A Handmade Christmas List–Unique Gift Ideas

By now you’re probably finishing up your Christmas shopping…or maybe you’re just starting. Lately we haven’t had much money to spend for presents, so we try to make the most of each gift we give by making sure they’re special for that person. Whether it means searching for the perfect shirt at Target, or finding something on Etsy, I pride myself on trying to find the “perfect gift.”

To me, the “perfect gift” comes from the heart and takes a lot of time and effort, not just something you ran out to the store, saw and thought “Hey, that works.” Because of this, I try to plan a little early. This year, I found items for my dad and brother-in-law that I know they love, will use until holes appear (and continue to use), and can be hard to find. For my mom, something that I know she’ll hang up and smile every time she sees it. For my sister, a reminder of some of her favorite things. For M…well…he’s a little more difficult…

So I thought I’d share a couple of my favorite places to shop on Etsy for unique, handmade, and some times custom, items that you still have time to buy for your loved ones this holiday season. These are small businesses, which I love to try to support as much as possible, and I hope you do, too.

All Wooled Up
From handknitted scarves and shawls to handmade jewelry, to needle-felted wall art to reclaimed sweat bags, you’re sure to find something for every female on your list. You can’t argue with one-of-a-kind, upcycled items that can keep you warm, decorate your house or neck, or just look great. And the prices can’t be beat. So many pretty items!

AWU

Porter Productions
What started out as some fun trinkets for friends in the dog agility world has expanded to so much more! Lucky pennies, reminders of accomplishments, motivational sayings..anything that can be stamped into metal and hung from your neck or ears, she can do. She’s even started enameling coins and metal, which looks super cool! You can do keychains for dads, using birth years of their children; or celebrate your latest running domination. I have to say her special 13.1 2014 penny she gave me this summer brought me a PR in a half marathon! :-)

PP

KeraAshley
Another great place to find handknitted items from scarves to headbands and even cute mug warmers. (Who doesn’t want their coffee or tea to stay warmer just a little longer at your desk??) The crocheting and knitting are great–look cute and stay warm!

KA

Stickman Hardware
Looking for something for the man in your life? If he loves beer, does homebrewing, or aspires to be a brewer, you can’t go wrong with a custom keg handle from a fellow homebrewer! StickmanHardware designs and builds customized hardwood tap handles for homebrewers and beer lovers, using hardwoods such as walnut, maple, bocote, and bubinga and inlaid chalkboards to create tap handles which are both aesthetically pleasing as well as functional.

SMHAll Leashed Up
OK, so what about those pups in your life? They bring you so much joy every time they see you! All Leashed Up offers colorful handmade paracord collars and matching leashes, tug toys, and even bracelets that you can wear to match your pooch. My pups rock All Leashed Up designs at the agility trials.

ALU

The possibilities are endless! Hopefully this helps you if you’ve been stumped for ideas!

Your turn: What’s your favorite Etsy shop for gift giving?

 

Running While Pregnant: Simple Mile Interval WOD

Now that I’m at 30 weeks pregnant, running isn’t what it used to be…not even when I was at 20 weeks! Hills are killer–gets my heart rate and breathing up way too high. Plus the pressure on my bladder gets to me after about a mile or so (I know, TMI). My usual route around my neighborhood is very hilly, and doesn’t leave locations for bathroom trips. So I’ve cut back way more on running than I like.

But that’s when I came up with a simple WOD to do at my box–Man O’War CrossFit. I went in on Saturday morning and decided to make the most of what I had available to me. Where we do our runs for regular WODs is pretty flat, and the strip of road is a half-mile long. I really wanted to run, but knew I couldn’t join my running team, so I figured dong mile intervals was the next best thing.

I came up with this WOD with the pregnant woman in mind (thinking how we need to have a break to use the restroom, take our time to get our heartrate down, etc.), but it’s perfect for anyone. My running splits were steady–10 minute miles. So I finished in around 40 minutes (I didn’t use a clock to time the whole WOD, just my runs).

