Layton and I’s First Race – The Leap Day 5k

I’m still trying to process what’s going with all the COVID-19 stuff. The day the schools closed and governments shut down events, my life instantly changed. I have a lot of thoughts, fears, feelings, and things to say, but I’m still trying to process them all. Yes even over a week into this thing.

In particular, the running community and outdoor/travel industry are in a state of limbo. I know there are many worse things in the world than some races being canceled or people not being able to travel, but you see, my daily life and career ARE the running world and outdoor industry and I would like to share my thoughts on that eventually.

Right now, with the inundation of news like cities shutting down, or how long the quarantine will last, and the recession… it’s just too much right now for me. Not to mention the frustration when I see climbers being rescued, people still getting together and running in groups, people still venturing into the mountains to hike or ski….ugh.

I will organize my thoughts/feelings, but until then, I’m going to share this post I have been working on from Layton and I’s first race together. 


I love running with baby Layton! I couldn’t wait for the pediatrician to give the “go-ahead” that he was strong enough for the jogging stroller. We’ve only been on a dozen or so runs together so far but I love watching him look around at all the sights with a big smile on his face while I run!

Since his birth, I have been through some ups and downs with running as I get back into it. I did a few races without him postpartum but recently I finally got to race WITH him! I was really excited about this opportunity and declined all offers of babysitting because I wanted to run with him. On Leap Day this year, Layton and I ran our first race together!


With one extra day of the year, I knew I wanted to take advantage of it. Luckily, the company I work for decided to do a Leap Day 5k and I didn’t have to work it.

The Event:
Being Leap Day and the fact that it fell on a weekend, 3W Races decided to take the chance and host a one time race. They (we) even offered free entries to anyone born on leap day and it was also filled with a ton of LEAPING activities… like leaping over hay bales on the course, the standing long leap challenge, and the high leap challenge!

It was chip timed, had great sponsors, free photos, and really cute swag (one of the other reasons I wanted to do it!). And I didn’t have to work it!

Starting

The Course:
This event was at a new park for 3W Races, Carpenter park in Thornton, CO. This small, cute little park had fantastic views, tons of parking, and was in a great location. However, even though the park was small, the course was actually pretty challenging.

About half a mile into the race, you encountered a steep, packed-gravel hill! While this would still be challenging to the everyday runner, try pushing a stroller up it! There were two other hills on course, though concrete, were still a bear to push the stroller.

 

I did like the course, even if it was difficult. It was a ballon configuration and I liked the way it wound around the park. On the “balloon” part, you ran really close to the expo area and that’s where the leaping challenge was. Once you got back to the two-way traffic, the “string” part of the balloon configuration, you had to go back down the gravel hill and finish up another hill.

Layton and I’s Race:
It had been a while since I had run (probably since the 408k virtual race), so I wasn’t expecting too much in terms of my performance. I just wanted to run as much as I could (versus walking), finish with Layton and have fun.

We got to the event pretty early because I wanted to allow for extra time if diaper changes or pre-run feedings were needed – this was our first race together after all, and I didn’t know what to expect. Once we grabbed our packet, we headed back to the car to stay warm.

About 20 minutes before race time, we got out of the car and situated the stroller. It wasn’t too cold on race day, but it was windy! Because of this, I decided to keep Layton in his car seat instead of putting him forward-facing in the stroller to keep him warmer while I was running. This meant the stroller was a lot more heavy. I did a little bit of jogging around the parking lot to loosen up and get a feel for the stroller.

Then it was race time! I got in the crowd of runners, me and Layton in the stroller. This was a whole different experience for me. I was near the middle of the crowd and my spatial awareness was way off, as I bumped into a few different people, apologizing as I went.

Once the gun went off, Layton and started into a jog and within half a mile, he was asleep. I, on the other hand, was at the first hill, a steep, gravel, windy thing. I was right next to a friend of mine and she helped push the stroller as we, what felt like, sprinted up the hill.

I had to walk at the top of the hill and after that, I switched between jogging and walking through the rest of the race. When we got to the hay bale hop challenge, I carefully steered Layton between the hay bales while I hopped over and continued on!

leap day 5k

Skills.

