Go-To Items for Recovery

November 22, 2013

On Wednesday I mentioned a few things to do right after the goal race, and figured I would take it a step further in a different direction. Here are a few ways to help you recover from a tough workout, your long run, or another road race.

Recovery Ecard

Ice Baths or Epsom Salt Baths

Depending on who you talk to, ice baths and epsom salt baths are usually mentioned. I personally am a fan of the ice bath. It helps to reduce inflammation and makes it so my joints and muscles do not hurt nearly as much after hours of pounding. Plus, when I ran for UCF, we were required to hop in the whirlpool ice tub after every practice. Now, I really only take them after long runs, but would really benefit taking them after speed workouts too. I usually just don’t schedule in enough time for mid week ice baths after workouts.

Compression Socks/Sleeves

If I could pick only one item to help me recover, compression sleeves would be my choice. I wear them both during and after runs any longer than 8 miles (or 60 minutes). Compression of the lower leg increases blood circulation, which in turn, speeds up recovery. They can easily be worn underneath pants no matter where you are – at work, on a plane, or just hanging out around the house. Now, I wear them pretty frequently when my legs are sore or bothering me because of the pregnancy. Anything that speeds up circulation is a-ok with me. I tend to like the sleeves better than the socks because a) I am picky with the socks I wear and b) you can wear them post run with flip flops. I do live in Florida after all. :)

Pro Compression Socks


I am a big fan of Biofreeze post marathon. I am not a fan of taking any type of pain reliever like Advil or Tylenol, but I will use Biofreeze and some other footcare products online. It is a cold therapy pain relief lotion. Now it comes in a spray, which is so so awesome! The less lotion I have to put on my hands, the better, especially when it has that cooling effect.

Foam Roller

This is definitely a love to hate type of product. It hurts so bad when I use it, but I know how beneficial it is when I am done. If you can make a date with your foam roller every day, you won’t be sorry. It really only take 5-10 minutes. For anyone with IT or glute issues, a foam roller is always my first recommendation to give a try. It is pretty much like getting a deep tissue massage, breaking down the big knots in your muscles that you just can’t get to otherwise.


This is key, although it is sometimes the most difficult thing to do. Try to get in a little nap or some solid rest time after tough workouts or long runs. Your body recovers extremely well while sleeping, or even if you are just sitting while watching a movie with your feet up. If you can schedule a long run on a day you don’t have to be on your feet for the rest of the day, then do it. I’m not saying you should be completely sedentary, but rest is a great thing to take advantage of.

What do you use to recover after a long race, run, or workout?

After the Goal Race

November 20, 2013

Although my race calendar has been non-existent this fall marathon season, I have so many friends who have competed and reached some pretty amazing goals. After having all of these race highs, what’s next? It is quite commonplace to cross a finish line and start immediately thinking about what you are going to do next (even if that thought has you sitting on the couch eating cheetos). Give yourself a little bit of time, as there are a few things you should really do first:

Take time off

Depending on your body, this can range from a few days to a few weeks (and hey, a few months for some people!). My body gets little aches and pains after a marathon, and I make myself take a mandatory week off of all exercise, and then another week off of running. I’ve tried in the past to get back into running faster, and I ended up with a nasty IT band issue which turned into hip and back pain. I know for me, time off is key. Some people can run a marathon one weekend, and another one the following weekend – I am just not one of those people. My body can’t handle it. Don’t be afraid to take time off. Your body will lose some fitness, but will end up coming back faster and stronger in the end with a little bit of rest and relaxation.


Food intake leading up to a big goal race is usually pretty calculated. Other than those people with cast iron stomachs (more power to you!), most of us are pretty diligent with our diets during training. Getting a feel for what works and what doesn’t work is key. After crossing a finish line, I always like to reward myself for the accomplishment. I tend to eat anything, as long as it comes with a side of french fries and a soda.