MileInterval

Give it a try and let me know what you think! I wanted something that also worked on my upper and lower back, and was different from what we had done earlier in the week. This was perfect.

JUST A FEW DAYS LEFT!!! Don’t forget about my special offer to get 40% off ProCompression items–Use discount code “PINK2through Dec. 15 to get 40% off ProCompression Marathon Socks or Calf Sleeves–great gifts for the runner(s) in your life and yourself!

A Simple Thanskgiving

I know, I know, this should have been posted days ago, considering Thanksgiving is now a distant memory. But I wanted to share my first Thanksgiving where I fixed everything, by myself, for just myself and M. I was pretty proud of myself for putting everything together!

M had to work all week, including Thanksgiving, so that meant we were staying home. It would be our first Thanksgiving with just the two of us (instead of spending it with family)….and our last with just the two of us (considering Baby A&W will be here next year). I wanted to make it special, but we had a tight budget, so I did the best I could.

On the menu:

  • 3 lb. boneless turkey breast
  • Fresh green beans
  • Mom’s sweet potatoes
  • Hawaiian rolls
  • Spiced cranberry-apple chutney
  • Homemade pumpkin pie

Putting everything together was pretty simple.

Our little Thanksgiving dinner--not as heavy as traditionally, but still delicious!

Our little Thanksgiving dinner–not as heavy as traditionally, but still delicious!

Turkey

  1. Prepare the slow cooker by spraying cooking oil all over the inside.
  2. Leaving the skin and string on, rub the turkey breast with olive oil then sprinkle seasonings (I used rosemary, thyme, parsley, poultry spice, black pepper, and a dash of salt)
  3. Place skin side down in the slow cooker
  4. Add 1/2 cup of broth or water (I used low sodium chicken broth)
  5. Cook on low for 4-6 hours.
  6. Once cooked all the way through, remove the skin and string

So moist! And so easy! If you ever see a sale on boneless turkey breasts, get one to have on hand for any type of meal!

The rest of the sides came together easily. I used my mom’s recipe for sweet potatoes to make a small portion that was enough for M and I.

Mom’s Sweet Potatoes

  1. Combine 1 can of yams (drained) in a large bowl with a quarter stick of softened butter.
  2. Pour orange juice, to you liking, and mix with a hand mixer until incorporated. (There’s no measurement to the orange juice, you just want a nice consistency to the potatoes–not runny, but not stiff.)
  3. Add a handful or two of marshmallows and mix.
  4. Pour into a casserole dish and microwave in 5 minute intervals, stirring the potatoes every 5 minutes, until everything is cooked through.
  5. Spread mini marshmallows on top, covering as much as you’d like, then set the dish in the oven with broil on to brown the marshmallows. (Keep an eye on the marshmallows because once they start to brown, it won’t take long for them to burn.)

We enjoyed some sparkling white grape juice and dinner when M got home, then prepared for our friends to join us for “Friendsgiving–Desert Edition.” A few friends came over and brought desert as well (cherries jubilee and some spice-cake-slow-cooker-concoction that actually came out delicious) to go with my (very first) homemade pumpkin pie. We then watched football, chowed down on desert, and played Apples to Apples until it was time to go crash.

Friendsgiving--Desert Edition!

Friendsgiving–Desert Edition!

I missed spending the holiday with my family, but I was happy to be home for M and to get to spend some fun times with friends. I hope you did the same!

Your turn: Share one favorite part of your Thanksgiving 2014!

Support from my Bump Post

I took the big leap and posted my piece on “Why Don’t I Feel Bonded to my Baby Bump?” piece on my personal Facebook page a week ago. I don’t do that often, for certain reasons, but I felt like I needed to share my story with the people that knew me best. If they wanted to read it, they were welcome to. I was just hoping to share my personal feelings with those around me to help them understand what’s going on with me.

The response was massive. I was truly overwhelmed by the support and the reassurances from friends who had been there before, or maybe they were just happy I confided my personal feelings to them. I wanted to share some of the comments from my FB post on here, in case anyone else ever felt alone in this endeavor like I did.

