Running after Pregnancy

So my first 5km race since I had Little Mister is this weekend, it's also the one year anniversary to when I started this crazy journey and caught the get.all.the.medals bug!



Am I nervous? Quite possibly moreso than last year, and for a few reasons.

First and foremost, I am just a couple months postpartum. That means I haven't been training for this, and really...have no idea what to expect of myself. I know I will finish, but that stupid competitive streak will rear its head and I need to remember to listen to my body.

Secondly, I know the course. Holy moly is it hilly! We ran it in the pouring rain last year, and I have everything crossed that rain stays out of our way this year.

And finally, my poor husband will have toddlers and babies in tow. He was such a champ last year pulling a wagon with two 3 year olds in it, while watching a 10 and 5 year old, and making sure the 13 year old was within reach with the 1 year old. Whew! Add a 2 month old into that?! Ack! Thankfully, we have more help this year!

I signed up for this event all the way back in January when I was 4 months pregnant. I knew that it would be a challenge, but one that I was excited for and one that I wold welcome with open arms.

Now, I'm a ball of nerves!

But all I can do is try, right?
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Kettlebell Russian Twist #fitness

Want a really great core workout that will help with your abdominal strength, balance and coordination? Then you need the Russian Twist!


Basically, you're working your ab muscles without doing a single sit up or crunch. Pretty awesome.

For stability during pregnancy, I planted my feet on the ground and did the twist move for 30seconds per the Kettlebell360 app instructions. However, there are a few variations on this move to make it more challenging.


As the video shows, crossing your feet and raising your heels up off the floor will make for a more challenging move.

You can also lean back more to engage your abdominal muscles, and straighten your legs out a little further in front of you.

It's a great exercise, especially when you are twisting with weight. In the video, a 30lb weight is used. If you're pregnant and just starting out, go lighter. I used a 10lb kettlebell throughout my pregnancy and that was definitely enough weight for me!

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Keep Fit During #pregnancy with #Kettlebells!

So you've probably seen over the past couple weeks that while I have been waiting for it to warm up outside so I can get back out there and run a few km's a week, I've been doing some Kettlebell routines with the Kettlebell 360 App.


Before starting the kettlebell routine, I felt that my upper body strength was really lacking. Picking up a 38lb toddler when you're 20+wks pregnant is no small feat, so I wanted to be sure to focus on toning and strength training while I wait for the snow to melt.

My favorite move so far is the Kettlebell Halo


As you can see, it's a challenging move, but one that will give you stability in your shoulders, and build your upper body strength better than a bicep curl or bent over row. It's about mobility, flexibility and strength.

Have you tried kettlebells before? Comment with your favorite move!

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Workout Motivation while on Vacation

Keeping my motivation to workout and stay healthy while we are on vacation is easier than many would think. While most would be sipping drinks with umbellas in them while sitting by the pool, I will be found IN the pool.


This is the pool at Innisbrook Golf Resort. There's a wading area for the kids with a manmade beach and jets that shoot out of the ground at the one end, then a deeper area with a volleyball net at the other end.

All around are beach loungers, and certainly there will be lounging...and snacking...but there will also be swimming which is so good for a pregnant body. It takes the pressure off your joints, is relaxing and it doesn't matter how big your bump is, it's comfortable and feels good.

So, along with running a little every day, I will be getting some laps in at the pool.

Stay tuned over the next few weeks as I talk about my workout routine, prenatal fitness and how a healthy mama makes for a healthy babe!

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London Lady's Half Marathon, Relay and 5km

November 3rd marked my fourth running event this fall. Fourth...that seems insane given that I really only started running regularly in July, then picked it up in September once I was cleared from the miscarriage.

My first race, the Oasis Zoo run, I was nervous as all heck. By my fourth race, I was pretty cool and calm. I knew the process, to get out of the way of others, be respectful of their space, and that it was about no one's goals but my own.

All set and ready to go!

Post-race glow with Rebecca Nash

Finished!

My time was 43:36, which I was really happy with. I achieved a personal best, and finished 200 out of 273 (with the 5km walkers included).

