Runner Mom: @MotherRunnerMel

To wrap up our Runner Mom Series, I want to introduce you to Melissa. Melissa is a runner, wife, and mom of two kiddos, Samson (5), and Raelyn (almost 4). She’s also vegan!! So naturally I like her and think you will too. Plus how sweet is this photo of Melissa’s tattoo that matches her daughters feeding tube. (More to the story later in this postIMG_4040

Melissa, since this series is all about moms who run, tell us about some of your running accomplishments.

I think my biggest accomplishment running wise would be qualifying for Boston 6 months after running my first marathon (4:18) and being able to cut off 51 minutes in a year. I worked incredibly hard over the past few years to get faster and I am so happy it showed come race day! See, more proof that you can qualify for Boston if you just work at it. I think my other accomplishment would be defeating doubt and body insecurities. I spent a long time in my first few years running comparing my fitness level to how I looked, and not considering myself a runner because I felt like I didn’t look the same way as “everyone else”. In the past 2 years I’ve really gotten over that and embraced that I may not look like the typical runner but I have a runner’s body, this is what that looks like and I’m still a strong mother runner. I think we could all learn this lesson and put it into practice.

Speaking of accomplishments, check out her shiny new PR…

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Were you a runner before you have children?

I wasn’t a runner until I started college. I actually rowed on my high school’s crew team. When I went to a college that didn’t have a crew team, I started running. I ran one half marathon in January 2010 with my dad with very little training behind me and finished in 2:16.

You’ve been pregnant twice so you’re basically a pro in my eyes. What was your fitness and running like during them?

When I was pregnant with Samson I was not active at all. I gained well over 70 pounds and ate TERRIBLY. I ended up weighing 200 pounds after he was born and started doing home workout DVDs to lose the baby weight (and did!). When I was pregnant with Raelyn I was determined to stay fit and active. I did some workout videos from home and ran 2-3 days a week between 2-6 miles. Sometimes solo and sometimes with Samson in the jogging stroller. I was able to continue running until 30 weeks when I had to stop due to some pregnancy complications.

Your pregnancies were very different. Could you tell a difference between your labor and recovery for each?

Physically, my pregnancy with Samson was pretty easy, regardless of my lack of fitness. My labor was pretty easy (and fast!) and I recovered well. But my pregnancy with Raelyn, was much better for my mental health and made me feel a lot better and happier through my pregnancy with her. I think it really helped my post partum anxiety knowing I had kept up with running as long as I was able to and was allowed to start running sooner after birth.

How has your fitness/running changed after kids? Any suggestions on how to get back into shape?

I would say my running has changed post kids in that it’s more important for me to make as a priority now. Before kids it was easy to just put off running or working out all day, but now it’s my one moment of quiet where I’m free to be myself and not be held accountable for anyone else for a little bit. It makes me less stressed out and more patient with my babies. And it makes me feel like myself again when at times motherhood, and caring for a child with some special health needs can be very overwhelming.

I would suggest taking it a day at a time. It’s easy to give up when you are getting back into shape and frustrated that you’re not where you used to be (or want to be) the minute you get started. So taking it a day at a time and celebrating little victories of an extra 10 minutes of working out a day is key to not getting overwhelmed and frustrated! Also, I’ve learned that getting it done first thing in the morning sets the tone for your day and makes you feel great all day knowing you’ve already accomplished something for your health!

So you’re a vegan as well! I love it!!! Why did you choose to go vegan and is the rest of your family also vegan?

I am vegan, the rest of my family is not. I chose to go vegan for health reasons. I think I overall feel better and definitely am less weighed down without eating processed foods and junk. I think it’s important to set a good example for your family’s health in that our food is fuel and that God wants us to honor our bodies with what we eat. However, since I just went vegan about 3 years ago, I didn’t think it would be fair to force my entire family to eat that way. So I am hoping I can lead by example, offer healthy options for my children and husband and one day if they so choose they can go vegan as well. (I have a feeling my daughter will at some point, my boys, not so much haha)

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Would you mind sharing a little more about Raelyn’s feeding tube?

She’s our little force to be reckoned with. She has had a feeding tube since she was 11 months old. She eats by mouth a totally normal and adequate diet of 3 meals a day and snacks, but due to some malabsorption issues and metabolic disorder, her body does not process foods correctly. She get’s an additional 1200 calories from formula over night through her feeding tube. This helps her gain and maintain weight in a way she was never able to before she had her feeding tube. It was a really hard adjustment at times, but Spencer and I are so thankful for her tube helping her thrive. We thank God for His hand over her through everything she has had to go through through the years and praise God continually for giving us the resources to be an advocate for her, and keep her healthy and thriving!

