This post is dedicated to my first real running buddy, Amanda. She's one of those friends who you meet once and you know you're going to be best pals forever! We've gone through college graduations, weddings, half marathons and now...babies together! She's due with her first sweet baby (a girl!) later this month.
We were talking the other day about how the anticipation for labor and delivery is a lot like a big running race. There is so much preparing and build up and nerves, and then it just happens. You just do it and it's awesome. It got me on this tangent all about how running races and having babies is TOTALLY THE SAME THING. It's probably why so many moms like to run. We're just super awesome at the whole process. It's in our genes.
So, whether you're a runner thinking about having a baby, or you've had a baby and you're thinking about running your first race, just know, YOU'VE SO GOT THIS.
So....you sign up for a race. The only real difference here is that sometimes you don't exactly choose to have a baby, and I don't know of anyone who has been secretly registered for a race without their knowledge. Regardless. You take that pregnancy test, you submit your race form and BOOM - all of a sudden there's a big date circled in your calendar several months away. The countdown (and the training!) begins.
Your body hurts. From sore hips and lower back to other achy muscles, your body goes through lots of changes when you start running more mileage AND growing babies...and it usually hurts!
You're hungry ALL THE TIME. Runners call it "Runger". Preggo mamas call it eating for 2. Whatever you call it. We eat all the time. Best to keep it to lots of healthy fats and protein, but let's face it, sometimes some icecream is necessary too.
You lose sleep at night. You're exhausted from growing babies OR running miles...but somehow when your head hits the pillow you can only think about a million worries about babies and pregnancy, or where your next run route will be, or what you'll eat for breakfast...
You've gotta get ALL THE GEAR. Once you start running more, you'll find yourself addicted to finding the best gear. You need some new shoes, oh and a running water bottle, Maybe you need a new Garmin. Of course you hit the fitness section in every clothing store. And babies...duh. You need everything. You're shopping for all their gear PLUS some new stretchy waisted clothes for yourself!!
Don't forget about your core! Keeping your core strength strong throughout pregnancy is so important! It will help with back pain, and strength to deliver and recover quickly! It's equally important for runners as your core is wear your power and stability come from!
It's helpful to have a buddy. Running buddies are the best thing ever. They keep you motivated, and are someone to make those long runs feel shorter. Plus, they probably won't mind you talking about all of your sleepless running thoughts. Same thing with a pregnancy buddy. It's awesome if you can find a fellow preggo mama with a nearby due date, so you can compare notes/worries and go through all of the stages together!
You drink water constantly. It's so important to stay hydrated when you're running all the miles, and growing all the babies!! Keep a water bottle with you all the time!
You become a Pinterest addict. We all get really research-y about our coming challenges. Mamas build boards full of dream nursery's, newborn photos and what to pack in their hospital bag. Runners have all the latest speed workouts, foam rolling tutorials, post-run smoothie recipes and motivational quotes!
Race day is near and you seriously consider your ability to finish. I'm pretty sure every future mother and every racer has had AT LEAST one freak out. "How in the WORLD will I EVER be able to DO THISSSSSS?????"
Labor / Race Day
You should eat a high quality pre race meal. Of course with labor, you often won't know the day you'll end up in the hospital. With a run, it's best to always fuel up the morning of a big race! My go-to race day breakfast is a gluten free waffle with peanut butter and banana. It's no big surprise that that is also what I ate the morning of my induction for baby #2!
Your husband better be there to cheer you on. It's always amazing to have the ones you love cheering you on at the finish line of a big race. You might want all of those loved ones in your delivery room cheering you on too! Or at the very least...that husband BETTER be there. That extra boost of motivation and support is just what every racer/mama needs to push to the finish line!
You should pick a mantra. Having a positive affirmation or mantra can be incredibly helpful in keeping your focus for a race or during labor. Things like "I am strong", "My body was made for this" "or Just Breathe" are all equally great for runners OR mamas!
"My Body Was Made For This"
All you can think about is food. Maybe it's just me, but with both of my girls, all I could think about while I was in labor was how hungry I was. Likewise, usually the second half of my long races consists purely of me deciding on my post-race meal. After I had baby #1, they brought me gluten free french toast and bacon. I have to say, it may have been the best post-race meal ever!
You're pretty sure the race will never end. There's a point in the day when you're pretty sure that baby might just stay inside forever. And that finish line looks SO FAR away. But guess what?! You'll get there. That baby will arrive, the finish line will come into sight...I promise!
Delivery / The Finish Line!
All of a sudden, the finish line is in sight! You can see it! Up ahead! The crowd is cheering and just like that, you have a boost of energy and start sprinting! Or...they say..."baby is crowning...it's time to PUSH!"
That final push to the finish is always the hardest! You're already exhausted. But those final pushes and that last big sprint are always the hardest!
