1st Postpartum Run!

img_5702I’ve anticipated this run for a while and this morning I made it out for my first postpartum run! Well it wasn’t pretty but it wasn’t ugly and that’s really the most I could ask for.

I spent a lot of time thinking about how I was going to make my come back and worrying about everything from jello legs to whether I would fit into my workout clothes to making sure someone was able to watch the baby in my short 30 minute endeavor out of the house. I even purchased a new pair of running shoes for motivation. Everything fell into place this morning once I received the clear from my doctor to start exercising.

img_5741Josh was on baby duty before he started work for the day and I was up at 6am to pump and eat a small breakfast in preparation. Granted this was going to be a really short run, I’ve been ravenous (like marathon training season) and extremely thirsty. I’ve also been emailing my friend, Libby for advice and hearing how she tackled her first runs back was really reassuring and comforting.

Then it was time! And I went outside, turned on my Garmin Forerunner 220 for distance tracking and not pace, and stretched a bit. After speaking with Libby, I decided I wanted to go no further than 2 miles and shorter depending on how I felt. I had no expectations and was prepared to stop and walk if needed.

Now for the run. My legs remembered how to move. My stride was not long. My gait felt off and shorter than previously. And my pace was slow. However, I was able to run and run consistently for a little over a mile. I didn’t feel out of breath and my legs didn’t feel like jello. I finished up after less than 15 minutes covered in sweat (I guess 85% humidity will do that to you) and my endorphins were sky high.

I realize this post may seem a bit dramatic for a mile but hear me out. Running has been a big part of my life for the last four years. It has essentially been a part-time job, maybe even more on most weeks of the year. While pregnant that all changed – not for the better or worst – it just changed and being able to come back now after 11+ months to find a way to resume a new kind of normalcy is a big deal (to me at least). Running is me and I’m glad to enjoy this part of me.

I read a lot about when to return to exercise and running postpartum and I opted to follow my doctor’s orders (not that you shouldn’t) especially given my specific recovery and labor. However, I was probably ready to return sooner, maybe 3-4 weeks in. Again, this is not what my doctor’s recommended and I caution everyone to follow what makes sense for them.

Over the next couple of weeks, I will share more about my running/exercise routine (well, hopefully I can find a routine) and my “training” plan to attempt some of the upcoming races I am signed up for.

Well, this post felt a bit like a ramble but thanks for reading this far and sharing in my excitement of one mile!

Garmin vivosmart HR review

IMG_4334About a month ago, I purchased the new Garmin vivosmart HR activity tracker, now only available at Best Buy. I have used the Nike+ FuelBand for over two years now and while I like it okay, I was increasingly intrigued by the new activity trackers that also tracked heart rate like the FitBit Charge HR and the new Garmin vivosmart HR.

After reading some brief reviews, I decided on the Garmin vivosmart HR for a couple of reasons but primarily since I already run with the Garmin Forerunner 220, I wanted to stay on the Garmin platform and leverage the Garmin Connect app. I have a lot of friends on both FitBit and Garmin platforms so either would give the social challenges, though I do hear that FitBit’s app is more friendly for the social aspect.

IMG_4335As most reviews will show, there are many pros but also some cons. In the last month, I have been able to thoroughly test the functionality of the tracker and can offer my full review.

Key Features
–Flights of stairs
–Sleep analysis
–Distance walked/moved
–Average resting heart rate and current heart rate tracking through the new Garmin wrist-based technology
–Smart phone notifications via bluetooth such as alerts, weather, text messages, and ability to control your music
–Calories burned
–Number of minutes of intense workout

–I like the ability to customize the screen and what you’d like to display on the home screen. I have mine set to time and date and have yet to wear a watch in the last month except when I run.
–The heart rate seems fairly accurate especially when resting, The active heart rate also seems on point as well. It is a little slow to pick up the current heart rate if it is drastically changing (i.e. when cooling down from a run).
–The sleep analysis feature is neat. It doesn’t always know exactly when I go to bed (such as, when I am sitting on the couch watching TV, it sometimes thinks I’m sleeping) but it does come close and provides a good snapshot of how many deep sleep versus light sleep hours I have a night. I am starting to realize I am not in as much of a deep sleep as I previously thought.
–It is comfortable to sleep with. I have not had any issues with the band irritating my wrist. However, in order for the heart rate to be accurate, it is important to wear it snuggly above the wrist bone.
IMG_4336–Flights of stairs is also a nice tracker. I take the stairs a bit between floors at work and it’s usually fairly accurate about how many flights I’ve climbed in a day.
–Smart notifications are awesome! I have a blast controlling my music from my wrist, announcing what the weather is, and reading my text messages.
–The Garmin Connect app also allows you to edit your daily goals including steps or it can be dynamically based on what you did in earlier days.
–I have the imperial purple color and I really like how the color is so dark that you can’t tell if it is black or purple. When you’re up close you can see a hint of purple. This is great because the device can still be worn in a professional setting.
–Battery life is exactly as advertised. It lasts for about 5 days and I have worn it day and night. It also charges fairly fast.

IMG_4338–The tracker is a little big on the my wrist. The downside is really that it bulges out which gets in the way a little when you’re wearing long sleeves. It is still slightly less wide than the FitBit Charge HR though.
–The steps tracking seems a little off at least in comparison to the Nike+ FuelBand. The vivosmart HR seems to be more generous.
–The USB adapter is a little flimsy and doesn’t always catch to the device. I also dislike how all Garmin devices use a different adapter.
–The Garmin Connect app provides the bare minimum information and is not as interactive as perhaps the FitBit or other fitness applications.
–Occasionally, the vivosmart HR will not sync with Garmin Connect. This typically happens after I run. Garmin Connect can only connect with one Garmin device at a time so when I’m running, the watch takes precedence.
–It is now sold exclusively at Best Buy until January I believe. I was fortunate to have a coupon at Best Buy but this is a little inconvenient especially for those devout Amazon shoppers like myself.

IMG_4339In summary, I am very pleased so far with the Garmin vivosmart HR. It is a considerable upgrade from my Nike+ FuelBand. I understand that activity trackers are not 100% accurate so I am okay with that. I think that is extremely important to understand before purchasing any tracker. Nothing will be perfect and as long as you accept that and take the data learned as a baseline measurement, you will not be disappointed.

This has been a big technology month for me. I just also received the new Garmin Forerunner 235 in the mail, which also uses the same wrist-based heart rate tracking. Once I have the chance to take the watch out for a couple of runs, I will share my full review here.

In the meantime, if you have any questions at all about the Garmin vivosmart HR, feel free to leave me a comment. I’d love to hear about your opinions and thoughts about other activity trackers on the market.