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I was in the EXACT same place 19 years ago. My world changed when he was born.

Girl don’t feel guilty at all!! We all respond differently to pregnancy, and I was right there with you not feeling the whole “glow” of being pregnant…..I just felt like a blob. But the minute I met the little girl who was in there all those “mommy” feelings hit, and I hope they do for you as well, but even if they don’t right away, again, it’s different for everyone. I know people who didn’t feel a bond until their child was interacting some. It definitely is a very trying journey, and you will always second guess yourself and wonder if you are doing things “right”. But the only right thing is what works for you guys, and I promise, the journey ends up being amazing despite all the trying times. Best wishes as you finish your pregnancy journey and meet your little ‘bump’.

I never felt the swoony love everyone said I should have when I was pregnant. I gained 60lbs and I’ve never weighed more that 130 my entire life, so I was miserable and definitely didn’t want my picture taken. I always had doubts whether I could be a super mom and the night we went to the hospital, I said, “Brody, can I do this?” He said, “It’s a little late now, Jen!” It wasn’t until a few days after Saer arrived that I realized, wow, I really, really love this tiny human and I will kill anyone that tries to hurt him. Parenthood is exhausting those first few months, but you just do it! Every day that he’s here on this planet, I fall more in love with him and his little personality. Brody and I have become those obnoxious parents we used to HATE at dinner, because Saer will be blabbering loudly and we laugh and tell him how awesome he is. So, rest assured, you are not lacking any special mommy bonding feelings. It will probably hit you before you leave the hospital though

You are not alone! I can remember being all over the place with my feelings during my pregnancy. I had a miscarriage first, so my second pregnancy (first full term) I wouldn’t LET myself bond for the longest time. I felt like I was waiting for the “other shoe to drop”, so to speak. It was only at the end of the pregnancy where I bonded, and even then, I wasn’t the glowing, happy, maternal vision that I had expected to be. With my second, we were not trying at all, and I think the first three months of that pregnancy I walked around in a daze – as stupefied, terrified daze.

There were times when I would feel maternal, lovey, and excited about my “bump” or the baby. But I would say that was about ten percent of each pregnancy. Especially towards the last few months, I felt fat, clumsy, and I even voiced aloud to my husband that it felt like I was a prisoner in my own body when I had to have help to roll over at night, when the babies kicked my ribs constantly, when my insomnia brought me to tears. Literally, as a mother, your body is not your own any more. Like your heart beating, your body just…creates without you giving instruction. And to some, that is a wonderful feeling. But to me, 90% of my pregnancies were panic and confusion and a loss of control that was foreign.

Megan: you are an amazing woman. You are smart, motivated, kind, and dedicated. I have no doubt that you will be a FANTASTIC mother. Own your feelings – if you are frustrated or not feeling “maternal”, that’s ok. And it’s totally normal. The bonding will come, maybe not during the pregnancy, maybe not at the hospital, maybe not for a while! But it WILL, and it will be marvelous. Love you, girl!

I really liked being pregnant, and what I remember being really weird was this complete disconnect on the day Nora was born between the bump that was gone and the baby in my arms. Intellectually I knew they were the same, but I really missed my “inside baby.” Hormones are weird…

If you’d like to share your story, please do below! Reading everyone’s accounts made me tear up every time, and helped reassure me that I wasn’t alone. We had our first baby shower the weekend before Thanksgiving, and I had hoped to share some photos from it, but forgot to take very many! (FAIL.) I’ll take some of some of the swag Baby A&W received (though some is still in Indiana because we couldn’t fit it in the car) and share a little about the shower.

 (Off Topic, but timely: Don’t forget about my special offer to get 40% off ProCompression items–Use discount code “PINK2through Dec. 15 to get 40% off ProCompression Marathon Socks or Calf Sleeves–great gifts for the runner(s) in your life and yourself!)

Why Don’t I Feel Bonded to my Baby Bump?

