Posted in MAMA

An Active Pregnancy

Before I got pregnant – or when I very first got pregnant – I was beyond naive. I signed up for a 10K and 1-miler on the same weekend (instead of the Honolulu Marathon, of course) and assumed I’d slowly and happily jog through them with my barely-present bump and continue staying consistently, highly active through the whole 9 months.

By the time this weekend rolled around, I had been vomiting and barely eating for weeks. I was so nauseous in the first trimester I had trouble sleeping at night, didn’t want to socialize, and found most foods aside from bananas and crackers to be inedible. I still technically ‘completed’ these ill-fated digital races, but I half-jogged the one mile and walked the entire 10K. I also threw up several times during the 10K, and only continued because that was typical of any day at that time.

Now that I’m in my second trimester and counting down the days until the third, things have changed. I have a nice round belly that makes it tough to tie my shoes, but said belly is no longer growing and expanding like it was before. I can finally eat tomatoes again, have more energy, and can get through the day pretty normally with an afternoon nap. I can also walk/jog now that my new balance is under control, too.

Here’s a few things that have been incredibly helpful in staying active during my pregnancy.

Let It Go

This is the most important lesson of all. Whatever you thought pregnancy would be like, forget about it. You’re on your own unique journey and your body will be crystal clear on what it can and cannot tolerate. Sure, I’ve watched YouTube videos of women running half marathons or doing deadlifts or whatever else pregnant, but that’s their abilities and experience – not mine. I was an extremely active person before baby, and was almost completely sidelined by the first trimester alone. If that’s what’s right for me and my baby, I’m happy to stay on the bench as long as I need to.

Gym/Lifting Weights

The gym has been my go-to most days. I did some quick research to find safe exercises and even some that help build muscles for labor. My basic routine is a lighter/modified leg day with biceps & triceps and cool-down cardio.

At Home/Park/Wherever Workout

My husband is fairly active, and I’m usually playing soccer or skating right alongside him. Now that those things have been deemed off-limits, I started lugging my yoga mat, kettlebell and dumbbells with him to the park. This can also easily be done at home, at a kid’s soccer practice, or wherever.

Prenatal Yoga

Prenatal yoga is, according to my doctor, one of the best exercises for moms-to-be. It helps stretch out tight hips and uncramp crampy legs, bring some peace and stillness, and help with nausea and balance. Here’s one of my favorite youtube videos with minimal equipment I can do right at home.

Walking/Hiking

Running has been out of the picture for most of my pregnancy. At first, I was sick and dizzy, and then became wobbly and off-balance and plain old tired. Walking has been my best friend. I walk all the time, from taking my dog around the neighborhood to going to the track to taking a (literal) hike. Walking is low impact, keeps the heart pumping, and is gentle enough that I can do it on my worst days – and on those days, it actually makes me feel a lot better.

Important – I’m Not a Doctor

Just a quick note – I am not a doctor, and am sharing what’s worked specifically for me during my pregnancy. I ask my doc all kinds of crazy questions, and those include checking that everything listed above isn’t only safe for pregnancy in general, but for me and my pregnancy, specifically. Be sure to do the same with yours!

Posted in Running

Motivation Monday: Train for a Race

I’ve seen quite a few articles lately about training like an athlete. Competitive athletes have a totally different mindset & approach to fitness; they view their bodies as machines, work outs as a way to fine-tune, and food as fuel to keep their engines humming. We mere mortals, on the other hand, tend to see things differently. Our bodies are stubborn things that won’t do what we want or cooperate. Workouts are often the answer to burning off last night’s brownies. And food? Yeah, that’s a different story.

I’ve been an athlete up until my last few years of college, so competition and training are pretty much in my blood. The only way I know how to workout is to make it competitive. While I’m technically still competing with myself, nothing gets me working harder than an actual event. Hence, today’s topic: races.

My last 12K race - the most fun I've ever had running!
My last 12K race – the most fun I’ve ever had running!

I wrote a post last week about Reebok’s Spartan Race, one of those crazy mud, rope and fire-filled events that require a six pack to participate. (Note – the giveaway for free entry is still on! To enter, click here!) Well, I’m competing in one this August on the island! It’s my first outdoor race, and my blood is already pumping as I’m re-drawing training plans and enlisting the help of friends that I’m usually too scared to work out with. It’s sparked the active diva within almost instantaneously. It doesn’t have to be an outdoor race – even a 5K is enough to get the competitive spirits flowing. There’s so many couch-to-5k/10k, half marathon, marathon, and training programs out there for events. Most of them are even free.

Why do an event?

  1. They gets you in the mindset of an athlete.
  2. They’re perfect motivation over a long (or short!) period of time.
  3. They’re fun and totally addicting.
  4. Your entrance fees go to charity.
  5. You get free stuff (coupons, gift cards, food, t-shirts, beer, etc.)
  6. You might get handed a beer at the end!
  7. They boost pride, confidence & self-esteem.
  8. You get to look like a badass on instagram/facebook/whatever, especially if you do an outdoor race.
  9. Just trust me, they’re worth it!

