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I May Not Be Cool, But I’ve Got Swagger

I May Not Be Cool, But I’ve Got Swagger

The other day Noel and I were talking about how we’ve arrived at that place in life where we know we aren’t cool, but it doesn’t even bother us. Not to say that we’ve let ourselves go, but we’re in a spot where we can be confidently comfortable with who we are. With that attitude comes a certain swagger, as Noel called it, that makes a person look better than they did when they were putting forth so much effort to look hip.

Pants

Today, I came back from the grocery store and changed into running clothes. (Yes, I know that’s backwards from the way most people do things, but I would much rather workout than go to the grocery store, so I have to do that first so I won’t make excuses and postpone it inevitably.) As I was throwing my jeans on the bed I noticed they had a giant marker line going down the back. Not only had I paraded those pants around the store, but I wore them to a trendy new restaurant last night and they probably were drawn on then too. (Don’t tell me you never wear your jeans more than one day. It’s good for the planet and my laundry pile.) Instead of being horrified  and freaking out about all the people that could have potentially seen me wearing those embarrassing pants I just thought, Huh. Wonder when the kid managed to do that?  and put them aside to be stain treated. Honestly, even if someone had noticed and pointed out the green scribbles on my butt while I was out, I probably would have just chuckled and said something like, “What can I say, my kid is really artistic” and walked away with a swagger in my step.

The Mother of All Fartleks

The Mother of All Fartleks

fart·lek  noun ˈfärtˌlek

A form of running in which the runner varies the pace significantly during the run. It is usually regarded as an advanced training technique, for the experienced runner who has been using interval training to develop speed and to raise the anaerobic threshold. 

Guide for Mother of All Fartleks Workout

  1. Decide to go for a run on your treadmill while your kid(s) are awake. 
  2. Set treadmill to desired speed.
  3. Begin running.
  4. When your child(ren) tries to get into something or begins to cry, jump off the treadmill, sprint to their location in the house, quickly rectify the problem, and sprint back to the treadmill which you left running.
  5. Repeat until desired mileage is met or your patience has expired.

Results: If this program is followed on a regular basis, you should see significant improvements in your cardiovascular health as well as mothering reflexes.

Warning: All exercises and other forms of physical activity can be dangerous, especially if performed without medical advice, proper supervision and/or pre-exercise evaluation. Always consult your physician or health care professional before performing any exercise, especially if you have any chronic or recurring condition, and/or if you are pregnant, nursing, or elderly. Take great care when jumping off a treadmill whether it is running or not.

IMG_0032-001
Example of workout utilizing two kids.
Workout tool in action.
Example of workout utilizing one kid.

 

The Good, the Bad, and the Slugly

The Good, the Bad, and the Slugly

After Ellen was a few months, some friends from church invited me to join their running group. When they told me they met early Saturday mornings (sometimes as early as 6am) I wasn’t too thrilled, but figured I would try it at least once to be polite. Well, after my trial run I was addicted and now look forward to getting up early every Saturday. It reminds me of the Cross-Country Days, except we all have kids.

The Good, the Bad, and the Slugly Team in our safety vests. We kept joking that we were at a crossing guard convention. The best part of this picture is the random man on the end that joined our photo op.

Last weekend we (plus one of the gal’s sons) ran the Colorado Ragnar. We didn’t win, but we did set a record of a different kind. We were the first team ever to get Disqualified. Pretty impressive, huh? Unfortunately, I don’t have a crazy story for you. One of our team members just forgot to ask for the day off work and we couldn’t find anyone else. For awhile, three of us (I was one of them) were going to pick up an extra leg, but the Ragnar Team kindly let us just skip those legs under the condition that we were no longer eligible to win. Sadly we had to surrender our chance at victory (ha), but I’m glad I didn’t have to run an extra six miles. (I’m not in that great of shape.)

Me running my first leg. My three legs combined totaled 12.7 miles.

We ran, we laughed, we even slept a little bit. I felt that all of us being moms helped us handle the infrequent and limited sleep better than the team of co-eds I ran with three years ago.

Most of the ladies that were in my van. The safety flags had an interesting effect on us . . .

Noel fought a good fight on the home front and watched the kids all by himself for 24 hours. He did a great job and didn’t complain once. (Although when I called to check on everyone he did say, “Please don’t die, I can’t do this by myself.” 🙂 ) In the morning he even packed everyone up to come and watch my final leg.

The whole team at the finish.

I appreciated how glad they all were to see me when I crossed the finish line. Of course, no one was more excited to see me than Ellen, who apparently had not been left with as much milk as she would have liked. A guy that was waiting to start his leg asked me if I got a handicap for breastfeeding. A valid question, I thought 🙂

My awesome Ragnar tattoo that was still on my calf when I spoke in church the next day.

All in all, it was nice to prove that I’ve  still got it in me.

