We three kings of Orient are Bearing gifts we traverse afar: A Runner’s Christmas Wish List

Matthew 2:9-12

9Β After they had heard the king, they went on their way, and the star they had seen when it rose went ahead of them until it stopped over the place where the child was. 10Β When they saw the star, they were overjoyed. 11Β On coming to the house, they saw the child with his mother Mary, and they bowed down and worshiped him. Then they opened their treasures and presented him with gifts of gold, frankincense and myrrh. 12Β And having been warned in a dream not to go back to Herod, they returned to their country by another route.

The shepherds might have been the first ones to the Christmas party, but the wise men started the tradition of giving gifts. My Christmas gift list isn’t on the caliber of gold, frankincense, and myrrh, but then, none of us are the Son of God. πŸ™‚Β  I’ve made a list of some of my favorite running items and things that may help you (or your running buddies) with running and gift giving.

  1. Devoted Training Journal: I am biased here, but I love my Devoted Training Journal, and I think it would make a great gift for your running friends. The journal covers 4 months, which is perfect for a training cycle or the start of a new year goal.
  2. Milestone Pod: This little pod is such a fun running tool, and it really does help me with running. It’s extremely reasonable in price ($29.95), and you can use the code PodTeamMeridith33Β for 33% off of your entire order until December 5th.
  3. Beauty Counter lip gloss: I have always liked running with something on my lips, and for longer runs, you really need a gloss that will last for a while. I found this Beauty Counter lip gloss, and I love that it is also safe for Cadence, who always wants to share. πŸ™‚Β  There is a great special right now for 3 for $48. You can order from my friend here.
  4. Beachbody on Demand: I was really surprised by how much I like this subscription. I really haven’t used many of the strength programs (although they are great), but I do love the yoga programs! I do not have the time or the money to go to a yoga studio, but for $99 a year, this is a great option.Β  I signed up for my Beach Body subscription through Heather here.
  5. Shoes: If you are looking for a pair of shoes under the tree, I have had great success with Saucony. My favorite shoes are the Kinvara for racing and the Freedom for training. I always have more than one pair of shoes to rotate during the week. (And the Milestone Pod looks really good on a pair of shiny Sauconys. πŸ™‚
  6. Books: I love to read and run on the treadmill, and I find that I can go through a lot of books that way. One of my all time favorite running books is Once a Runner (followed by the sequel Again to Carthage). It’s fiction, and it will make you love running and feel super motivated. I love everything by Matt Fitzgerald. He adds a lot of research to his writing, and everything is relatable.Β  I read 80/20 Running for the second time this year, and I used a lot of the training strategy for my San Francisco Marathon. If you like science and biology (for females), you will love ROAR. Finally, not running specific, but getting the heart and head in the right place makes everything better: Nothing to Prove.Β  And my favorite cookbook of the year is Wellness Mama Cookbook.
  7. Clothes: I ran the Gorge Waterfalls 100k in April, and it was supposed to be chilly and rainy. I bought the Patagonia Houdini at the recommendation of a friend, and it was the PERFECT jacket for the weather. Super light and perfect breathability. For general running clothes, I love Rabbit clothes.Β  Get 10% off with this code.
  8. Nutrition: I started using the Juice Plus protein powder this year, and it is the best tasting protein powder I’ve ever tried. Plus, it is all plant-based, and I feel confident letting Cadence eat it. You can order yours here. If you just want a stocking stuffer, I love Honey Stinger waffles and Nuun.
  9. Recovery: I carry a Lacrosse ballΒ in myΒ purse and I keep them throughout the house. This is such a great way to recover! For my birthday this year, my husband surprised me with a Boom stick. It’s the kind of recovery that hurts so good and gets so deep!
  10. For your training buddy: If you have followed me for more than a minute, you know that I love the Thule Urban Glide for stroller running. I also love our Kelty hiking pack for cross training hikes with Cadence. We got our pack off of Craigslist, but you can find a new one here.

It’s easy to lose focus at Christmas time with all of the lights, presents, and parties.Β  At the end of the day, God gave us the best gift when he sent his Son to this earth. Merry Christmas everyone!

What’s on your Christmas wishlist?

A TMI PSA

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I had planned to go for an hour on the bike this morning, but I heard a tiny voice calling my name as I was heading downstairs, and I couldn’t pass up the opportunity for morning snuggles AND a workout buddy. πŸ‘Ά Being a working mom and training can be a hard balance, but thankfully, we’ve found ways to make it work for our family. ❀️ I couldn’t do it without the support of my husband (who came and rescued Cadence so that she’d get breakfast today 😁). 50 minutes on the bike today with a few speed intervals to get the legs burning. πŸš΄β€β™€οΈ

This post might be a little too much information, but ladies, consider it a public service announcement. (Honestly, we all know that there is never TMI when you are a runner or a mom. haha) A few cycles ago I started using the Diva Cup after reading this article written by Clare Gallagher, who I respect for her success in running.

