weight training

Holidaze

Well dang.

My last “vacation” until the baby is here and I spent it looking like this:

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The day before Thanksgiving I ended up having to go to the dentist for a root canal. 🙁 I had a cracked tooth that I recently got a temporary crown on, awaiting the real crown and the tooth started to hurt and then it started to hurt A LOT and then it became excruciating. My dentist said it had to be done. I was not happy at all.

I kind of wanted to avoid it, especially with the holiday, but I was in pain and taking Tylenol (the only thing I can take) to take the edge off. It clearly wasn’t going to get better and I had to be careful of infection or the tooth getting worse. Neither would be safe for the baby, per my OB. Infections like that can be dangerous, especially if it gets into the blood she said. UGH! So much for a blissful 4 day weekend of fun.

The dentist didn’t go great. I guess when he was putting in the novocaine he hit a vein and I got super shaky and my heart rate jumped. He gave me pure oxygen for a few minutes, took my blood pressure (it was slightly high) and that was not fun. I guess there is epinephrine in novocaine to restrict the blood vessels and reduce bleeding. But sometimes this can happen and you can have a reaction. 🙁 It was really really awful. The rest of the dentist visit and the rest of the day/evening was painful as you’d expect. I went home to find flowers:

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I was pretty miserable and kind of freaking out so I called my OB. She wasn’t too concerned but said that even though it’s early, I needed to do fetal kick counts–4 in one hour or 10 in 2 hours–and if I didn’t feel any kicks I was supposed to go in. That was really stressful and baby wasn’t as active as he had been but I got my 4 kicks and then stressed out the rest of the night when he was quiet. 🙁 UGH!

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All the animals were trying to comfort me and stayed glued to my side:

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Friday

Friday morning I got the chance to talk to my brother. He lives in Philly. They did a goose for Thanksgiving:

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Impressive! He was telling me all about how he prepared it. I’ve never had goose before. I’ve had duck in a French restaurant and it was really rich but similar in taste to dark turkey meat. It was nice to chat with my brother and get an update on his wife’s PhD progress and where they might end up moving in the next year for her residency. They are hoping to come visit after the baby is born so hopefully I’ll get to the see them in a few months!

After that I went swimming. It felt nice but I was remarkably slower this week than I was last week…After that I kind of took it easy. My tooth was much better and didn’t have to take any Tylenol, which was huge progress. I did a teeny bit of shopping but not much. I am so not a Black Friday shopping kind of person. I did it years ago but it became so awful and the people are miserable and rude and no deal was worth going through that torture! Besides, most of the stuff I buy is online anyways! So no thank you.

Friday night Michael and I went over to a friend’s house for dinner. We’ve been trying to get together for months and things kept happening and our plans got cancelled. My friend Star made her AMAZING cheesy cornbread to go with dinner. I love her cornbread:

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I brought a spinach salad and they made rice, steamed veggies and salmon. The salmon was so good! It had some kind of maple mesquite seasoning on it and then they pan-fried it. I really need to find that seasoning. Michael and I both loved it.

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Dinner was lovely and relaxing and it was so nice to catch up with a friend I hadn’t seen in a long time. But by the time Michael and I got home we were both exhausted and crashed into bed immediately!

Saturday

We had tons of stuff we had to do around the house but we didn’t do any of it. Totally lazy. I did go to the gym Saturday morning. Here was my routine:

Warmup (PT exercises, pushups, jumping jacks)

Abs: Bird Dogs, Glute Bridges, Planks

1 Leg Romanian Deadlift

Triceps Dip Machine

Squats

Lateral Raises

Side Lunges with 18lb kettlebell

Bicep Curls

Shoulder Press Machine

Then I “ran” on the treadmill. 2 miles of jogging/walking. I wouldn’t call what I did running! I’m so slow! But here were the results:

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Saturday evening we had another dinner party to go to. Michael made his Mac n’ Cheese and it looked extra photogenic this time:

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Yum yum yum. Our friends sauteed up some green beans and kale in onions and garlic and it went perfectly with the mac.

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We played a board game and talked about babies and kids and all sorts of random stuff. It was a nice night, lots of laughing and the game was fun (Would You Rather). The game is absurd and best played while drunk. But I enjoyed watching everyone else get tipsy and be silly, especially when it got time for the challenge cards. LOL

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Dessert was pumpkin pie and ice cream. Yes please! Probably my last piece of pie for awhile. Dang I love pie.