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Thank you Melissa for sharing your story with us. I love your reminders about when you’re on your post-partum journey to celebrate little victories – even if it’s 10 extra minutes of a workout. And you are setting such a wonderful example for your precious little family in all that you do.

I hope you enjoyed Melissa’s journey. Check out some of our other Runner Moms in the series here.

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Runner Mom: @RunLikeKale

It’s been several years since I met Angela on Instagram. You probably know her as @runlikekale. I have also referred to her a blog a few times, specifically her pregnancy posts. My favorite post from her is ‘My First Trimester (and how I thought I was a weenie)‘. She’s a new mom to the cutest little man named, Griffin. I hope you enjoy meeting her and know you will love her like I do!

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Let’s let Angela tell us about her adorable family.

My husband, Sandon, and I have been married for 5 and a half years, and we have THE cutest baby ever, Griffin Ray, who just turned 6 months old. Can’t even handle it.  

Sandon and I met once upon a time, while counseling at a children’s church camp. I thought he was crazy, he thought I was the best thing since sliced bread, but I wasn’t exactly single at the time, though very shortly after. Fast forward through months of hanging out and getting to know each other, his confession of “I really like you and I think your insides are beautiful” (he was nervous), we began to date. A year and 3 months later he orchestrated the most incredible proposal ever (seriously, candles, 80 people, a live band, our dog bringing in the ring. Read about it here)  and then 3 short months later we said I do!

Just for fun, here’s a little questionnaire thing we did for our three year wedding anniversary. http://runlikekale.com/3-years-marriage/

Before there was Griffin, what were some of your running accomplishments?

Before I had Griffin, I was just checking things off my running “bucket list,” qualify for Boston, finish a full Ironman, run an Ultramarathon, run a 52 miler. Who knows what I would have gone after next had I not gotten pregnant (I was actually toying with the idea of a 100 miler).

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What was your running like before he came along?

Before him, running always came easy for me. I’d been running my whole life. Ran my first 5k at 8 years old, and my first 15k at 9 years old. My family would go run monthly races together with our local running group. There would be times I would get burned out and take a break from running, but I could always jump right back in and had no problem picking up at an easy 6 mile run. 

What was your fitness/running like while you were pregnant? Any suggestions for moms-to-be on staying active during pregnancy? 

Running while I was pregnant was a like a guessing game. I actually ran a half marathon when I was about 6 weeks pregnant to surprise my husband and tell him I was pregnant (that story here). (( You seriously need to read this story because it’s the most precious thing. ))

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Then a few weeks later (around 9 weeks pregnant) I ran a marathon trail race with my dad. And that was about all I could handle in my first trimester. Shortly after I got hit with that dreaded, but VERY real, first trimester exhaustion. 

During my first trimester I completed my yoga teacher certification, 3 full weeks of 12 hour days of yoga. It was dang hard, but I did it, and then I think I napped for like two whole week afterwards! 

Once I started getting my energy back, around 16 weeks, I tried easing back into running. I remember trying to run two miles, getting through about half a mile, thinking I was going to throw up, panting for breath, stopping to walk, and then having to walk the rest of the mile and a half. I felt so defeated. I couldn’t remember a time I’d not been able to make it a simple 2 miles. I tried again a week later and ran 3 miles just fine, then a few days later it would be hard again. There were days when an 8 min pace felt like a breeze, and then a 13 min pace felt like I had been sprinting the whole time. It was so bizarre, I had to learn to just take it one day at a time.  

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I had thought I would run more half-marathons while I was pregnant, but it just never felt right with my body. So I started getting more into HIIT (high intensity interval training) workouts and really loved them. The majority of my pregnancy I would do 3-4 days of HIIT, 1-2 days of yoga, and then maybe 1 day of running, and that really worked for me and my body felt good. I don’t know what it was about the HIIT classes that felt so good, but I was able to do box jumps up until the day before giving birth and never had any problems with it. I was even teaching classes by the end of my pregnancy.

To all you pregnant mamas out there I would just say, listen to your body. You know what feels good and what you can and can’t do. This isn’t the time to push past your comfort zone, you have plenty of time afterwards to do that. Everyone’s pregnancy journey is different, and you can’t compare yours to others. You do you mama.

So how has your running changed after Griffin was born? Any suggestions on how to get back in shape?

Oh man. Four words: the struggle is real. 

I had thought that I would be able to jump right back into postpartum running no problem. I mean, I had taken time off running before and it was always easy to pick it back up. And I had worked out so much during pregnancy, I was in great shape! I had to wait at least 6 weeks before working out again (per my doctors recommendation), but I walked almost everyday with Griffin in the stroller. I couldn’t wait to get cleared to run again. I was going to make an awesome comeback. I could just feel it. All those months of pregnancy running were about to be redeemed. Wrong. So very wrong

The first few WEEKS of running with Griffin were rough, I couldn’t make it a measly two miles without having to walk and catch my breath. What in the world is going on here?! This is not me. This is not normal. This is not ok. I’m never going to run again. Woe is me. Ok so I can be a bit dramatic, but you get it. It wasn’t until almost a month after I started that I was able to go for a run without the stroller, and woah what a difference that made! I was able to run a full three miles easily. I guess all that stroller run/walking was actually making a difference.   

