Monday, August 7, 2017

Fitness Training for New Moms

As I told you guys in my "I'm back" post, I recently became a new mom and, while I absolutely love my little guy, I need that "me" time to run and exercise, not only to stay healthy and able to take care of my family, but also to take care of myself.

I was excited when my doctor cleared me to ease back into exercise eight weeks after delivering my son, and I knew it would be more difficult to get my runs in, but I didn't realize just how difficult it would be!  I also work full-time, and when I get home in the evening I want to spend time with him since he is in daycare all day. It has definitely been harder than I thought.

The awesome team over at Cigna put together a great reference guide to help new moms stay active. I can say that I was super excited to read the material and put it to good use as I have had struggles with staying active.   It's even more important now that I'm training for the 2018 Goofy Challenge which will include my first marathon (eeek!!)

Check out this quick video from one of Cigna's health educators, Brittney -

They have also come up with some healthy ways to manage as a new mom.-

Give yourself an “atta girl”
Carrying a baby, going through the birthing process, and adjusting your life around your baby is not easy. Give yourself credit by writing down three things you're grateful for and hang them up where you can see them daily!
Reach out for support
Call on your team of friends, loved ones, etc., to help watch baby so you can schedule in some “me” time. Start small and be realistic, but know that you deserve this.
Reset your mind
Sometimes, moms may not expect the changes a new baby brings. Getting back into your normal routine may seem like a shock, and even disappointing or frustrating. That’s why it’s important to take a step back and reassess your expectations based on your new life.
Tips for successful outcomes
  • Accept where you are and plot out simple, realistic expectations of what you’d like to achieve.
  • Reflect on changing your perspective on how you used to work out, or your previous objectives.
  • It’s about progress, not perfection (there’s no such thing). Jot down a simple list of active things you’d like to plug into your week, your day, etc. Set a minimal time frame, depending on baby’s schedule, of course. This way you won’t feel defeated if the baby wakes up from a nap early and you only get in 10 or 15 minutes of your workout.
  • Define your “why.” Why do you want to be active again? This will help you to clearly define your goals and help you better digest your new circumstances.
Every little bit counts
Maybe you were working out several days a week before or during your pregnancy, but now that just isn’t the case. It’s important to reassess your situation and set new, but realistic goals for yourself. For example:
  • With or without baby, walk for 10-15 minutes at a time. Build on this as you see fit, and be realistic about the support and time you have.
  • Count your blessings and your steps. Put on a pedometer and calculate your steps taken while running around taking care of your baby. You’ll be surprised to see how far you walk in a day – and maybe even motivated to walk more. Wear the pedometer for a week to see how many steps you get in on average. Then set a small goal to progressively increase this – 10,000 steps a day equals about five miles.
Integrate activity with baby
Maybe you aren’t able to set aside alone time just yet, or you want to make some of your time with baby an active opportunity. Check out these three exercises from WebMD’s “Mommy & Baby Workout Tips.”
  • Baby glider: Hold your baby close to your chest and do a forward lunge  (take a big step forward and bend your knee). Don’t let your toes go past your knee. Then return to starting position and lunge with the opposite leg. This will help strengthen your legs, back muscles and core. Repeat 8-10 times on each side.
  • Baby bouncer: Step to the side and do a squat (reach back with your behind as if you’re sitting in a chair, keeping your knees over your ankles). Repeat 8-10 times to each side.
  • Rock-a-baby squats and curls: Stand with your legs shoulder-width apart. Hold your baby tight and close to your chest and squat down, allowing your baby’s feet to touch the floor. As you rise, bring the baby closer to your chest. Repeat 15 times. (Note: You should do this exercise only when your baby is at least 10 to 12 weeks old.)
These tips are super simple and easy to integrate into your day, and I love that some even involve the babe!    I'm really looking forward to adding these to our daily routine a few days a week!  I hope that if you're in the same boat, know that you're not alone and take some of these tips and run with them!  

Until next time,

Information provided to me by Cigna - article written by Brittany Onufrak, MS, CWP Health Advocate, Consumer Health Engagement

Monday, July 31, 2017

Components for a Successful Training Program with Cigna

One of my favorite runDisney race weekends is fast approaching - the Disneyland Half Marathon weekend!

