My New York City Marathon Experience

February 3, 2014

The following post is sponsored by Fitfluential LLC on behalf of the New York Road Runners.

In 2010, I decided to try my hand at entering the lottery for the New York City Marathon. I had heard plenty of people talk about the race and how difficult it was to get in, but I figured, whats the worst that could happen. A few short months later, I logged into my profile and saw one word that definitely changed my running life forever: “Accepted”.

I started training in the summer months, which was a challenge in itself. Sure, summer running is tough, but just come to Florida and give it a try. At times, it can be down right miserable. Waking up at 4:30 am before a full 9 hour work day became the new norm. I had one goal in my mind – kicking ass in NYC.

Before marathon weekend, I had never made it up to the Big Apple. Since the race, I still haven’t been back. The only vision I have of New York City is running through the 5 boroughs back in November of 2010. What a race it truly was!

The race starts later than any other one I have ever ran in the past, and yet, I was still up long before dawn. If I remember correctly, my start time was around 10:15 or so, and I remember having to be there around 3 hours before my wave. It starts in Staten Island, so everyone is required to get there with plenty of time to spare. I had plenty of throw away clothes with me, a trash bag to sit on the cold ground (it was in the 30’s that morning!), and plenty of fuel to power me before and during the race. I found a comfy place to sit and just chatted with the other runners around me – the energy was contagious!

NYC Marathon

Once it was time for my wave, I made it to my corral pretty quick, and then listened to something which brought such a smile to my face – Frank Sinatra’s New York, New York. It is hard to even explain that moment, but it was truly special. I was getting ready to run my biggest marathon ever, after months of grueling training, in one of the most renowned cities in the world. It was unreal.

Heading over the Verrazano Narrows Bridge at the start into Brooklyn was a very neat moment. All you could hear were the pitter patter of runners’ feet beside you, along with the puttering of helicopters above, taking in the massive crowds. There were no spectators, no volunteers, just all of us embarking on the same 26.2 mile journey. We could see the entire skyline from the bridge – for a NYC newbie, this was an amazing experience.

NYC Marathon

Once we got off the bridge and into Brooklyn, it was all screams and cheers from there on out. I was shocked by the amount of people lining the streets. It wasn’t just a few people here or there, it was hoards of people, 3, 4, 5, people deep. The entire way! I had run much smaller races before and had experience nothing like this. It was a natural high I just couldn’t get enough of!

NYC Marathon

Brooklyn was the first place I caught a glimpse of Marcus and my sister, Emily. We agreed for them to always be on the left side, and decided on a few points as to where I could look for them. They had a couple of signs so I would know where they were, and I was able to catch them each and every time! We really weren’t sure how it would go since there were so many runners and so many spectators, but we made it work. They even made a little guide for all the spectators out there – check it out!

NYC Marathon

After Brooklyn, we headed into Queens, the Bronx, and then finally Manhattan. My lack of hill training started to become apparent as I reached about the mile 22 mark. The tiny rolling hills were killing me at that point, and I knew finishing was my only goal – not a certain time. I did my best to keep a positive attitude and just keep looking around. There was so much to take in – I was running through all the amazing parts of New York City!

I remember crossing the finish line after running through the rolling hills of Central Park and never having felt so relieved! The last couple of miles were brutal, but worth every step. At first, I swore off marathons for a solid hour. Then, of course, my thoughts completely flipped and I was on Cloud 9. Where would my next race be and how could I get faster between now and then? Such crazy runner talk 😉 I meandered through the crowds and finally caught up with my support team – the best a girl could ask for!

NYC Marathon

There are so many amazing races throughout the world. How on Earth do you choose which one to dedicate months of training to? If the TCS New York Marathon isn’t on your bucket list, I strongly suggest you add it! It is truly a world-renowned event that ever marathoner should have the privilege in participating in at least once. I can not wait to have the opportunity to run it again!

Luckily, the lottery is still open for the 2014 race! You have until March 18, 2014 to submit your entry! Even better, there are 6 weekly sweepstakes drawings that pull (1) winner from each of the 5 boroughs and 5 National and International runners from the Marathon Applicant database. Each winner will win a non complimentary, guaranteed entry (yes, you get the entry but still have to pay) into the 2014 TCS New York City Marathon. Drawings will be held each Monday (including today!), through March 10th.

