I am here. I haven't forgotten you. I have failed massively at this program. I didn't drop out as I've still been following the diet component. Workouts are not happening. I consider this failure to be a super duper huge learning point for me. I am reflecting on what I am supposed to learn from this over the next few days, and I will report this in more detail in my graduation blog along with my next steps for my overall health and wellness.
In the words of John Lennon, "Life is what happens to you while you are busy making other plans." I've been busy making plans, and life is busy showing me that my plans to do not align with my current life stage. Time to reevaluate and flow more freely with life.
First off, let me give my apologies for my long absence from the blogs. An unexpected work trip threw me for a huge loop. I am trying to make up for it today. I've posted a Week 6 picture. There is a baby on my back and crazy eyes on my face. The last 10 days were rough, to say the least. I've questioned my career, my ability to be a parent, my worth as a human being and probably daily have thought, now, what is the purpose of life?
Anyway, it all started with in invite to be a part of a proposal design workshop for some education/health funding from the US, which was an interesting experience that I won't talk much about here. I hauled the entire family, 2 children, nanny and even my manfriend 5 hours in a car North to Lilongwe. We got a nice 3 bedroom, self-catering apartment...still didn't have consistent electricity or water, but that is normal in Malawi anywhere you go. Everything should have been set for me to continue the routine and cook up my diet properly. Here's what actually happened. I ran once and did one strength workout. I was 50% on diet, maybe. There was something about being out of my house that felt like vacation (even though it was a working one) and did big damage to my routine. I also couldn't pass up a fantastic Valentine's dinner date, in which my dinner was fairly compliant but my dessert wasn't...I did not take a picture but chocolate and ice cream and frozen creme brulee were involved.
I arrived home Wednesday night. My baby and I immediately developed a cold. We didn't sleep much the first night back, and in all honesty, I didn't sleep much the entire time away. Kids, kids, and kids. Sleep just isn't my strong point these days as I've mentioned copious times in ALL of my recent posts. The lack of sleep is just catching up with me. To be honest, I don't even feel bad about taking some time off from the workouts. My body just wasn't recovering properly. I made it out this morning for a great run...not 8KM, but 4KM. I'm just happy to have gotten out the door. Then, disaster, my nanny told me that her brother is sick, and she'll be traveling tomorrow and gone for 3 days. Shit. My manfriend, who usually is a great help, is also not here right now. Those are my two rocks of support, gone. No help with the kids at night. And, my older daughter caught my cold and has developed the same croup cough and wheezing that put her in the hospital last time. I lost it this morning. Sat down and cried in the shower. Anyway, we've battled with the cough all day but I think I found the winning combo this evening and that she won't need the hospital this time. Fingers crossed. I will make it through. This too shall pass.
More and more, I'm starting to realize that I've got to start figuring out a better way to care for myself during this period of my life. Babies and young children suck the life out of parents. Literally. My baby has her face stuck to my boobs all night long. Maybe this isn't the time for me to be trying to reach perfection on a training program. This is a season of middle ground, balancing acts and forgiving myself for my lack of perfection. Through it all, though, I am still dropping the pregnancy weight. Down from 55ish kgs to 51ish kgs. Breast-feeding is a great weight loss strategy.
My goals for this round of training were to reach 50kgs and get myself out on the road and running again. Weight isn't typically a goal for me, but after pregnancy, it is an easy way to track progress. Once I reach 50 kgs, I'll need to start using other measures to track my body goals. So, looking at those goals, I believe that even with this hiccup I will meet them. I've already met one! And, I that is something to be proud of....
Have a great week, team! I promise to do the round and catch up on your blogs very soon. Xo!
Just a collection of thoughts on the theme of circles to mark the halfway point.
