Never Say Never November Goals Update

With 2 days left in this month, it is time to assess how I did on this month’s goals.  Overall, despite a few setbacks, I did pretty good.  I didn’t hit my goals exactly but I did make really good progress back to fitness.  Here’s how I did:

  1. Running – This month I aimed for 10 miles a week by running 3 times a week, especially Twilight Tuesdays with BGR.  I started November just relearning how to run with my “new” body.  I did manage to get a run in 3 days a week; however, I didn’t hit 10 miles yet.  As I wasn’t consistently ready for 3 miles at a time when we started the month, it wasn’t as realistic as I thought. Most of my runs averaged 1-2 miles with a “long run” of 3 miles each week.  However, yesterday I got almost 4 miles in and felt great! I have joined in on the Runner’s World Holiday RunStreak.  So I’m going to keep this goal and potentially aim higher in December.
  2. #LungesforLeftovers – Girls Gone Sporty had a cool challenge this month.  “Earn our Thanksgiving Leftovers” by doing as many lunges each day as you can.  I started out doing 20 static lunges – 10 on each side.  I really took to this goal.  I am able to do not only static lunges but walking lunges and lunges in the pool!  I definitely can feel a difference in my booty!
  3. Strength Training – This is the one area that I fell short.  In getting back to work and life, it was hard to fit upper body exercises in as well as my other fitness goals.  I barely did this once a week this month.
  4. Aqua Aerobics – AWESOME.  I absolutely LOVE my Wednesday evening class!  It is more than just aerobics.  It also includes water running and lots of upper body strength exercises with water weights.  When it is done,  I definitely feel it all over!

I may not have hit my goals exactly but I definitely feel like I accomplished a lot fitness wise this month.  Compared to the end of September through October when I was on bed rest and recovering, I did really well! I’m looking forward to next month as I will start training for a 10-miler with the Baltimore Road Runners Club in preparation for my half-marathon training which starts in January.

How did you do on your Never Say Never November goals?  Leave me a comment to let me know! 

exercise makes me stronger

SuperMom vs Hysterrunner

SuperMom - pittsburghcomics.com

This past week was a doozy! In the USA, this should have been a week of thanksgiving, tradition, faith and family.  However for many people, it was a week of gluttony, football, and shopping. For me, it was a combination of the former and a battle with my inner SuperMom.

Like most women, I wear many hats – wife, mother, sister, friend, prevention researcher, hysterrunner.  Before my surgery, I balanced them pretty well with help from my partner.  When I had my surgery, I sent my cape to the cleaners.  I knew that I had to step back from doing it all and focus on my healing.  For any woman, this is a scary thing to do.  I had to live with the fact that everything that I normally do could not be done.  I had to accept that and focus on me.  A hard thing to do when you are used to doing EVERYTHING!

Over the past 2 months, I have gradually been doing a little more each day.  I cooked a few meals, honey did the rest.  I had the mini sort and carry the laundry to the washer and dryer.  I poured the soap and folded the clothes.  Team work makes the dream work as they say.  All while slowly getting back into a running routine and returning to work.

This week the gradual return to SuperMom became a full jump as my honey went back to work, too.  I hadn’t realized how much I had grown to depend on him until he wasn’t able to be there.  It’s hard to leave for a run when you have to cook dinner and go over homework.  When my body says it’s time to go home and take a nap, that’s not possible when groceries need to be purchased.  I was glad that it was a short week so that I could spend a good part of the holiday weekend organizing and prepping for the upcoming week.  Something I haven’t had to do in a long time.

All in all, the week wasn’t too bad, though! I still managed to get in almost 12 miles between Wednesday and today!  I got in an Unofficial Turkey Trot 5K with the mini on Thanksgiving morning.  I’m attempting a Holiday RunStreak, which means getting in at least 15 minutes every day between Thanksgiving and Christmas.  I am actually hoping I can continue it between Christmas and New Year’s; but, that will depend on our holiday travel plans.

I learned that it is possible for SuperMom and Hysterrunner to coexist.  Although, SuperMom needs to listen to the Hysterrunner a bit more in order for her body to keep healing.  Basically, I learned that…

not super mom pic

(Image from the awesome blog – http://trainingupfive.blogspot.com/2012/07/super-flawed-not-super-mom.html)

Faith and Fitness Friday–November 16, 2012

As athletes, we have ups and downs. Unfortunately, you can’t pick the days they come on. – Deena Kastor (When she broke her foot at the 5K mark of the Marathon at the Beijing Olympic Games)

kastor

A Quest for Tights

It’s Fall which is perfect running weather.  As the weather grows colder, it is time to figure out what to wear to run.  There are many blog posts and articles out there which can help you.  Cold Weather Tips for Beginners on active.com is one.  The Never Say Never November 2012 issue of Runner’s World has a great article titled “Bottoms Up” which is a great gear review for cold weather bottoms.  So this post isn’t about to recreate the wheel.  What I am going to do is share with you my quest for the perfect tights for my fellow hysterrunners. (WARNING – This post is longer than normal for me.)

