Jelly legs

One of my New Year’s resolutions (goals) for this year was to work out three times a week. I was loose with my definition of working out, and counted walks around the neighborhood with the babe some days. But this allowed me to keep this goal successfully for about four months. It was great, even if all the workouts weren’t incredibly intense. They were something. I was sticking with it, checking off three little boxes I would draw in my planner each week. Yay!

Then, at some point after I went back to work, I became less committed to this goal. Body Pump was skipped, runs were “rescheduled” and Corban wasn’t up for walks in 100-degree heat. I have lots of excuses, but the truth is, I lost sight of the goal and prioritized other things.

I’m actually OK with that. There have been more important things to attend to this summer, and that’s fine. The only thing I feel really guilty about is still paying for a gym membership I haven’t been using.

But recently I’ve been craving exercise. It used to be such a big part of my life, and for the past month or two it’s been virtually nonexistent, so now I miss it.

Tonight, I went to Body Pump for the first time in… I can’t even remember. My mom came with (she was in town babysitting Corban today). We both almost fell down the stairs after class. Jelly. Legs.

I love that feeling of exhaustion that comes at the end of class. It’s totally different from the feeling of exhaustion I get when Corban wakes me up at 4 a.m. This is a good feeling – an alive feeling (not a dead-to-the-world-4-a.m. feeling).

This morning I wrote my workout plan in my planner for this week. I got that tough first workout out of the way and checked the box. Now that I’m reminded of what I’m missing, I’m looking forward to sticking with it again.

Does your workout mojo ebb and flow? How do you get back into it after some time away?

Getting back in shape after baby

For the first few weeks after Corban was born, I was content to take it easy, rest and let my body take its time recovering from childbirth. I tried not to lift too much weight (even Corban’s car seat was a bit much) or be on my feet too much.

As I started to feel better, Corban and I went on a few walks, but walks have never really been my thing.

Three weeks and five days after Corban was born, I was ready to run*.

Peter hung out with Corban and I headed to the Y for the first time in months (I never got around to canceling my membership, so I am just going to consider it a donation to an organization that does a lot for the community so I don’t feel too guilty…) The plan was to walk on the treadmill, then work up to a run, and just see how I felt.

As it turned out, I felt amazing. I ended up running for 25 minutes straight, at a pace ranging from 11 minutes per mile to 9:30 per mile.

It was extremely encouraging, but knowing my injury-prone self, I knew I should take it slow in building up mileage. So here’s my tentative plan for getting back into running shape:

Goals: Work out at least three times per week. Run a half-marathon this spring, most likely the South Shore Half-Marathon on April 7 ($12 race entry!).

Training: January 1 – 29 do weeks 5 through 8 of couch to 5K (using the Ease into 5K app); January 30 – April 7 do a 10-week half-marathon training plan (not sure which yet – will keep you posted). I also would like to make baby yoga a weekly habit (we have not been able to make it out the door in time to go since our first class) and get back to Body Pump in the next week or two. Body Pump seems daunting right now – I know the first class will be the hardest!

So far the couch to 5K plan has been going really well. It is forcing me to be really conservative with mileage buildup, which is great. The workouts are measured in minutes, not miles, and they usually involve a walking break in the middle. I’m up to 25 minutes of running.

Earlier this week the weather was freakishly warm for January in Wisconsin, so I was able to run outside and take Corban with me. That’s right, I did a few stroller runs!

We bought a running stroller for $25 on Craigslist, but Corban is still too small for it, so I used our Baby Jogger City Mini with the car seat attached. The City Mini is not meant for running, but the front wheel locks into place, which makes me suspicious that it actually is perfectly fine for running but they tell you it’s not for liability reasons. Either way, Corban is nice and secure in the car seat so I feel comfortable taking it on short, slow runs (like mine were).

Running with a stroller is tough! Granted, I was running with a heavy car seat in a stroller that is not fully optimized for running, but still. Not only is it heavy, but you can’t swing your arms and you have to concentrate on keeping the stroller in line and in control. Hills and wind were brutal!

It was nice having my little buddy out there with me, though.

Anyone else have fitness goals and training plans for the new year? Please share! And join me on Daily Mile for daily training updates.

*I know a lot of people wait for their six-week postpartum check up before exercising, but I was told to do what feels comfortable with no set time restriction.

