I’d Rather Run with Scissors…Or, Running with ‘dese D’s

It always feels awkward returning to the blog after an extended (in this case, EXTREMELY EXTENDED) hiatus. Launching into a post without acknowledging the gap seems odd, but explanations sound more like excuses and, in the end, who really cares?

I don’t know. Hello? Hello!  I’m back. I have 2 kids now and I haven’t run for over a year. Oops. The “oops” pertains to the fact that I haven’t run for a year. I intended to have two kiddos, so……well done, me. Procreation goal complete!

I would love to feel like a runner again. I would love to be in decent shape and be able to go out for a 6 or a 7 miler without breaking a (figurative) sweat. “Oh, I ran an easy 7 today,” I’d like to be able to say.

There’s one thing standing in my way right now…well…erm…make that TWO.

I’m not talking about the kids, although scheduling a workout around the demands of mommyhood and miscellaneous adulting is not easy. The problem, you see, is that I’ve opted to breastfeed our second born, and I’ve gone from size 34A (pre-baby) to 36D.

At age 33, I’ve got boobs.

I have little to no idea how to cope with that.

The obvious first step was to BUY A SPORT BRA THAT FITS, so at about 3 months postpartum I did just that. I went to Target and bought the typical stretchy (and cheap) sports bra that I’ve worn before…just in a size LARGE rather than SMALL. Done and done, I think to myself.

Then I went on my first run after having a baby and learned a very valuable lesson: sports bras for the curvy need to actually DO something. As a flat-chested runner, the sports bra is mostly about covering what should be covered. If it looked cute, that was an added bonus. As a nursing mama runner, I learned that the added weight and bounce must be compensated for…or I will pay the price with every step.

So, I texted a friend who’s always been naturally gifted in the chestral department. “Tried to run…OW! What kind of sport bra do I need?” She texted back some recommended brands and I learned another lesson: pretty much every bra manufacturer makes a variety of “support” options. Huh. Seems like I should’ve noticed that before, but I’d always just bought the cheapest option, which of course is the one with “light support.”

Armed with this newfound knowledge, I bought a far sturdier sports bra and tried again. This time, everything stayed in place but the entire contraption felt so confining. It was hard to breathe. Dang boobs! Why is this so difficult?

After that experience, I let myself push running to the side. Maybe I’ll pick it back up in another 6-8 months, when the baby is (possibly) weaning. It just seemed like it wasn’t worth the effort. I’d as soon run with scissors as run with boobs.

The desire to “be a runner again” isn’t easy to squash, however. And because I’d rather not be attempting to get in shape in the middle of a Kansas summer (adding another degree of difficulty and discomfort to the already less-than-ideal equation of 1 year without running + 2 boobs), I tried again.

The third time may really BE the charm.

Or I’m just getting used to these things.

Or I’m a little farther out from giving birth and I’ve recovered even more.

Or…who cares? I went for a 2-mile run, and it felt surprisingly decent. That’s good enough for me!

Now, flush with a runner’s high (or delirious from prolonged sleep deprivation), I thought I’d take a few minutes to share some tips with any other nursing mama runners out there:

Tip #1: Get the Ugly One
I’m used to buying sports bras based on pretty color or cool pattern. DO NOT FALL INTO THIS TRAP. Seek out the ugly duckling of the sports bra world. You want something with thick shoulder straps and without too much elastic. If you can slingshot it across the store, it’s not for you. (Also, maybe don’t slingshot bras across a store. I think they frown on that.) It should feel sturdy and a little rigid. You need it to be strong enough to be up to the considerable task.

Tip #2: Try that puppy on.
It’s surprisingly tricky to get the right fit. Less elastic means more trouble finding just the right thing. You need something tight enough to provide that all-too-important support, but not so tight that it inhibits breathing.

Tip #3: Don’t forget the pads.
One of the only annoying things about breastfeeding is that you can’t turn the system off. It’s always there, ready to go. The bouncing, the movement, the warmth, or some combination thereof can unexpectedly activate letdown. I slip in some nursing pads as insurance against the wet t-shirt.

Tip #4: Pump (or Nurse) Before You Go
Make it easier on yourself by lightening your load before you go. It will make things more comfortable all the way around, decrease the risk of unexpected letdown, and if you’re like me and your baby refuses to take a bottle (augh!!!) it increases the chance that you can get a run in before a full on “I WANT MAMA/A SNACK” meltdown ensues. A win for everyone.

