Thursday, April 24, 2014

Maternity Belts. The Skinny.

After I crossed the finish line at the Cowtown Half and was headed down the chute toward the medals and post-race food line I looked to my left and there was another pregnant runner (she was 27 weeks).  She was wearing the same For Two Fitness Running for Two tank I was, only in yellow.  I immediately struck up a conversation as she whipped off her support belt, which of course prompted a million questions.  The 3 things I remember are that she loved hers, that it was a Gabrialla, and that she wished she had started wearing it sooner.
The next day I started my research.  At the time I was 21 weeks and, according to my post-race adviser, was at the perfect point to look for some extra support.  The problem was that I could not find a physical brick and mortar store to try on a Gabrialla and I wasn’t very comfortable with their sizing measurement descriptions.  So for ease of mind I headed to my trusty Motherhood Maternity to see what options they had.
At MM I had two choices, their $18 “Ultimate Maternity Belt” and their $30 “Ultimate Maternity Belt”.  I chose the $30 one because it looked similar to the Gabrialla and I figured the longer I want to run the more support I am going to need.  The next morning was a weight lifting day for me so I decided to see if the belt provided any benefit during strength training.  I was immediately annoyed.  The fabric would bunch up and was uncomfortable when I squatted.  This also meant as I got further along if I want to wear it on a regular basis (not just when working out) I wouldn’t be able to comfortably sit down in it.  I knew this was not the belt for me.  I did later get a chance to run in it and due to the elasticity of the fabric and the fact that it is fairly thin (compared to the Gabrialla) it didn’t provide enough support to be happy and comfortable running in it.  Fortunately the girl that runs the MM nearest me has to be the kindest, most thoughtful person on the planet and she was happy to exchange it.
After consulting some Instagram mother runners I decided the $18 belt was worth a try.  Some of them swore it gave them as much support as the Gabrialla. And I agree. I love it!  Though after 5 weeks (and over 100 miles) I did have to exchange it due to the Velcro coming unsewn from the elastic.  In the beginning I had wished it came in an extra small but regardless, it does the job and comfortably.  The thing I like best about this belt is it’s simplicity.  Both in size and function.  It hides so easily under my clothes!  The first time I wore it directly in contact with my skin and noticed a little irritation where the top of the band came into contact with my skin so I wore shorts or pants that would cover the skin the belt contacted from that point.  If you look closely in all of my race photos you can see a “muffin top” or chub ring where my belt was snuggly hiding under my tank. 

Belt #3: Gabrialla

Despite how satisfied I was with my simple little MM strap I worried that it wouldn't provide enough support as I grew larger, errr, as my passenger grew larger.  So I broke down and ordered a Gabrialla from Amazon.  Since I am an extra small to small in everything else I went with a small when ordering this belt.  I’m afraid I should have sized up, as there isn’t a lot of extra space to grow.  The Gabrialla provides great support while squatting and does not bunch like belt #1. However, it chafes and irritates everything if you rotate or flex your core side to side.  So if you’re doing a circuit training or functional style workout, this might not be your best friend.  The biggest difference in belt #2 and the Gabrialla is the size of the Gabrialla.  It is much thicker (taller) in the back rising near the bottom of the sports bra line.  This makes me nervous about running long distances in it because I fear there will be chaffing issues.  For this reason I have only worn it on weekday runs (6-8 miles) so far.  The Gabrialla is a much thicker, stronger, more well-constructed belt.  I think it will provide more support as I grow and be reusable in my next pregnancy.

All of these things considered I feel that the $18 Motherhood Maternity belt definitely provides the best bang for your buck in the second trimester.  However, the Gabrialla is the best longterm investment.

What are your thoughts?  What have you tried?  When did you start wearing your belt?

Tuesday, April 8, 2014

My Pregnant Half Marathon Running Journey.

