{December Fitness Challenge #heseesyouwhenyourerunning}


Because he sees you when you’re running and knows when you lift weights!  I’m talking about Santa of course.

At five weeks post-partum I thought I’d be so much further along in my journey back to fit.  Last post-pregnancy I’d walked 100 miles with my son and had ran 2-3 miles at a time on a few occasions at this point.  Each pregnancy has it’s own healing timeline, but I’m still bummed.

Other than what feels like a longer recovery, my biggest challenges have been having two little people to care for and one of them always needing something, cold winter temps making it hard to get the smallest one out on walks as of late (Getting out isn’t hard, it’s the what if she wakes up and needs to eat or wants to be held and it’s so cold. She is kind of unpredictable and doesn’t love her car seat.) and feeling frustrated with not running more because my body isn’t completely ready yet.  Getting motivated to run is much easier for me than walking since running is what I love.  Trying to make myself be excited to walk inside on a treadmill…even harder for me.  

Anyway enough with the “reasons.”  I really want to have a great fitness month in December and I’m sure some of you would too.  With holiday treats and events there is even more reason to stay active.   Plus I love working out to some rockin’ holiday tunes and getting in a run (or walk) that takes me past holidays lights.

So here is my challenge!  I’m challenging myself (and you) to get in 30 minutes of physical activity everyday through New Years Day.  What counts?  Anything that is physical activity.  I will be walking, hopefully running, 21 Day Fixing, doing post-partum workouts, and hopefully attending a class or two.  There are no mileage requirements, paces to reach, weight limits to break, just doing an active activity you like.  Why wait until the New Year to get in shape and feel good about yourself?  

Of course accountability is a must.  I want to do this, but it’s not enough just to want it.  I’ll be posting a photo a day on Instagram (sneaksandstilettos) to hold myself accountable.  Join me if you need some accountability.  I will be using the hashtag #heseesyouwhenyourerunning since that is my true love and my ultimate goal to reach.  I know on New Year’s Day I won’t regret my challenge and it is a great way to kick off any 2017 fitness goals you might have.  Let’s hashtag away!

Sarah

{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} 36 Weeks

Baby Girl,

36 weeks kind of has me like whoa!  How is it possible that you could really arrive at any time now?  This whole big scary adventure that we’ve been envisioning is really about to start.  I feel so not ready, but yet so ready.  With your brother being sick so much, and what feels like everything else going wrong and things continually popping up on our calendar, I can’t imagine having another small person in the house to care for.  I was really freaking out this week.

Luckily, I had some contractions that woke me up to reality and made me think I need to get real here.  I need to start mentally preparing myself for labor and your arrival if I want to welcome you into a prepared and calm environment.  It got me to read some birth stories and really focus in on what was important.  It made me remember how I can’t wait to meet you and snuggle you on my chest.  It reminded me how amazing forming that breastfeeding relationship can be.  It focused me in on how I can’t wait to see you and your brother become friends as you grow older.

All this mental focus and prioritizing has been so helpful for me to remember that this is truly one of the most exciting times in our lives.  You don’t get to welcome baby #2 again. Finding water in our basement after all this rain and having to tear up the flooring in our finished basement this weekend still threw me for a bit of a freak out.

You seem to be the blessing that brings my focus back to life’s important things.  I love that about you.

Love,

Mom

Feeling:  Nervous about your arrival, but more mentally prepared for the work of labor, delivery and keeping a newborn alive.

I know I can do this.  It will be hard.  I will freak out at times.  Baby girl has a good daddy and a wonderful brother.  She will be so worth the work.

Cravings:  Chocolate and Sweets still!  My 1/2 cup serving of frozen yogurt is happening quite a few times a week now.  Blood sugars are still great.

Weight Gain: At my last appointment at 36 weeks on the dot I had gained 22.3 pounds. I had lost an ounce since my last appointment.  I was concerned since I’ve really only gained back the weight I lost since 29 weeks and now weigh actually just below the amount I did at my 29 week appointment.  The dietician had also mentioned my lack of weight gain at my last appointment, which I did point out to her that I had gained some weight, but after losing a few pounds it didn’t look like it.  When I spoke with my midwife about not really gaining weight in the past weeks, she said I had gained at a steady rate during the second trimester so she was not concerned.  My uterus is measuring on for my 36 weeks, too so baby is growing even if I’m not gaining weight.

Symptoms:  Feeling good early in the day and much more tired as the day goes on and in the evening.  No new symptoms!  Just exhausted at times, uncomfortable at times and feeling good at other times.

