Friday, December 31, 2010


2010 was a really wonderful sporting year. In March 2002 I injured my foot. I was a 5-6 day a week runner who loved, loved to run. Running got me through my PhD as well as our move to the US in 2001. Running was a significant part of my identity. And then I injured my right foot. I was stressed, I was run down, running too much on too little sleep, nutrition and rest. Months later, many orthopedic surgeons later, many test later and no one knew what was wrong. It just seemed to get worse and worse with pain radiating up my leg even with rest. Over the years I tried new sports - cycling and rowing, mainly - and for almost a decade I didn;t run at all. My body changed - gone were my lithe limbs and runners' muscles - and I developed cycling and rowing muscles, put on 20 pounds or more, and gave up any hope of running again.

And then I had Raf in July 2009. In November I decided I'd give running a go, thinking really that I'd stand no chance of running ever again. But I did the couch to 5k programme and by December I was running a few miles here and there. I decided that I'd try and train for a half marathon fully expecting that I'd be injured before too long and not able to run it. But I managed to 'train' for it, running 2 times a week, sometimes 3, but always fighting niggles. Something happened in pregnancy and my foot felt a lot better! And I also discovered kinesio tape which really helped my legs.. but I had hip flexor issues, which meant really limited running. Still, I had a goal to dip under 2 hours, and in March I ran the half marathon race at the Run to the Border event. It was freezing, I was happy just to be there, I remember nursing Raf in the car just before I set off, and all the way around, with no Garmin or mile markers or even a watch, I just ran and had fun. I dipped under 2 hours (1:58) and rushed to the car to feed Raf again!

This marked a new era in my running career. Humbling, to say the least, as I am definitely not the fastest woman in the world, and much slower than I was. But on a couple of runs a week I was pretty proud of myself, especially being a mama. The reality, though, was that I needed to take some time off to get over my hip flexor injury so not much running, so I decided to sign up for a triathlon! I chose the Pumpkinman Sprint tri and spent the summer training for it. Running was still difficult to do consistently but I managed to do some pretty structured training and was enjoying getting a wee bit faster.

I had an amazing time at the tri. Unfortunately I suffered with exercise induced asthma (a new thing for me) so couldnt push it as much as I wanted, but I did quite well, exceeding my goal of finishing around 1:30. I finished in 1:27 - with a third of a mile swim in 11 minutes (fast for me!!!), a 15 mile bike at 18 mph (breathing really plagued me) and a 3 mile run at 8min pace. I was really so happy and running down the finishing chute was one of the best experiences of the year.

In October I ran a 10k race with Rich and Raf. I pushed the stroller for about a mile and half and then realized I would never keep up AT ALL with Rich if I pushed any more! We had a great race. I wanted to dip under 50 minutes but we finished in 49:22, with 3 brief walking breaks (silly breathing again).

I'm so happy to be running again. I'm definitely not breaking any records but I'd like to get faster. I only ran 745 miles, so I'm pleased with what I've accomplished on such little mileage. I probably shouldn't be surprised that I'm still an awful swimmer given that I've only swum 28 miles, but I did cycle 1214 miles (outside ). Combined (including rowing and the elliptical) I travelled 2310.68 miles.

I have some goals for the new year that I'll write about tomorrow. I think it's going to be a great sporting year!

Happy New Year!

Christmas Gift: a double workout

We had a really great Christmas. Mine was made even better by the workouts I managed to sneak in! I got up early and did a row/bike brick. I was just finishing up when everyone else got up. That afternoon Rich and I decided to test out our new Brooks Nightlife shirts. Rich actually had gotten his for his birthday but he had yet to wear it. So off we went, in the late afternoon dusk, me with my shirt and new matching beanie, and Rich in his shirt with a Father Christmas hat on.

It's rare that we run together now the cold weather is here. In the warmer months we take Raf out in his running stroller and take turns pushing. With my parents here we took advantage and headed out for one of the few runs of the year (maybe our second this year) and had a really nice time. We threw in 3x5 mins at 5-10k pace and by the time we got home I was ready for my bed!

Thursday, December 23, 2010

Snowy Run

It was a cold blustery morning with wet snow horizontally blowing into my face, but I forced myself to get out there knowing that I didn't want to be a run behind this week. It was beautiful on some roads where cars hadn't been, and I snapped this shot. Beautiful. Lucky to live in Maine.

Tuesday, December 21, 2010

Plan B

I didn't have the greatest week training last week. It's the end of the semester and so lots of grading, meetings, and so forth, and then my folks flew in from the Europe to visit us. My mum had a nasty fall which meant a trip to the hospital - so all in all a busy week. Added to that Raf has a new trick of waking up in the night and staying awake, chatting and kissing and hugging mama, which makes for a tired mama who sleeps through her workout time. On Sunday, as I lamented my poor week training, I promised myself that I'd do much better this upcoming week. I planned to both swim and bike on Monday so as to get the week off to a good start.

Well, Sunday night Raf woke up at 1:30am and he was still up and chatting at 3:30am!! Rich took him into the nursery at that point for 45 minutes and I managed to sneak in 45 minutes of sleep. Alas, the boy came back and he was still awake!!! He fell asleep at 5:30, at which point I got up, but much too tired to do anything. I graded papers, made breakfasts, and then around 10am I thought, what the heck, my parents are here, I'll head to the pool and get in that swim.

It was wonderful. Raf was completely fine, he barely missed me, and I got some time on my own - away from everyone and everything. 2000 yards later I was feeling reinvigorated. What's more, it inspired me to get my bike in - just a 50 min spin - when Raf was in bed.

Fitting in training requires a lot of imagination and flexibility. So often I miss my 'chance' and write off the workout because it seems too hard to get it in later on. I'm really going to start challenging myself more regularly to be more adaptable. Early mornings are for sure my preference, but early mornings clearly aren't always possible.

This morning, though pretty tired, I was on the bike by 6am - and it felt so great to get my planned session in early. Tomorrow I have a swim and a row planned, but I also have MANY other things planned.... so I'm thinking of ways to get it in. I'd love to hear how others manage their schedules. How do you all do it?!

Saturday, December 18, 2010

My little training partner :)


I'm starting this blog to chart my progress as I attempt to balance mothering, my job, and my new found sporting passion - triathlon. I have a 17 month old little boy who is just a sweet, sweet darling. Our style of parenting is very hands on - loosely 'attachment parenting' which means that we tend to co-sleep, breastfeed beyond a year, no crying it out, cloth diaper, and so forth. I also work full time as a professor. This past year I became chair of the department so I'm busier than ever... So I thought it would be a good time to do a triathlon!

I did my first one in September - The Pumpkinman Sprint - and I had a wonderful time.

But it's very difficult to strike a balance with so many demands: up a lot in the night, early morning workouts (before Rafi gets up), work all day, playing with Raf, etc. And even though it's ALL good stuff, it can be really challenging to get workouts in especially when the work is piling up and Raf is teething.

This week has not been great in terms of getting workouts in, but I'm so lucky to have a supportive husband. We're from the UK (living in the US) so have no family to help out, so having a husband who understands what training and working out gives me is invaluable.