So...what's next? Well I have the LOST running series that I'm working on. Right now I am working toward the 15km Swan medal, and have 5.149km under my belt from the London Lady's event.

After that, the 16km Flame, 23km Pearl and finally the 42km Orchid. That will complete series 1. My goal is to complete everything by Christmas.

Just gotta keep lacing up, and pushing myself!

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Holiday Gift Guide for Runners

On the top of my wish list this Christmas is running gear. I just cannot get enough of it, and admittedly always want to look cute when I'm out for a run. There's something about feeling confident in the clothing that you are wearing when you workout that makes you push yourself that much harder.

Here are my top 5 fitness gifts for women who run, featuring Under Armour!

The UA Run Wind Turtleneck has a laminated chest to protect you from the elements for those cold weather runners
Protect your ears against the wind and cold with the UA Mystique Knit Headband (available in 3 colors!)

Keep her comfy with the UA Icon Pant, featuring a hidden drawcord to turn these pants into capris!

Get her excited about running in the spring with the UA HeatGear Sonic See It Through Tank
You can never go wrong with a new pair of running shoes, like the awesome UA Micro G Toxic Six running shoes!

A runner needs three things...tops, bottoms and shoes. Keep her stylish through her running routines with these awesome picks from Under Armour! I bet you'll find yourself under the mistletoe if you do!

Disclaimer: This post contains affiliate links. I am a brand ambassador and affiliate for Under Armour. 


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Textured Leggings for Women from Under Armour

When choosing my running outfits, I have a pair of simple black leggings that are my go-to running pants. I love the coverage that they give, that my legs aren't chaffing together, and that they are slimming.

But...they're simple. There's no flash, no pizazz and one thing that I am learning is that I like to look cute when I lace up my shoes and head out for a run. {Hello....I match my top with my socks, and my running bra...loser! haha}

So when I saw that Under Armour had a campaign for their leggings, I knew I had to take a gander.



Texture...something that is very important in my artistic life, and I love it when it is used appropriately in clothing. UA has two beautiful textures for their leggings: Herringbone and Snake Skin. Can you imagine just how awesome you would look and feel when running in these stylish leggings?? Incredible!



And since we are going into the colder months, Cold Gear is on my top of my list. I LOVE the Cold Gear Cozy Tights! Designed with extra layers to keep you warm, these leggings are fantastic for runners who like to be outdoors.


And can we talk about color options for a minute? UA has you covered no matter your color preference. The Cold Gear Cozy Tights come in the black/blue combo shown above, but also come in black/silver, black/hot pink, black/light pink, and black/purple!

On the top of my list are definitely the UA CozyLux Snakeskin leggings. I absolutely love the texture and they fit my ecclectic style really well.

Disclaimer: This post contains affiliate links. I am a brand ambassador for Under Armour. 
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8 Fall Essential Women's Fitness Wear Items

One challenge that I am facing right now is how to dress for the cooler weather. I really love running in the evenings, but once the sun is tucked away for the evening, it certainly gets chilly!

Thank goodness that UA has handpicked 8 essential fitness wear items for women to help you transition your outdoor workouts for cooler weather.


The pairings that UA has picked are fantastic. From the Flow Tank for your hot yoga class to the 1/4 Zip for runners who need an awesome layering piece, UA has selected 8 essential items to carry you through the fall season.

My favourite selection is the Icon Pant. These versatile woven pants are proven to perform, and can go from morning run to a trip to the grocery store with their hidden cinch to turn them into crop pants! How clever!

I actually love the entire running outfit, with the UA Still Gotta Have It Bra in hyper green, and Cotton Charged Storm Marble hoodie in tusk. Everything flows really nicely with the entire outfit, and it is perfect for a runner who doesn't want to give in to the cooler weather just yet!

Disclaimer: This post contains affiliate links. I am a brand ambassador and affiliate for Under Armour.

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An Announcement Worthy of a Celebratory Run!

So yesterday on facebook and instagram, you may have seen this face


I had just gotten off a conference call and was SO EXCITED!

Then I went for a celebratory run, and ran my personal best!


So that good news that I've been dying to announce? Well this girl right here, she's now a Brand Ambassador and Affiliate for Under Armour!