Just Do It

Just Do It

Noel and I take turns running these days. He gets Monday, Wednesday, Friday and I get Tuesday, Thursday, Saturday. For the most part it works out, but sometimes Noel goes bike riding with a friend on my day or I sleep in because the kids miraculously decided not to wake up before 7am. By the time Noel heads off to work my window of opportunity to go on a run by myself has closed. As I look at the things I need to do, exercising starts to get edged out by all the things/people that need to be attended to and I realize that if I don’t just get my butt out the door it won’t happen. So, I leave the dirty dishes on the table, fasten the kids into the double jogger even though they’re still in pajamas, shut the door on the toys strewn across the living room, and hit the neighborhood trail for a decent 2.5 mile mental clarifying session.

I remember reading a shoe ad in Runner’s World several years ago. (Maybe even up to 12 year ago now that I think about it. Geez.) It had a guy running (duh) and the caption talked about how he ran to clear his head and take out the mental trash accumulating in his mind and ended by saying, “Maybe that’s why runner’s and garbage men are the only people out on the street early in the morning.” The ad said it much more poetically and I just wasted way too much time googling variations of that idea to try and find it, but  I definitely feel that way about running. By the time I get back from a run I feel much more capable to deal with the piles of dishes, the whining children, and the endless to-do list. Instead of feeling behind, I actually feel like I’m ahead, at least for a little bit.

PS Another mom’s reason for running and our tribute to another favorite shoe campaign.

I’m starting to think

I’m starting to think

  • we don’t eat like most people.  I just finished a bowl of  leftover Vidalia Onion Soup with Wild Rice topped with Blue Cheese Croutons for lunch.
  • I’ve unintentionally turned my daughter into a social experiment. It seems like every time I take her out in public I dress her in blue or green. People get excited when they see the car seat and exclaim, “Oh, such a cute little . . . ” Their eyes flit back and forth from the safari print car seat to the flower blanket to her supposedly male colored clothes. (Ruffles and accessories apparently doesn’t make the gender detection easier.) Don’t worry everyone, I’m just messing with you.

  • about racing again. It’s crazy what your first trail run in 2 1/2 years  will get you thinking.
  • I traumatized my son by brutally murdering two moths that he was happily chasing around the house.

  • about opening an Etsy shop, but worry it will be a flop.
  • I may never get “What Doesn’t Kill You” out of my head. (Oh Kelly, you’ll always have a special place in my heart. Remember when Since U Been Gone was the theme song for my sophomore year of college? Oh those were . . .  Well, they were times anyway. )
  • my kids have me exactly where they want me. Every time they’re about to push me over the edge, they pull one of these stunts and all is forgiven.

Resolved

Resolved

It’s that time of year when everyone is creating ambitious training plans and hitting the gym daily. Not me though, at least not this year. Becoming a mom has taught me a lot about respecting my body. Prior to Cooper my body was a lean machine that frequently had its limits pushed in various races, nights of little sleep in order to complete “important” tasks, and back to back scheduling that kept me constantly on the go. Years of training as a distance runner had taught me to ignore my body’s “complaints” and given me the idea that I was in control.  When I was pregnant with Cooper I was dismayed at what I perceived as my body’s betrayal as I was forced to ease up on physical demands and give up some activities altogether.  In retrospect, Noel’s wearied reminder of, “You know you’re pregnant, right?”  is comical, but at the time it was really hard for my brain to compute.

The biggest blow came after Cooper was born. I had somehow gotten it in my head that all of my dedication to exercise would make for an instantaneous recovery. I foolishly packed pre-pregnancy clothes in my hospital bag and I remember having a break down in the grocery store parking lot three days after Cooper was born because I was still wearing maternity outfits. Not working out for a month and a half post-baby was torture and I was admittedly frustrated by what I perceived as my doctor being overly cautious and treating me like a wimp. When I was finally cleared to exercise, I went on my first run in months and arguably the worst run of my life. It was like one of those nightmares where a bad guy is chasing you. No matter how hard you try you can’t get away and it feels as if your feet have gotten stuck in cement. I was sure there was something wrong with me and was more than a bit frustrated when my doctor checked me out, told me everything was normal, and suggested I try speed walking or jogging for awhile and just build up to running again. It was a humbling experience for me, but I learned that not doing everything all out was okay.

Over the past 2 1/2 years I’ve learned that my body deserves my respect. Sometimes sleep is the most important thing for your health, listening to your body isn’t necessarily a bad thing, natural childbirth is way more impressive than qualifying for Boston, and sometimes it’s not just “okay” to take it easy, but a really good idea. I still love exercising and even though my running heart hurts some days when I waddle down the street instead of running effortlessly Chariots of Fire-style, I’m learning to be okay with just doing what I can. These may not be my PR years or the decade of ripped abs, but perhaps after the baby years and the period of maternity pants I’ll fit that in. Right now, I’ve resolved to simply appreciate what my body is capable of, exercise as I am able, and to do what I need to just feel good.

