{More Mother, Less Runner}

Lately I’ve definitely been more mother and less runner.  It wasn’t what I had planned or hoped for.  I thought maintaining a healthy, active pregnancy would have me back at it sooner than later.  And I was initially, but it turns out that wouldn’t even be close to the plan.

On a 2.5 mile run at 35 weeks pregnant followed by a 3 mile walk and feeling great! 

Since about a month postpartum I knew my body didn’t feel “right.”  I felt amazing those first few weeks.  I was back in my skinny jeans with seven pounds to lose.  I felt eager to get back to exercising.  Baby girl was sleeping pretty well.  Life was just crazy enough I felt like I needed some time to take care of me.  It was the perfect post-baby storm to get back to running.  I walked when I could, did my pelvic tilts and kegels, and started easing into running very cautiously.

At my six week postpartum appointment I learned I had a significant abdominal separation (diastasis recti).  I was super disappointed, but kind of knew it was probably the case.  My back had been hurting.  My core felt off and not just the I just had a baby weak.  Still I kept running.  I wasn’t peeing myself running or having those types of issues.  I wasn’t having pain per say while running.  Everything I read along with my midwife said it was ok to keep running since I wasn’t having those issues.

I bought and read Katy Bowman’s book about DR.  Everything she said made so much sense.  I’ve never been a quick fix person.  I’ve always believed to get to the true root of the problem is key or else everything else is just a bandaid.  I’ve always had a huge issue with the number of prescriptions people are given for things without first trying to make lifestyle changes.  To have abdominal surgery or do PT for a set number of weeks would only fix the problem temporarily.  Once I returned to my old ways I would potentially be back in the same spot I am in now.

So I focused on my alignment and active sitting and standing.  Wearing flat shoes as not to throw my alignment off.  Core engagement as much as possible even when lifting kids and things and when sitting. I focused on reconnecting my body.  After a month of this, my gap closed by almost a finger (to just over 3 fingers), but it was still deep.  I still was feeling so much weakness and my hip had started to hurt on every run and after.

I knew and know that it will take much more than a month to undo a lifetime of poor alignment, pelvic tilting and ribs out.  It will take more than a month to undo over a decade of heel wearing, a lifetime of not dropping my ribs and walking, running and everything else in a non-neutral body.  I love Katy Bowman’s exercises, but it was hard to create a consistent program to go along with the lifestyle changes while taking care of two young kids.

After much research and consideration to my current life situation (two kids under two), I also purchased the MuTu System.  MuTu focuses heavily on alignment while also giving you set exercises to do in a 12 week program.  I don’t have time or money for PT appointments.  Any time I take off from work is unpaid.  With young kids and sickness, I can’t justify taking time off for PT, and outside of work hours are not an option either with daycare pickup and other demands of children.

I needed a program that told me what to do and could be done at home when I had time.  I started following the exercises and life was good.  I felt stronger and better after just the first week.  Then I went back to work and things kind of fell apart.  The exercises have to be done every single day.  Every. Single. Day.  With young kids and  going back to work it is just so, so, so hard.

The week I went back to work I ran my longest run.  Maybe it was all the emotions of going back to work and not feeling ready.  Maybe it had been a hard day at home.  Maybe it was all the nerves of being away from my baby girl for the first time. It might have been the discontent of not being where I’d hoped to be physically.  Perhaps it was the stress I knew I’d soon be under as a full time working and breastfeeding mama (i.e. prep and lunches pumping and scrambling) responsible for getting kids ready and daycare drop off and pick up every day on my own.  I honestly don’t remember.

What I do remember is my longest postpartum with baby #2 run was also my fastest postpartum with baby #2 run.  I pushed the pace and just wanted to run fast.  Feet turning over with quickness, pounding the stress and emotions into the ground with each step.  My body let me know for the first time it didn’t agree with this as I leaked urine for the first time.  

As embarrassing as that is to say, I’ve heard from many ladies who’ve messaged me and talked with me about similar issues.  This is a common issue post-baby, but it is not normal…meaning you’re body is trying to tell you something.  It likely won’t improve without specific work either.  Most women choose to live with it.  I will not.

Then my hip started to hurt.  It wasn’t just a little hurt either.  It was an I’m walking funny two days later hurt.  Two months later and no running and it still hurts anytime I’ve been sitting for a bit and stand up.  I feel it when I walk on occasion still.  Clearly my core was not ready for running like that or perhaps running at all.

I’m anxious to get back to running, but have not been successful at all in making time to do my MuTu exercises while being a full time working and breastfeeding mommy to my kids.  Some weeks I manage a few days and think ok, I’m finally going to make this happen only to be met with a setback (sickness, kids waking early, life demands, etc.) soon after that stops me for days or even a couple weeks.

I won’t try running again until I’ve seen improvement with my ab separation and my hip is no longer causing me issues.  I know to get to running I need to regain my core strength, improve my body alignment and connections, and work on strength and  flexibility in various places (like my hip).

A lifetime of poor alignment and only running (very little cross training and core work) along with two pregnancies close together and a two finger ab separation after baby number one that I did nothing to fix and here I am.  Right where I should be I guess.

Lately I’ve been focusing on that idea.  That no matter how crazy stressful and hard life is right now, I’m trusting that I’m right where I should be.  As fate would have it, I began to finish this post yesterday morning while my daughter napped in the car.  I took an Instagram “break” and came across a fitness blogger I follow had posted this to her account:

I just have to believe there is a lesson for me to learn from all this and that the struggle will teach me something I may not even be considering right now.

Had I even known what diastasis recti was before maybe I’d have done things differently.  Maybe someone can learn from  my experiences.  Cross train.  Stretch.  Strengthen.  Save heels for special occasions not daily wear.  Work to have neutral body alignment and core engagement.  Fix your small ab separation after you have a baby instead of ignoring it and then having another (and much bigger) baby.

I hope and plan to begin MuTu again later this spring or at the latest in June when the end of the school year will allow me some time to refocus, reconnect and rebuild my body.  I continue to work on alignment and core engagement as I want to change my body for the better for good.  Walking is what I do when I can.

After two months of mourning, misery and wallowing in the fact that I don’t know when my next run will be, I finally felt ready to share what’s kept me silent for so long.

Some might wonder why is this so hard to deal with?  It’s complicated, but running is so intertwined with who I see myself as a person and an essential to my well being way I cope with everything and maintain my mental health, it’s no wonder I felt so many negative emotions over it for a while.

If you’re struggling with any of these post-baby issues, hang in there mama!!  With time we will be ourselves again.  Our bodies will feel like our own again.  They have to.  I refuse to believe I’m stuck this way forever.  No matter how often I feel like maybe I should just quit this whole goal and blog, I just can’t.  I keep returning to it.  I still hold hope in my heart.

And that’s where I am now.  Broken.  Grateful.  Struggling. Surviving on coffee, the smiles of my babes and that glimmer of hope.  Right where I’m supposed to be even if I’m not sure for how long.






{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!


{Post-Partum Fitness Plans for Baby #2}


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.


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.


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.


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.


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


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.


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.


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!


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.


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?