It was a hard race for me. Between pushing the stroller and not having run in a while, I was struggling. I finished in 36:15.

leap day 5k finish

Finishing

Afterward, I hung around the expo and chatted with some friends and then went over to the after-party for my free beer at Periodic Brewing.

Although the Leap Day 5k is the slowest 5k I’ve ever run, it’s definitely one of my most memorable.

BibRave Pro Product Review – Handful Bra

Disclaimer: I received The Closer Bra from Handful to review as part of being a BibRave Pro. Learn more about becoming a BibRave Pro (ambassador), and check out BibRave.com to review find and write race reviews


If you read my last post, I talk about things I didn’t know about running postpartum. The number one thing I did not know about was running with larger breasts. You may laugh, but this is serious! (It’s okay, you can laugh. I’m laughing).

I was GIFTED with smaller breasts. I’ve never had any issues with running and pain in that area. I’ve survived from the beginning of my running journey with super cheap, Walmart brand sports bras. This was great for my wallet but bad for these new jugs that I received from growing and feeding my baby.

I’m actually NOT complaining. I love my new size.

However, I didn’t know how to RUN with them. My first run postpartum, I mistakingly put on my old sports bra and went out the door. Boy was that a bad idea! I didn’t know that larger breasts bounced that much! Holy moly! Is this what other women have been dealing with their whole lives!?!

Take 2: My thought was to just double up the bras! And cue the chaffing….

Okay. Take 3: I had this other, tighter sports bras in my drawer. It was still Walmart brand, but definitely the tightest sports bra I had owned. Let’s try that! Okay…it’s on. Now, how are you supposed to breathe!? Sure, they didn’t bounce anymore, but I could barely get the thing on and off, let alone take a full breath.

You don’t really need to breathe while you run, right?

Something has got to give!

Insert: Handful Bras, The Closer. Thank you, Handful. You’re the breast, I’m mean BEST!

(Sorry, I couldn’t help myself).

Handful is all about providing comfortable, cute, and functional gear for women. You know the whole made BY women, FOR women thing!

Found on their website.

They make a handful (see what I did there) of different types of sports bras from high impact, to everyday wear. All of them are chafe-free, quick-drying, and have pad & stash pockets (places to keep keys or add cups to the sports bra).

I specifically got The Closer to test drive. This one is for high impact activities (like running) and zips up the front, making it easy to get into but still providing the support I need.

I’ve taken the Closer on a few runs and absolutely love it!
-It is tight enough to add the perfect support for running impact.
-It zips up the font, making it super easy to get into (and out of once it’s all sweaty)!!
-But it’s rarely sweaty because it dries really quickly.
-It’s actually pretty cute and stylish!
-It comes with removable cups which can give you a little more oomph, if you’re looking for that, or cover up the “headlights.”
-I didn’t experience any chaffing with The Closer (Disclaimer: I do live in a dry climate, so it generally takes a lot of running and a high humidity day in Colorado for us to experience chafing out here.)
-I also really love the material! It is very breathable, which is great so you don’t feel overheated from wearing too many layers, especially during the winter!

Bonus: It works great for breastfeeding!

There’s only one, tiny little thing I don’t like. I like that it does zip up, but sometimes, under the right shirt, the actual zipper itself looks funny; it creates a bump under the shirt!! I know, that sounds silly and it only happens under really lightweight, flowy shirts, but sometimes it looks weird! HA!

Overall, if you’re looking for a high-quality sports bra that actually works, is easy to get on and off, doesn’t chafe, and goes with your stylish running clothes, look into Handful bras. You won’t regret it.


Check out Handful Bras here.

See The Closer here.

Save 15% on any Handful Bra with coupon code: BIBRAVE20


Here’s what the other BibRave Pros are saying:

Slacker Runner | Fun Size Athlete | Amanda | Riley | Run Strong Run | VanessaRunning for my LifeRun Nerd GirlBarking Mad About RunningMaiPretty Lil Mudder | The Celiathlete |

Things I Didn’t Know About Running Postpartum (Plus Tips!)

Fair warning: This post is for my women readers! Sorry gentlemen, you can read if you want, but there’s nothing here for you.

