Featured Fit Mom: Mandi Castle

I am thrilled to have had the chance to interview Mandi Castle for the second installment of my new series, where I interview moms with big, scary, sexy fitness goals. Mandi is a 37 year-old married mom of two, ages five and nine, living in Dallas. She recently published her first novel, Dear Stephanie, (which btw, I cannot wait to read. It looks sexy, suspenseful, and totally compelling). She blogs at Cellulite Looks Better Tan, and you can also find her on InstagramTwitter, Facebook, and Pinterest.

Mandi Castle, author

Mandi Castle, author of Dear Stephanie, mother of two, and fitness enthusiast

Mandi got her six-back back after having two kids- and she’s maintained it. When I found out about Mandi’s strong core, I was inspired, but but after she answered my questions, I was seriously blown away. Her level of commitment is insane, in a good way. It is embarrassing how often I’ve found myself wondering, “What would Mandi do?” lately. Here is the inside scoop on just what it takes to get and keep killer abs. As Mandi explains, it’s not a simple case of good genes or luck. It’s work and it’s a choice that she makes every single day.

[bctt tweet=”Here is the inside scoop on just what it takes to get and keep killer abs. “]

But it’s worth it. Mandi says she feels better when she exercises and she loves her body not just for how it looks (and it looks good!), but for what it does. I love that.

Mandi Castle's killer post-baby abs

Mandi Castle worked hard- and re-commits every single day – for her fit, beautiful, post-baby body.

PM: Tell me a bit about your background as an athlete, pre-kids.
MC: I have always been athletic. I grew up playing outside and rode my bike everywhere. In the summer, my street was where kids played. We had basketball tournaments that went on for days, and when we were sick of basketball, we had wiffle ball tournaments. I rarely went inside.

PM: In what ways (if any) did your fitness routine change after having children?
MC: I knew right away that I wanted to “get back in shape” after having each baby. With my first, I started working out at six weeks. My sister-in-law was a fitness coach for Strollerfit, so I enrolled and started as soon as my doctor released me. Once I completed that course, I made going to the gym part of my routine. With my second child, I slowly started back to the gym. I would do 15 minutes on the elliptical machine and almost die. I hate cardio. I added five minutes at a time. When I could go 45 minutes, I knew I could go back to my cardio core class, and I’ve been going to that two to three times a week since then.

PM: Where do you work out? Has that changed since becoming a mom?
MC: I have been a member at the same gym for fourteen years. My rates are cheap, so I’ll never leave, and they offer childcare. They don’t allow babies under six months of age, so that was a challenge when my second child came along. I left her with her dad to work out at the gym, and when he was unavailable, I worked out from home. There are great workout videos online, and I found some that worked for me.

PM: I know your goal was to bring your six-pack back. I am assuming diet played a major role in getting there and maintaining it. Can you tell me what a normal day of eating looks like for you?
MC: I have one major rule I rarely break. I do not eat after 8:00 PM. I also skip breakfast. Some call it Intermittent fasting. I usually do not eat from 8:00 pm until around 12:00 pm the next day. I exercise in the mornings (usually at 10:30), so I eat as soon as I finish my workout. I’ve never been a breakfast eater anyway, so it wasn’t a difficult decision for me. Having said that, I’m pretty strict with what I will eat, and I eat a lot during my “eating” hours.

I try to eat mostly vegetables, some meat, and some carbs. I like to have fish at least twice a week. For lunch, I tend to eat protein and vegetables, so a typical lunch for me is tuna with spinach or a veggie omelet. Dinners are usually my biggest meal, where I add the carbs. I am not a dieter. I just choose healthy food. I drink water more than anything else. I probably drink a minimum of 96 oz of water a day.