Workouts/Running:  I have been walking and got in a great run.  I still am fitting it in when I can rather than making any regular routine work.  

34 Weeks-


Walked-9 miles

35 Weeks-


Ran-2.5 miles (I felt amazing on this run. Wish I could find a way to make more running work right now.)

Walked-12 miles

Freezer Meals-

I don’t have time to share the links this week.  Nothing special with these, but I will add in links later.

Homemade Mac n’Cheese

Slow Cooker Roast

Looking Forward To:  I’m going to be honest.  I’m wavering back and forth between looking forward to not being pregnant anymore and trying to enjoy every last kick she gives.  You never know if this is the last baby or not.

Sarah

 

 

 

{Bumpdate} 30 Weeks

Of course after taking this photo I realize I’ve already worn this dress for a bumpdate, but then I realize I don’t really care because soon I won’t be 30 weeks anymore (taken on 30 weeks, 4 days.) 😉 I also realized these stripes make me look significantly more pregnant than solids, but I’ve just got a thing for stripes! 

Baby Girl,

I’ve been worrying so much about you since finding out I have gestational diabetes.*   Of all people, I NEVER expected to get those results.  The guilt I feel is immense.  My one job as your mom so far has been to make the best choices I can to ensure your safety during your 40 week stay and delivery, and it seems I’m failing already.  

I’ve always tried to live by the 80/20 rule.  Eat healthy and make smart choices 80% of the time and live a little the other 20% of the time.  It turns out that might work for some, but for this pregnancy it’s not enough. Giving up my lattes and the occasional ice cream treat has already been a challenge.  If, however, following a stricter diet means you will grow to be a healthier weight and have a possibility of a safer entry into this world, then it is what I will do.  

I thought all my regular worries were a lot, but now worries of birthing a big baby, induction, or worse, c-sections and you having low blood sugar after birth have me freaking out.  I promise you though, little lady, I will do everything within my control to make sure you have a healthy arrival.

Love, 

Mom

Feeling: Emotional about finding out I have gestational diabetes. 

I never really gave much thought to that first 1 hour glucose test as I never even considered that I might actually fail it.  Even when the results came back that I had failed by only 6-9 mg/dl depending on whose guidelines you follow, I was optimistic that I would not fail the 3 hour glucose test.  I eat healthy most the time.  Treats are occasional.  I love my lattes, but I exercise everyday.  

My other reasoning for not completely freaking out included: I’ve never been overweight, there is no history of diabetes in my family, I did not have a large baby last time around nor did I have gestational diabetes, I’ve been on target with my weight gain and baby girl measured on at my 29 week appointment.  I rationalized that I have been maintaining running throughout this pregnancy.  I ran two half marathons during my pregnancy (one training run in my first trimester and one race in my second trimester).  I couldn’t possibly have gestational diabetes. Except that I do.

When I saw the missed call from the clinic the day after my 3 hour test, I knew I had failed. Two of my four tests had higher than allowed results.  Despite one of the tests being over by only 6 mg/dl, two failed results is a diagnosis of gestational diabetes.  

I was devastated. I was shocked.  I was ashamed.  I was confused.  I was upset.  There was crying and worry. Even after having time to process this and hearing it’s not my fault, take the was out and insert AM, and that is pretty much where I am at with this diagnosis.  There IS crying and worry.

After doing some research and meeting with a diabetic educator, I now have a diet plan to follow that restricts carbohydrates and increases my daily protein.  Luckily so far, the only real changes I’ve made to my diet include eating more protein throughout the day, always eating carbs with protein, and eating less fruit and giving up the occasional treats and lattes.  Making these changes and counting carbs has kept my blood sugar under control.  Should more changes be needed, then I will make those. 

Giving up the few lattes I enjoyed a week has been painful.  It’s heart wrenching to think of a fall season without PSL and yummy pumpkin flavored carbs.  If you don’t know what PSL is then you really won’t understand anyway.  I’m being dramatic…sort of.

It sucks that I can’t have fruit or cereal for breakfast.  Fruit is quite limited throughout the day actually.  Sweets are out almost entirely.  I’m not sure I can restrict myself to the half cup of frozen yogurt or the 2×2 piece of cake with no frosting allowed on occasion (I mean who really eats only 1 serving of frozen yogurt or ice cream?  Seriously, who are you?), so I’m just avoiding it altogether so far.  I was also told to be active after each time I eat a meal, but with a 15 month old and an already active lifestyle I have not found this to be an issue.  Half the time I’m eating while standing and on the go already.