It was a good weekend, even though I didn’t get to do a lot of the things I had planned to do or wanted to do. I ended up taking it easy and maybe that’s what I needed instead of trying to get things done on my to-do list.

A Runner and Her Injuries

Recently at my physical therapy appointment my doctor gave me some new exercises and also gave me some progressions for exercises I was already doing to heal my back. My goal with PT was to fix my back pain, but more importantly to get back to the activities I love (biking, running, yoga, kettlebells). My therapist said that if you want to run, you should be doing a few specific exercises on a frequent basis.

Want to be a runner and not have to deal with frequent/chronic injury? She said you should be doing the glute bridge exercise and be able to hold a plank for 60 seconds. And maintain those goals. Both exercises will keep your core strong and stabilize your hips during running; in turn it will keep Runner’s Knee and low back pain away. Sold. Sign me up!

I wanted to share what I am currently doing to improve my body. So far the exercises seem to be helping a lot!

Glute Bridge

The glute bridge exercise might sound familiar to you. It’s a yoga move and common in PT. There are so many benefits to this exercise but the biggest one for me is that stronger glutes fix my runner’s knee. Period. It also helps stabilize your core and helps alleviate low back pain. I’ve been given this exercise before but in the past, even though I did it diligently, I never really felt a difference. I mentioned that to my therapist and she suggested this variation:

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One simple change– doing it on your heels instead of with your feet flat– made a HUGE difference for me. Suddenly I FELT the exercise in my butt and glutes when I did it this way. This is now the only way I do it. And I feel it after I’m done, too. It’s important to engage your core, tighten your glutes and hold them as you go up and down. If not, you’re not getting the same benefits. I love this move. I feel it the next day! I also found a website with examples of other variations I may try in the future.

One Leg Glute Bridges

This is a variation of the basic glute bridges the physical therapist is having me do. It’s supposed to be harder than the traditional way, and it is! Here is a short video of the demonstration.

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Like the regular glute bridge, do it on your heel. When I first tried it at physical therapy I was like, Oh holy moly this is a LOT harder. I sure did feel it! My doc said the leg doesn’t need to be straight out (like the above picture), just raised. The important keys: do it on your heels, engage your pelvic floor while you do it, and then make sure your hips are staying level as you raise them. If you’re twisting the raised hip, you’re not getting the benefits. And probably messing up the low back.

One Leg Romanian Deadlift

I’ve written about this move before. It’s a must for me when I want to keep Runner’s Knee away from my life. It was a regular part of my weight lifting workout for a long time. When I had my back flare up I stopped doing this move (and most weight lifting) and it didn’t take long for my knees to start to act up. 🙁

When my therapist watched me do this exercise the one correction she made was to have me hold the weight (or kettlebell) in one hand instead of holding two. Then put the free hand on the small of your back as you bend over. This helps you to make sure you aren’t raising/twisting your hip as you bend. I was! Granted I usually do the move in front of a mirror to make sure I don’t twist, but it’s easy to twist and then there’s no point in the exercise because you putting strain on your lower back. Good to know!

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Plank

I know, I know, love/hate relationship right? Planks suck. They are hard. But when you finish doing them you feel accomplished! My therapist suggested doing the plank on the elbows instead of hands (it will be harder that way) and to make sure that you are engaging your core muscles while you hold it otherwise you are putting pressure on your low back. Especially if your back is sagging in any way. I see that a lot in the gym–people doing a plank (side plank, traditional etc) and they are sagging. Do it in front of a mirror if necessary to hold it!

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Clam

This exercise is one I’ve been given for pretty much every running injury I’ve gotten. This move is supposed to help strengthen your hips. I didn’t always like it because I never really “felt” it. I tried it with a stretchy rubber PT band and that helped a LITTLE bit…but still, didn’t really feel it when I did the exercise. Recently my therapist suggested I try a different way to do it. I hope I can describe it properly…

So same position as the photo below (minus the band). Except instead of having the knees and feet touching, she had me raise the higher leg so it was parallel to the leg resting on the floor and THEN do the clam move. So the legs aren’t actually touching as you do the move, but you’re still doing the same form. If that makes sense? Okay, if it does, good. Because this variation was much better! I could feel the exercise doing it this way.

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So far it’s been working. I think the combination of the standing desk and doing the PT exercises during my workouts on a regular basis have helped my back AND my knees! I also started doing the cobra/up-dog yoga stretch after each set of kettlebell swings. It helps a lot!