{Post-Partum Fitness Plans for Baby #2}

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Today being my due date with baby number two has me thinking about returning to regular running and losing those extra pounds.  Of course baby snuggles and soaking up the moments is most important, but this post isn’t about that.

Last time around losing the weight was important to me for several reasons.  Those reasons remain the same this time around.  While I do believe there are far more important things in life than worrying about weight and working out post-baby, the reality is sometimes these small things are the big things.

For obvious reasons, I can’t afford to buy a new wardrobe.  I like having options to wear and it feels good to put on those skinny jeans again and have them actually fit.   This is only part of the reason though.  If I’m being honest, I’m just much happier and more confident when I like the way I look.  Feeling like yourself gives you a confidence and positivity to your life and attitude that is hard to get from another source.

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Turkey Trot with my little guy at 7 months old.

Beyond fitting into my old clothes, returning to working out is essential to my well-being and mental health.  I become very anxious and irrational if I go very long without moving my body.  For the sake of my family and those around me, everyone involved wants me to exercise as soon as possible.  Being outdoors and running through all four seasons does something for my soul and peace of mind that I’ve never found anywhere else.  The satisfaction and sense of accomplishment I get from my running is unique and necessary for me to feel like a good version of myself.

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Finally, since becoming a mom I struggle to find or make time for myself.  As a mom someone always needs you.  Something always needs to be done.  Mom guilt is overwhelming.  I have extreme mom guilt if I ever leave my son even if it is to get groceries or run an errand that is benefitting him or our family.  I need to make time for myself a priority here or there for my own sanity and to be sure I’m not dividing my attention when I’m with him (and soon baby girl, too).  Exercise gives me that break and time to myself.

As for when my next big race is exactly, I’ve decided to leave that a bit unknown or undecided. However unlike me as this sounds, I’ve got some ideas about when and where I might like to cross off my next state, but I learned the hard way last time around that if there is one guarantee post-baby it is that your best intentions and plans can go out the window in a hurry.

Balancing motherhood with work responsibilities and training was so, so much more complex and challenging than I could have anticipated.  Rather than shell out hundreds of dollars in advance to up the ante so-to-speak in helping me remain committed to my goal, I’ve decided to save some cash up front and be real.  This might mean paying a higher registration price to wait a bit longer to register for a race to be sure I can actually commit to the race and travel.  Despite not committing financially to any races as of yet, that doesn’t mean I don’t have post-baby workout /fitness plans.  I do!   If that sort of thing interests you, keep reading.  If not, maybe skip this post.

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Running with baby #1!

During my last pregnancy I had no real post-baby workout plans established.  I had no idea how weak my abs and pelvic muscles would be.  Seriously no idea.  I had done no kegels or pelvic work during my pregnancy, but I thought I had maintained a moderately active lifestyle running a few days a week until 27 weeks and then walking and hiking up to my due date.  When I look back at my workouts though, I really didn’t maintain my fitness like I had planned or hoped to.  Life got busy, and I made some excuses, too.

Post-partum after baby #1 I felt amazing.  I couldn’t believe that I had just had a baby and felt so good.  I had felt worse after some of the marathons I’d ran.  Walking was a breeze.   The first couple of runs felt great.  Once the initial excitement of I’m-running-and-I-haven’t-done-this-in-months wore off though, I realized how weak I was and what a work in progress I was.  My determination was there, but my abs just were not.  I remember sitting in my living room, laying flat on my back (that felt weird), and trying to do something as simple as lift my feet and legs off the floor a few inches.  I could not do this.  No matter how hard I tried, it was just not possible.

My actual running felt great aside from this lower ab and pelvic issue/pain I had after most runs.  I was able to return to running pretty quick, but I was constantly worried about doing more damage than good.  You almost can’t stop a runner though.

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I spent a lot of time reading and researching about how to correct mild abductus rectis and regain ab and pelvic floor strength.  I was so frustrated and felt confused as to why no one told me about this.  Why are stabilizing and strengthening exercises not taught to post-partum moms right away?  Why are we not told to avoid certain ab exercises like crunches that can make it worse?  I spent so much time pre-labor and delivery worrying and researching how to cope with labor pains and the end status of my lady parts I hadn’t even known or thought to consider this.  What’s even more is I can’t imagine that many women actually walk away from delivery with strong abs and pelvic muscles.  All women could benefit from this being a part of post-natal care.

Some of the resources I used the last time are linked below.  Of course, I’m not a doctor so listen to your own body and talk to yours before trying any of these!  I will definitely be using these again this time around.  I also already asked my midwife about post-partum PT.  She said she will make the referral and that they refer people all of the time.  After having two children 18 months apart I know that my pelvic floor will be able to use some extra attention, and I want to make sure I’m prepared.

Six Exercises to Rebuild Your Core After Pregnancy

Pelvic Floor Safe Exercise App

You Don’t Know Squat

5 Alternatives to Kegel Exercises

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I also plan to do as much walking as I can immediately post-baby, but I know this will be really hard this time around since I live in Wisconsin and baby is due in October. I doubt we will be walking 100 miles together by the time she is five weeks old like I did with her big brother, but I guess I can hope for a warm, late fall.  I do have a treadmill that I didn’t have with big brother, so hopefully she can sleep next to me while I get some walk time in and enjoy some intelligent TV or Hallmark Christmas movies.  I’m such a sucker for these feel good movies.  Add in post-baby hormones and I will probably be a mess.