According to my blood sugar test results, which I take four times a day, I’ve never even been close to being over the target numbers I was given.  My hope is that this continues for the remainder of my pregnancy and that my controlled blood sugar will result in a healthy (and not huge) baby girl and vaginal delivery.  I’m also aware that for some pregnant women with gestational diabetes that as their pregnancies progress their blood sugar gets harder and harder to manage.  If anyone has experience with this, I’d love to hear more.  I don’t know of anyone who has had it.

 

All happy pre-gestational diabetes diagnosis. No I dont ever make my bed.

 
Cravings:  I guess it doesn’t really matter what I’m craving since my diagnosis, but oddly enough fruit has become the new thing I wish I could have more of.  I totally didn’t realize how often I would grab a pear or apple, cut up a bowl of berries or enjoy a delicious kiwi for a snack or when I was hungry.  It actually tastes so sweet now when I eat it.

Weight Gain:   At my 29 week prenatal appointment and when meeting with the dietician at 30 weeks, both scales said I’d gained 22 pounds.  I’ve gained six pounds less than where I was at this point with my first pregnancy.

Symptoms:  Many of the same symptoms remain, but I’m just feeling more pregnant. More uncomfortable.  Bigger.  Heavier.  Less able to reach things.  Lots of movement from baby girl.  Much more emotional this pregnancy.

Exercise/Workouts: At 30 weeks I’m starting to feel not as good running.

I think we are officially in the take each day at a time phase of running pregnant.  Each day when I dress to run I won’t know if I’m running, running and walking or just walking until I get out the door.

I’ve had a couple of great runs lately, but a lot of days I’m not feeling as good as I was before.  I’m likely going to be adding in more walks and taking a few more rest days from running to help with this.  The timing is also unfortunate that as I’m growing more uncomfortable our days got busier.  During week 29 we were out of town four days doing fun things and I had three doctors appointments (one required fasting for 16 hours when all was said and done).  This made it really hard to workout.  My details are below.

28 Weeks-

 

Ran-8.65 miles (4.3, 1.65, 2.7)

Walked-5 miles

Hiked-4 miles in Door County

Kayaked-3.6 miles on Lake Michigan

Yoga Class-60 minute class

29 Weeks-  

Ran-1.6 miles

Walked-7 miles

Looking Forward To:  Celebrating your healthy arrival with you in my arms and a PSL nearby.  🙂

Sarah

*Update: I realized I didn’t explain what gestational diabetes is.  It is not known why GD occurs in some pregnant women.  GD occurs when the same hormones from the placenta that help the baby develop also interfere with the mother’s insulin in her body.  This creates insulin resistance in the mother where her body struggles to use the insulin and that extra insulin in the blood becomes glucose and is passed to baby.  Since baby doesn’t need the glucose, it becomes fat and results in bigger babies if not controlled. 

Having GD does not mean the mother was or will be diabetic, but it does raise chances of developing type 2 diabetes later in life for both mom and baby.  Bigger babies can also lead to delivery complications like induction, csections, and low blood sugar in babies after birth requiring formula supplements and monitoring.  Many women who have GD and control their blood sugar go on to have healthy pregnancies and deliveries.

 

{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

{Grandad’s Half Marathon Race Report 2016}


I knew I really wanted to run a half a marathon before the pelvic pressure or discomforts of running became too much this pregnancy.  16 weeks pregnant seemed like a great time to complete a half marathon.  Not exhausted in the first trimester and not uncomfortable yet.  I also needed an excuse to wear the PRO Compression Jailbird socks I’ve been in love with forever and haven’t worn.


Since I’ve been through this once before (pregnancy), it seems I’m having significantly less ligament pain and pressure on my pelvis than my first pregnancy.  I’m so grateful for this and plan to take full advantage of this.

Admittedly, my preparation for this race was not what it should have been.  In fact I didn’t sign up until the night before since I had been sick with a nasty cold and pink eye for the past week and a half.  The first trimester was not full of activity for me as I felt so tired and sick and struggled with time management, too.  I hadn’t run a run over 6 miles in 6 weeks, but felt like my experience running 20 half marathons, 14 full marathons and one ultra marathon would help me through.

