Running On Average

New Year’s Do Over

My 2018 got off to a rocky start. On New Year’s Day, we made the trek home from Christmas vacation visiting family that took longer than it should have due to traffic and accidents. When we got home, we were out of food, the grocery store was closed, and Target was out of sauerkraut. So I had to improvise and made an Asian-inspired PA Dutch “pork and sauerkraut” of sorts: freezer orange chicken with pork egg rolls.

It was also the first day of marathon training… but that got moved to the next day. Which worked out well enough, because Wednesday’s run was cancelled due to fasting in preparation for Thursday’s UC procedure (nothing like starting the year with a clean colon! hahaha)

So today is my soft reset. It’s not going to be perfect- I’ve already made mistakes- but I look forward to the opportunity to improve, to better myself, to stop making excuses and getting in my own way.

That’s the great thing about changing and becoming who we want to be; we can start whenever we want. A week from now, a month from now, or even just RIGHT now. If we want to improve, we can. And I do.

The last few months for me have been plagued by postpartum anxiety and I won’t even pretend that it is all behind me now. It’s still very present and on the forefront of my mind. Even the idea of change and a better year makes me anxious. But as someone once said, on the other side of fear lies freedom, right?

That’s all for today, but stay tuned for more details on my marathon training and my new year’s resolutions!

What are your goals for this year? Do you plan to make this your year? YOU SHOULD! Smile

Our Newest Lil Runner

I know I’ve been away for a while, but pregnancy had me completely exhausted all the time that even writing seemed hard. But I somehow managed to run up until my due date! Smile Huge success in my book!
Anyway, I want to introduce to you the newest addition to our little family.

Meet Jordan!


Our sweet little boy was born 4 weeks ago on June 8, at 12:46 am measuring 19.5 inches long and 7 lb 6 oz. He’s so ridiculously cute and a pretty chill little guy and we are obviously in love.


Even Riley loves him and is taking her big sister role seriously! Although, that means countless attempts at picking him up. And trying to shove a pacifier in his mouth when he’s sleeping.


I am hoping to get back to regular blogging very soon, but two kids is a huge adjustment and we’re still getting the hang of it (especially with Dave back at work). But I’m loving it so far!


Talk to you soon!

Your most average runner – Jess Smile

Running Through Pregnancy

I am now 36 weeks into my second pregnancy (whaaa??!). I ran until 35 weeks the first time around, and plan to keep going as long as I can this time. While I don’t qualify myself as an “expert” on either pregnancy or running, I’ve definitely learned a thing or two and feel like I know enough to pass along some advice and tips that got me through these last two baby baking times. So, if you are hesitant about how it goes, fear not!, it’s not so bad.


Tips For Running Through Pregnancy

1. Give Yourself Grace

This could probably encompass all the other tips I’m about to provide, but I want to put it here first. Whether you are a casual jogger or hardcore, daily runner, your running is going to change over these nine months. It’s not just you anymore. Even before you feel those sweet fetal movements or see the scale start to climb, there is so much happening inside that can affect your daily life and running. So as easy as it is to get frustrated that you aren’t reaching the same mileage or pace, don’t be hard on yourself during these months. If you are too tired or sore or sick to get a run in, THAT’S OKAY. Don’t beat yourself up. You are growing a tiny human inside you and that, my friend, is amazing.


2. Get Your Doctor’s Okay

In most cases, running and exercise during pregnancy are beneficial and encouraged, but just make sure with your doctor first, please. There is no need to put the baby’s health at risk if you don’t have to.

3. Hydrate More

When I was a young girl in my early 20s, I never took water on a run under at least 10 miles. I just didn’t need it. Was it stupid? Possibly. But I survived (a fine example of “do as I say, not as I do”).

Now, if I am on the treadmill or running with the stroller, I almost ALWAYS have water with me. When I’m out on my own, I still don’t (#fail), but I do drink like it’s going out of style the rest of the day and make sure that I’ve replenished any water lost.

Even though you’ll have to pee even more (is that possible?!) it’s so important to stay hydrated for yourself and for your baby. Plus, it will boost your energy (relatively speaking… you’re still pregnant).

4. Focus on Effort

I can’t say that I’ve ditched my Garmin during pregnancy because I have a small obsession with knowing my mileage. Even when my mileage is low (30-40 miles per month), I still like to track it  so I 1) don’t get too lazy and 2) have an idea of what to expect postpartum. BUT, I have let go of running certain paces. I walk now if I need to, no shame in that game. Especially when I’m pushing Roo up a hill? Yeah, there’s no way me and my extra 25 lb. + stroller/toddler are running up a hill.


Keep a steady effort and push yourself a little- but now isn’t the time to keeping going out of your comfort zone. Run for the joy of the run- not the numbers. You’ll still get a workout, I promise.

5. Train Safely

The other week I decided to take Roo out for a run while Dave mowed the lawn. It was an unusually hot day of 85 degrees. I knew going into the run that I would not be running the whole thing, or that if I did, it would be slow. I accepted the conditions before I took my first step.

I’m not saying to never run in the heat or to skip trails (at least not manicured trails) during your pregnancy, but be aware of your surroundings. Are you getting too hot? Slow down, walk, drink some water. On a trail? Keep an eye out for roots, uneven surfaces, and any other unexpected nature. Your gait may change, so pay attention to your footing. I’ve tripped more than once this pregnancy and had flashes of falling on my baby. Not what you want!


You don’t have to give up running; you just have to be smart about it.