Bridal Shower Food

And Then Refuel Properly

Cupcakes and pizza are great and all, but they aren’t going to give your body what it needs to build back the muscle fibers you just broke down during your race. Have your congratulatory meal, and then get back to nutritious foods. The vitamins, minerals, and lean protein found in veggies and other healthy food is what is going to get you back running faster

Think about the Race You Just Ran…

Each and every time I finish a race, I can’t help but break it down. Did I fuel correctly? How was my pace? Did I start too fast or too slow? What was the course like? Did I see any spectators with memorable signs? After spending 3+ hours on a course, it is hard not to think about it after finishing.

Kentucky Derby Marathon

But Not Too Much

Thinking about the race is normal, just try not to break down every last mile, especially if it didn’t turn out the way you wanted it to. Find the main culprit and then move on. Focusing on the negatives will only get you more upset about your performance. Remember, you just finished a big goal race! That is a big deal in itself!

Tell Everyone What You Just Did

I’m kidding about this one (sort of). You can probably leave out those random strangers on the street, but fill in your training buddies, friends, and family about your recent accomplishment. Goal races tend to take up a good portion of our lives, so you know they are wondering how it went!

New York Marathon

Think About What’s Next

Give yourself a few days (or weeks!) and start thinking about what your next goal is going to be. Take the time off your body needs, and then get back to it. Putting a goal out there to achieve is the best way to stay active and keeping reaching for the sky! If your only goal for the next few months is to stay active and not race at all, that is perfectly ok. Just stick to what you set out to do.

What do you do after big goal races?

The iPhone 5s and ISIS Mobile Wallet

November 18, 2013

The following post is sponsored by Fitfluential LLC on behalf of Verizon Wireless.

I’m going on my 4th year having a smart phone, having been a Verizon customer the entire time. I started out with a Droid Incredible and ended up making the switch to the iPhone 5 when my 2 year contract ran up. The Droid was pretty good overall, but just lacked on a few very important things I was interested. I recently received the iPhone 5s from Verizon to review and test out a couple of new programs they are running.

iPhone 5s

What’s the hype of the iPhone 5s about?

The iPhone 5s isn’t as big of a jump as the 4s to the 5 was, but definitely has some amazing new features:

  • Fingerprint sensor for increased security measures
  • Picture taking during video recording
  • Faster shutter speed on the 8MP camera
  • An A7, 64 bit architecture chip – CPU and graphics are 2x faster on the A7 chip than on the A6 chip
  • New tones and alert sounds

Features that are still amazing, and are consistent from the iPhone 5 to the iPhone 5s:

  • Thin and light aluminum housing
  • Side switch to turn sound on and off in seconds
  • Camera can be accessed when the phone is locked for those can’t miss pictures
  • App folders which drag and drop into each other
  • iMessage
  • FaceTime
  • Crystal Clear Screen
  • Quick loading on the Verizon Wireless 4G LTE network
  • Customizable alarms (I don’t know why I like to come up with fun names for wake ups so much!)
  • My iPhone 5 case fits my new iPhone 5s, so I don’t have to buy a new one. Woo hoo!!

Any negatives to the iPhone 5s?

I’ve had the iPhone now for almost a year, so I really had to think of things that bothered me back when I switched from the Android to the iPhone last Christmas.  A few things came to mind:

  • The iPhone doesn’t have a back button
  • Pictures don’t transfer from one iPhone to another when the SD card is switched (as least it didn’t work for me from the 5 to the 5s)
  • Sharing can sometimes be a hassle by first having to copy/paste and then share

The All New ISIS Mobile Wallet App

While ISIS isn’t available yet on the iPhone (I know, first time ever the Droid has something before the iPhone!), I want to make sure I mention the new feature to you all. ISIS mobile wallet is a way you can have all of the information in your wallet with you on the go, without actually having to carry anything but your phone. This includes credit card information, special deals and product offers, and loyalty cards as well. The merchant just needs to be ISIS-Ready.


There are also safety measures which have been put into place, just in case you misplace your phone or something terrible along those lines.

