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healthy ashley

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Race Recap: Xterra Wildhorse Trail Half Marathon
November 4, 2013 at 10:09 pm 0
Yesterday I finished the Xterra Wildhorse Trail Half Marathon put on by Tampa Races who I do most of my runs with. I had a blast, even though the race was not what you’d expect from a typical trail run. It was my first race while pregnant and I did it mostly to get some trail experience before my trail full in two weeks. I found out about the half pretty last minute, so I actually continued on with my regular workouts the day before. I ran 7 miles and did a horribly hard WOD, so the rest of the day was all about recovery. To prepare my body I drank a ton of water, wore compression socks, took fish oil, ate plenty of food (and a lot of protein) and took Vega Recovery Accelerator (love this stuff). I also drank coconut water because old pre-race habits die hard. Saturday morning Richard and I made our way about 90 minutes from home to the park the race was held in. Pulling up I remembered I’d done this course before. Checking in was easy with not too many runners and I moved around to keep my body warm as the weather was wet and a little chilly. At 8am we sang the national anthem and started running. The group kept together at a slow pace in a large pack.. and then boom we come to a complete stop. Less than half a mile into the run we hit a woodsy part that we have to file single file into. Then we spread out again and come to another stop. This time I said a profanity because I remembered that this is that  race, the one with the stream and crazy technical parts. So, .8 miles into the run we walk through a stream waist deep. And then climb through the mud to get out of it. Chilly. And wet. My biggest challenge when running is just keeping my mind into it. Pre-pregnancy I was really motivated my speed and setting new records but I can’t do that right now. I’m much slower and it doesn’t feel like there are any other speeds for me. I paced myself slow and steady and focused on keeping good form and taking deep breaths to avoid side stitches. I was slow and steady until we came to a crazy technical part of the course with a long series of muddy and steep ups and downs. Grabbing on to roots, rocks and trees, it’s a challenging part where going fast isn’t really an option. The race description says, “the course is primarily wide double track with a fast, packed surface,” so I didn’t expect such a crazy course. My mind was racing. “High knees! Be careful! Slow down! Speed up!” I’ve run hundreds of miles on trails so I’m used to hidden roots and vines that will bring you to the ground. Ultimately I didn’t fall once because I was so hyper aware and careful. My stamina was good throughout the race, even though it was hard switching back to running after climbing muddy inclines. I didn’t pay attention to time and just tried to stay slow and steady and run as much as possible. Richard volunteered on the course so I got to see him at a water stop. Poor guy heard how challenging the course was and was a little worried about Clara and me. Still, it’s nice to get kisses in the middle of a race! Eventually, I completed the two laps and made my way through the stream for the second time. I saw I had just over one mile left and looked forward to a straight dash to the finish line. Instead, the last mile took us back into the woods, under low-hanging vines and over roots and fallen trees. The last mile sucked- I was so close to finishing but couldn’t go fast with the terrain. Then I came to this, a super steep (still wet) incline uphill. The downhill was just as bad. Eventually, I made it out of the woods for the last time and although the finish line was in sight, we were directed around a sunny, grassy field. Again, running away from the finish line to run back to it made that last mile my least favorite. But then there was my sweet finish line and a handsome husband waiting just behind it. I was done. Closer to my goals, I completed the half marathon. I finished in 3:18, a far cry from the 2:45 I had hoped for and the 2 hour half I ran pre-pregnancy. The super-technical miles took me 25 minutes each, so there were other factors at play. I wasn’t doing this race for time, but I still would like to have seen what my time would have been without the stream crossing and other unusual race additions. I’m excited to see the overall results too. On racing while pregnant: 1. Everyone was super nice. People would look back to check on me after really tough parts. Others made cute comments about running for two and how they couldn’t let me finish before them. It was nice to feel supported. 2. My mind has never raced so much during a WOD. I was thinking about the baby, thinking about how I felt and paying extra attention to my footing. I used to run to zone out; there was none of that in this race! 3. In all my thinking during the race I told myself that if I didn’t feel good at any point, that I’d have to drop out no questions asked. And that the same will go for this month’s marathon. I felt fine and don’t anticipate having to drop out of a race, but it is such a different feeling being responsible for a growing baby and having to be okay with letting go when necessary. 4. Finishing a race pregnant felt kick ass. Pregnancy has changed a lot for me: body, hormones, what I eat/drink, planning maternity leave, how I spend money, just knowing I’m about to be a mom. Running makes me so incredibly happy and fulfilled and it was INCREDIBLE to experience that bit of me, and with Clara inside of me. 5. I honestly think Clara liked the race. She’s usually really quiet but for the rest of the day she was bouncing around in my belly. I fell asleep with my hand on my belly feeling her roll around. I didn’t get a medal but I want to save the race shirt and bib for her somehow. Thanks to a husband who continues to support me- and who had a kiss and a plate of pancakes ready as I crossed the finish line. I couldn’t ask for a better partner. A plate of pumpkin pie and pancakes (on the way to lunch, obviously) is the best way to end a dirty, wet, awesome race. I’m pumped for the X-Country Marathon in two weeks!
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Pregnancy Update and Baby Bump Bundle Review
October 21, 2013 at 10:10 pm 0