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As noted, I’m still having a giveaway till Thursday for free entry into any Spartan Race! Click here to enter.

I also have a discount code for 15% off a Spartan Race! Ta-da: http://bit.ly/spartanwarrior

Happy racing!

Nikki

Posted in Running, Uncategorized

12 Week Marathon Training Plan

Happy Monday! Although this weekend was yet another rainy one, the island is finally starting to clear up! Which means, for me, I get to go run.

First, let me get things straight: I feel like there’s been a lot of hating on running lately. Maybe I spend too much time in the gym, but I’m tired of hearing people trash talk cardio as if it’s totally lame and unnecessary. Lifting weights is great, but so is running. It’s a total body exercise that pumps endorphins, frees the mind, and improves lung capacity and endurance. If the zombies come, what are you gonna do – lift them? Don’t think so.

I’m pretty stoked and nervous about my marathon this year. It’s my first one – I’ve never even ran a half – and I’m excited but can’t really wrap my head around the idea of running 26.2 miles. In Hawaii, that’s a long way to even drive.

My race isn’t till December, but time always passes by so fast I figure I might as well get started. Plus, I’m not a natural runner – I’m muscular and a little heavy on my feet. Even though I love it, it’s going to take a lot of work, planning and time to drag my soccer legs across the 26.2 mile mark.

Since I’m not exactly a natural, this plan starts from square one. I do have a lot of time, so my focus is more on my speed than on endurance. Endurance comes a lot easier than a decent pace, particularly for me. I could do slow, long distance runs forever. Medium runs? No me gusta. Sprints? I freaking hate them. And don’t even get me started on those damn intervals. I hate them more than anything on this planet. Unfortunately, though, they are worth it. Wahh.

I’m also creeping my miles up slowly because most of my cross training is either lifting in the gym or hours-long surf sessions, which are pretty rough on the body. I also love throwing in a few recovery weeks with less distances and intervals to test my progress, which I did at week 8 and 10.

I hope you find my little schedule helpful – I’m not a pro, but I love training. And you can trust that I googled the shit out of it. So, it’s pretty legit in my opinion.

I can’t wait to get started this week – I already knocked out my recovery run this morning! Ahhh, progress. Why is fitness so much easier/more fun/less painful when you have a goal to work towards? I think it reminds me of my soccer days, when I had a crazy South American coach to answer to. Now, I get to answer to myself (woot woot)

Have a good week y’all! I’m hoping to get a nutrition plan (veg, of course) pau soon. And, as always, happy running 🙂

TPlan

Posted in Eating, Lifting, Running

Motivation Monday: Starting Out & Starting Over

Happy Monday everybody! After a refreshing weekend, it actually feels good to be at work. I finally got so many little things done – cleaned my house, paid some bills, busted out some laundry and got in touch with some loved ones. I love waking up on a Monday knowing I’m organized & ready for the coming week.

Anyways, today’s Motivation Monday was inspired by a post from a few days ago. I talked about how re-starting a running program can feel like a brutal uphill battle for the first few weeks. And whether you’re lifting, running, trying out a hot yoga class or working out at home, starting out/starting over is tough.

The simple truth is that fitness is unforgiving. Fitness is a cold, hard bitch – she doesn’t lie or play games. Nor does she care how busy/stressed/sick/tired you are, or whatever’s going on in your life. She always reflects exactly how much work you’ve put in and how consistently you’ve done so. Fitness doesn’t accept excuses, valid or not.

I think that’s why so many of us fall victim to the falling off the wagon at the notorious 2-3 week mark. In fact, Gold’s Gym even has a name & date for it. They named February 18 the official ‘Fitness Cliff,’ when New Year’s resolution driven memberships peter off for the rest of the year.

Although none of us want to fall off the fitness cliff, it happens. We get busy, we get sick, tired, stressed, you name it.

I’m the first to admit it – the first 2-3 weeks are really rough. Unfortunately, we can’t skate by on the initial I-feel-like-amazing and I’m-so-glad-I’m-doing-this euphoria.

Two weeks in, we’re exhausted. We’re hungry, tired, and constantly sore. We don’t want another damn salad or another kale juice thing. Or even be in the presence of kale. We just want to climb a flight of stairs without it feeling like Mount Everest. And maybe some curly fries.

This is the point where most of us given in, give up, and go home to down an entire pint of ice cream and cry.

But this is also where we have to push through. On the other side of the 2-3 week wall is beautiful, sexy progress. Where the soreness simmers down and we start feeling like badasses. We run farther & faster, lift heavier, and finally conquer camel pose without passing out. Our taste buds have recovered and clean, healthy food starts to taste divine. Our favorite munchies just start to look processed, fake, and kind of Frankenstein-ish. We love our previously-loathed salad creations so much they’re taking over our Instagram. Curly fries? Bitch, please. I got kale.

The post-three-week mark, my friends, is where the magic happens.

Then fitness takes over our lives and every social media outlet possible and, well, you know the rest of the story. Happy endings all around.

I have no idea how this turned into such a lengthy post, but hey – it happens! And it’s something that I’m personally going through at the moment with my running. Have a good week y’all, and stay motivated!

Nikki

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