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Once I learned this, it built my confidence up towards running again. That somehow lead to me thinking it would be a good idea to run a marathon. Not just run a marathon, but run a marathon with only 6 weeks of training not even 5 months after having this baby. Some part of me thought this would be fun, and I really liked the challenge. Don’t get me wrong, I know better. I definitely know better than to do something like this, it’s not really the best thing for your body. But I also knew what my body could do, I’ve pushed it many times before (never to the point of injury) and therefore knew that I would be able to run this race just fine. Mind over matter.


While it was definitely my slowest and hardest marathon, I needed to do it for myself, to know that I still could. I needed a challenge and I was so glad I got my first postpartum marathon under my belt.  

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What does the verse “and let us Run With Endurance the race marked out for us” mean for you and your life?

I love this verse. I see it as both an encouragement and a challenge to persevere in faith to the end. The “race,” I think is meant to be our Christian life. It has already been marked out for us by God. He has the perfect plan for each of our lives. It’s not a quick sprint, but a life long marathon, and we are called to stay the course and remain faithful. 


The first part of this verse says “let us throw off everything that hinders and the sin that so easily entangles.” If we are meant to keep running along God’s path for us, we can’t do so if we’re constantly tripping up. We stay the course in spite of trials. As we run, we try and look away from all distractions and keep our eyes on Jesus who is running this race with us. 

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I hope y’all enjoyed meeting Angela. Doesn’t she seriously have the most adorable family? She is always posting pictures and videos on her instagram that I have found extremely helpful!! Such as KT Tape for Round Ligament Pain and introducing Griffin to solid foods.

Thank you, Angela, for letting us get to know you more and sharing your story.

BONUS: Angela’s mom is also a Lactation Consultant and has provided this awesome resource for nursing over at runlikekale.com – Find it here.

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Runner Mom Series: Kristi (@celerypantsruns)

For this week of the Runner Mom series, we’re meeting Kristi Aguilar. She was a fellow Texan and I have been following her on instagram for years. She’s a runner expecting her first baby – a baby boy named Lue. How precious is his name!!
I asked Kristi to tell us a little about her family.

My husband and I live in Denver, Colorado. We both met in Texas, where he is from. His sister is my best friend and that’s how we ultimately met. He and I started out as friends for a few years, while he was in the Army, before becoming roommates. I was always afraid to date him because I did not want to mess up the friendship I had with my best friend. Finally after being friends for so long, we began dating. It was the greatest thing ever because we knew each other so well and knew each others families. There was no awkward stage or really “getting to know you” stage. We got married July 2015 and moved to Denver in August 2015 so I could pursue my MA in Counseling. He is a police officer and my running partner along with our 2 adorable dogs-Frankie, a boxer, and Porter, a doberman pinscher.

Here are some of her running accomplishments before baby on board.

I ran my first marathon in October 2014. I didn’t have any goals other than just to finish because I did not know what to expect. I finished in 3:46 and was instantly hooked. Since then I have completed 4 marathons and have a dream to become a 50-state marathoner and BQ!
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I asked Kristi to describe her fitness and running before getting pregnant.

Before finding out I was pregnant, my husband and I were training to run a marathon in December. We ran 4-5 times a week and hit the gym 3-4 times a week. We live in Colorado and love being active, so we also hiked with our dogs for fitness. There are some great trails to explore out here. My husband enjoys trail running, so we attempted to add that into our fitness routine as much as possible. We had also just bought some bikes (single speed) and were biking all over Denver as much as possible. We have very active dogs so we spend a lot of time outdoors with them. Running and maintaining a good fitness level has helped me to keep up with our dogs and give them the exercise they need.

What is your fitness/running like while you are pregnant? Any suggestions for moms-to-be on staying active during pregnancy?