Grandpa and me comparing bumps

We’re at 22 weeks!

Time is flying by! I’m not sure if I’m really busy or if I’m really lazy and just don’t want to admit it, but free time seems to dwindle by the day! Since bullet points are so much easier than paragraphs, here’s an update: - I can’t believe the absolute baby fever and baby jealousy I have even though I have a perfect little baby growing inside of me. Patience! - I still haven’t had a single craving, just tons of random aversions. I can’t stand avocado and sriracha even though those used to be my favorite foods. - My doctor had a “talk” with me about my weight gain. I gained double the recommend amount in the first 19 weeks. Maybe my baby is just made of muscle? :) Since then I’m tracking what I eat in an effort to be more mindful. - Richard is mesmerized by this little girl and always has her on his mind, as evidenced by this reusable toy pad at a toy store we visited: - I used to think babies were cute and small, but lately newborns terrify me. All I can think about lately are those huge limbs and facial features clawing out my lady parts. - A hot mom I know told me “pushing a baby out is FUCKING AWESOME” and I have a whole new perspective on birthing this baby. I now I find myself really looking forward to earning that badass badge.

Post-12 miles at 21 weeks.

- I’ve been running longer distances and it feels a whole new level of amazing. I have a marathon in mind and as long as things keep going well, I’ll waddle that next month. (My doctor is in full support.)

- The bump feels great while running but I have to overcome little moments of worrying about the baby. But I can also worry about the baby when I wake up and realize I’ve rolled onto my back, when I don’t eat enough veggies and when I’m emotional. So if I feel good, it’s probably all good. - I’ve finally entered the honeymoon stage of the second trimester. I thought everyone was lying, but that sweet spot of having a cute bump, having energy and finally not having symptoms does exist. And I never want it to go away.

Baby Bump Bundle Review

I first found out about Baby Bump Bundle on Twitter and kind of freaked out.

Curated handpicked pregnancy products by trimester for expecting moms, gifts for baby, and nursing essentials for new moms.