* Arianna loves doing after-run stretches with me. She says, "Can we look at circles?" She is referring to the rather pleasing circles that decorate the Kenzai app. She is obsessed with colors and shapes at this stage in life. She especially loves to press the circles and move to the next exercise. She is also very impressed with the multi-colored circles on the diet sheet. Now, there is some positive feedback for the Kenzai app developers!
* Saturday was a fantastic fartlek run. Sunday was the most dreadful, dismal run yet. Today, Tuesday, I circled back to a fabulous free run. Cycles of positive, negative moods and broken, building muscles. I almost can't believe how great today's run was after crying through Sunday's run. Yes, I cried. I'm not too proud to admit it, but I finished and that is what matters the most.
* I fit into a pair of pre-pregnancy trousers that I tried on before KRun with little success. I wore them to work today. They are still a bit snug in the bum, but in Africa, that is not a bad thing. Finally, I've worked my way back into a body that I feel more comfortable moving around the world in....not that being pregnant isn't also beautiful in its own way. I just personally prefer the feel of a light-weight body. Happy to be back! Just a little more work left to do....
*Challenge #1: My mantra is "strong mind, strong body, strong mind, strong body......" And, on and on and on. Mostly, it is a mantra to convince my body that my mind is in control. I can't quit if my mind is still fighting onwards.
* Indulgence pictured and heartily enjoyed: Home-made pizza and a beer. Too bad the pizza isn't in the shape of a circle! I really need to find a circle pizza pan.
And, that is my quick re-cap of last week. Taking all three pillars into account, I give myself a B for my performance last week. Let's see what Week 5 brings to the table!
Check out that picture of the route I ran for my 5K. Does something look off to you? I'll tell you what is off...I didn't run a 5K. I ran a 6.3K! WTF, Runkeeper! Honestly, I felt so defeated when I arrived home with that time for my first 5K. Then, I looked at the route and thought, wait a minute! I hopped in my car, drove the route and sure enough, I accomplished way more than I thought I accomplished. In fact, I ran the entire 5K. It was only the last kilometer where I was feeling especially beat and walked a good portion. The weather was hot, humid and the sun was beating down. So, I won't trust RunKeeper anymore. I need to establish my running route before I start off. Good news is that I have my 6K for this Sunday already in the bag!
Just a few updates. My back is much better. My massage therapist visited a second time and really helped put things back in order. I was suffering a bit after the extra long run yesterday, but I woke up feeling just fine. In the technical run, I found my posture suffering the most when I was running up hill, just hunched over trying to get to the top. Btw, Blantyre is only hills. I am yet to find any flat stretches on my runs. I am either uphill or downhill. Diet is going okay. This week my sin was a couple handfuls of salted peanuts and a few french fries. Love salty, salt! But, for the most part, doing okay on the diet front. I don't really have any aesthetic goal for this training. My goal is just to get down to 50 kgs...close to my normal pre-pregnancy weight. The aesthetic goals are for future training this year. Will post an updated pic soon, soon!
Let me start with the bad news. Yesterday, I tweaked my low back...maybe tweaked is too soft of a word. I fucked up my low back while warming-up with squat jumps. Things were going fine. Then, I changed position, jumped and didn't properly protect my back with my core. Instant. I was still able to run, but I've been feeling constant low-grade pain since it happened. I called in my massage therapist. She does house calls and gives deep tissue and hot rocks massage. She's A-MA-ZING. And, the best part is that it is only $10 for the hour. She did some work, and it felt better. I will call her back in tomorrow.
I've also been failing in the sleep area, but it can't be helped. My 2 year old caught another virus at school and has been coughing and wheezing during the night again. I hope we will manage without the hospital this time, but it means I don't sleep much at all. Maybe 3-5 hours of interrupted sleep. Hard to really say. I just know that I am awake every 1-2 hours with one of the babies. When one falls back to sleep, the other wakes and needs attention. This is life. I cannot function at anything close to optimal. I was filling out a form at the dentist yesterday and couldn't even remember the MONTH. The month? The day, yes. But, the month? WTF?! Anyway, just a phase in life...one day, when the children are grown, I'll be reminiscing about when they were cute and young and totally forget about the endless weeks of compromised sleep.
