Friday, February 12, 2016

Her Half Madison Discount Code - Womens Half Marathon

You may have seen my recent post about serving as a 2016 ambassador for a womens half marathon in Madison this summer.  Her Madison Half race weekend will take place June 24-26.
Events include both the 5K and the half marathon.  The weekend experience includes a welcome reception on Friday evening.  There will be a shakeout run, morning yoga and race expo on Saturday.  The run and walking events will take place on Sunday morning.  It's a jam-packed weekend full of fun for women of every fitness level.
If you are a fan of Fellow Flowers, there will also be flowers blooming EVERYWHERE at this event.  You will be surrounded by encouragement, motivation and women pursuing their dreams and accomplishing their goals.  Be prepared to be motivated from the start line to the finish line.
I recently stopped by Endurance House to pick up my ambassador jacket, technical top and discount cards.  I've been enjoying running in my new ambassador gear.  And, I can't wait for you to get ahold of this discount!  Who doesn't love saving money on a race?!

Register Now:
Save $5.00
Discount Code:  5AMBASSADOR
Currently (2/12/16), the races are at the following capacity:
5K (15%)
Half Marathon (35%)
Weekend Experience (65%)
Hop on over to the Her Madison Half Facebook page and commit to running.


You may see me running around town ... frequently ... in this amazing Her Madison jacket.  It doesn't get much girlier than this!  A few weeks post-partum, I enjoyed eight blissful miles in this jacket.  It helped me to have a goal on my race schedule finally.  Something to focus on.
I can't wait to participate in this event with other women - just like you and myself.   Women who struggle with "fitting it all in".  Busy moms.  Busy wives/spouses. Busy professionals.  We run before dawn.  Over our lunch hour.  In between appointments and commitments.  In the evening after the family is in bed.  We get it done.  For ourselves.  And it makes us better women because of it.  I've already reigned in a few friends and clients to participate with me.  I hope that you will consider joining us.

Thursday, February 11, 2016

Today's Non-Scale Victory

Today's non-scale victory ....
I fit into a pair of pants.
Skinny jeans.
That zip shut.
That button close.
Not the size I want to be in.
But they fit.
And they close.
A victory.

Wednesday, February 10, 2016

Baby Brooke's Birth Story

On December 23, 2015 we were scheduled for an early-morning induction with my third child; my husband's first.  I was 39 weeks and 1 day into my pregnancy.  Since this was my third pregnancy with gestational diabetes, I was well familiar with the induction process and how long it could take.  I had gained 27 pounds with this pregnancy - approximately half of what I gained with my first two pregnancies.  I ran until I was 34 weeks along.  At my appointment the previous week I was one centimeter dilated and slightly effaced.  I hadn't made any additional progress for the past couple of weeks.

The two nights prior to the induction, I didn't sleep well.  It was really that I was uncomfortable.  I was just anxious - and very excited to meet our baby girl.  I would toss and turn all night in bed and try to sleep on either couch downstairs.  I would read books and eliminate screen time.  But nothing worked.  The night before her arrival, I slept a total of fourty-five minutes on our couch.  The induction was scheduled for 7:30 am.  I finally got off of the couch at 5:00 am and took a hot shower.  My husband was also up and barely slept.  My kids were up shortly after and eager to meet their baby sister.  My daughter (just turned 12 yrs) was excited to take the last day off of school before winter break to be present for her sister's birth.  My son (almost 8 yrs) decided that he wanted to attend his school's holiday celebration, so we would be dropping him off at his dad's at 6:45 am and his dad would be bringing him up to the hospital at lunch time.  He was scheduled to leave school at 11:00 am.

