Sweating. Writing. Loving. Reading. (July)

Sweating
I haven’t been running much. While I was training for the Horsetooth Half, I formulated a plan: I’d finish the half marathon un-injured, take it easy for a bit, run a Mother’s Day 5k, run the Bolder Boulder, and then jump back in and train for a fall marathon. But as the days turned into weeks and I remained uninspired to run, I ditched the Bolder Boulder and the idea of a fall marathon.

I had been on the verge of an injury for most of my half marathon training. I had to skip or modify workouts and cut back on my mileage much more frequently than I wanted to. I didn’t feel like jumping into marathon training without being 100% healthy. Meanwhile, my running mojo had yet to return. In May I went to a fabulous event at Skirt Sports where Mara Abbot, former Olympian cyclist, gave a fabulous talk. And something she said resonated with me. “When the sports gods talk, you need to listen.” The sports gods had been trying to tell me to give running a rest for a while, probably since Lady Bug (who just turned three) was born. Finally I decided to listen. Some say I’m stubborn. I prefer the word “determined.”

I decided to try to CrossFit and I am fully enjoying it. I love that all I have to do is show up and I get an intense workout in an hour. Even though the actual time spent with your heart rate elevated is pretty minimal (sometimes as short as 16 minutes), the effort is INTENSE. Meanwhile, I am learning to use a barbell (totally brand new to me)  the foundations of a pull-up (another feat I have yet to accomplish), and getting my ass handed to me on the rower.

I love being a beginner. Starting something new means I have no expectations. It means I can only get better. We had to do this thing with a really heavy duffel bag the other day. I don’t know what you call it, but you basically had to grab it by the handles, deadlift it, and then flip it about 45 degrees and into your arms while squatting. The coach made it look easy. So did everyone else.

It wasn’t.

Did I mention it was extremely heavy? On my first try, I stood in front of the bag, reached down for the handles and then looked up at the coach and said, “Wait, what?” The second time was not much better. The third time, I deadlifted it, but when it was time to try the flippy thing, I sort of short-circuited and stopped moving. It was too heavy and I was too clumsy. On my fourth try, the coach told me to try it with a smaller, lighter object. On my fifth try the coach said I could just deadlift it for today. Still, I kept trying and failing while everyone around me sailed through it. On my seventh try, I nailed it. This made me insanely happy.

The thing is, you can’t have the joy and satisfaction of nailing it unless you are willing to endure the discomfort of being totally out of your element. In other words, pain equals growth. I had an amazing opportunity to speak about my experience with pain, growth, impostor syndrome, sport, and what happened when a mean girl denied me a handful of fries in high school at a Skirt Sports’ flagship store in Boulder last month, which you can watch here.

pam moore w

 

Writing
I’m still writing weekly for Parent.co and for other places here and there.  It’s amazing what a deadline will do for your productivity. Some of my recent faves:

My first ever viral post. I might or might not have spent days obsessively hitting refresh to see how many shares it was getting on Facebook. I got to talk to pro athlete/ barefoot guru Jessi Stensland for this one. She was awesome.

https://www.parent.co/why-the-best-shoes-for-kids-might-be-no-shoes-at-all/

 

My second ever viral post! Apparently I’m not the only one having a hard time getting my kids out the door in the morning…

https://www.parent.co/one-thing-parents-can-make-mornings-smoother-according-science/

I have zero memories of my mom ever being awake before 8am. Somehow we survived.

https://www.parent.co/moms-genius-strategy-making-mornings-insanely-easy/

I love, love, love books, so this was a fun one to write. Well, sort of. It was a fun one to outline.  It was a lot harder writing short blurbs about each book than I thought it would be. (Hopefully I made it look easy!)

https://www.parent.co/eight-novels-featuring-moms-youll-fall-love/

A post I wrote last year, about the misadventures of taking my kid to a bris (a Jewish ritual circumcision) found its perfect home.

https://mazeltogether.org/preschooler-at-bris/

I got to interview Marjorie Ingalls, one of the editors of Sassy magazine. There is no shortage to the regret I carry for having given away my bankers box of back issues. As you would expect, she was smart and hilarious. We talked about her new book, “Mamaleh Knows Best,” raising kids in the digital age, and more.

https://mazeltogether.org/mamaleh-knows-best/

Loving
My new cordless Dyson vacuum has changed my life. I’d had my eye on it for about two years. By the time I saw it at Tuesday Morning I was so over the sensation of crumbs on my feet when I walked barefoot in my kitchen, no matter how often I vacuumed or swept, that I was nearly ready to adopt a dog. It was expensive but a) cheaper than a dog and b) worth it. The feeling of a clean floor against your bare feet is so unbelievably satisfying. Not only that, but I can do our entire first floor on max suction on one charge.