Round is a Shape

Round is a Shape

As someone who (sort of) formerly worked in the exercise industry, I’m always curious about new exercise programs that come out. When I was doing my student teaching many moons ago, everyone was talking about P90X and how amazing it was. I was skeptical partially because I was way more fit than any of my fellow PE colleagues who professed love for the program and partially because I don’t trust things that are sold on infomercials. I kind of forgot about P90X for awhile since I was pregnant and then recovering, but when it resurfaced in my brain I put a hold on it at our library.  At the time I was in line behind like 142 other people that put holds on it. (Come to think of it, it might have been January when everyone was all gung-ho about getting in shape. ) Well, the hold finally came in last week. Even though I’m not aiming to have any sort of beach body anytime soon (unless you count beach ball body), I still wanted to get a feel for the program.

The purist in me hated how gimmicky the program was. The instructor is constantly pushing the company’s products (energy bars, muscle building drinks, and special exercise equipment). Also, the instructor is annoying and cocky. However, the workouts themselves are actually pretty good though. P90X wins points for length of workout and intensity.  The DVDs also had some nice features like having the option to turn off the instructor’s commentary and having a countdown timer at the bottom of the screen during each workout. While P90X focuses more on strength than my cardio-loving-soul would prefer, I definitely took some notes on exercises I would like to pull into future routines.

Speaking of future workouts. Do you remember how I was coveting Chariots when I was pregnant with Cooper? Well, since we’re going to need a double jogger in a few months, I’ve been on the prowl. I’ve been obsessively checking ads on craigslist and even Utah’s KSL (in case there was a steal of a deal my parents could pick up for us), but everyone wanted way too much money for their used strollers. We almost bought a new one during REI’s Labor Day sale, but decided that even at 20% off  it was fiscally irresponsible. I’ve never been so grateful for self-control in my life because the very next weekend a family from church told us their boys had just outgrown their Chariot and they would sell us theirs at a super discounted price. You seriously can’t buy Chariot kits for the price we paid for this beauty. Cooper loves it and is always climbing inside and begging us to take him somewhere. Hopefully he’ll adjust to sharing it 🙂

 

Posers

Posers

Some of you know and others of you might have guessed, but we haven’t been in Colorado for the past month. We’ve been in DC while Noel worked on a month-long assignment for one of the parent organizations of his company. For a month we’ve been posing as a young, hip couple living in a happening apartment in Georgetown. We’ve adapted the local ways of scoffing at escalefters and avoiding the Smithsonian Metro station on weekends. We’ve waited in more lines than we’d like to remember and seen the beautiful cherry blossoms in full bloom. By the time this news hits the internet we’ll be on a plane headed to DIA. While DC has been fun and had many perks, we’re excited to return to a more low-key lifestyle and our single family home in a quiet neighborhood. There’s a lengthy gallery of photos below for those that are interested and I’m sure a few stories will sneak their way into our posts in the next little while.

Adrenaline

Adrenaline

Our exercise accomplishments this past month have been pretty abysmal. We’ve run maybe three times. There have just been a lot of obstacles and it hasn’t happened as much as we would like. At the same time, the past month has presented us with the perfect opportunity to cross a running related goal of our list of “101 things we want to do before we die.” This past weekend was our last chance to complete this goal and even though we had to rent a jogging stroller and 5 miles sadly seemed an unwelcome prospect, we decided this was just something we needed to do. And we’re glad we did. There’s nothing like the flow of adrenaline you get when you’re doing something you love. I live for those moments when the air couldn’t be fresher, the scenery more beautiful, the company more enjoyable, and the miles less noticeable. I hope you all have moments like that.

 

Lesson Learned

Lesson Learned

Last night we tried out a lovely Ethiopian Restaurant that was only a short walk away. We had a delicious utensil-less meal – which was a great cover-up for the etiquette-free-way we typically feed Cooper.  We beat the dinner rush and left satisfied.

Two hours later, we put Cooper to bed and decided to go for a quick run. As we whittled away the miles on our 5K treadmill programs, the food in our stomachs sloshed and the heat began to rise in our throats.  Needless to say, I don’t think either of us had ever been so happy to hear our son cry when Cooper’s wails reached us via our makeshift mobile to mobile baby monitor (I know we’re not the only people who do this). Both Noel and I simultaneously volunteered to rescue the baby and gladly skipped out on the final mile of our runs. From here on out we shall stick to exercising on only partially full stomachs, probably in the morning. For the record, we still highly recommend both Ethiopian food and running, just not in combination.

Side note: Previous to being pregnant I had NEVER experienced heartburn.  Just one of those fun ways having a baby changes your life 🙂