3 weeks old and an active Thursday

Corban is three weeks old today! I’ve loved seeing the little developments he’s made over the past three weeks.

It may not seem like much, but it’s amazing to me how he’s become more alert, looking around more and focusing on different things that we show him. For the first week or so, he would never cry except when he was hungry, but now he’ll fuss a little when he’s dirtying a diaper or if he’s just not quite comfortable. Overall, he’s still a pretty content baby.

He makes the funniest faces when he’s awake. In the blink of an eye he can go from almost smiling to completely serious or with a look of alarm on his face. When he’s really hungry he gets almost animal-like as he grunts and opens his mouth for food. When he’s done eating and content, he purses his lips and raises his eyebrows with the cutest expression on his face.

I’m looking forward to the day when his sleep patterns become a bit more predictable, specifically at night. He usually has 2 or 3 longer stretches of sleep each day (2.5 to 3.5 hours), but they tend to be in the afternoon, evening or early morning rather than at night. Between midnight and 4 a.m. he seems to want to eat every hour or more. Not fun, as you can imagine. The pediatrician said by about one month he should be settling into more of a routine and sleeping longer at night. I sure hope that actually happens.

Getting active

I have to admit, leaving the house with Corban was daunting at first, and still is to a certain extent. You have to make sure you’ve got blankets, diapers, extra clothes, etc. packed and that he’s fed and has a clean diaper, which all takes a bit of coordination.  It is so nice to get out though. Interacting with others and just seeing the outside world is key to keeping your sanity when you aren’t working.

So far we’ve been to church three times, on a couple shopping trips, to the doctor a lot (five times I think, mostly because of the jaundice in week one) and to the breastfeeding support group at the hospital twice. Today we added another destination to the list – baby yoga!

Destination Maternity in Brookfield, which offers free prenatal fitness classes, like prenatal belly dancing (which, sadly, I never had the chance to attend), also has a few postnatal classes that include baby. Baby yoga sounds ridiculous, but actually was great.

It started with introductions of moms and babies (it’s nice being around other people who are going through the same things you are), then the first part of class focused on baby massage. Baby massage is good for the baby’s physical and mental development. It builds trust and bonding between parent and child and helps build muscle strength. Essentially, you just do a few simple squeezes and touches to the arms, legs, hands, feet, stomach and head.

(Baby chaturanga, a.k.a. tummy time)

The second part of the class is yoga for mom. Some of it includes baby, and some is just mom with baby hanging out on a blanket. While it is still too early for me to do any ab exercises, I enjoyed the good stretch the class provided. Corban was alert and looking around the entire class. He didn’t fuss at all till the end, when he got hungry. During the final meditation, four out of the five babies in the class were nursing. I guess baby yoga works up an appetite!

This afternoon when I realized it was 43 degrees outside and sunny, I decided to take Corban out for his first walk. He got all bundled up, which made him actually big enough to fit comfortably in the Baby Bjorn, and we hit the road.

(It’s like Ralphie’s brother in “A Christmas Story”)

We walked two miles in 37 minutes along my usual neighborhood route. Corban stayed cozy and napped the entire time, making a few noises here and there. I felt great, though carrying a baby – however small – on you while walking does add to the existing challenge of having very little endurance to begin with. It’s possible I might even be sore tomorrow from this little jaunt! I am eager to get back into shape, but I know I need to take it slow. That means walking to start and slowly building up to running farther and farther.

Coming soon

I am working on writing Corban’s birth story, and have so much more to share about these first few weeks. It’s hard spending time on the computer when you’ve got a sweet little face to kiss and cuddle all day, but I promise there are some good updates to come.

28 weeks

*First I have to say grrrr to WordPress for somehow turning my long post into zero words and zero photos after I hit publish this afternoon – no error message or anything either so I’m just discovering the blank post. Fist of anger. Now I shall attempt to rewrite it*

28 weeks seems so far along! I still get surprised when I see my growing belly in pictures, like this:

Side note: That’s my favorite maternity shirt. I bought it with my bump bucks at Destination Maternity when I bought my jeans. I like that it’s loose without losing my shape and flowy without making me look like a giant kite.

And… spotted! The Shirt on The Morning Blend:

Speaking of The Morning Blend, the last time I was on (September 29) I broke the news to them that I’m pregnant. Yes, six months pregnant and showing, but somehow it hadn’t come up yet.