Tip #5: Splurge on a few workout tops.
I’ve been fighting this one because I hate to spend money on a temporary situation, but I’d recommend buying at least two comfy workout tops that accommodate your new bust size. If I had things that actually fit, I’d probably have a little more motivation to get out there and run. Since I’m being stubbornly cheap, every attempt to run involves fishing through a pile of shirts that just don’t fit and squeezing into a too-small something and then frowning at myself in the mirror at all the extra bulges. It’s an unnecessary blow to my self-confidence.

Those are my tips! What haven’t I thought of?

 

 

 

Advertisements

Family Running Adventure

The best thing about being married to a fellow runner is the UNDERSTANDING. I would imagine that a non-running spouse would respond to my slightly desperate and anxious declaration of “I have to go run” with, at best, perplexed support. “Uh…you just ran yesterday. You HAVE to go run AGAIN? Will you die if you don’t?”  I could also easily imagine a less supportive response from a non-runner. “I’ve been out of town, working 12-hour days all week. Now that I get back, you want to leave me with this rambunctious toddler so you can go RUN? Are you kidding?”

Not my husband. There’s no perplexity, but there’s plenty of support. No sooner than the words, “I have to go run” were out of my mouth than he was planning a family outing to one of the local running trails. Fifteen minutes later, Scott, LilRunr, the jogging stroller, and I were on our way.

I love him.

The plan was for me to run while Scott and LilRunr went for a stroll. When we met up again, we would switch positions and Scott would run while I walked with the little man. We weren’t 100% sure if Scott would be able to run — the saga of his leg injury continues, and unfortunately he’s not quite back to running regularly — but the rest of the plan was solid. I told Scott that I’d run 2 or 3 miles, and he encouraged me to go for 4.

Four it was. I ran two miles out, then turned and headed back for the starting point. As I traced my steps, I wasn’t at all surprised to see Scott and LilRunr RUNNING towards me. I figured it wouldn’t take very long for him to get bored with walking and give running a try, plan be danged. I couldn’t help but smile as my fellas came closer — LilRunr LOVES to be in the jogging stroller, and he especially loves to go faster than walking pace. Take the little guy out for a walk and he’ll lounge back in the stroller, gazing serenely at the environment with his hands relaxed at his sides. Continue the walk for long enough and he’ll eventually fall asleep. Pick up the pace, and the little guy first sits up and then leans forward as if relishing the movement. The breeze blows his always unruly hair this way and that, and he grips the tray in front of him and offers an occasional “da!” or “ba!” of delight.

Scott turned the stroller around, and I proceeded to lead our little family back to the starting point. This made LilRunr especially happy. He likes being able to see one of us in front of him as we run. Every time I turned back to look at him, he was either smiling or giggling, completely enjoying himself. When he caught my eye, he’d either wave or say, “mama!”

It was the best run I’ve had in a long time. 🙂

Training Log: Week 2

WEEK 2
January 2 – 8

Monday – 2.27 (8:16/mile) …The thing that I love about GPS is that it is EXACT. The thing I love about running for myself is that I can stop whenever I darn well please. “Oh, look! There’s my house! And…….I’m done. 🙂

Tuesday – 0

Wednesday – 3.12 miles (7:49/mile) …Actually ran a speed workout today. I opted for the “ipod shuffle fartlek”, which is where I get to change gears with each song. I really like the randomness of it — is that 70’s classic rock song with a 6:00 guitar solo followed by a 3:00 drum solo going to fall during the “fast” or “slow” section? Oooooh, boy! Excitement!

Thursday – 0

Friday – 4 miles (8:30/mile) …So, this is looking like the week where I run every other day. Ah, well.

Saturday – 11.25 miles (9:06/mile) …None of my girls were able to run on Saturday, so I joined up with some folks from the Runner’s Edge again. Yes, I am becoming that random stranger who joins people for runs. What? I think their normal training pace was a bit slower than mine, so I inadvertently helped push them and they helped me not go out too fast. Win-win.

