back in the game

I’m officially no longer postpartum.  Apparently that ends with the 6 week post-delivery visit.  I’m also officially not going to be running for a while because I finally had an MRI and found that I do indeed have a bad case of plantar fasciitis and also a touch of tendonitis in my left foot.  My podiatrist suggested that I quit walking and focus on swimming and biking.  Yeah, right.

When my first son was born we walked for hours every day and it kept me sane.  It was also an easy way to get him to nap.  In the early days there wasn’t much else I could comfortably do and I’d read on the blog of a triathlete come mother-of-twins that the best advice she’d been given in the beginning was to get her boys and herself outside every day.  That became my mantra.  I gradually added back in running, then running with Baby A once he was big enough, then swimming and spin classes once he was old enough to be left at the Y childcare, then eventually the occasional bike ride when I had a sitter or my husband was home.  That was the progression, but first there was walking.

This time my life it busier with a three year old and new baby, but my older son is either in school or happy to ride his scooter alongside me and the stroller, so we are once again walking.  I’ve also added an amazing program I came across when researching how to heal a diastasis recti, the gap that often happens during pregnancy between the two sides of the rectus abdominus muscle.  The MuTu System is “the complete body make-over for moms who want to shift the mummy tummy, heal their core and pelvic floor and get strong, fit and truly body confident inside & out.”  Sounds remarkable, right?  So far I’m finding that it is.

I’m on week three of the program and am taking my time, stretching each week’s program longer than a week and not beating myself up if I miss a day.  I’m making an effort to do my core work every evening and had cleaned up my diet until I discovered the insanely delicious chocolate almond croissant at my neighborhood’s new Arsicault Bakery.

I feel incredibly good, both physically and mentally, and I think my body is pulling itself back together even faster than it did the first time!


the things we do for naptime

I go to great lengths insuring Baby A gets his long morning nap so I have a couple hours of “me” time!  Sometimes I sleep, sometimes I relax, but mostly I practice, shower, clean the kitchen, do laundry, etc.  Today I was faced with the challenge of a repair guy coming at some point during his nap.  You know – the keep a 4 hour window open and sit home waiting for them type of repair.  I formulated a plan that we’d run to and from the gym and by the time we arrived home Baby A would be asleep in his stroller.  I’d wheel him inside and let him sleep downstairs then let the repairman in the side door and allow him access to the back of the house and Baby A’s room.  I even had the foresight to tape a note to the door with my phone number so the doorbell wouldn’t be used.

At 8:30 this morning we left the house jogging and made it to the gym just in time for Pilates.  The class was overcrowded and the foam rollers gone so I spent the first five minutes of class sprinting around the gym collecting spares for us late-comers.  Once I finally settled in, I was pleased to find that the class was heavy on stretching.  Don’t get me wrong; we did plenty of core work!  I just needed the stretching more this morning.  Unfortunately, I had to leave a little early so as to be home by 10 in case the repairman was there on the early side.  I went to retrieve Baby A from childcare and found him scavenging pieces of somebody else’s honey nut granola bar off the floor.  Hmm…  I quickly changed his diaper and offered him a squeezy pack of some odd fruit and veggie combo he loved, then took off in the direction of home.

Flaw to my plan: Baby A does not sleep on command.  We reached our block and he was looking sleepy but definitely not asleep.  So I ran around the block.  Then I did it again.  And again.  I tried to look inconspicuous since I felt ridiculous running around the block when we live practically across the street from Golden Gate Park.  The old lady sweeping leaves and flower petals across the street (also an ongoing effort since the wind picked up each time she formed a neat pile) congratulated me on running so much as I passed her the third time around.   Luckily by the fourth round Baby A was out and as I walked toward the house, my phone rang.  I ushered the repair guy up the stairs, pushed the stroller in, turned on the Sound Sleeper  app car sounds and led the way to the back.

Repair complete, I am enjoying a cup of Choffy, courtesy of my mom and the Honolulu chocolate festival, and Baby A is still sound asleep!

this week’s workouts:

Sunday- 4 mile run, stopping at bakery, farmers market and playground

Monday- 15 minute express swim, had a gig and hired a babysitter early so I could fit in a swim (yes, 15 minutes is worth it!)

Tuesday- walked to and from music class

Wednesday- 3 miles, to and from gym plus three times around the block, Pilates mat class

my personal sail

Running with all of the flaps closed on the Bob stroller feels a little like I’m running holding my own personal sail – directly in front of me. We’ve been mostly walking lately because my knees are not feeling great but on Friday I decided to try running again. It was a very windy day and I wanted to protect baby a from the elements but after a few minutes of barely moving, I decided he was well enough bundled and I opened a few flaps. Running instantly became easier, although not easy by any means. I made it about a mile and a half before deciding we were going to walk the rest of the run.