Fitness and running have been interesting during pregnancy. ((I think ‘interesting’ is the perfect way to describe running while pregnant)). During my first trimester, it was really hard. I started to feel hopeless like I wasn’t going to be able to have a fit and active pregnancy. ((I felt the exact same way!!!)) I never had morning sickness but would feel sick when I ran. I didn’t feel like I was going to throw up but just not right and could barely keep a good pace. I also had some instances where I experienced fainting (this actually happened a month or two before I got pregnant) but I became fearful of going to the gym or running by myself. Once I found out I was pregnant, I began running with my boxer, Frankie, and always carried my phone. Frankie helped me to not push myself and gave me the comfort of not being alone. I decided to not work out at the gym due to my fainting fear. So the majority of my pregnancy working out has been running and stretching. Once I hit my second trimester, it was like getting that second wind in a race. I was running long distances with ease and never felt sick. I felt like I could run for hours. I quit worrying about pace and just focused on getting in a good workout. Second trimester running was really enjoyable. Toward the end of my second trimester, I had an increase in needing to pee during my runs. Now that I am in my third trimester, I definitely alternate between running and walking. Some days I can complete an entire run without walking but other days I just need to stop and walk. As long as I spend time outside and exercise my dogs, then I am pretty happy. My advice for moms-to-be is to just enjoy the process. We are training for the race of a lifetime (childbirth and raising a child). We will have plenty of time to set PR’s and meet goals. I always remind myself that even the 3 mile run/walk I do on some days is more than others will do that day/week/month/etc.
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What have you learned the most about pregnancy? Any surprises or things you didn’t expect?

I seriously feel like the worst pregnant person. Not because I have done anything wrong but just because I literally have no questions. When I went in for my first appointment, the nurses made me feel super strange because I wasn’t worrying or asking all sorts of questions. My thought was that my doctor told me everything I needed to know and if I did what the doctors said then everything was okay. At each appointment, they let me know how things are and what to expect next. People would tell me things like not run or workout so much due to heart rate but my doctor never expressed any sort of concern for it. Same with caffeine. I told him how much I drank and he was okay with it. Pregnancy is so personal for everyone and our bodies react to things so differently. I realized it’s best to listen to my doctor and trust what they say. I am also learning to not listen to the horror stories of others. I know what’s best for me and the baby and just because someone had a horrible experience does not mean it will be the same for me. It’s really helped me. ((I think we could all take a lesson from Kristi on this one!!))

One cool thing I did learn is that your belly should measure to how many weeks you are…. Well, textbook cases my doc says. So when I went at 28 weeks, my belly was 28 cm. I thought that was cool. ((I didn’t know that.))

Any post-pregnancy goals?

Post pregnancy I hope to conquer running with a stroller. Haha! I also hope to be back in marathon shape to run RnR Las Vegas in November 2017 with my baby boy at the finish line. Right before I found out I was pregnant, I was in the process of choosing a running coach to help me with my goal to BQ. So I will continue with that in 2017, depending on how my body does postpartum.

What does the verse “and let us Run With Endurance the race marked out for us” mean for you and your life?

Something I have realized in life, especially during pregnancy, is that living life is like a marathon. 5k and 10k runs are fun because they are over fast but the marathon distance is where our endurance is really tested. If I lived my life like a 5k race then I would crash and burn a lot. That is how my walk with God is too. It’s not a fast thing for me. It takes times and the endurance to stick with him to really see things come to fruition.

I tend to look at things on a day to day basis. That’s almost like a 5k or a training run. It helps me to not lose focus on things and to not beat myself up when I mess up because the next day is a fresh start. However once I started living my life that way, the long term (the marathon) went more smoothly. Each day I am working to build my endurance for the real race marked out for me… and that’s life – seeing things come to fruition.

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I hope you enjoyed meeting Kristi! I loved her example about how life is like a marathon and not a quick 5K. And I think we could all take a lesson from her about not listening to the horror stories of pregnancy or childbirth. I know I messaged her a few times early on in my pregnancy about being worried. She was always so calm. Thank you for sharing your story with us, Kristi, and prayers for you and baby Lue.

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Runner Mom Series: Jana (@janadvorksy)

I have known Jana for a couple of years know. I met her through instagram, but she also lives in Waco and runs with the Waco Striders. I have gotten to know her much more during my pregnancy and she has been so great in offering advice and calming my irrational fears. Jana has a 2 year old daughter but only really started running and working out after she was born. I think you will be really inspired by her story.

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Let’s meet Jana and her family.