Sunday – 2.35 miles (9:32/mile) …This was going to be 4, but I got a mile away from my house and started having some…issues…that were going to require a readily available bathroom. Unfortunately, my corner of suburbia is completely lacking public restrooms, port-a-potties, or even the old runner’s standby — the unpopulated wooded area. Given the lack of options, I turned around, walked for a bit, and then jogged it back home. Nice way to end the week, Megan. Eesh.

TOTAL – 23 miles (OK, it’s 22.99, but really…let’s not get all fanatic about one teensy hundredth. I’m sure I walked or jogged it somewhere.)

Training Log: Week 1

WEEK 1
December 26 – January 1

Monday – REST

Tuesday – 2 miles (8:57/mile)

Wednesday – 4 miles (8:05/mile) …WHOA! 8:05? That’s seriously right on the border of an acceptable college “slow” pace. Coach wouldn’t call it jogging! Heck yeah!

Thursday – 4 miles (8:44/mile) …This is the day that I dropped the car off for an oil change and then ran home. It was fun, but the day was windier and the course hillier than I figured on. Also, I might have been a tad tired from the surprisingly fast 4-miler from Wednesday.

Friday – 3 miles (8:03/mile) …so, is the 8:00/average thing going to be a trend? I’m speechless.

Saturday – 6 miles (8:21/mile)

Sunday – REST

TOTAL – 19 miles

Counting on Accountability

Today is Wednesday track workout day. I think I’ll start telling people that when they ask me what day it is. That’d be a fun change from the ho-hum, oh-so-expected MonTuesWednesThursFriSaturSunday!! Why not impose my own routine on others? Let’s see here…Monday is spin day, Tuesday is running buddies day, Wednesday is track workout day…ok, I’m never going to keep up with this.

I’m fairly certain that today is going to be a good day. My day began by stepping out of the shower to see abstract art in the form of cat vomit. The bigger, fluffier cat is having some issues with hairballs despite frequent visits from the Furminator (the Spring Shed has hit the Runr household with a vengeance…if I was the type of person to spin yarn out of my pet’s fur like I saw on TV once, I could make you all gray and orange tabby scarves), and when she starts feeling sick she is compelled to broadcast her ill feeling across the house. When your day begins by cleaning up cat puke, the only direction it can go from there is UP.  

I’m having fun with this accountability thing. (Marathon Expert wanted to know if I was going to track practice today,and Running Buddy chimed in, “she has to! She wrote about it!” So I did, RB. So I did.) So much fun, in fact, that I’m going to up the ante. I’ve been getting quite a bit of search traffic for the Swamp Rabbit Trail. I’m sure most of it was looking for race results from the recent 5k, which you can currently find on the Greenville Track Club homepage. However, there was a post in the distant past where I promised to take pictures and provide more detail about the different portions of the Trail itself. I never fulfilled that promise, and I’ve felt kind of bad about that. If you’re looking for more info on the Swamp Rabbit Trail, come back next week. There will be pictures. And directions. And any other information I can find/think of.

Another Rainy Saturday…

I ran 13 miles in a cold rain on Saturday morning, and it’s understandable if you think that would contribute to my ever-downward-spiraling mood. Understandable, but nevertheless incorrect. Don’t tell anyone, but I sort of like running in the rain. It’s a bit bizarre, I know. Possibly bordering the edge of crazy, I know. It’s not like I’m a fan of soggy shoes. And adding “cold” to the wet factor, such as yesterday’s 40-degree temps isn’t precisely funtastic either.

So what’s the deal?  That’s the question I was trying to answer yesterday, as my mood continually improved despite the downward wet of the rain, the upward wet of the puddles, and the everywhere chills. Am I just excited to have another long run out of the way? Perhaps, but the end of the “off week” isn’t something that’s likely to excite me, struggling as I am with laziness and antimotivation. Maybe it was because I having a great time reliving favorite SNL skits with ME? I absoultely was, but that probably only constituted 4 miles or so of the trip. Am I masochistic? Hmm…

So what’s the deal? I guess I just have to face the facts–I like running in the rain. I like having the trail to ourselves. I like the feeling of “toughness” that comes with knowing that a little rain isn’t going to disrupt my training schedule. (I may occasionally disrupt my training schedule, but that’s a separate issue entirely!) I like how refreshing it feels. I like how the chorus for “Singing in the Rain” always gets stuck in my head and picks up my spirits. 