Essentially, they offer modern day gift baskets for new moms and moms-to-be. Treats during pregnancy are the best things ever; a little pampering goes a long way. I have never been so excited to check my mail. Finally, this well-packed, exciting little box made its way to my doorstep. Inside were amazing little gifts all wrapped in tissue paper and a little sticker.Here’s what was in my bundle: - Expecting More DVD with 6 workouts from Sara Haley- haven’t tried yet but it looks good! - Fitbook mama2be Fitness Journal- really cool idea, though I’m more of an app/laptop tracker than a pen and paper. Would be a great gift for someone at the beginning of their pregnancy. - Vapur collapsible water bottle- super convenient. Really enjoyed on our recent road trip. - Sweaty Band headband- love these!!! Such a treat and great for working out in. - Two Two Degrees snack bars- delicious. Easy, healthy nutrition. My Review: The Baby Bump Bundle is awesome. The products were all things I’d buy on my own in colors and flavors I like. It was an exciting surprise to open the box and I really appreciate the focus on health. The would be a great gift for a mom-to-be or new mom, or for a mama to herself! Bundles start at $30 so it’s pretty reasonable. What is your favorite treat product? What would you want in your box, mom or not?
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Raising a Beautiful Daughter
October 9, 2013 at 10:10 pm 0
Growing up I wasted a lot of time, confidence and opportunities thinking I wasn’t pretty enough. I remember the first time I thought I was fat. It was first grade and everyone was sitting with their legs extended out and I decided my legs were bigger than the girls’ next to me. I decided my legs were fat. Growing up my dad talked a lot about how if I’d only (run, not eat carbs, etc), I could look really good and would criticized women’s bodies out loud. My mom would grab parts of her body and criticize them in the mirror. Thanks to genetics, I learned I have those same “problem areas” too. When I was 16 some bad things happened in my life and I needed to feel in control. So I adopted an eating disorder. I didn’t have my period for 18 months and got pleasure from counting how many bones pushed through my skin. I found some balance when I started running. I started appreciating my body for what it could do more than just what it looked like. Still, I clung to numbers on the scale and would emotional eat to cope with my feelings. In a moment I could write you a list of what is “wrong” with my body or the things I want to change. I could tell you the number I wish saw on the scale and at exactly what weight I start to hate my body. Because of my imperfect body, I’ve starved myself. I’ve over-exercised myself. I’ve said horrible things to myself in the mirror. I’ve cried over the scale. I’ve said no to sex with my husband. I’ve taken weeks off swimming because I didn’t want to get in a swimsuit. I’ve compared myself to my friends and I’ve put myself down in front of others. I’d like to say it stopped when I started CrossFit. It definitely got better. The entire CrossFit culture favors strength over looks, though vanity and judgment still sneak in. Then I got pregnant. I went through quite a love/hate journey adapting to my changing body. At first I covered myself up from Richard and dealt with a lot of fat talk. Now I’ve grown to be so proud of what my body is doing, even if my body is even farther from the perfect ideal I’ve wanted it to look like for so long. Now I know my body is strong and beautiful and capable. I’ve wasted a whole lot of time thinking I wasn’t beautiful. And, funny enough, chasing a certain ideal of beauty kept me from discovering what my own beauty was. It kept me from being strong. I absolutely cringe thinking of my daughter ever having some of the thoughts I’ve had, ever thinking she’s not good enough because a part of her body isn’t how she thinks it should be. I want my little girl to get lost in books, to run free, to laugh, to dream, to ask questions, to share, to love and to strive to make the world a better place. And I know fat talk will never get her there. Instead of comparing herself to other girls, I want her to befriend them. Instead of hating her legs, I want her to see what they can do for her. Instead of thinking she should weigh a certain number, I want her to be thankful she is alive. I know I’m not perfect and I will mess up. I may struggle with my post-baby body and I may even talk down about myself in front of her. But I want her to know that before I even meet her I think she is the most beautiful girl. I want her to know that she was made from love and that she is enough, without ever doing anything. I want her to know she will always be beautiful and that we will love discovering who she is and who she grows to become. I want her to know that she was perfect and beautiful before she was even born and nothing she does in her life will ever change that.
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My Fetus Loves CrossFit- CrossFitting While Pregnant
September 23, 2013 at 10:10 pm 0
I think part of me has procrastinated so much on getting this post out because I was scared of judgement. I know I’m pushing limits and defying a lot of the info out there on what I “should” be doing and I didn’t know if I was ready (or could handle) comments that in any way said I wasn’t doing the best for my baby. There are too many unknowns in pregnancy already to have comments add worry. And then I read this article from CNN about CrossFitting while pregnant. And it pissed my off enough to publish this damn post and be one voice out there saying I am pregnant and vigorous exercise (mainly CrossFit) is good for me and my baby. My midwife approved my activities. She said to stop when it doesn’t feel right and to drink a ton of extra water. “Even heavy lifting? Like, setting PRs-heavy-lifting?” I asked. “Absolutely!” she said. CrossFit during pregnancy is keeping me sane. It’s a healthy choice for me, my baby and, honestly, for everyone around me. I took more days off in my first trimester, didn’t push so much and ate terribly, and I’ve all around never felt so bad (and in more ways than just the 1st tri problems). I feel my best when I’m exercising- my nausea, weight gain and constipation are second thoughts and my focus is on the task at hand. And that feels great. I can’t believe it still has to be said, but pregnancy is not a disease. It is not a disability. It is not weakness.
“I think it is sad that people would compare my weight lifting with smoking and drinking. Or call me a poor mother for keeping fit and strong during pregnancy. “There is an obesity epidemic in our country with diabetes on a rampage. People need to embrace a healthy lifestyle and for babies it starts in the womb.”  -Lea-Ann Ellison (the kick ass mom in question in the article)
In fact, I think I’ve never been stronger. After all, I’m still a wife to Richard and a mom to four dogs. I still work 40 hours every week, workout, visit friends and clean my house… but now all while growing a human. Strength, not weakness. Pregnancy is a long list of unknowns. Eat the right things, take in enough water, avoid stress, get plenty of sleep, exercise (but not too much). There’s no Perfect Pregnancy Guide for all women to follow. From talking with other women, I’ve gathered that none of our experiences are even close. I remember when I hit my second trimester and my midwife told me I couldn’t be on my back at all. I hardly slept for days because I would wake up at all hours, terrified that I may have rolled on my back! I was exhausted and stressed out from over-stressing about what was right and wrong. We don’t get ultrasounds and doctor visits daily. The baby doesn’t have an iPhone to text me what he’d like to see more of or less of. So for the most part I read the information, talk to my midwife and then listen very carefully to my body. And at the end of the day I trust that my body is performing as it was created to perform and everything will be okay.
“The real deal here is that our society does not get pregnancy and birth….To all that criticized this woman and the rest of the women out there for doing their best as mothers, GET A UTERUS and/or EDUCATE YOURSELF.”this awesome article written in response to the headlines
The First Workout I was signed up to WOD later the day we found out we were pregnant. I was scared to move or breath hard or really move my body. Richard watched me with worry on his face and I couldn’t think of anything but the baby the whole time. CrossFit Now I’ve found a sweet spot of knowing my preggo limits and reminding myself to still push hard. For example, heavy deadlifts are out until this baby comes out. On the other hand, squats feel fine and I’m not going to ditch my heavy squats just because I don’t feel like doing it and have a convenient excuse that’d get me out of it. I CrossFit 5-6x/week and RX most of the movements (except for those darn DU’s and pull-ups). I run slower than everyone else and pace myself a little differently, but otherwise you wouldn’t know I was pregnant. I also sprinkle hot power yoga and running into my weeks. I feel amazing.

