Running Progress & Turkey Trotting

postpartum running

During last weeks’s 5 mile trail run

It’s been two weeks since I was cleared to run and I have been getting in runs whenever possible. I ran Friday and Sunday of that first weekend and then my mom came to town the week after I was cleared so I was able to get in two runs while she watched Siena that week and another that weekend, for a total of 5 weeks in 9 days. Since I’m not running with her in the stroller quite yet and it’s dark when Mike gets home from work, when I run is largely dictated by Mike’s work schedule at this point and I only got in 2 runs this past week. I’ve been careful not to run two consecutive days to let my body have a break and recover so that means no back to back weekend runs yet.

Despite the road blocks, I’ve been getting out there and have already seen some great progress. Even though my pace is significantly slower than before (I’m not even sure I could run one mile at my former marathon pace of 8:10), I enjoy wearing my Garmin so that I can track my pace during each run. My time on the 3.15 mile trail loop near my house (which begins with a huge hill that I have to hike) is my basis for comparison and since my first run to my most recent, I’ve dropped over 4 minutes off my time! I also have done two 5 mile runs, one of which I ran basically the entire way with the exception of a bathroom break and a walk break on one hill (I drove to the coast for that run). Both 5 mile runs averaged in the 10 min mile range which was actually an encouraging pace for me at this point!

On Thanksgiving Mike and I started our family tradition of participating in the Encinitas Turkey Trot. The route was exclusively on the 101 and was basically the same route we used to run all the time when we lived down by the beach. We decided to just walk it together pushing the stroller and we had a great time! It was the first time I’ve walked a race so it was definitely a new experience but very enjoyable. It was fun to get outside with the community on a holiday.

encinitas turkey trot

Surprisingly, Siena slept the entire time (she often wakes from her morning nap after 1 hour or so), even when we took a photo next to the marching band at the start. I fully expected her to wake up during the 55 minutes it took us to walk the race but instead she slept peacefully and long enough for me to shower afterward! This race was great because it was super close and parking was easy. We left our house at 7:25, started the race at 8 am and were home at 9:25!


She opened her eyes for a second when she got her medal

She opened her eyes for a second when she got her medal

running after baby getting back into shape after pregnancy

Feasting with family on Thanksgiving

I was strongly contemplating joining a friend for the Carlsbad Half Marathon on January 19th but I think I’ve decided against it. I think I could probably work my way up to a 10 mile long before then but I already know the race would be very hard and it’d be a lot of work to coordinate feeding Siena and/or pumping before and after the race and waking up super early to make it there (ideally she’ll be sleeping through the night by then but I really don’t know!). I’m thinking I’ll look for a race in March or April instead when I’ll have more time to get back in decent shape and Siena will be sleeping more and eating less frequently.

If you’ve been in my shoes, how long did it take you to get back to your former running pace? When did you do your first longer distance race?




Thankful for baby smiles

I’m sitting here writing this post from my iPhone as I nurse Siena. My family is in the other room where I’ll soon join them to give thanks and feast, but for now it’s my time with my baby. This journey that they call motherhood is certainly not easy, but it’s worth it. The lost sleep, the hours dedicated to temporarily filling up her tiny stomach, the extra weight I’m carrying after 9 months of carrying her inside me, the loss of freedom to do whatever I want, whenever I want… It’s all worth it. Today I’m thankful for motherhood- as messy it is, it’s delightful and beautiful.

Happy Thanksgiving!

Getting Ready to Train Again After Baby – Part 1

Although I waited to run until my 6 week postpartum appointment, I started doing some light exercises leading up to that day in order to rehab a few important areas that have been compromised during pregnancy and childbirth – my pelvic floor and my core. Running too much and too soon after birth can lead to increased damage in these areas as well as strain on other areas of the body and I want to treat my body as kindly as possible.

Siena and I workout out together!

Siena and I workout out together!

Some women choose to run even before their 6 week appointment but I decided to wait for a variety of reasons, the most important of which is that I really don’t want to rush my body back into intense exercise. While pregnant, I was able to continue to do all the exercise (and more) that I had done before, except for running, which I stopped doing at 33 weeks. I discovered that my body felt good spinning, doing barre, walking, hiking, and practicing yoga, but running just started to be very uncomfortable and honestly, not fun at all. I probably should have stopped even earlier than I did. Pregnancy made me realize just how hard running is on the body and although I plan to continue to run, I respect my body’s ability to run comfortably much more now.