What does this mean? Well, I'll be featuring their amazing running gear here on the blog, doing some seasonal gift guides for runners, help you find the perfect sports bra, and promote the UA message of being empowered, lacing up, and running!

Disclaimer: I am a brand ambassador with the Under Armour Affiliate Program. This post features my affiliate link.

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Girly Running Wear from Albion Fit

Have you heard of Albion Fit? If not, then you are missing out on some serious girly workout and active wear. These super flattering and luxurious styles will make you want to work out...no seriously!

Here is my Fall Running Wear wishlist, all styled by Albion Fit.

Petal Pants...because seriously? Look at the ruffle!
Go Long Crew with thumb holes - great for the chilly evenings that we will soon start having!
Sweet Stripe Full Zip, again with the ruffle!
Breathe Freely tank in cherry
All of these styles are available on Albion Fit...and as a special for all of you lovely fit mamas out there, I have a discount code to share with you! $10 off your purchase until October 7, 2013 with the code stellas10

Happy shopping!

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Zaggora...2 weeks later

So, I've been wearing my Zaggora hotpants for the past two weeks when working out (three times a week). These work outs have included running, Insanity Plyometrics, Insanity Cardio Power and Resistance, and Insanity Cardio Recovery.

How did we do?


While I'm sure that it could have been better, I am pretty pleased with the results. I broke the 157lb barrier that I have been sitting at since March, which is great, and lost a total of 3" overall.

The biggest change that I saw from doing the Zaggora 2week Challenge was a decrease in bloating. The skin on my tush and my legs is considerably smoother, and I feel really confident in slimmer fitting pants. I even more some rockin' leggings out for dinner, with heels, for my anniversary and felt like a million bucks. Never would I have imagined that I would have that amount of confidence, and am very thankful to have found it.

The Zaggora hotpants, in my opinion, are a must for any runner or athlete looking to take their fitness to the next level. The amount of sweat that you will feel inside the pants is positively disgusting, but it's really amazing all at the same time to know that you are ridding your body of toxins, impurities and extra water.

Two thumbs up from this girl!

*Disclaimer: I received a pair of Hot Pants by Zaggora for the purposes of this review. All opinions and views expressed are my own.

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Taking the Zaggora 2 Week Challenge

Hey friends!

Today I started the Zaggora 2 Week Challenge. Every time I work out for the next two weeks (which will be every other day and sometimes more!) I'll be wearing Hot Pants by Zaggora; neoprene active wear designed to burn extra calories.

How do they work?

        Celu-Lite Technology™ is a patent pending, multi-layer fabric technology harnessing the body’s natural heat during exercise to help you burn more calories  - Zaggora

And just after one run in them, holy moly. I couldn't really feel them working, but when I got home from my run and went to take a shower...I had to peel the Hot Pants off. The lining was soaked, as were my delicates, and I know that they are working!

Interior of the pants...soaked to the bone!
I'm excited to see how my body changes over the next couple of weeks and to share it with you all! For now, check out all of the awesome Zaggora active wear and let me know your favorite! This tank is definitely going on my wishlist!


*Disclaimer: I received a pair of Hot Pants by Zaggora for the purposes of this review. All opinions and views expressed are my own.

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New Year New Me, C25K Updates

So, I am now officially half done my C25K training. {well almost! I have one day left of week4!}

What an amazing experience. I absolutely LOVE running, and never in a million years did I think I would be able to call myself a runner.

But that's me...a runner! A RUNNER!

Last week, I had a huge achievement and felt like dancing all the way home at one point {I ran instead}. Here's my week 3 progression, and I'm sure you'll be able to tell why I'm so excited

w3d1: pace -4sec


w3d2: pace -2sec



w3d3: page -14sec


FOURTEEN seconds!!! I am getting stronger, my legs aren't as wobbly when I get back and more often than not, I end my cool down a quarter of the route from my home, then RUN home!

That's not to say when I get home, I'm not panting and then lying in a puddle of sweat and grime on my bathroom floor, but still!

Who are my runners out there?? High fives all around!