A few things to note:

- Obviously, I never want to endanger my baby. I won’t do anything that could risk complications. And when it doesn’t feel right, I slow down, modify or stop. - My midwife supports lifting heavy, being upside down and anything that feels fine. - I am surprised at how much I can feel when something isn’t right. Heavy deadlifts pull my pelvic floor muscles so I keep the deadlifts to around 75% of my previous max or less. Whatever feels right. I also lose my breath easier and spend a solid minute just standing there waiting for my breath to regulate in the middle of some WODs.

What I’m doing now:

- I stopped box jumps. I’m clumsy anyway and the risk of falling is too great. - I scale back on tire flips and heavy deadlifts. - I find modifications for back and belly exercises.

Preggo CrossFit Tips:

-Consult your doctor first. - Make sure your instructors know you are pregnant. The coaching I receive is different now (I squat slightly wider to make room for the belly) and my coaches have helped me with modifications mid-WOD. - Drink plenty of water. And then more and a little more. - Wear a supportive bra and breathable clothes. They go a long way! - Watch your body temp and heart rate. Realize you may have to rest more now than pre-pregnancy. - As long as you are low-risk and have your doctor’s approval, always take information from the web in with a grain of salt. I even disagree with mods from CrossFit Mom.  Find what works for you and avoid feeling pressure to perform a certain way during this time (or ever).
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