My husband, Joseph, & I have been married since 2012 & have a 2 year old daughter, Emerson. Fun fact about my husband: He was drafted by the White Sox in 2011 & went to Montana to start his Minor League career where he proposed to me a month later on my birthday in the Great Falls, MT airport. He played 3 seasons in the minors & retired when we were pregnant with Emerson. Our baseball journey is one we will always look back on & smile — what an incredible experience! We were long distance (6 months apart, 6 months together) throughout those 3 years so since then I am extra grateful for day to day ‘normal life’ with my husband & our daughter.
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Before she tells us about her running pre- and post-baby, here are some of her running accomplishments.
8 half marathons with #9 coming on January 22nd and 1 full marathon
I asked Jana to share a little about her running before she was pregnant.
I wasn’t a runner before I had Emerson, I had actually only ran one 5K before I was pregnant then I did my first half marathon when I was 7 months post partum. I worked out some before I had her but I did it randomly & never stuck with anything. I was lacking purpose & drive.
And while she was pregnant…
Honestly, I didn’t work out when I was pregnant… I did walk my dog every day but I didn’t have a routine & habit of exercising daily. I was so worried I’d mess something up (see how early worrying about your kids starts?) but for our next baby (whenever the time comes), I will definitely stay active! Of course always consult with your doctor first but it is extremely beneficial to stay active during pregnancy whether it be walking, yoga, running, swimming or whatever activity you like to do.
I appreciate her honesty and actually saying she didn’t workout while pregnant. We see so many women on social media who are still rocking abs at 6 months pregnant. It’s refreshing to meet someone that just walks their dog and isn’t out running marathons every month of pregnancy.
So what about after she had Emerson…
My fitness routine & lifestyle changed a COMPLETE 180 degrees in the best way possible! I finally found my purpose & my “why” as you’ll hear me refer to it… my girl! Here I was a new mom, who had gained 75 lbs during pregnancy (lots of swelling & lots of chocolate milkshakes!) & lost all of her muscle tone/strength, basically starting over from scratch. I had every excuse in the book of why I couldn’t or shouldn’t (too busy, too tired, it’s hopeless, etc) yet I had 2 precious eyes watching me & I knew I had to make a change. I had to do it for myself but most importantly I wanted to be that strong, courageous & healthy role model for Emerson. I started doing home workouts when I got cleared 8 weeks after my c-section & started training for my first half marathon in memory of my friend who passed away after a courageous battle with Leukemia when I was 4 months post partum. Finally I enjoyed working out, running & staying active, I found joy in it… I was no longer doing it for abs or toned arms, I was doing it to set an example for my daughter. I’m not saying I didn’t want to lose weight, tone up & see physical changes but that was no longer my main driving force motivating me day in & day out. Most think that people workout to only get physical results but I’ve learned as a mom, staying active has made me happier, less stressed & honeslty — it keeps me sane! Some days I workout because I’m just so motivated & ready then there other days it’s because we had a long night or Emerson is super fussy & we just need to get out of the house & go run! I promised myself I would take it one day at a time, I would adapt & make changes when needed but I wouldn’t quit. I found something I loved to do, stuck with it consistently (as a new mom or mom in general, you’re going to miss a few days & that’s okay!) but more times than not, I got some sort of workout in.
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Any advice to new moms??
My advice is to give yourself grace & don’t compare your journey to anyone else’s. We are all walking our own path BUT I firmly believe & know it takes a village so lean on others around you for support & motivation. Have your kids join you… Get a jogging stroller (I love my BOB) & take them on walks/runs with you, workout at home & use them as your “weights” & have fun! It will take time for them to get used to it but I’ve been pushing Emerson in our BOB since she was 10 months old & she won’t let me leave the house to go run without her now. Don’t try to overhaul your life in one day — make small changes daily & know that those will equal big changes in the long run. Take the pressure off yourself to be perfect, you don’t have to be & your kid’s don’t expect you to be.  You’re going to fall off track, you’ll fail but just don’t let yourself throw in the towel. You have a precious little one(s) cheering you on & they think the world of you & are so proud of you! Give yourself credit for all of the great things you accomplish, celebrate the victories, big & small, & chase those goals, momma!

What does the verse “and let us run with endurance the race marked out us.” mean to you?
For me, this verse reminds me that God gave me Emerson to give me a chance to re-vamp my life & live it in a healthy way that honors Him & motivates those around me — that’s a big part of the race He has marked out for me. It’s a reminder that every aspect of our life will need us to “run with endurance” whether it be marriage, parenting, work, friends or family. It won’t be easy, we may want to give up but that’s when our endurance kicks in & we can power through because with God by our side, anything is possible!
Thank you for letting me share my heart with you all, by no means do I have it all figured out but I like to share my story because I’ve even blown my mom away with how much I’ve transformed (physically & mentally) since having Emerson. I think it gives hope to those who feel like there’s no way they can reach their goals but I promise you can do it. Believe in yourself & keep God at the center!
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And thank YOU, Jana, for sharing your story! I am sure you have motivated some mamas and reminded them that they have precious little eyes watching their every move.
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Runner Mom: Chelsey @ChelseyLovesToRun