  • You must enter a PIN each time you use the mobile wallet.
  • You can suspend your wallet from a remote location.
  • There are privacy settings so none of your information is shared.

It should be available for the iPhone pretty soon, so I’ll be sure to report back once I’ve tested it to see what its all about!

Are you an iPhone die-hard or a devotee to the Galaxy or Droid?


What’s Helping Me Stay Active Through Pregnancy

November 15, 2013

There is one part of pregnancy I’ve known since before I was pregnant that was very important to me: Keeping up with exercise.

There is also one part of pregnancy that has been a complete eye-opener as well: Keeping up with exercise.

I think we all have an idea of what pregnancy will be like in our head, whether it is how we are going to look, feel, crave etc. The crazy part is no one knows what is going to happen until you actually experience it yourself. Better yet, everyone is so different, on so many levels while pregnant. I want to share a few ways which have helped me stay active throughout this first pregnancy.

***Please note: I have given the complete go ahead by my doctor to exercise during pregnancy. These are ways that work for me.***

Listening To My Body

About a month before getting pregnant, I ran a 3:35 marathon. I was in really great shape and felt amazing. Fast forward to now, and I haven’t run more than 3-5 miles at a time since then. I would love to say I am one of the pregnant women who can run mile after mile, and feel great doing so, but I’m not. Thirty minutes is really all I have in me to exercise these days. After that, my back starts to bug me and I really feel like I pushed myself a little too far for the rest of the day. Being very conscious of this and listening to my body has been key. There are mornings I set out for a 3-4 mile run, and come back home after covering only 2.5 miles. I am perfectly ok with that. If it’s too tough to finish a workout session, then I don’t. No medals are being won here.

Buying Clothes That Fit

This seems pretty silly at first glance, but it actually took me a while to figure this out. I was trying for a while to just wear the clothes I had before, and be ok with them being “a little tight”. Needless to say, I think my version of tight and other’s version of tight are two different things. As soon as I bought exercise clothes a size up from what I normally wear, a few things happened:

  • No more wedgies
  • I could breath again (hello boobs!)
  • My waist band wasn’t leaving big red marks
  • No more arm pit flab (I know you know what I’m talking about!)
  • I felt all around more comfortable in my skin

Counting Small Victories

Before I was pregnant, I didn’t count walking as exercise. Really, I didn’t. I walk Winnie every morning and night, totaling around 60 minutes, and this was part of my daily routine. Now, you can bet I count that time as exercise. I am on my feet, my body is moving, and yes – it’s exercise.


Reevaluating Goals

Last fall, my biggest goal was crossing the finish line of the Chicago Marathon, and then ramping up again for a spring marathon. Now, I am training for a whole other marathon happening late February (or early March) – childbirth! The exercise I do at the gym are focused much more on the muscles I have read aid in childbirth. I no longer worry about keeping my stomach flat (no kidding) or having those vanity muscles. It’s all about the end goal of having a healthy baby.

Focusing on Nutrition

A common misconception I hear plenty of people saying is I am eating for two. However, this is more like 1.2. I don’t need many more calories a day than a banana with peanut butter. Instead of indulging on fried foods and sweets like too many people do during pregnancy, I am really focusing on my veggie intake and eating whole foods. This was pretty tough in the beginning, when I couldn’t even look at a vegetable. Luckily, I am good to go now. Salads are delicious and I am really not craving so many brown and white foods like I do a few months ago. Don’t worry – dessert is still being had, without a doubt – I am just saving it for special occasions instead of making it an everyday sort of thing.

Focusing on Sleep

Without adequate sleep, I am toast. My body feels tired, my mind doesn’t work correctly, and in turn, I have no energy. I make sure to get to bed at a decent hour each night and get a minimum of eight hours of sleep. I have been lucky and haven’t had many sleep issues, so this hasn’t been too tough. I also embrace naps and take one if I need it. There is nothing wrong with taking 60 minutes on a Saturday to lie down, to keep yourself full of energy for later on.