For the most part, my week of exercise didn’t exactly go as planned, but as I look back on the week, we hit several major tourist attractions on our walks!

The Ferry Building: We were wilting in the fog at home so when I heard friends were meeting for lunch, I jumped at the opportunity to go early and walk in the sunshine.  (It was the first of two events this week to which I actually arrived early!)

The Palace of Fine Arts: How in the world have I lived here for 11 years and never been to the Palace of Fine Arts? The grounds are absolutely gorgeous. We discovered this completely by chance on a day when we were supposed to swim. I had Baby A in the ergo and was already at the pool when I found out our swim partners would not be coming so I decided to walk at Crissy Field. Of course I had forgotten that you can no longer get to Crissy Field directly from the Presidio so we explored a new detour and ended up at the Palace of Fine Arts.

Crissy Field: We walk here all the time but it’s always strikingly gorgeous. There’s nothing like seeing fog rolling over the Golden Gate Bridge.

The De Young museum: I’ve been meaning to get today Jean Paul Gaultier exhibit since it opened. I became a member of the museum when I was pregnant thinking it would be a great place to walk with my newborn baby. There were a lot of things I didn’t know back then. However, on Thursday morning it was cold and foggy out and we needed an early walk so I strapped Baby A into the ergo and walked into the park to see if the De Young museum was already open. Upon entering the exhibit one helpful docent mentioned that he needed to stay on my front because backpacks are not allowed.  Obviously she’s never tried to maneuver a baby in one of these packs all by herself.  I’m not sure Baby A was at all impressed by the talking manequins and silicone bras, but I found the exhibit interesting.

Baby A and I probably put 10 miles on my running shoes this week. Unfortunately it wasn’t all running but we still got out, explored some new places and enjoyed the fresh air.

on the road again

Today is a wonderful day! I woke up when Baby A started making sounds and found him trying to escape his swaddle (as usual). He’s going to have the strongest arms ever from this daily exercise. I freed his arms, played with him for a while, fed him then strapped him onto me and left the house. We walked to Velo Rouge for coffee and a bagel sandwich then took the long route home, enjoying the crisp morning air.
Back home, we woke up Dad so I could get ready for work. I had big plans to ride my bike to our last rehearsal in the Presidio. I hadn’t yet ridden my bike post-pregnancy and didn’t feel ready to tackle the climb out of the Presidio with a violin on my back, so I arranged for my boys to meet me with the car after rehearsal.
I checked brakes and pumped up the tires then was off! I felt such pleasure being back on the road again and smiled as groups of spandex-clad cyclists passed me on their morning rides.
The steep hill into the Presidio left me breathing hard but I didn’t need to walk my bike as I’d feared I would. Good thing it’s a short climb! It’s strange that each time I bring back a new physical activity it’s easier than I assume it will be. Somehow I’m still in really good shape! It’s only a matter of not letting my aerobic capacity get the best of my physical body and end up injured.
Speaking of which, it occurred to me in the middle of a long walk yesterday that even though I haven’t run since last Saturday (my knee is still on the mend) all of my walking counts toward marathon training. I’m averaging 20 miles a week, which include one long day, similar to what I’d be doing on a real training schedule. Only, walking is gentler on my body and great for baby naps!


We had a blow-out yesterday.  No, not a dirty diaper, a stroller tire.  I was walking with the Stroller Posse (six of us with babes and strollers!) in the park and apparently my BOB ran over a nail.  We heard a loud bang and looked down to discover I had a flat tire.  Of all the strollers to malfunction after a little off-roading…!

Fast-forward to today.   Baby A decided, after we’d already left the house, that he’d rather be in my arms than in his stroller.  Luckily I’d brought the Boba wrap so while he hollered from the stroller, I wrapped myself up as quickly as possible.  I slid him into the wrap (no easy task when he’s upset and holding his legs stiff) then hoped for the best as I continued on my walk.  As I suspected, he was overtired and fell asleep almost instantly.  Great, except I had the heavy stroller and a heavy baby strapped to me.  I’ve grown accustomed to pushing only the BOB since it’s much lighter and more maneuverable with one hand.  The Graco pop-up is nearly impossible to steer without two arms!  I could have turned around and walked home but I was determined to pick up a few groceries and a replacement tube for the BOB.  I made it all the way to the grocery store, pushing the stroller with one arm and supporting Baby A with the other, then he woke up.  I almost turned around and called it quits but we’d made it that far, so I popped him back into the stroller and offered his fancy mustache pacifier.  Success!  In the end, we finished our errands and made it home before he turned grumbly again.  I was relieved to sit down, feed him and wait for my husband’s arrival home.