I started taking daily walks just three days after Siena’s birth and started with short distances – the first walk was literally just around the block. Soon I was walking the one mile path near my house and sometimes adding on to that and eventually I created a three mile walking route. At three weeks postpartum I added in some light yoga (my doctor gave me the clear while in the hospital to do so given that I had continued my practice during pregnancy).

At four weeks postpartum, I began to add in pelvic floor and core exercises. I wish I had added these in earlier, but I have no regrets. One of the key components of running comfortably is having a strong core and a strong pelvic floor. I knew that these areas were severely compromised during my pregnancy and I’ve decided to take it easy with running until they are stronger. I personally have struggled with incontinence since having a vaginal birth (super awesome as it sounds!) and I really want to do anything I can to prevent it from continuing! Starting at four weeks postpartum I started focusing on doing just that with two tools: the Hab-It Pelvic Floor DVD and the Moms Into Fitness postnatal core series. I made a commitment to do each of these workouts at a minimum of three times a week, but I really try to just do them every other day.

Hab-It Pelvic Floor DVD

hab-it dvd review pelvic floor exercises kegals

I  purchased this DVD during my pregnancy but then realized that it’s specifically meant for postpartum so I didn’t do it until now. I heard about this DVD from Sarah at Run Far Girl (great blog she wrote here about the importance of core and pelvic floor strength) who had her third child this year. She suffered from incontinence after her first child (as many, many women do!) and found the Hab-It DVD sometime afterward.

The DVD was created by Tasha Mulligan, an experienced physical therapist, sports trainer and mother of three with both personal and professional familiarity with a weak pelvic floor. She created the DVD after realizing not only how common incontinence is, but how infrequently it is talked about and rehabilitated.

The DVD comes with four different workouts of varying levels of difficulty. There is an introduction portion of the DVD which can be viewed separately. The introduction discusses the anatomy of the pelvic floor and core region and includes an overview of proper posture and alignment for the workouts. Tasha encourages you to work your way through each level of workout until you feel comfortable with it and then move on to the next. Once you’ve mastered all four workouts, you can switch them up.

pelvic floor after baby after pregnancy after childbirth kegals incontinence

One of my favorite parts of this series is that there are two versions of the workouts – one with the full, detailed explanations on form and a second “time efficient” version. So far, I’ve completed three of the workouts (out of four) and do the workouts twice with the full cues before advancing to the time efficient version. The full workouts range from 22 to 29 minutes and the time efficient ones are between 12 and 18 minutes or so. The workouts themselves aren’t just kegals (although each workout starts and ends with a set of guided kegals) – the moves are strength building for the entire core and support system for the pelvic basket. I’ve noticed a particular emphasis on glute strengthening (and those glutes have been quite sore after some of the workouts!)

I can’t recommend this DVD more. I personally would never take the time to do correct pelvic floor exercises (especially kegals!) on my own so having a coached workout is incredibly important for me. I also learned I was doing kegals wrong before this (I tried to do them during pregnancy). I love that there are time efficient versions because it’s way easier to convince myself to do the workout when it’s under 20 minutes. I’ve already noticed a difference in my pelvic floor strength (and incontinence) in the three weeks that I’ve been doing the workout (I’ve worked my way up to level 3). I plan to continue to do these exercises every other day through the end of the year. If i’m still having issues, I’ll continue even after that.

The next post in this series will focus on postpartum core strengthening to prep for postpartum running.

As always, this is solely my experience and is not medical advice. You should check with your doctor before starting an exercise routine of your own. 

Have you ever done pelvic floor exercises? 

The First Run Back

After 14 weeks without a single run (and let’s be honest, several weeks before that of 1 “run” a week which more resembled a walk than a run), I RAN! As of Saturday, Siena was 6 weeks old and on Friday I had my postpartum checkup with my OB-GYN. I was cleared for running and other activities and I could not wait to lace up my shoes and get out the door for that first run. I think honestly I could have run earlier (and I actually have been doing some exercises, more on that in another post), but I didn’t feel comfortable doing so before the six week mark. I wanted to give my body time to recover properly and spend some time strengthening my pelvic floor and core before doing so.

