Monthly Archives: September 2012

Fitness Friday: Labor Taper Edition?

This week saw another slowdown in my exertion. I hit 38 weeks of pregnancy and started feeling…so…incredibly…tired. I’m going to listen to whatever my body is trying to tell me, and I can only hope it’s trying to get me to rest up for labor sooner rather than later, and actually rest.

My husband said last night that I never sit around and rest and that I’m always running around doing too much. It’s true, but in my defense it’s kind of hard to relax and rest with a three-year-old. They don’t always get that memo. My new thing is that I have to actually lay down on the couch for an hour or so in the afternoons to make it through the rest of the day! I’ve never been someone who can do that. I’m usually just going and going all day and I will sit down and relax at night before bed and read. Laying down in the middle of the day just feels weird.

The baby is grinding down on my tailbone, my hips, my everything and my body is so sore and achy! I don’t want to go into the physical exertion of labor not well rested. I also don’t want to have dirty hair, in case tonight is the night! I feel like I need to be constantly ready to head to the hospital.

This week’s recap:

Monday I did my 30 minutes on the elliptical plus 10 minutes of incline treadmill walking.

Tuesday 1 hour full body weights workout in the weight room. I somehow managed to up my weight on the tricep overhead pull machine to 40 lbs from the 30 I’ve been doing for a year. Am I just stronger since I weigh more than I ever have in my life (I broke 150 for the first time, including my last pregnancy)? So strange.

Wednesday was another elliptical/treadmill 40 minute cardio workout.  I actually had some energy this day and felt good. I contemplated trying Spin again but the class didn’t fit with my schedule.

Yesterday, Thursday…I rested! I was so tired I did my couch laying thing and found something I could tolerate that my daughter can also tolerate: cooking shows! She loves them. So much better than having to hear kids’ shows blaring in the background and for some reason, makes me feel better about her watching TV. We watched Giada and Paula Deen. Anna said “I want her [Giada's] kitchen and her food so I can make that food for you when I’m a Mommy.” So I’m holding her to that. In 25 years I’m showing up for chicken orzo and homemade mojitos at my daughter’s house.

I did take the dog for an hour walk that night.

(the dog)

Today I will probably do another strength training workout. But if I feel like the living dead again I may even rest another day! This is so strange and foreign to me, but I have a feeling I may be having this baby soon. Of course, I could be totally wrong and if no baby shows up by Monday I’m not sure how much more resting I can tolerate. The last two days I’ve felt like I’m PMSing times 10…cranky spells alternating with weeping over nothing, periods of euphoria, starving to death and wanting chocolate, my skin and hair are super greasy and oily, and I’m exhausted and my nose is stuffy. And I’m starting to swell in my hands and fingers which is totally new. Does this mean anything!? I’m crazy looking for labor signs lady. I really hope this apparent hormone shift means something.

Maybe I will do some cardio tomorrow morning instead of resting to make up for my rest on Thursday. I’ll have to see how I feel. Planning seems to be futile right now.

 

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Blogger on the Run

I’m today’s featured Blogger on the Run over at Women’s Running magazine! It’s kind of ironic, because the only running I’m doing these days is to the bathroom to pee five times per night. But it was fun to write my “running life story” and not being able to run right now has given me even more perspective on how much I love to run and can’t live without it.

If I don’t go into labor in a week though I might try a little jog to see what happens. I keep hearing stories about women who went out for a run and then came home in labor…can’t hurt to try! Although I’m sure I will be a comedic sight. I don’t have quite the cute little belly some of the impressive pregnant running mama bloggers who run up to delivery have…

Anna likes to cut off my head when she mans the iPhone.

I have a planet. I am a planet. I’m orb-like.

Oh, and if you head over to the post on Women’s Running and leave a comment, you will be entered to win a one-year subscription to the magazine. Can’t beat that. Well, maybe getting to try out their tips and workouts after you read the magazine, instead of wistfully filing it away for six weeks from now might!