I am loving the fact that our kids are getting a little older and more independent. We rented a house in Hotchkiss (Colorado’s wine country) with another family and it was amazing. Our kids entertained each other all weekend while the grown ups hung out. It sounds so ordinary but the ability to relax for an extended period of time in a house that is not 100% childproofed is a luxury that is perhaps even more precious than a crumb-free kitchen floor. I’m not saying we were on vacation but we thoroughly enjoyed ourselves.  (Read this hilarious article to find out the difference between a trip and a vacation.) Below is a pic from our trip.

View this post on Instagram

Movie night

A post shared by Pam Moore (@pammoore303) on

I just discovered Grammarly. It’s not perfect but for a free tool, it’s pretty good at finding and correcting my grammar mistakes. Also, the competitor in me loves the weekly email where the good folks of Grammarly tally up my stats.

screenshot Grammarly stats

 

Reading
I got to read Tales of a Fourth Grade Nothing to Sweet Pea this summer. Yes, I miss her baby giggles, pudgy thighs, and toothless grins. I miss her mispronounced words (she does still say “aminal” instead of “animal” and if you correct her I swear I will cut you). But having a kid who loves Judy Blume perhaps as much as I do fills my heart with so much joy. I am loving this phase, too.

Oprah has never steered me wrong… I tore through Ellen Foster in a few days.

I read “Hourglass” for book club. Although it’s not exactly a book club. It’s just some women friends who decided to read this, threw a date on the calendar, and met at my house to talk about lots of things (including the book), eat chocolate,  drink wine, and try to ignore my kids (Dan was out of town and I hoped the kids would fall asleep before the ladies arrived so I could enjoy my friends without having to get a sitter. I overestimated my kids’ fatigue level and underestimated their tenacity.)

sweating.

Prairie Dog 10k Race Report

When I found out I was pregnant with Sweet Pea in June 2011, my first thought was “Yay!” My second thought was, “Shit, this is not going to be the summer I break 47 minutes in the 10k.” I was right. I spent that summer being bloated and nauseated as a little human began to grow inside me. I didn’t know then that I would eventually break 47 minutes, five and a half years later. It turns out, that’s not as long of a time as it sounds like. How is my baby starting kindergarten in the fall??? (A blog post for another time).

I did the Prairie Dog 10k this morning. I wasn’t sure what to expect, considering I’ve been injured (or maybe injured-ish is the right word?) for a while now, and not running as consistently as I’d like to be. Based on a few recent 5k’s I assumed I was fit enough to run between a 7:30 and 7:40 pace, but by the same token, I can count on one hand the number of times I’ve run more than 5 miles at once over the past eight weeks. So I didn’t know if I could maintain a good pace for an entire 6.2 miles. And even though my physical therapist gave me the green light to race, I knew that if a friend or a client were in my shoes, I’d have advised against racing at this point.

But I love racing, I’d already convinced three friends to do the race and I was excited about it (not compelling reasons to race if your body can’t handle it), so I went for it.

I wake up and immediately do my 12 minute Foundation exercise program (I’ve skipped one day since Jan 2 and I’m a big fan, so far) and my ten minute meditation, which I back down to eight minutes in the interest in getting out the door on time. Normally, my meditation consists of sitting with my eyes closed and focusing on my breath but today I think about how I’m going to feel while I’m running. I visualize myself feeling horrible, my legs begging me to stop but continuing anyway, not backing off one single bit, knowing that a minute or ten minutes or even 47ish minutes is not a long time to suffer. Breakfast is the same as always before a race, a glass of water, instant oatmeal and instant coffee (don’t judge). It’s freezing, and not in a Colorado, dry, amazing way, but in the moist New England way that chills your bones. The sky is gray and thick with moisture and I kind of love it. I wear only a thin tank top under a medium weight top with capris and I know I’m underdressed but I also know I’ll be happy about my outfit a mile into the race, and it turns out, I’m right.

