{Giving Up My Stilettos…Sort of}

I’m giving up my stilettos. Seriously, I don’t wear them anymore.

About two years ago I first thought about the irony of my blog title and Instagram profile since wearing stilettos wasn’t and isn’t really something I do anymore except on rare occasions. This post has sat in my draft folder for six months waiting for me to finish it. For some reason, I’ve been hesitant to share my world lately.

Despite being adamant that becoming a mother wouldn’t make me give up the old me, that’s exactly what has happened. What is even more,  I don’t even miss it that much.  Okay…some days I do, but those are usually the “I don’t have to,” lots of whining and exhausted days. These kids just change you in so many ways. And, really, heels just hurt now.

Truth be told, I fall asleep most nights moments after I sit down (often around 9:00-9:30) or while pumping before bed.  I can’t handle late nights and wouldn’t want to imagine what the next day would be like after really getting crazy.  I don’t even really drink anymore.  I had less than 6 glasses of wine this past summer and have had no beer since my elimination diet began mid-June.  It has now been six months since I enjoyed a beer.  (I do miss that.) My one glass of wine a week works just fine for me now.

I can count on one hand the number of kid free moments the husband and I have had together in the last year plus, and it’s kind of okay with me for now.  After having my second baby I also learned, through much research, that all that heel wearing likely contributed to the abdominal separation that I am still battling. And battle it has been.

To think of how becoming a mommy has changed me is almost indescribable.  I’ve become much softer (literally and figuratively), think of myself less, consider what others might be going through more, and ask myself how every choice I make will impact my kids.  I find joy in much simpler things.  I feel like I need less and want less.  I make sacrifices every single day. I ride tire swings even though it makes me so nauseous just to see that big smile and hear that laugh.

I’m now a tea drinking, grain-free and sugar-limiting, La Croix drinking, bone broth making, collagen in my coffee, library card holding patron, hair pulled up most the time, baby wearing, head rubbing, one more story reading, momma hold me, kiss it all better mama.  To think kids wouldn’t change me entirely was crazy, yet you won’t see my blog name changing.

In a way the title still fits.  As a busy, and often overwhelmed, mom I still have things I want for myself even if they are different things or perhaps not actually “things” at all.  Although I really struggle when it comes to taking time for myself, it is a struggle I will always be battling.  How do I give my kids meaningful experiences, fill their cups full, teach them what they need to learn, run a household, work full time, breastfeed as long as baby girl is interested, and still have any time and/or energy for myself? How do I do that without taking away from the important things listed above and not feel guilty. When I figure it out I’ll let you know, but my guess is you might be waiting for a very, very long time.

Stilettos represented the social life I once had, and going out and having fun.  In a way, stilettos now represent the old me.  I am a Gemini.  While I don’t subscribe to astrology too much, I’ve always found myself to have two distinct personalities per say.  Part of me loves social time and getting out with friends and the husband.  Staying at home for more than one weekend a month used to send me into “I’m-going-to-go-crazy-if-I-don’t-get-out-of-here” soon mode.

On the flip side, I was also always craving my alone time. Just me and my sneaks on the pavement or the trail.  My mind going to a state that I never found anywhere but running.  Running made (and still does) me a calmer, happier and a better version of myself when doing all the other life things.  I was always trying to balance my social life with my running life.   Going out on Saturday night and having a long run Sunday…the two just don’t go together, but I was never completely happy settling for just one of those things, constantly going back and forth on my personality spectrum trying to make both work.

Now Sneaks and Stilettos represents a similar challenge in finding time to myself.  Those rare moments where I feel like my old self.  The pre-mom self who didn’t worry ALL the time about her kids about EVERYTHING.

Do they feel loved enough?  Will they like each other?  Like really like each other and be friends as siblings when they grow up? How can I help them form this kind of relationship?  Am I shaping them to be kind and generous people?  Are they learning what they should be learning? Should he be counting higher, naming colors, imagining more, playing with other kids his age more?  Are they going to have clothes to wear for that upcoming whatever?  Did I order more probiotic?  What will be our next food trial?  Is she reacting to my new vitamin? Should I be more concerned that she is not walking yet?  Are his ankles turning in when he walks?  Are they getting all the vitamins and nutrients they should?  Why is he so scared of bedtime?  How can I help him be less worried and scared of the dark? Are they happy?

How in the hell am I going to continue to survive the upcoming school year making everything from freakin’ scratch for my grain-free and sugar limited diet. How do I continue to accomplish my school goals and find time to pump at school?  Will this girl sleep through the night soon? How will I juggle all this and still be a niceish person?  How many moments will I miss while they are being taken care of by others?  Wait, did I change the diaper size on our next Amazon subscribe and save order?  Crap, I think that bill is due today.   My mind goes on and on.  So much noise.  So much worry.

Sneaks and Stilettos now represents the balance I try to find between being a mother and getting in time for myself.  It represents my effort to quiet some of that noise and worry in my mind.  I know after not having that balance for the past months that it is not good for me or for anyone when I don’t take care of myself.

Sneaks and Stilettos is about playing with my kids without distraction from my phone and giving them my full attention and later getting a solo drive to Starbucks and back for a little mommy recharge.  It’s about going out for a girls night and having a glass of wine after putting my kids to bed. Sneaks and Stilettos is about what brings me balance between mom life and still feeling like me the most-EXERCISE.

Exercise is a time to shut that worry off if only for minutes at a time.  It brings me a sense of carefreeness that is almost nonexistent once you become a mom.  You know, the before kids freeness.  I need to move my body to feel like myself.  I need to be outside and experience the simple joys of nature and sunshine to recharge. Exercise lets me forget that someone always needs something.  Someone is always sick or has some new thing just starting.  It takes me back to a time where there wasn’t always something that had to be done.  I maybe thought there was but, let’s be honest, there really wasn’t.

It’s a time where there are not meals to be planned, groceries to be bought, budgets to balance, new clothes to order, bike helmets to be replaced because someone left it on the trunk of the car and mom didn’t know and drove off and it fell into the road and got hit by a car (this just happened a couple months ago), and so on.

It’s just me and myself.  My shoes on the pavement.  My own breath.  The wind in my hair. Music I chose for myself (no Old McDonald).   Sneaks and Stilettos is now about letting me feel like myself again for small moments so I can be the best version of myself the rest of the time.  It’s about choosing me and doing what I need for myself a few minutes each day, so I can be more selfless and present for my family later.

Sneaks and Stilettos was always about finding balance within myself, and finding happiness between the have to dos and the want to dos. That hasn’t changed even though almost my entire life has.  Despite all the worry and life changing moments, I would not go back to my old life if I had the choice.  Those giggles, hugs, first moments, sticky hands, tender nursing sessions in the middle of the night, even my son’s endless “why?” comments these days are all worth it.

As I finally get back into running, training, exercise classes, blogging and finding an inevitable unbalanced version of balance in my life that brings contentment again, I feel like my blog title is even more symbolic of my life today.

While you won’t literally see me in my stilettos much in the future, you’ll still see me trying to fit in what stilettos now means to me in between chasing my two kids in my sneaks.

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