I’m not always good. I love tacos and cheeseburgers and pizza. I still drink coffee with creamer (I won’t give that up), and I allow myself something if I want it. I refuse to do a “you can’t have this” diet, so I will eat chocolate, but instead of having a full candy bar, I go for a bite sized one. Sugar is my biggest weakness, and on days when I’m less strict, I can put down some chocolate. I usually will work extra hard at the gym the next day if I’ve allowed myself to “cheat” on healthy eating. I’m also much less strict on the weekends. This is now though, that I’ve met my goals. When I was working toward these goals, I was very strict. Very little sugar, very little carbs, lots of protein, no unhealthy snacks, no drinking alcohol. I drink an occasional glass of wine during the week, and I’ll let myself have beer on the weekend. I think what works best is the rule: everything in moderation. But if you want to LOSE weight, you have to stay out of the fridge and the pantry. That’s the first trick.

PM: What motivates you to work out?
MC: I love my body. I like what I see in the mirror, so I want to maintain it. Of course, the health benefits are also a huge motivator. It’s funny. I eat healthier when I work out. I sleep better when I work out. I am in a better mood when I work out. Exercise is no joke. When your body is healthy, everything else seems to be as well.

[bctt tweet=”Exercise is no joke. @MandiCastle”]

PM: How to you stay motivated even on days when you don’t feel like it (not interested, too tired, time-crunched, etc)?
MC: I never actually WANT to go to the gym. Like anyone, I can come up with a thousand better things to do with my time. I remember when I was writing my book, I would be in the middle of a really great scene, and my alarm would go off to leave for the gym. I hated to stop, but it never fails. I always feel so much better after a good workout, so I go. At least three times a week.

PM: When do you work out? How do you fit it in to your schedule? 
MC: My typical routine was:
Monday: Thirty minutes of basketball (just shooting, not full court playing) one hour of PIYO (a combination of yoga and pilates)
Tuesday: core workout at home (crunches, burpees, planks)
Wednesday: Thirty minutes of basketball (same as above) One hour of cardio core (pilates on speed)|
Thursday: leg workout at home (squats, lunges, donkey kicks)
Friday: Thirty minutes of basketball (same as above) One hour of cardio core
Saturday: one hour of yoga

I started working full time (after nine years of being a stay at home mom) in December. This was the biggest challenge for me. Before, I usually spent two hours at the gym, and that didn’t include the 15 minutes it took to drive each way and check the child into childcare, so making time to exercise was a must.

I fit it in. I work from home, so I spend my lunch breaks at the gym. I do online classes. I sit on a stability ball at my desk (it makes me keep my core engaged all day long). I walk as much as I can and climb as many stairs as I can. And every chance I get, I go to my classes. I usually get to at least two a week.

PM:What were your biggest barriers to achieving your goal and how did you overcome them?
MC: At the beginning, the biggest barrier was the sheer fact that it seemed impossible. I had a lot of flab after my baby, and my body did not bounce back. Every time I looked in the mirror, I could say “You’ll never make it,” or “You got this!” I chose “You got this!” It was a lot of work and it took a lot of will to achieve my goal, but accomplishment feels so much better than failure.

[bctt tweet=”I could say “You’ll never make it,” or “You got this!” I chose “You got this!” @MandiCastle”]

PM: How old were your kid(s) when you achieved your goal?
MC: With my son (my first), I think he was about eighteen months. I have a picture of us on the beach, and you can see my abs. It took longer with my daughter. I didn’t drop my last 10 pounds of baby weight until she was close to two years old.

PM: How has your fitness routine changed (if at all) since you met your goal? 
MC: It hasn’t changed. I have to maintain. If I slip even for a week, I can see a noticeable difference.

PM: What advice would you give women who are intimidated to set a big, scary, sexy post-baby fitness goal?
MC: You can do this. You have to make a commitment to change. You can’t JUST exercise or JUST eat healthy. You have to do both, and you have to have realistic expectations. I don’t think weight matters. I think the most important thing for all of us is to like ourselves, our bodies. Be proud of what we have done but also what we are capable of doing. We made babies. We are superheroes. Who says we can’t look like them?