I wanted to swim this evening but unfortunately there were no lap lines during the time I could go!  I thought of getting on my bike but decided rolling my shoulders forward and hunching over a bike was not what I needed after a day of playing violin and nursing my baby.  Next option- running.  Nope, too windy.  At least I’ve got a gym membership!  I felt so normal hopping in my car and driving to the gym like I used to do.  Ironically, I ended up on the stationary bike because my legs really wanted to spin!  I alternated sitting upright and doing standing climbs in order to avoid the hunched over position.  When I transfered to the treadmill, running felt exceedingly easy since my body was already warmed up.  I called it quits after 10 minutes then pulled a foam roller into the stretching area.  I laid on my back and let my arms drop to the floor, opening my chest and releasing all the muscles which shorten during nursing.  I did my legs lifts in this position to work my core, then did a full body roll-out.  It felt so amazing that I’m going to make a point of rolling out my aching muscles every day!  Now I’m going to bed.  My mind is tired and my body is exhausted!

the workout:

2.78 miles walking, carrying baby

15 minutes spin bike

10 minutes running, .90 miles

core- bird-dog, plank, leg lifts from foam roller

hot tub!

I was excused from the house yesterday to go swimming. I hadn’t been without Baby A since the first weekend we were home from the hospital and since I’m returning to work part time next week my husband thought it would be a good idea for me to be on my own a couple times this week!
So, I struggled into my speedo, bemoaning the fact that I’d not shaved since who knows when, packed my swim bag and left the house. Alone. What a weird- and oddly freeing feeling.
I arrived at the pool and took a peek at myself in the full length mirror. Semi-cringe but not horrible. I made a bee-line for the hot tub and, excuse the cliche, felt my aches and pains melt away. Ahh… how long it’s been since I sat in a hot tub! I stretched for a few minutes then found myself a free lane and plunged into the cold water. I barely felt the shock of temperature as I grinned ear to ear at the pleasure of being back in the water. In my giddiness I steered right into the lap lane. Quickly recovering my poise, I swam aimlessly to the other end and continued my laps until I’d completed a quarter mile. Midway through it occurred to me that I was okay without Baby A. I waited to feel guilty at that thought but I didn’t! I enjoyed the silence of being under water and the weightless pleasure of stretching my limbs. By the time I revisited the hot tub I was beginning to miss my baby and although I didn’t hurry through my shower I was pleased to see him, screaming and all when I returned home.

Swimming was my second workout of the day. We’d already done a long walk around the city, running errands and visiting a friend to meet her new baby. Baby A paid his first visit to the opera house so I could pick up music and we walked killer hills in both directions. Going home was a bigger challenge because for part of the way I was wearing my baby while pushing his stroller loaded up with farmers market goodies. No wonder my arms were tired for the swim! Fully recovered today, I await my husband’s arrival home to attempt a very short run then head out with the girls!


baby with a view

I used my gym membership yesterday for the first time in almost two months! I was out walking with Baby A and stopped into the Richmond YMCA to ask how soon I could use the childcare (3 mos. old) then decided since he was sleeping I’d wheel him into the empty stretching room and take advantage of a few quite moments. Why didn’t I think of this before?? After a luxurious stretch and a few core exercises (I’m finally rediscovering some muscles!) we took off for an ambitious walk up 15th avenue into the Presidio. Not exactly hill repeats but still a great workout for butt and core as I tried my best not to carry the weight of the stroller with arms and low back. I wasn’t winded by the time I reached the top and congratulated myself for being on a good path to post-pregnancy fitness.
We continued our walk through the Presidio and missed the exit nearest our block. By the time we finally exited and were inconveniently among only houses and businesses again we had a nursing emergency. I found a random bench outside a closed sandwich shop and quickly opened the buffet, wishing I’d worn a more appropriate shirt!
We eventually made it home after one more outburst. Note to self: don’t stay out so long at one time!

the workout:
Half planks, bird-dog, pelvic tilts & lifts on back, shoulder stretches, gentle twists lying on back, hip flexor stretches in standing lunge, standing quad stretch
4 mile walk w/ 15th ave hill