I had run a steady buildup of long runs until March running 13 miles at 7 weeks pregnant. I did what you should do for any pregnant run during my race-listened to my body.  I went much slower than my usual non-pregnant paces.  I drank lots of fluids.  I mapped out the restrooms before committing to the race.  Bathrooms every two miles was a deal sealer for me.  I could hydrate and relieve away!  I said I had to be ok with needed walk breaks. Amazingly I only walked about a mile total during the half marathon.

For me running this half marathon was something I needed to do for myself while also taking care of the baby inside me.  I knew going in it would likely be my last half marathon for the next year.  Having a baby in October in Wisconsin means you won’t see much for races until April or May.  That would also put me at six months postpartum, which is just a few weeks later than when I ran my first half after having Pierce.  Six months feels appropriate given you train or up mileage prior to the race and your need to heal and work that pelvic floor.

One of the hardest things about becoming a mom had been letting go of running.  I needed to do one more race before having another baby, but I also wanted it to set the tone for the rest of my pregnancy.  Last time winter and being trapped inside for workouts combined with so much pelvic discomfort meant much less activity than I had planned for during my pregnancy.

This time I have spring, summer and early fall weather to help keep me going.  I’m really hoping to have a very active pregnancy.  Last time I was active, but not as much as I’d hoped.   I feel the activity I did do helped me feel amazing post-delivery and helped me get back to activity much quicker.

Back to the race recap!

Miles 1 and 2 are run down Grandad’s Bluff.  I personally don’t like downhill running a ton, so this wasn’t my favorite, but the views were great!  These miles tick by fast!  I of course drank a bottle of water with a Strawberry Lemonade Nuun on the bus ride (the best), and we waited forever to get off the bus so I only peed once before the race.  We got off the bus at 8:00 which is when the race was supposed to start.  It actually started at 8:10.  As a result I made an early bathroom stop at mile 2, drank some water and was on my way.

Mile 3 I struggled to set into a rhythm.  Around mile 4 things clicked.  My body felt warm and the rolling hills were almost over.  Miles 5 and 6 I felt strong.  I had a GU and water at mile 4.  I could feel it giving me some extra energy.  During these miles you run on a paved bike path with lots of blooming trees nearby.

By mile 6 I had to pee again, but kind of forgot.  I don’t know how this happened but it did.  Mile 7 felt good, but by mile 8 I was thinking of a bathroom every step.  I stared ahead in hopes of seeing that beautiful blue port o potty!!  Otherwise I felt strong.  I had another GU and water and Gatorade at mile 8 where I found a place to potty.  I realized I was really sweating even though I felt great, so I decided here on out I would drink both water and Gatorade at every water stop.

Miles 7-9 are my least favorite as they take you around a residential area in La Crosse. Residential areas are not all that motivating to me, but it was very flat.

At the end of mile 8 my legs began to feel tired for the first time.  I walked for a half mile and then felt good again.  The rest of mile 9 and 10 felt pretty good.

Mile 10 gets a bit more scenic as you run on a bike trail again.  At Mile 11 I took a GU, drank some fluids and used the bathroom for what I hoped would be the final time.  I struggled with this mile, but felt ok.

Mile 12 and 13 I felt good for what I was doing, but I could feel hunger and fatigue coming.  I was glad to only have two miles to go.  At least these miles are scenic as you run along the river and downtown.

Pregnant running can take all the energy right out of your legs in a way that I’ve never really experienced when running otherwise.  Luckily it only happened a few times, I’d walk a bit and then feel good.

The quiet time to myself also gave me time to daydream about baby and life.  Are you a boy or a girl?  Just how crazy will life be with two kids 18 months and under?  How great will the joy be to give Pierce a sibling?  Will I still like my husband in a year?  More importantly, will he still like me?

As I crossed the finish line I was relieved to be done and wanted a snack stat!  I ate a banana and a small cookie from the tent and then we enjoyed some time at Riverside Park. Then we headed to Fayze’s for brunch and walked around downtown while we waited for our turn to eat.  I highly recommend Fayze’s for brunch, but be prepared to wait if something is going on downtown.

On our walk we stopped at Addie Cakes for some cupcakes to enjoy later in the day.  It was the perfect way to celebrate a half marathon finish!


Oh, and getting a caramel macchiato later at Starbucks really helped too.  Dressing like your favorite drink is optional.


If you were looking for more race photos of the course, then you’ll have to check out my Grandad’s Half Marathon post from 2013.  The course has not changed since I ran it three years ago. I felt I had enough juggling to do with my music, staying hydrated and fed and listening to my body, so I didn’t take any photos during this year’s race.

