No Hysterrunstreak for Me!

Last night, I made a decision to end my runstreak after 18 days.  I have run or walked at least a mile daily since Thanksgiving.  I intended to keep this streak up until Christmas – a total of 40 days.  Last week Wednesday, I barely made it.  I got the mile in through my 1/2 mile back and forth to my car.  My body was feeling rundown so I didn’t make it to Water Aerobics that day and I LOVE Water Aerobics.  I kept up with it through this weekend.  I got 8 miles in between Friday – Sunday! Great for my training goals; bad for my recovery.  I exceeded my monthly goal to hit at least 10 miles a week for December at the expense of my health. Freezing

Every runner knows that it is essential to build rest breaks into your training schedule.  Your body needs to rest and recover between workouts so that you don’t risk injury.  (For more information about rest from training and why you need it, click here.) 

rest day

I’m still recovering from major abdominal surgery.  I not only need time to rest because of my training but also because of my hysterectomy.  Only a few weeks ago, I needed to nap after conquering the stairs between my first and second floors or walking to the corner.  I may be able to run 3-4 miles at a time again but I am not fully healed.  So that being said, I will not be running today.  I will be going back to my 3 day a week running schedule plus one cross-training day.  This gives me 3 days of nothing but normal activity – family, work, friends, etc.  This will still net me more than 10 miles a week and help me reach my training goals.

For my other goals, I am still doing ok.  Today’s Elf for Health challenge is to drink your weight in ounces of water.  I’m aiming for half of my weight as drinking my full weight in water is not healthy for my kidneys.  I have noticed that a lot of people tend to not drink enough water during the day.  So I would encourage you to drink at least the recommended 8 glasses of water today and every day. 

drink a glass of water

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)

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!

Strength Training 101 for Hysterrunners

I’ve been working on my upper body strength for the past 2 weeks or so.  It was my intent to write this post last night and post it this morning.  But I was sidetracked by a physical setback and, like everyone else on the East Coast, Hurricane Sandy.

 

Picture posted by my favorite weatherman, Justin Berk.

The physical setback was sheer exhaustion coupled with back spasms and a throbbing incision which started Friday evening and kicked into high gear on Saturday afternoon.  The reason – I attempted to put back on my Superwoman cape before my body was ready.  On Friday, I picked up my son from school and then proceeded to go to both Target and Safeway to restock the pantry and fridge.  Most moms know that this is a monumental task normally.  Add on the recovering from a hysterectomy issue and you have pain.  But, no I did not rest on Saturday like I should have.  I had committed to presenting a workshop for youth at a bullying conference that afternoon so I did.  By the time I got home that afternoon, my body was SCREAMING for attention.  So I rested and haven’t left the house since.

Today while monitoring local and social media to keep track of the storm, I came across the following tweet from our friends at Runner’s World.

image

It was just the nudge I needed to write this post about Strength Training and Upper Body exercises.  I’m not ready to tackle these exercises, though.

I’m not the most avid of strength trainers under normal circumstances.  It is one of those things I know I’m supposed to do for my overall fitness but don’t always get around to doing.  I have crosstrained with Zumba and Yoga but regular strength training.Embarrassed smile  Being that I can’t do either of those right now, I have been on a quest for exercises that I can do which are safe for me to do.  I came across some videos from Australia on YouTube that have been very helpful.

How to tone strong arms without pelvic floor strain

I have been doing the 3 exercises in this video along with tricep kickbacks from another of her videos.  I can complete 3 sets of 10-12 reps at a time.  I’ve been able to do these every other day for two weeks, including today!  I figure that if I keep this up, I too can have arms like Michelle Obama! Winking smile

Remember I had a reasonable level of fitness before my surgery and still have setbacks.  I started doing these at almost 4 weeks post-op.  If you’re not up to starting strength training that soon, it’s ok.  Each person’s recovery is their own – listen to your body and do what’s best for you! Open-mouthed smile

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Rock N Roll Philly Half Marathon

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