Monthly Archives: May 2011

Great Moves for New Moms

Check out this video of Fox anchor Dawn Stevens working out with her baby. Great ideas for “sharing time,” as we say in the book.


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Strength from Running

Running and strength have a chicken-or-the-egg kind of relationship for me. On good days, it’s my strength—both mental and physical—that gets me out the door; helps push me hard to realize my potential.

On the not-so-good days, when running becomes Running (note the capital “R”), I glean support from movement. Whether it’s an actual run or the memories of what I have accomplished, the miles have taught me that I can get through the hardships in life.

As I prepare to say goodbye to our beloved dog, Mali, it’s not without much heartache and tears. But running helps me remember that I am strong, that I will get through this sadness. That I will be strong enough to help my daughters through their sadness. Running will give me the strength to be with my sweet dog as she takes her last breath, to say goodbye. So long, Miss Mali. You were my first four-legged running partner and you will be missed. –Laurie

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A little somethin’ for the Twin Hot (Sweaty) Mamas

Looking back on my experience mothering newborn twins I remember those days when both were cranky and wanting to be held. But there was just me. So I would bounce one in my arms standing on one foot while using the other foot to bounce the other baby in her bouncy seat. I didn’t know it then but that weighted, balancing maneuver was pretty good exercise.

A recent article by the Minneapolis Parenting Multiples Examiner, put the spotlight on Hot (Sweaty) Mamas. I got to share some of the background (horror story?) of the effects my twin pregnancy had on my body and my return to fitness, and how some of that influences the book.

Author of the article and twin mama, Sarah Willson, starts it out this way:

My skepticism toward books on fitness had increased after giving birth to twins. It not only stemmed from insecurity festered by the fact that I rarely worked out prior to pregnancy, but because most of these ‘get back into shape after baby’ reads were not geared toward mothers of multiples, who are required to gain more weight than a singleton pregnancy, and experience intense bodily trauma and stress from birthing multiples. Not to mention, how would I find the time to work out while juggling two or more babies? Although it wasn’t Kara Thom’s, and co-author, Laurie Kocanda’s, intention to cater to these specific issues that affect moms like me, they are clearly addressed in their new book,Hot (Sweaty) Mamas: Five Secrets to Life as a Fit Mom.

You can continue reading the whole article at:

Whether you’re a mother of twins or a singleton there are all kinds of ways for new moms to sneak in exercise. In fact Katy Bowman recently posted a great photo of her “no excuses” workout with her sleeping newborn on her Aligned and Well facebook page. Worth checking out if only to coo and her sweet little baby.


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Safety Vs. Fear

Last week, while out on a run, I called myself the “P” word, as in, “Don’t be such a.”

I deserved it. I was wearing my trail running shoes, had made it to my favorite trail and then creeped myself out. I thought about the two coyote sightings I had this week, very near my house. Within five steps I envisioned a coyote attacking my beloved greybador retriever. (What, never heard of that breed?)

So I scooted toward the road, intending to run through a more populated neighborhood.

It took about three minutes for me to come to my senses. First of all, really, what is the likelihood of a coyote attacking us? Besides, those coyotes were pretty puny, half my dog’s size. But most of all, I was wearing trail shoes. My intention was to run on the trail. I was looking forward to the scenery, to the (friendly) wildlife, and the calm and rejuvenation I feel when I’m there. I was not going to be scared off my own trail by my own irrational thinking. So I called myself the P word and turned around.

This fear factor isn’t always such a bad thing. A certain amount of fear helps us take precautions to be more safe. And let’s face it, there are a lot worse things out there than mangy coyotes.

I will never forget hearing about a woman who was severely beaten and sexually assaulted in an area near our old home in Texas. I had run through and walked my dog many times in this area, forging a path to the trail by the lake, something I’m sure she was doing, too. This happened within months after we moved away and it haunted me, and haunts me still. I had always felt a certain amount of safety in those places that I considered “mine.” Now, as a result, I am more apt to avoid secluded areas when it’s dark and when I do choose the road less traveled I prefer to run with a pal, even if it’s my four-legged one. She’s getting old but she would defend me to the death, I’m certain of it.