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After having my son, 21 Day Fix really helped me make healthy food choices and get in a great workout in 3o minutes last time around.  I plan to use this again after baby #2.  Going to yoga and barre classes once a week also helped me get out of the house and get stronger, too.  I’d love to include this in my post-partum return plan, but the reality is with my husband working full time (since it won’t be summer like last time) this may be difficult to impossible.

I also hope this time of year (late fall/winter) gives me a chance to put less pressure on myself to run long runs right away and really take the time to do the pelvic floor work that needs to be done.  I’d like to complete more strength training too, so I can build a strong foundation to really return to running in the spring with longer runs.  The pressure we put on ourselves though is hard to stop.

 After having my son, I also spent a lot of (unnecessary) time obsessing about how I would lose the weight.  Not so much during the first three months.  I was totally devoted to my little man and caught up in those new mom emotions and challenges.  After three months though I had expected breastfeeding and the running and walking I was doing to have taken care of those extra pounds.  I lost 22 pounds that first month and thought I was going to have no problem losing the rest.

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The reality was I had a long way to go.  The worst part was I was eating right (dairy-free for baby meant a pretty clean diet) and exercising along with breastfeeding, and I just was not seeing the results I’d expected.  These three things were I’m sure helpful in maintaining a steady weight loss, but the one thing that seemed to be required for my body to lose the weight was the one thing I didn’t have patience for-TIME!

Knowing all of these things from before will, I hope, better prepare me for the after the second time around and make other frustrated mommies realize they are not alone.  I wouldn’t say the after was a hard transition the first time, but I was caught off guard by the extent of my weakness and the time it took to lose the weight. Often we hear that breastfeeding is the key.  The reality is that it may not be the only thing necessary.

Every person is unique.  Everyone’s journey their own.  No comparison needed; just support and knowing that for most people a combination of healthy eating, exercise and time is what is needed to lose baby weight.  No luck.  No fancy gimmicks.  No easy tricks. Sorry!  Just hard work, commitment, determination and, again, TIME!

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Six months post-baby I was back at my pre-baby weight.  Nine months after I was down an extra couple of pounds and would very soon be pregnant again.

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After running a half marathon at 16 weeks.

This pregnancy I worked out a lot more as I really wanted a more fit pregnancy than the first time around.  I also ate better in part to limit the pounds I gained, but also largely due to my gestational diabetes diagnosis.  I’m very curious how running more and until 35 weeks will play into my overall fitness and return to running.  I know running more and longer into this pregnancy has played a big part in me gaining about ten pounds less this time around.  At my recent 39 week appointment I had gained 26 pounds.  I’m sure I have a bit to gain yet, but don’t think it’s possible to gain 11 pounds before she gets here.  Let’s hope not!


It should be added that this plan is all pending a delivery similar to the last one. I am very aware that if I have a more difficult delivery or a c-section for some reason that my plans will have to be adjusted.  A combination of eating healthy, exercising and taking care of myself will make my return to the fitness I love possible and the baby weight come off with time.  I hated hearing this last time around, but it really seemed to be true for me.

My biggest tip to new mama’s-to-be when it comes to returning to working out is to have a plan that includes a healthy diet and exercise you enjoy, but know that that plan might have to be adjusted.  So much of having a baby is out of your control. Be flexible with yourself.  Workout when you can and try not to stress when you can’t.  Think about what you put in your mouth.  Above all, enjoy those new little baby moments.  They grow sooo fast!

Now if I just follow my own advice.

What tips do you have for new moms?

Sarah

Bumpdate {28 Weeks}

Hello, 3rd Trimester!  Tomorrow I’m 29 weeks, but this post is getting out as quickly as I could.


Baby Girl,

I started working on backing up photos and videos to multiple locations during the past week (yeah, Amazon Prime unlimited photo storage) in preparation for making more space on our computer for memories of you.  In doing so, I’ve been reliving your brother’s first year in photos and videos.  I can’t tell you how many times I’ve smiled, laughed and teared up in revisiting those precious moments.  It makes me so excited to meet you and share all those milestones with you, your dad and your brother.  Without trying to, this little project has replaced many of my worries about your arrival with contentment and excitement for you to arrive (for now).

I can only begin to imagine the memories we will make together.

Love, 

Mom

Feeling: Productive and nesty some days, and tired and very pregnant on other days.

The summer to do list has seen some progress, but some days I’m starting to feel tired and not like doing anything overly productive. I’m still having those nesting moments, and I am loving how organized our office is as a result.  No more digging through piles to find things.  No more mail piling up.  No more wasting time to put something away or find a necessary document.  Everything has a place, and we have a system that even the husband is using.

 

Cravings:  Nothing specific, but sweets and carbs sound good most of the time.  I’m not experiencing any strong cravings though, so treating myself from time to time without overindulging has not been hard.  The husband has been asking about ice cream way more than I have.  In fact, he bought me ice cream one evening that I decided not to eat.  It sat in the freezer for a week and a half, until he couldn’t handle it being uneaten anymore and he ate it.

Weight Gain:  My last official weigh in was at my 25 week appointment.  According to my scale at home I’m up 20-21 pounds.  I’ll find out tomorrow for sure.

Symptoms:  The same symptoms as before remain like being tired in the evening and heartburn at night on occasion.

New symptoms:  Heartburn during yoga is back.  Pregnancy brain is in full force.  Feeling very large at the end of the day is also new feeling.  Feeling like things are getting tight space wise has started and just feeling uncomfortable a couple of days a week seems to be the new norm.  I’ve also had painful contractions a few times during runs.  Walking has always made them go away.  Other days I feel great no matter what I’m doing: running, hiking, errands, chasing a 15 month old.  Worth all of these symptoms is all the kicking she is doing!