Let’s meet our Runner Mom this week, @Chelseylovestorun. If you follow, Chelsey on instagram, you know she’s on a run streak logging most of her miles with her three-year old daughter in a BOB stroller. But let’s let her fill us in on the rest.
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Family: Married to Burley for 7 years in March. He’s a firefighter for the county we live in and we have one little girl, Emma (she’ll be 3 in January)
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Running accomplishments: Oh man, there’s many that mean a lot to me! 1) Getting 2nd place in my age group in a local 5k that was all hills! 2) Getting 3rd place in my age group in a 5 mile race while pushing the jogger! 3) Running a virtual half marathon completely by myself on all public roads in brutal heat and still managing a sub 2 hour finish!
Describe your fitness/running, etc. before you had Emma.
Before Emma I just ran. And I ran a lot! High mileage every run and constantly injured. It wasn’t until I found out I was pregnant with Emma that I finally chilled out on the high mileage and just ran for sheer joy and sanity. The pregnancy was a blessing in disguise, so to speak, because my body never hurt anymore on runs, I wasn’t forcing any mileage, and I just ran because I could.
What was your fitness/running like while you were pregnant?
I ran my entire pregnancy with Emma. I was very sick with morning more like ALL DAY sickness my entire first trimester, but I ran 2-3 miles as often as I could. I never hurt or had pains on my runs while I was pregnant. My speed slowed almost instantly but it truly never bothered me because I just thought it was so cool to run with a belly! Especially the bigger I got! I listened to my body, and if I was real tired I didn’t run, which was more often than not in that first trimester, but my energy levels finally came back to normal once I hit trimester 2, and running was great!
Any suggestions for moms-to-be on staying active during pregnancy?
1. Listen to your body. That sounds silly, but it’s so important. 2. Hydrate even more than you ever did before! Of course you need to stay plenty hydrated while pregnant, but I can remember being overly thirsty during and after my runs while pregnant.  3. Don’t START up running or any physical fitness while pregnant until you get with your Dr. and get the okay. And 4. If you lifted, ran, did yoga, whatever BEFORE you got pregnant then ABSOLUTELY KEEP DOING IT! It will make the biggest impact, in the best possible way, during labor and postpartum!
How has your fitness/running changed after baby?
My running now is better! I am significantly faster! Before pregnancy I ran 10-10:30 min/miles, during pregnancy I stuck around 11-12 min/miles, and now I am almost at a sub 7 while pushing the jogger! I do CrossFit now whenever I get a chance (I’m a mama first), and I do yoga each day also. I have found the best way to get back into shape after having a baby is 1 thing: patience! I see and follow soo many new mamas on Instagram and they are working so so hard to get back to pre-baby shape in 3,4 months time and it’s just not realistic! Or maybe for some women it is. It was NOT for me! I was still wearing my maternity jeans when Emma was 5 and 6 months old, and I ate soo healthy (healthier than I do now!), I breastfed (3 months), I ran once given the okay by my midwife, and I ran pushing the jogger. It takes 9, 10 months to put on the weight and it will take at least that, if not more, to lose it, and that IS OKAY! I didn’t start wearing my pre-baby jeans and feeling like “myself” until Emma’s 1st birthday. I wish so badly more women would give themselves grace and more patience. Hard work pays off… in time.
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What does the verse “and let us Run With Endurance the race marked out for us” mean for you and your life?
I love this verse both figuratively and literally. Of course I love it for running. I have chanted to myself this exact verse on runs before and in races when I was worn slam out; even before I discovered it on the Fit & Faithful apparel! And I also love this verse for birth and motherhood. Both are an endurance “sport.” God has our births marked out for us, and we should keep our endurance through it, even when it’s tough, because the reward at the end is soo worth it! And I believe the same is true for motherhood. Granted there are soo many times when I feel my endurance is at an all time low and I’m exhausted, God heard mine and Burley’s prayers for Emma and He gave us exactly what we asked for: a healthy baby. He will grant us the endurance to “run this race” until she is all grown up and starts her own life.
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Thank you, Chelsey, for sharing some of your journey and story with us. I love how she ties in Hebrews 12:1 to pregnancy and parenting. I can’t speak for parenting just yet, but pregnancy is definitely about patience and endurance. You have shared some valuable wisdom with us and have the cutest little family!
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Runner Mom: Tanya (tc.running.lately)