My friends turn down my invitation to warm up before the gun goes off (actually they laugh at me) and of course I want to keep chatting with them, so my warm-up is closer to 1.5 miles than two miles that’s ok because I haven’t run more than eight miles, period, in months. (Like, many, many months.) I jump into the start area with about a minute to go and line up toward the very front. The gun goes off and my breathing is controlled but I am asking myself Can I sustain this for six miles? Maybe. Probably not. Better slow down. No, hold it here. No slow down a hair. It’s a downhill, not holding back here. Ok catch your breath. Regroup. Seriously, is this pace do-able for six point two miles?

I futz with my watch, peeking at the pace, scrolling to check on my heart rate, although I haven’t trained with a heart rate monitor in so long, I’m not sure whether to be alarmed or encouraged by the numbers. I see a cluster of women ahead and I feel like I’m eventually going to catch them but I need to focus. I set my watch to display the time elapsed and resolve to stop messing with it. I don’t need distractions. I need to focus on my breathing, my form, the ground under my feet. I get into a rhythm and the chatter in my head gets softer and softer until I can barely hear it.

I am disappointed when I see the women I thought I was going to catch pass me in the other direction. It turns out they are doing the 5k. Just ahead I see a guy in a baggy sweatshirt and I pass him easily. Now there is no one I can see. I wonder if I can keep pushing the pace despite the lack of competition. All I see is a dirt/gravel path ahead. I’m thankful the course is extremely well marked. I get to the second mile mark and my watch reads 14:33. I do some math in my head and decide this race could turn out alright but I remind myself not to get ahead of myself and also not to waste energy on math. I can’t help it though.

The third mile comes at 22:00 and I do some quick calculations and I wonder if I could actually do this thing in under 47 minutes. Finally I see runners coming at me after the turn-around. They’re men. They’re flying. They’re smiling and saying “good job” and I wonder how they can even talk. I realize after I turn around myself, that it’s downhill at this point. I smile and wave or give a thumbs up to the runners coming the other direction. I wish there was another woman, another person anywhere near me but there’s not so I look on the bright side; I’m running my own race. I’m following my own plan: Miles 0-2 should feel hard, 2-4 should be extremely hard, and 4-6.2 should feel like death and destruction. I forgot how much I love this distance. It’s been a while since I did a 10k.

I get to the fourth mile and my watch reads 30ish minutes and I wish I had been doing the kind of workouts I have been longing to do.. 3 by two mile repeats with 2 minutes recovery, 4 mile repeats with one minute recovery, 60 minute runs with 20 minutes at tempo, 8 x 800 on the track. Then I would feel like I could run two miles hard in my sleep, like it’s nothing. But I haven’t been doing those workouts. I’ve only done what I can do so I let my mind drift to other things I’ve done; like grinding up to Ward under the blazing summer sun on my bike. Every painful thing is a deposit in my bank but the beauty, as I’ve discovered over all my years of endurance sports, is that you can make a withdrawal whenever you want, but the balance never decreases. You can always remember what it felt like to suffer without using up the memory or the knowledge that yes, you’ve done it before and you can do this again.

The course winds around a pond, under an underpass, then up from the crushed gravel trail onto the road, and now we are back to the point where the 5k runners turned around, what felt like a lifetime ago. I see a lady plodding in front of me, and I wonder where she has been this whole time, did she start out way too fast and then die? I pass her easily, giving her a thumbs up as I do. I’m in a neighborhood and I’m on pavement and I love it and I’m not supposed to love pavement, living as close as I do to the Rocky Mountains, but you run faster on pavement with less effort, so I am thankful for this gift. I’m charging up a hill, that same hill I didn’t think too much about on the way down, past a bunch of generic looking new golf course houses, and I have no idea what my pace is but I know I can’t go any harder than this. My breathing is doing that embarrassing thing where I’m making this kind of “huh” noise when I exhale but there’s no one around to hear me anyway, except the volunteers. I give a wave and grunt “thanks” as I pass.

As I turn the final corner, I see the sweet finish and I have less than 800  yards to go. It’s a straight shot to the chute and I stay focused, running as hard as I can until I cross the timing mat. I look at my watch. 47:00 flat. I’m exhausted. I’m happy.