Exercise/Workouts: At 28 weeks I’m still feeling good on the run on most days.  Some days don’t feel as well, and I cut it short or take a rest day or cross train.  Other days I’ve ended a run because of time factors alone.  I have had contractions a few times on the run and walking has always made them stop quickly.  I will be mentioning this at my next appointment.

As a result of being out of town two weekends in a row my mileage was down a bit, BUT at 27 weeks I hit a big personal achievement.  At 27 weeks, I exceeded the miles I ran during my entire first pregnancy. Every mile I run now is further than what I did during pregnancy number one. Considering how rough the  first trimester was for me this time, I barely ran at all in March and April, I’m so proud that I made running during this pregnancy a goal and got back on track.

During my last pregnancy my “morning sickness” was much more manageable and came and went throughout the day with evenings being a break from feeling awful most of the time.  Because of this I ran a lot more miles early on than this pregnancy.  This time evenings were the absolute worst with nausea and throwing up, and I was also alone to care for my son while the husband was coaching baseball.  Thinking back I’m not sure how I even handled it now.  I also did not suffer from the near-migraine like headaches I had this time around that lasted for days and days at times.  Most nights when the husband got home from coaching a run was out of the question and I was done for.

Here’s what the past couple of weeks looked like for me on the working out front:

26 Weeks-  Ran-13 miles (3.3, 3.2, 4.25, 2.15)

Walked-5.6 miles

Hiked-2.5 miles

27 Weeks- 

Ran-7.5 miles (2, 3, 2.5)

Walked-5 miles

Hiked-2.5 miles

Strength Training-1 arm session

Yoga-60 minute class

Looking Forward To:

After watching videos and looking at photos of Pierce from his first year, I am so looking forward to making memories with baby girl and hitting all those first year milestones and beyond.

Also, paint has been bought and baby girl’s bedroom cleared out in preparation for operation get baby girl’s room done before school starts!  Stay tuned for photos of her room’s progress.

Sarah

{Maternity Running/Workout Clothing Favorites}


Working out during pregnancy has always been a priority for me.  While working out with a bump can come with its own challenges, perhaps the biggest challenge has been dressing the growing belly for working out.  If you are like me at all, then your belly won’t be the only thing doing some growing.  This means that for many of us wearing our old gear that we spent so much cash on won’t work for the entire 40 weeks.

During my last pregnancy I didn’t do a ton of running after 27 weeks since I was so uncomfortable while running.  I felt like baby boy was permanently parked on my bladder during every run and had lots of ligament discomfort.  I mostly opted to keep my workouts to yoga, walking, using the elliptical machine and hiking as I entered my third trimester. Because I wasn’t running hardly at all in the third trimester I was able to get by with sizing up in a few items, but it was not enjoyable.  This time around I’m still very much running and sizing up is quickly not working.

If sizing up works for you then feel lucky.  You will save so much money.  Put the word maternity on a clothing item and the price increases dramatically. At Old Navy, for example, they recently had a shirt for the whole family deal.  All shirts for baby, toddler, kid, teen, mom and dad were $5.  The maternity style of the same shirt was $15.  They’ve got us pregnant mommas trapped.  We know we can stuff ourselves into a bigger size, but we likely won’t look good or feel good doing it.  They know we will (likely) spend the money to buy the shirt in maternity.  Trapped!

When I feel uncomfortable with what I’m wearing or don’t like how I look in something I’m wearing, not only am I more likely to not do whatever it is that is making me wear this gear, but I’m much less likely to enjoy or want to do that activity again.  If my shorts are constantly riding up or I look ridiculous on the run or my belly is hanging out, I’m much less likely to want to run again in general.  This pregnancy I knew I needed to try something other than just size up in a shirt or shorts.

Several people have asked me what I wear during pregnancy workouts, so I’ve decided to share with you all what has worked for me this pregnancy.  Everything I’m sharing with you has been wear tested.  I’ve run in it, walked in it, yogaed in it, barre classed in it, 21 day fixed in it.  You get my point, and I’ve went into detail.  If you don’t have time for that see my to the point comment under each link.  If you are not pregnant, but might be someday and want to workout during, file this post away until you see that positive sign.

I will be honest that some of my ideas involve spending some extra money, but in my experience with maternity active wear you pay for what you get.  There just isn’t a way around this all the time.  I have also been successful in finding a few ways to save money, too.  Please keep in mind every pregnant body is different.  While something might have worked for me,  it may not for you.  I do feel my recommendations will work for most women.

Get ready for lots of selfie photos as I feel this is the best way to “show” how these pieces wear.  You’ll also notice some things that don’t fit my life’s priorities right now like making my bed, putting away laundry in a timely fashion or washing mirrors.  So what do I recommend in order of my favorites?

#1-For Two Fitness

You pay for what you get-cute, extremely flattering and excellent fit.  You won’t regret your purchases and will find yourself wanting to wear these pieces all the time.

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After running a half marathon at 16 weeks.  Shorts-Lululemon Speed Shorts

During my last pregnancy I looked at this company’s website so many times.  I was torn between the prices and if I was a dork to wear a shirt that said running for two.  This time around I realized I don’t care if I’m a dork and there is a reason they can charge $45 for a tank top and stay in business.  Their workout gear is a bit pricey, but is AMAZING!  I bought a running for two tank to start off with using a 20% off coupon code I got for signing up for their emails in April.  At this point I barely had a bump, but despite this it still fit comfortably.  The material was so soft and didn’t ride up in an annoying way despite my nearly bumpless physique.  They also make solid color tanks if the writing and feet are not your style.