There is also a Twitter chat, this Thursday February 6th at 9pm EST. Follow the hashtag #TCSNYCMarathonApply for a Q&A with Coach John Honerkamp. Coach Honerkamp has a few very notable accolades, including:

  • Completing the 2010 NYC Marathon in 2:44:22
  • Pacing Apollo Ohno and Summer Sanders to their fantastic marathon finishes
  • His personal bests include 1:47.26 (800 meters), 3:41.58 (1500 meters), and 4:01.30 (one mile)

Have you ever ran the NYC Marathon? It is on our bucket list, or are you adding it now?!

 

Baby Baum: 36 weeks

January 29, 2014

9 months and counting! My oh my, this baby is getting big!

36 Weeks baby baum

The baby’s details:

  • According to our ultrasound from this morning, Baby Baum is measuring in the 50th percentile (great!) at 6 lbs 11 0z. This, of course, is just a guess really and could be off by up to a pound in either direction.
  • He or she is getting closer and closer to being able to breathe on their own.
  • His or her skin is getting smooth and soft and gums are rigid.
  • His or her liver and kidneys are in working order.
  • Circulation and immune systems are basically good to go, too.

My details:

Weight gained: Up a solid 25 lbs. They don’t expect me to gain too much more, since as this point its pretty much all baby. I should be expecting another couple of pounds, but that’s it.

Workouts: Still did well in the workout department. Last week included 3 runs and 1 strength session. I didn’t make it to yoga though – I’ll be back this week! I did notice my pelvis was quite sore after yesterday’s run. I think the baby has dropped a bit and is putting added pressure down there. If it happens again, I’ll be sticking to walking from here on out. No need to be hurting just for a silly 2.5 mile run.

Labor Symptoms:

  • Low back pain at night
  • Have to pee A LOT! It is getting to the point where it is interrupting my sleep – so not cool.
  • Feeling full pretty fast.
  • Minor contractions. The doctor said I was having one this morning as she was measuring my belly, but I didn’t feel it. At this point, she said that is super normal.
  • I am 1cm dilated, 50% effaced, and measure at -3, which the doctor said is all on point. So far so good.

Movement: The baby is still in my ribs a bit, but not nearly as bad as before. I feel like jabs and rolls all the time though. This baby makes his or her presence known.

Food Aversions/Cravings: I have been somewhat been turned off by some food lately. I have been craving carbs again, but not nearly as bad as the first trimester. I’ll be grossed out by veggies at lunch, but then fine with them at dinner. It is pretty give or take

Sleep: Sleep hasn’t been quite as great as it was. Since the baby has lowered a bit, there is a lot of pressure on my bladder, so I am having to pee a lot more. Its been taking me a little longer to fall asleep at night as well, which is less than ideal. I’m still getting 8-9 hours, just not quite as soundly as I once was.

Stretch marks: Nada

Fun Things from the week: We had our very last ultrasound today. We’ve been getting one every month to monitor the baby’s growth since the umbilical cord is in a strange spot in the placenta. Next time we see the baby, it is going to be on its birthday. That is hard to believe!

36 weeks baby baum

Belly Button In or Out? Out!

Wedding Rings on or off? On!

Happy or Moody most of the time? Happy!

Miss anything? I am getting to the point where I really want to run – fast. I had a dream this past week where I was doing a workout with my friends, and I actually woke up jealous that I wasn’t able to actually do it – silly, I know. I’ll be taking plenty of time off post baby, but I know I’ll be excited to get back out there and get a good sweat on.

New Baby Items: Things here and there from the registry that we need, but didn’t receive at the shower. We have little boxes of things showing up most days of the week. All that’s left is for the breast pump to come in (thank you insurance!) and to choose a baby monitor. I would like one that we can use our cell phones to view, as well as a regular monitor too. Does anyone have one of those? Are they overkill, or nice to have when you are out of the house and want to check in?

Looking forward to: Meeting the baby on its birthday! I am getting anxious to find out the gender, without a doubt. Only a few more weeks at this point! :)

What baby monitor do you use? Any good suggestions?

A Shower for Baby Baum

January 27, 2014

Last weekend I was lucky enough to have an amazing baby shower thrown for me by sister Emily and my sister-in-law Morgan. They both live out of state and flew in for the occasion. What an occasion it was!

Baby Shower

They both worked for months, planning and executing some absolutely adorable details. Just by the way the invitation was designed, I knew it was going to be amazing.