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Calm Before the Storm

I feel like I’m in a strange lull before the reality of life with two children comes crashing in. A low pressure waiting period before the storm hits. I’m excited for the baby to come, and of course feeling all the nervous waiting around energy of the end of pregnancy, but at the same time I’m enjoying the fact that my three year old is in preschool until noon and I can do things. Quietly and peacefully, and solo, even for these few hours a week. I don’t know how many more preschool mornings I will have free: free to write, research, do a project at home, run errands quickly and efficiently the way you just can’t do when you’re strapping in carseats, cajoling and explaining, answering the million Why questions, urging slacker feet along…

I love the Why questions.

I have no idea how hard it will be to have a newborn and a three year old. I found having a newborn hard, full stop. I will be older and wiser this time, yet there is no luxury of napping any time, of sitting home and watching TLC while I nurse for hours, no ease of nothing to do besides take care of a baby.

I have no idea how hard it will be to manage two children with different needs; to bring one here and there with the other in tow; to parent a high energy preschooler on the endless nights of broken sleep sure to come.

I have no idea when I will emerge from underwater. When suddenly life has a little bit of routine.

When I can get back to the gym.

When I can feel sane again. When my brain will work without grinding gears and cobwebs and cotton stuffed all in it. When I can write, and work a little, and truly enjoy each day as a parent.

I have to be patient (I’m horrible at being patient).

I’m about to plunge into the midst of another new unknown and I have faith that I will come out better, stronger, happier, fuller, with a whole little big huge family but I don’t know how, or when.

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Nursery Reveal!

I think the nursery is as done as it’s going to be for a while! I only have one more thing to get but I’m waiting for the exact right find, so I’m considering this room done.

Doing the nursery was one of my favorite parts of getting ready for my daughter, and although it’s true that the baby doesn’t care what their room looks like, I find it fun and it’s exciting to prepare and nest for the baby.

Our guest room had light gray walls and so I wanted to keep the gray and add bright yellow and pops of blue for the color scheme. I always liked the gray and yellow nurseries I saw online. I had no idea it was so trendy though. For some reason all my tastes and choices this time leaned toward the very, very trendy and Etsy aesthetic.

I also liked the idea of elephants, maybe because they are supposed to be good luck, and they just remind me of babies and make me happy.

I had the curtains custom made by an Etsy seller and they came out perfect. I was hoping the bright goldenrod color would make the room feel cheerful and sunny even with the subdued gray walls. These were kind of a splurge financially, and I also had them made to be blackout curtains since this room gets a ton of light.

The glider was my daughter’s. It’s upholstered in sage and white checkers and we originally found it used on Craigslist. I knew I needed a glider again so I found the best armchair and ottoman slipcovers I could. It’s not a perfect fit but it does the job. The off-white cream color was the best of the limited color choices in premade slipcovers. I toyed with the idea of having a custom slipcover made then realized that was crazy talk ($$).

The little elephant pillow was another Etsy purchase, as was the Boppy slipcover to cover the Boppy I already had in pink.

The lamp was a HomeGoods find, but I traded out the shade it came with for the gray and white chevron shade I found at a (different) HomeGoods. The little rings between the elephants on the lamp shade were originally green, so I painted them teal to match the room. I also contemplated making my own chevron shade (there are some great tutorials floating around) but found this one instead.

The crib was my daughter’s…it’s a convertible but we gave her a twin bed and boxspring (on the floor, no frame yet) instead. Then we can turn the crib into a toddler bed for my son and everyone will be set. Until they want king sized beds for the lazy teen years, I guess.

This room is by far the smallest out of our three bedrooms, so I made a radical decision to skip the changing table. I barely used it with my daughter because she was such a roller/wriggler/mover and I mostly changed her on the floor anyway. Her changing table was an Ikea job that turned into bookshelves, so this baby will just get changed anywhere around the house. Like it happens anyway.

