Back to It

When I found out I was pregnant and due early November, I realized I would be in my postpartum period over all the holiday goodness. Thankfully, Isla’s birthday was close enough to the holidays that it’s still acceptable to rock stretchy maternity jeans.

I told myself that I wouldn’t start worrying about trying to lose baby weight until after the holidays and until Isla had established a good eating schedule. Since this is the last maternity leave that I’ll ever get, I also promised myself that I wouldn’t do anything but cuddle my new baby for two weeks after she was born. Done and done. For two weeks, I didn’t lift a finger. It was amazing.

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Even though I didn’t really contribute to any household chores during that time, I still couldn’t sit still. The weather has been wonderful for this time of year here in Wisconsin, so we managed a few family walks those first few weeks. Once the weather got cooler, I was on my own. The cool temps felt so refreshing after being inside all day. For the first few weeks I kept the mileage to about two miles or thirty minutes of fast walking. At about four weeks postpartum, I was feeling pretty good and started to add some running in there. Talk about humbling. I stayed pretty active my whole pregnancy, so for that reason I wasn’t expecting it to be so difficult. My legs itched like crazy and my lungs hated me. Not to mention my lower abdominal strength being completely gone. I have some work ahead of me.

I’ve been getting out as often as I can and running the treadmill during nap time and it is getting a little easier than that first time a few weeks ago.

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On Sunday, my sister and I laced up our running shoes and headed out for a run by my mom’s house. It was my first “real” run. We had a distance goal and got it done! We set out to run 3 miles and it felt really good. We ran around Humbolt Park…

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and by the time we got back to my mom’s we were at 2.3 miles. So we ran around a few blocks and during that last stretch of distance, I was running close enough to my old pace again that I was hopeful it won’t be much longer to be back to where I was.

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And I celebrated my first glorious postpartum run with grandma’s 75th birthday cake…

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My first “race” will be a 5k in January. I’m excited to see how I do and where I am as far as speed goes by then. Now that I’ve added cardio back into my life, I’m looking forward to take a barre class next week! My sister and I are doing the last blast of 2015 (75 minute cardio class), but I’m hoping to sneak in a regular barre class before then.

How do you celebrate a really great run?

Any advice on returning back to running after pregnancy or an injury?

What’s on your schedule as far as races go in 2016?

Merry Christmas from my family to yours!

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She’s Here…+3rd Trimester Workouts I’m currently Loving

I’m excited to announce the arrival of our new treadmill! 😉
treadmillSince we purchased our house a few years ago, hubs and I have entertained the idea of getting a treadmill. We just weren’t sure of where to put it. We have three bedrooms upstairs, and while 1 sat empty for awhile, we knew sooner or later another babe would fill the space. Larry was worried that if we put it in our basement, he wouldn’t be able to use it because he would hit his head on the ceiling. We decided, last weekend, to take that risk.
Instead of purchasing one from craigslist, we opted for a brand new one. I know this machine will be put to great use so I wanted to make sure we had something of great quality that would last us without zero problems. We purchased it from 2nd Wind and are very happy so far with the customer service and sale. They also delivered it and assembled it. I came home from work yesterday and there she was just sitting there, waiting to be used. 2nd Wind will also come out and service it if something goes wrong.
Buying the treadmill forced me to focus on decorating our rec room. Initially, we thought the space would be great for a bar. But then came the Princess Sofia tent, the Frozen ball pit, and a mini trampoline and soon it became Madelyn’s play place. Larry’s dreams of “The Bear Den” will have to be placed on hold…indefinitely 🙂 Instead, I finally displayed the 2013 Chicago Marathon poster which depicts the Chicago lakefront running path-my favorite place to run. Around it, I have saved bibs from special races (PRs, first 5k/half marathon after baby, etc). Before I hijacked Larry’s “mancave” I made sure he was okay with it and he was. So this is what we have so far:
IMG_4186My second favorite room in our house.
I cannot wait to actually use it for RUNNING! I was able to manage a slow jog for about 2 minutes yesterday and it actually felt pretty good, but I didn’t want to press my luck since it’s been many weeks since I last ran. So instead, I did a walking hill workout while watching Usain Bolt on Ellen. How crazy is it that he was on Ellen the same day our treadmill arrived?! After my hill workout, I did some barre-like glute and thigh work and then headed upstairs for dinner.
My workouts these past few weeks have slowed down dramatically while my motivation has ramped up. (Hello Ragnar Relay 2016!!!)
Things that work for me in the 3rd Trimester
  • Walking! Something that felt uncomfortable for me the majority of my 2nd trimester finally feels okay. I’ve been doing a lot of walking along the lakefront-trying to enjoy the weather while I still can. A have a few different 3 mile routes that I tend to stick to.
  • Riding my bike. I’ve been told that pregnant women shouldn’t ride their bikes because of loss of balance or something. I’m happy to say that my balance to still pretty great and bike riding is still working for me.
  • Elliptical. Hello early 2000’s it’s nice to see you again. I can’t remember the last time I used to the elliptical at the gym before this pregnancy. But the elliptical reminds me of the early days of college when I’d head to the Klotsche center in my fold over cotton yoga pants and t-shirt with a Cosmo magazine in hand. My workout gear has slightly improved and I’ve since switched up the literature-making it a more enjoyable experience.
  • Spin class. My go-to cardio these days. As my belly grows and burpees and jumping around are getting slightly more challenging, spin class has become my replacement when I want a good sweaty workout without the high impact.
  • Barre. Always and forever. The only part I ever have to modify are abs and positions when the instructor has us on our bellies. When I can’t get to a class, I rotate through DVDs at home. My favorite substitute to an actual class are Physique57. They’re challenging, upbeat, fast paced and not super cheesy.