IMG_0233

Baby Shower Invite

Since we are not finding out the baby’s sex until its birthday, the colors were all gender neutral – yellow’s, teals, and tans. The theme of “Whoa Baby” was incorporated into everything, which was a lot of fun. I tend to say it a lot to Emily and Morgan, so it was great to have it transferred over into the party theme.

Baby Shower

Baby Shower

There was a lot of homemade, yummy food.

Baby Shower

Baby Shower

Baby Shower

Yep, even these yummy cupcakes!! My friend Mary is quite the baker :)

Baby Shower

Plenty of smiling faces and friends to go around

Baby Shower

Baby Shower

Baby Shower

Baby Shower

And of course, lots of presents for Baby Baum!

Baby Shower

Baby Shower

Baby Shower

Baby Shower

I mentioned having a diaper cake at the shower months ago, and my sister Emily remembered. The Winnie the Pooh theme was too adorable for it – I love how it turned out!

Baby Shower

My mom gave me a really amazing gift at the shower – a quilt she made for the baby. We picked out the fabric together and then had been working on it together (and by together I mean she does all the work and I gave her my opinion) on and off for the past 6 weeks or so. It is absolutely perfect – the baby is so lucky to have a one-of-a-kind quilt, just for he or she.

Baby Shower

One of my favorite parts of the day was everyone was asked to bring a book instead of a card. All of the guests brought their favorite one from their childhood, which was a lot of fun to see. There were only a handful of duplicates – shocking, I know! Now the baby has lots of books to read over and over again, many with amazing messages from the giver. Pretty amazing!

Baby Shower

Baby Shower

A huge thanks to these two ladies, Emily and Morgan, for hosting such a special day for me!

Baby Shower

As well as to my friend Sarah Beth, who captured all of these amazing photos. By the way, if you love the decor for the party as much as I did, Morgan  is happy to make your party plans come true! From the invites to the decor – she can do it all! Contact me and I am happy to set you up with her –> foodfunrun@gmail.com.

Baby Shower

Thanks to everyone who made the day so special!

Strength Modifications During Pregnancy

January 24, 2014

It’s probably news to no one the importance of modifying exercises during pregnancy. Your body is growing and everything is different – balance, hip width, weight, etc. Doing exercises the way you have always done just doesn’t work when you get to a certain point – this point being different for just about everyone. Listen to your body (and your doctor!) so you know when to start modifying or changing up your workout all together.

The gym I work for and use to workout at has TRX straps. If you haven’t ever used them, I strongly suggest you do. If you don’t have access to them, you can still use other equipment to support yourself. TRX straps are all about body weight – supporting it when you need it, and giving you the free range when you don’t. Here are a few great modifications for every day strength training exercises.

Squats

Squats can get a bit trickier the bigger your belly gets. Your center of gravity is off and you weigh more, so there is more to lift up. Squats are extremely important for labor, and should be in every pregnant woman’s workout routine. Start off with your feet a little bit wider than hip width a part, and a slight lean back with the TRX straps supporting you.

Pregnancy TRX Squats

Squat down, keeping a conscious effort to focus on form. Keep your back straight, not curved, and make sure your knees are not coming over your toes. Pregnant TRX SquatPush straight back up, without curving your lower back, and return to the starting position.

Without the TRX strap: Don’t worry, you can still have a nice supported squat without the TRX. Stand next to bench press or squat rack and grab a hold of the bar with both hands. Use the bar to guide you down, and then back up again. You can distribute your weight with the barbell instead of the strap. You will get the same benefits, with just a different piece of equipment.

Pushups

It wasn’t too long after my belly started to grow that I couldn’t get in normal pushups. When you are in the first 20 weeks or so, just drop to your knees if necessary. That should give you the support you need. Once your belly grows and starts to pull on your low back, consider a modification.

With the straps, the more parallel your body becomes with the floor, the more difficult the exercise gets, so if you feel the pushups are still too easy, get more horizontal. You will definitely feel the burn!

Start out with a slight lean and your arms straight, using your body weight to balance yourself.

Pregnant TRX Pushups

Slightly bend your elbows, leaning down into a pushup position. Focus on your low back and hips, making sure they do not start to sag. Also be aware of your shoulders, and keep them relaxed – no need to wear them like earrings!

Pregnant TRX PushupsPush yourself back up to the starting position, keeping yourself aware of your low back not gaining a huge curve. If the exercise is too difficult, stand up more perpendicular to the floor. Form is always the most important.

Without the TRX strap: Stand at a barbell, preferably on a bench press. Straddle the bench with both legs, grabbing the bar. Use the bar to assist your incline pushup. Make the pushup easier or more difficult  by bringing your feet closer or further away from the bar.

