Featured Post on Mom Babble: The Evolution of a Mother Runner

One of my writing goals has been to start submitting my work to other websites, and you know, hopefully have it accepted . I’m so excited to share that my essay about how my relationship with running has changed since having my daughter in 2012 is featured today on Mom Babble.


I used to write about running—a million years ago it feels like. About the time the concept of “being a blogger” was becoming mainstream. Now I write about being a mom.

But I still run, and last month I ran the Frank Lloyd Wright 5K in Oak Park, Illinois. I had planned to post a race recap, but when I sat down to write, I realized I didn’t have much to say.

Read the rest at Mom Babble.

Fit4Mom Body Back: Final Results

For eight-weeks, I tracked my progress through Fit4Mom’s mom’s-only fitness program, Body Back. Never heard of it? You’ve probably heard of Stroller Strides, and that’s their program too.

Here’s the backstory:
Read Fit4Mom Body Back: Week 1.
Read Fit4Mom Body Back: Week 2.
Read Fit4Mom Body Back: Weeks 3 + 4.
Read Fit4Mom Body Back: Weeks 5 + 6.

Learn more about Fit4Mom Body Back.

Final results from Fit4Mom Body Back

Assessments

The session began on Tuesday, September 16. During that workout, we weighed in, took measurements, and did fitness assessments. When the session ended on Saturday, we did the same measurements and assessments, which is a great way to see how we had progressed over the past couple months. Like I’ve said before, I know that the weight/fat loss is an important component of the program, but I appreciate that strength and endurance is equally important.

Final Results: Weight + Measurements

We’re weighed every week during Body Back, so I had a pretty good sense of what the scale was going to say, but I was floored by the number of inches I lost. I wear a lot of leggings so I didn’t really notice a difference in my clothes.

Total Pounds lost: -7 lbs
Waist measurement: – 2 inches
Hip measurement: – 2.5 inches
Chest measurement: – 2 inches
Thigh measurement: -1 inch
Total inches lost: -7.5 inches

Final Results: Strength + Endurance

While I gained in every area, I felt like I had some setbacks this session. My knee has been bothering me, and I’ve been taking on quite a bit of extra work, so my workouts outside of the Body Back classes suffered a bit. I’m planning to focus on some strength exercises that should help my knee feel better in the coming weeks.

High Knees (seconds) 58 85
Bicep Curls (# performed in 1 minute) 27 33
Plank (seconds) 43 84
Pushups (on toes; # performed in 1 minute) 8 10
Full Situps (# performed in 1 minute) 19 21
Squats (# performed in 1 minute) 53 55
Side Plank (seconds) 29 38

Overall, I’m really happy with my results, and I’ve already signed up for the holiday mini-session of the Body Back (no weighing in!) to keep me in line over the six weeks.

Mother Running: I’ve Lost My Competitive Spirit & I’m (Mostly) OK with That

A few weeks ago, I ran the Frank Lloyd Wright 5K in Oak Park, Illinois. I had planned to post a race recap, but when I sat down to write, I realized I didn’t have much to say. I ran the first mile, walked the second, ran the third through to the finish line. There was a nice post-race expo with some good freebies (I picked up two reusable grocery bags—score!), and I had a long conversation with my running buddy of eight years over coffee and a bagel. I still haven’t looked up my official time, which I think was just under 45 minutes. Maybe it’s also worth mentioning that I had planned to run the 10K, but life got in the way of training.

Compelling stuff, I know.

I used to be able to mine these race experiences—whether it be a 5k or a marathon—for meaning and inspiration. Each mile required a paragraph. Each start line was a metaphor. Every finish line was a chance to set another goal—another journey to plan for and document.

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Scenes from another life. OK fine, some of those medals are my husband’s.

But like so many things, my relationship with running changed after I had my daughter in 2012.

I’ve never been a competitive runner. I came to the sport nine years ago while living in Chicago—a single, professional, mostly-adult woman in my mid-20s. It served a phenomenal purpose in my life as a way to build a foundation in a city where I hadn’t quite found my place. I immersed myself in Chicago’s running community, but I wasn’t (and I’m still not) fast. I’m decidedly back of the pack, running a solid 12-minute-mile pace.

