{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.


{Wisconsin Marathon Training-Week 5/Fueling for Your Training}

Monday-3 miles on the treadmill


It was too cold for outside running today. The weather channel’s choice of background is slightly deceptive. True-the sun may have been shining, but at temperatures this cold it is quite unnoticed. Regardless of the temperatures staying hydrated is always important. One of my favorite ways to get myself to drink more water is to add fruit to water to add some flavor. My favorite-simple lemons in water. Ryan takes his water straight up.

Tuesday-6 miles on the treadmill

This was a rough run for me. I actually wavered between throwing my iPhone against the nearby wall and bursting into tears. I kept it together (barely) but had to walk .75 miles to regain my composure. Treadmill runs do little for my mental health during the run-that comes later. Ryan on the other hand, rocked his miles out like the devoted-training-for-his-first-marathon guy he is.

Wednesday-6 miles outside (!) and Ryan lifted
This run was a cold one with chilly winds blowing and gusting, but it was a chance to get outdoors. It was an ok run, but not one that made you love running. It made you more love running when you were done.

Thursday-Danced it up in my cowboy boots for several hours

Friday-Ryan lifted after work and I skied it up on a school field trip

Saturday-12 mile long run outside
Saturday’s long run was the warmest day we had this week.  The temperature was 18 degrees with no windchill. That is right no windchill.  As a result, there was no chance of us running inside today.  The windchill was slightly misleading as the wind certainly had a chill, but running in the fresh air on open road was so refreshing.



That is bare road folks…the first run of the winter that had more than a few open blocks.

Half way through our run we were feeling great. We swung by the house for a drink and were back on the road. I thought about taking a GU, but didn’t really feel hungry and I usually prefer not to take GU’s on runs of 13 miles or less. Ryan was sticking with the same plan. When I first started marathon training, I needed more calories to finish my runs and learned the hard way what calories worked for me. I don’t believe in set rules for all. We each have different bodies and will, therefore, require different foods and drinks for fuel. I am not a dietician, nutritionist, or certified anything when it comes to fueling needs of runners. I simply have ran and found what worked through my own experiences. Below are some of my personal findings with eating on the run or preparing to run.

During my first marathon training cycle, I started getting stomach cramps that would last hours after long runs. Sometimes they started during runs after taking in some form of fuel. I felt trapped; I needed to eat or I would be starving, low on energy, and unable to finish my long runs, but I was feeling sick from what I was eating.

Learning what foods you can eat and can’t eat on long runs requires some experimenting. There is no way to know for sure until you try things out. I remember it being a frustrating time. You are hungry, need fuel to accomplish quality runs, but know you are going to feel sick later. Ugh! You can try not fueling, but you will bonk and runs will feel way worse than they need to. Try no to get frustrated if this is happening to you. We all learn by doing.

After far too many stomachaches post-long runs, I started to do some research. I bought the book, Performance Nutrition for Runners by Matt Fitzgerald, and learned so much about fueling my body for running. If you’ve had issues with fueling I strongly recommend you purchase this book. He breaks fueling for running down into easy to follow ideas that you can take home to your kitchen and use on the run.
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I learned that so called sports bars and drinks that had lots of sugar were giving me my stomach cramps and really were not designed for runners. I swapped out sugary Gatorade for G2 and felt some improvement.  I later switched G2 for Ultima Replenisher which has no sugars, artificial flavors, colors, or sweeteners that were easier on my stomach. I also ditched the Snickers Marathon bars and Power Bars for GU’s and simple granola bars that were easier for my stomach to digest. Some of the experimenting was simply getting used to digesting foods while on the run. I can now eat more real foods than ever before because my body has learned to fuel my muscles and supply blood to my stomach at the same time (in moderation). When it comes to fueling the body for running, eating real food for meals and snacks leading up to runs is almost always the most filling, easiest digested, and the best for you. Since this post is already getting long, I’ve made a separate post for those of you who have asked me questions about fueling for long-runs-Fueling for the Long Run

As for Saturday’s run and fueling, our run continued to go well however around mile nine the damp, cold air started to chill the muscles and joints. Around mile ten we both got hungry. The next couple miles were a little challenging being hungry and having cold set in. The last mile home we talked only of which Bearded Brothers flavor we would eat and the Nuun flavor we would drink when we got home. Definitely should have at least brought a couple GU’s along just in case. Other than the hunger and cold, we both felt great on our longest run of our training plan thus far.


12 miles is Ryan’s longest training run ever. He has ran four half marathons, but never ran training runs longer than 10 or 11 miles. We are unconcerned by pace right now as winter always causes slower times and greater perceived effort.