[bctt tweet=”We made babies. We are superheroes. @MandiCastle”]

Some of Mandi’s Faves
Pre-workout fuel: Er..coffee?
Post-workout meal/indulgence: My favorite lunch is tuna mixed with boiled egg and mayo over spinach leaves. I probably eat that two or three times a week.
Training resources: I love the Beachbody PIYO workouts. My instructor at my gym is Melissa McAlister, and she has a demo on YouTube that is a great start. If you like a good impact workout, there are PIYO dvd’s available online.
Favorite music to listen to when you’re working out: Pop upbeat top 40 stuff. I have Kesha on my workout playlist and Kanye West. Don’t hate me. [Pam’s note: I don’t! I play Katie Perry when I teach spin class!]

Thank you, Mandi for giving us the real deal on what it takes to get and maintain your toned abs. Whether your goal is a six-pack or not, Mandi’s story is a great reminder that over time, consistent hard work and dedication pay off.

Featured Fit Mom: Mandi Castle

[bctt tweet=”Are you a mom who has achieved a big, scary, sexy fitness goal? “]

Are you a mom who has achieved a big, scary, sexy fitness goal? I want to hear about it! If your goal was daunting at first and made you feel like a rock star when you met it, then it’s big, scary, and sexy enough for me. Click here to get in touch and talk about being part of this series.

The Lessons I Never Expected Canva to Teach Me

This is not a Canva tutorial.  I muddled my way through Canva, using mostly trial and error, and I have created a total of one hopefully share-able graphic.

Dan is really good at computers. I’m not. Ever since I met him, he’s taken on the role of 24 hour on call technical support person. There is no computer-related matter too small to warrant my seeking his expertise. Even if he doesn’t have the answer, he has a special talent for Googling the exact right question with the exact right phrasing, that I have yet to master.

It is not unusual for women to experience postpartum anxiety. It is my understanding that this anxiety revolves around the baby or some aspect or aspects of motherhood. I, on the other hand, feel fine about the baby. It’s my blog that is making me anxious.

I want to write. I want to submit my writing. I want to journal. I want, I want, I want… Oh yeah, I want to sleep. I want to feel like myself again. I haven’t worked out since before the baby was born (just a few more days till I’m allowed!) and I haven’t been away from the baby for more than a couple of hours, and even then it’s only to go to acupuncture to try and fix my face.

I have zero time for 99.9% of the ‘I wants” because caring for a a newborn and a toddler is no joke. If I were a normal person I would be like, “My blog can wait. Everything can wait. My life is chaos right now.” But no, not me, I have to think of a thousand things I could be doing but am obviously too lazy/lame/undercaffeinated to actually do. Doesn’t matter that I ate my dinner left handed tonight while breastfeeding the baby and intermittently jumping up to get Sweet Pea more honeydew which I just didn’t have an extra hand to cut into toddler-size pieces and I felt bad because the chunks were way too big for her little mouth. Doesn’t matter that the hours between dinner and anywhere between 10 and midnight are a chaotic mess of nursing, bathing, storying, diaper changing, nursing, stuffed-animalling, rocking, bouncing, door cracking (just the right amount), nursing,  burping, nursing, oh yeah did I mention nursing. Somewhere in the middle of the parenting shenanigans I manage to sneak in glass of wine, a coconut popsicle, and a conversation with Dan that is more than an exchange of information about our offspring.

So obviously now is the perfect time in my life to beat myself up about the dearth of Pinterest-ing graphics on my blog and because PicMonkey frustrates me I need to learn to make said graphics on Canva RIGHT. NOW.  After multiple attempts to create such a graphic, each of which lasted a total of 10-15 minutes due to one interruption or another, I got a free 30 minutes today to continue on my mission. When I finally, finally hit “save and publish,” the image that saved to my computer was not the same as the one I saw in Canva.

I wanted to throw my computer. I was ready to give up. I was desperate to call Dan, but he was at work. And once he gets home, there’s hardly time for either of us to take a shower, let alone for him to help me with my stupid (but somehow urgent) Canva graphic. But how much time was I going to invest in this stupid project? I could not deal with the idea of wasting even more of my precious time.