Prairie Dog 10k Race Report

Turns out, my official time was 46:55, a 7:33/mi pace, I won first female overall and fifth person (it was a very small race). Of course I was thrilled to win a race (a first for me) but more than that, I was thrilled to race well, particularly with no one in my line of sight, and on low mileage. I was really proud that I stayed focused throughout. I have zero doubt that I gave it everything I had, which is huge. For the past eight weeks, I ran about 20-25 miles per week (plus cross training, including the spin class I teach every Monday, and the occasional swim or elliptical session), with some weeks far less mileage, due to injury stuff. Meanwhile, I had been strength training consistently (one to two times a week, which is not something I normally do) and I think that helped a lot. Meanwhile, my ever growing bank of experience had to have counted for something. There is a lot to be said for just getting used to a certain distance, and getting comfortable with discomfort. My time was not only an altitude PR but a PR, period, by 25 seconds! Also, the aches and pains that have been annoying me kept quiet throughout the race.

Prairie Dog 10k

Stats for my fellow running geeks.

 

 

Coffee Date January 2017

Can we do coffee again? (I don’t know about you but I had a lot of fun last time).

Are you on Instagram? I’m on Instagram. We should follow each other if we’re not already following each other. Or we shouldn’t… depends if you want to see all my fitness posts… My plan is for my posts to be 80-90% fitness-related and the other 10-20% for randomness. Let’s face it, randomness probably means the hilarity and craziness of having kids. Also, I’m going to try really hard not to let it become an obsession.

I have poor boundaries when it comes to most social media, which is why I don’t have the Facebook app on my phone anymore. I also don’t allow my phone to come into my bedroom. It always charges in the kitchen. Otherwise I can’t control myself and I’m up waaaay too late scrolling through ways to make sure your husband is happy, saving crafts I will never make, and pinning pies I will never bake. For some reason, Pinterest calls to me after about 9pm if my phone is in arm’s reach. Do you have strategies that keep you from falling too deep down the rabbit hole? What are they? Seriously. I need to know.

Speaking of social media, you might have noticed I announced on Facebook that I’m available as a personal running coach. I love running. I’ve been doing it for my entire adult life. I’ve run six marathons, I’ve done two Ironman triathlons, I have been teaching spin class for over 15 years, and I could talk about running and fitness for hours. I had a night alone in my house last night, and since I could do whatever I wanted… I got cozy with a webinar on half marathon training.  Yahoo! For all the details on how I can help you reach your running goals (whether you live near or far) click here.

And I got an actual gig as a run coach! Rev Running brought me on board as a coach for their beginner program. I’m going to coach newbie runners from 0 to 5k over nine weeks and I’m pumped for that. There were so many questions I didn’t even know I should have been asking as a beginning runner. Hopefully I can help some folks. If nothing else, it’s a chance to meet great people. And no, my expectations are not inflated. Runners are great people.

Did you know one of my best friends is someone I met in a parking lot after a run? We were running with totally separate groups but somehow caught wind of the fact that we both needed to get in another four miles. We ran together that day and we’ve probably logged four hundred miles together since then. Speaking of, there was another friend I used to run with back when I lived in Rhode Island. That was over ten years ago. We haven’t talked in years and last week she called me like no time had passed and we plowed through some baby sleep issues. Which is ironic because my 2.5 year old still doesn’t sleep the whole night through every night. And extra ironic because my advice seems to be working for my friend (fingers crossed). I’m hard core into cry it out style sleep training. Don’t ask me for baby sleep advice if you  think that turns babies into sociopaths.

But back to running, I continue to have little niggling injuries that have kept me from running as consistently as I’d like to, but a few people I’ve run into lately swear by these Foundation Exercises developed by Dr. Eric Goodman. I’ve been doing them every morning and/or before I run. Today was my seventh consecutive day. Between the exercises and a PT session, I ran 4 pain free miles yesterday and 6 pain-free miles today, which I’m thrilled about. I am hopeful I can stay healthy enough to do a half marathon this spring. Since I’ve been running less, I’ve been lifting more; partly because it’s something I can do that doesn’t hurt, partly because I know I need to do it, and partly because it’s really fun and gets me sweaty. I’m surprised by how much I enjoy strength training.

