Thursday, December 19, 2013

Aesthetically Pleasing...Yeah Okay...

Dear Moms,

Do you remember spending amazing amounts of time getting ready to go out? Doing your hair, your makeup, nails, the whole bit?

My original Mypace picture! (2004...oi...)

Thanksgiving 2011

Ah the distant memories of tanning, and dying, and acrylic, and wax. Long past are the days of stress free "primping" and taking all the time in the world to decide what to wear before leaving the house...for the grocery store, or some other ridiculous, who cares, trip.

Makeup...to go nowhere....

These days I'm lucky if I am out of sweatpants or spandex for such excursions, and I usually have my 2 hot new accessories with me when I go: The Twins. And thank goodness, because no one sees me or has any idea that I haven't brushed my hair all day when they are distracted by cuteness in a pair.

I used to think that there was some necessity to all of it, looking a certain way. Now it's pretty much whatever. My days are full, I mean FULL, and the last thing that I am going to worry about is what my hair looks like. I have two little people who want to play, and throw balls under the couch (where the cat hair is) and have me retrieve them....over....and over....and over.... And when they get tired they usually like to have a snack, and wipe most of it on my pants and in my hair.

Now...literally...right now

Jeanette from the Chipmunks...what my hair looks like 99% of the time...minus the cute bow (sigh)


see?

Yes there are date nights and special occasions that I give myself a once over with mascara or what not, but other than that, it's seriously not a focus at the moment. Aesthetics and image are really pretty stupid if you ask me, I mean, who honestly cares? I'm not promoting giving up on yourself in any way, my health and fitness are very important to me, but as far as the Pretty Pretty Princess shit goes, why? Last I remember, no one cared when I did all that crap anyway. I never changed the world with my tan or helped any one with my blonde highlights, and I sure as hell didn't get anything out of my nails other than injured nail beds.

Now listen, if you can pull of managing a household, wrangling one year old twins, and helping with your husband's fitness business in heels with perfectly manicured hair, you go with your bad self and I am impressed. But if you are like me, and I'm guessing the lot of us, then lay off yourself and stop stressing over the bullshit, because that's what it is. You don't need to look like Miss America to be doing the absolute best job that anyone could be doing for your family. Stop shaming yourselves in the mirror and think about all of the really important and amazing things that are happening around you right at this moment.
My favorite picture of myself, because it includes my greatest accomplishments.

xoxoxo
Jeanette.... I mean, Claire

Tuesday, December 17, 2013

I'm Sick. My Baby Is Sick. Now What?

Coincidentally I have been asked by three different moms today if they should continue to breastfeed their children while either a) mom is sick or b) baby is sick. The reason they came to me about it is because their children's pediatricians/nurses told them to a) stop breastfeeding altogether b) stop breastfeeding during the illness or c) pump and offer bottles of breast milk. These women didn't feel that they were being given correct information. They asked what I would do if it were me or the twins.
This picture is a riot. (apronstringsattached.com)

Well, what I would do, and what I have done, is NURSE ON. What these doctors and nurses told these moms is the most asinine thing I have ever heard. Breast milk is like medicine, it is full of antibodies from the mother's body, and it is the absolute best thing that can be given to your baby if it is available, ESPECIALLY if you or your baby is sick. If mom is sick, then baby is getting all of those wonderful antibodies for that illness, on top of all of the other ones they were already getting. This means your baby likely won't catch what you have, and if they do it will be very short lived. If baby is sick, then they need all of mom's antibodies so much more than they normally do. The rare exceptions to this include if mom has HIV, HTLV-1, or is on medications that can pass through the milk and pose harm to the baby.