Bearded Brothers is a new favorite bar of ours. Bearded Brothers bars are 100% natural with organic ingredients, vegan, gluten free, soy free AND taste delicious. Plus, they come in compostable packaging.

I am not always a huge bar person, but sometimes they are perfect for a pre-run snack or post-run snack. I love that Bearded Brothers offers a healthy and natural snack. I usually prefer to eat a meal 1.5 hours before a longer run. I can eat a smaller meal or snack minutes before leaving for a run. This training cycle we are both trying to eat healthier and not use our miles run and hard burned. In the beginning of my marathon training I often rewarded myself with treats and candy after long runs. After running more miles and marathons, I felt the need to do that less and less. I’m trying to continue on the healthy eating path as it really does make me feel better on a regular basis and I think I run better, too.

Ryan agrees with the feeling better when we eat better, and we are both looking to get in better shape. After our long run Saturday and Bearded Brothers snack we roasted up some chicken and veggies for dinner. I’d eaten most of my veggies when I thought to take this picture. We did enjoy some frozen yogurt later in the evening as we were hungry again.


Balancing the hunger you can experience with marathon training and eating healthy can be a challenge. Making sure to fuel properly in advance of a long run and during a long run can prevent post-run pig out sessions. I also follow the rule that I only eat when I’m hungry. I’ve never been a snack just to snack person. I truly eat when I’m hungry and don’t when I’m not. Sometimes this gets me in trouble like on Wednesday when I didn’t feel hungry at lunch. I was then starving on my run on Wednesday.

Ryan’s Tip of the Week-As runs start to get longer, break the miles up into smaller sections to give yourself a better mental approach to the distance. This week I looked at the 12 miles, my longest training run yet, as a six mile loop and then an out and back six miles (3 out, 3 back). This approach mentally broke up the run making the distance seem much less mentally challenging.

Sarah’s Tip of the Week-Make sure to listen to your body and provide it appropriate hydration and fuel as your runs get longer. Rather than get frustrated if you bonk or have a rough time fueling, think of it as part of the training process. You are not just training your mind and legs to go the distance, but your entire body to travel many miles. Check out my fueling for the long run post tomorrow for more details-How to Fuel for the Long Run.

Total Miles-27 miles

{Motivation Monday}


Start your week on the right foot. What are your weekly fitness goals? Plan ahead for your best chance at being successful this week. When will you do that workout? When will you run those miles. Don’t give life a chance to get in the way!

Training or not, I usually plan ahead what days I will run and rest. This increases my chance at getting those miles in and leaves less room for life to ruin my intentions. If you haven’t done this before, try it this week. Weeks like the one I have this week require special planning. With meetings and obligations everyday after school this week, I have to plan my workouts wisely. It’s far too easy to get home and say you don’t feel like working out. If you planned on it all day and week, then your less likely to break the commitment to yourself.

Make your health a priority this week and every week.

Happy Monday!

{Race for the Heart Half Marathon}

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Lately I’ve been working on eating local and unprocessed foods. I decided to translate that to running races this year, too. After traveling around to races over the past few months, most of my races will be close by this year. I’m running local!

By racing local I don’t always have to stay in a hotel, which is easier for my schedule right now and my wallet. I also get bored by the monotony of running the same paths for long runs and am really trying to run at least two long runs a month somewhere new and unexplored. This keeps running fresh and exciting. By signing up for races I also ensure I get all of my long runs done. I don’t have the I-want-to-sleep-in opportunity and then it gets too hot to finish every mile. It also prevents last minute plans from interfering. Races hold me accountable. They also stop me from having too many beers the night before. Been there, done that, learned that lesson.
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Whenever I run a new race in Wisconsin I always get excited to explore new parts of the state, see new trails, and experience the diverse beauty of our state. On Saturday, I raced in Wisconsin Rapids. I had been to Wisconsin Rapids once before when I was in middle school, and drove through it a few years ago. So basically I knew nothing about this city. When looking at the race overview a few things attracted me to this race: 1-distance from my house, 2-the course (all bike path trails), 3-SHADE, the course was mostly shaded (amen in the summer), 4-it supported the Boys and Girls Clubs, 5-price (it was only $35) which included a t-shirt. When I picked up my packet I was surprised to see some other great swag for such a small race. Often small town races don’t offer anything which I understand. The juice, chapstick, granola bar were all unexpected, but awesome additions.

Great race swag for a very small race.

Great race swag for a very small race.