Let’s meet Tanya to kick-off this Runner Mom series. I hope you find some inspiration, advice, and insight from this new first-time mom as she was a runner before, during, and after her pregnancy. She has been a huge inspiration for me throughout this pregnancy and I know I’ll be looking back on her posts once baby Cork arrives. And spoiler alert… She ran her first marathon pregnant without even knowing, and a half-marathon halfway through pregnancy. What a cool story (and medal) to share with your baby boy one day…
Name: Tanya (Instagram: tc.running.lately)
Age: 29
Tell us about your family and baby boy.
 I have been together with my husband (Chris) for nine years, married for almost five. We are both born and raised in PA (him from Pittsburgh, and myself from Hershey).  We met at a car show, started off as friends, tried out the whole dating thing, moved to NJ to be together in 2008, and well, here we are. Before Clayton, we were fur parents to the coolest cats, Jetta and Cabrio, who have now become awesome baby boppy thieves. We found out we were expecting in November 2016.  We kept it a secret until the new year, minus some epic Christmas presents for the family.  I swore we were having a girl, because every intuition in my body screamed girl, and that scared my hubby.  BUT we found out it was a little boy, and he was ecstatic.
Clayton was due to arrive August 3rd, but decided he didn’t want to miss out on the world any longer and joined us on June 28th.  He was five weeks premature, but came out kicking and screaming, and full of life.  I secretly thank the Lord first and foremost, for his health; he did not need to be hooked up to any machines for breathing, eating, etc. and secondly for giving him to me an entire month, and then some, early because we got to cuddle him and enjoy him that much longer.
What was your running like before you had Clayton?
Before getting pregnant with Clayton, I was only running for a little over a year and a half.  I had run a few 5ks here and there years prior, but never really enjoyed it.  I worked in a physical therapy office where everyone seemed to be a crazy runner, hence I would run 5k’s here and there, so I decided to dig my toes into.  It was mostly to help me lose a little weight and get fit.  BUT quickly, it became a lifestyle, something I needed for me.  I ran my first half marathon without ever following a plan, injured and at a snails pace, and thought that was it.  It was so miserable, I really wasn’t into it.  But I have this stubborn, determined mind that said I know I can do better.  I joined my church’s Run4God group shortly after that, and started following their training plan.  A year later, I ran the same half marathon and was addicted.  The next morning, I signed up for my first marathon.  Somewhere along that crazy journey to becoming a marathoner, I found myself and it was through the daily devotions with God and the pavement.  I was getting stronger, faster, better and loved the feeling of pushing it a little harder each time.  I ran that first marathon, injured again ((it seems to happen to me)), and pregnant.  I did not know it at the time, and after finding out the next weekend, all the struggles of running that race all made sense.  That was why I couldn’t catch my breath, my body felt broken, 100% exhausted.  BUT I did it and to say I did it in the first trimester of pregnancy is so rewarding.  I will live to share that story with my boy forever.
What was your running like while you were pregnant? Any suggestions for moms-to-be on staying active during pregnancy?
So running pregnant was like a game of poker.  You never knew what cards you were going to be dealt.  During the first trimester, I really laid back on running, mostly out of fear, and a little due to some occasional morning sickness. I noticed my runs were harder to breathe, and my endurance was taking a toll.  Long runs were no longer something I could handle, but I continued to run up to five miles, at least 3-4 days a week.  When the second trimester rolled around, and boy does it happen quickly, my fear lessened and I tried to up the mileage and the days.  However, from about 13 weeks on, I had this intense pressure/pain in my low back, butt, groin area that was so intense when I ran, that I was ready to throw in the towel.  I tried different belts for support, but it never seemed to take the pressure away.  So I just went with the flow on a day to day basis.  Some days, I am assuming by how he was positioned, I could run without any issues, but most days, it was a waggle ((run, walk, jog)). I found myself doing a lot of HIIT workouts to try and stay active as much as possible.  I also continued to go to yoga until the bump got too big and in the way, and I found myself cycling on the trainer a lot.  Again, that only lasted until the big ole belly got in the way and I wasn’t riding with correct form.  The only way to get some form of cardio, without any issues at all, was the elliptical.  So whatever mileage I was supposed to run that day, but was having pain, I would go to the gym and complete the mileage that way.
Before getting pregnant, I had signed up for the Disney Princess Half in February, so I had to do something to keep my butt in gear for that.  I was 17, almost 18 weeks pregnant when I completed that half marathon. It was my slowest half to date, but I really took in all that the race had to offer; photo opps, every porta-pottie, a little walking, a lot of talking. By the time I was nearing the end of the second trimester, and entering the third, I had drastically popped.  I was to the point where everything was so uncomfortable, and I really mean everything; sleeping, eating, walking, working, talking.  I kept telling my friends and family, how scared I was to get any bigger.  At that point my running pretty much ended.  It was mostly walking, still trying to hit three miles daily. I always thought I would be that pregnant lady who ran all the way until delivery, and while I like to say I did, I guess compared to others, I really didn’t.  BUT let me tell you, that is 100% okay.  Our bodies are all different, whether we are pregnant, athletic, short, tall, a runner, a dancer, whatever it may be, we will never be alike.  Our stories will never be exactly the same.  I found the pressures of social media to play a huge role in my self-esteem when pregnant.  Like if I couldn’t run during pregnancy, I was a failure.  BUT then I got angry at myself for letting that happen. To the people who can go about their life, like nothing ever changed, kuddos to you.  But to the women who have to alter their life, and maybe make some temporary sacrifices, please don’t feel ashamed or any less of yourself.  You are creating the most wonderful gift.  We are not playing poker.  This is another life we are talking about.  So listen to your body.  That is what I did.  Trust me, it will tell you when something isn’t working, or the timing of something isn’t right.