Brace yourselves, you’re about to get a little personal with me. I was back and forth about actually writing all of this down and sharing it with everyone, but my hope is that this will help me get over a mental threshold and help those close to me understand.

When I saw the headline for the article “Should You Feel Bonded to your Baby Bump? during my usual am news reading, I immediately clicked on it. This has been a question that has rattled through my mind for a couple of months now, and growing more so as my own baby bump has grown.

I’ve felt so guilty for so long about my reactions to being pregnant. And I think that guilt hasn’t helped me feel happy or comfortable with myself, which just leads to a snowball effect of the two just going around and around in my head. I’ve heard so many reactions from friends, co-workers, and those I workout with like “Your belly is so big!” or “Oh, I see the baby now!” or “You’re still so small!” And with each comment, I do a half smile and just go on with what I’m doing. I don’t know how to take those types of comments.

The article goes on about how actresses like Vanessa Lachey felt guilty with her first pregnancy because all she heard was how you’d feel this sudden love and bond with your bump, yet it never came until they found out the gender of the baby. I’m the same way. I don’t feel a love or a bond…I feel frustration and fear. I feel uncertain in my abilities and future and uncomfortable in my own skin. I don’t feel strong, or sexy, or that I look decent in any of my clothes—not even my sweats. You won’t see me rubbing my belly while sitting in a meeting at work, or talking to the baby (except for the occasional, “Will you stop kicking me there?”). I just feel…nothing.

The article says: “As many women can attest, impending motherhood is rife with expectations. It’s often not enough to maintain a healthy pregnancy — many women feel pressure to have their maternal instincts flow from the moment the pregnancy stick turns positive, and they feel confused and disappointed when those feelings don’t materialize. To be fair, pregnancy is a deeply personal process and there are plenty of women for whom the experience is wholly transformative.

It doesn’t help seeing how celebrity moms sport their baby bumps proudly and how people say they’re “glowing.” Celebrity moms don’t have to stress about the fact that they only get 6 weeks of maternity leave, and that’s only paid at 50% of your measly salary. Celebrity moms don’t have to worry about how they’ll pay for daycare, let alone the rest of the expensive things baby needs, when currently we’re doing our best to just afford the two of us. Celebrity moms don’t have to worry about a lot of things that those of us on the lower rung have to. So of course they can glow and splurge on expensive maternity clothes, personal trainers for after the baby comes, etc.

I’ve been asked why I haven’t posted any baby bump photos on Facebook…well I think what I said above explains all of that. It’s not my thing.

Baby A&W has already been learning how to handle a dog on an agility course, as you can see here (yes, you can see my baby bump!).

So far this has been the closest you’ve gotten to seeing my baby bump

Perhaps a small part of my feelings is because we weren’t trying for this to happen. I know quite a few people who all they want is a child, and they struggled for years. Once they conceived, they were so jubilant and ready to share their journey…and you can’t fault them for that. I applaud them. Then there are those who try and try, and just can’t, for some reason or another, and they’re heartbroken. I’m heartbroken for them. And I feel guilty because my pregnancy just happened.

For me, I never saw myself as a mother. M and I had been talking about the possibility of having children, but I never saw it in my future. We were so wishy-washy. I’ve been told that perhaps this is the best way for it to happen—extreme accident (trust me kids, we know how babies are made and how to prevent them, and we were doing that) that will make you make the decision right then and there.

As I prepare for my baby showers, which I am ever so grateful for my family and friends who love me enough to want to celebrate this monumental event and help me prepare to be a mother, I’m hoping in the next couple of months my feelings and thoughts will change. I know the stress will always be there. I know the uncertainty will always be there. But maybe…just maybe…I can accept it, let go, and be that glowing mother-to-be everyone talks about being.

Or maybe not…

  ( Thank you to some of my fellow bloggers who showed me you can bravely share your struggles to help others, like my girl

My 2014 #HolidayRunList + ProCompression Discount

I can’t believe it’s already time to start making those Christmas lists, but here it is! As a runner and CrossFit fanatic, my family knows you can never go wrong with getting me workout gear for my birthday or Christmas. And even though I’m currently 28 weeks pregnant, that doesn’t mean I don’t still want workout gear, right??