So, onto the good! I'm loving the runs. I've been on point and haven't missed a run since the hospital episode. My pace is progressively improving...starting at 8:30/km and now at 7:15/km. I know I have room to improve as at my peak I was doing under 6:00/km. I am also killing the diet. Not 100% but somewhere between 80-90%. I allow myself a little too much milk...this is so I can drink coffee to compensate for lack of sleep. I despise black coffee. I've also been putting a half teaspoon of maple syrup into the coffee on occasion to hold off some of those sugar cravings. Even with those small allowances, I am down 2.2 kgs from 55 kgs at the start of the program. I know my normal weight ranges from 47-49 kgs when running a Kenzai program. So, this is expected. I can see the pregnancy fat dropping from a few different places in my Week 2 photo.
My goal is to drop that fat with KRun and then build up some muscle with KIron starting in March. I'm not 100% decided but I think this is my trajectory for the first half of 2018.
Now, let me go catch up on some blog posts! Enjoy Week 3!
Effort level in running is a whole new thought process for me. As Ed mentioned in the intro messages, walking is just okay...and we shouldn't feel ashamed if we need to walk it out a bit. However, I can't lie. In my history of running, walking always seemed like giving up. This effort level mind shift is difficult for me. Any hills seem to skyrocket my effort level and force me to walk to keep within the 4-6 range. See the woman in the picture, I DO NOT look like her when running hills. In the old days, I followed my stepfather's advice, who is a fantastic runner, and he always said, "If you feel like walking a hill, make it to the top before you walk. Most of the time, once you reach the top, you won't want to walk anymore." Usually, I would power through the discomfort, and as per his advice, once I got to the top, I didn't really want to walk anymore.
That said, I trust Kenzai and our trainers, so I've been walking until my body quiets to the point of conversational pace and start the run again. This morning, the first 20 minutes definitely felt better and my pace was much improved...the last 5 minutes required a little walking and a slower pace. I'm enjoying being back out on the road again and look forward to continued improvement.
Have a fabulous week, Team Ebro!
Greetings KRun teammates! I must say that I have had the worst start to a training program in my history of training programs. My daughter caught a cold about 2 months ago and never quite shook a cough. Monday night she developed wheezing and was having difficulty breathing. Straight to the ER. They nebulized her and sent us home with an inhaler and steroids. But, sadly, she is 2 years old and was totally afraid of the inhaler. Even when we did get her to allow us to put it in her mouth, she just blew all the good meds out instead of sucking them in. Total fail. Long story short she developed wheezing and difficulty breathing again, we made two trips to the ER the second day and finally were admitted to the hospital Tuesday night. She was discharged last evening and is a new human being today. Full of happy energy! Feeling great.
But, all that action led to zero thought of Kenzai or anything else in life. Total focus on my daughter and helping her handle the scariness of the ER. You can't really properly help a 2 year old understand why they need to get an IV in the arm or a shot in the butt. They just look at you as if you've totally betrayed them and their safety, and it is heart-breaking.
I am back and ready to take on KRun with a vengeance! I will play a little catch-up tomorrow doing Day 3 today and combining the Day 4 Run with Day 5 Strength tomorrow. Good thing the diet isn't in full swing yet. I won't even tell you the crap that went into my mouth while sitting bedside in the hospital. And, let's not even talk about sleep!
Anywho, thanks be to God for the medical care of today and quick healing for my daughter.
SkiBoot Graduation - What fun! GRADUATION POST
I am a bit late to the graduation game. Sorry, folks! Final picture posted. Yep, blonde hair. Considered going pink but figured my employer would not like it as much as me. One day, when I am my own boss (and trust me that day will come), I will dye my hair pink and love it! But, I digress....