  • The best thing you can do for your baby when you’re sick is to continue to breastfeed. When you have a contagious illness such as a cold, flu, or other mild virus, your baby was exposed to the illness before you even knew you were sick. Your milk will not transmit your illness to baby, but it does have antibodies in it that are specific to your illness (plus anything else you or baby have been exposed to) – they’ll help prevent baby from getting sick, or if he does get sick, he’ll probably not be as sick as you.        
  • During any “ordinary” illness such as a cold, sore throat, flu, tummy bug, fever, mastitis, etc. you should continue to breastfeed. Just remind your doctor you are nursing so that if medications are needed he can prescribe something that is compatible with breastfeeding. Most medications are safe to take while breastfeeding, and for those that are not recommended there is almost always an alternative medication that is safe. -http://kellymom.com/bf/can-i-breastfeed/illness-surgery/mom-illness/

Thursday, December 12, 2013

I. Hate. Running.

Really. I do.

Running sucks. It's hard. It can be boring. It can be painful. It can be a lot of things.

I run just about every single day. Sometimes 1 mile. Sometimes 10 miles. Hating every second of it.

But I have a really good reason for hating to run. I was born with a club foot. Symtoms? "The appearance is unmistakable: the foot is turned to the side and it may even appear that the top of the foot is where the bottom should be. The involved foot, calf, and leg are smaller and shorter than the normal side. It is not a painful condition. But if it is not treated, clubfoot will lead to significant discomfort and disability by the teenage years." http://orthoinfo.aaos.org/topic.cfm?topic=a00255

left foot before surgery, you can no longer see the bone separation near the ankle
So basically I had the severe case. The top of my foot was where the bottom should have been. The leg itself was turned inwards. My mom was told I would never walk. I was casted as an infant, but this non surgical treatment did little to correct the problem. I had surgery to release some of the tendons in the leg when I was 3. This allowed my leg to grow at a similar rate to the other. I spent all of my "growing" years sleeping in a leg brace. All I can say about this is OUCH! To this day I remember how painful it was, and awkward! Who can sleep in metal leg braces?

I did ballet when I was 4 and apparently complained of leg pain, so after that I was never allowed to do sports, ballet, dance, run, etc. Too much stress on the leg and ankle was risky. I ran around with kids and played, but that was about it.

Then I went away to college. And I decided to take up running. Yeah....

I realized that the pain that I feel all day, everyday, sitting, standing, walking, etc. is somewhat lessened when I am running. Not by much, but somehow running helps alleviate swelling, pain, and general discomfort in the leg.

In 2009 I was in so much pain everyday that I couldn't take it. The bones in my foot felt like they were grinding against each other no matter what I was doing, and I decided to see a surgeon about my options. He told me that no matter what I had been doing, running or not, I would have gotten to that point. Basically, because I don't have most of the muscle most people do from the calf down in the leg, and only about 40% of the intact tendons and ligaments, the foot is having to do extra work to support my body. He told me my option was to have the bones in the top and sides of my foot surgically fused, which would provide more support. Not a permanent fix, but if I didn't do it, he gave me 6 years before my ankle gave out on me. So, we did it.
1st Turkey Trot 5K just after Steve and I began dating :)

3rd Disney 1/2 2012
Prior to the surgery I ran less than 8 minute miles for close to 10 miles a day, everyday. I was wrecked when he told me I may never run again, and if I did it wouldn't be at that pace. I had the surgery June 29, 2009. I spent 8 weeks in casts, 3 weeks in a walking cast, and 5 weeks in a walking boot. I took my first steps on the foot in late October, and I ran my first half marathon on January 9, 2010 with a finish time of 2 hours 14 minutes. It snowed in Florida that day. I was in pain for days after. But I wouldn't change having done it for anything. I ran 3 more half marathons in the 4 months following. To this day I have run 8 halfs and way to many 5K/10K races to count.
Twilight 5K when the babies were 5 months old
Running sucks. I hate training. I hate sprints. I hate bridges and hills. But I run. I train. I sprint. I run bridges and hills every chance I get. Because I wasn't supposed to walk. And I can. I can run. And I am so grateful for those facts, and my ridiculous legs that I can't stand, they look horrible, but they are my greatest feature. They are strong and capable of anything. I can run again, and I just recently ran the fastest mile, sub 7:30, I ever have in my life. Proving surgeons wrong, one run at a time :)

One day my foot and ankle will eventually take a dive, and at that point I will need an ankle replacement and possible subsequent fusions. When that day comes, unless technology improves drastically by then, I won't be able to run and jump anymore. So you better believe I will run every mile, do every burpee, do every squat jump, and take every physical opportunity that comes my way.