We arrived at the hospital a little early.  We checked in at labor and delivery and they immediately showed us to our room and had me get on a hospital gown.  The room was dimly lit and it was still dark outside.  The room was quiet.  I couldn't believe that this moment that we had so impatiently been anticipating was finally here.  The three of us just looked around in amazement and smiled.
My daughter got comfortable on the couch with some books and my ipad.  After meeting my first nurse, Angel and the resident, they started discussing the induction process.  They were going to be inserting a dissolvable pill to begin the induction.  Depending on progress, they would check me again in four hours and decide if another pill was needed.  This was also done with my son's delivery, so I was well familiar with the waiting process.  At 8:15, the nurse put the IV needle in me, which never ended up getting used this time.  With my previous pregnancies I also needed Pitocin.  The pill was also put in place at this time.   This should begin the dilation process. I was to be checked for progress around 12:15. 
At 9:00, my parents arrived.  At 9:15, my friend Tina arrived.  She had one child of her own, but always wanted to witness someone else's labor and delivery.  So we had her join us for our baby girl's birth.  She would also be taking photos for us and writing down updates to document her arrival.  At 10:00 my younger sister arrived.  And at 10:30 my mother-in-law arrived.
I was asked by the nurse regarding my pain level at 11:10 and said that it was at a level one.  I was starting to feel like something was happening and was having light contractions.  The doctor came in shortly to meet us and was laughing about our room full of people (and support).  After some introductions and updates, he left the room.  All of the women in the room joked about how good looking he was.
Around 11:30, everyone else was getting hungry.  I was enjoying my ice water and ice chips.  At one point, I also was given some sugar-free Jello.  Before my support crew headed down to the cafeteria for lunch, they went downstairs to meet up with my son in the lobby.  He was so excited to be present and I was happy that he got to enjoy his party at school and spend time at the hospital - something that he was emotionally torn about.  Poor kid. 

Contractions were getting a little stronger and I was starting to get annoyed and a little less comfortable.  I loved my support system, but all of the noise and chatter was starting to bother me.  Luckily, I had made a birthing playlist, just like I do for running.  I put in my headphones and listened to several Mumford and Sons songs over the next hour.  Everyone headed downstairs to lunch and my husband stayed with me.
The nurses came in frequently to check on me and made updates on the computer.  But, otherwise the room became quiet as I listened to my tunes and closed my eyes.  I got in my "zone" and my "place", just like I do with marathons.  I was focused.  The nurse expressed how focused I was at several points.  From the beginning of the process, I expressed that I wanted to have another medication-free birth and avoid an epidural as well.  When my wishes were expressed to each nurse or doctor that came in the room, the original nurse continued to mention how possible this was when there were looks of doubt on their face and how I did this with my previous two pregnancies. 
Family started returning from the cafeteria, just as my pain got more intense.  I finally had my mother-in-law take my son to the waiting room to await his sister's arrival.  My sister's boyfriend was to be arriving at the airport for Christmas later that afternoon.  So, my dad and sister left after lunch to get ready and drive to Milwaukee to pick him up.  Eventually, my daughter took her bag of goodies and came over to kiss me, an said "I think it's time for me to go".  She's a smart kiddo.  She went to join her brother in the waiting room.  My husband, mom and friend were staying with me for the arrival.
I was still listening to my ipod.  As Mumford and Sons' "Ghosts That We Knew" and "Below My Feet" played, something was starting to come over me as the tears began flooding.  These are two songs that also make me very emotional during my long runs.  I often play them during the last hour of marathons and they bring tears to my eyes.  The music is so powerful.  It moves me.  The music was just as emotional during the laboring process.  I remember wiping my tears and saying "I don't know why I am crying?".  It wasn't the pain.  It was just all of the excitement, anticipation and love I felt.  It was emotional and overwhelming.  I started breathing heavier. I was checked at 12:25 PM by the nurse and was 2 cm dilated and 70% effaced.  I wasn't really in any pain.  Just getting uncomfortable from each contraction.