This year the race weekend saw a big change with a Pixar-theme - the medals were just revealed last Monday and the buzz was pretty positive on social media.
Sadly, I won't be participating in this year's Disneyland half marathon race weekend, but I have quite a few friends who are and I look forward to following along on social media that weekend.

The team at Cigna wants everyone who is participating in the Disneyland half marathon weekend to make sure they're prepared for the races and have put together some great tips that will not only help during this race weekend, but for anyone training for a race.

Cross training is a very important part of training for a race.  Getting those runs in is necessary, but you also need to build up your muscle and endurance, and this can be achieved through doing some cross training on your rest days from running.  Once I started working out at Orangetheory Fitness, I noticed a difference in my endurance during my training runs and races.  

Here are a few tips from #CignaHealthCoach Briane Agostinelli, (BS, CEP, CWP, CPPC) about why adding cross training can be beneficial to training for your next race -.

Antonio Williams, (M.S., NASM, P.E.S, Health Engagement Consultant), another #CignaHealthCoach, hits on 3 components that can lead to a successful training program.

I know for me personally, flexibility and speed work are two things I need to get better at doing, especially with my upcoming marathon!

Hopefully with these tips you'll be successful in training for your next race and hit those goals, whether it's to set a PR or finish your first half marathon!

Follow Cigna during the Disneyland Half marathon weekend on social media with the hashtags #CignaRunTogether and #DisneylandHalf.  They'll keep you informed with lots of tips and other fun information!

Until next time,

Wednesday, July 19, 2017

Where Have I Been?!?!

Well hello there!

I realize it's been over a year since my last blog can't believe I let it sit idle for so long! BUT - I have a great excuse...

At the end of June 2016, my husband and I found out that we were expecting our first child!  The first (and only) race I ran during my pregnancy was a week later at the 2016 Peachtree Road Race.

Luckily, my pregnancy was pretty real complications...but having hypertension caused my doctors to strongly discourage me from continuing to run and work out during the pregnancy.

Back in January, we headed to Walt Disney World on our "babymoon" (yes, I see some of you rolling your eyes at that term)

We happened to be there during Marathon weekend and spectated the marathon in EPCOT.  It was a lot of fun cheering on the runners and many of my friends during the race, and it validated what I had been thinking about for quite some time...when registration for the 2018 runDisney marathon weekend rolled around, this happened -

Yep...not only did I sign up for my first full marathon, but I'm going for the Goofy Challenge!  I'm crazy excited and scared to death at the same time, but I have some amazingly supportive friends and family and an equally crazy friend who will be by my side every step of both's going to be a tough, but fun journey!

And, on March 4th, we welcomed our son into the world!

I'll be checking in with my training, products I've found to be helpful, and planning our first trip as a family of 3 to Disney World! It's time to dust off the cobwebs and keep you guys in the loop (if anyone even still reads my blog!)

More to come soon!

Friday, April 15, 2016

#BostonStrong....Three Years Later

I still remember exactly where I was and what I was doing at the moment the bombs went off at the finish line of the 2013 Boston Marathon...

Earlier that morning I was watching the race on my computer at work, looking for friends crossing the finish line and cheering them on from Georgia.  I stepped away to go to lunch, and when I came back, I saw my Twitter and Facebook feeds blowing up with posts about bombs going off at the finish line.  I quickly tuned into CNN and saw a very different scene than earlier that of utter chaos and tragedy...

It shook me to my core...lives were changed...who would have ever thought that something would happen at a race?  But runners are resilient people...they rise above obstacles that are put in front of them.  

Millions of runners across the country honored Boston in a variety of runs, wearing yellow and blue, heading to social media to show their respect and was an awesome thing to see and be a part of.  I participated in a "Boston Solidarity Run" put on by a local running store.

Today, I remember those lives directly touched by the senseless act of two people, and at the same time I'm excited for those who will be toeing the start line of the 120th running of the Boston Marathon on Monday.  I may be in Atlanta, but my heart will be with you guys in Boston.

#BostonStrong  #OneBostonDay

Wednesday, March 30, 2016

I'm a Momentum Jewelry Ambassador!