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After running a 5 mile race at 24 weeks pregnant.  Shorts-Oiselle Distance Shorts

Now that I am 27 weeks I can say I love the tank equally if not more.  It continues to fit comfortably (no tight stretching across the belly) and does not ever ride up.  It is super soft and has held up with repeated washings.  I also can’t believe how flattering the fit is.  I’m confident this tank will still fit me during the remainder of my pregnancy.  I was so confident in their fit and style that I bought another tank (in the same size-small) that says sweating for two and two different bottoms.

Shorts-Oiselle Distance Shorts

The bottoms I purchased are meant to last through both summer and fall.  I purchased both the  Inspiration Maternity Running Shorts and the Distance Maternity Capri.   The Inspiration Maternity shorts are comfortable (they ride up occasionally when I wear my maternity belt and I don’t have it positioned right) and offer a full panel that can be folded under the belly, worn mid-belly or full panel.  Despite the panel, it is soft and flattering and even seems to offer some support.

Bottoms-For Two Fitness Inspiration Maternity Running Short                                                   Top-Lululemon Back on Track Tank

The Distance Maternity Capri is super flattering, doesn’t ride up or move while working out and also offers a full panel that can be folded down as you like.  I purchased both bottoms in a small.  I think I may have been able to buy XS, but having an entire trimester left I feel buying the small was the right way to go.

  Bottom-For Two Fitness Distance Maternity Capri

Top-Lululemon Back on Track Tank

After wearing all of these items I can honestly say they are all super flattering, comfortable and bring nearly zero annoyance while working out.  On a run the last thing I want to think about is what my workout clothes are doing.  For Two Fitness is an example of you get what you pay for-quality, good fit and flattering.  If you watch their facebook page and Instagram feeds you should be able to find coupon codes ranging from 20-30% off from time to time.  New orders from customers can also receive 20% off their first purchase when you sign up for their emails.  I never paid full price for my items.

#2-Buying used and in a size up on Ebay

Such a cute and affordable way to dress the bump while working out…if you know your size.

Top-Lululemon Tame Me Tank              Bottom-C9 Champion Running Skirt from Target

I know I said no to sizing up, but hear me out.  To balance out the more expensive purchases I made from For Two Fitness I took a chance that has really worked for me during this pregnancy.  I have a few styles of Lululemon tanks that I just love and that are more flowy, yet flattering.  These tanks have a sports bra top for extra support you’ll need as the ladies grow along with your belly and an elastic adjuster that can be tightened at the waist that I felt would really grow and flatter a pregnant bump without looking like I was working out in a small tent top.  I figured if I went up a size or two these tanks would both allow for more room in the chest and the belly.

Because I had no idea if this would work or not, I did not want to shop Lululemon’s-We Made Too Much section (not returnable) or spend full price on Lulu that might not fit. Then it dawned on me…Ebay.  I had not used my Ebay account in some time, but I logged in and searched for a couple of styles that I knew I loved because I own them already and are there fit is flowy (specifically Back on Track Tank and Tame Me Tank), but flattering (sports bra and elastic adjuster at waist). Having two different sizes of the tanks already at home I knew that both tanks allow some flexibility in sizing, but decided to go up two sizes from the largest size I had to make sure these tanks would still fit me in the final days of my pregnancy.

After doing a search on Ebay I found dozens of the tanks I was thinking would work available to bid on.  I placed a few bids and won a couple of tank tops.  With shipping I paid $21 and $27 for the tanks I won compared to paying $50 some from the clearance Lululemon section or $60+ for new.  Since pregnancy lasts a short time I just could not justify buying brand new Lululemon that I hope to never need to wear long-term.  Both the Tame Me and Back on Track Tanks (see For Two Fitness section for photo) will work awesome for hiding the postpartum belly, too.

The best part is, my plan worked out perfectly.  I love the fit and how flattering both tanks are. I might have been able to just go up one size, but I wanted to make sure these would fit comfortably in the final days of pregnancy and when the breasts are extremely large postpartum.  If you’ve never shopped Lululemon before, then buying these tanks used might be a gamble when guessing your size, but I feel they run true to size normally. You might also consider looking up your favorite loose workout brand on eBay and buying up a size or two.  I may or may not have a few more bids going right now for more Lululemon in a size or two bigger.  Their workout gear is just so adorable and flattering that it is almost impossible not to love.

#3-Abundant Heart (Tops)

Fun, comfy and cute tanks you will look forward to wearing during pregnancy and postpartum. Not likely to fit during the third trimester.

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I couldn’t find a full bump photo in one of their tops, but the above photos show me postpartum after my last pregnancy and how the fit changed as I got back to my pre-baby shape.

I have loved, loved, loved Abundant Heart tanks since I learned about them from other bloggers and the fit ladies I follow on Instagram.  Their tanks are not maternity, but the burnout tanks run a little big/long and are stretchy.  This little bit big allows them to fit comfortably when you are not expecting and gives you the first two trimesters worth of expanding belly to still wear them.

Postpartum these are so soft, the sayings motivating and the fit flattering.  These tanks would be a great addition to your maternity workout wardrobe early on and something to look forward to wearing after baby, too.  Make sure you select a burnout fit style if you are looking at wearing these during pregnancy or postpartum.  The other styles are not as forgiving or as stretchy.  This is another great company to follow on social media for coupon codes!  I’ve never paid full price for their shirts.

#4-C9 Champion Running Skirts

Add some fun to your pregnancy workout wardrobe.  Great fit and flattering.  Awesome for after baby, too. 