6. Listen to Your Body

If you’re tired, take a break. If you’re not recovering as fast as you once did, take more rest days. If something hurts, talk to your doctor. Like with my first pregnancy, I’ve reached the point now where I get shooting pains down the front of my pelvis during runs and you bet I chatted with my doctor about it (twice). I still have the okay to run, but I’m definitely being more cautious and realizing that my running days may be numbered and I may have to start exclusively walking soon. It does bum me out a little, but it’s worth it to not have those holy hell shooting pains and to know I’m doing what’s best for both my body and my baby.


I’m no doctor and no running guru. I’m just a girl who loves to hit the pavement at an average pace for average mileage. But I remember being new to the pregnant runner game and looking for others who’d been through it before. So I hope this helps you, if that’s where you are.

Enjoy your pregnancy, enjoy your running, and if you’re worried at all…. talk to your doc! Smile They won’t mind (and if they do, they’re terrible and you should find someone else Winking smile)

My Life Lately

I would love to have a good excuse for not blogging at all in April, but I really don’t. I guess you could say that I was too busy achieving my goal and Embracing life this month, which wouldn’t be dishonest. I love my blog, but I found my self choosing family time – or naps – over writing.

I’m here now, though, so let’s catch up!

Simmons Farm Easter Fun

A few weekends ago, we took Riley to an Easter event at a local farm. There was no Easter bunny, but judging by her reaction when I got her photo done at the mall (she was not happy… but handled it better than Santa!), it was probably for the better.

The events included an unconventional egg hunt in an apple orchard (you collect any 12 eggs and redeem them for prizes), a make-your-own birdhouse from a gourd, and a potted planted project where she got to paint (we used markers) a pot and plant a flower. There was also an area to pet farm animals, which was her favorite part.




It was a relaxing day that we got to do at our own pace. It wasn’t super crowded, either, which was great. And Riley loved it. She got to pet baby chicks and a goat, chase chickens, and take a long, curious walk around an orchard. I think we will go again next year!


I Hope She Knows

My second article was published on the Pittsburgh Moms Blog. It was a completely different article than my first one about regaining momentum during back-to-back pregnancies. It’s titled I Hope She Knows and gets real about the struggles of balancing an adult life with a toddler. It seems to have gotten a lot of positive feedback, which is encouraging! Please go check it out! Smile


Also, I had one of the top five articles for the month of March on the blog which was SUPER exciting!


We went back to Reading to spend Easter weekend with our families. It was a very relaxed weekend and a lot of fun. Riley in her Easter dress is pretty much the cutest thing I’ve ever seen in my life.



Yard Work Weekend

This past weekend, Dave’s parents came out to Pittsburgh to help us tame our yard. We moved into our home in September 2015 when I was 31 weeks pregnant and are still working on getting our yard just how we want it. With a half acre, there is a lot to do! So this weekend was spent weeding, weeding, weeding, and mulching all the flower beds and garden. They look so much better now and it makes me happy every time I look at them. In a few weekends, Dave and I (and possibly some loving, willing friends) are going to work on planting flowers and vegetables and our massive hill in the back. It is covered in mulch, but really crappy chopped-down-tree-pieces mulch and looks…not great. So the plan is to clear it all and put down a fresh layer. So far we’ve gone through 4 square yards of mulch and we’re estimating we’ll need at least 3 more.  But it’ll be beautiful and worth it!


Also, we put up Riley’s new swing! It’s a hand-me-down from Dave’s cousin and so far she loves it!


Hmmm, yeah, what’s that? Running has been pretty scarce lately. I’ve only gone about once or twice a week this month, but I’m hoping to run as far into this pregnancy as I can.


Two weeks ago I headed out and a half mile in it started to downpour. It was GLORIOUS. I don’t know why, but it was one of the best, most fun runs I’ve had in months. I was offered a ride home by a kind stranger who called me crazy (in the best way!) when I turned him down twice.


So that’s been my life lately! How has yours been?

Embracing April

Lifestyle | March 31, 2017 | By

Since tomorrow is the start of a new month, it’s time for a new word to embrace. As a recap here were the last three:

January- Calm

February- Connect

March- Action

For April the word I want to embrace is….. Embrace!

Let’s be honest, March was a rough month for me. Physically, I met my running goal, but my energy has been drained constantly. Sleeping is getting hard and my low back pain isn’t going anywhere. Emotionally, I’ve basically been a wreck. Whether is seasonal affective disorder, PPD, pregnancy hormones, or just stress and anxiety, I don’t know, but this month seemed eternal and I am ready to put it behind me.

But I don’t want to rush through life, especially this period of just Riley and me that is closing ever so quickly. I’ve spent so much time lately thinking about running after pregnancy and my non-pregnant body, itching to get back to it and to just not being pregnant that I am afraid I’m missing out on some special moments. Pregnancy, for one. I loved it with Riley, but this time around I’m more impatient and I want to embrace it and love it like I did the first time around.


Despite the fact that it’s been over a year, I’m STILL trying to get used to being a stay-at-home mom. It’s not easy. It’s not hard in the way working is hard (especially being a working mom!), but it is its own type of hard. From being with your child 24/7 (wonderful but exhausting) to having no independent means of income to feeling pressure of having to do more in order to make yourself feel like an equal since you don’t “work”… I feel like I’ve been failing in so many regards and just assuming things will get better after baby #2 arrives.


And in ways it will. I mean, I will have two sweet baby loves! But I will also have considerable less sleep, more poopy diapers, more meltdowns (from the babies and myself), and thank the Lord, more coffee. But that time is not here yet.

I want to embrace this chapter of my life- or “season” as the cool kids are calling it now. I want to fully love and appreciate every moment with just Riley, every kiss she gives my belly and every silly or snuggly moment we have. I want to appreciate every pregnant run and every missed run because I was too tired or not feeling up to it.


I just want to embrace my current life and all the great things that God has blessed me with more.


Do you ever feel like you’re living for the future and not embracing the present? How would you/did you change?