On another topic… Ugh so many topics, so little time! We’re going to have to schedule another coffee date or maybe a glass of wine before we leave. Speaking of, I gave up alcohol for January. Between my birthday, Dan’s birthday, and all the holidays, November and December were hard on my liver. More accurately, the beverages I chose to drink were hard on my liver. Also, I make bad decisions about food (specifically desserts or anything in the pantry) when I’ve had a few drinks. I’ve been to a few social gatherings since the dawn of 2017 and said no thanks to alcohol, which,  a) was not nearly as hard as I’d imagined it would be and b) did not interfere with the fun factor whatsoever.

I’m speaking at the DU Women’s Conference again this year! It’s Friday Feb 10th on the University of Denver campus and it’s free and open to the public (woot!) and I get to talk about Impostor Syndrome again. I put so much time and effort into that presentation last year, (like, so, so, so much) and I am happy to use the material again.

And I don’t know why I waited till now to tell you but I finally got what I’ve been wanting for over a year now— a regular writing gig(!!!!). I get to write a weekly post for Parent.co, a website I find verrrry sticky. (The latest piece I wrote for them, on waiting to live with Dan until right before we got married is here).  I don’t know if “sticky” is a word everyone uses… I found it in one of those “How to Make Your Blog Amazing in Three Easy Steps!” articles that pops up in my Pinterest feed but in case you didn’t know, it means once you’re there, you feel compelled to keep clicking and reading more articles. So don’t say I didn’t warn you. I warned you. But it’s quality writing, and I’m thrilled to be part of it. And obv. to get paid. I have struggled a lot with being primarily a SAHM and not contributing financially to our household and I don’t want to care about money but the truth is, I do. Do you? That’s a conversation for that glass of wine. Or a long run.

Gah, one last thing before we both have to go. I know, there’s never enough time… For my birthday gift, I spent this weekend at a two day writing retreat this weekend and it was mind-blowing. The teacher called it an excavation, and that was exactly what it was. There were things I wrote that I didn’t even know I felt or thought. There were tears, there were tissues. There were coffee, chocolate (bacon chocolate!), mixed nuts, herbal tea, gorgeous Flatiron views and visits from a family of deer and an owl. Oh yeah, and words. Pages and pages of words. And truth. And truthiness (because, we determined, truth is overrated, especially when it comes to processing your own experiences through writing). I can’t recommend the teacher (Lisa Jones) highly enough. This is not a sponsored post!

Ok girl, I know you’e busy. Till next time. Also, I know I’m going to text you some crucial thing I forgot to mention about 20 minutes from now.

Workout Wednesday | Diastasis Recti: What is it? (Part 1)

*disclaimer: I’m not a physician or a medical professional with specific training in pelvic floor and women’s health. Do not begin a postpartum exercise program before consulting with a physical or occupational therapist with advanced skills in pelvic floor therapy and women’s health.

“That’s not really a thing. It sounds like maybe it’s just, like, a Boulder thing.”

That’s what my sister said when I told her about my diastasis recti, right after my second child was born. But it really is a thing that many women deal with after a pregnancy and if you just had a baby and you have it, I’m here to answer some questions that you may not have even known you should be asking. Oh and the baby who caused my abdomen to split? She’s now two and-a-half and I am just getting around to editing and publishing this post. I’m not sure if that means I’m a slacker or I’m tenacious. In the spirit of kindness, I’ll go with the latter.

What is a Diastasis Recti and How Does it Happen?
The front-facing part of the abdominal wall includes the rectus abdominus muscle, which has a thin separation running down the middle of the right and left sides. Normally, the distance between the two sides of the rectus muscle is tiny, and a connective sheath of tissue holds the muscle together effectively.

But… when you’re pregnant, your uterus shoves other organs and tissues out of the way to make room for the baby. Yes it’s kind of rude, although in all fairness, the survival of our species depends on the take-charge nature of the uterus.

Sometimes, the uterus gets out of control with the pushing and shoving, with no regard for what organs and tissues were there first, and this is how you end up with a diastasis recti, which is a significant separation of the rectus abdominus muscle.