On October 12, at The Showdown, I had the honor of pacing a half for the first time.  Little did I know I had company.  A tiny zygote was swimming inside of me.  And so began my adventure.  After I got home from my next pacing gig two weeks later my husband saw my distended belly and asked if I was pregnant.  This infuriated me since I had lost my first pregnancy in February and we had not been able to get pregnant again yet, or so I thought.  I was convinced my protruding belly was the typical post-race refueling food baby.  As the day wore on my breasts felt sore, I felt strange, and I got curious.  The next morning I got my big fat positive.
With two halves under our belt I considered running a full before giving birth but after researching the dos and don’ts of pregnancy exercise I learned the golden standard.  Continue doing what your body is conditioned to.  Mine was conditioned to half marathons on a whim but definitely not for 26.2.  So I loaded up.  I took every opportunity to pace and added a few I just had to do. 
The first half I ran knowing my little one was on board was a little nerve wracking. You see, I had paced those first two halves 45 minutes slower than my race pace. Now I was free to run my own pace but I didn’t know what that was.  So I just ran comfortably and it worked like a charm.  I finished feeling accomplished but not exhausted and not worried in the slightest about over taxing my system and harming my passenger.
Next up was The New Year’s Double.  13.1 miles on New Year’s Eve and 13.1 on New Year’s Day. A whole new beast.  The most significant challenge was the training.  Between half #3 and New Year’s exhaustion and morning sickness took their toll.  My cross training became virtually nonexistent as I honed in on my training plan determined to stick to it as closely as possible. And in all honesty, I fell short.  But I didn’t have a problem with that because I had a new sense of importance. My focus was no longer on running my best and fastest; my focus was on completing these events with a smile on my face and a healthy baby in my belly.  And I did.  With two friends by my side crossing the finish line on New Year’s Day.  5 down, 5 to go!
There was a long break between 5 and 6 but as I entered my second trimester my energy levels rose and my cross training returned.  I was on top of the world and had an absolute blast pacing Cowtown for #6.  For the first time I had the honor of pacing friends, who actually crossed the line ahead of me (and their goals) and I met some pretty wonderful new friends.  But one thing became apparent.  I was obviously pregnant.  Every five minutes I’d hear a comment as someone new would spot my passenger.  I’m sure they meant well and everything they said was absolutely positive but my goal as a pacer is to encourage others, not to steal the show.  It didn’t dampen the magic of the day in the end.  I didn’t get to cross the finish line with the people I had gotten there with but I did get to push them on.  Every single one of them finished ahead of me.  Awesome.  When I crossed the finish line and was heading down the chute to the medals and water I looked to my left and there was a girl wearing the same For Two Fitness tank in yellow. It was wonderful to see a fellow pregnant runner. To share a similar path.

The following week I took on another solo adventure, The Xpress, in my hometown and blew my personal pace goal out of the water.  Baby Boy (did I mention that my passenger is a boy?) and I pushed hard and “raced” again.  It felt amazing to run for the feeling of freedom and strength again.  It was another beautiful day full of accomplishment and a sense that I was doing everything right.  You see, there is no more supportive group of people on this journey than runners.  Every time I’m out on a course people are somehow amazed at what I am doing.  They say the kindest, most encouraging things and never cease to amaze me.

Next up was another solo event.  My 5th Runniversary, Rock N Roll Dallas.  Again, I ran much faster than I expected to comfortably run.  That’s the beauty of these huge events, the excitement never ends and you always have company.  Somehow running through the sea of people you don’t feel so exhausted and the same pace feels like a stroll through the park. I enjoyed every moment of it because I knew 9 and 10 were both pacing events.  This might be my last opportunity to just run.  Just me and my son.  And it was beautiful.  Not a worry in the world, just floating along enjoying the day and soaking up the joy of running and pregnancy.

Then came Women Rock Texas, my first all-female event.  I have to admit I was skeptical, but it was wonderful too!  The weird part was before the race started half a dozen women approached me and told me that they had read about me online and wanted to run with me.  That they had come with the goal of beating the pregnant lady.  Another half a dozen repeated similar stories on the course.  I still have no idea what they are talking about.  How on Earth did they hear my story?  Regardless, that day was magical.  I felt like I got to bond more with these runners.  There was something special about this event.  Be it that people felt a special connection to me knowing my story, or that it was a looped course so we had more interaction as we passed each other, or maybe it was the Black Girls Run club on the course supporting their runners.  They were the happiest, most encouraging spectators ever.  Or maybe I’m biased because they gave me a popsicle in a tube.  Again, I met amazing women, made wonderful new friends, heard inspiring stories and crossed the finish line on cloud 9.

The grand finale, number 10, The Fairview started in the exact same place my pregnant half running journey began.  The Fairview is The Showdown’s sister event.  That day I paced a group 5 minutes slower than my first pacing gig 6 months earlier only this time I was six and a half months pregnant.  That day I got to run with the most inspiring runners of my entire journey.  At the risk of sounding like a broken record it was magical and beautiful.  It was the perfect end to such a meaningful journey. 
In the end I hope that I have inspired women to stay active throughout their pregnancies. That no matter what we are going through we should take care of ourselves, both physically and emotionally, first and foremost.  That pregnancy is not a disease or a disability.  That a woman can be strong and active throughout her pregnancy.  That exercise is not detrimental to a baby, that in fact it is healthy!  I hope that I did not discourage anyone, that I helped to inspire someone to follow their dreams, to push a little harder, not to give up.

