easier to isolate the muscle groups than I do using free weights.  I would love to go back to this little gym and try some more classes. They also offer a TRX yoga class which I think would be awesome.