As part of my Sweat Pink Ambassadorship, I was asked to put together my Holiday Run List with ProCompression and my favorites for 2014.

1.) BOB Jogging Stroller
Baby A&W is going to be on the go as soon as she/he arrives. I walk the dogs everyday, and I don’t really see that stopping with our new arrival. Plus I’ll be getting back in half marathon training once I’m able to to prepare for whatever race I sign up as my comeback race!

This stroller would be great for walks on the sidewalk or in the park and my short training runs.

This stroller would be great for walks on the sidewalk or in the park and my short training runs.

2.) UnderArmor No-Show Running Socks
I’m hard on my running socks, but after buying one 6-pack of these socks from the UnderArmor Outlet a couple of months ago, I’m in love with these. You can’t have too many running socks, I say!

3.) Nike Epic Running Capris
I love running in capris (unless it’s frigid, then you’ll see me in long winter pants), and the few that I’ve been comfortable wearing all the time are Nike running capris. They stay in place and feel like second skin. And now they’re coming in fun colors, rather than just black!

4.) New Running Shows
Who couldn’t use a new pair of running shoes?? Even if you just got a new pair, you still need a second (or third) pair to trade back and forth, right? Right now I’m loving my Mizuno Wave Rider 18s and my Saucony Ride 6s. If you’re not sure what you would wear, ask for a gift card to your local running store so you can pick out the pair that’s right for you!

New running shoes--because you can never have too many workout shoes, right??

New running shoes–because you can never have too many workout shoes, right??

5.) ProCompression Calf Sleeves
I was sent a pair of ProCompression Calf Sleeves as part of my Sweat Pink Ambassadorship and I was excited to try them! And now, I’m excited to add them to my list! I had already recommended the calf sleeves to my sister, who has been battling shin splints since she started running, but I had only worn ProCompression’s Marathon Socks. While these felt tighter than the Marathon Socks (thus making it much harder to put on), they stayed in place for my runs and felt great.

And here’s the best part–now you can try them! From now until Dec. 15, you can take 40% off at checkout when you purchase ProCompression Marathon Socks or Calf Sleeves! Use discount code “PINK2” at checkout. You could rock the purple sleeves (like my sister), or the conservative black (like me).

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If you put all these items together, you’d be unstoppable in 2015!

Remember: Use discount code “PINK2through Dec. 15 to get 40% off ProCompression Marathon Socks or Calf Sleeves–great gifts for the runner(s) in your life and yourself!

Your turn: What is one thing that’s on your Christmas list?

**Disclaimer: I received this product free of charge as part of my Sweat Pink Ambassadorship and was not compensated for my time. All thoughts and opinions are my own. 

Running While Pregnant: Iron Horse Half Marathon Race Recap

A month ago I was preparing to run in my fourth half marathon. Normally no big deal, right? But when you’re running 13.1 miles 22 weeks pregnant, it’s a little more nerve wracking than you’d think.

I had signed up for the Iron Horse Half Marathon back in April. It was a local race that was on my running bucket list, and can often be hard to get into the later you wait (they cap it at 1,500 runners). Then in June, the day after I ran in the Bourbon Derby Half Marathon, I discovered I was pregnant. From that point I decided I was going to continue to train for the Iron Horse anyway, keeping in mind anything the doctor said and knowing that I wasn’t going to be going for a PR in October.

Leading up to the race the weather was looking iffy–cold and rainy. Luckily, the weather held out and it was just chilly with sprinkles at the beginning of the race and at the end.

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I had taken off a week and a half from any running because of a heel bruise, so I was worried about how I would handle the distance. I told myself my main goal was to try to make it through the first half of the course without walking, then continuously remind myself that it was OK to walk when I needed to. I made it through seven miles with only walking through a couple of the water stops, so I was proud of myself.