My goal in this pregnancy was to stay as active as I possible could as long as it was safe. I think I’ve done a good job of that. I still feel pretty good until I get to the end of the day and I have some sciatic pain that I’m sure won’t go away now until I deliver, since we’re so close to the end. The only benefit of this is on demand massages from my husband. Maybe we can keep that tradition up post baby?! I’m hoping that staying active will help me come delivery day and to help me bounce back a little quicker after the baby. And exercise while pregnant makes babies smarter…it’s science!

For Two Fitness Review

*This post is sponsored by For Two Fitness. Even though for For Two Fitness sent me an item to review, all thoughts and opinions are my own.*

Since the belly officially “popped”, I have been on the search for workout pants that don’t cut into my middle causing unflattering and uncomfortable lines around my belly. I purchased a pair of maternity capri’s from Target a few weeks back, and they were okay. Something that would last me throughout my pregnancy.

For Two Fitness sent me the Ultimate Maternity Micro Plush Fitness Pant to try out. Since I am in LOVE with their tank tops, I had high hopes that these pants would be just as amazing.

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What I love most about these pants is that they can be worn 1 of 3 ways: Above the belly, below the belly , and mid-rise.

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I’ve worn the pants now to various barre classes and out for walks with Madelyn. I love the way these pants fit and they’re perfect for barre. One because the studio is air conditioned so I never felt too warm in these pants. And secondly, the flare leg on the pants is flattering  but yet they don’t get in the way too much during seat and thigh work. I have a few other flare-leg workout pants that get caught in the way of each other during certain workout moves.

As far as outdoor activities go, I will probably be living in these pants come fall. So far, we’re having a decent summer and with being pregnant I prefer shorts and tank tops for all outside workouts. Even though the pants breath pretty well, they are still fairly thick.

What I also like about these pants is that they can be worn even after pregnancy. The active capris I purchased from Target are cut to fit a pregnant body so they will fit differently after the baby is born. These can (and will) be worn after baby #2 arrives. That’s always I plus I look for when purchasing maternity clothes.

Overall I think these pants are great for air conditioned studios and cooler weather temps and I would definitely recommend them to any mama to be looking for good, quality workout gear to last her through pregnancy and beyond.

Pregnant mamas out there, what is your favorite, go-to piece of work out gear? Besides having properly fitted pants, I’ve been carrying around my hand held water bottle!

Highs and Lows from the Weekend

I know. It’s Wednesday night. But the weekend technically ended for me yesterday since I had some extended time off.