Side note story. When I was delivering my first daughter, my nurse midwife was actually one of the participants in a bootcamp class I had taught. She of course was loving the fact that I was the one getting my butt kicked for once, but also knew just how to coach me through the final pushes. She kept saying, "it's just like a marathon Alyssa, you're ALMOST to the finish line! Finish strong!" So apparently this blog post has been like, 3 years in the making.
You did it! You get that shiny medal/adorable baby handed to you and the last 10 months of work just slips from your memory. You can't stop looking at it and it's best to just put it right up on your chest for a couple hours. Snuggle it and wear it proudly.
Bring on the post-race pictures! You've GOT to have lots of pictures to remember this day! So many pictures of the baby, the mama, the racers, the fans, the daddy...so many pictures all the way around.
Bring on the post-race drinks! Ok maybe not RIGHT away for the mamas. But I love having a little post-race margarita later in the day, and you can bet those mamas are excited to have a drink sometime soon too after a long 9 months!
Eat ALL THE FOOD! Have I mentioned that all of this is really just about the food. Oh yeah. I think you've got that. Refuel that body! You'll need it for muscle recovery and energy!
Everything hurts. You're gonna be sore the next day. It's just inevitable. Your body just did an amazing thing!
Taking a bath feels AMAZING. Epsom Salts and oils are where it's at y'all. My post-baby baths became a weekly thing for a while and it was the best half hour of my day. It helped with healing AND stress! Runners, the same baths will feel amazing on your tired muscles!
You might need some time off. Mamas - take those 4-6 weeks before jumping back on the workout train. Let your body really recover! Did I mention it just did an amazing thing? Runners, you may need to give your body a few weeks of recovery as well. Keep moving, but maybe keep the intensity a little lower.
And then you do it again. Most likely you'll get addicted to the swag, the runners high, the adorable babies... and sign yourself up to do it all over again!
Are you a mama? A runner? Both? What comparisons did I miss?
As a special Amanda's-baby-month treat - I'm opening up just 5 of my
Baby on the Way Essentials kits for sale this month!
They are super affordable and include all of my favorite oils for pregnancy, labor
and even new baby care PLUS a diffuser and fractionated coconut oil. Literally everything you need to get started using oils.
These are all really beneficial to runners too! Imagine that!
You'll also get special access to my Oily Mama's
group and 25% off future doTERRA purchases! These will go FAST, so click the image below to order, or message me with questions or to claim yours!
oWho's New Year isn't quite off to the start they had planned? It can be tough with all of the added pressure of resolutions, new goals and people around you kicking butt when you're feeling just a little blah. No? Is it just me? Is everyone else out there killing their goals without me?
I'm not really upset at how the year has gone so far. I think it's important to know that you don't have to be ON in all parts of your life all the freaking time. This little quote has helped me a lot lately. It's totally ok to be focusing more time and energy on some things than others.
"Nothing in nature blooms all year.
I started of 2016 with a lingering head cold, cross country road trip recovery and not a whole lot of oomph to do too much exciting. I've been really focusing on getting our home back in order and loving on little M (which needs NO apologies!). Needless to say, running has taken a bit of a backseat. I've got a half marathon on the calendar for June, but nothing before that so far - and I don't know about you, if I don't have a plan to follow or a goal to work towards I'm just plain lazy about running!
I really want to get back into the running groove so I thought I would share my 3 tips to get your running mojo back!
1. Register for a race
2. Get a running buddy
3. Sign up for a training program
Seriously, doing any or all of these things is sure to kick start your running back into high gear!
Like I said, I'm not doing a race anytime soon, I've already got a running buddy so it was time for something new. Somehow at just the right time, I discovered RunningMoms.com! The founder Karey is a fellow running mama, a health coach and a physiotherapist. She puts together killer running programs for all goals and abilities, and is also building an amazingly supportive online community of fellow runner mamas! I was asked to become a RunningMoms ambassador and help spread the RunningMom love! Not only do I love the FREE community for motivation from other moms, I've also started the 28 Day Faster & Stronger training program and you guys. It's AWESOME. I needed some variety and challenge and that is exactly what this program is offering. I love that I don't have to plan my own workouts for the next few weeks, and that there is a group of other women there to provide accountability and even be cheerleaders sometimes!
If you're needing some guidance, motivation or a plan for an upcoming race, you should totally scoot over toRunningMoms.com to check out their programs. There is also a community Facebook page for anyone looking for a little extra motivation! Since I'm loving this program so much - I wanted to offer YOU the chance to WIN a free registration into the program of your choice! Several programs just started this week - but you can still jump in if you're ready right now! You can also use yours for a future one if now doesn't work for you.
Here's what you've gotta do:
I'll be announcing the winner Monday morning! Good Luck!
This post contains affiliate links. By purchasing program or products through these links you'll be helping this running mama buy new running shoes and doing fun active things with her kiddo. I only promote products that I personally use and love.