How has your running changed after Clayton was born? Any suggestions on how to get back into shape?
Just like I thought I would run through pregnancy, I thought the comeback would be easy too.  I had the easiest labor and delivery, and was walking as soon as the epidural wore off.  Before being cleared, I had already started to do yoga, and a lot of walking.  I was so antsy and eager to get back.  I think majorly due to not being able to run like I wanted through pregnancy.  At 4 weeks, I started to jog/walk.  It was tough.  I felt like there was a ton of bricks on my chest making it hard to breathe.  I was OUT OF SHAPE.  It happened so fast. Walks up a hill did me in.  But I kept going.  Each day a little longer, or a little further.  I don’t want to say it was like starting my running career over again, but it kind of was.  My pace, my endurance, my mental toughness.  It was all gone.  I still loved running, but I was no longer in love with it.  It made me sad. It made me want to give up.  But there is something so special, challenging and rewarding about stroller running that when we started to do that, little by little I was feeling that love for running fill my heart again. FYI: stroller running with an infant is your choice. My husband and I made the decision that with some extra head support and freshly paved roads, we were okay with taking little man with us. My other runs typically happen(ed) on the treadmill while he is napping.
My only advice is don’t give up.  Do what works for you and your new little family.  Don’t rush back into things. It will happen when it is supposed to happen.  Take on a new challenge, sign up for a first race. It took me a good two months postpartum to get to where I thought I could handle running again; mentally, physically, spiritually.  Every time I laced up my shoes, it got a little easier.  I am still no where near where I was before baby, and I don’t think I will be for a very long time, but I am okay with that.  Being pregnant has taught me so much about myself, my body, my abilities.  I am forever a mommy first now.  It doesn’t mean that I don’t need that me time, but that me time can sometimes come in small periods throughout the day, or shared time with Clayton.  They are only little once, and you only have one first baby, so I am focusing all of my time and attention on all these amazing and special moments with him.  My time will come again.  And back to social media, please, please, please do not let others quick comeback stories affect you.   Some people are born flexible, while others have to work every day at touching their toes.  Some people are naturally fast, while others have to follow a strict training plan to reach that level.  Others are naturally “ripped with abs”, while others, despite how hard they work will never have a six pack.  Social media has a tendency, well not a tendency, but a habit of only sharing and showing the good, the perfect, the pretty, the best.  That is not real life, and I pride myself on sharing it all and showing it all.  I may not be back to tip top shape, but my story isn’t anyone else’s.  The square box we let ourselves get consumed by is disheartening, despite everyone’s intentions of inspiring and motivating.  Just do you for you and your new family.  Don’t worry about the comeback.  It will happen as you want it to happen.
And in the spirit of keeping things Fit & Faithful, what does the verse “and let us Run With Endurance the race marked out for us” mean for you and your life?
This bible verse sums up our journey’s perfectly.  Our lives, like each run, are different.  WE must run the race he has given us the way he intended us to.  I go into every race with prayer and this verse, because I like to go into each race without expectations. It will play out the way He wanted it to, regardless of how much I worry or anticipate events. This notion is so important to remember in our everyday lives too. Life will through curveballs, hard days, tough times, but this verse tells us to persevere in our faith, especially in the midst of trials and persecution. 
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Thank you so much, Tanya, for sharing your story. I love your reminder to all of us women, pregnant or not, to listen to your body and not compare ourselves to others. Easier said than done, but always a great reminder. Tanya, you have a beautiful little family and I just love watching Clayton grow and the amazing example you are setting for him as you remain active, focused on your health, but first and foremost focused on him. If you want to continue to follow Tanya’s post-partum journey, find her on instagram here.

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Runner Mom Series

For the month of January, you will be introduced to some amazing Runner Moms on the Fit & Faithful blog. I have to give credit where credit is due to my husband because this was all his idea. We were I was chatting one evening about my blog, and he was listening. This blog was created to document my marathon training and my impossible goal to run the Boston Marathon – and I would sprinkle a little truths about Jesus in the mix. With a baby on the way, I don’t have much to write about when it comes to running and fitness. There’s only so much to say about walking your dog for 45 minutes and eating, yet again, another plain baked potato for dinner (the only thing I can stomach some days).  So Andrew suggested “you may not be training right now, but other women are and I am sure they would love to share their story and testimony.”  Good job, Andrew, good job!

So the Runner Mom Series was created. And what a perfect time to introduce you to these inspiring women at the beginning of a new year – where resolutions are aplenty and motivation is high. I hope you enjoy reading their stories about before, during, and after baby, and maybe learn a thing or two about juggling running with a family.

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