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Simple Tips for A Cleaner House

in House

Howdy!  How goes your Tuesday?  Mine is going very well, indeed. 

photo 1

Started things off right with a swim workout.  I did about 500 yards, which is way less than what I usually shoot for – I was pretty tired following four nighttime wake-ups (two Henrys + one pee break + one dog shake).  Didn’t want to push myself too hard! 


Afterwards – a DadHTP and Henry swim, per our new tradition.

photo 2

I’ve gotten a lot of questions about what maternity fitness swimsuit I wear.  The short answer is that you don’t need to buy a special suit for pregnancy swimming – just get a bigger one. I have fitness swimsuits in three sizes to accommodate all stages of pregnancy and the post-partum period.


The long answer is that my largest swimsuit is totally shot – the straps are really worn out and loose.  So I’ve just been swimming in my “stylish” maternity bikini (it’s from ASOS; a picture of it is in this post).  It’s not the firmest suit, but it works for my current usage – plus, I really don’t want to buy another suit just for 10 more weeks of swimming!  If you didn’t want to buy a bigger suit, either, you could probably get buy in bikini bottoms + a sports bra.


Just for fun…

cleaner house

Rule #1: Don’t go upstairs (or downstairs) without taking something that needs to be relocated – I’ve started to follow this principle religiously and it has made a HUGE difference in the tidiness of my house (which, yes, is different than cleanliness). When I leave a floor (or a room), I glance around and think, “What isn’t supposed to be here?” Dishes end up coming downstairs, clean laundry goes upstairs – you get the point.  You’re already moving from one floor to the other; if you take something with you each time, it really helps maintain order overall.


Rule #2: Clean on a schedule – I’ve been following a cleaning schedule for years, and let me tell you – it’s truly life changing.  My schedule is constantly changing according to household needs/my availability, but even a loose plan helps you stay on top of tasks.  Currently, I only schedule one task (floors), which I do on Mondays and Fridays.  My ‘thing’ are the floors, and things can get really out of hand with a toddler and three pets, so doing it in a regular pattern keeps the dust bunnies at bay (and my sanity intact).


Rule #3: Organize your entry area – Wherever you enter the house (front door, side door, garage), have an organization spot for things like shoes, purses, book bags, dog leashes, etc.  I REALLY recommended getting an over-the-door shoe rack.  Not only has it corralled our shoes, but we have pockets for keys, sunglasses, dog poop bags, etc.  This really cuts down on clutter, and I love knowing *exactly* where my headphones are for once!


Rule #4: Dish towels for clean up – Okay, this tip is mostly for the parents with young kids.  I keep a box of clean dish towels next to the dining room table (where a lot of our messes occur!).  Big, absorbent dish towels are perfect for everything, including wiping messy chins, cleaning up big spills, rinsing sticky hands, and collecting crumbs at the end of the meal. And afterwards, I just pop the towel directly into the washer. 


Rule #5: Don’t bring in the junk mail – I used to sort my mail in the kitchen, but the junk mail would end up collecting on the countertop for days.  Now, I do an initial sort in the garage next to a trash can.  The junk mail doesn’t even enter the home.


Rule #6: No shoes in the house – We’re pretty strict about this rule.  No shoes allowed!  It’s amazing how much dirt and debris your shoes track in.  If you never wear them inside, you’ll definitely notice a different.


Rule #7: One rag for the whole kitchen – I use one big rag to lightly clean the whole kitchen every day.  I spray the countertops with a gentle cleanser and wipe them down; then, I wet a corner of the rag and use it to spot-clean any drips on the floor (alternatively, try making your own Swiffer pads!); and last, but not least, I scrub the inside of the sink (I alternate between a baking soda paste and Comet).  The dirty rag goes straight into the washing machine.


What’s your favorite cleaning rule?


Racing with Your Period

in Triathlons

There have been many, many discussions on the Tri-Fecta Facebook group (which, by the way, is absolutely my favorite triathlon-related group!) about racing with your period. It comes up so often that I thought it’d be worth a post of round-up tips from yours truly.

racing when you're on your period

When I’ve had my period on race day, there have always been two concerns:  logistical and physical.  On the physical side of things, I’m happy to report that my period has never really interfered with my ability to run a strong race.  Sure, I’d rather NOT have it on race day, but I don’t think it sucks the life force out of me or anything.


Actually, that’s a generally accepted scientific fact – your athletic performance doesn’t vary based on the time of the month.  There was a study on female rowers (both professional and hobbyists) in Europe that measured markers like heart rate, oxygen consumption, power output, blood lactate levels, and more during various points throughout the month.  The measurements were static throughout the month, regardless of the timing of estrogen and other hormonal surges (and regardless of whether the woman were on oral contraceptive or not) (Source).  Furthermore, you may think you’re losing power because you’re losing blood, but that’s usually not true (here’s a good discussion on whether your period can induce anemia, especially for runners).


Take heart in knowing that the hormonal changes aren’t turning you into a delicate little flower. That being said, you’re probably not going to FEEL your best during Shark Week, which can make race day intimidating.  You want to be careful about taking any over-the-counter pain medication before an endurance event, as medical studies link painkillers like ibuprofen, aspirin and Aleve to gastrointestinal trouble, dehydration, and kidney issues (I’ve taken this stuff mid-race and not had problems, but it’s probably not the wisest move, especially for really intense or endurance events). 


Look to natural remedies for the pain of cramps and bloating. I find that a warm compress on my pelvis or back helps, as does yoga (check out this yoga series designed especially for your period).  Drinking water helps reduce bloat, so be sure to hydrate. Ginger is an anti-inflammatory, so you could try making a ginger tea by steeping a piece in hot water.  Just don’t OD on the ginger, as I’ve found drinking too much can cause stomach troubles.


And, ironically, exercise is a great way to reduce cramps.  So even if you’re feeling blah at the starting line, you may start to feel really great in a mile or so! 


Let’s talk about race day logistics next.


The #1 thing I can recommend is the Diva CupYou can read my post about the Diva Cup right here – it’s a silicon, reusable menstrual cup that replaces tampons. The Diva Cup is awesome for endurance events because it holds more liquid than a tampon AND you can keep it in for up to 12 hours. There is a big learning curve with learning to use the Diva Cup (I always tell women to give it three cycles before they decide if they like it or not), so this is not the type of thing you want to test out on race day. I also tell people to trim the stem of the Diva Cup for maximum comfort.


Obviously, if you’re choosing between tampons or pads, it’s better to wear a tampon.  I recommend cutting the string of the tampon a bit so the string is entirely internal, which will eliminate the risk of chafing (especially if you’re on a bike – ouch).


Whatever period protection you choose, be sure to bring backup on race day and CARRY IT WITH YOU in a pocket or race belt.  Also, I try to wear black bottoms just in case I spring a leak.  A supportive sports bra is super important as well, as your breasts tend to be extra tender anyway.


And last, but certainly not least, if you’re on hormonal birth control, you could manipulate your pills to skip your period. I’ve done it before with success – just call your OB-GYN to discuss logistics, potential issues, and how-to’s.


Have you had your period for a big race? Got any tips or advice?