Since Siena is too young for me to run with her in the stroller, I convinced Mike to go into work early and come home early so that I could go for a run before the sun goes down at 5 p.m. (boo daylight savings time). I was already dressed and ready to go when he got home and I nearly flew out the door. After hearing about fellow new mom’s first runs back after baby, I knew that this run wouldn’t be easy, but I was couldn’t wait to experience it myself. I decided to wear my Garmin so that I’d have a record of where I started and could track my progress. I knew the numbers wouldn’t be pretty but I had zero expectations about pace going into the run.

I chose to run the 3.1ish mile loop on the trails near my house. It’s not an easy run, with a very, very steep 1/3 mile hill at the start and finish and some rollers throughout. It’s also on dirt which makes things harder. Choosing a harder route for my first run actually made my slow pace easier to handle, since I knew I’d have to hike the hill on the way up and take it easy on the way down to avoid falling.

One part of the beast hill

One part of the beast hill

Once I started running out of my neighborhood, I actually had the thought that it felt a little easier than I expected. I was running slow but I was surprised that my breathing wasn’t too hard quite yet. I tried to run up the hill as much as I could and quickly my lungs were burning and my legs felt heavy. Once I got to the top of the hill, I made a mini goal of running at least a full mile without stopping. Luckily, about half of the mile is at a slight decline which made this goal a little easier to achieve, but it still felt difficult! I ended up going even more than a mile until I hit a steep hill, which I chose to walk. I ended up taking a few walk breaks after that during steep sections but ended up running almost the entire 3.1 miles. As I entered my neighborhood, I picked up the pace and “sprinted” to the finish. It felt pretty amazing to move my legs like that again and I even enjoyed the burning lungs.

Catching my breath at the top

Catching my breath at the top

A year ago I would never have imagined finding so much joy in such a short, slow run, but there was really nothing better than being back out on the trail. The solitude was welcome and peaceful. It was a wonderful reminder of why I love to run so much. And honestly, after chasing a BQ for so long, it’s kind of nice to just run for the joy of running. It’ll also be fun to track my progress and see big changes in my pace again, just like when I was a beginner. I have no expectations of getting back to where I was anytime soon, but I’m certainly looking forward to the journey.

Have you ever had to take an extended period off of running? How was the first run back? 

Siena’s Newborn Photos

I have another post that is taking WAY to long to write (happens when you can’t find long periods of time to be at the computer!) so I wanted to go ahead and share Siena’s newborn photos with you! We had these taken when she was 10 days old, which was before we had discovered her lip and tongue tie problem so unfortunately she wasn’t the happiest girl (she was hungry!) during the photos and barely slept at all for the three hours we were there! But we were still able to get some good photos. Looking back, she looks so tiny – she has grown so much already!

View More: More: View More: View More: View More: View More: View More: View More: View More: View More: View More: View More:


Dear Siena – 1 Month Old


Dear Siena,

I can’t believe it has been a month since you entered this world! You certainly took your time but you were worth the wait. This month was all about getting to know you and although we’re still learning, your dad and I feel like we have you mostly figured out (until, of course, you decide to change!). Being your mom is the most rewarding thing I’ve ever done and the happiness I feel  when you’re in my arms is indescribable.

When you first came home from the hospital, you didn’t seem very aware of what was going on around you, but by the end of the month, you clearly focus on your daddy and mommy’s faces and I SWEAR you smile at us (probably just gas but it make me better to think that you really are smiling at us). Although we had a rocky start with eating (you love to nurse, but your lip and tongue tie weren’t allowing you to get enough food), you’re now gaining weight quickly and are starting to fill out your newborn size clothes (newborn size pajamas are actually a little too small since you are so long!). I can’t wait for you to graduate to your 0-3 month clothes because you have quite the wardrobe waiting for you!

This made me laugh

This made me laugh

You are a popular baby and have had a lot of visitors! Your Nana and Boo (Dad’s mom and dad) and Aunt Claire and Uncle Josh have come to visit about once a week since you were born and your mom and dad are so thankful for their company and the food they bring! Your Grandma Ewing, Great Grandma Ewing and Aunt Kerry came to visit as well as your mom’s cousins Jessica and Jaclyn. Lots of your mom and dad’s friends have come to visit too and having so many visitors has definitely helped your mom and dad get through this first month.