My period returned 14 months postpartum, even though I have continued to breastfeed. This is the first time in years that I have had a normal cycle without the influence of birth control, so I’m getting to learn my body and see how my hormones affect me day to day and in running. Here’s a blog post about how the menstrual cycle affects our running performance. (The SF Marathon was as a high hormone phase for me; you can’t always plan your races around your cycle. Guys don’t know how good they have it!)

Anyway, back to the point of this post. I started using the Diva cup a few months ago, and it’s a total game changer. I don’t have to worry about the chemicals that are in tampons, I don’t have to change anything all throughout the day, and I am way more comfortable using a menstrual cup. It’s also cheaper than having to buy tampons and pads. The menstrual cup can stay inserted for up to 12 hours without leakage, and you won’t notice it at all.Β  It’s almost like you aren’t on your period. I have not altered any of my runs using the menstrual cup, it doesn’t leak, and it is waaaaay more comfortable than any tampon ever dreamed to be.

Apparently these are all the rage in Europe, and I understand why! There are different brands of menstrual cups, and I’ve only tried the Diva cup. Anyway, just had to share with you. ❀

Anybody else tried the Diva cup?

Still marathon recovering…

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I need to take notes from Cadence and try to get more sleep! πŸ’€ Mondays are tough! 5 easy treadmill miles this morning. πŸ™Œ

I haven’t felt very young for this last marathon recovery, but I can’t entirely blame aging as the culprit for my slow recovery. CTS came out with an article recently talking about the four things to do to recover from an endurance event. I’ve pretty much failed at all of them! Haha. Good thing our bodies are resilient!

1. Focus on Fluid Intake Throughout the Days Following Your Event: Unless wine intake counts, I did a pretty poor job here following the race. But traipsing all over wineries in Napa and Sonoma sure was fun!

2. Replenish Energy Levels With Quality Nutrition: When we ate, we ate at fancy restaurants. But we skipped lunch entirely on Monday, and fancy restaurants aren’t known for their huge portions. Between the breakfast buffet, snacks, and restaurants, we certainly ate plenty, but it wasn’t the quality of fruits and vegetables or timing that I typically like in my normal routine.

3. Get More Sleep: Ha! This one is probably the worst. Between the race that started at 5:30 am, the time zone change, and the red eye flight, we got pretty poor sleep, and I haven’t gotten a full 8 hours since. Totally my fault! I need to prioritize sleep better! Cadence still wakes in the night, and as much as I love the baby snuggles, it can be rough.

4. Utilize Compression: I definitely score the most points here. I like to sleep in compression socks as long as it’s cool in the bedroom. My hamstring is feeling a bit tight now as well, so I’ve added rock tape to my arsenal for recovery.Β  πŸ™‚

What’s your favorite recovery tool?

Ab separation and rockin the crop top

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Ok, so I know that you aren’t supposed to try anything new for race day, but I just got my new @runinrabbit crop hop in the mail. 😍🐰 I did a short test run this morning, and I think it’s comfortable enough to risk for my marathon on Sunday. (I mean, I’ve chafed for longer than that. πŸ˜‚πŸ’―)🀞 Now to decide between coral and white. πŸ€”πŸ˜ . . . And more for all of the mommas out there. Cadence sat really high in my belly when I was pregnant, and I still have a lot of ab separation from my pregnancy.πŸ‘Ά I had to have surgery last May because my intestines (still) pop out just a little above my belly button (like a hernia). πŸ™ˆAnd then there’s always the skin that doesn’t have quite the same elasticity that it used to…😊 All that to say, our bodies are incredible and continue to support us as we grow human beings, breastfeed, and then go out and run our hearts out. β€οΈπŸŽ‰ Since you can’t necessarily see my intestines popping out very well in this picture, I just wanted to keep it real. πŸ˜‚πŸ˜˜ . . . #motherrunner #marathontraining #taperweek #radrabbit #loveourgoldengirl #milestonepod #gobeyondpace #saucony #runyourworld #runningthroughpregnancy #postpartumrunning #extendedbreastfeeding #womenrunning #womensrunningcommunity #hshive

I think I’m set on wearing the crop top for my Sunday race, I just need to pick out a color! πŸ™‚ I wrote in my IG caption about my ab separation and pseudo hernia, so I thought I’d elaborate here in case any mommas are in the same boat.

I have a series of blog posts where I discovered the “hernia” andΒ got a diagnosis, had surgery, and then learned that I just had ab separation and weak fascia, but no actual hole in my fascia for a hernia. I elected to have surgery last May after noticing a nickel sized little bulge about midway up from my belly button. I was afraid that it would just get worse with my activity level, and the surgeon agreed that it was better to fix it while it was small instead of waiting until it got worse and required a larger repair.