This is mostly because I have sort of been discreet about it there. I’m supposed to be hip and happening when I talk about what’s going on in Milwaukee, and somehow pregnant doesn’t seem to fit well with that image, so I’ve been wearing looser tops to kind of hide it. And they didn’t know the pre-pregnant me, so for all they knew I just had a chubby tummy.

When I told the hosts, Molly and Tiffany, they were, of course, bubbly and excited (like they are about most things) and they nonchalantly mentioned it on air (they’re good at that kind of thing – that’s probably why they get paid to chat on TV). Tiffany threw in a joking, “Hope you’ve told your mom already!” since we never discussed talking about it on air. I had to laugh because my mom was the first person we told back in May and they were the very last.

In other news

It’s no longer surprising when strangers notice and comment on the fact that I’m pregnant. My favorite cashier at Pick ‘N’ Save commented the other day (I hadn’t seen her for a while) and coworkers who I don’t talk to very often feel comfortable enough to congratulate me based on appearance.

Haven’t had any annoying experiences with strangers petting my belly or asking if I’m having twins, but one conversation was kind of borderline. In the work cafeteria one day, a woman I don’t know asked me when I’m due, and upon hearing “January,” exclaimed, “Wow! You’re small but your baby sure is growing!”

I wasn’t sure how to take it, but then I realized I wasn’t clear that I’m due the very first day of January, and at this point in the year January seems eons away (no one wants to admit the Wisconsin winter is coming), so she probably figured I was only a few months along. Oh well!

Workout update

I suppose since I wrote down a workout plan last week in an attempt to hold myself accountable, I should actually fess up to what I did this week. Here’s the original plan with my actual “workouts” in bold beside it:

M: Walk to the Y (2ish miles) + 7:20 p.m. Body Pump / Incline pushups and tricep dips
T: Prenatal belly dancing / 1-mile walk and Body Pump
W: 2-mile walk to farmers market and back over lunch / 1-mile walk to farmers market (it’s closer than I realized and I was short on time)
Th: 5:30 a.m. Body Pump / Nada
F: Rest / Standing in the kitchen prepping food for a couple hours (that counts right? Standing that long is challenging these days)
S: 3-mile walk / Yardwork

OK, so I fell short by quite a bit. I’d really like to get more walking in and I have no excuse for that. Morning workouts are just not realistic right now because I feel like a bag of bricks rolling out of bed (and to anyone who knows how hard it is for me to get out of bed normally, it’s way worse than normal now!)

But I’m really happy I made it to Body Pump, even though it was a very challenging class even under normal circumstances. I was wiped by the end! When you’re carrying extra weight inside of you, lunges are so hard! And that’s without adding extra weight on the bar like usual.

I think my best action plan for walking more is to get in mid-afternoon walks at work. It feels great to get out of the office for a little bit, and I’m usually too tired or it’s too late after work.

OK, I think I sufficiently summed up my original post. It might even be better written this time. Time to go comfort the husband as he mourns the Cardinals’ loss to the Brewers. Here’s to a good week ahead for all!

Bargain stroller

About that exciting purchase I alluded to yesterday

A jogging stroller!

The InSTEP 5K Single Jogging Stroller, to be exact. The tires are flat and it could use a bit of dusting off, but it seems to be in excellent shape otherwise. And you can’t beat the price: $25. Thank you, Craigslist!

This model is discontinued, but probably cost about $100 originally. It’s not a high end jogging stroller, but for $25 it’s worth the risk that it might not be perfect. I can’t wait to use it next summer! I might actually take it for a test run this week, if I can overcome the embarrassment of pushing a 20-pound weight around the neighborhood in a stroller. Peter suggested putting a blanket over it so it looks like a baby.

Since we were able to find such a great deal on this running stroller, it made our “regular stroller” decision a lot easier. I had been debating between three models:

The BOB Revolution CE. A true running stroller made by runners for runners. Has options for fixed or swivel wheel (you want fixed for running, swivel for everything else) and can hold kids up to 70 pounds. Probably the best running stroller out there. The downsides are it’s pretty big (I think it’d be a bit tough maneuvering around at a festival or something, and would probably want to get a little cheapie stroller for that) and it’s expensive, at $469.