4 Generations!

4 Generations!

Your favorite place in the world, besides on my chest while nursing, is the car seat. Funny, because we thought you hated it the first week. When we know you’re full and have a clean diaper but are still crying, the easiest way to console you is to put you in the car seat and swing you! We put on the white noise and you calm down and fall asleep quickly. You also love to go on walks and every single day this month mommy and daddy took you for a walk, starting when you were one week old. We take you through the neighborhood to the dirt trail near the house and as soon as we get on the trail you fall asleep – you love the bumps!

Daddy pushing the stroller on our first outing

Daddy pushing the stroller on our first outing

We’ve been told that you are very alert for a newborn! Even now that we have the eating thing down, you still love to spend time wide awake, taking in your surroundings. You sit in the Rock n’ Play or in your bassinet calmly and we can’t help but wonder what you’re thinking about before you doze off. We are thankful that as long as you’re well fed, you don’t cry a lot and you fall asleep easily. Right now you are sleeping pretty well for a newborn, usually with two feedings in the middle of the night with about 2.5-3.5 hours of sleep between and normally you are able to go right back to sleep after you eat and daddy swaddles you.

Your daddy went back to work this week after taking four weeks off to get to know you better. I am so thankful for the uninterrupted time we got to spend as a family of three. Your dad is so helpful and mostly takes care of things like making breakfast, bringing me anything I need while nursing, and swaddling and rocking you. He’s a really amazing father and I am so thankful for blog

You were born at a really exciting time because we have some big holidays coming up! You did SO well on Halloween at our neighborhood block party. You stayed awake for about a half hour when we first arrived at the party and were even a part of the group photo! I dressed you up as a bunny but wasn’t able to get a good photo of your little tail AND your ears. I respect newborn photographers even more now (speaking of which, we just got your newborn photos back and they are great!).

Halloween Family Selfie!

Halloween Family Selfie!



We took you to the ocean three times and out for coffee and lunch several other times. We have yet to take you out at dinnertime since your sleep and eating schedule is a little less predictable at night, but as the month went on, your dad and I were able to eat dinner at the same time (and I was able to cook) much more often.

Happy 1 Month Siena! I can’t wait to see what the next month brings.



Inspirational Mother Runners

I am now a mom. It still doesn’t feel real or sound right when I say it! I’m only 4 weeks in and I have a feeling it’ll take some time to get used to my new role. I’m still coming to terms with how motherhood has impacted my body and will affect my ability to workout freely.  I knew that these changes would happen before Mike and I decided to start trying to have a baby and now that they are here, I’m not surprised by their presence but it doesn’t make dealing with them any easier. What does make it easier is looking at Siena – she melts my heart. Every time I get out of bed at 2 a.m. (or 3 a.m. or 4 a.m…..) to feed her, my eyes heavy with sleep, my heart melts again at her little face. Every change is worth it for her little coos, yawns, and my favorite – the big ‘ol stretch she does every single time we unswaddle her, her arms shooting up over her head and her back arching as she adjusts to life outside of the protective barrier of the swaddle.

Adorable baby smiles!

Adorable baby smiles!

What does help in these early days is looking to mothers who have successfully built their fitness back up post baby, as well as those who have honestly shared their struggles to get back to their original shape and speed. I’ve heard the phase that once a woman becomes a mom, she is super efficient with her time and I think the same holds true for female athletes. Although we may not have as much time to dedicate to fitness, we make the workouts we do get count. However, there are limits to our bodies post-baby and they will never be the same. In the same regard that I respect those who come back better than ever, those who admit (and embrace the reality) that this new body will never be the same as it was before baby also garner my admiration.

Beth Gerdes

Beth Finishing 15th at Ironman Kona, just love ra year after having Wynn. (Source: Beth's Instagram Account)

Beth Finishing 15th at Ironman Kona 2015 Source: Beth’s Instagram Account)

Beth is a pro-triathlete who also calls Encinitas her home. I met Beth a few years ago at a group run that she attended while I was training for Ironman Couer D’Alene (she also did Master’s swim at the YMCA at the same time as us but she was so many lanes away that I  didn’t say hello!). Since then, we have followed each other on social media and I actually even reached out to her for a OBGYN referral when I found out I was pregnant, as I really wanted a doctor who would be understanding of my desire to run and stay fit during pregnancy.