After the surgery, I noticed that I still had the little bump, and returned to the surgeon. That’s when they told me that my fascia had just been weak, but there was no hernia to repair (yay! surgery for nothing!). My intestines press against the weaker fascia where I have ab separation (or diastasis recti) and create a little bump. I can push it back in, but inevitably, any effort causes it to poke out again. Doctors have told me that it will only get worse with a second baby, and that a tummy tuck is the only thing that would fix it. It’s a good thing babies are so cute!

Do you have ab separation from your pregnanc(ies)? Any other faux hernias out there? Haha

Race prep: visualization

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But seriously?! 😊 It doesn’t get any better than this! πŸ‘Ά I bet everyone would run of they had a tiny little personal cheerleader with them too. ❀️❀️❀️ I dread having to pull the shade over her sweet little head when we run in the sun. β˜€οΈ But I think I found a good alternative. 😁 We got in just under 6 miles this morning as part of the taper. I think I’ll take one more complete day off to make sure that my legs are fully recovered. πŸ™Œ #taperweek #strollerrunning #thuleurbanglide #bestlittletrainingbuddy #21monthsold #motherrunner #womensrunningcommunity #womenrunning #marathontraining

Unfortunately, I won’t have my beautiful baby in my vision for the upcoming San Francisco marathon, but I can help prepare for a good run through visualization (and maybe pretend that she is with me?!). Visualization is actually something that I’ve been doing for a couple of races now after seeing one of my friends utilize visualization for a really competitive job interview that she nailed.

I really like the approach that Tina Muir suggests for visualization here (scroll down a little or sign up for the download), and she really takes it to another level with detail and focus on specific aspects.Β  A few examples are visualize: waking up with a smile on your face, going to the bathroom the morning of (in my case, not too much, haha), arriving at the start, a few key places in the race, and what Tina says is most important, visualizing the finish.Β  While I’ve pictured myself running a race, I have never visualized quite to this detail. I’m not as familiar with the course, but there are certainly ways that I can visualize better. With so much of running being a mental field, I truly think that this is a powerful tool! I have a couple of days to really get those details nailed down! πŸ™‚

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Do you practice visualization for races (or anything else)? Has it helped?

 

Running with a cold, race week

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My heart grows every day with this little baby. ❀️ How is that even possible?! It blows my mind to think that our Heavenly Father loves us this much, and he brought Heaven to earth when he made me a mom. πŸ‘Ά I’m staying conservative with my race coming up on Sunday, so I only rode 45 minutes on the bike today. πŸš΄β€β™€οΈ Maybe some strength work tonight? #bestlittletrainingbuddy #21monthsold #perfection #motherrunner #spinbike #homegym #crosstraining #taperweek #marathontraining #womenrunning #womensrunningcommunity

I think it’s pretty normal that taper week brings out the worst in us in just about every way. I actually really like taper week and the excitement of the race, but inevitably, I feel a niggle or catch something. In this case, I caught the cold that Cadence brought home from daycare. (Breastfeeding and antibodies here.)

Other than easing up on training in order to be fresh for the race, how much should you alter your training if you have a cold? Runner’s Connect has an article here that says to listen to your body, but in general it’s ok to run as long as the symptoms are all congestion related. Focus more on effort than pace, and err on the side of caution.Β  So I just rode the bike today and let my legs and stuffy head have one more day of a break. πŸ™‚

Do you run when you have a cold?

Prehab with a little baby ART

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I have the best chiropractor in the world. ❀️ She is not only a badass ultra runner and mom of two kids, but she lets me bring Cadence to my sessions and keeps her entertained. 😍 I do daycare drop off and pick up, which means if I’m not sitting at a desk, I have a baby with me (fine by me!). πŸ‘Ά Today is a recovery day, and I took advantage of a little ART and adjustment to my ankle in preparation for my race on Sunday. πŸ™Œ I’d much rather invest in maintenance than injury recovery! πŸƒβ€β™€οΈ #recoveryday #marathontraining #taperweek #maintenance #chiropractor #bestlittletrainingbuddy #21monthsold #motherrunner #womenrunning #womensrunningcommunity

I spend a lot of time (and money) pre-habing, but this approach has kept me relatively injury free for a while now. It’s hard to know when a niggle will just go away on it’s own versus turning into something bigger and more tragic. I asked my PT last week if she thought I was needing to see her too much, and she assured me that I am one of her less frequent patients and that given my level of running, maintenance is expected. So… I don’t feel too guilty that I had a chiro appointment today to work on my shins, calves, and ankle.

My chiropractor primarily applied the active release technique (ART) to my leg(s) and helped loosen up my ankle. It’s got to be effective because it sure does hurt! It feels like a really deep massage to the tissues, but there is no way that I could achieve that kind of deep tissue movement by just rolling. I am so thankful to have a chiropractor who understands runners and who I trust to keep me healthy.Β  A good explanation of ART can be found at the bottom of this site. It’s crazy that these practitioners are skilled enough to know what’s going on under the surface just by feel!

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What’s your favorite method of pre-hab?