What helps you stay active during pregnancy?


Baby Baum: Weeks 24 & 25

November 13, 2013

The 6 month mark is here!

Baby Baum Week 24

I have to confess, I completely forgot to take a picture for week 24, so I am just going with the one from Halloween that is pretty darn close to the 24 week mark. Plus, my super talented husband free-handed the shirt I’m wearing, so I figured I should go ahead and show it off. Etsy has nothing on him! 😉

As for week 25, I did a bit better. Now you can actually see that belly a poppin’!

Baby Baum Week 25

First off, here is what is going on with Baby Baum:

  • He or she is now the size of a cauliflower, measuring 13.6 inches to 14.8 inches and weighs about 1.5 to 2.5 pounds. Per our last doctor’s appointment, Baby Baum is 1 lb, 11oz. That was as of last Wednesday, so I am sure there is even more weight gained as of today
  • He or she enjoying their new sense of equilibrium — he or she now knows which way is up and which is down
  • The baby is growing more fat and more hair too!

And of course, here are my bi-weekly details:

Weight Gained: As of last week, I was up to a total of 14 lbs, which means I gained 5 lbs from months 5-6. I am not surprised at all – have you seen that belly!?

Workouts: I didn’t get in nearly as much cross-training the past couple of weeks. I still was able to get in runs and strength workouts, but anything else fell to the wayside.

Labor Signs: In the past 1-2 weeks, I’ve started to experience Braxton Hicks contractions. Let me tell you, it is a very strange feeling for sure! From everything I’ve read, these are super normal starting now.

Symptoms: My low back has been definitely starting to feel my belly pulling on it. We went to 2 weddings and a football game last weekend, so I would imagine that probably didn’t help matters much. It was really bugging me Monday, but was much better yesterday. I think I may have just needed a little rest.

UCF football game 25 weeks pregnant

Movement: The baby has been moving like crazy, except for when I want someone to be able to feel it. My sister was here over the weekend, and I kept hoping she would be able to feel a few kicks – nada. Of course, about 10 minutes after I dropped her at the airport, someone decided to do somersaults inside!

Food Aversions/Cravings: I’ve been eating a bit more sweets lately, which I have backed off of in the past couple of days. I can only imagine that had something to do with the 5lb weight gain last month. I don’t care about the weight, but I do care about the nutrients being put in my body. I want to make sure the baby is getting (mostly) good things to help him or her grow.

Sleep: I have been good to go in this department. I have been falling asleep really hard at night, and sleeping all the way through. I am hoping this trend continues, at least for a little bit longer.

Stretch Marks: Nope!

Miss Anything?: Sleeping on my stomach. What I wouldn’t give for a little tummy time!

Fun things from the week: Marcus and I decided on names! We have both a girl and a boy name picked out that we love, so I am thrilled for that! Oh, you guessed it – we aren’t sharing them until he or she is born. We also were able to get another picture of him or her. Seeing that wiggly baby never gets old! I am required to get monthly ultrasounds as a precaution to chart the growth. Good news – he or she is measuring a week ahead, so I’d say the growth is just fine :)

Belly button in or out? It is officially poking through! I wasn’t expecting that to happen for a bit, but whoa it happened early!

Baby Baum Week 25

Wedding rings on or off? On – I am really hoping they stay that way the whole time. I really don’t want to take them off!

Happy or Moody? I am all around very happy. I can’t say I get very moody in general, and this pregnancy has been no different. I get a little bit irritable when I’m tired at night, but I think that just has to do with being worn out. As for being snappy or mean – none of that :)

Looking forward to: Maternity photos! I was torn over whether or not I wanted to get them, but I decided to go for it. A childhood friend of mine is an amazing photographer and is going to be in town over Thanksgiving. I am having her take some photos. She has an amazing artistic style, and I am thrilled to see how they turn out!

When did Braxton Hicks start for any other momma’s out there?