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Eeekk! I feel like my 11 year old, Olympic obsessed self has just resurfaced! (Who am I kidding...she's never left!) Back in 1996 - I was a competitive gymnast and completely enamored with all things Atlanta Olympics. If you had told me that one day I would be interviewing an athlete in the 96 games I would have never have believed you! Well - it happened! One of my FAVORITE parts about having this blog is the amazing people I have "met" all over the country from it! Just last week, I spent some time on the phone getting to know the amazing Juli Benson. I'm so excited to spotlight her today!
Not only is Juli an amazing athlete, she is also a coach AND wife of a college football coach. Talk about a busy family! Juli is married to Bob Benson - the associate Head Coach/Defensive Coordinator for University of Pennsylvania. She is the proud step-mom of a talented 11 year girl and the loving owner of a special needs yorkie/maltese mix.
As an athlete, she was an All-American in the 1500m at James Madison University and graduated in 1992. Because of her love of competing she went on to run after college and represented the United States at the Olympic Games in 1996.
She currently coaches a group of professional runners based in Colorado Springs, but prior to that she was a NCAA cross country coach for 15 years. She coached at James Madison University, Georgetown University, George Mason University and the United States Airforce Academy. She has worked with multiple All-Americans, National Record holders and a World Champion. Soon she will be sharing her coaching expertise to women of all levels through her online run coaching programs!
How did you get started running?
Began running in elementary school. I loved it because I could run faster than all the boys!!
Have you always loved running best? Did you do any other sports?
I was so fortunate to be involved in many different sports and credit that, in part, to any success I found with running. I did not specialize in running until my junior year in high school.
What is your favorite distance to run?
My favorite distance to run would be the 400m. I absolutely loved all of the sprinting events but I was lucky in that I have always been surrounded by coaches that recognized my potential in the longer running events. I had a good combination of speed and endurance which suited me more in the middle distance events rather than the sprints.
What was your best memory of the Olympic Games?
My favorite moment was walking in the the Olympic Stadium for the first time at the Opening Ceremonies. That moment was truly magical, the realization that I really was a United States Olympian. During the Ceremonies, I was able to meet many members of the US Basketball team (aka The Dream Team).
Running has taken you all over the world. Where was your most memorable run?
I could never pick just one!! I have run in some spectacular places worldwide but I have to say, few locations match the beauty of running through the Redwood Forest right here in the USA.
Do you still compete?
I don't compete anymore and I do miss it. However, I am very focused on the athletes I coach and it does not leave me much time to train for any sort of competition. I had my time and I am very,very motivated to help other runners reach their pinnacle now!
If you're not running, how do you like to stay active?
I rarely have a day when I don't do at least some sort of activity. Unlike my competitive days, I love mixing it up and enjoy yoga, swimming, creating my own circuit training!!
What's your favorite pre-run fuel?
Yogurt and fruit or toast with peanut butter.
What is the best advice anyone has ever given you?
"Don't worry so much about things you can't control" This was TREMENDOUS advice to me as a competitor but I have found it's so true in most aspects of life.
What is the biggest challenge in balancing running, being a football wife and mom and everything else you have on your plate?
By far and away, the biggest challenge is being separated from my family during competitions and training camps.
Tell me a little bit about YOUR coaching career.
I was lucky enough to gain some coaching experience while I was in grad school and became hooked instantly. Collegiately, I have coached at my Alma Mater, James Madison University, Georgetown University, George Mason University, and lastly at The United States Air Force Academy. I have worked with professional athletes since 2005 and continue to do so. My career highlights have been coaching Olympians, national record holders, and a World Champion. I have also coached 2 NCAA runner-ups which was incredibly rewarding as both athletes were extreme"underdogs". In each case, the athlete and I were so confident approaching the meet that big things were going to happen so when they were successful, we enjoyed the shock of the other athletes and coaches!!
Have many moves have you made as a coaching family?
We've moved 3 times!
Do you have a favorite motivational quote?
Any foods you absolutely avoid?
Olives but only because I don't like them!
It's a splurge day - what's your go-to food?
Homemade Chips and Salsa for sure!!
What is your favorite sport to watch? To participate in?
My favorite sport to watch are any during the summer Olympic Games, Penn Football, and Dallas Cowboy football!
What is your typical football game day routine?
I get a workout done in the morning to calm my nerves and I like to sit in the stands alone to watch, obviously this isn't always possible, but it's my favorite way to concentrate on the game!!
What would you tell someone who is just starting to run?
Be patient with yourself. Also, even the best runners in the world feel AWFUL some days and it is even tough for them to get out the door at times!!
Fit Life in the Spotlight is a regular feature on Home Field Fitness. I love sharing what fit and healthy women in the sports world are doing! They sure motivate me - and my hope is that they will motivate you too! If you know someone (or you yourself) that should be featured here - send me a message!
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It's great to see you! I'm Alyssa and I blog about all the things I've found "essential" in my life as a fit mama and football coach's wife. You'll find all kinds of fun stuff here like workouts, oily info, football stories and more!
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I am not a licensed medical professional. All views expressed on this website are based on my own personal research and experiences. Please consult your doctor with any medical issues before beginning a training program.
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