Mommy in Training


 

The most difficult thing about distance running while being the mom of an infant is leaving the house alone for a long enough time to complete long runs. For shorter runs baby D can come along in the jogging stroller– if he is in the mood for it– but taking two to three hours to run alone, plus the time it takes to shower after finishing, is hard to do. I am lucky in that my husband is very supportive and always tries to make sure I have enough time to train, and there are two sets of grandparents always eager to spend time with baby D. So the time for training is there… I just have to feel comfortable taking it. I still plan to run the marathon in October, but right now my workouts consist of short runs and bike rides. Of course one cannot expect to complete a marathon without having built up sufficiently long runs, so here is the real challenge: do the weekly long run, no matter what. I didn’t expect getting out the door to be more challenging than the actual workouts, but perhaps overcoming this mental hurdle– and gaining more effective time management skills– will be the greater benefit of marathon training. I expected physical challenges and growth. The mental side is a bonus. To say “I have no time for training” would be the same as saying “Training is not a priority”. It is a priority, and I want to be an example of good use of the body and the mind for baby D as he grows. I will complete the long runs, I will complete the marathon, and above all I will be the best mom I can be.

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Belly Binder and Hip Slimmer Review


Well, I used both the Tauts abdominal binder and the Hip Slimmer post pregnancy. I found both to be beneficial. Abdominal binding provided noticeable support to my midsection that was very comfortable. The compression left me with a belly that looks the same as it did before pregnancy– no jiggles that were not pre-existing. The hip slimmer was beneficial also, although it took more planning to wear than the abdominal binder did. The hip slimmer only needs to be worn for three hours per day, but bending and sitting are somewhat difficult (though not impossible). I usually wore it over yoga pants after working out, and planned to stand for most of that time as a further means of exercise. Each time I wore the hip slimmer I could lace it a little tighter. The material is quite sturdy and does not stretch, so it is a good feeling to know that the hips are getting smaller. I was wearing pre-pregnancy clothes three weeks after delivery, and I think that the abdominal binder and the Hip Slimmer helped to accelerate the results of my exercise plan. I would use both again.

Mommy Madness


It will be five weeks tomorrow that our beautiful son has been out of the womb. He amazes us every second– every little thing he does, every sound he makes, seems miraculous. Very little is going according to plan– there are posts coming covering nursing, cloth diapering, elimination communication, and sleep. I have been working piece by piece on a post about his birth, which is also forthcoming. As it is baby D and I are still figuring each other out. My time has two categories: baby D and training. I have become even more serious about the upcoming marathon, and I have added cycling to my athletic obsession. I cheated a little (don’t tell the midwife), and started exercising seriously three weeks post partum. There have been no problems. It feels so good to run again! I am slower than before, but I don’t care. With the help of my dedicated husband I have been running or going to the gym every day. A baby plus a training program really does take cooperation from both parents. At first I felt totally guilty leaving baby D for any amount of time, no matter how brief. I felt like a neglectful mother when I realized I had been concentrating on the workout and had not thought of him for a couple of minutes. Now I don’t feel as guilty– he is my motivation to work harder to get back to him sooner.

Right now cycling is taking up much of my other-than-baby thoughts. I was able to get a very basic, entry-level road bike. Score! I thought there was no way I could afford a road bike. I bought it as-is from a department store. It is being tuned up at the local bike shop now. My thoughts are already turning to century rides… Ok, how about just building base miles first. I do plan on upgrading most of the components over time– so much fun!

It is interesting– now that I have had a baby, I have become more serious about becoming an athlete. I am morphing from a recreational runner who aspired to complete a marathon to a woman on a mission to reach my physical limits. Did the experience of childbirth bring this on? Do I want to prove that the body can improve and reach new heights after having a baby? Have I gone a bit mad? I’m not sure yet.

 

Wanted: Marathon Moms


With elite runners like Paula Radcliffe and Kara Goucher competing in and even winning marathons soon after having babies, perhaps there is hope for us mere mortals who just want to finish the distance. My baby will be born in May, and I am going to begin as soon as medically responsible to train for a marathon in October. I got out my old copy of Hal Higdon’s much-loved book Marathon: The Ultimate Training Guide and began looking over the training plans, speculating as to when I could begin training and how many weeks I would have between then and race day. It feels good to be at the point where it is reasonable to make plans for after the baby is born!