At 1:12 PM, the resident, Dr. Stevens, opted to break my water and said that I was making enough progress on my own and didn't need another pill inserted.  This was happening.  I was actually going to be meeting our daughter soon.  It didn't take long and I was starting to really FEEL those contractions and need to breath through them.  I soon turned off my ipod and focused on each contraction as it passed.  My mom and my friend continued to comment on how intense they were getting and how much closer they were getting together.  How I was making progress.  I was losing track of time and what was going on.  My husband held my hand on and off throughout the process.  I instructed everyone that I didn't want my feet touched or rubbed at all prior to getting to the hospital.  So no one bothered with that! 
Two new nurses arrived and Angel gave them an update on my labor.  At 3:30 PM the contractions were getting very intense and I wanted to make more progress internally.  They had me lay on my side for a few moments, which made them more and more intense.  They asked if I wanted to take a walk.  I thought I could stand up and would try it.  After breathing through a few contractions that ran together, I stood up and got to the foot of the bed.  I eventually walked across the room which seemed like the longest room ever.  I ended up at a oak rocking chair and holding on as I stood up.  I breathed through contractions as I stood up and moaned.  The nurse told me that if I wanted to walk the halls, that I needed to wear socks or slippers.  After having someone fumble through my suitcase for my fancy new slipper socks, the nurse gave me some fuzzy red slipper socks that she had.  I breathed intensely as she tried to get them on my feet.  And I bent over in pain as contraction after contraction arrived.  I remember think that this was terrible pain, but that I could do this.  I ran through difficult pain during marathons and had two other children without medication.  I could do this.  But, the pain was getting even worse.
Yeah, I never made it to that walk down the hallway.  I labored the rest of the time in the delivery room.  I sat in the rocking chair and decided it felt better to stand back up and push through the pain.  I ended up against the wall and window nearby and breathed through even more intense contractions.  I was getting louder with my moaning and my breathing.  The nurses kept documenting my progress in the computer.  I heard and vaguely saw another nurse preparing a table for delivery on the other side of the room.
They asked me if I wanted to try the birthing ball.  And I was open to that, as I remembered it easing my pain with my daughter.  I made my way back near the bed, when my bag of waters really started draining everywhere all over the floor.  My mom was frantically looking for paper towel to clean it up, when I finally told her that it would be fine and the nurses would take care of it when they came back into the room.
I sat on the birthing ball and was starting to sweat tremendously.  I was feeling more pressure in my bottom as I sat on the ball and felt the counter-pressure from the ball.  My mom mentioned that she thought it would be about another hour until the baby arrived.  I sure was hoping I was making progress from that 2 cm.  At this point, our first nurse went home and wished us luck and a Merry Christmas.  While I was on the ball I held the bottom of the bed and remember moaning and thinking that I had never been this vocal during the other two births.  But, I couldn't help myself from making sounds as I breathed through each contraction.  I recall rotating my head in circles and thinking to myself just how demonic I must look as my family though my head was spinning (literally).  I was so hot.  Soooo hot.  My mom kept asking if I wanted a washcloth, but I declined.  Minutes later a nurse came in and I said that I had to get those fuzzy socks off of my feet.  She removed them and eventually put a cold washcloth on my head.  She new better than me.  I started to feel cooler immediately.  I was told that I wasn't going to need Pitocin and that I was laboring well on my own.
After a short time on the ball, I noticed that the windows were still open and that the sun was starting to set.  I hadn't looked at the clock, but I figured it was approaching 4:00 PM.  Well, soon the clock struck 4:00 and the nurse came back in to see if I wanted to be checked.  I remember telling her that I better have made progress.  After struggling to get back on the bed, I said that if I was only at 4 or 5 cm that I wasn't sure if I could last too much longer without anything.  I was doubting myself.  She said that I was 100% effaced and at a -1 stage and .... 9 1/2 cm dilated.  Thank goodness!  I was almost there.  I had done it.
At 4:10, she asked me if I felt like pushing.  I said a little bit.  At 4:11, the doctor and resident came back in.  I said to him, "Boy, I am glad to see you!".   Everyone chuckled.  I was checked again and he told me I couldn't and that I had to continuing breathing through the next couple of contractions.  I had a 1/2 cm to go and that if I pushed that I would most likely tear.  Something that I didn't want to do.  The doctor and the resident brought the table around to the foot of the bed.  Bright lights were shining down on me.  It was show time.  I was surrounded by so much love from my husband, mother and friend.
Within in one minute, at 4:12, I was told that I could push.  I had a few controlled pushes.  With each one, I could hear my mom and my friend oooh and ahh as I made progress and they saw more and more of my daughter's head.  My husband was supporting me up near my head and was cheering me on, having no clue what emotions he would feel in these next few moments as he met his daughter.  The doctor commented how controlled and "toned" my pushing was, and everyone including the doctors attributed that to my running.  Go figure.  I pushed a total of eight minutes.
Eight minutes later, at 4:20 PM, our baby girl arrived.

