Race Training with a Baby on Board

Despite staying active and fit for all 9 months of my pregnancy, the road to recovery has been long and has required patience and perseverance, but I am finally starting to get back in running shape.  I did a lot of walking the weeks after having the baby, and gradually progressed to slow, short-distance jogging.  I started doing a weekly TRX strengthening class this spring, and while I am always really sore for days after the class, I realize how important it has been for me to start incorporating planks, single-leg squats, hamstrings, and back extensors into my workup to prevent injury, build up my core strength, and support my pelvic floor.  In June I started training for my first post-baby Half Marathon, which I plan to run in mid-September!  As part of my training program, I ran a 5K trail run last weekend and placed second in my age group!  (You may ask, were there only two people in my age group?  No, there were at least three, ha!)  I am signed up for a 10K road run in early September, just a couple weeks before the Half.

Being a mom of a nine-month old, working full time, supporting a triathlete husband, and balancing summer travel, I have had to be really flexible with my training program.  I have not had time for cross-training or spin classes, I haven't made it to yoga in several months, and my core work at home is minimal.  I have had some good days of running and some hard days, and I've had to skip three runs in the past three weeks because of weather or other commitments.  My 8.5 mile run yesterday morning was rough.  I was tired, my back hurt after a long week of work, I had a sharp pain in my hip, my knee felt inflamed for the last hour of the run, the arches of my feet were sore, I felt chilled by the moisture in the morning air, and I just wasn't in my happy place.  Yet, I knew there was nothing I could do except keep running.  To make matters worse, Ady was not having it.  She started crying in her stroller when we were 4 miles away from home.  (I feel you, kid!)  She was hungry, bored and restless, and there's nothing I could do about it.  It greatly affects me to hear her cry and not be able to meet her needs, and it breaks my heart to think about her feeling hungry even for a few minutes.  I felt helpless.  I took her out of her stroller and held her for a few minutes, but as soon as she went back in the stroller she was upset again.  All I could do was get home as soon as possible.  I turned my Pandora to the Jim Brickman piano lullaby station on my iPhone and let Ady hold onto the phone, and thankfully this calmed her down until the last mile.  (Jim saved the day!)  

I keep telling myself that next year will be easier when Ady is weaned from nursing and I will be able to be away from her more frequently, but I know it will always be hard to find time for myself as mother, and any hour away from my baby will be tainted by guilt and longing for my child.  Despite the frustrations and difficulties of race training with a baby, I am thankful for so much.  I am thankful that I have such a beautiful and perfect child to push in her stroller.  I am thankful to live where I do.  I am thankful to have recovered from my labor.  I am thankful for my strength.  I am thankful that it wasn't a hot morning yesterday (or I may have just called an Uber at mile 5...).  I know that I will make it to the finish line of the Half Marathon in a couple weeks, even if it's my slowest race yet.

Half Marathon Training Plan with a 9-month Old Baby:

Mondays:  4 mile killer Hill Run with my running buddy (with added resistance training from the stroller).  Hydrate with Sauvignon Blanc.

Tuesdays:  Functional Strengthening:
Indoor sprints to keep up with a crawler
Pull baby down from the stairs (25 repetitions)
Pull baby down off the coffee table (13 repetitions)
Pick up spoon thrown from high chair (39 repetitions)
16 mini-squats while retrieving farm animals from under the futon
Diaper change wrestling every 2 hours

Wednesdays:  3-4 mile Tempo Run with the stroller (while simultaneously brainstorming a plan for dinner).  Race across town to pick up Kua from Doggie Daycare.  Stretch while nursing the baby.  Carry 18-pound human with one arm while cooking.

Thursdays:  TRX strength class (try not to fall asleep on the mat).  Lift Pinot Noir glass 10 times.  Try to stay awake until a grownup bed time.

Fridays:  "Stop and Smell the Roses" run with the dog and baby (run 2 minutes, stop to sniff a bush, run 30 seconds, stop to sniff another bush, run 4 minutes, stop to sniff dog poop from 3 days ago, run 2 miles, chase a squirrel, greet every dog on the trail, repeat 7 times).

Saturdays:  Long run (up to 8.5 miles now), add a mile each week.  Cool down walk through the Farmers Market.

Sundays:  Long dog walk, playtime with Ady after work, lift 18-pound baby in the air 12 times, stretch while we build a block tower, dance party, story time, bath time gymnastics, practice my favorite yoga pose: Savasana...


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