For those of you who have participated in a marathon after giving birth, and for those of you who want to give it a go, please stop by and add your experiences, advice, and struggles. If you have a different distance in mind, or a different athletic goal, please feel free to chime in. I’m just walking these days, but will chronicle my training experiences once I can run again. To be a Marathon Mom is achievable– many others have proved it, Paula and Kara most famously. Here’s to challenges, to testing the limits of what the human body can do. Let’s encourage and support each other to reach the goal! Shoes? Check. Jogging stroller? Check. Determination? Check. Nothing fancy needed.

Tauts or Belly Bandit?


I ordered my abdominal binder today. I went back and forth about which brand to order. A basic Tauts is currently selling for $56.00, and a basic Belly Bandit for $45.95. My thrifty nature wanted to go with the less expensive and very well reviewed product. But after looking at the sizing information for both products, I found that the Tauts covers a range of waist measurements in one size that takes two different sizes in a Belly Bandit. For the Belly Bandit, sizes x-small and small each cover a four inch waist measurement range, medium and large a five inch range, and x-large a six inch range. The ranges do not overlap. For the Tauts, sizes x-small, small, and x-large cover a ten inch range, and sizes medium and large cover an eleven inch range. There is also overlap between the measurement ranges of the sizes, so that the necessity of purchasing more than one size in order to get the most effect of the garment is less likely. The newest model of the Belly Bandit, which currently sells for $79.98, offers a five inch range for x-small and medium, a four inch range for size small, and a six inch range for size x-large.

The FAQ page for Belly Bandit features the questions “I’ve been wearing my Belly Bandit for 2 weeks (3 weeks) etc., and I have shrunk out of it already. It didn’t last that long. I would like to exchange it for another one”, and “I don’t get why you don’t use more Velcro on your item so it lasts longer?” Of course they don’t exchange an item that has been worn for several weeks (who would?), but the answer to the concern of limited use for the price is that the questioner is now ready for the next size down. The answer as to why there is not more velcro on the product so that it can be used longer is that it would show through clothing. Obviously, most women will need to purchase multiple sizes of this product. Both brands suggest ordering two to have one available to wear while the other is being washed and dried. (Neither one can go into the drier.)

I think the extra $10.00 in the initial cost to purchase the Tauts is more than worth it if it can be used for a longer period of time and purchasing multiple sizes can be avoided. So now I am waiting for the Tauts to arrive. Hopefully it will be here before I deliver. I’ll review the product and its results as I use it.

Everything in its Place


Every new mother wants to get back in shape quickly after her child is born. While abdominal binding and hip compression are not a weight loss strategy, there does seem to be credibility in the claims that these practices speed the return of the body to pre-pregnancy shape by aiding the shrinking of the uterus, moving the separated abdominal muscles back together, and moving the hips back into place. This has been practiced in Central and South America, Japan, the Philippines, Indonesia, and sub Saharan Africa since ancient times. The people of so many different places wouldn’t have embraced a useless practice for so long!

I have decided to try this after my baby is born. There are several commercial brands of specifically post-natal abdominal binders, the most popular being Belly Bandit and Tauts. Some people use ace bandages, a long sash, post-surgical binders, or regular old girdles. I have decided to use a commercial post natal variety simply for ease of use. I chose Tauts because reviewers said there is a wider area of velcro, allowing for wear through a greater range of measurements.

A slightly more surprising practice, for me, is hip compression. The theory here is that the hormones that loosen joints remain in the body for some weeks after delivery, so there is a window of opportunity to actually move the hip bones back into place. Sounds painful!

While some moms experience the permanent widening of the hips after giving birth– even at pre-pregnancy weight or lower– the testimonials from people who have used hip compression say that their hips returned to pre-pregnancy size or even a little smaller. The device that supposedly produces these results looks like a corset for your hips. It has laces that are tightened to provide compression. The makers say to wear it for a few hours per day for eight weeks after delivery. At first I thought, “is it safe to deliberately move your bones?”. Then I thought that since they have already moved due to the presence of relaxin, which is still in the body, and since they will not move further by wearing the garment after relaxin is gone, it is probably not dangerous.

I am not expecting miracles, but I do think that these practices have merit. Does anyone have experience with either abdominal binding or hip compression? What were your results? I will document my experience once baby arrives.