Thursday, February 24, 2011

Workout Challenge

For ten years, I lived places (San Francisco and Miami) where weather was not prohibitive of my favorite forms of exercise, running and biking.  Don't get me wrong, riding my bike through the steam of a Miami summer was not idyllic, but it was always an option.  Same goes for days consumed by rain and fog in San Francisco.  This has been my first winter back in a cold weather climate and my poor bike has not seen the pavement in a LONG time.  


Not willing to camp out on the couch and wait for the sun to come out, I decided to take advantage of my gym membership.  Six weeks ago, I decided to run the gamut of different group fitness classes; each week, I tried classes I never would have considered before.  Historically, the extent of my GFC experience did not reach past spinning and yoga, conveniently keeping me right in the middle of my comfort zone.  However, over the past few weeks I have tried the following classes at my gym: Muscle Definition, Full Body Blast, Pilates, Hard Core, and most recently, Workout Challenge.  I have done every version of the crunch, plank, lunge, and squat, not to mention shuffles (hello basketball nostalgia) and crab walks (PE class flashbacks), and loved every burning muscle minute of it!  




It's easy to find yourself in a workout rut and this was a fun way to spruce it up! Each of the classes was challenging for different reasons, and there were definitely some exercises I was not comfortable doing due to my SI joint post-pregnancy issues; always listen to your body and don't be embarrassed if you have to sit one routine out- use the time to stretch!  


Now, if only I can muster up the courage to try Zumba...


-S.H.M.

Monday, February 21, 2011

Things I love!

Before my days as a stay-at-home-blog, I worked in a real office with real adults and did what every other disenchanted employee does; I checked Facebook, fantasized about last minute getaways listed on Jetsetter, and read my blogs.  Like my father reads the New York Times, every morning I would clutch my cup of coffee and read what was happening in the world of blogs.  Honestly, if nobody made a new post, I would take it as a personal attack; punishing me for not being more productive, and forcing me, do I dare say it...to work! 


At the top of my blog reading list was long-time friend, and now on-call blog consultant (pro bono, of course), Mo.  I am no longer at a desk, but still I am blissfully entertained by her witty life commentary, book suggestions/reviews, and immutable design fetish.  


Most recently, she featured things she loves (it is February after all) and love lists by fellow bloggers. Check out her blog, Just Say Mo and my list of ten things I love that help me stay happy and strong.  Stay tuned for an expanded version of this list here...


It goes without saying, I love Mo!


-S.H.M.

Wednesday, February 16, 2011

Me, Myself, and BOB.

Spring is in the air (at least for this week), and just like every other Chicagoan, we are loving being outside again!  Ryan is VERY much his father's son, and is happiest when he is outside and moving.  Seriously, this baby loves to stroll!  Granted, he is getting pushed around, but he out strolls me.  Truth is, I am usually the one who gets tuckered out first, and when I turn to finagle the stroller back into our apartment Ryan looks at me with disappointed eyes like, "That's it?"


While pregnant, long before I knew what type of crib, bottles, or carseat I needed, I was certain about one thing; I wanted the perfect jogging stroller.  After countless hours of reviewing reviews, I decided the BOB Ironman stroller was the one for me (us), and I wanted it in yellow.  I have learned that when traffic is involved, brighter is better.  As urban dwellers, the BOB Revolution, which is great on trails, did not seem to be appropriate for us.  Instead, the Ironman, which is light, has rubber bike-like tires, and a fixed front wheel is great for long, straight, flat running- no shortage of that here!




The great thing about figuring this out early was that I had lots of time to scour ebay and craigslist for a great deal.  


There was no shortage of single jogging strollers that barely got used before baby #2 entered the picture, or were never used because one spouse bought it for the other spouse...who had zero interest in running.  I found ours for $150 (regularly $389) on craigslist! 


I waited patiently for winter to pass, and for Ryan to get big and strong enough (no bobble-head baby here, please) so I could take BOB out.  


Today was the day. It was a balmy 35 degrees and we both loved every second of it.  My chest was burning, Ryan's legs were kicking, and the sun was shining. It was P-E-R-F-E-C-T.




Total miles: 1 


You gotta start somewhere.


-S.H.M.

Wednesday, February 9, 2011

Baby Resolution

                                                                     (Ironman Wisconsin, September 2009)


We all do it; the new year rolls around and we make pledges of improved health, defeating poor habits, and accomplishing things that seemed impossible during previous years.  This year, I did not make any New Year's resolutions; I was still having trouble facing the baby resolution I had made 4 months prior.  