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New Year New Me, Inspiration To Keep Going

Time for some inspiration!


How awesome are we as women? VERY!
We birth babies
We take on a world of stress
We rarely take time for ourselves
We care unconditionally for others
Did I mention that we birth babies??

Today, I want you to celebrate your awesome. Raise a glass, go for a run, look in the mirror and smile.

For you...are....awesome.

Disclaimer: A huge thank you to Zaggora, the makers of Hot Pants, for this incredible reminder. This post was not sponsored.


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New Year New Me, Back Leg Extensions

So, I'm still trying to get a handle on leg exercises that I like and aren't insanely awkward while using a resistance band. These back leg extensions are easy to do, but are definitely awkward.


That said, they are pretty effective. I can feel my bum and my legs tightening with every one that I do, and they take little to no effort. I really love resistance training since I can just pick up my bands, no matter where I am in the house and go to it. It's so easy!

They'll definitely be coming with my to Chicago for BlogHer'13...you know...for all of that down time that I'll have (har har)
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New Year New Me, BONUS Tricep Exercises!

It's BONUS resistance training video tutorial day!

My triceps are an area that have been an area of contention my entire life. I was always the overweight kid in the class, always the one getting teased over those issues. I felt self conscious in short sleeved shirts, and often wore baggy sweatshirts, sweaters, and long sleeved tops. I'm sure that alot of my readers can relate to having one body issue or another, be it real or self-imagined.

Another thing that I have learned is that the power lies within me and me alone to change the way that I feel about myself, how I see myself in the mirror and to change my body on the outside.


Now, for that comparison that you {and I} have all been waiting for. May 26th marks the 6month mark in this body transformation journey that I am on.

6months of hard work. Over 25" lost overall, and over 15lbs. lost.


The biggest changes that I see are in my upper body; my shoulders, arms, collarbone, chest and yes my waist and hips too! Pretty awesome, and in just 6months! I feel more confident in my body than I ever have in my life and am definitely the smallest that I have ever been in my adult life.

Now for the BIG reality check...the 2009 and 2013 comparison


I'm a little speechless right now. I am so thankful for all of your love and support. For pushing me to do better and be better. For letting me be real and embracing me, fault and all.

I cried tears of joy seeing this side-by-side. I cannot believe it...but it's me! It's ME!

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New Year New Me, Neutral Row with Torso Twist transition

The final set in our upper body series using resistance bands for building strength and toning our muscles!! I am so very excited! The past few weeks have been amazing, and I am really impressed with how much strength I have gained, both inner strength and physical strength.


What have I learned about myself in the past few weeks?

I am determined to fit in resistance training every day
I recognize the rush of hormones and endorphin's
Resistance training makes me happy
I feel stronger than ever
I have no issues picking up and carrying my 3year old {well, almost 3 years old! 18 more days!}
I have a flat stomach
I have slim legs
I have cheekbones

It's so important in this whole body transformation process to look at yourself and be proud of all of the thing that you have accomplished. I most definitely still have areas that I want to work on, but I have come SO far in the past six months.

I will be posting a bonus video next week, along with a Month1 to Month6 comparison photo. I am PUMPED about seeing that difference. After that, straight into tips for beginning jogging, running, and lower body resistance training!

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New Year New Me, Lateral Pull Downs and Alternating Jabs

Almost the last segment in the upper boy resistance training series! I'm getting really excited about how my upper body is looking, and that next week will be our last tutorial {a segment on a neutral row with a transition into a torso twist}.


Doing these upper body exercises has really improved my balance, strength and stability. I look in the mirror and see a confident woman who is strong and sure of herself.

However....

I have really been focusing on bicep, back and chest strength without really even trying. I didn't realize that I had been neglecting my triceps, so that is something that I'll be focusing on over the next few weeks, along with leg strength and toning.

Another element that I'll be adding...jogging. Heck...maybe even running! We have a fantastic jogging stroller, complete with pedometer and iPod dock, but it seems to have seized when you try to unfold it. I'm not overly sure what happened what happened, but it's an issue I am determined to figure out. Stay tuned for pics of me on the go, Bear in tow!

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