Brooke Olivia.

She came out crying.  I don't even recall them suctioning her.  She was healthy.  And strong.  She was beautiful.  A head full of hair.  A perfectly round head from a speedy delivery.  And curious eyes lined with long eyelashes.  The nurses laid her on my chest and removed the top of my gown.  We bonded with skin-to-skin contact.  It was amazing.  Within the hour, the nurses were teaching me to nurse, something that I had not attempted with my other two children.  I had grown and nourished her for nine months inside of my body, brought her into this world through the most excruciating and exhilarating process and now I was still the one helping her survive in this big, big world. 

Each time I have a child, I wonder how my love can double for another little human being.  But it does.

After some time bonding, my friend went to the waiting room to get my children and my mother-in-law.  The kids were so excited to meet their baby sister.  They returned to the room all quiet with anticipation and huge smiles on their faces.  It was amazing.  Nothing can describe it.  I will never forget it.

After getting to know our Little Brooke, she was taken behind a curtain to get cleaned up and weighed.  She was 7 lb 13 oz of pure perfection.  And 20.5 inches long.  It was amazing to see the kids bond with her.  To see tears of joy.  I finally was able to see my husband become a father as he held that little girl in his arms.
Our happy little family just grew by one.  I am now a mommy to three little people.

Confidence and pride are contagious.

I was not blessed with "skinny genes"
that will allow me to fit comfortably in
"skinny jeans".
I will never be considered
"thin" or "tiny". Even when I get to my
"goal weight" or my "goal size", there will
still be things that I will want to change on
my imperfect body. Let's be realistic.
But I'm still striving to be the
best version of me.
And live life fully with what I have.
What I have been given.
What I make of it.
Confidence and pride
are contagious.
And I want my children
to catch it ...



The Kids Menu - airing online Feb 12-15, 2016

So, I am doing my own juicing and fruit/veggies detox this week to kick-start loss of that final baby-weight. Day #3 and down about five pounds and full of energy for my runs.
If you have watched either of the Fat, Sick & Nearly Dead documentaries on Netflix, you are going to want to tune in for Joe Cross' next documentary online this weekend ... The Kids Menu. I know what we will be watching this weekend!! Little Dude and Little Diva have been curious about the changes I have been making this week and are enjoying their own juice and loading up their dinner plates with even more fruits and veggies.

Curious?!  Watch the Kids' Menu trailer online.  Also, check out Joe's website for the Kids' Menu tour dates.

Tuesday, February 9, 2016

My imperfect body

Well, being home with a newborn around the house the past several weeks has really allowed me to just be chill.  Natural.  Sweatpants.  Race shirts.  Sports bras.  No makeup.  Sometimes I shave - sometimes I don't.  Did I brush my teeth before my morning coffee?

Since I started running again at 2.5 weeks post-partum, I've been aiming for five days a week on the treadmill.  And I'm trying to do fitness videos two or three times each week.  It's been really easy to get back into it.