The other unusual thing about this room is that there is a door and stairway to our walk-up attic. We have a child latch on it. I’d love to finish it someday as a playroom or office or bedroom even.

My husband mocked my puffs as being too girly for a boy’s room. But I love them and again, am not sure where my trendiness for this room came from. I got these paper pom poms from Etsy. I’m still missing another light yellow one, to balance out the colors.

The monogrammed crib blanket is from Pottery Barn Kids. The crib bumper I found on Ebay. It’s called Yellow Sweet Sunshine and is made by Migi. The mobile was from Anna’s newborn days. Luckily it matched pretty well. The crib skirt is also from Pottery Barn Kids and I found it for a discount on Ebay.

The artwork I made out of canvas and paper. I was inspired by some cut out prints I saw at HomeGoods but figured I could make my own more cheaply, and for fun. I did a series of paintings for my daughter’s room before she was born so I felt I should do the same for Henry. Besides the elephant motif, I wanted the room to have a kind of animal/beach/nautical/retro feel.

I might do a separate post on how I did the artwork if anyone is interested. It was pretty simple.

My husband hung some shelves for extra light storage and display space. Anna chose what family pictures she thought Henry might enjoy. Note how she features prominently in them.

She also generously donated a book – Pat the Bunny – and some old toys to the cause. She got the idea from her big sister books.

The photos of our dog on the beach above and the beach below I took a few years ago and were hanging in the room when it was a beachy gray guest room.

I might put one of those canvas book stands against this wall, like the ones from One Step Ahead.

The rug was another leftover from the guest room, that we found at a garage sale.

The room also doesn’t have a dresser. I have newborn through nine month sizes in the closet in baskets and shelves, and hanging, and bigger clothes in the white chest next to the crib.

It’s not ideal and I’ll see how it will work going forward. I want to find a night stand for next to the armchair with some drawers but it would need to be very narrow and small to fit. I want to find something with modern lines and paint it blue. I’ve been looking for something for a while but haven’t found the perfect piece.

So now we’re just waiting for the occupant. Who probably won’t even sleep or nap in here for months, anyway!

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Friday Fitness Roundup: The Tired Week Edition

This week I did something I don’t know if I’ve ever done: I dutifully packed up all my gym clothes, brought them along to a our day’s outings so I’d be prepared, drove to the gym, brought my daughter into the day care, started working out and…stopped and turned around and went home.

I was so, so tired, and just felt horrible. Usually a workout will help fix whatever is bothering me, but this time my body was just saying something else. I was so exhausted the whole day I was seriously worried I’d get in a car accident. My daughter decided that since she turned three years old, she should get some new problems, so now she’s scared of going to sleep alone in her room at night because of the “shadows.”

We got her a special shadow-busting flashlight, leave the lights on low, and reassure her that we will visit her in three or five-minute intervals. But we’re consistent that we won’t lay with her until she falls asleep since that was how this started last week in the first place. She’s gone to bed fine in her room for years. Now bedtime is long, and tiring, and she’s sneaking into our room around 5 or 6 am and maybe or maybe not going back to sleep. Ugh.

So in addition to being so, so tired, the baby landed on my sciatica nerve for the first time this pregnancy, and between that, feeling super crampy, headache-y, and nauseous I hopped onto the elliptical machine and hopped right off.

New worst workout ever! We went home and watched a “girl team” movie on the couch. Girl team is when Anna and I do something without my husband and the future boy baby…like watch Princess Diaries and eat fro-yo or do our nails. I’m hoping it will be a nice Thing when the baby comes for Anna to feel like she is still getting one-on-one time with me.

The other workouts of the week: On Monday I did the elliptical for 30 minutes.

Tuesday I did 1.5 hours of free weights. I’m noticing a very strange phenomenon: I think I’ve actually put on some muscle mass over this pregnancy (along with lots of fat stores and fluids and a small person, of course). Which maybe makes sense, but I’m curious to figure out exactly why.