The Baby Jogger City Elite. Smaller and lighter than the BOB, but apparently can hold kids up to 75 pounds. Again, fixed or swivel wheel options. Pretty maneuverable. Nice adjustable handlebars to accommodate different heights. Not recommended for serious (like double digit) runs (though that’s probably debatable) and hefty pricetag at $399.

The Baby Jogger City Mini. This one is actually not a jogging stroller at all, though I know people who have run with it (probably not long distances though, as it has a swivel wheel only). It is highly recommended by practically everyone for its ease of use – you can actually fold it up with one hand. It’s the smallest of the three and the easiest to maneuver, though the weight limit is 50 pounds. Price is more reasonable at $239 (or $179 in one of the uglier colors).

For a while I was leaning toward the City Elite, since it seemed to have the best of both worlds (made for running, but also easy to maneuver).

But now that we have a decent (or at least passable, hopefully) running stroller, the City Mini is definitely the best choice. I have heard nothing but good about this stroller, and it will be great for everyday use, travel and tight spaces. Now the only question is do we get one of the less attractive colors (primary blue or bright pink) and save $60, or go for the lovely light green and gray model we’ve been eying (linked above). Hmmm. What would you do?

27 weeks

I’m officially in my third trimester! I can’t believe it. My due date is exactly three months from yesterday.

Sometimes I’ll walk into the bathroom at work and catch a glance of myself in the full length mirror and think, “WHOA. Am I really that big?”

And yes, I know I’ll only get bigger from here, but it does seem like my belly has really rounded out in the past few weeks.

I think I wore a real maternity shirt every day this week. It’s actually kind of fun incorporating some new clothes into my wardrobe — all of which were free (borrowed) or super cheap (thrifted). And maternity shirts just look better since, obviously, they’re designed for my current shape.

I’m still clinging to a few pairs of my regular pants, mostly ones that are low-riding, but I did end up purchasing a pair of maternity jeans this past week. I had $30 in “bump bucks” at Destination Maternity if I spent $75. So, of course, I stretched that $75 as far as I could and got a pair of jeans, a nice top and a tank top for a grand total of $50.

The jeans are actually skinny jeans (but not the skin tight kind), which will be nice since I can wear them with flats now and boots later. They’re really comfy (huge stretchy elastic waistbands tend to be). The only problem is they stretched out a bit after the first wear, as jeans tend to do, and kept sagging on me the second day I wore them. I guess that means there’s room to grow though.

I mentioned that my belly has been rounding out, but unfortunately the rest of me is feeling a little jiggly too. This is, I’m sure, due to the fact that I haven’t worked out in a good 2 weeks. Too tired in the morning + commitments every evening = no exercise. I haven’t exactly been holding back on the desserts either. Thankfully this week is a little slower, so I plan to get back to body pump and maybe even try out that prenatal belly dancing that I’ve been teasing you with.

I did attempt a run this evening, just because it was so nice out and I felt like it. I had limited time, so I did one mile, switching off walking and running every .25 mile. I think the one word that would best sum up how I felt is HEAVY. Those extra 15 pounds have never been so evident!

To keep me accountable, here’s a quick workout plan for the week:

M: Walk to the Y (2ish miles) + 7:20 p.m. Body Pump
T: Prenatal belly dancing
W: 2-mile walk to farmers market and back over lunch
Th: 5:30 a.m. Body Pump
F: Rest
S: 3-mile walk

I also made an exciting purchase this afternoon that I will share with you tomorrow. (Oh the suspense!)

Meh, walking

I’ve never been a big fan of walking for exercise.

For one, it’s inefficient. Why walk when I can get the miles in faster by running?

Also, unless you’re walking with a partner, it’s boring. It’s less physically engaging so therefore less mentally stimulating for me. Because running can be such a physical challenge, it takes mental focus. It’s often like an inner game with myself, setting and achieving even tiny goals within the run. But walking is just… moving forward slowly.

Before you get your panties in a bundle: yes, I realize there are many benefits to walking and I completely respect those who do it and love it. I am just not one of those people.

Or at least, I wasn’t.

I discovered in Tucson that running is probably no longer an option for me. I went out for a run and only lasted .5 mile before my stomach started to feel tight and uncomfortable. That was that. I walked the rest of the way and said sayonara to running until January.