Beth has had amazing success in triathlon after the birth of her daughter, Wynne, in May of 2014.  She completed Ironman Malaysia just 4 months after Wynne was born and soon after set the run course record at Ironman WA. A year postpartum she won Ironman Zurich and then competed in the Ironman World Championships in Kona in October 2015, finishing 15th and making her one of the best female ironman triathletes in the world.  It’s definitely safe to say that her career has been boosted by her amazing comeback post-pregnancy and her story is an inspiration to any mom who wonders if she will ever see the finish times she did before baby. Beth, as a professional triathlete, maintained a very high level of fitness throughout pregnancy  which aided in her ability to make such a swift comeback. Although we can’t directly compare ourselves to someone whose full time job is to train when our lives are not, it’s always encouraging to know that the body can bounce back that quickly!

Lauren Fleshman

I met Lauren at Oiselle's running camp in 2014

I met Lauren at Oiselle’s running camp in 2014

The first time I heard of Lauren Fleshman was when I ran the Eugene Marathon in 2013. She had recently courageously changed sponsors, switching to Oiselle from the much more recognizable Nike, despite being pregnant with her son Jude at the time. Lauren is most famous in her running career for the 5k  (she placed 7th in the 2011 5k World Championships, the highest placement of an American in history), but more recently she’s gained a lot of press and recognition for “Keeping it Real” about her body post-baby.

Lauren walked the runway at New York fashion week just months after giving birth to her son, flaunting what looked like pretty awesome abs despite their recent job of creating a protective shell for a human. Instead of relishing in the press she received for her “post baby body” she posted an unflattering photo of herself taken very close to the time of the shoot, showing that no, her body hasn’t bounced back quite yet and yes, lighting, a tan, flexing and the right angle can really change the way you appear in a photo.

Now that it’s been nearly a month since I gave birth and I’m starting to have some not so positive thoughts about how my body has changed after baby, I find a lot of inspiration in Lauren’s attitude toward her postpartum figure. Lauren created a movement of #keepingitreal that has no doubt helped thousands of new moms accept and love the body that created their perfect baby.

Stephanie Rothstein Bruce 

Steph keeping it real about her postpartum body

Steph keeping it real about her postpartum body on Instagram (source) 

Stephanie Bruce is also a professional Oiselle runner who recently gave birth to her second child. I found out Steph was pregnant right around the time that I announced my pregnancy and she also happened to also run the Carlsbad 5000 that same week. I started following Steph on Instagram then and quickly learned that she had given birth to her first son, Riley last June and hadn’t planned to get pregnant this quickly with her second. She had been hoping to participate in the 2016 Olympics and the timing of her pregnancy could have been better, but she handled the unexpected news well.

Steph was very open about sharing her changing body and her struggles with running during pregnancy via her Instagram account the blog that she shares with her husband, a fellow professional runner, Bruce, and several other forums including the Oiselle blog and Women’s Running. Steph ultimately stopped running at around 29 weeks pregnant due to pelvic pressure but stayed active in other ways. She was never afraid to post photos of her constantly changing bare belly and always has seemed very confident during a time when a lot of women are uncomfortable with their body’s transformation.

The most important thing I’ve learned from Stephanie is that coming back to running will be slow, but it’s normal and expected. Stephanie posted on Instagram about one of her first runs postpartum, which she logged at a 9 minute mile, 3-4 minutes per mile slower than her race pace. We don’t just magically bounce back from pregnancy, and that’s normal and totally ok. I’ll remember Steph when I hit the pavement for the first time (and remember that it’s totally normal to take walk breaks!) in a couple of weeks.

While all of these women are pretty inspiring in their own ways, they are still, afterall professional athletes and make their living from staying fit. I’m also inspired by the mother runners I know through Oiselle, Rock n’ Blog, social media and life. For example, Emily, a fellow runner who I connected with through Oiselle, has trained to qualify for Boston multiple times while raising her two daughters, fellow Rock n’ Blogger Smitha  (Running with SD Mom) just ran her first marathon in February, Laura (Mommy Run Fast) keeps herself accountable to healthy eating with her weekly meal planning blog posts (and is a crazy fast runner!) and Kristen ( Glitter and Dust) plans to take on her first Ironman in 2016 after postponing her dream in 2015 to have her son. Every mom whose blog I read or Instagram account I follow inspires me. We all have our different experiences with pregnancy and motherhood but I learn and am comforted by all of you.

Which mother runners inspire you? 