Running in your basement with a six week old infant and a dog as your only spectators, you're allowed to look how you want.  And wear what you want.  I've been really pushing myself and cranking up the speed the past week.  It gets hot!  So, I put out some fans near the treadmill to keep me cool.  Today, I also opted to just where my sports bra.  I would never run in a sports bra at the gym or while trekking miles outside.  But, in my basement I felt comfortable.  It's a safe-zone.  So ... why am I posting these photos on my blog?  I have no idea.  Maybe just to prove to others that they aren't alone.  That we can all be successful and goal-driven.  Have confidence in certain situations.  But everyone feels vulnerable.  Everyone has insecurities.

Yup, that's back fat right there.  Yes, it's gross.  No, I don't like it.  But, I'm working on it.  I have no makeup on.  But I am sporting a great post-workout glow.  I'll get back into a tight fitting running top soon and won't have to sport my oversized technical tops out on a run.  It will happen.

That sports bra that I decided to put on solo is also sporting nursing bra pads.  I'm nursing and pumping about ten times a day and being a busy mom to three great kids.  I'm making time for everyone and meeting their needs.  But, I'm also fitting in time for myself.  And meeting my needs.  
I am wearing high waist running tights, because they are the only thing that won't slide-down over my mid-section right now.  There are areas of my body that I'd just like to pinch and make them go away.  Take a chunk here and toss a handful there.  But we all know that isn't going to happen. I need to get on that treadmill, put in the hard work, put in the miles.  I need to fuel my body properly for those workouts, too.  No one is going to do it for me.
There is what's left of my baby weight.  It jiggles when I run.  The pounds aren't melting away.  And I am working hard to get rid of it.  I will eventually be able to zip up a pair of pants once I return to work next month.  I know it will happen.  I just need to keep working at it.
My body is painted with stretch marks.  Many from abuse of my body when I was younger - from being bulimic during junior high to gaining fifty pounds my senior year of high school.  Yo-yo dieting in my twenties.  Several from the beautiful births of each of my three children.  Some near my belly, some hidden on my thighs, others around my chest and under my arms.  They are there.  There is no denying it.  So let's just embrace them, shall we?!
My imperfect body has allowed me to log around 100 miles already since my little one was born less than seven weeks ago.  In four weeks, I have logged 100 miles.  That is more than most people will log in their lifetime.  I am embracing my body and it's imperfections.  I am embracing what it does for me.  I am logging each of those miles on my own.  No one is going to do it for me. 
I was not blessed with "skinny genes" that will allow me to fit comfortably in "skinny jeans".  I will never be considered "thin" or "tiny.  Even when I get to my "goal weight" or my "goal size", there will still be things that I will want to change on my imperfect body.  Let's be realistic.  But I'm still striving to be the best version of me.  And live life fully with what I have.  What I have been given.  And what I make of it.  Confidence and pride are contagious.  And I want her and my other children to catch it ...

Friday, February 5, 2016

Mama & Baby Yoga

I've been really trying to mix things up with my running routine.  I've been trying all sorts of fitness DVDs from the library.  I was happy to find this yoga DVD that incorporates your baby into your yoga and stretching routine.  I tried this yesterday after my morning run.  We moved the furniture in the living room, put the dog outside and bonded together over this DVD.  I pushed play on Shiva Rea's Mama & Baby Yoga DVD.
We completed the first two segments before she was ready to move on and be fed again.  I am not much of a yoga person, but enjoyed the stretching and felt that the movements and the pace were a great introduction for me.  It felt really good to stretch out my legs, open up my hips and focus on my core.  My body is all out of whack from pregnancy and my body has been getting a little extra sore after running.  Yoga will be a great way to stretch all of these things out and this DVD also gives me time to bond with my baby and incorporate her into my exercise routine.
I loved how movements incorporated your baby.  But the instructor also had babies set on nursing pillows in front of her yoga mat.  This allows you to interact with your baby through facial expressions and the sense of touch.  However,  you are also able to do some stretching and movements on  your own.  I felt that the DVD gave baby enough time to interact with you on a physical level just enough and then you allowed the child to rest by themselves.  When they were ready to be picked up again, you were ready to start the next segment with them.  The instructor also encouraged you throughout the DVD to push pause or pick up your baby as necessary to make them happy.  I didn't feel added pressure to complete the DVD just like the instructor did each segment.
At first she wasn't too sure about what we were doing.  But soon she enjoyed the movements.  It also gave her some tummy time, which is always encouraged.  She also became quite curious and alert as we were moving our bodies together in new ways.  She loves looking around and checking out her surroundings.  This DVD offered her a new way to do that.
I already have renewed this DVD from the library so that we can enjoy it for an extra week!