So walking seems to be the next logical form of exercise to turn to. I can’t bring myself to face an elliptical, and although I keep saying I’ll start swimming again… well, swimming takes a lot of effort (driving to the Y, getting wet, etc.) There’s always belly dancing, I suppose (and yes, I will try that next week… I missed it this week).

So yeah, I’ve been trying to get out and walk more. And I have to say, tonight’s 2.8-miler around the neighborhood was one of the toughest workouts to get through! Not because I was sweating and out of breath, but because I scarfed down a big bowl of Annie’s mac ‘n’ cheese a bit too close to the time I headed out the door. A full stomach plus the usual little pains of walking while pregnant (which seem to crop up at exactly .85 mile for me) do not make for a comfortable workout.

And I admit, even without the mac ‘n’ cheese, walking is a challenge now. I’m bigger, I have less stamina, my belly starts to hurt after less than a mile and I haven’t exactly been a fitness queen over the past 23 weeks, so this walk was just as challenging as a pre-pregnant run. I’m actually a little scared for how much harder it will become in the next months.

To fight the boredom (because even though it’s more physically challenging now, I still get antsy), I downloaded some Focus on the Family parenting podcasts on my iPhone. I feel really old typing that. But that’s one benefit to walking – since the act itself takes less mental focus, you can actually pay attention to podcasts or audiobooks.

So, basically, walking is growing on me. And that’s a good thing.

Prenatal belly dancing?

Oh yes, it exists. In this day, that’s not surprising.

The surprising thing is it exists a mere 10 minutes from my house, at Destination Maternity (a retail store, I believe) in Brookfield, Wis. And it’s free. Ha!

So I pretty much have no reason not to try it out, right? I mean, sure, I’ll probably feel incredibly ridiculous and uncoordinated and embarrassed (I’ve never been very good at any sort of dance-based exercise classes), but I’m not one to pass up on something so seemingly outrageous.

The good news is, aside from prenatal belly dancing, they offer free prenatal yoga, piyo and weights classes. I’m definitely interested in piyo, and will give the weights class a try (though I have a feeling it will seem really tame compared to Body Pump). If nothing else, it’s a good chance to meet some other pregnant ladies.

Here’s the class schedule. Apparently there is a binder at Destination Maternity where you can sign up for whichever classes you plan to attend. Destination Maternity is located at 16010 W. Bluemound Rd., Brookfield.

Pregnant at Body Pump

I have been far, far less active over these past four months than ever in my adult life (which I’ll consider to be the past 5 years).

In the early months of 2011, I intensely trained for and raced The American Birkebeiner cross country ski race (34.5 miles – recap here). Then I switched into half-marathon training mode and was building up some nice speed and endurance.

But in April, I became absolutely swamped at work. I barely had time to sleep or eat, let alone run. This lasted well into my first trimester, when even if I did have some free time to work out, I was way too tired to even think about it.

I’ve still been quite tired in my second trimester, but I’ve definitely gained back some energy. I really would like to take advantage of this time, when I’m not too big and have relatively more energy, and stay as active as possible. But I still haven’t been able to get back into the groove of working out.

It’s frustrating! I crave exercise, but never can muster up the drive to do it. I really think this is because I’ve fallen out of the habit. I’m stuck in a rut.

Today, I decided to change that. I packed my gym clothes and vowed to leave work by 5:15 so I could make it to the 5:35 Body Pump class. And whaddaya know, I did!

I was actually nervous walking in to class. I looked back at my records (yes, I keep a workout log…) and I haven’t been to Pump since May. May! I have been paying my $30-something a month YMCA membership for nada. Yikes. And the last Body Pump class, I remember, was early in my pregnancy and it was TOUGH.

Because of this, I took it light on the squat, chest and clean & press weights, but was feeling really good so went normal on the rest of the tracks. I will definitely be sore tomorrow, but it felt SO good to get back to the gym.

Last summer I had a Body Pump instructor who taught up until, it looked like, the very end of her pregnancy. She was intense, but inspirational, even then (if that pregnant lady can bench twice as much weight as me, then how can I not get through this track?). My doctor told me it’s fine to do all the exercises in the class for as long as I feel good, so hopefully I can continue for a while. If it starts to become too taxing on my body, of course I’ll stop, but today felt awesome.

It just takes one day and one decision to change a bad habit.