A couple of years back, I entered a fellow blogger's giveaway for a Momentum Jewelry Motivate Wrap, and lucky for me, I won!

Getting that Orange glow at Orangetheory Fitness
Ever since then I've been a fan, but even more than that, I love the messages and motivation that each piece carries for the person wearing it.  The company was started when Amy, the founder, was in a fitness class doing a crazy long plank.  When she looked down at her wrist she knew that she needed something there to push and motivate her.  She's been making jewelry for over 20 years and now she spreads the love with other fitness enthusiasts.

Supporting two small businesses at the same time = WIN!
I know that I looked down at my wrist quite a few times during the Georgia Publix half marathon a couple of weeks ago.

So.....I woke up to an exciting email last Friday...

I was selected to be an ambassador for them!  I love supporting companies that I believe in and use myself, and this one is no exception.  I'm honored and excited to spread the word of Momentum jewelry to my friends and readers.  

Right now they have a campaign going on called "#SharetheSpark" - the goal is to inspire and motivate others to do more and be more in both their personal and athletic lives.

credit: Momentum Jewelry
They have designed two special #sharethespark Motivate Wraps for the campaign - "Never Give Up" and "You Got This!"  I'm excited to #sharethespark with a couple of unsuspecting friends who not only motivate me, but others around them.  You can #sharethespark, too!  Get your own Motivate Wrap bracelet and pass it on.

They have some great products...not only can you get some awesome wrist candy, but check out their Foot Notes!  I couldn't resist getting the "Run Happy" one.

They also have necklaces, headbands, and earrings as well, and you can even have custom pieces made!  I've got a few ideas in mind for some one of a kind wraps and Foot Notes....

What's your "go-to" motto during a tough workout?

Until next time,

Friday, March 25, 2016

Publix Georgia Half Marathon Recap

If you follow me on social media, you might have seen me drop the words "surgery" in a few of my posts.  It's not something that I announced publicly nor was it planned, but it kept me from running and working out for 4 weeks.  Actually, the first thing I asked my doctor when he said I'd have to have the surgery was "Can I run a half marathon on March 20th?"  He said yes, but I wouldn't be able to train for it.  Luckily, I was able to get one Orangetheory workout in before the race, but other than that, I was going in under trained (which I don't necessarily recommend!)

My friend, Stephanie, was going to run with me to keep me company, but she ended up getting super sick the week before and still wasn't feeling up to it that weekend...I missed her but glad she made the decision to take care of herself.  Thankfully she's feeling better now and we plan to sign up for another race to run together soon!

For the first time in 3 months, I laid out my traditional "Flat Jen" and tried to get mentally prepared to run my 15th half marathon.

My alarm went off at 4 am and I very slowly got up and began to get ready.  For only getting about 5 hours of sleep I felt pretty good (nothing like remembering your black sports bra is dirty the night before and staying up to get it washed and dried).  I chose to ride MARTA down because the last thing I wanted to do was stress over finding somewhere to park.  I ran into one of my fellow OTF members so we chatted on our way to the race.

We arrived at Centennial Olympic Park a little before 6 and it was still fairly empty, so we wandered around for a bit.  We eventually made our way over to meet up with some friends and fellow INKnBURN ambassadors for a pre-race photo.

Photo credit: Jill (@mrscrashmattb)
I made the mistake of waiting a little too long to check my bag, so I was a bit rushed, but I made it to my corral with plenty of time to snap a few pictures

Before I knew it, we were off!  I realized the night before that my interval timer was dead, so I was going to run this race simply by how I felt....I ran when I wanted to, and I walked when I felt like it.  

If you've never run this race, it really is a great course.  You run through so many great areas of downtown Atlanta...Georgia State, the MLK center, Old 4th Ward, Little 5 Points, Piedmont Park, Georgia Tech....and the course support is amazing.  I think my favorite groups were in the Old 4th Ward and the Phidippides group...their enthusiasm gave me a great boost of energy as I ran by them.

The past 4 weeks I had not only been recovering physically, but also emotionally.  My goal for this race was finish.  I just took my time and enjoyed being able to run again. 