The second half of the race, I tried to stick to what I called the “pregnant mile interval”–run 10 minutes, then walk until the end of that current mile. It wasn’t until about mile 11 or 12 that I started to feel uncomfortable. I then realized I probably needed to pee, but there were no port-o-potties around, so I quickly whipped between a stone fence and a tree where no one could see. After that, i felt much better (first time I ever had to stop to use the bathroom during a race!) and just told myself I was almost there.

Looking to finish strong!

Looking to finish strong!

My goal was to finish before 2:30, and I was on track to do so. I saw one of my close friends who was volunteering close to the 13 mile marker and it lifted my spirits to push on. When I got to the finish line, I just started pumping my arms and “sprinted” to the finish. I was so surprised at how emotional I felt after I received my medal–was it the fact that I was done with the race, or the pregnancy hormones, or all of the above? I have no idea, but the last time I teared up at the finish line was my very first half marathon back in 2012.

My official finish time was 2:27:40. Definitely not a PR, but when you consider I had a hitchhiker with me the entire race, I think it’s pretty darn good!

Totally awesome medal--the middle circle spins!

Totally awesome medal–the middle circle spins!

So why did I decide to run a half marathon while pregnant? Why not?? I was completely honest with my doctor about my training, and as soon as I found out I informed my running group and my coaches at Man O’War CrossFit. A fellow Strider let me borrow her book Running & Pregnancy, so I read what to expect and how to handle each month and adjusted everything where needed. I quickly put aside my pride and knew that I couldn’t push for the faster race times, and that it was alright to walk when my heart rate was going too fast or I felt winded.

The longest distance I ran leading up to this race was 11 miles, and that was two weeks prior to the race. And I was OK with that. I ran one long distance training run a week and one shorter run every week, and did CrossFit four days a week.

Now I’m just running once or twice a week, up to 3.5-4 miles at a time in my neighborhood, and still doing CrossFit. My hope is to continue running until it’s too uncomfortable. Right now I’m at almost 28 weeks, and still doing alright.

What’s on tap for 2015? Spring races will have to be determined with the birth of Baby A&W and how the weather allows for outdoor running.

If you’re looking for a scenic race in Central Kentucky in October, I recommend the Iron Horse–just make sure you register early!

Note: Check back on Wednesday, I’ll have an awesome discount code to pass on to you from ProCompression!

Friday Fun: Pup Photos

Every once in a while I get a couple of great photos from agility trials that I compete in with my dogs. At a trial in October, the photographers with Springfield Photography were great about capturing moments with me and my two furry teammates. I figured the best way to celebrate a Friday was by sharing some these photos with you! :-)

High Five! LaMesa and I give each other a high five before every run. She absolutely loves to do agility, or just about anything with me, actually. This is one of my favorite photos of all times.

High Five! LaMesa and I give each other a high five before every run. She absolutely loves to do agility, or just about anything with me, actually. This is one of my favorite photos of all times.

Baby A&W has already been learning how to handle a dog on an agility course, as you can see here (yes, you can see my baby bump!).

Baby A&W has already been learning how to handle a dog on an agility course, as you can see here (yes, you can see my baby bump!).

Dally is my fluffy best friend (we've been through a lot together) and I love running her. Our start-line routine is: rev up, pick up, kiss, drop, and go! This caught us in our kiss.

Dally is my fluffy best friend (we’ve been through a lot together) and I love running her. Our start-line routine is: rev up, pick up, kiss, drop, and go! This caught us in our kiss.

Good Reads: Running + CrossFit, Marathons While Pregnant, Body After Baby

It’s been a while since I’ve shared some of my favorite reads online lately! These selections start off normal, for what I’ve done in the past, then we go into some confidence-building posts that I so desperately need right now as a mom-to-be with an ever-growing belly. I hope you read these selections and really consider everything, whether or not you’re a mother, mother-to-be, or even friends with one of the two. So here we go!