I love running skirts for the fit and cuteness factor.  They are one of my favorite gear choices to run in AND they look great running errands or chasing a toddler.  They made it on to my maternity running gear list because I feel they can be more flattering and forgiving than shorts to the growing pregnant body.  Since they come with shorts underneath you have the coverage of shorts, but a skirt to smooth out your shape and it allows for hips and thighs to expand without the tight waist bands that can cut in and the restriction of leg holes.

Bottom-C9 Champion from Target        Top-Old Navy Activewear

Most of my regular sized running skirts still fit at 27 weeks pregnant and a couple I went up a size in last summer when I was searching for running clothes to wear postpartum are working great during pregnancy, too.  Most of my favorite skirts are from the Target C9 Champion line which makes them affordable, too.  Two styles similar to the running skirts I own include the C9 Champion Women’s Skort and the C9 Champion Women’s Woven Skort.  If you’ve not considered yourself a running skirt person, don’t count these out until you try them.  You might surprise yourself.

#5-Forever 21 (Tops)

Inexpensive tops that you might have to try on in multiple sizes to get the fit and comfort you want. Be prepared for a few to work and a lot to not, but what you do find you have a good chance of loving.

 

No, you did not read this wrong.  Yes, Forever 21 is an often cheaply made teen store.  I have not lost my mind.  When you are looking for workout clothes that will last a short time, sometimes you look in unusual places.  Last summer I was postpartum and trying to fit my ever-changing body with anything that looked flattering, was comfortable on the run and didn’t cause any wardrobe malfunctions.  Oh, and the price couldn’t cut into my diaper budget.  Somewhere, somehow I found Forever 21.  I was quickly shocked at the quality and how their workout gear has held up over the past year.

There workout clothes run small as they are a juniors store (mostly their bottoms which I’m not a huge fan of in general).  When shopping here forget about the size and go with fit. While some of their gear is hit or miss, I found some pieces last summer that worked great and are still in my running clothes rotation even as I’m about to enter my third trimester.  I went with looser tank tops to hide the belly which has helped them work during pregnancy.  Similar tanks include the Active 2-in-1 Space Dye Tank and the Active Shadow Stripe Muscle Tank (you might want to layer under this one).  Because the clothing is so, so affordable you could even consider buying a style in more than one size if needed to last you your entire pregnancy.

#6-Old Navy Active Wear

Appearances can be deceiving.  What looks cute and comfy on may perform differently.  An extremely affordable, but hit or miss brand of active wear.  Some pieces you will love and others you will hate.  

 

Bottom-Old Navy Activewear             Top-Basic tank from Target

I mentioned Old Navy for their maternity clothes in a post I did about my Summer Maternity Clothing Favorites earlier this month.  My biggest issue with Old Navy is the fit is inconsistent.  I did not like the fit of their maternity shorts, but the capris were ok.  I believe some people may love them both though.

One of the best features of their clothes is they are cute and affordable.  The price on these is hard to ignore, but I’ve learned the hard way if it doesn’t really fit, then no deal is worth it because you will never feel comfortable or confident in what you are wearing.  I also feel their active wear has the look of being active, but not the quality or wearability to hold up to intense exercise.  If you are looking for cute athletic wear without actually working out much, it might be great for those comfy days or going for a walk.  The shorts above are one of my favorites to wear around the house or running errands.

So after that why would I recommend Old Navy Activewear?  Two reasons:

1) You will likely need postpartum workout clothes.  After having baby number one I found that the clothing items I sized up in surely didn’t last me my entire pregnancy, but were the only things I found to fit in the early weeks after baby.  Having something that fit got me out walking and running with some confidence when I would not have had the time or energy to shop for myself.

Top-Old Navy Activewear       Bottom-Nike Tempo Short

I also put Old Navy as #5 because I did size up one size from my regular top and short size in their regular Active Wear collection and have found some success.  The shorts tend to ride up, but the tanks are working ok for now.  Both are cute which buys them some credit in my book.  In another month I believe I will have phased out both the tops and bottoms, but again I know they will be used postpartum.

Top and Bottom-Old Navy Activewear

2) What kind of exercise you do determines what kind of gear you need.  If you are not a runner and prefer walking or elliptical or lifting or hiking or 21 Day Fixing then this workout gear is likely perfect.  You don’t have a need (as much) for items to not ride up or stay in place during workouts because your activity of choice will not move clothing around like running does.  If you don’t need to spend the money on specific gear, then I would for sure recommend trying their Old Navy Maternity Activewear and/or sizing up in their women’s activewear.  I currently save what I do have from Old Navy for short run days as it is not comfortable for my pregnant runs more than 3 miles.  My shorts work great for a walk and ride up constantly on a run.

#7-Sizing up in your favorite gear.

Good luck!  Some brands and styles this will work and others will not.  Sometimes you will try this route to save money and it will be less than flattering, but nonetheless still an option.

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Sizing up in my first pregnancy.  Can you tell it was winter?!

Again, I don’t recommend this idea overall.  I always want it to work, but as I mentioned already this is a temporary fix.  During trimester two going up a size in my Nike Tempos and Old Navy Activewear helped me out this time around, but these are quickly losing their comfort and fit.

 

Top-Abundant Heart     Bottom-Oiselle Distance Short

I do have some lower rise shorts (Oiselle Distance Shorts and Lululemon Speed Shorts and Run Times) that I have been able to continue wearing in my prepregnancy size.  I know this is likely temporary as my hips and thighs seem to expand and grow along with the bump.  I don’t mind buying up a size in a few items I like because anything you size up in will probably be your go to gear in those first postpartum weeks and months so it is not a total waste.