Postpartum and Newborn Favorites

best baby products best nursing products breastfeeding product recommendations

The many faces of Siena!

Somehow another week has passed! Siena is now 3 weeks old. It’s crazy how things can change so quickly. This last week started with some big hurdles but I’m happy to say that we are definitely doing much better. After writing my last post about life with a newborn, I had a lot of people reach out to make sure I was doing ok. I was pretty honest in my post but I think that many new moms can relate to the tumultuous time that is the first weeks of parenthood. Thank you to everyone who reached out!

I need to write a whole blog post about our experience, but this week we discovered that Siena had an upper lip tie and tongue tie which was causing a variety of problems. More to come on that, but the good news is that things are much better already. Our little girl is more calm and is sleeping much better now which helps make the day a little more predictable and much less stressful! Most importantly, she seems much happier!

Spending time with grandma and great grandma this week

Spending time with grandma and great grandma this week

Now that I’ve somewhat gotten the hang of taking care of another human being, I wanted to share some of the things that have really, really helped me get through these first weeks. While preparing for Siena’s arrival, I did a lot of research and got a lot of recommendations on what to buy to prepare. Some things were probably unnecessary but there are a few things that have been absolute lifesavers as I recovered from her birth, got used to breastfeeding and took care of an infant. I’ll rank these in order of importance:

  1. My Brest Friend Nursing Pillow – Nursing sessions with a newborn take a long time and babies are super small and don’t fit easily into your lap at this age. The Brest Friend pillow straps around your waist (we call it the booby platter) and the baby fits nicely on top of it, positioned right at your nipple. If I had to recommend one thing to a new mom, it’d be this (these pillows are also available at the lactation support group meetings I attend). It’s a life saver. Siena loves it too – when she’s upset, she’ll literally go from crying to calm as soon as we put her on it. She can smell the milk!
  2. Noise Box (White Noise) App – A few days after Siena was born I busted out the book “Happiest Baby on the Block” and discovered the 5 S’s for soothing a baby. The ones that work best for Siena are white noise (babies are used to being in the womb and hearing your heart beat and loud noises – imagine being under the water in the bath tub while the water runs loudly and that’s similar to how the womb sounds) and swinging (either in our arms, the swing, or swinging the car seat). We use Noise Box for white noise during naps and in the car and at night we have a white noise machine. I like to think that using two different white noise sounds for night and day helps her distinguish the two but I really have no idea if that really works.
  3. Earth Mama Angel Baby Nipple Cream – Thanks Jill for this wonderful gift! There’s no getting around the fact that you’ll have some soreness in the first week or two of breastfeeding (extreme pain and bleeding is not normal and is a sign that your baby is not latching properly) and this natural nipple cream helps soothe even the most chapped of them. Even the lactation consultant in the hospital confirmed this was the best product out there (they gave us lanolin in the hospital but I didn’t even use it).
  4. Lansinoh Soothies Gel Pads – The first week or so of breastfeeding did a number on my nipples and these soothing gel pads (especially when refrigerated first) felt amazing! I put them on after pretty much every feeding in the early days. Even if they aren’t cold they feel great and also help protect your nipples from rubbing against your clothes.
  5. MammaBaby App – We use this to track feeding times (you can even track which boob you nursed from for how long) and diapers. Tracking the number of poop and pee diapers is key in the first weeks to make sure baby is getting enough food. There is also a section for tracking sleep and weight gain if you need that. The app works really well and allows you to go back and modify the time and duration of the feeding if you need to. You can also track bottle feedings by the ounce.

I’m not surprised that 4 out of the 5 things I’d recommend relate to breast feeding. When you’re a new mom, your main job is to feed your baby and you spend a lot of time doing it!

Moms, what are your go-to products for the early days? 

Life With a Newborn

We can add taking posed photos to the list of dislikes

We can add taking posed photos to the list of dislikes

Siena has spent two weeks as her own person as of Saturday. One of the relaxation YouTube videos I would listen to leading up to her birth said something along the lines of, “Soon your baby will be outside of you, her own person” and it always made me a little emotional to think about the bond that we had created in the womb being broken. But now that she’s on the outside, that bond is even stronger.

Life, however, is harder! My pregnancy was pretty easy and my discomfort level was low, even at the end. Life with a newborn is a whole different level of challenging, but I am so thankful to have a healthy, vibrant little girl to share my days with.