Until I realized it wouldn’t necessarily be a waste because I might actually learn something. The beauty of the baby needing to nurse while I was in the middle of hating Canva and before I completely gave up on it was that I had to step away from the computer. This allowed me some time to let some ideas on possible fixes float into my brain. I’ve always known that it’s important to give your mind time to “marinate” when you’re doing anything creative, but it never occurred to me that problem-solving a computer issue was a creative endeavor. Except duh, of course it is. Not only is Dan a computer genius, he is also one of the most creative problem solvers I know, which is so not a coincidence.

So I futzed around with Canva for a bit and I figured out what the issue was. BY MYSELF. Perhaps my two year old, with her obsession with doing everything BY HERSELF, has been a good influence on me. And just like that, a possibly share-worthy image was created, self-esteem was boosted, and a lesson in perseverance and independence was learned (even if it was at the tender age of 35).


My Listen To Your Mother 2013 Reading

Do you ever just sit with someone, without talking, and it’s totally comfortable, and not awkward at all? You know, where you just really enjoy just being together? Maybe this post is going to be like that. Because I’m not really going to say anything.I’m just going to share a link to my reading from Boulder’s 2013 Listen To Your Mother Show.

All of the videos from the 2013 shows are up on the LTYM You Tube Channel Now. There are 24 shows from the 2013 season. I promise you, you will be awed by these amazing stories of motherhood.

Pam Moore's 2013 Listen To Your Mother Show reading

Race Report: Santa Barbara International Half Marathon

Race morning began at about 3:30am, I’m not sure because I don’t tell time or do much of anything that good before sunrise. See, before we changed the clocks, Sweet Pea was getting up at about 5:45. Someone up there must have been laughing at me when I complained about how ridiculous that was, because when we changed the clocks, wake up time shifted to 4:45am. As in wake up for the day wake up time. A week later we flew to California where it’s another hour earlier, making Sweet Pea’s wake up time… wait for it… 3:45. So she was going down for her first nap before I’d normally even have started making coffee.

Sleep deprived and anxious about said sleep deprivation was an awesome frame of mind to for my big race. Oh and did I mention she started doing this 9pm wake-up in addition to her middle of the night wake-up (or two)? I had serious doubts about what I would be able to do on race day, under the circumstances. Dan kept trying to tell me it was huge that I’d even trained for this thing since having a baby but I didn’t want to hear it. I only wanted to run fast.

The race packet said anyone running 9:00/mile or faster would start at 7:15 and the latest you could be dropped off at that start was 6:30. At 6:03 en route to the race I realized if they were being that strict about drop-off time they probably weren’t going to let me sit in the car and nurse before I got out, which had been my plan. And surely I couldn’t nurse on the sidewalk while Dan circled in the car because what if there was a problem and somehow I got stuck with the baby at the start line? Meanwhile, I knew I would need to nurse as close to the start time as possible just because I knew my chest would be bursting (painfully not joyfully) by the time I got to the finish line if I didn’t.

At 6:15 I nursed in the car in a McDonalds parking lot one exit before the race start area. At 6:25 I used the McDonalds bathroom and ran into a tree trunk hidden behind a shrub on the way back to the car, sustaining serious pain and visible swelling to my leg and severe bruising to my ego.  At 6:29 I bounded out of the car just in time.

At the start, I discovered the cut-off for Wave 1 was not actually the 9 minute mile pace. There was one wave for 5-8 minute mile runners and another for 8+. I wasn’t sure which to choose because I was planning to run 8:00 miles. I chose the slower group, thinking I would be less tempted to go out too fast. Then I found out there was a 15 minute delay. I didn’t have time to waste. I picked the faster group and lined up toward the back.