Risk factors include:
-a larger baby
-multiples
-previous pregnancy (or pregnancies)

How do you know if you have diastasis recti?
It’s actually pretty simple:
1) Lie on your back
2) Bend your knees
3) Do a partial crunch, just so that your shoulder blades are off the ground.
4) Press your fingers into your stomach directly above your belly button.

If it feels tight, you’re fine. If you feel a gap, or a valley there, and it feels like maybe you could lose a finger in there, or as a woman I recently met said, “you could tickle my liver” —you probably have a diastasis. A gap of about 1 to 1 and a half finger-widths is considered normal. Two finger-widths or more is considered a diastasis recti. If you have one, you will probably notice that no matter how many crunches or planks you do, your abs do not get tighter. Actually, until you close up the gap, these types of exercises will do more harm than good.

I’ll pick back up with a post on what you can do about it (and what I’ve done about mine) in a subsequent post.

For now, it bears mentioning, that lady I mentioned who said you could tickle her liver… She’s my idol. We randomly met at the gym and when I found out she’s an ultramarathoner, I had to know how she’s handled the injuries I assumed a distance runner would sustain. She told me stupidly ran a 50k ten weeks after the birth of her first child, which exacerbated her diastasis recti to the point where it will not close, even partially. She said she could not run even a few steps between the birth of her first and second child, due to glute pain, about three years later. She’s back to running ultras at the age of 44, despite her lack of an intact core. My diastasis is nowhere near as severe as hers, but I do think it’s part of what has kept me injured on and off since Lady Bug’s birth. This woman’s story was so inspiring to me.

 

#WorkoutWednesday: 30 Minute Strength Workout

Ever since Lady Bug was born (she’s now two-and-a-half), my running has been two steps forward, one step back, eg) frustrating to the max. As soon as I get in a good groove, I start increasing mileage, throwing in a workout here and there, jumping into a 5k, and then bam, something throws me off. It’s been beyond frustrating. Insanity is doing the same thing and expecting a different result, right? Which is why I’ve tried all kinds of things.

A non-exhaustive list of things I’ve tried over the past couple of years includes: physical therapy, chiropractic, massage, more physical therapy, barre classes, cross-training, single leg squats, more single leg squats, donkey kicks, sooo many donkey kicks, clamshells, more clamshells, so many clamshells my butt was on fire, planks, side planks, plank challenges, self-massage, foam rolling, ice, heat, and stretching. My latest issue is an ache in the arch of my foot. It doesn’t exactly hurt but been annoying me when I run for about three weeks, which makes me think it’s not nothing. And as a wise friend pointed out to me, the definition of not nothing is something. And I really don’t want this to be something. I want to ignore this and run anyway. Though I have a talent for being dumb and stubborn, I recognize that that the smart thing to do is the opposite of what I want to do.

So… It’s time to try something different (eg not be insane). I’m going to incorporate strength training into my routine at least twice a week. I’ve been pretty good about doing my planks and pushups most days, but I usually do the other stuff (lunges, squats, deadlifts, etc) sporadically, at best. There is no excuse for this. I belong to a gym that has childcare, and my basement is home to a TRX, a bunch of dumbbells, two physio balls (one normal one and one Pam-sized one), a medicine ball, multiple resistance bands, and soon (eg hopefully the first night of Hannukah), a kettlebell.

On Saturday, after about 20 minutes on the spinning bike at the gym, I did this workout. I went through this routine three times, which took just under 30 minutes.

(10-12 reps each exercise)

Kettlebell swings (1st one with 12 kg, 2nd one with 8 kg, 3rd one with 12kg. I felt like Goldilocks, searching for the perfect weight, which I suspect would have been 10 kg, but I couldn’t find it. Also note, I did not make the whooshing noises like the guy in the video).

Pushups

Side step with resistance band (if you do this right, you’ll feel it in your glute med, big time). 

Standing dumbbell rows (with 15 lb dumb bells)

Goblet squats (with 8kg kettlebell. You could also do this with a medicine ball)

Back extensions on Swiss ball (I like to do these with my feet pressed up against a wall.)

Hamstring curls on Swiss ball

Reverse lunges with weight (8 kg kettle bell) 

Plank x 1:00

Curtsy lunges with weight (8 kg kettle bell) 

If you try this workout, feel free to improvise if you don’t have access to the same equipment I used.

 

#workoutwednesday Thirty Minute Strength Workout