Disclaimer: If you are considering running postpartum, no matter how soon after giving birth, always check in with your doctor before starting any exercise program. I have some tips below that worked for me based on my experiences, skills, and knowledge. I also read a TON and I am a personal trainer, certified RRCA Run Coach, and a high school coach. I am NOT a doctor or nurse.


Right before I became pregnant with Layton, I was running about 20-30 miles weekly, 5-6 days a week. I was right at the end of coaching the 2018 Cross Country season and was in pretty decent shape. During pregnancy, I had a really hard time running. Mostly, I was just tired and didn’t have the energy, but I also didn’t like the feel of my belly from the impact of running and didn’t want to invest in a belly support strap, so I took to the elliptical and walked a lot.

Hiking super pregnant

When Layton was born I was super eager to get out there and run again! I missed it. I missed being active. I missed the joy and relaxation of a long run. I missed putting on music and running along the creek by myself. I missed trail runs and the sounds of the trees and the birds. I missed the feeling of my heart pumping and my legs working hard.

I went for my first run just under four weeks postpartum. Yeah, it was a little ambitious, but I was feeling relatively good (and had doctor’s permission). I started my run shortly after my doses of ibuprofen and Advil were on board and right after feeding my little one.

Holy moly; that mile was hard.

Yes, one mile.

But it was oh so wonderful…and not pretty at all.

Let me paint you a picture… My running clothes didn’t fit anymore so I wore Ben’s shorts, my shoes had holes in them because they were old but stretchy enough to fit my wider feet, and I couldn’t figure out how to move my new, stiff body. I probably looked like Pheobe from friends (if you know, you know).

I started running a couple days a week, slowly building up the miles. I felt like I had a whole different body that belonged to someone else, a body I didn’t know how to work. My joints we stiff, my core was weak, and my feet hurt! Not to mention my endurance was gone. There were so many things going on with my body that it surprised me!

No one talks about pregnancy, birth, after birth or all the gross, uncomfortable things that go with it. It’s such a faux pa to talk about it all with those that haven’t gone through it (and even those that have) and when it comes to something less common like RUNNING postpartum, there’s even less info out there and people to learn from.

So here’s to hoping this post finds someone that needs to hear it.


Here are 7 things I didn’t know about running postpartum:

1. I didn’t know my breasts would hurt when I ran. Or that they may leak too. 

Okay, in all fairness, this may only apply to me and a low number of women. I was “gifted” with small breasts. When I got pregnant, they grew…. and then they grew again when I started breastfeeding. I had no idea how painful running with larger breasts was – seriously, don’t you laugh! Cue the double bra or the super tight one that you can barely get on. Then you feel like you can’t breathe, nevermind trying to get out of the thing when you’re done! UGH! It was a serious conundrum for me to figure out. Some women have already solved this problem before children, but if you’re like me….

Tip 1: Invest in a good sports bra (or two). Seriously, go get a better bra. It’s worth it. Due to my small size pre-pregnancy, I had a ton of cheap Walmart brand sports bras that worked just fine for me at the time. Postpartum, they were not strong enough. The one sports bra I did own that minimized the impact was a challenge to get on and off, it was so tight, and I couldn’t breathe!

I recommend trying Handful Bras. They are chafe-free, quick-drying and they look good too! I have The Closer which is great for high impact activities. Because you need more support for running, and sometimes with that comes a tighter fitting bra, The Closer zips up the front, making it easy to shove the new milk sacks into a bra. It’s also relatively easy to breastfeed with!

Tip 2: Go for your run right after you feed or pump! Get those suckers as small as possible so that you can minimize the pain and chance of leaking.


2. I didn’t know my joints would change. Pregnancy comes with a whole bunch of new hormones and bodily changes. One of those new hormones is relaxin, which allows your hips to become a little bit looser in order to birth that watermelon. It also affects ALL of your joints. Unfortunately, you don’t go back to normal as soon as your bundle of joy pops out, so you’re left with a bunch of weak, loosey-goosey joints and your muscles are taking more impact than normal. And it doesn’t feel great.

Tip: Stretch! All of your joints are still getting back into place, your muscles are going to need a bit more recovery than normal. Whether you were an avid stretcher before baby or not, now’s a good time to make stretching post-run a good part of your routine. This will help your muscles recover while your joints are still “healing” and getting back to normal.