Lunges

Lunges are also a great exercise to prep for labor, so doing them regularly will really benefit you. Grab your straps and put one on either side of you, with your legs comfortably spread so you do not lose your balance.

Pregnant TRX lunge

Lower yourself down using the straps to help you balance. Keep in mind the placement of your knee, so it doesn’t fall in front of your foot.

Pregnant TRX lunges

Push yourself back up to the starting position, using the straps as much or as little as your may need to not fall to either side.

Without the TRX: Lunges are one of the easier exercises to do through modification. Anything you find to hold on to works pretty well – a table, chair, or barbell works just fine. Just make sure it is nice and sturdy.

Other Tips:

  • Keep the tempo down a bit so your heart rate doesn’t shoot up too high. You are training for something a lot different now – the birth of your child!
  • Instead of focusing on the amount of weight you are lifting, be happy with making it to the gym and getting in the strength training. This isn’t the time to go 5-10 lbs heavier. Stay at a comfortable weight without compromising form.
  • Always warm up before you start lifting weights – the last thing you need to do is pull or strain a muscle. Nothing like making pregnancy a little more uncomfortable 😉
  • Listen to your body! If you need to cut your workout short, then do it. There is no shame to simply doing what your body is telling you to do.

Any other tips? What other modifications are you interested in seeing? I would be happy to do another post on other exercises.

Baby Baum: 35 Weeks

January 22, 2014

Happy Wednesday to you all! It’s that time again – let’s check in on Baby Baum :) Here I am on Sunday, right at the 35 week mark. I still feel like my belly resembles a torpedo a bit, but I think it might be starting to round out a bit. The baby is getting pretty cozy in there, and I am pretty sure there isn’t a whole lot of room left. I feel every. little. movement!

35 Weeks Baby Baum

Baby Details:

  • Baby Baum is now the size of a coconut, measuring over 18 inches long and weighing in at around 5 1/4 pounds.
  • The kidneys are fully developed now, and the liver can process some waste products.
  • Most of his basic physical development is now complete — he’ll spend the next few weeks putting on weight.

My details:

Weight gained: Last week I measured in around the 23 pound mark, so I am guessing I am a pound or so heavier than that right now. I only weigh myself at the appointments, so its really just a guess as this point.

Workouts: A few runs and a couple of strength sessions happened last week. I also got into prenatal yoga at my favorite studio for the second week in a row! Hopefully tomorrow I’ll be able to make it a third!

Symptoms:

  • Low back pain towards the end of the day.
  • Braxton Hicks is back!
  • Frequent bathroom. stops
  • Unable to take deep breaths as someone is crowding my diaphragm 😉
  • Feeling of fullness, even though I am really still hungry

Movement: The baby is still moving like a wild one! Most of all, since the baby is head down, I am constantly being kicked in the ribs. Yesterday for the first time, I actually gasped a little bit when he or she kicked me in the ribs – its was a killer!

Food Aversions/Cravings: Nothing at all. I have been so boring in this department for the whole pregnancy :)

Sleep: I am still getting in great sleep! I have been finding that when I wake up, I’ll be awake a tad longer than I was before, as I am just thinking about all kinds of random things – what the baby will look like, things to put on my birth plan, etc.

Stretch marks: Nada!

Fun Things from the week: I had my baby shower!!! It was so so so much fun! I’ll be getting the photos back from my friend who was nice enough to take photos (hopefully this weekend) and plan to do an all encompassing post first thing next week. It was truly fantastic! I grabbed a couple of quick photos on my phone, so I can share those. Otherwise, we just have to wait a few more days.

baby baum shower

Baby Baum shower diaper cake

Baby Shower XP Girls 2

Belly Button In or Out? Out and staying that way!

Wedding Rings on or off? On

Happy or Moody most of the time? Happy, per the usual

New Baby Items: Pretty much everything! We pretty much had just the bare bones before the shower (no diapers, wipes, or anything!) and now we are set! I am so thankful for the generosity of all of our friends and family.

Looking forward to: Organizing everything we received and settling down for this next month. Its hard to believe the baby could show up just about any time in the next few weeks. How on Earth did that happen so fast!? We also met with a potential doula last night, and I plan to email her asap to have her committed for our birth. I am excited we found someone we really click with!

How did you organize everything from your baby shower, especially the items you aren’t really going to need for another few months?