I began at a comfortably hard pace. It felt a lot like running my goal race pace on the treadmill at a 1.0% grade, and I thought “I can do this.” I made sure to tuck in behind tall people to shield me from the wind (which was relatively gentle). I checked my mile splits whenever I saw a mile marker, but did not wear my Garmin because it just makes me crazy. I was pleased however to glom onto a group of three tall guys for a while. They were entertaining, about my pace, cool with letting me crash join their party (I thought it was only polite to ask after a quarter mile), and best of all, one of them had a Garmin and he would intermittently call out the pace. This is the running equivalent of not ordering dessert but helping yourself to a few bites of someone else’s.

Although I wasn’t quite clicking off the 8:00 miles I’d dreamed of, I didn’t want to speed up only to blow up before the finish line. I was only a few seconds off per mile, but 5-20 seconds per mile add up over 13.1 miles. I didn’t worry about it and just stuck with my plan; comfortably hard up until mile 5, downright hard (tempo effort) from miles 6-9, crazy hard from miles 9-12, and verging on death and destruction from mile 12 to the finish.

I kept yo yo-ing back and forth with my posse of tall dudes. I’d heard there was a big hill for about a half a mile at mile 10. There was a hill that seemed possibly big around the ninth mile and I felt amazing going up it, passing the dudes for what I thought was the last time. It turned out we had a tailwind and it wasn’t the hill I should have been concerned about.

Mile ten brought the hill, as promised and it was no joke. My pace slowed, my breathing was on the edge of out of control and the guys passed me. The only thing I would change about my training, knowing about this hill, was that I would have done some big hills at the end of my long runs. After we crested the hill I passed the guys and didn’t seem them again till after the finish line.

It was around this time that I started to realize my goal was totally possible. At the ten mile mark, my watch read 1:21… so all I had to do was a 24 minute 5k and I could do it. After we crested the hill, the course flattened out. Somewhere about 1000 yards from the finish Dan, Sweet Pea, and my brother-in-law and sister-in-law were camped out. They cheered as I ran by, and Dan ran with me for about 20 feet. He told me my pace was good, and I looked great. I could barely speak but between breaths I said “Need…to….nurse…at….the…finish.” All I could think was the sooner I finished, the sooner I could relieve the crushing pressure in my chest. I so did not regret starting in Wave 1.

From there on, I just ran as hard as I could to the finish line. From this point forward, the course was downhill with an ocean view. Awesome and awesome. I turned the last corner heading toward the finish chute and I saw 1:44:53 on the clock. I found an extra gear to get me over the timing mat before it turned 1:45, having forgotten that I started about 20 seconds after the gun. 

So.. I did it! My goal was 1:45 and I finished in 1:44:37, a 7:59 pace. I was 36th of 735 women in the 30-39 age group and 373rd of over 3,000 runners overall. This was a six minute PR!! I ran my previous best in 2007, over five years ago when I was 27 and in what I thought was the best shape of my life (take THAT, 27 year old self!), so this is Kind Of a Big Deal.

When I wanted to back off the gas pedal, I remembered the stupidly long runs I did on the treadmill after I put Sweet Pea to bed for the night. I thought of the early mornings I didn’t want to get out of bed and got my butt over to the track anyway. I thought of all the time and aggravation Dan and I spent figuring out our schedules so that I could fit my runs in. I had worked way too hard to give in just because it hurt. That was the point, after all.

Moral of the Story: Don’t let your young, teething baby keep you from going after It! (Whatever It is). 

PS: Fellow running geeks: If you want to know my mile splits, they are:
 1) 8:02
2) 8:21 (assumed- missed a mile marker)
3) 8:21 (as above)
4) 8:10 (as above)
5) 8:10 (as above)
6) 8:55 7) 7:28
8) 8:00
9) 7:31
10) 7:37
11) 8:48 (hill!)
12) 7:24
13) 6:45 (downhill!)
14) 1:01 (last .1)

Here’s a link to the elevation profile.