Women who have had a hysterectomy know of the dreaded swelly belly.  What is swelly belly you may ask?  Well, according to the HysterSisters website, swelly belly “refers to post-op swelling of the abdomen. It can occur in any type of hysterectomy procedure, but seems to be more prevalent in abdominal surgeries.
The current views are that swelly belly is caused by trauma to the abdominal tissues, gasses used during surgery, and/or fluids collecting in the tissues due to trauma during surgery.”  Trust me when I tell you that it is UNCOMFORTABLE, especially at the end of the day.  From what I have seen and read, it can last for up to 16 months post-surgery!!! YUCK!!!

100x75-lady-diet-cb817de

Because I don’t intend to let swelly belly stop me from being a hysterrunner, I need to find running tights which support it.  During the day, I have been wearing a girdle under my clothes to support my injured stomach muscles in much the same way as someone would ear an Ace bandage to support an injured ankle.  However, girdles don’t cut it for running.  Hence, the quest.

On the HysterSisters site, a fellow hysterrunner had mentioned that compression tights were best.  I agree with that.  Now which ones should I choose became the question.  So during this month, I have tried 4 different types of compression tights – Under Armour Women’s ColdGear Compression, Nike Element Thermal, Saucony AmpPro2 Training Tight, and the CW-X PerformX.  You can check out the individual websites for their official features and compression fit for muscle stability, etc.  What I am going to share with you is how they worked for me and my swelly belly.

Saucony AmpPro2 – I had high hopes for these tights.  They came in a cute tube which I have had displayed on my television console during my entire recovery period.  They were what I dreamed of wearing when I ran my first post-op run.  For compression, my legs felt wonderful! For swelly belly, these were a no-go!  They were subject to slippage.  In fact, 1/4 mile into my first run, I felt a cool breeze as I discovered that they had slipped below my butt.  It was a good thing my shirt was long in the back!  They also didn’t really sit right over the belly and provide any support above the legs.  I will save these for next Fall/Winter when I can wear them with a pair of shorts over them because of the leg compression.

Nike Element Thermal – When I put these on, I liked the fact that there was a drawstring so I could pull them tighter around my waist and belly.  They also have a brushed fleecy feel on the inside which makes them warm and cozy just where it is needed.  Like the Saucony tights, these also were great for my legs.  They were ok to run in; but, I still had a bit of a belly jiggle going on.

CW-X PerformX – These were the third pair I tried.  I was planning to save them for a long run because of their reputation for supporting muscles that have gone the distance.  But when I realized that my first two choices weren’t as supportive as I would have liked, I decided to try them out on a 2-mile run.  As soon as I put them on, I was in heaven.  My muscles and joints truly felt like they were in alignment.  They provided perfect pressure and support to my swelly belly as well.  When I ran in them, I didn’t hear LL Cool J rapping – you’re jiggling baby! I had hit the motherlode.  These tights are the go-to in compression for most runners and they are definitely the go-to for me as a hysterrunner.  However, the price is somewhat cost prohibitive.  I want to be able to run 3-4 times a week and only one pair isn’t going to be enough.  So I continued my quest.

Under Armour Women’s ColdGear Compression – Last but not least, I tried these.  They look like plain black tights; no fancy stitching or reflective stripes.  They don’t even have a drawstring waist. But…wait for it…they have an awesome fit for my swelly belly!  They come up above my waist with just enough support and pressure.  I wore them around the house for about an hour before I headed out for my run and didn’t feel uncomfortable.  They kept supporting me while I ran and I only heard LL when my MP3 shuffled to him!  These are definitely a keeper.

So, basically I have come up with 2 pairs of running tights which are about to be in heavy rotation this cold weather running season that work with the swelly belly of this hysterrunner.  CW-X and Under Armour will be my new best friends.  I will probably invest in at least one more pair, which one will depend on if I can get a sale or not. (I’m a frugal Franny!)

I should probably tell you that I was not provided with any of these tights for free.  I bought most of them on clearance during the summer when everyone else was focused on shorts. (Frugal Fanny again!)

Talk to you all soon! Continue to Never Say Never this November!

Faith and Fitness Friday–November 9, 2012

stop running from God eecard

What is God calling you to run to? Remember it’s Never Say Never November!

Why do I run?

If you had asked me a couple of years ago to go for a run, I would have laughed.  Invite me to a group exercise class – Zumba, Pilates, BodyPump – sure, no problem.  But, run?  You have got to be kidding me.

However, over the past few years, I realized something about myself.  Outside of attending group classes, I don’t like gyms.  Trust me, I’ve tried different types – women’s only, BIG BOX, meat markets, you name it.  I just don’t like them.  So between classes, I would walk for additional exercise.  Then, I became a run/walker and now a hysterrunner.

This week the Zooma Women’s Race Series posted a video from Dimity McDowell of Another Mother Runner.  Check it out below:

2012 Zooma Great Lakes

This video got me thinking.  Why do I still run?  After my hysterectomy, I could have chosen to start back with any other exercise but I didn’t.  The whole six weeks immediately post-op all I could think about was when I would run again.  I realized that running has become a friend to me.  It’s a space to clear my head, time to just be me with no obligations, no worries, no…  Running is my getaway.  So, why do I run?  I run to give time to me!