Siena's first car ride!

Siena’s first car ride!

We came home from the hospital last Monday morning and it was way less scary than I thought it’d be. Life in the hospital with Siena was pretty easy – she never had any long crying spells and only had a few needs that we easily could meet with trial and error. However, a few days later when my milk came in and the reality that her cozy womb was a distant memory set in, life with Siena got a little harder. Although I still wouldn’t consider her a colicky baby, she definitely has her moments (which we have learned is often due to trapped gas so I have been much more diligent about burping her and my doctor suggested I take a probiotic), including her nightly “witching hour” which has brought me to tears, caused Mike to wonder if his daughter loves him (yes she does!) and left both of us more hesitant to invite guests over in the evening.


I’m not sure who invented the term “sleep like a baby,” but it wasn’t about Siena. She sleeps less than I would have imagined a newborn would – instead she’s always eating (and sometimes I suppose snoozing on my boob). We joke that she doesn’t even love me, just loves my boobs. Newborns are notorious for long nursing sessions and Siena is on the high end of the spectrum, with the average feeding lasting 45-60 minutes and sometimes longer if we are in the middle of a “cluster feed.” I was avoiding giving her a pacifier until we were well established with breast feeding but it doesn’t matter because for now, she won’t take the pacifier anyway. She just wants her two BFFs-right boob and left boob. Nipple cream, soothing breast pads and the My Brest Friend pillow are literally my best friends.

A smile?! A smirk?

A smile?! A smirk?

The best way to describe these last two weeks is high highs and low lows. My emotions have been all over the map (which is expected since my hormones are going crazy trying to adjust back to normal after pregnancy) but they strongest feeling I have is true love. I’ve never wanted to fiercely to protect and love someone more. Every cry sends off an alarm in my mind and all I want to do is make her happy, and it’s frustrating when I can’t (besides offering the breast – she will always take it even if she’s not making signs that she’s hungry). I’m pretty sure they make these babies cute so that no matter how frustrating they are, they still melt your heart with one glance.

Despite Siena’s love of food, breastfeeding is way, way harder than I imagined. Despite receiving 8 or more demonstrations in the hospital (Scripps Encinitas is designated as “Baby Friendly” by the World Health Organization and every single nurse has training on breastfeeding) I was still experiencing quite a bit of nipple pain (and a little bleeding) in the first week. My friend Amber who is due this week invited me to a lactation support group at CAP Wellness (which happens to be where I do prenatal yoga) and the lactation consultant there helped a lot. There’s still a little pain at times when she latched wrong and some aching after a marathon feeding but overall it’s getting more comfortable. The two lactation support groups I’ve attended have been therapeutic for me as well because it’s nice talking to fellow moms in the same situation as me.

Mike took 4 weeks paternity leave and I couldn’t be more thankful. He immediately took to being a dad and we have talked about how we are both surprised how quickly he’s bonded with her since we have heard that many new dads struggle in the beginning since the baby doesn’t really do much. He helps me immensely by changing diapers, running errands, cooking food, fetching me water or whatever else I need while breastfeeding, giving me nightly back massages and most importantly, soothing the baby when she’s fussy, especially if it’s in the middle of the night so that I can sleep after each 45-60 minute feeding session. I can’t even imagine doing this without him and I’m already nervous for him to go back to work in November!

Daddy pushing the stroller on our first outing

Daddy pushing the stroller on our first outing

We have had several generous visitors who have brought us food and company, which has also helped. Not only does it help to have a meal (even if I have to eat it cold because of Siena’s unpredictable nursing schedule), but a little conversation is welcomed and helps us stay sane among the piles of diapers.

Aunt Claire and Uncle Josh visit!

Aunt Claire and Uncle Josh visit!

As for me, I am recovering well. My lady parts seem almost back to normal and the most discomfort I’ve experiencing is upper back pain and a little soreness from breastfeeding (hence Mike’s nightly back massages). My stomach shrunk way faster than I imagined it would though it is very squishy and doesn’t look anything like my old stomach (no stretch marks at least)! I have done my best to sleep when baby sleeps by taking at least 1 nap a day and we try to be in bed as long as possible each night even though it’s interrupted. It’s not uncommon for us to be in bed from 10 pm – 10 a.m., although I’m sure we sleep for only about half of that time.