If you're a fan of "The Walking Dead", these next couple of pictures should look familiar to you.  It's definitely a popular photo op for runners on the course...and with the sunrise being reflected on the buildings, it's definitely not to be missed.

We then run up into Little 5 Points, a very eclectic and vibrant area of Atlanta.  I'd love to spend more time down here...and I'm still waiting on hubby to take me to eat at the Vortex, but on race day, a photo stop would have to do.

They had a couple of "food stops" along the course...for the half marathon we had two - jelly beans and oranges.  Can you say "yum"??  The jelly beans were a nice change from my usual Huma gave me a sweet little sugar rush.

Piedmont Park is also a fun area to run through...the Jeff Galloway 13.1 race group (thanks for the Coca-Cola!) as well as Phidippides was here to greet the half and full marathon runners into the park.  As soon as your exit, you're greeted by a nice, big HILL!'s're bound to eat some hills for breakfast, right?

The last big area you run through is Georgia Tech...and since I'm a UGA girl all the way (Go Dawgs!) I've started to make this a yearly photo stop -

I gotta hand it to the Techies though...they do a great food and water stop!  The music and cheering is always welcome, especially when you're about 2 miles away from the finish!  

I was actually making decent time...much better than I thought I was going to do...and I still felt really good, so in that last mile I pushed myself a little more.  When you make that last turn and you see and hear the spectators cheering, it almost carries you to the finish line (thanks for the shout out to me from Annabel!).

When I looked at my Garmin I was pleasantly surprised...I got a 7 minute course PR!  With my only goal being to finish the race, seeing that I shaved time off of this course time with very little training made me pretty proud of myself.  I received my medal, grabbed a recovery jacket, chugged down a chocolate milk, and headed to gear check to grab some warm was a pretty breezy race!

Most of my friends finished before me and headed home (I don't blame was chilly!) so I headed back to MARTA.  As I sat on the train I reflected on my race - not being able to train, still performing well, and finishing with a smile on my face made me extremely proud of myself.  There were a couple of moments during the race where I almost had a breakdown, but i kept looking at my bracelet...Never Give Up...and I took a deep breath and kept moving.  I credit a lot of it to my workouts over the past year at Orangetheory Fitness...they've really helped my endurance during runs.  I'm very happy that I can get back into the gym more as well as pounding some pavement to prepare for my next race!

After a shower and nap, we met some friends for dinner...I thoroughly enjoyed my Pimiento BLT sandwich and fries from the Village Tavern, and then a Snickers milkshake from Cookout!
A big thanks to the Atlanta Track Club, Publix and the other sponsors, and the amazing volunteers and course support groups!  You guys are what makes this race possible as well as makes me want to run it again each year.  I hope to be back in 2017!

Until next time,

Wednesday, March 23, 2016

The First #WeRunSocial ATL meet up!

A couple of weeks ago my friend, Jill, suggested that we host a #WeRunSocial meet up at the Georgia Publix half/full marathon expo.  With the help of myself and our friend, Brandi, it became a reality....and a huge success!

Photo credit: Jill and Angela
We decided to meet outside a Starbucks....only Brandi discovered that it was now a Chick-Fil-A!  With a quick shout out on our Facebook event page, everyone still made it :)   There were a lot of hugs, selfies, and cookies consumed.
Photo credit: Jill (@mrscrashmattb) and Abs

Photo credit: Angela & Matthew

Photo credit: Angela
We gave away some awesome prizes - PRO compression socks, INKnBURN gift certificates, a Starbucks gift pack, Road ID credits, Sparkly Soul headbands and hair ties, and the item everyone wanted - a pretty sweet Miznuo gift pack!  We were like Oprah giving out the prizes....EVERYONE left with something!

Photo credit: Brandi (@FunnerRunner)
Of course, with most things...picture or it didn't happen, so we had to get a group photo before everyone dispersed.

Photo credit: Jill (@mrscrashmattb)
The first #WeRunSocial Atlanta meet up was a success!  Jill, Brandi, and I thank everyone for coming and we hope to be able to host another one in the near future!

If you've never heard of #WeRunSocial, you can read about about them here.  Also make sure to follow them on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram.

Have you been to a #WeRunSocial meet up?  

Until next time,