I’ve been doing the same amount and same intensity (almost, except for body weight bearing things like pushups and pullups and dips) of strength training as before, so the only things that are different are: I’ve probably been eating way more food, I may have been eating more protein, I haven’t been running for several months, and I’ve been doing overall less cardio than before.

Here’s some comparison shots. Don’t mind the photos, I was trying to model a sweater vest…

These were from February, right before I found out I was pregnant. Now that I’m looking at these from some distance, I feel like I was getting rangy there…wow! This was probably during a period I was running a lot (for me) after training for a half marathon (that never happened because it got snowed out). I was still probably only running 20 miles per week or so! I’ve never consistently run a lot of miles. I’m so curious if I’d get faster or better if I say, trained, for a marathon.

So when I wasn’t pregnant, I either wasn’t eating enough (although I ate whatever I wanted) to build the potential muscle I could have been from my training OR I was doing so much running/cardio it was sort of counteracting muscle building? I’m not necessarily interested in growing bigger muscles (but if it makes me stronger, yes I do want to do that!) as much as I want to be overall fit and balance running with strength, but I never thought my typical low running mileage weeks were enough to actually prevent muscle growth. Or maybe it’s not either of these things and I’m stealing some of my son’s testosterone?! Or another pregnancy side effect?

Here’s me in the third trimester, with 33 pounds more of…apparently every type of body tissue:

My arms are definitely bigger, but not just in a pregnancy fat way, I think.

Any experts on strength training want to weigh in on my pregnancy muscle building mystery?

On Wednesday I was still scared of last week’s Spin-induced contractions so I did another 30 minute elliptical session plus 15 minutes walking on the inclined treadmill.

Thursday was my aborted workout fail. Today, Friday, I will do another weight room session and hopefully make up for Thursday by taking a long walk or two this weekend.

Once I hit 38 weeks officially on Tuesday, if I feel good, I’m not going to hesitate to head back to Spin and walk, walk, walk and add more to my weekly routine. Can’t hurt with getting the baby here, right?

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Fitness Bucket List

Over the last year, I got into a kind of rut fitness-wise….I was so focused on specific training goals (runs, triathlon) that I couldn’t fit fun stuff into my schedule. Yoga classes and fun dance classes at the gym all appealed to me at one time or another but weren’t really essential to my routine (weights, bike/spin, run, swim) that I didn’t really try to fit them in.

Just recently, I had the opportunity to try out two new types of fitness classes for articles I’m writing, and I really enjoyed doing something new and different. I did a Real Ryder indoor cycling class, which I found I l0ved, and think it would be a great addition to my routine post-baby-and-post-baby-recovery. I also did a Core Fusion barre Pilates class that was surprisingly challenging.

My friend and I test out a Pilates class, something I would normally never have tried.

I think I will try to keep switching it up when I get back to regular working out again. I have a running list of races I want to do and fitness things to try from now until the rest of my life. Here’s my list so far:

NYC Marathon

NYC underwear run…this just looks like the most fun thing ever

A Pump and Run style race. I can’t wait to do this!

Another sprint triathlon (probably this one since I don’t have to worry about wetsuits or open water swimming just yet)

Run a race with my dad (I’m going to see if I can convince him to do the pump

and run with me…we might even see who can place better in their age group, mine 30-34 women and his 60-64 men!)

A half marathon (any will do)

CrossFit

Meditation

More yoga

Mud/survival run

Get personal training

Become a personal trainer

Go on a multi-day bike tour

I’m sure I will keep adding to this list as I hear about must-do events or new trends. What’s on your fitness bucket list?

Now if only I can go back from B to A, I'll be ready for the underwear run.

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Three and Zero

My daughter turned three yesterday.

I’d say it’s hard to believe I have a three-year-old, but it doesn’t really feel that way. I feel like my daughter’s always been in my life, and I feel like we’ve been a happy family of three for forever and a day.