I worked the night before getting home around 11:45. I was in bed an hour later and you guessed it-didn’t get much sleep. Five hours later the alarm went off and I was up to get ready. Same old story, just a different race it seems. BUT the totally new thing! Wait for it, wait for it…I was not running late for the race. I go to the race 30 minutes before the start. While this may not even be close to enough time before a big city race, it is LOTS of time before a small race.

Speaking of small, I knew the racing field would be small, but I had no idea just how small. There were 41 of us a the start. No I didn’t count as the national anthem was being sung, I looked at the race results. The 5k which started an hour later had many more runners and walkers. Don’t get the small size thing wrong; the race was very well organized and had many features of a larger race such as an official start and finish, well marked course, very well aided water stations, and medical people always nearby.
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My goal for the race was to treat it like a long run and run smart. I was not running this race to race, but rather as a training run. By running smart I mean, not start too fast like I’ve started doing recently. I needed to remember when I got the urge to go faster that when I crossed the finish line, I was not finished. I would have three more miles to go. The last five miles I had planned to run at goal marathon pace or faster as my training schedule dictated. I wanted to run comfortably fast.
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The race started outside the Rapids mall along the Wisconsin River. Mile one took us along the Wisconsin River and then mile two led us out onto the shaded bike paths. The bike paths are part of a larger system of trails along the Wisconsin River.
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It had been raining until about an hour before the race, but the clouds stuck around for about 3/4 of the race. Mother nature must have been on my side that day. Mile 3 continued on the bike path leading closer to the city of Port Edwards.

mile 1-8:20

mile 2-8:41

mile 3-8:47

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Miles four and five we passed through Port Edwards via the bike path. At one point there was a family standing on the bike path cheering runners on. Their young daughter said as I passed, “She’s running really, really, really, fast.” I smiled and thought to myself, thank you small child! Your view of the world is so awesome because in truth I am not running really, really, really fast.

mile 4-8:41

mile 5-8:47

Mile six and then the turnaround at mile 6.5 were in Nekoosa with a turnaround in Riverside Park. One thing I love about out and back courses is you can see the competition as it is coming back after they’ve turned around. Around mile six I started counting ladies to see what place I was in. At the half way point I was the sixth female in the race. I had stuck to my race plan of running this like a long run. I was feeling great.

While the course didn’t take us into Nekoosa the Swiftwater Mural is a unique work of art in the city.
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mile 6-8:27

mile 7-8:36

Mile 8 marked the last six miles of the race, so it was time to pick up the pace to my goal marathon pace or faster for the rest of the half marathon. This is when I began passing other girls.

mile 8-8:21

mile 9-8:20

mile 10-8:15

Mile ten I was in third place for females, and I could not see the first two women. I was running just barely comfortably fast. It was warm enough out that I didn’t have a dry spot on my body. Mile ten I passed a man in his sixties who was movin’ butt. I love how the sport of running can be so humbling. Here I am 30 some years younger than this man and he has been ahead of me for ten miles. He was awesome.

I started to get a bit tired around mile 11. By mile 12 I didn’t have a lot of gas to go much faster. I had stuck to my plan, maybe a bit quicker. I didn’t need to go faster, but the inner competitor just makes me. It’s like it takes over your brain and body and you CANNOT stop it. Your legs just go faster, your arms pump harder, your brain focuses harder. Even if you’re tired, you still find a way to go faster.

mile 11-8:10

mile 12-8:00

mile 13-7:51
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I crossed the finish line as the 3rd female. I had hoped to be under 1:50, but just missed it. Overall I was super excited about how I ran, where I am at in my training, and how I handled the very humid and warmer day. Normally I really struggle when it gets in the 70’s and/or is humid. Today I didn’t. In a race that I kept the pace comfortable during most of the race ended up being my third fastest half marathon. I feel my speed coming back. Maybe I’m turning over a new leaf.
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Either way I wasn’t done with my run. I was pretty sure one of the first two runners was in my age group and they only gave awards to the winner of each age group, so I had a small bottle of water which they handed out at the finish and continued on for my last three cool down miles in the opposite direction of the race.
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I ran along the Wisconsin River, past the “wisconsin” rapids, and turned around. It was a gorgeous day with great trails. How lucky these people are to have shade available all summer long. Experiencing a new city was just what I’d hoped it would be. It adds a bit of adventure to the everyday. And Cran-Grape never tasted so good after a warm long run.

Race for the Heart Half Marathon
Time: 1:50:17
Pace: 8:25
Overall: 9/41
Gender: 3/22
Age Group: 1/6*

*As I wrote this post and looked up my results, it turns out I did win my age group. I need to enjoy this last year in this age group all year. Next year it will be a different ball game.