Don't take your body for granted. If you have the ability, use it, that's what it's there for!

right leg in foreground, defined calf, left leg in background, no calf muscle

interior scars

exterior scars, no defined ankle, misshapen toes

left vs right

Tuesday, December 3, 2013

This May Be War

I wasn't going to, but I've decided to weigh in on this issue. There's this new mom Caroline Berg Erikson, she is a wife to pro soccer player Lars-Kristian Eriksen. She's beautiful, she's a fitness blogger, and she recently gave birth to a daughter. Then, four days later, she decided to take and tweet a selfie of her postpartum body. I hate selfies, but I get it, document the after birth stuff. Document your progress. I did that. She wrote the caption "I feel so empty...4 days after birth." Then I saw the picture. And I was wondering if there was a webpage malfunction. I literally wondered if it was a real picture. Oh, it was.

The picture? Well here it is:
Erikson http://shine.yahoo.com/parenting/mom-under-fire-post-baby-body-selfie-215700858.html

At first I was like "Hey cool! Go you!" But then I read some of the comments about the picture, and I thought about what she was really striving for by posting it. I mean look at her posture. Her expression. Her choice of clothing. Is anything about the picture saying "I feel so empty"? What is her point? It looks a little more like she's saying "Look how awesome I look! I just had a baby and I bet I look better than you!" which would be sort of alright, kind of (not really, but I'm trying hard to see this from her point of view...postpartum hormones make women nuts). Unfortunately I also know that she spoke openly about a very minimal raw/vegan diet while pregnant that caused her followers to wonder if she was providing enough nutrients to her then unborn baby. Based on this information I can't respect her or her picture. By all accounts she limited herself to the bare minimum during her pregnancy so as not to put on any weight, and she lucked out on the swelling and/or placement of her uterus. Posting this picture makes other women, moms or not, feel like failures. It's unrealistic, it's unhelpful, it's selfish. Where is the baby? I'm sure her followers would have rather seen a picture of her newborn daughter than her cleavage in a push up. Some of her critics are claiming she declared war with other moms by posting the picture. I'm sure she didn't mean to, but I think she may have.

Kang http://www.mariakang.com/
https://www.facebook.com/photo.php?fbid=685144034849888&set=pb.284697751561187.-2207520000.1386117372.&type=3&theater

I have publicly stood behind Maria Kang, the fitness dedicated mom of three who was recently banned from Facebook for standing by her comments that glamorizing obesity is a bad idea for our society. But honestly, who disagrees with that? Obesity is a problem of titanic proportions in our country, we shouldn't try to dress it in heels and make it look sexy, I'm sorry if that offends, but I would like to think that my children and theirs have a brighter future than the human race in the movie Wall-E. Maria has also been honest about the work it takes to be fit and raise a family. So have I. It's damn hard. That's the point I'm trying to make. It doesn't happen instantaneously, and if you are going to be a "fitness blogger" then maybe try being helpful. Share what you are doing, what is working for you, but for God sakes don't portray it as easy and effortless. Erikson was doing nothing more than being a narcissist. Nice abs Honey, maybe you should go enjoy and hold your daughter, who I'm sure will have a very healthy body image growing up....

Here's mine (my whole fitness journey can be found in previous posts, namely the "WTF Happened To My Body" ones):

last pregnancy picture

2 days postpartum in NICU

2 weeks postpartum

7 weeks postpartum
my behind...one year later

My journey with fitness is about being healthy and fit for my kids. If that means I am comfortable in a bikini at the beach, sweet, but it will never be about "looking great in my underwear." I want to be able to run and jump and chase my guys all over the place for as long as I can. That is all. Please don't buy into the glamorization of narcissism, whether it's to make obesity sexy or make new moms feel like they aren't good enough. It's societal crap. Just be healthy, be comfortable, be you.