1The Showdown10/12/201302:28:322:30 Pacer1 week, 6 days pregnant
2No Limits Wild Asphault Run10/26/1302:29:002:30 Pacer3 weeks, 6 days pregnant
3DRC Half Marathon11/02/201301:55:104 weeks, 6 days pregnant
4New Year's Double12/31/1302:07:4113 weeks, 2 days pregnant
5New Year's Double01/01/201402:10:4813 weeks,3 days pregnant
6Cowtown Half Marathon02/23/1402:39:372:40 Pacer21 weeks pregnant
7Xpress Half Marathon03/01/201402:05:0321 weeks, 6 days pregnant
8Rock N Roll Dallas03/23/1402:07:5225 weeks pregnant
9Women Rock Texas03/29/1402:44:242:45 Pacer25 weeks, 6 days pregnant
10The Fairview04/05/201402:34:532:35 Pacer26 weeks, 6 days pregnant

Tuesday, January 31, 2012

Be a Positive Influence

When you workout where do you go? Do you hide out so that no one will see you? Do you flaunt for all to see?

I would like to encourage you to go out, be seen. Be a positive influence. What if someone sees you running and thinks, “Man, I should go for a run today.” Or, “Wow, look at those legs! I’m going to work towards having legs like that!” On the flip side you might work a little harder knowing someone could be watching you. You don’t want that guy sitting in the line at the drive through to think you can’t finish that mile. You can do this!

What about in the gym? That girl on the treadmill that has been scared to use the free weights. What if she sees you and gains the confidence to try it herself? What if a guy sees you press as much as him and takes it as a personal challenge to push himself a little harder? If you know people are watching you are you likely to lift a little more? Pull out one more rep? Keep a little better form?

Go for it, get out there, be seen. Help someone else get off of their butt and push yourself a little harder.

Thursday, January 26, 2012

Life Change

Are you trying to change your life? Trying to lose weight? Trying to get into better shape? What are you doing to achieve your goal? Are you diving into a strict diet? Or are you making a life change?

I hope you said the later. It is often quoted that 95% of those who go on a diet will fail. Think about it. If you suddenly completely change the way you eat and deprive yourself of the foods you love how likely are you to stick with it? Not very. Rather than setting yourself up for failure consider making realistic life changes. Make changes to your diet that you can maintain for the rest of your life. Get off of the diet roller coaster and commit to a healthier you. For life.

What is your go to pleasure food? What do you think will happen if you attempt to completely eliminate it from your diet? Cravings. You’ll deny yourself and attempt to beat them but chances are eventually you will give in and splurge. Big time. So what do you do? Allow yourself the satisfaction of enjoying your favorite pleasure food, just keep it within reason. Be conscious of your weakness and set boundaries. Decide how much of that food you will consume and how often then limit yourself to that serving. This will allow you the satisfaction of eating your favorite food without derailing your efforts.

What about your social life? In our society food is often at the center of social gatherings. So you feel like you have to reject invitations if you want to succeed in your weight loss goals. Don’t. Go out, have fun. Becoming a hermit is not good for your mental health. When your friends ask you to go out to lunch go in armed. Check out the restaurant’s website and educate yourself on the nutritional information of their dishes. Decide ahead of time what you will order and what to steer clear of. When you are invited to a party where snacks will be served and you know you will tempted to graze go in armed. Be aware of the temptation and consciously decide how much you will allow yourself to eat. Drink a bottle of water beforehand to help you feel fuller.

Make smart decisions on a daily basis. Make life changes.

Think about it. If you make reasonable life changes rather than short term goals you could have that bikini body year round rather than making absurd resolutions every year to have a six pack by spring.

Monday, January 23, 2012


As athletes we tend to be fairly self motivated. We know what we need to do to accomplish our goals and we do it. We get up, we get off of our asses and we get it done.

I spend my days attempting to motivate my clients, with some it is simple, with others not so much. Today I accepted the fact that one of my clients, who needs the most help, has given up. How do you not give up on someone who has given up on themselves? How do you not take their failure personally? What could I have done differently to help her see how badly she needs this? How could I have helped light a fire in her heart? Or at least under her ass.