For years, I had said I would do an Ironman race 12 months after having a baby.  Staying true to my plan, two weeks after my baby was born, I registered for Ironman Wisconsin. I would have 12 months and 20 days to prepare.  


Sentiments at registration: I can totally do this.


5 months have passed since I registered and the reality of training for this type of event has hit me, hard.  Truth is, I have done a few ironman races before and I know the time and mental (not to mention, physical) energy they require.  The problem is, I now know the time and mental (again, physical) energy that a baby requires.


Sentiments today:  What was I thinking???


I'm not one to back down, so I am going to move forward with this resolution. These are going to be my biggest obstacles:


1. Sleep.  Little one is not exactly sleeping through the night...yet.
2. Breastfeeding.  Though, it could be connected to #1, I feel like nursing leaves me   tired and sluggish.
3. Residual pain and inflammation from pregnancy and/or delivery.  I have been having pain in my SI (sacroiliac) joints and Piriformis, but am working to rehab these.  More on that later.
4. Time.  I don't necessarily feel like there is not enough of it (yet), but it is challenging to arrange the hours of the day just right.  I am going to have to get creative.


Here are the tools I am going to rely on to help me get there:


1. Husband.  He is the best partner and supports me through all the crazy ideas I throw at him. There is also no one I would rather ride 100 miles with.
2. Babycare.  Whether it is the gym daycare, or helpful friends and family, someone is going to have to watch the baby while I train...
3. Anna.  My favorite friend in Miami, who is also registered for Ironmoo 2011. She is fun and fast, and will totally help keep me motivated.  I am still not sure who dragged who into this...
2. Strong. Happy. Baby.  How could this face not inspire you???




213 days and counting...


-S.H.M. 

Saturday, February 5, 2011

Got Milk?

I made the decision to breastfeed my baby, and I am committed to doing so until he is at least 6 months old.  However, I am also committed to myself and my quest to feel stronger.  Enter my mission to find the perfect sports bra for a breastfeeding mom.  


Historically, my criteria for choosing a sports bra had been color and cost- these things can get expensive! For this mission, these would have to take a backseat to my two new requisites; support and accessibility. This was so important to me that, I began my research before I was even given the green light to exercise.  Like any good researcher, I headed straight for the internet to see what others had to say.  


The results?  There were/are a number of sports bras intended for nursing mothers, but almost all hold the disclaimer: only for mild-moderate impact activities.  


Translation: not going to cut it for running.   


I continued my research in stores and was left empty-handed and more frustrated than ever; I could have support or accessibility, not both. 


This had been my favorite sports bra for years: Duplicity by Under Armour






So I decided to see if Under Armour had anything else.  That is when I found the Endure.




At $49.99, this is way more than I had ever spent on a sports bra, but like I said, I was on a mission.


Unfortunately, when it first arrived it did not fit me.  Totally confused about the sizing (my issues not UA), I called Under Armour and they could not have been more helpful and understanding.  They sent me a new size (I have a narrow frame, but still required a Large), and all shipping and handling was covered by them.  


I now own 3 Endures and love them for all of my different workouts.  They are totally supportive and the zip front, though not the most aesthetically pleasing, makes feeding before or after a workout a total breeze.  Also, it has padded cups, which will mask any unexpected leaking.  My one complaint- it only comes in black or white.


-S.H.M.  

Wednesday, February 2, 2011

Who Was I Kidding?



As a work requirement, I went to Spin class this past weekend.  In spite of the fact that I had not been on a bike since week 39 of pregnancy (just over 5 months ago), I got ready for class like I had a million times before; totally motivated and full of confidence. When I arrived at the gym, I set up my bike and was ready to ride.  I'm a cyclist, and have never met a class I can't handle...until now.  Like most spinners, I started pedaling strong thinking it wasn't so bad.  The confidence lasted about 10 minutes, and it was all downhill from there.  My legs were on fire and my heart rate was through the roof. Not to mention the obvious discomfort that comes from not sitting on a bike seat for 5 months.  There was that whole baby delivery thing too. 


Ouch.  


I thought I was back in shape. Who was I kidding??? I guess for me, getting my body back is not just about fitting into my jeans. This might take a while...


-S.H.M.