Soft and Squishy - Weeks 1 and 2

That appropriately describes the state of my core. Actually, my entire body. Growing a beautiful human, and now having the ability to nourish said human, will do that!

I am back to training with a schedule with Jerry. We are taking it slowly in terms of mileage and intensity, and I'm working on the "soft and squishy" part - again, slowly.

Here's a training recap for week 1 & 2 (Anna's week 6 and 7):

Week 1: Nov 19-25

31.5 miles Mon-Sun. (23.5 miles Sun-Sat) 

Noteables: 
The Gobble Wobble 5k with my dad! This is our second year running it together. He runs is as an incentive/reward for continued sobriety. He says, "I'll do something hard if you do something hard!" (don't tell him it really isn't that hard for me to hold up my end, since I'm pretty sure it is really hard for him... :))

His goal was sub 30 as we had run it in 30:40 last year. At 2.5 miles I knew we might make it but also knew he was slowing down quite a bit. My coaching brain wondered: how much can I push him, but how close is he to keeling over? Seriously, he was not looking good...

But we did it! 29:27! Not too shabby for a guy who trained all of 5 times (probably 5 runs in total since last year's 5k) with a longest run of 2 miles! I was really proud of him.

His granddaughter wasn't too impressed. He asked her, "Is Grandpa slow or fast?". She replied without a second of hesitation, "Slow!". Hahaha. All jokes aside, I think he was a little inspired to train more next year. That would be awesome - even with the little bit he did this year I noticed his face looked a little thinner.

Nate and I did a long cool down, capping off my first 8 mile day! Obviously, very broken up, but still 8 total! The little muscles around my ankles and lower legs were a little sore the next day; I'm not used to "mileage" yet!

Pre-race. The turkey did not race, unfortunately.

Nate finished in ~19:30.
5.5 mile run with Bart J, a former TNC athlete. I had warned him ahead of time that I was just 6 weeks post-partum. Aka: let's go SLOW and take some walk breaks.

Well... that lasted for all of... a block. Then we started clipping along at 7:25s. I could hold the pace reasonably well, actually! I was a little out of breath (had to talk slower to get in big breaths), but felt good overall. We slowed at the end when my hip flexors started to tire & lose power. Our average for the 5.5 mile run was 7:35s. YAY!

I know this pace isn't great for me at this point in time (too fast), but hey - when given the chance to catch up with an athlete/friend, you have to take advantage of the day! The following days I made sure to wear my HR monitor and keep my HR right around 160.


Thanksgiving weekend with family. It is so much more meaningful to celebrate the holidays with family! Lots of good memories were made.

Greta's first snowman. She was actually pretty participatory, scooping up snow and packing it in. 
Anna with little Anna :)

The Sunday after Thanksgiving Sharon, a former athlete (who will be rejoining the TNC team later in December), came up from AZ to visit!

Well.. she was in Fargo for a wedding and decided to make a trip to Northfield before flying out of MSP. I was able to catch up with her, meet her fiance Chris, and talk running. I am thrilled to have her back on the team. In 2014 we were able to break a huge marathon plateau and take off 10 minutes off of her PR. She finished Grandma's marathon that Spring in 3:18. I couldn't have been more proud of her!

Now... I have my work cut out for me to get her back to that speed - and then faster! :)
Week 2: Nov 28- Dec 4th

37.5 miles, including an 8.5 mile run, and a 12 mile long run (coming up on Saturday)

I am waiting a few more weeks before starting any true running workouts, but this week I started doing some strides and hard work on the elliptical. Both felt GREAT!

I am able to lift my knees a little more every day, and could feel a little more power when I tried to do some strides. Yay!

The elliptical workout was a lot of fun. I pay the "heart rate" game while on it which makes the time go by pretty quickly. My workout was 45 minutes: 5 easy, 5 hard alternating (total of 25 easy, 20 hard). I was able to get my HR to 195 on the last 5 minute segment, which I consider a success! 

Who says you can't work hard on an elliptical?

After all of those long sessions, doubles, hard workouts on the elliptical leading up to the Trials, I still have a love for that machine. Call me weird.
I didn't drink enough water after that workout (and sweat a ton). I'll have to get in the habit of carrying a water bottle with me at all times. I just want to make sure I keep being able to produce well for little miss Anna!



Working on the "Soft and Squishy" Part of getting back into shape:

Let's fix those abs! 

I'm doing the MuTu program, which has been recommended to me by numerous people. So far the first two weeks have been super light and easy (and I'm half tempted to skip days because I wonder if it's actually helping... but I don't! I just consider it...). I am happy to say that I can now put just 1.5 fingers between my abs vs. 3. Exciting! My core is as mushy as it has ever been, but I know I need to be able to contract my TVA before I can really hit core work hard.

So, MuTu daily it is!

Lifting

I am trying to do at least 2 days/week of dedicated lifting. I am so weak right now; I'm pretty sure I have the start of some chicken wing arms going on. Okay, maybe not quite there, but I have a lot of work to do. It was hard to start lifting again as I would think: I can do this tomorrow. And then tomorrow again. 

Once it's part of my weekly routine, though, I'm good about getting it done. Plus, I really do like the feeling you get after a good lift! 

Pull-up quest

Per my last post, I'm going to try to work on my pull-up ability.

Weight loss

My goal is to try to lose about a pound a week until I'm down to my old training weight (115). I don't want to lose the extra weight too quickly. I know that was one reason I wasn't able to breastfeed Greta well - the energy needed to run and breastfeed is tremendous! I have 10 pounds to shed: slow and steady this time!

Other fun updates:

The house is coming along! Spray foam insullation went in this week & they will hang sheet rock next. I am crazy excited to watch it come together!
I better get moving on Anna's stocking if I want to have a prayer of getting it done before Christmas!

I am really going to miss having a big Xstitching project when this is done. I *may* have started looking at kits online for another one... you know, just "in case of " kiddo #3... if we decided to try for #3 it would be multiple years from now... so it's a great time to look/start, since they can take multiple years for me to do!
Your turn:

What did your training week look like last week? What was mileage? Any great (or not so great) workouts?

Do you have any craft projects (like my stockings) you are working on for the Holidays? Ideas and pictures are fun to hear about and see!

Nichole Porath

Nichole is a blogger, elite level runner, and coach. She ran professionally for Brooks for two years after qualifying for the 2012 US Olympic Marathon Trials. During that time she founded TNC endurance, where she coaches and motivationally speaks to organizations large and small. This blog details her rise to national-level racing, and continues to follow her as she gets back into racing after starting a family. Read on, friends!

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