As I thought more about it, I realized that this isn’t a recent infatuation. I have some photographic evidence here that shows the craziness goes way, way back…

 

The last of 6 races, the course was a total wreck at State this year. I may be drenched and nervous as anything, but I'm still loving every minute of it!

The last of 6 races, the course was a total wreck by the time it was my turn to race at State this year. I may be drenched and nervous as anything, but I'm still loving every minute of it!

 

Here's a lovely pic of the starting line...and what used to be a golf course. Funny, they quit letting us run on the fairway after this year. I wonder why?

Here's a lovely pic of the starting line...and what used to be a golf course. Funny, they quit letting us run on the fairway after this year. I wonder why?

 

 

And here I am, around the mile mark. The photo quality isn't great, but look close...there's a smirk accompanying those muddy legs! Yay, rain!

And here I am, around the mile mark. The photo quality isn't great, but look close...there's a smirk accompanying those muddy legs! Yay, rain!

It’s Official!!!

Running buddy here, for real this time! Just wanted to let all the loyal magarunr readers know that yesterday I signed up for the Kentucky Derby Marathon! I’m actually a little excited at this point, but that will change in the near future (when I have to run 14, 15, 20, and 26.2 miles!! )

So…hopefully Megan and I can get through this together. I’m sure we’ll have fond memories when we look back on these 4 months of training.

~Running Buddy

Just Desserts No Longer

I have come to a sad realization. I have passed that time in my life when I can look at something deep fried and covered with chocolate sauce (Hooray for Seinfeld re-runs!) and think, “this will be mine.” Now, I must think, “I can order this, but I will be done with it in two tiny bites. Then, what to do with the other $3.75 of my $4.00 raspberry white chocolate cheescake/peanut butter, caramel, & chocolate pie/Marble Slab ice cream mix?” I suppose it can go home…and sit in the fridge…and maybe I’ll finish it before it turns green. And of course, we all know exactly where those 1,200 calories posing as an accompaniment to a meal is going to go…and it isn’t going to be pretty.  

This makes me a little sad. I know that it’s just part of getting older…dang metabolism. I can even look on the bright side and think of all the money I’m saving now that I don’t burn off calories faster than I consume them…dang cheapskate Megan. And I’m mostly smart enough and have mostly enough willpower to mostly resist the siren call of the dessert. Mostly.

But geez, is it hard work sometimes. I do love sugar. And caramel (aka burnt sugar). And chocolate. You know, some people say that chocolate can be a little good for you. It’s probably not true, but I’ll play along. So…scratch that. And raspberries. Wait…raspberries probably have some sort of vitamin content. Scratch that, too. And…marshmallows (aka air puffed sugar). And peanut butter. Hmm…ok, fat content aside, peanut butter has some iron. That can be good. More scratching.

Where was I? That’s right, confessing my love for processed sugar and grumbling about changing metabolism. Grumble grumble grumble.

More Vacation, More Running (International Version)

I’m back in town. I know that I have been missing from this blog for awhile, but I have a good excuse! I was in the Dominican Republic with my sister. And I’m happy to report that I did run while I was there….3x’s! I got up before there were crowds at the pool and on the beach. And I loved having a quiet bit of time in paradise. So here are my thoughts about running on vacation:

It takes a lot of dedication to get out the door and go for a run while on vacation (especially a vacation that involves sitting by the pool/beach with a book in one hand and a cold drink in the other). But…I’m glad I did because:

  • one, it allows you to explore more of the place you are in (just be sure to not make too many turns and get lost). I tend to enjoy out and backs because then I don’t have to remember any turns. This of course is pretty easy when your vacation involves a beach and not a big city.
  • two, it makes you feel super super motivated. It’s one thing to run at home on your regular schedule…but to choose to run on your own while on a relaxing vacation with no schedule makes you feel twice as good about running!
  • three, everyone you run by looks at you with awe…and it makes you feel even better about your dedication/motivation. Plus you feel like you’re part of a special club, and every other runner you pass gets a special nod, wave, or hello. You can bond with total strangers without saying a word.
  • and four, part of being a runner (even an old retired/trying to come back runner) is that it never leaves you, no matter where in the world you are. It’s something you take with you anywhere and all you need is a simple pair of shoes. I love that those shoes have logged miles all over the place…Dominican Republic, Ireland, South Carolina and more!! There will be plenty more miles on those shoes before I’m finished. 🙂

–Running Buddy