Needless to say, I’m not exactly Boston Marathon material.

Despite that minor flaw in my grand running plans, the competitive aspect of running mattered to me—training for longer distances, achieving new personal records (PR), and pushing myself always with the vain hope that my pace would catch up with my dreams.

But post-baby, I’ve lost my sense of competition—my desire to get better, my will to go farther and faster. This lack of drive might translate as apathy toward my once-beloved sport, but the truth is, I care about running more than I used to, because if I didn’t, I wouldn’t do it at all.

This is what having a child does: It requires you to make choices, sacrifices, and trade-offs, and to understand that even after you’ve pared down your life, you still have to be flexible with your best laid plans.

With a toddler, a husband who works an opposite shift, a full-time job, a few side projects, and some friends and family I’d like to talk to once in awhile, the fact that I can manage a couple of slow runs each week often feels like a miracle.

This understanding of my own capacity to train (or not train) doesn’t come without moments of jealousy when I see other mothers—who have no doubt had to sacrifice in other areas—running long distance races and setting new PRs, their children cheering from the sidelines.

But it isn’t my time. Not right now, which doesn’t mean it won’t be ever again, but motherhood is not only about choosing your priorities, it’s also about acceptance.

So, I’ve accepted where I’m at, and I keep running. I keep running because it’s easy to do in the 30 minutes I have for a workout. I keep running because it’s the best way my long-time running buddy and I can have an uninterrupted, toddler-free conversation. I keep running because it keeps me mentally healthy and gives me a break from the intensity that comes with parenting a young child.

And I keep running because I love running, even if I no longer have a race recap to share.

Fit4Mom Body Back: Weeks 5 + 6

I’m tracking my progress through Fit4Mom’s eight-week, mom’s-only fitness program, Body Back. Never heard of it? It’s from the same company that offers Stroller Strides.

Read Fit4Mom Body Back: Week 1.
Read Fit4Mom Body Back: Week 2.
Read Fit4Mom Body Back: Weeks 3 + 4.
Learn more about Body Back.

Week 5 + 6 Recap

The excuses continued into week 5 and 6, with a lot of missed workouts due to a busy schedule as well as knee and shin pain, which seems to be getting worse. I ran a 5K on Sunday, October 19, and since then, other than the Body Back classes, I’ve been laying relatively low. Unfortunately, I think a trip to the doctor is going to be inevitable.

Despite knee pain though, October has just been an insanely busy month. I’ve tried my best to focus on eating better especially since I haven’t been able to give my workouts my all. For what it’s worth, the strategy has worked thus far, and albeit slowly, the scale is going in the right direction.

We’re headed into the final weeks of this session’s Body Back program, and with Halloween behind us as of Friday, I’m hoping I can give the last week my all. I’m excited to see the results of the last two months of work!

Workouts Weeks 5 + 6

Monday, October 13: Planned rest day
Tuesday, October 14: Body Back
Wednesday, October 15: Couch to 5K workout
Thursday, October 16: Planned Rest Day
Friday, October 17: Skipped workout
Saturday, October 18: Body Back
Sunday, October 19: Frank Lloyd Wright 5K
Monday, October 20: Planned rest day
Tuesday, October 21: Body Back
Wednesday, October 22: Skipped workout
Thursday, October 23: Couch to 5K workout
Friday, October 24: Skipped workout
Saturday, October 25: Body Back
I know I say this a lot, but Saturday’s park workout was tough. We did a ton of running, including hill repeats, with intermittent strength exercises.

Nutrition

Neither week five nor week six were perfect, but they were both pretty good. I made a solid meal plan for lunches and was able to go two weeks without eating out once during the work week (the weekend is a different story). I had this Creamy Crock Pot Chicken Chili for lunch (I’m experimenting with a few crockpot chili recipes lately), and I also made this Skinnytaste Spinach Lasagna Rolls recipe—an oldie, but goodie, which I had for lunch and dinner a few times. Bonus: The toddler ate it too!