Sometimes weirdos are out with the masses. One of my first wake-up calls to be aware of others and take measures to be safe came when I was in my early 20s. Coming home from a run, on a path along a busy road, I was listening to tunes (on, yes, a Walkman), when a man grabbed me on my rear. I stopped, yelped, and looked around for someone else who might have seen what happened. Cars kept driving by. I slid the enormous foam headphones off my ears and watched the man run off and listened to his footsteps. I’m certain that incident affected my ability to listen to music as I run. I just don’t do it. I like to hear what’s going on around me. Besides, I love the songs of mourning doves and chickadees, peepers and geese honking overhead.

We had a great run, my dog and I. We did not see any coyotes. Just two blue herons and a hawk. I cleared my head, hit my internal reset button, and enjoyed nature in a way I wouldn’t have had I taken the other route.

It’s a fine line between being safe and being afraid. I always want to be safe (ever more a priority since motherhood it seems) but I never want to avoid doing something out of fear. Sometimes it takes me awhile to know the difference. Last week that took about a quarter of a mile. And I needed the extra distance anyway.

Any safety tips to share?


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How Much is Enough?

Spring cleaning... Which ones do I keep?

In the twelve years my husband and I have owned our home, we’ve toyed with the idea of moving into a bigger house quite a bit. While it would be nice to have a little more space, we’re confident a bigger home would not translate into less clutter. Staying in our current home has required constant examination of what we need versus what we have.
We try to teach our kids that more isn’t better by suggesting they donate the things they are no longer interested in.  For the most part it has worked (with the exception of the brothel of Barbies bursting out of the toy bin across the room from me). At five, our youngest doesn’t quite get it yet. But our oldest (who will turn nine next week) seems to understand. She actually agreed to a nice gift from Mom and Dad instead of having presents at her party.

Accumulate less. Donate more.

Over the years I’ve gotten better at eliminating excess, too. I finally got rid of my wedding shoes and I no longer hold on to every piece of artwork my kids create. I’ve recovered from my need to keep every cotton race finisher’s shirt; a problem solved by creating a quilt (who knew I could be crafty?).

I’ve learned to live leaner, except when it comes to my running shirts. There are too many to reasonable wear in any one season. I’ll admit to some odd emotional attachment. There’s the shirt I wore running the Grand Canyon, the one from the first marathon my parents came to see, my very first long sleeved wicking shirt. I’m not sure why I keep them all; I still pick my favorites when I hit the gym or lace up for a run.

I have a friend who makes sure her kids have only enough seasonally appropriate clothes to get them through a week. Kept her laundry to a minimum and the clutter down. Not sure I can go that far, but I’m looking for an ideal number. Enough to cover a weeks worth of runs and workouts? Only my favorites? What do you do?  –Laurie


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Tips for Running with a Stroller

With warmer weather I’ve been running with my son in the stroller more often. This is exciting for me for two reasons:

  1. I didn’t run much with my daughters when they were babes. I had a double jogger and 3 toddlers. I had a supply and demand problem.
  2. Unlike when my daughters were toddlers, my son really enjoys the ride; he does not protest, beg to get out or cry halfway through the run.

So these days running while my daughters are at school is both feasible and (this is so important) enjoyable. There’s more to know about running with children than simply strapping them in and taking off. I interviewed my friend and fitness expert Darcy Franklin after taking one of her running clinics, so I could learn from her, and share with you, tips for running with a stroller.

Enjoy the video below and share with us what you like about taking your kids along for a run and other stroller running tips you have. –Kara


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More Than Just a Catchy Title

Check out the latest mention of Hot (Sweaty) Mamas: Five Secrets to Life as a Fit Mom in the Minneapolis StarTribune blog Daddy-O. The article is written by Jeremy Olson, an active, busy parent himself. During the interview, he mentioned that the book could be a good daddy-read, too. He’s right. Find the story here.

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