Never Say Never November Goals –

So far so good! I have gotten two runs in this week thus far which puts me on pace for my mileage this week.  The Girls Gone Sporty #LungesforLeftovers challenge has been a bit more challenging.  I have gotten 20 lunges in most days this week; 30 yesterday.  I have done my upper body arm exercises completed on opposite days from my runs, with the exception of Tuesday.  I completed my exercises and ran on Tuesday – a twofer! 

It wasn’t as easy as it sounds to get through my goals this week though.  It is also my first week back at work.  It’s been difficult adjusting to sitting at a desk the majority of the day.  By halfway through, the dreaded swelly belly becomes aggravating and my incision sometimes starts to throb.  I’m grateful that I can be a bit flexible and leave around 3pm instead of 5pm.  I have been coming home and relaxing, even napping at times, then logging on to work email one last time before focusing on my personal stuff – family, fitness, etc.  I am looking forward to being able to go straight through the day.  However, I realize that it is still not time for me to reclaim my SuperMom cape.  One day but not today.

Hysterrunning–Finally there

Never say Never November is here and so far it is definitely so good.  I have been chosen to be a Girls Gone Sporty Ambassador.  I look forward to working with GGS to promote fitness and share my experiences as a hysterrunner.

I kicked off the month RUNNING!  On November 1st, exactly 6 weeks post-surgery, I had my first run!  I got 1.4 miles in around the Lake.  I promised my doctor that I wouldn’t do more than 1 mile my first time out to test how my body was healing.  But, the Lake is a little over a mile and I completed the loop.  I felt good like I could do more.  I followed this up with 2 miles the next day and 1.6 miles on the 3rd.  Short distances, yes; but, long enough to not stress out my still healing body.  From what I have read and discussed with my doctor, I won’t be fully healed until about six months post-surgery just in time for my birthday in February.

The key to running this soon after surgery is to wear supportive gear.  Abdominal binders may be good when you get off a bedrest but aren’t conducive to exercise, especially not running.  Girdles are fine to deal with the bloating and help you fit back into your regular clothes but they also are not for running.  Compression gear is the way to go.  So far I have run in Saucony Amp Pro tights and Nike Hyperwarm Dri Fit tights.  They both provide just enough support without being restrictive and irritating my incision.  I haven’t run in my CW-X tights as yet.  I’m saving those until when I get to my longer runs.

exercise your right to vote

Today is Election Day here in the US.  I chose to Exercise my Right to Vote by running a 5K for my home town of New York.  I donated money to the American Red Cross Disaster Relief fund and decided to run4nyc.  This was a virtual 5K which was perfect for my first attempt as a hysterrunner. I am glad that my first 5K back could be dedicated for a good cause.  If you are still looking for ways to help Sandy victims, consider donating to the American Red Cross.

I joined my Twilight Tuesday Black Girls Run Baltimore group for a cold, dark run/walk around the Lake and the surrounding neighborhood.  I completed my 3 miles in 41:51 which is faster than my last race pre-surgery!!!  Lack of pain and cramping coupled with the cold air worked for me. 

I’m looking forward to my progress in my new body.  I am now officially a HYSTERRUNNER!

Never Say Never November Goals

Usually on Fridays, I post “Faith and Fitness” motivational phrases.  However, today is the first Friday of the month so I will be posting my goals for this month instead.  Hopefully, it will be motivational to someone! Smile

clip_november001_L

This month I am truly grateful to be alive.  Yesterday, I ran for the first time since the surgery!!! Woohoo!!! I ran again today.  There’s a blog post in there somewhere but I want to wait until I get a week’s worth of runs in to provide good advice for my fellow hysterrunners.

Although I can run, I know that my body is still not ready for long distances.  I also need to get back to a normal schedule.  I go back to work on Monday so I need to balance work, motherhood, and my fitness goals while my body still heals.  That being said here are my fitness goals for this month.

  1. Running – This month I am aiming for 10 miles a week.  This is less than what I was up to before the surgery but more than I have done for the past six weeks.  I’m aiming for 3 days a week – at least one with my Twilight Tuesday BGR group.
  2. #LungesforLeftovers – Girls Gone Sporty has a cool challenge this month.  They’re encouraging us to “Earn our Thanksgiving Leftovers” by doing as many lunges each day as you can.  I can do 20 right now – 10 on each side.  I want to maintain or increase this number if possible.
  3. Strength Training – I wrote a previous post about my upper body exercises.  I will be increasing from 3 sets of reps to 4 this month at least 3 times per week.
  4. Aqua Aerobics – I’m slowly moving in to cross-training.  No Zumba or Bikram Yoga or anything else high impact/energy other than running until my body has healed a bit more.  However, my doctor said I can workout in the pool since it’s low impact.  I have signed up for Aqua Aerobics on Wednesday evenings.  It doesn’t start until November 14th which gives me time to get used to running regularly first.

november promise

The motivational poster above was my inspiration to write down my goals.  I also have goals for work and my family, etc… just like I am sure you do. What are your goals for this month? Drop me a line to let me know!

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Rock N Roll Philly Half Marathon

Race # 10September 15th, 2013
Aiming for a PR!