I made my first birthday layer cake. Cake making will not be going up on my list of skills on LinkedIn. But it was fun, and Anna loved it.

Anna had a gymnastics party. I think it was a hit…the kids tumbled, jumped on trampolines, hung from pulleys, and then Cirque de Soleil, preschool edition happened.

She can be pretty brave.

Princess hair, presents, hair accessories, nail polish, glitter, sparkles, rhinestones, clothes and treats happened.

My daughter is a ham, a jock, a girly girl princess fan, and a social creature. She’s everything I wasn’t at three, as a shy, quiet bookworm.

Center of attention? Yes, please.

I think this is one of the best parts of having a child. You really, really, really have no idea what little soul will be coming to you. You can’t predict bespectacled, curly-haired, left-handed batting, fashionista, dancing comedianne offspring. They come out of the ether.

And they come when they want…now I’m in the wait and watch for labor phase of life, and I know I’m already trying to control uncertainties, trying to hedge probabilities, using my previous experience (Anna came two weeks early, so this baby will, too, right?) to gauge future events. I can’t help it, I’m human. It’s how my brain works.

But it’s not how babies or children work.

Zero

One

Two

Three!

 

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Friday’s Fitness Roundup, Princess Edition

I’m attempting to make my first multilayer birthday cake today, for my daughter’s third birthday party tomorrow.

Anna actually found a how-to for a princess castle cake herself, somehow, on YouTube on the iPad. She must have been trolling for princess links.

Everything, all the time, is princess, of course.

She has been watching the cake tutorial over and over since then.

“I want to watch my cake!”

So no pressure from the kid or anything, but I think it looks relatively easy. Not that I’m not liable to screw something basic up…I’ve never been a baker. I like cooking savory food, but baking’s never been my favorite. I’m sure if it’s successful pictures will be ProudGrammed out over Instragram. If it’s a disaster, I guess I can buy a last-minute cake, right?

This Friday’s roundup of my week in fitness is pretty tame. This has been my biggest slow-down week of the pregnancy. My normal routine also got thrown off because on Saturday I tried out a Core Fusion Pilates barre class for an article I’m writing at Exhale Spa in Bridgehampton.

(Long Island locals: look for my monthly I-try-it fitness columns starting this November in Long Island Pulse magazine!)

So Monday I was still sore from those crazy barre squats, so I did an easy 30 minutes on the elliptical. When I stopped being able to run in the second trimester and had to switch to the elliptical I dreaded it…I thought I’d find it deathly boring. It’s still not my favorite but I listen to music and I can get a nice endurance aerobic thing going on with lots of sweat. (Not that it’s hard for me to work up a sweat. I can sweat doing anything. Go me.)

Tuesday I did 1.25 hours of free weights and weight machines. Still lifting close to my normal poundages, somehow. I can only do three sets of 10 pushups now and then I have to stop before the heartburn takes over. I can’t lay on my back or get horizontal any more at all. I have to do everything  sitting or standing now.

Wednesday I did 45 minutes of a Spin class. For the first time (been spinning 2x per week up to now) the class started making me feel crampy, maybe even having some mini contractions so I got paranoid and cooled down early. My husband was traveling for work, so the last thing I wanted was to somehow Spin-start an early labor!

Thursday Another exciting 30 minutes elliptical session. I changed from my planned Spin class because again, no babies are allowed to be born until my husband is in the United States again and my daughter’s party is over. I was all energized from my super exciting elliptical workout that I even spent another 10 minutes walking on an incline on the treadmill, 3.8 mph at a 4 grade. Which made the baby’s head bounce on my cervix. Ouch.

Not so bad from the front, right? Then I turn around and the belly is like whoa...

Today will be my second weights day (1 hour or so). I don’t think I can handle any more body sculpting/strength classes because I don’t think I could get through without so much modification it would sort of defeat the purpose. I feel like I’m under-exercising, though. I feel like I’m not getting enough cardio without at least another day of Spin, or a hard group class.