Overall I really enjoy this course and it does have many scenic parts.  I still debate whether it is a PR course or not.  Prior to the change in course I did run a former PR.  The downhill is hard on the quads unless you are prepared and might hurt you later in the race more than the time savings at mile 1 and 2.  Definitely check it out for yourself.    La Crosse is such a fun town with so much to do as a couple and/or a family.


Lastly, this running for two tank is amazing.  It is so soft and comfortable AND it doesn’t move, ride up or do anything annoying.  Runner tested by me for 13.1 miles!  I’ve also worn in on several other occasions with the same experience.  A tad pricey, but it comes in a bunch of other colors and styles (yoga, barre, sweating, etc. for two). Check out For Two Fitness to see what they offer!!  I ordered mine in my usual size and it has room to grow, too.  (Just my opinions here, not compensated I any way to write this.)

Family, good food, running and relaxing sounds like a perfect day to me!

Grandad’s Half Marathon
Time: 2:17:23
Pace: 10:30 overall (9:30 running)
Overall: 695/1078
Gender: 372/680
Age Group: 79/161

{The things no one wants to hear, but are true!}

It’s still January…the month of resolutions, goals and hope.  Maybe you set some for yourself this year?  I spent some time reflecting on my goals last night which prompted this post.  

  
Over the past months I’ve learned a few things after losing 36 pounds of baby weight and then a few extra pounds (unfortunately mostly muscle). Combine that with being a runner for almost 18 years and I have some ideas to share.  

None of these ideas are new, but they are the foundation of transforming yourself.  Sometimes we ignore the common sense suggestions looking for an easy fix, but there really just isn’t one.  Setting goals is a great start, but it is so much harder than a sentence on paper or in your mind.  

Rather than cheer you on I’m going to say what may be unpopular and what no one wants to hear, but is true.  The past 9 months and 39 pounds are evidence of these statements.  

1) You can do this…maybe. Whatever your goals are you can find success, but it will be challenging and take sacrifice. If you can’t or won’t accept this, then you’re not likely to achieve your goal(s).

  
2) Body transformations take time. If it came off really fast, then you can probably gain it back equally fast. Instead go for slower but steady improvements that you achieve by changing habits that you can make your lifestyle not a fad.

  
3) Exercise is amazing for your mind and body! Stressed? Anxious? Depressed? Exercise can help with all of these things and help your body transform into a stronger and leaner you.  You’ll like what you see in the mirror more, feel more energetic and happy, and be more confident.

  
4) Abs are made in the kitchen. I know people hate this saying, but it’s true. I’ve only averaged working out a couple of times a week since 4.5 months post-partum (5+ times before that when I wasn’t working), but I have eaten a dairy free and mostly healthy diet. I’m always conscience of what I put in my body and really believe food is fuel and you are what you eat (or feel like what you eat). 

  
As much as I’ve never wanted to admit the level of impact diet has on results, going dairy free for my son (imagine no cheese, no pizza, no ice cream, no milk chocolate, very few packaged foods-most have dairy), has proven to me that it is significant.

I have to attribute most of my weight loss in the past 4.5 months to what foods I do and don’t put in my body.  I knew I had limited time and was struggling to workout as much as I wanted to, so I really focused on food choices instead of just giving up on myself.  The impact has shocked me into really believing abs are made in the kitchen.  
5) Making mistakes is part of the goal and body transformation process, but getting back on track ASAP is a must.  You can still find success when you work to overcome your setbacks.

  6) Writing your goals down is more effective than saying your goals.  Checking in with yourself weekly is needed to keep making forward progress and hold yourself accountable.

  
7) Everyday you have an opportunity to be a healthy role model to the little people in your life. What do you want them to learn by watching you?  Healthy eating habits?  Perseverance? Hard work? Determination? Pride in achieving goals?  Overcoming setbacks?  The list goes on!

8) To experience maximum success and feel your best you need to combine a healthy diet AND exercise, and make goals for yourself in both areas.  I did not say execute both perfectly.  Even the smallest steps in a positive direction in these areas will benefit you.  In my experience, exercising makes you want to eat better and eating better encourages exercising.  When one is missing from your life both seem to suffer.
Goal or no goal it is never too late to invest in your physical and mental health and start making positive habits. It is never too late or a waste of time to take care of the only body you get. You will be so glad you did.  Make an investment in you! 

I did and do!  I’m still working on my goals, but subscribe to the above eight everyday!  No magic tricks, not just luck, no easy fix-just hard work and determination in the above eight statements.

Let’s rock those 2016 goals!

Sarah