I loved SkiBoot. I learned a lot about skiing. I had no idea there was so much to consider before getting out there. Personally, skiing seems like an awful lot of work. Time, money, risk. I much prefer throwing on a swim suit and jumping in a lake or ocean or pool. Or, throwing on a pair of running/hiking shoes and taking a whirl through some nature, but I can totally understand why the rush of a downhill run would be worth it to so many people. I learned a lot about how to get the body ready for such a beating and started rebuilding my own body after 9 months of carrying another human being around town. I loved training the SkiBoot crew and seeing pictures from all their previous and current skiing adventures. All in all, I think SkiBoot was a fantastic program and great learning opportunity. I would definitely support making it a 6 week program.
Happy Skiing to all those on the team who are actually getting out there! And, see you around for the 10-Day End of the Year Challenge. I'm in! Are you?
Oh, here's another baby pic just because....why not?
Friday is our office Christmas Party. I am officially announcing that I am taking the evening off from Kenzai and enjoying the free drinks, in moderation. I definitely want to avoid the hangover, but I do want to enjoy some adult time. And, maybe, just maybe, it will help me to feel more Christmasy. There is something about being in the Southern Hemisphere that makes Christmas seem fake. I feel like a poser with my Christmas tree and Christmas lights. Where is the Santa for my children to visit? Nowhere in Blantyre! And, according to my father, Santa doesn't come to the Southern hemisphere because there are no reindeer. Well, shit. I guess I'll have to prove him wrong and bargain with Santa to go out of his way and bring a couple gifts for my little people.
Just to prove that I am eating compliant meals. The only problem is that it is so good, I want to eat more!
I flaked on Challenge 1, mostly because I don't have any ski pictures and all of my other pictures seem to be buried on a hard drive for which I have lost the cord. Soooo...sorry for that! For a sense of place, I am uploading a trail map from Kennesaw Mountain National Battlefield Park. I've been hiking the trails of this miniature mountain since I was a wee lass. I remember one day when my father made us hike a 3-4 mile loop, and I dragged behind, complaining the whole way, as if it was the worst day of my life. Kids! Now, I hold so much appreciation for this mountain. I've hiked, climbed and run its trails in so many different directions. I've run in the quiet whispers of snow falling and hiked to the top when it was like a frozen wonderland. I wish I could find the pictures I took from that hike...it was magnificent. No skiing on this mountain, though!
Just a quick update. I am mighty pleased with the progress showing in the Week 2 picture. The tummy is melting. The arms are looking stronger. I think my posture is improved. As far as workouts, I am 15/15. Boom! Diet...I can score myself 90%, I think. I am weighing grams religiously at home. I indulged on a little extra milk for afternoon coffee last week, but that is solved with this week's diet update. I am assigned the afternoon milk. Woot! I also went to a birthday party on Sunday and drank a glass and a half of wine and ate several tiny tasty treats...sweet ones and savory ones. But, they were small and they were few. I avoided the cake, at least. All in all. I am happy with my SkiBoot program so far and ready to dive headfirst into Week 3. Let's keep it up, Tempest! We are halfway already!
I am really enjoying being back on a training program again! I've had lots of thoughts bouncing around my brain as I get back in the groove. I'll just bullet point them here for you.
- I really want to get the diet correct for this four weeks. So far, so good. I've been right where I need to be. I'm aiming for 90% and have dropped a challenge for everyone to join me in Week 2. Perfection is great, but I am a big fan of good enough. When at home, I weigh everything. My help cooks lunch for me, so sometimes there is more oil than desired but I still weigh and try to keep the sauce to a minimum. I do plan to eat out a few times while training and will do the best I can. Yesterday, I ate out at a place with a playground to allow my 2 year old to get some play time in. I ordered a chicken wrap, which was great except for the ridiculous amount of mayo. Next time, I will remember to ask for hold the mayo! :)
- Lovin' the cycle workouts. Last week, honestly, was pretty easy. I stuck to the minimum to enable my post-partum body to catch-up. Today, I admit, was harder and required a few modifications.