If sizing up stops working for you, then don’t be afraid to buy some real maternity workout gear.  I’m so glad I did and really regret not doing so last time around.  My suffering was not necessary.  By mix and matching new and used along with maternity wear and sizing up you can find a comfortable, cute and affordable workout wardrobe to last you through all the pregnant miles, workouts and postpartum.

Any maternity workout clothes you love?  Let me know!  I’m sure I missed some great brands and styles.

Sarah

 

{Why you should consider streaking!} #rwrunstreak 2016


I can’t say enough about my #rwrunstreak experience this summer.  In the past streaks have been hit or miss, and I’d never been as successful with streaking as I was with this streak.  I’m super proud of running 34 out of 36 days during the streak.

What was unexpected about this streak is all the benefits I gained from maintaining my streak.  I share them with you in hopes that you might try your own streak or join in the fall/winter streak from Thanksgiving to New Year’s Day later this year and benefit, too.

{Benefit #1-Build on or maintain your fitness level.}


Even more rewarding than the number of days I ran was the way streaking helped me maintain and even build my fitness.  I attribute streaking with being the main reason why my recent 5 mile race at 24 weeks pregnant felt so great.  Running a mile feels like nothing most days now.  I also feel much stronger during runs of several miles than when I started out even though I’ve gained more weight and bump as my pregnancy has progressed.

This makes streaking a perfect way for runners to get back into running and to build fitness without overwhelming the body.  Because you get to pick the distance you run each day (as long as it is at least one mile) you can listen to your body.  Legs tired from your run the day before? Run one easy active recovery mile.  Legs feeling great and strong?  Go for a longer run.  You can always run just one mile tomorrow.  Maybe you just ran a marathon? A streak where you determine the miles not a training plan can be a perfect way to recover and find joy in running again.

{Benefit #2-Find you love of running.}

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I know, I know streaking requires running everyday.  How can this make you love running? You get to control your run everyday.  You get to pick where, how far, how long, etc.  You can get creative with your route or run the same route each day.  You can determine your miles before you leave or run by feel and turn around whenever you want.  There is no training plan telling you what you must do.  Just you and your running shoes out for a run. Whether a newbie runner or an experienced runner getting back into running, you can find enjoyment in pounding the pavement.  Starting is always hard, but it will get easier!  Just don’t expect to love it right away.

I found that being able to run what I want, when I want made me find a lot more joy in running.  Yes, some days I dreaded getting out there, but I got to have that I-just-ran accomplished and awesomeness feeling, you guessed it, EVERY SINGLE DAY (well, except two.)  Talk about loving your run!

{Benefit #3-Lose the I’m busy excuse.}

I get it.  We are all busy.  I find myself using this word so much that I actually annoy myself.  But, guess what?  We all have time for streaking.  One of my biggest barriers to working out is feeling busy and like I don’t have time.  Make time for at least that mile and you will find making time for running gets easier and more important.  What is important to us we do.  I started planning ahead and over the course of the streak have gotten much better about making time in my life for running than I was prior to starting the streak.

Because you get to run what you choose each day it allows for the craziness of life to happen.  Have an unexpected event come up?  Run just one mile when you get home.  Have a crazy day ahead?  Run just one mile in the morning before your day begins.  Find yourself with some extra time?  I know me neither, but go longer.  It is the perfect plan for the busy person.

{Benefit #4-Lose the other excuses, too}

It is so easy to make excuses.  I’m pregnant so don’t even get me started on this.  If I wanted I could come up with an excuse every SINGLE day.  I’m tired.  My bump feels heavy. I’m nauseous.  I didn’t have a chance to eat yet.  I’m dehydrated.  My feet hurt.  My arches hurt.  It’s too late.  It’s too hot.  We have somewhere to be soon.  My back hurts.  I have a headache.  It’s raining.  I have heartburn.  I’m bored with my running route.  My Garmin is dead.  My phone is dead.  I’m sick of my running playlist.  The list goes on.  I’m pretty sure all of these excuses crossed my mind at least once during my streak time.  We all make them at times, but overcoming them can be so good for us.

Streaking helped me realize that I do have time to run that one mile before my packed day. It helped me see that running a mile at 9:30 p.m. is both doable and rewarding.  Streaking helped me see that no matter how hot, wet or dreadful the conditions a mile or two is definitely possible.  Overcoming excuses everyday has helped me make less of them.

{Benefit #5-Find your me time again.}

We all have demands in life.  Some days we feel like someone always needs us for something.  Our to do list is longer than the time in our schedule.  We just want some time for ourselves once and while.  Even just 10-15 minutes would have a rejuvenating impact.

Hello, #rwrunstreak!  Without intending for streaking to give me time to myself, it ended up giving me time to myself multiple days a week.  Some days were stroller runs.  Some days were family runs.  A lot of days though were just me and my music and my running shoes hitting the pavement.  It became a chance for me to clear my head, breathe the fresh air or catch up on some guilty pleasure TV while running on the treadmill.  It was time I would have struggled to give myself otherwise and I felt happier all around because of it.

{Benefit #6-Make running a habit.}

On the last day of my streak I mentioned to my husband feeling a sense of loss that the streak was ending. What would I do when I didn’t have to run?  How would I organize my day if a run wasn’t in it?  Without forcing it to or trying to running had become a need and something I wanted to be a part of each day.  Not running seemed, well, weird.

A few days post-streak with a few days off and I’m itching to run.  I feel grouchy having missed a couple of days.  I like that I have a need and desire to run each day again.  It makes it so much easier to keep at it and enjoy all these benefits when I want to run.

{Benefit #7-Get over a distance requirement.}

In the past if I didn’t “have time” to run more than two miles I wasn’t going.  I always thought what was the point?  I wouldn’t feel like I worked out.  It would be a waste of time when I could get something else done.  There is no fitness benefit to such a short distance.