Stretching under the watchful eye of Layton


3. I didn’t know my feet would change. Before pregnancy, I had very narrow feet and wore narrow shoes. Once baby Layton was here, my previous shoes no longer worked for my feet! My feet are now wider and splay out a lot more.

Tip: Go get fit for shoes at a running store. Go through the whole process, even if you’ve done so in the past. Have them watch you run and use all their fancy gadgets and do-dads. Let them give you recommendations on the type of shoe you need and try not to assume or revert to your old shoe. Then, try them on and go for a run! Most stores let you at least run around the store and some let you run outside. A lot of stores have generous return policies if the shoes just aren’t working for you. Take advantage of those things to get in a good pair of shoes for your “new feet.”

My new shoes


4. I didn’t know my gait would change. When I first returned to running postpartum, I could not run with good form to save my life! I tried, oh boy did I try, but I literally felt like my muscles were not listening to my brain. This is due to all of the above… your stretched out joints, your new feet, your weak core…it’s all making your running form go to shit.

Tip: Start training your core as soon as you can (i.e. as soon as your doctor says it’s okay. This is one thing you should make sure you’re not starting too early). Depending on the type of birth you had and whether or not you have diastasis recti, pending doctor’s orders, start training your core again. I waited five months before doing any real ab exercises and yoga postpartum, per doc’s orders. I noticed a huge change in my gait once yoga was a regular practice in my routine. Your core is your powerhouse and all movement originates from your center. Once your core gets stronger again, your form will return back to normal.

Yoga with a baby is a new challenge


5. I didn’t know that it’s super challenging to run with a stroller. I love running with Layton in the jogger! I couldn’t wait until the pediatrician said it was okay to take him on runs with me! But I do remember my first run with the jogger; It was way harder than I thought it would be – especially up the hills! And RACING with the jogger is a whole different ball game as you add in more people to avoid!

Tip 1: Switch sides/hands often.  Since you have to hold on to the stroller, your form tends to be altered when one arm isn’t swinging. Your foot strike also tends to be a bit different. When the sidewalk is wide enough, I actually run off to the side a little bit, switching hands and sides every once in a while. Running off to the side allows for a more natural footstrike and switching hands makes sure you’re not developing an imbalance on one side of your body.

Tip 2: A jogging stroller doesn’t have to be expensive! I got the BabyTrend Expedition jogging stroller and it came with my car seat for only $130 (and by “I got,” I mean, my Mom gifted it to us…THANKS MOM!)

And for the love of your baby, use your safety strap! My friend told me a horror story of him chasing his stroller down the hill! (Shudder) I’m terrified this is going to happen to me!

He loves it!


6. I didn’t know it would feel like I have never run a day in my life! It really did. My first run postpartum was only a mile but it felt like 100 miles and my lungs felt like they were on fire!

Tip: Ease into it slowly! If you were running 50-mile weeks before baby, you should probably start off with a wee bit less. Remember that first training advice you ever got? Yeah…start slowly! The 10% rule is real (only increase your weekly mileage and/or your long run by 10% each time).


7. I didn’t know HOW hard it would be – mentally. I did really well with getting out for runs the first few months postpartum. I ran a few races too, but as I got back to work more and more, and Layton got older (i.e. didn’t just sleep all day), I’ve found less and less time to get out for runs – even with him in the stroller. Part of that is the winter weather but I also work full time and do not have child care during the week. When I do get out for runs, I’m pretty much starting at ground zero every time since it’s so long in between. It’s HARD to stay motivated and keep up a fitness regimen when your only free moment is after baby goes to bed and you just want to watch Netflix.

Tip: Don’t be hard on yourself! Believe me, I get it, it’s hard not too! I am on the struggle bus myself to get a weekly running plan going. If a running buddy motivates you to meet up for a jog, do it, here’s my kick in the butt to reach out to your BRF (best running friend). If a race motivates you, sign up for that half marathon! If the scale kicks your butt; use that!

But above all, go easy on yourself; after all, your body MADE a baby; you GREW a human being! And you did squeeze something the size of a watermelon out of your body. So there’s that.

Peace! Just kidding! Celebrating running TWO miles a month or so postpartum.