Progress Report

Week 1: -.2
Week 2: -3.1
Week 3: +1.2
Week 4: -1.4
Week 5: -.7
Week 6: -.8
Total: -5 pounds

Follow Lou @ Mommy Sanest’s board Body Back Approved Recipes + Resources on Pinterest.

Fit4Mom Body Back: Week 2

I’m tracking my progress through Fit4Mom’s eight-week, mom’s-only fitness program, Body Back. Never heard of it? It’s from the same company that offers Stroller Strides.

Read Fit4Mom Body Back: Week 1.

Learn more about Body Back.

Week 2 Recap
What I love about Body Back is that the class really becomes a community of moms all working toward similar fitness and health goals. We have a group Facebook page where the instructor checks in with us between class sessions and challenges us to make positive changes, and we (the participants) can post about anything we’re struggling with or just share successes or resources. Several of us also joined My Fitness Pal and are tracking our nutrition each day using that tool.

Workouts Week 2
Monday, September 22: REST

Tuesday, September 23: Body Back Group Class

Our instructor led us through a tabata workout for Tuesday’s class, which sounded like no big deal when she described it. Tabata is high intensity interval training that goes something like this: 20 seconds of cardio, 10 seconds of rest, 20 seconds of a strength exercise, 10 seconds of rest. Repeat four times.

Whenever I hear that there is a built in “rest period” after only “seconds” of work, I’m all, “bring it on.” I can do anything for 20 seconds, right? The answer is yes, but I needed to be reminded of that many, many times especially as we neared the end of our workout.

Wednesday, September 24: Couch-to-5k (28 minutes total) + 10-minute Abs DVD

Thursday, September 24: 30-minute circuit workout DVD

Friday, September 25: Couch-to-5k (28 minutes total)

Saturday, September 26: Body Back Group Class

On Saturday morning, the weather was perfect for an outdoor workout. The park we use has an amphitheater with four sets of steps. Our instructor planned a workout that made full use of this feature.

We started by running a lap around the entire park, which I’m guessing is a third of a mile. The run ends with a hill climb that puts us at the top of the amphitheater. At the top, we do a strength exercise, bicep curls with a squat. Then we lunge 50 feet to the next station, where we do a squat with a shoulder press. Run to the next station holding the exercise band over our heads (This is honestly my least favorite part of the workout). At the next station, burpees. Run down the stairs. Another strength exercise. Run up the stairs. Frog jumps. Run down the stairs. Pushups. Run up the steps. Lunges. Run down the steps. Crunches. Time for another lap around the park.

What’s nice about this workout is that you can go at your own pace. What’s tough about this workout is that it’s going to challenge you, regardless of your pace. But that’s the point, right?

Sunday, September 27: Couch-to-5K (31 minutes total)

Nutrition Overview Week 2

Meals from Week 2 of Fit4Mom Body Back

Week 2 Nutrition
Using My Fitness Pal helped me stay on track with my nutrition this week, but there’s room for improvement. I am pretty good at staying within my daily calorie goal, but post-work snacking always seemed to derail me. Regardless, I’ll take this past week as a win. A few of my meals from the week (clockwise from left):

  1. Lunch at home: A classic turkey sandwich.
  2. Homemade tortilla soup: I ate this soup for dinner no less than three times last week. I’ll be posting the recipe on the blog soon.
  3. Lunch at work: I adapted a turkey salad recipe from the fifth Fit4Mom booklet. It was good! I added a low carb tortilla and lots of lettuce. It lasted me for three lunches, and I’ll definitely be making this one again.
  4. Easy dinner: It’s not easy to convince me to eat a salad for dinner, but add some seafood, avocado, and fresh corn, and I’m usually willing. Ranch dressing also does not hurt. Just saying.

The Week Ahead
I missed my Tuesday night class because we were in Lake Geneva, Wisconsin. I’ll be posting next week about how I attempted to stay on track during this mini-family vacation.

Progress Report
-3.1 pounds (-3.2 pounds total)

Follow Lou @ Mommy Sanest’s board Body Back Approved Recipes + Resources on Pinterest.