Post-streak I know this is absolutely not true.  If you are not training for a long distance race, then running even just a mile a day can feel like a workout and build fitness.  It can relieve stress and make you feel more relaxed.  A mile IS enough to change a bad mood or negative attitude.  A mile can make you feel accomplished.  And all those one mile runs add up over 36 days.  Even running one mile each day is 36 miles at the end of this streak.

Of the 66.6 miles I ran during my streak, 21.5 of those miles were from runs of less than two miles.  21.5 miles I would have skipped in the past because they wouldn’t have been enough or really counted for an experienced runner like me.*  I’ve had a change of heart and now see the benefit in running “just one mile.”  There is no mileage requirement to be a runner after all and this helped remind me of this.

*Keep in mind for a beginner or someone getting back into running this is great mileage.

{Benefit #8-Run further.}

Some days your run a mile and you are ready or have to be done.  On occasion though everything clicks and a planned one mile run turns into two and then three miles or more. You got yourself out the door, the hardest part, by saying “just one mile.”  Then running took over and you ran further than you thought you would.  Streaking allows you this opportunity everyday.  If you give yourself a chance, you might surprise yourself.  I know I did on a multiple occasions.

Before you think streaking is not your thing or say you can’t, consider the benefits!  You have nothing to lose and everything to gain.  Now go run just that one mile!

Sarah

{Remembering Jesse Parker Race Report-5 Mile}

Saturday I ran the Remembering Jesse Parker 5 Mile Race.  Because of the races proximity to one of my favorite holidays, the Fourth of July, I just had to take the opportunity to dress in Merica related attire (Tank-For Two Fitness, Shorts-Oiselle, Socks-Procompression, Headband-Bic Bands).  If you follow me on Instagram @sneaksandstilettos or on Facebook, then you know I did not wake up feeling like I wanted to run this race…at all.

Running this race though was such a powerful reminder to myself that sometimes we don’t even know what is best for ourselves.  I wanted to run the race, but didn’t feel like it that morning.  Had I given in to those negative thoughts, I know I’d be regretting it now. Instead I got myself ready, out the door and to the start line despite not wanting to.

Once that gun fired I was surprised by how good it felt to be out there amongst others running.  The race atmosphere is so inspiring and uplifting.  Seeing other runners go for it also makes me love running races.  Everything just clicked Saturday morning, and I felt strong and great the entire race.  I was able to maintain a slightly faster pace than what I likely would have running on my own.  Just another benefit of racing!

While running pregnant I never focus on my pace too much.  Lately though I have been liking using my Garmin more than my Runkeeper app so I can keep a close eye on my pace. This helps me make sure I’m not going too hard when that uplifting song comes pumping through the headphones.  Going too fast just makes the rest of the run harder these days, and I try to maintain a conversation pace a majority of the time when running.


Saturday the miles felt easy and my pace reflected that.  Despite one bathroom stop just before mile 3 being included in my time, I managed a 9:57 pace overall according to my Garmin.  Some days I run this pace, some days a bit faster and other days slower for sure. Each day is different when pregnant running.  At 24 weeks pregnant I will definitely take it!  Going by feel is the best advice I’d give to women looking to run while pregnant.  Use the watch as a reference not an expectation and you’ll be much less disappointed or frustrated as your pregnancy progresses.

I kept having to tell myself to not get caught up in the race and slow down.  I had the whole race to go!! Racing (or running) pregnant is all about listening to your body, running appropriate paces and accepting that your performance will not be what it would be if you were not pregnant. Race times will slower, your place higher and your pace not what you are used to. So why race when pregnant? Racing is a great way to keep elements of the sport you love and can be incredibly motivating to keep running as the weeks creep towards 40!

My mile splits are included below as this is a race report, but is only for my reference.

Mile 1-9:21

Mile 2-10:02

Mile 3-10:58 (Bathroom break)

Mile 4-9:55

Mile 5-9:28

Overall I’m feeling really good while running and am so excited that running 5 miles still feels great and fairly easy on most days.  Again each day is different, but I was already getting very uncomfortable on most of my runs at this point in my first pregnancy.  Here’s to hoping this feeling good continues.  I’m attributing a lot of how I’m feeling to the consistency of my running with completing the Runner’s World Run Streak from Memorial Day to the Fourth of July.  Stay tuned for a post on my #rwrunstreak this week!

Here’s to more pregnant miles!

Remembering Jesse Parker 5 Mile Race
Time-49:50
Pace-9:58
Overall-47/58
Gender-18/25
Age Group-7/11

Sarah

{No 26.2 miles or bourbon for me today}

  
Today I was going to run the Kentucky Derby Marathon.  I signed up in February after starting a training plan and successfully running three long runs on weekends in a row.  I finished 13 miles mid-February and felt amazing.  I registered and booked my flight and hotel.  I pinterest planned my weekend…hot air balloons Friday night, race Saturday, Opening Night at the Kentucky Derby and mint juleps Saturday night.  Maybe check out Louisville Slugger or a bourbon sampling.  

  
Later in February I started not feeling great.  I was so tired all the time.  I was feeling nauseous off and on throughout the day.  I was gagging on green vegetables.  Alcohol hadn’t sounded good in a while.  In early March my milk supply started dropping.  What was going on?  

I said I swear I felt pregnant several times, but that couldn’t be.  I knew there was a chance I could be since we were on the not trying, but not not trying plan.  EXCEPT I had taken two pregnancy tests the month before and both were negative and I had my period.  It wasn’t until this happened that I registered for 26.2.