LinkLove

Running for Grinders: A Love/Hate Relationship (The Box): I’m one the the (very few) runners at Man O’War CrossFit. When there’s running in the WOD, everyone tends to look at me for the excitement. I’ve trained for two half marathons with CrossFit (run four, total), and I have to say I don’t ever mind any length of running in a WOD…as long as my legs aren’t wrecked beforehand. I think running is a very important part of anyone’s fitness, so I’m happy to see it break up a set. What do you think about running during WODs?

Marathons & Pregnancy: Should Your Run One? (Zelle): Of course this one I can closely relate to, considering I’ve run two half marathons while pregnant this year (one unknowingly 6 weeks pregnant, the other 22 weeks along). I’m planning a post as to why I ran a half marathon while pregnant, so I’ll save my comments for then. But I’d like to hear what you have to say: How do you feel about distance running races while pregnant?

Body After Baby: An Honest Post (Say What You Need to Say): I am so thankful to Lauren for posting this (well, thanks to Claire for bringing it to my attention first of all). Especially this morning, getting dressed has been a huge confidence blow for me. I know I’ve never had the flat abs or skinny body like some, but it’s hard to be proud of the growing belly and inability to fit in normal clothes…yes, I know I should be proud of growing a human, but it’s still hard on my psyche, and to know that someone else struggled with that and is struggling to get back to normal after baby, makes me feel like I’m OK. Kudos to her!

The One About the Baby Weight (Meals & Moves): This is the post that Lauren was inspired by, so I had to go ahead and read it and be inspired as well. Janeetha is straight and to the point. I’m thankful for her posting this and being completely honest as well. PREACH IT, GIRL!

Your turn: Share a favorite read/link from the past few weeks below!

Running While Pregnant Product Review: Mizuno Wave 18s

Just a day before I was set to run the Iron Horse Half Marathon in October, I was contacted via Mizuno on Twitter about trying their new Wave Rider 18 running shoes. At first I was really excited–I love trying new products! But then I was worried because I’ve been running in Saucony shoes for the past few years and love them. Plus, with my pregnancy, my feet are always changing, so I wasn’t sure I could give an accurate review.

But let me tell you, when I got that box in the mail and opened up to see those pretty teal, black, and white shoes, all worries went out the window.

What (runner) girl can turn down a new pair of shoes??

What (runner) girl can turn down a new pair of shoes??

I still ran my half marathon in my Saucony shoes, and waited a week to get back into running after the race (recovery, time, etc.), but I couldn’t wait to slip these on. I walked around the house in them a little, just to make sure the size was correct–I wear a 10 in my Sauconys, and luckily the 10s in Mizuno fit just fine.

I’ve finally been able to fit in a couple of 2.5 mile runs around the neighborhood wearing my Mizuno Wave 18s. The first run, the shoes felt great! I really couldn’t notice a difference between them or my Sauconys. The only thing I noticed was that my footsteps sounded louder, if that makes any sense. It’s like I was landing harder down on the ball of my foot…but it didn’t bother me.

First run back from the half marathon and first run in my Mizuno Wave Rider 18s!

First run back from the half marathon and first run in my Mizuno Wave Rider 18s!

Last week I wore them for another 2.5 mile run. Again, comfortable, the only thing i noticed was that I felt the stitching from the logo cradling my foot. This could have been because maybe my feet were a little more swollen, or I was tuning into the shoes a little more. I didn’t see any rubbing when I got home, though, so it doesn’t seem like a big deal.

My heel was sore the day after, though. I’ve been battling something with my left heel after my runs, where it’s like my tendons/ligaments are really tight and take a while to allow my foot to totally flex and allow me to walk normal. I get up from sitting and I walk stiff for a little bit because of this, and it’s rather painful. I realized that I’ve been running with PowerStep insoles in my Saucony shoes, but I have not tried them in my Mizunos, so I might see if that helps the next time I go for a run.

I’m thankful to Mizuno for allowing me the opportunity to try these wonderful shoes. I’m excited to have them in my rotation for runs, even though I’m cutting back on my running as my pregnancy is progressing and winter comes.

Your turn: What’s your favorite running shoe?