- Yesterday, I enjoyed my free cardio day outside. I wanted to do some swimming in my pool, but due to power outages here in Malawi, my pool is green. We have had some record long load shedding this week. The power is out for over 24 hours and only on for about 6-8 hours in between. Even my back-up power is failing...which makes it hard to circulate water in a pool and do any work online.
- I chose a jog/walk for my free cardio and quickly realized that my core will require continued attention over the next few months to be able to manage a decent run. I can feel it in my pelvic floor this morning. And, during the jog, I could feel it in my back...hence the jog/walk. I don't want to hurt myself but still want to get my hurt pumping. Mission was accomplished.
- I owe a baby picture. I am attaching one now but hoping to get a few more up when I write a blog post summarizing Bianca's birth story.
Have a great Week 2 fellow SkiBooters!
I meant to take a picture of these vegetables before stuffing them in the fridge, but in my excitement, I got ahead of myself. My friend, Angie, who just walloped KB1, turned me onto Vee and her fresh veggie delivery service. Wow! What a haul! The variety and freshness is astounding...all of this for $18. Dude. Yesterday was like Kenzai Christmas in my house. Last night, I cooked beet soup, beet greens, rosemary lemon chicken and vegetable biryani with rice. I am so ready for the turkey day diet start tomorrow.
PS Baby pictures to come...
Back to Kenzai after a few month's hiatus from the blogs. I am officially 1 month post-partum, which is a bit soon for starting back on program, but the birth was relatively easy on my body. I am healed from the actual birth process and cleared for exercise. No diastasis recti but certainly a weak pelvic floor. My plan was to wait until January to be on program, but since I'm assistant training SkiBoot right now, I decided to join in on the fun, in a modified fashion.
I'm already doing post-natal work with Moms Into Fitness, so I'll mix it up. Cardio will be 10 minute blocks from MIF post-natal workouts instead of jump rope. Let's face it! Jump rope was not designed for weak pelvic floors. And, I may need to do some ab substitutions depending on what is on the menu. I will continue to do the MIF post-natal ab routines a few times a week as the are designed to build the core from the inside out. They don't focus on traditional ab work but utilize the transverse abdominus to strengthen the inner most core muscles to realign posture and pull the belly back in after being front-loaded for so many months.
Even though I've never been on any ski slopes and don't live even close to places where there is potential for snow, I figure these workouts may help with stabilizing my core and getting my body ready for the work of hauling two children around town! :) Good to be back!
Picture updated. There I am in all of my pregnant glory! New haircut to simplify life. Who needs hair to deal with when one has a newborn?! Besides, last time, my hair fell out, littered the floors, clogged showers, etc. during the post-natal period. This will deal with all those unpleasant, nasty hair loss issues.
In general, I'm hanging in there. All things including sitting, standing, walking and sleeping are more uncomfortable as each day progresses...the pubic pain is much worse than the first pregnancy. From what I've ready, this is quite normal. However, it really limits my exercise ability. I have to be very careful of any sudden leg movements, especially to the sides. My back is starting to suffer from carrying this growing bowling ball in my tummy, and my toddler does not understand this at all! :) Still getting a great upper body workout lifting and holding the little one. I'm finding it quite difficult to stand up after sitting on the ground, but also a great way to get a lower body workout in...and often, sitting on a bolster on the floor is much more comfortable than sofa sitting. I do a lot of getting up off the floor. Though, I think it looks something like a hippo trying to stand up and waddle to the water for relief. I told my daughter that I am a hippo and she is my baby hippo. She liked that...and asked me a couple days ago in front of people, "Mommy, are you a hippo?" Bwahahaha! Love her! This is why we have kids. To remind us to not take ourselves so seriously all the time.
*Image from the San Diego Zoo website