Picture taken by Anna, three days shy of three years old.

After I hit 38 weeks maybe I will do some more…at that point I won’t mind exercising the baby out. Just one more week of taking it easy to go.

 

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Running Goals. Putting Dreams to Screen.

I’ve had a lot of time during this pregnancy running hiatus to think a lot about my racing and running goals. I had only started trying to run fast(er) the year before this pregnancy and felt that I got knocked up in the middle of being on a roll.

But that’s okay…bringing my second child into the world is better any day.

But! I do look forward to being able smash my personal records and I have kind of a running tally of times I’d love to hit in my lifetime.

Is that weird? I just kind of settled on these numbers as things I think I can do, in the near future, but that I’d still be proud of.

(This is my proud face)

Two years ago I couldn’t do one pull-up and wanted to do one. Now, I can do about 7 in a row, or three sets of three or four. (Not when I’m gestating). So I guess I need to knock that fitness goal up to 10? I’d also like to bench press my body weight (just one time!) I’ve never tried to bench my maximum, because I never have a spotter. Hey, dude over there in the weight room, come spot me? I guess I could try that.

So now what do I want to do?

  • Run a mile in under six minutes. [This would be challenging but I think doable. Maybe not in a few weeks, but not like ten years ago. I hadn't timed an all out mile, but I was running 6:40s as mile repeats and could do three of those...so I think my all out mile would be in the low 6's...and then some speed work to get under 6? Or maybe I'm being too ambitious here. I'd just love to achieve this one.]
  • Run a marathon in under four hours. [No clue if I could do this. I haven't even done one marathon yet. This may be a lifelong goal.]
  • Run a half marathon in under 1:50. [I think I could do this soon. Not right away, but reachable.]
  • Run an official 10k in under 50 minutes. [I've basically done this one...I ran 50 flat on dirt trails, so I'm kind of thinking I had this one, I just never did it in an official race]
  • Run a 5k under 22. [Close but of course dropping a minute in a 5k is easier said than done.]
  • Place overall in a race. [Ha, this one would have to be due to luck, an easy field, or a tiny race. It'd still be fun, if silly.]

I’m going to check these off. They are out there written in the universe so now I just have to do them.

I just need to have a baby first. And get past the newborn stage. And breastfeeding. And not sleeping. And getting back into shape. I think I can be patient, since baby times are short, and running lives are (hopefully) long.

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End of Summer Slowdown

Since I’ve hit 35 weeks, I’ve noticed I’ve gotten much more uncomfortable and much less able to keep up my previous pregnancy workout routine. Since the baby seems to be coming soon, I know it’s just the normal end days.

About to pop?

I went from this:

Monday  1 hour “elevated training” class, a challenging fast-paced strength group class plus another .5 hour of free weights on my own

Tuesday 1 hour Spin class

Wednesday 30-45 minutes elliptical

Thursday 1.5 hours free weights

Friday 1 hour Spin

Sat/Sun Rest days

To:

?

I’ve decided last week’s elevated training class was my last one until after this baby. I had to modify too many things…I can’t lie on my back at all any more for even a couple of minutes without feeling sick and dizzy…I had to drop weight for the first time this pregnancy…I just keep having Braxton Hicks and having to slow down.

I think I’m going to do more easy weight days on my own in the weight room, easy Spin classes, and the elliptical. I still hope to do five days per week of something until the baby is born.

My daughter started preschool today. Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays for two and a half hours. Fall weather just hit…the nursery is almost done (will post pics soon)…I only have a few more “must do” hurdles to clear before I will feel ready for the baby:

Finish a fitness column (I tried out two barre Pilates fusion classes for a regional magazine)

Have my daughter’s birthday party

Make sure my husband is back home from a business trip

Get our backseat seat belts replaced so we can put the new car seat in

And then…baby is welcome to come!

Nursery...almost done

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