Santa Barbara Marathon Logo

First post-partum run

Starting today, my blog will also serve as my training journal.
My reasons for this:
1) It will be online forever so that I can review it. I have used Workout Log and Training Peaks for the same purpose, but I’m not paying for the former anymore and I don’t think the latter is especially user-friendly. While Training Peaks is great for communication back and forth between coach and athlete, I am sans coach right now

2) Perhaps posting my workout data online will be an incentive to work a little harder.

3) I haven’t seen any blogs that go into any level of detail about breastfeeding and working out.
A lot of blogs go into a lot of detail about workouts. Some blogs go into a lot of detail about having a small child and breastfeeding. But no blogs that I have found talk about the nitty gritty of both working out and breastfeeding. I’m sure I will figure out how to manage the details of breastfeeding, mothering, and working out as I go, and of course how each person deals with these things unique to each situation. That said, perhaps my experience will be useful to someone else.

Before Pregnancy:
I ran a PR of 3:46 in my sixth marathon, about a month before finding out I was pregnant, and I was in great shape. I didn’t know I was pregnant when I ran the Bolder Boulder 10k in a time of 48:44, a few weeks later. When I peed on the stick and saw the blue line, my first thought was “Holy Shit.” My second thought was “I am not going to break 47 minutes in a 10k this year.”

Personal Records:
Ironman triathlon PR 14:05 (2007)
Half Ironman triathlon PR 5:47:16 (2010)
Olympic Distance triathlon PR 2:58:02 (2010)
Marathon PR 3:46:26 (2011)
Half Marathon PR 1:50:34 (2007)
20k PR: 1:44:48 (2005)
10 Mile PR: 1:20:24 (2010)
10k PR 47:20 (2006)
8k PR 39:03 (2006)
5k PR 22:13 (2004)
1 mile PR 6:40 (2010)

During Pregnancy:
I exercised 4-6 times per week, for about 30-60 minutes each time. I stopped running in July (during my first trimester) because I was just getting too short of breath and it wasn’t fun anymore. I swam, used the elliptical, biked, and walked. I went to Zumba once a week or so up till the middle of my second trimester. I enjoyed prenatal yoga up until the middle of my third trimester. I taught a few spin classes at Movement and I joined a Masters swim group in my last trimester. I modified my workouts so that I wasn’t necessarily doing what everyone else was doing. I always kept my effort moderate. The day before I went into labor, I used the stairmaster (the one that is like an escalator) for an hour, hoping that would get things going. I can’t necessarily say it worked because something was bound to happen regardless; the baby came 2 weeks after the due date (although I thought the due date was a bit off from the get-go).

Right Now:
Today I am 6 weeks post-partum! Which means this is the first day I have the green light to work out! I know a lot of women who had vaginal births are allowed to work out much sooner, but this was my midwife’s policy, and I trust her, so I went with it. I would rather err on the side of caution when it comes to my full recovery. I had my baby at home, and it was awesome. Feel free to facebook me if you have any questions about this. Another great resource is the home birth group on Babycenter.

Pre-pregnancy weight: 115
Current weight: 122
Please note, 7 lbs is a fair amount, considering I am only 5 feet tall. Please don’t think I am complaining, I’m not! I’m just saying. And ladies, the best thing you can do after you have a baby is GET NEW JEANS. I did this last weekend. I didn’t spend a lot of money; I found a great pair in the Nordstrom juniors department. And if shopping in juniors when you’re 33 is wrong, I don’t want to be right.

And I want to say right now, my purpose for working out is NOT weight loss. Yes it is a really nice benefit that when I am fit I feel really good in my clothes, but right now I feel my body’s job is to feed my baby. If I end up losing weight, I won’t complain. But like I said, I have a new pair of jeans, so I am covered if I stay this size for a while.

My Goals:
1) To complete the Boulder Sprint Triathlon (700 meter swim, 17 mile bike, 5k run) on June 17th. I signed up when I was still pregnant, knowing I needed to put an event on the calendar for motivation. As it gets closer, I will figure out what makes sense for a time goal, if that even makes sense. Probably whatever my time was in 2010, plus 5-10 minutes. Bonus: I got Dan to sign up, too! I am coaching him, which basically entails writing his workouts.