-Morning impromptu breakfast dates are kind of the best. Collectivo has the best baked oatmeal in the world.

collectivo-I finally finished painting Madelyn’s room. I painted her trim white and the part where the wall and the closet door meet. I’m happy with the way it turned out. Because I needed a break in between coats to run to Target and to run for my sanity, I didn’t finish until 10pm Friday night. Best night of sleep in a very long time.

sneakpeekbedroom-Madelyn slept until 8am on Saturday. It was amazing.  I should’ve known..

morningtime-Monday she pointed to her throat and said “it hurts.” We spent Tuesday at the doctor’s office and on the couch.

couch-In between the illness and couch time, Madelyn managed to make her daddy a birthday cake. She was such a great help, she even cracked an egg into the batter before I could stop her. Guess who got the crunchy piece of cake? I can just hear her laughing at me…

birthdaycake-My BFF’s husband threw her a surprise 30th birthday. It was fun to see all of my friends. A girlfriend of ours helped out with the decorations and made a collage for her which included some lovely photos of us circa 1990s. Ones I’ve been trying to hide from hubs. We all agreed we have gotten finer with age.

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-Stroller running is getting easier. When Larry and I first set out on our first stroller run of the year with Madelyn, I started out pushing her. I got about a quarter mile in and I told him that he had to take over until we turned around and that I would take her on the turn around. I couldn’t catch my breath. Now we’re running 3 miles at a time and I can run up some decent hills with her at a slow pace.

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What are some of the highlights from your weekend? I discovered some fun new podcasts that I want to write about in another post! Always a win!

The Family that plays Together

Happy Packer Day! Madelyn clearly knows what’s up. 

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I hope everyone’s week is going well. One day closer to the weekend and to my little cousin’s wedding! I’m thrilled to watch her get married, and I can still remember when she was born…how’s that for feeling old?! 

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Al & her fiance at our wedding

We definitely started our week off with a bang. On Monday, Madelyn spent some quality time with her great grandparents and my mom, while hubs and I hopped on the Amtrak and ventured down to Chicago for the Cubs vs. Brewers game. I can’t remember the last time I was at Wrigley Field for a game, but it felt good to be back in familiar territory 🙂 

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When we got into the city, we ventured into Old Town and visited the Fleet Feet there. Of all the stores to visit in Chicago…clearly I have a problem. I think I love this store so much because it’s my first experience with running stores. I remember calling my mom after my first visit there and saying, “They just have so much stuff for running!” I also participated in a few of their fun runs during my Chicago days. As we left Fleet Feet, it started to pour. We didn’t really have an agenda until the game, so we kind of ducked out from the rain and then decided to head toward Wrigley.

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We ate at Mo’s Cantina before heading to the game. The day turned out to be perfect. Great weather and an awesome date, what more could a girl ask for? 

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After the game we met up with Kristine for a few drinks and before we knew it, it was time to catch the late train back to Milwaukee. But not before stopping for some Lou’s. Of all the Chicago style pizza the city has to offer, Lou Malnati’s is my absolute favorite. That crust tho! Unbelievably delicious. Hubs ordered our pizza to go because he didn’t think we’d have enough time to eat there. His plan was just to have us eat it at on the train. I had a better idea. Instead, we sat in the park near our old apartment, shared some pizza and talked about the old times. This is the same park where we took Oliver on his first walk and where we had our engagement pictures taken. By far my favorite place in Chicago.  

IMG_00671Today, I met my mom for lunch at Sven’s Cafe. I haven’t been here in a while, but I stuck with my usual. Mixed greens salad with goat cheese, chicken, walnuts, grapes and balsamic. It never fails me. I also had an Italian soda with pumpkin. It was good, but just a tad bit too sweet for me. My mom had the coconut Italian soda and that tasted much better.  

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I also decided that today would be my last day of work for the week. I have so much to get done before this weekend and I want to spend some time with Madelyn before she heads down to Chicago (for the first time ever without us!!!!) to spend time with her grandparents for the weekend. I know she will have a blast, it’s me that I’m concerned about 😉 

Tonight, I was really feeling a bike ride. The last two runs (the only runs this week!) I’ve had have not been the greatest. My legs have felt heavy and I’m left feeling defeated. I don’t know if it was the humidity or the fact that I ate like crap this weekend (or both) but I haven’t been on my A game. So I decided it would be best to give my leggies a little break and head out for a bike ride with my entourage in tow. 

