Monday, August 1, 2011

Meet Anne-Marie

Fitness Revolutionary and mother of 3 (in no particular order):

Anne-Marie and I have become Mainely Running pen pals in a sense. Sharing struggles and triumphs. Offering encouragement and perspective. This is the story of how Anne-Marie is getting her groove on ~ after the birth of baby #3!

Sam was born in the fall which is just not the best time of year as far as postpartum exercise goes-- by the time I was ready to start a little gentle exercise, the snow was flying. So I decided to start running again when the snow was gone. In the dead of winter I signed up to do a 10K at the end of June at the urging of friends. When Sam hit 6 months and had good neck control, I got out with my new secondhand jogging stroller and was prepared to get right back into the swing of things. Before this pregnancy, I was running three miles, 3-5 times a week, at a reasonable pace. I had run a 5K. This would be easy, I thought!

Except that it wasn't. I found myself out of breath easily. I didn't increase my running intervals the way I had when I had taken breaks from running before. My shoulders ached and I had trouble imagining myself actually finishing the 10K.

I emailed back and forth with the Mainely Running ladies trying to diagnose my running ailment. Was it my sleep deprivation? Was I doing something wrong with the jogging stroller? I found there were a few problems that actually turned out to be quite fixable:
  • I wasn't running with good posture when using the jogger. Christine's suggestion to push one-armed made me realize this. Alternating arms basically eliminated the shoulder pain. Running with good posture when I pushed with both arms enabled me to breathe better. This improved my endurance and I started increasing my intervals.
  • I was being both too easy and too hard on myself. I wasn't setting specific goals, but I was also berating myself for not achieving improvement as quickly as I had in the past. I set my sights on finishing the 10K, developed a plan for combining walk and run intervals for that, and stopped beating myself up. My new mantra was "I just had a baby and it's okay!" I did give myself a break when I was exceptionally tired (#3, while an otherwise fabulous baby, is not noted for achievement in the sleep arena), but I started paying more attention to distance and specific goals.
I finished the 10K with a 1:10 time which I was thrilled about. I had a great time and found that running without the stroller was indeed much easier-- I hadn't given myself credit for the extra effort pushing it required. I'm hoping to do some short races this summer and then look to doing a half-marathon next summer or fall.

There's no doubt in my mind that Anne-Marie will cross the finish line of a half marathon by next fall ~ no doubts at all.

What are your short term and long term fitness goals and how do you plan to meet them? We'd love to help you get there!

Previously on Mainely Running