2) I am planning to run a 5k on Mothers Day. Again, I have no idea what to expect for time. The point of that race will be to establish a baseline.

3) In the fall, I will run a 10k. My goal is to run it in under 48 minutes, but again, I will adjust that according to what makes sense as it gets closer.

4) Regular workout will give me some time to myself each day and give my day some structure. I realize this is sort of a means to the end goal (see above races), but I also see it as a goal in and of itself. Even if this is the only goal I achieve, I actually think its the most important one. Exercise improves my mood and gives me more energy.

Today, Dan encouraged me to go for my run at 7am. But I had just fallen asleep after one of Sweet Pea’s marathon nursing sessions! I mumbled something about waiting until 7:30 or 8. At 9, Dan told me now would be a really good time to go. Knowing that he had things he wanted to do in the garden, I reluctantly got up. Negotiating with Dan about when I can workout while he watches Sweet Pea will be an adjustment to say the least. Luckily, I am so miserable to be around when I haven’t worked out that this should not be too much of an issue. Seriously, I am lucky to have a spouse who 100% respects and supports my goals. Working out certainly is not his priority, but he gets that I need that time in order to feel like myself.

I pumped 5 oz of milk, which took about 20 minutes… I didn’t think it would take this long, but it did, so I will need to note that if I ever make plans to work out with a friend. There is no way I would attempt to exercise without having pumped immediately prior, at least not at this point. I mentally congratulated myself on pumping so much (normally I get anywhere from 1 to 2.5 oz. at once). Simultaneously, Dan was heating up a bottle for Sweet Pea, so I guess the reason I got so much was that it was time for her feeding anyway. If you are wondering why I didn’t just nurse her myself- that can take anywhere from 20 minutes to an hour, while she can get what she needs from the bottle in less than 15 minutes.

While I pumped I drank about 12 oz of Recharge and about 20 oz of water. I have heard that if you work out while breastfeeding and do not hydrate like a maniac (and replenish calories), your supply will dry up. I also ate a bowl of instant oatmeal. By 10am, with my pump parts soaking in hot soapy water, and Sweet Pea in Dan’s arms, I was out the door.

The Run:
I had not run in 8 months and I had not worked out in any capacity (other than walking) in 6 weeks. The last time I had taken this much time off running was in 2002-2003 because of an injury, although I was biking a lot and doing other things… During my pregnancy I took 2 weeks off working out for medical reasons, and in 2004 I took 3 weeks off while recovering from a surgery. Otherwise, I pretty much have worked out 5-6 days a week, every day of my adult life!
Having taken this long of a break, I didn’t know what to expect.

I did my 3 mile loop (it is roughly 3 miles; I have never run it with my Garmin. It’s just a dirt trail behind my house). This normally takes me about 28 minutes when I take it easy. I jogged slowly and focused on my form, and just putting one foot in front of the other, because it was HARD, even though I was going very slow! At the 28 minute point, I was not nearly done with the loop (maybe about 2/3 done? Started walking just after the dog park parking area), but I felt like I didn’t want to push it too hard. I walked the rest of the way home. Total time was 48 minutes. At the point when I started walking, I realized I forgot to put pads in my bra, and I was wearing a white top… I hoped I wasn’t leaking. I wasn’t, thankfully. I’ve heard the leakage problem gets better over time, but I would really rather not take my chances.

When I got home I stretched, did 15 push ups (the real kind, not the girl kind), and did about 50 crunches. I started with some V-ups but realized I wasn’t ready for that yet.

So… I have a lot of work to do, but that’s ok because I can only improve from here!

What tips do you have from when you got back into shape after having a baby? What mistakes did you make? What time-saving tips do you have, when it comes to nursing, pumping, and exercising? Please comment!