I didn’t do any physical activity for the first four days and then took a walk around the block (10 min or so). I waited another day and then ventured out on another walk. In the past week I’ve managed to get out at least for a short walk every day (we have about a 1 mile trail near our house and the bumps help rock Siena to sleep) and hope to continue this trend. At this point the walks are more for my mental health than anything – being cooped up all day isn’t healthy for someone who is used to working out every single day! I also do some gentle yoga stretches daily (cat cow, child’s pose, happy baby, nothing crazy) to help with my achy back and reverse the symptoms of sitting on my butt nursing all day long (I really need to figure out the nursing in the wrap thing).  IMG_0156

We made it out to lunch twice now and man, it felt like an accomplishment! Siena usually takes a little longer nap midday and we took advantage of this and enjoyed some sunshine and fresh air during our lunch. She even slept long enough after our last lunch for us to go for a walk near the beach!

First lunch outing

First lunch outing

We are learning more about our little girl every day. Every single day has a high and a low, and each day is balanced between the two differently. I know this phase won’t last forever and that I’ll miss her being a tiny newborn, so we just have to roll with the punches. Knock on wood, but I really do feel like it’s getting a little easier!

Moms, what was your favorite or least favorite part of the newborn phase? 

The Future of This Blog & Thinking About Postpartum Fitness

This blog has always been about whatever I want it to be – there’s no particular theme other than it’s about mostly the fitness side of my life. At first it was a P90X blog, then a running blog and for a year or so, a newbie triathlete in training for an Ironman blog. I’ve highlighted my engagement, wedding planning, honeymoon and travels to New Zealand on this blog. This is my life, albeit a small snapshot of it, and therefore I chose to blog about my pregnancy and child birth here. I know that probably caused me to lose some readers but it also helped me meet, via the interwebs, so many fellow mothers who I’ve enjoyed getting to know over the last several months.

At the end of the day, I write this blog for me. I don’t write it for money or for fame (clearly I’d be failing at both of those). I’ve always loved to write and that is why I’ve stuck with this blog for nearly 5 years!

At one point I’d wondered if I’d have time to blog once the baby is here. Well, considering I nurse practically all day and have mastered the art of multitasking while doing so, I’m able to continue writing while she rests comfortably on my chest. As she grows older and more active, we’ll see, but I have a feeling I’ll continue to write because I simply enjoy it.

As for the direction of the blog – I don’t plan to make this a “mommy blog” although now I am a mother and that will be a part of my identity forever, both online and in “real life.” I plan to continue to focus on fitness and running, while also sprinkling in some baby love along the way. I hope that you’ll continue to read on! 

Of course I’m already thinking about getting back into shape and racing again. I miss running, and I really miss racing. I miss pushing my body to its limits and feeling my lungs burning. I miss the accomplishment of a finish line. I am considering the Carlsbad half marathon in mid January as my first race (and possibly walk/jog a turkey trot), but I’m going to wait and see how I feel after a week or two or running first. I don’t plan to run for at least 6 weeks postpartum and even then, I’ll totally play it by ear based on how my body feels. I stopped running at 33 weeks (and let’s be honest it was more of a walk/jog at that point) so by the time I’m running again it’ll be over 3 months since I last laced up my shoes for a run. Carlsbad may be a little soon;  we’ll have to see.

Running, I miss you!

Running, I miss you!

At this moment, I do plan to run a marathon next year, probably at the end of the year. I don’t know if it’ll be a Boston qualifying effort or not – again that will be dictated by how life goes. And honestly, I may decide a marathon is too much to commit to with an infant at home. Getting to Boston used to be one of my biggest goals, and while I still do want to make it there, I have bigger priorities that will come first.

I miss start lines!

CIM – The last race that I ran for time. I miss the excitement before a race starts!

I definitely want to continue yoga and strength training. Even if I train for a marathon, I don’t imagine myself running more than 4 days a week, maybe 5 during peak training. I’d like to continue my yoga practice, at least once a week, from now on. My body and my mind both feel immensely better with a regular yoga practice. Getting all of these workouts in could be an absolute stretch once I’m back at work and juggling another priority, but Mike and I have had a lot of conversations about how we want to make it work for both of us to continue to stay fit and healthy.

So worth it!

So worth it!

So here we go – this journey is going to be the toughest yet but the reward is worth every sacrifice.

What kind of fitness goals did you make for your first year postpartum? When did you start running again?