Except…I was pregnant.  The tests taken slightly early for my long cycle.  The period actually a hemorrhage that showed up in an ultrasound in mid-March after two positive tests the week before.  Everything is ok now!

I could have never said a word about my plan to run 26.2 today, but I was following my dream and still getting after my goals. Even though I have not been frequent in blogging or instagraming as of late, I’m still working hard on my dream to run a marathon in every state.  I am just once again experiencing a delay.  

  
I’m not upset about the delay at all.  How can you be when it means another bundle of joy.  I’m sure this will temporarily make my goal and dream a little more put off and for sure even more of a challenge, but babies are only little for a while.  Having one has taught me that the first year goes by so fast.  There will be challenges, but it is only for a blink of an eye in a lifetime that these unique challenges exist.  

 

My favorite running shirt already!

 
I’m working hard to balance being a full time working, pregnant mom of a one-year-old who is also a baseball coaches wife.  Fitting in runs and workouts now is near impossible with the husband gone so much.   Caring for my son, home and everything else some days feels like a workout by itself.  

  
I’m still planning on some spring and summer races depending on how things are going. I already feel so much better running this time around.  So much less pressure and discomfort.  Time will tell.  I’m sure I will again be documenting the journey to a family of four.  Sometimes I still can’t believe it!

Currently I’m recovering from a nasty cold and my first experience with pink eye.  Wash those hands people!  

Stay tuned!!

Sarah

{Firecracker 4 Mile Race Report}

  
Finally a post about running! It’s interesting how this blog was solely about running, then some of life sneaked in, and for the past nearly year it has been all about pregnancy and the arrival of baby. Having a baby does change your priorities, but back to the running.  

  
Saturday I ran my first post-pregnancy race. It was a 4 mile race which I loved because 5k’s just seem too short after running marathons, but anything longer I wasn’t sure I was ready for. I also have never ran a 4 mile race, so there wasn’t any previous times to compare my performance to. I could just run my race comfortably. I was not interested in racing or pushing my body too hard.  

  
During the race my goal was to run under 36:00 minutes and to stay comfortable since I’m still trying to make running feel consistently good. The race ended up being a first date away from the baby for my husband and I and our first run together since baby. Having a running partner was very motivating. There is also something about a race that gives you that extra go power. 

  
Since the race was short I don’t have a mile by mile report, but was able to accomplish all my goals. We finished in 35:36 running comfortable and confident the entire time. I’m most proud of our 4th mile where we picked up the pace some. We ran an 8:09 pace which tells me that while a lot of my runs don’t always have the ease and comfort of the past, I am making progress. I’m getting faster and feeling stronger even if I don’t see or feel it everyday. It felt awesome to race again!  

  
Returning to running has been both easier and harder than I thought it would after having a baby. I felt awesome physically the day after having a baby and that feeling continued after heading home. That was great, but also caused me to raise my own expectations of what I expected I could accomplish.  

While still pregnant I had no set agenda as to when I would walk and run and for how often or long after giving birth. This is the best approach in my opinion. Feeling so good after delivery though made me start to change that plan.

   

 Feeling so good made me think I’d be running earlier and with greater ease. Add to it that week 2 after baby I walked 20 miles with the little guy in the jogging stroller without too much effort. During the fourth week post-partum I went for my first (very short) run prompted by a screaming baby who wanted to eat during a walk stat! It felt good…too good. I wanted to run again. It had been a long time since I’d felt those endorphins! 

A week later I ran 2.25 miles and it felt AMAZING! I also kept walking and hit the 100 mile mark with Pierce that week. My confidence was soaring!  
  
My next run a few days later was the same distance, but went very differently. It brought me back to reality. My legs felt like I had anchors attached to them. My lower abs were sore after. Many of my runs since have felt tired legged. They’ve been slow. They’ve felt good after for the most part, but haven’t been easy. Maybe once a week I have a great run. Luckily, the lower ab soreness went away a week ago.  
  
All of my early successes made me think I’d be breezing through a 4 mile race much sooner than the 4th of July, but in truth my original time table was much more accurate. I ran 4 miles for the first time almost a month before the race and ran 5 miles more than a week before the race and again yesterday, but that distance is still not always easy.  

Everyday is different. Running sleep deprived is no joke. Sometimes the day gets away from you and you can’t run until 8:45 at night. Other days the only time to run is in the peak heat and sun of the day. Sometimes your husband calls when you are on mile 5 of your planned 6 mile run to say the baby is hungry, how close are you or should I heat up a bottle? Some days the answer might be warm up the bottle and other days, like yesterday, I swear the baby felt my misery and I came home. 

I’ve learned you just do what your body says you can do. It won’t always feel awesome, but there is a difference between discomfort and out of shape and pain. Ignore your watch for the most part. Be realistic! Even after being active during pregnancy you may not be able to jump right back to what you used to do. Learn as you go! Be proud of the small steps you do accomplish!  

  
I’m new to the whole juggling act of being a mother runner, but I’m loving it! A 4 mile race was the perfect distance for me to return to racing. Longer than a 5k without the stress and obligation of a longer race. Plus, there was time for the husband and I to get a quick coffee together before heading back to our handsome guy who turned 11 weeks on race morning!

  
11 weeks ago mommy was doing a different type of endurance event   

Now I’m looking for at least one fall half marathon to work up to as part of my training for a full marathon in November where I will finish state #17-Indiana. Any suggestions?!

Firecracker 4 Mile Race       
Time: 35:37
Pace: 8:55
Overall Place: 173/501
Gender: 79/312
Age Group: 10/49