Extra – Things that didn’t happen to me, but I have heard happen to other women postpartum:

1. You may pee when you run. I didn’t, but you might.

I only add this one because all my friends joked about it with me. This is all due to your pelvic floor and the muscles being stretched out.

Tip: You know the drill: pelvic tilts, squats and yes, Kegels.

2. Mom guilt is a thing. Some women get it, some women don’t. For some, it’s really hard to take time for themselves, feeling guilty leaving the little one at home (even though they are with someone else). I get it! You want to be there all the time and be the source of comfort if something goes wrong and you feel like you do it best.

Tip: Remember YOU are a person too! I know everyone now only asks about your baby and comes over to see the little one, but YOU are still a human being and you deserve a few moments to yourself. KNOW that you are not less of a mother for getting out for a run!

And don’t feel guilty about not feeling guilty.

Happy trails to all your running moms out there! I hope your journey is fun and not too challenging.


I want to hear from you! What was your biggest challenge of returning to running postpartum?  Comment below!

Remote Runner – The San Jose 408K, Race to the Row – Post Race Recap

Disclaimer: I received a Remote Runner Entry into the San Jose 408k Race to the Row to review as part of being a BibRave Pro. Learn more about becoming a BibRave Pro (ambassador), and check out BibRave.com to review find and write race reviews!


The Race:

The 408k is actually in San Jose, CA but I got a to be a part of this fun event all the way in Golden, CO. Through being a BibRavePro, I got the opportunity to race virtually.

Held on Superbowl Sunday, this was the 9th year of the race in San Jose! Put on by the company Run Local Events, this kicks off their racing season of five races, all part of three different challenges runners can do for more bling.

The 408K, Race to the Row, is a point to point race that features the famous “Mariachi Mile” and “Memorial Mile,” and takes you through some of San Jose’s most charming neighborhoods, including The Alameda business district and the historic Rose Garden, before an exciting finish at Santana Row.

It looks like fun! I’m a little jealous I couldn’t be there for the local event (but not going to lie, running remotely allowed me to sleep in).

As a remote runner, I obviously can’t speak to the local event as a participant, but I can speak to a few things. The swag is super cool, I’ll get it in the mail this week, and I love the race’s communication! I got all the same emails that I would have gotten as if I was running the event locally. I got all the details of what to expect and I think that’s a key part to races. I also saw photos online, noticed that racers get them for free, and it looked like a great time this year!


My Race:

Since I was running remotely, I woke up when the kiddo woke up, fed him, had myself a decent breakfast, and slowly got dressed. I think I ended up leaving for my run around 11am. It was lovely to not have to get up at a certain time to make it to a starting line, or worry about parking or wait in a port-o-john line…

Rollin’ out of my house at 11am….

The course I chose was the Clear Creek Trail in Golden. I have access to this trail within half a mile (or less) from my house and it goes on for miles! It’s relatively flat (though nothing in FLAT in Golden) with only two hills. I decided this would be a great racecourse for my virtual 408K. (that’s 4 – 0 – 8k. It’s an 8 km race).

It was a beautiful winter day! I’m not being sarcastic – I was blessed with bluebird skies and 70-degree weather, in Colorado, in February! It was LOVELY to run in shorts and a t-shirt! The next day, it snowed over a foot. No joke.

1 KM down!

Now, I haven’t been running all that much; pretty much one or two days a week when the weather is nice and I have a chance. So for me to just bust out five miles was not going to be pretty. I decided I was going to break my race into pieces and walk every kilometer (I even switched my Zombies Run app to kilometers). I ended up following my plan perfectly and felt pretty good!  I completed my 8k in 59:37! Not too shabby for walking every kilometer! I didn’t feel completely drained at the end and minus a little bit of hip stiffness and pain (due to postpartum bodily changes), I felt pretty good.

Finished!

I even got some surprise supporters at 7km! I said hi to my cheer section, finished my race and then walked back to join Ben and Layton for the rest of their walk. We then went grocery shopping, I got a “post-race beer” and we chilled out to watch the super bowl.


I cannot wait to get my swag in the mail and hope I can get to the live event sometime in the future; It looks like a fun race!


Check out the event!