Wednesday, February 3, 2016

I am so motivated to say "see ya" to this baby weight.

Today's workout is brought to you by a healthy breakfast that fueled my workout and a happy baby that took a two hour nap this morning. This is my longest treadmill run in close-to a year. It felt great! And I really enjoyed finding that mental toughness again. Sometimes that is half of the battle for me on the treadmill. Boredom and lack of motivation. Running in place for anything more than thirty minutes can be mentally draining. This morning everything felt right on target. I am so motivated to say "see ya" to this baby weight.

Eastern Headbands Review

Ya'll know that I love wearing headbands when I workout.  I love being able to wear my hair down and yet keep my hair out of my face while I work up a sweat.  I don't typically wear headbands when I wear my hair up however.  I love the bright patterns offered in headbands offered by many different companies.  And I always enjoy learning about new companies, especially small business owned by women.
I was contacted by Stephanie of Eastern Headbands to give her headbands a test run (literally).  She sent me a large paisley brilliant blue headband to try.  These wide, non-slip headbands are made from a nylon-lycra fabric.  Like many headbands on the market these are not made of a "wicking fabric".  However, they will soak up the sweat and keep your sweat from dripping in your face - or even worse - your eyes. 

I loved the bright colors and the structure of this headband.  It didn't slip when I tried it during my workout either (I wore my hair down).  It is gathered in the back to prevent slippage.  I loved the wide band and it stood up to a nice six mile (sweaty!!) run.  This headband is going to fit in nicely to my rotation.
These headbands not only work great for running.  But you can also test them out for yoga, tennis, dance, gymnastics or even just running errands around town with your littles.  I also love wearing headbands to the beach or pool.  Match it with your cute swim suit.

Stephanie is currently offering a few different styles in her shop.  She is also offering a nice discount to the first few customers in her Etsy shop.  All you need to do is send her a private conversation and she'll honor the 20% discount.  Can't beat that!

Undercover Mama Nursing Tank Review

Being a first-time nursing and pumping mother (I didn't try nursing with my other two children), I'm discovering this whole new world of products and techniques.  I'm constantly finding ways to make it easier, more efficient and a positive experience for both baby and myself. 
I was excited to be contacted by Undercover Mama regarding their line of nursing tanks.  These snug-fit and slimming tanks are made with two built-in options to attach to any of your nursing bras.  This turns your entire regular wardrobe into a nursing wardrobe.  There is no need to purchase an entire new line of clothing for the period you are nursing. 
These tanks are made of 95% cotton and 5% spandex.  They offer some stretch and comfort.  The tanks are offered in the regular tank style or with a fancy, lacy trim.  These are great with layering with other tanks or under other tops.
The tanks are offered in a rainbow of fourteen different colors, plus one polka dot style.  You can find something to match every single outfit in your closet.  I chose the basic black.

I am typically a 36C and wear medium clothing.  I didn't take into account that my body may be different after pregnancy and while nursing and pumping.  I ordered a black tank in a size medium.  I wish I had ordered a size large for myself.  Check out their size guide to find the right size for you.  I did like the length of the tank, but would enjoy it even more if it were a little longer - especially to wear with leggings.

You can purchase the Undercover Mama tanks for their website or from the Undercover Mama Amazon website.
Sign up for the Undercover Mama email list to receive 10% off of your first order!