IMG_00811It felt really good to work my legs but in a different way. We rode up to Leff’s Luckytown for some food before the Packer game, and then rode our bikes back. The best way to consume “not so healthy” food. I told hubs it felt great to work off the food we just ate as opposed to just sitting there and letting it sit in our stomachs.

Tomorrow, I have a barre class on the workout schedule and then taking the day to chase Madelyn around while trying to smuggle her with hugs & kisses. it’s funny, I’ve spent a whole month away from her so you’d think a weekend would be no problem, but it never gets easier. 

What’s on your workout agenda for the weekend? Any other fun plans? I’m also headed to a marathon Q & A session at PRO this weekend! I’m thrilled for that! 

Week 10 CM Training Recap

Happy Wednesday! We’re half-way through the week and HALFWAY THROUGH MARATHON TRAINING!!!!!!!!! I’m excited and scared all at the same time.  October 12th can’t get here fast enough.  So far, my training has been going okay.  I’m trying my hardest to get my longer runs done with a local running group.  On days when I have Saturday plans and can’t make the build up runs, I do my long runs on Fridays after work, which can be very challenging.  But I’m powering through, foam rolling through the pain all with a smile on my face 🙂 Here’s a little Recap of Week 10 Chicago marathon training:

Continue reading

Running With Purpose

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I just began week 10 of marathon training…so maybe now’s a good time to mention the marathon?! 

In May, I decided to bite the bullet and train for the Chicago Marathon.  I knew that I wanted to do it again (I had to beat my time after all!) I just wasn’t sure about how soon I would attempt to take on 26.2 miles.  I knew that there was no better time like the present.  If I waited any longer, other things might get in the way of me training for another fall marathon, so thinking about life and plans and stuff, I knew it was either this year or it would probably have to wait a few more years. Continue reading

I Think I Did it Again…

For someone who was planning on taking a break from training this summer, my race calendar is sure filling up:
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I have my sights set on a few half-marathons and like I said earlier in this post, I still want to focus on getting faster.  A few night ago hubs was watching Chicagoland and they were showing highlights and behind the scenes from 2013 Chicago Marathon.  I became really sad that I turned down the opportunity to run this year.  Since then, I’ve thought long and hard about my goals, what my life could like in the next year or two: this could be last year in a long time that I’ll even be able to run the marathon.  We’re not guaranteed another day, much less a year and who’s to say that I won’t be deployed next fall.  So, started looking into fundraising again for Salute, Inc.  I know that I can beat my time if I train a little smarter this time around.  I can sit here and think of a million reasons not to do it, but ultimately I’m sure I would regret it come race day.  I was talking about it with my boss a few days ago and he offered me this advice: “You know what to expect this time around and everything gets easier with more practice”.  So I came up with a training plan that I believe was attainable with my schedule and that would get me to the finish line, ran it by hubs and he said that if I want to do it, I have his support 100%.
I was still on the fence about it when I got to work today.  I was talking with a co-worker about signing up for distance races.  He was hesitating about signing up for his first half with no really great explanation not to.  Just a lot of excuses and I said to him, “Sometimes you just gotta do it without thinking, rip the bandaid off!” All the while my Team Salute application sat on my desk, filled out just waiting to get e-mailed.   What gave me the final push to “rip the bandaid off”?  This video.  It almost brought tears to my eyes.

There’s no other feeling like crossing the finish line after running 26.2 miles and enduring months of training.

My biggest hesitation about training for the marathon is the one thing I’m most proud of: My daughter.  I’m having a hard with “the mom guilt”.  Part of me feels like I should be spending every free moment I have with her since she’s growing up so quickly, but I also know that I need to make time for the things that I enjoyed prior to having her.  When I went back to work, my mom told me this: “It’s not the quantity of time you spend with her, but the quality of time that matters.”  I try to keep reminding myself of this when life outside of the home gets crazy busy.  With the way my training schedule is set up I have Sundays to give her and Larry my undivided attention.  No barre, no running.  Sundays will be designated family time this summer and I’m looking forward to it.

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Question of the day: Active Moms out there…how do you balance work, home and a training schedule?