Running On Average

Are You Keeping Your Promises? Resolutions Check In

We’ve somehow found ourselves at the end of January already, one month of 2017 down and done. Thirty days ago we had dreams and goals, plans and resolutions for how we are going to make this year our “best year ever.”

But how many of us are keeping those resolutions?

I’ve read that as little as 8% of people actually keep their resolutions throughout the year. And while, admittedly, I can’t say that I have ever been in that 8%, every year I create resolutions and every year I strive to keep. And I probably will continue that for years to come.

I LOVE the idea of fresh starts, new opportunities, open doors, and exciting chances. There is so much to see and do in this world, so much potential that to not even try to embrace it seems like a waste,

So let’s check in on our resolutions and be honest with ourselves: are we keeping them? Solidly or kinda sorta? How can we improve? And how can we reward ourselves for keeping them so far?

My 2017 Resolutions Check-In

1) Have a fit and healthy pregnancy.

IMG_9627

So far, I am doing this one pretty well, although I amended my resolution pretty early on. After quickly realizing that an at-home yoga video wasn’t going to keep my attention, I resolved to work out 4x/week and made a small goal of running as many miles as there are days each month. Did I accomplish all this? Kinda sorta. The first and last weeks, I only worked out 3x/week, but I did manage to go over the 31 mile goal. And I also focused on resting when I needed it. For instance, this past Wednesday I cancelled my run because I knew my body needed the extra rest. And I definitely benefitted from that. So for February: 4 workouts a week and 28 miles.

2) Blog twice a week and write.

Yes! I have been blogging consistently this month and am so proud of myself. I am trying not to lose heart and know that follows won’t flock to my blog immediately, but sometimes I do feel discouraged and wonder if I should bother to continue writing. Does anybody read/care/get inspired? Is my blog pointless? But my husband reminds me that I am doing this because I like to, and that keeps me going.

As for writing fiction, I have written, yes, but not to the extent I would have liked. So I need to dig deeper into this in February.

3) Learn how to and eat healthier.

IMG_9337

I would love to say that I don’t eat cookies on the regular anymore, but that would be a lie. I did back away from them for the first few weeks, but apparently if they’re in the house, I’m eating them. Additionally, I’ve been craving lattes, so I’ve gotten them two or three times every week. (I stay within the OB’s caffeine recommendations.) On the flip side, I have been conscious about eating way more fruits and vegetables and having balanced meals, especially breakfasts. I drink at least 70 oz. of water most days. Overall, I think I am doing pretty well, although there is definite room for improvement. (I’m looking at you, Chips Ahoy!)

4) Be the best mom and wife I can be.

IMG_9614

Honestly, I don’t know if I will ever say that I am being the BEST I can be, though I am certainly trying. Maybe this one is too vague, but it serves as more of a reminder to me to strive every day and not become lazy in my relationships even when Baby 2 makes me want to just lay down and sleep.

Now it’s your turn. Are you keeping your promises to yourself? Don’t sell yourself short. If you want to make a change, MAKE a change. Don’t wish for it. This is something that I am working very hard on doing!

Let me know how your year is going! I’d love to hear!

WR Confessional: Pregnancy Edition

Lifestyle | January 26, 2017 | By

Let me start off by saying that I love being pregnant. I really, genuinely do. Hate me if you must, but so far I’m one of those annoying women who doesn’t get morning sickness. Riley didn’t give me stretch marks or swollen feet or really any hugely unglamorous aspect usually associated with pregnancy. I basically just had a growing belly and admittedly some incredible heartburn (girl was born with a full head of hair). And as we all know, I was ridiculously tired. But other than that, I feel like I got through pretty unscathed. Plus, knowing my baby was growing made the excitement greatly outweigh the discomfort.

IMG_2950

Labor was a different story, but we won’t get into that here.

IMG_3201

Worth it

So far, I feel pretty much the same with June Bug. Exhausted? Check. Heartburn? Check. But other than that, I’m feeling good. The first trimester even flew by this time, despite all my worries and fears. So why oh why am I having a harder go of it this time around?

IMG_9581

I told Dave that after this baby is born (full term, happy and healthy, we hope!) we are waiting at LEAST 18 months before trying for #3, if we decide we want more (I do). I just need time. Time to get my body back. Time to run and workout hard – really hard – without worrying about nursing or healing or a baby growing. Time to just feel like myself again. It took me almost nine months after delivery to feel like myself and then I got pregnant almost immediately after that.

Time to drink some wine!

The first time around I felt like this young, cute, fun, bubbly pregnant woman. This time, I just feel old and bleh. I don’t have the same energy I had with Roo. I feel like when I go out, even when I try to look good with makeup and clothing, I still look tired and worn down.

IMG_9156

I don’t know. I’m having one of those days where I’m just kind of sad and tired. The Pittsburgh skies are their classic gray which I’m sure doesn’t help. I know running would make me feel better, but that’s not an option right now.

Any other moms out there experience this? Somebody please tell me that this feeling will pass, that I will eventually feel like myself again!

Thanks for listening. I will return to running talk on Monday. Have a great weekend?

Pittsburgh Zoo and PPG Aquarium

Local Travel | January 23, 2017 | By

This Saturday, Dave and I took Riley to the Pittsburgh Zoo and PPG Aquarium. We had originally planned to go see the parade of penguins, but since the weather was unseasonably warm, it would have been dangerous for the penguins to be out walking. A bummer for sure, but the upside is that the weather made for a very nice zoo day!

IMG_3108

We met with some friends around 11am and it was already packed. Dave and I grew up going to the Philadelphia Zoo, but this one is much smaller. There is both and upside and downside to this. The upside is that it is easily walkable and can be thoroughly explored in one day. The down side is that I feel the areas for the animals were very small by comparison, and couldn’t help feeling a little sad for them.

IMG_3109

It took Riley a little while, I think, to understand what we were doing, but once she saw the animals, I think she had fun! Since she is so little, I’m sure she didn’t understand all of it, but she did like looking at the different animals as we pointed them out to her and you could tell she was trying to figure out what to make of them all.

IMG_3111

We saw a tiger, flamingos, and a hippo. I love flamingos!

IMG_3112

Another big difference between here and the Philadelphia Zoo was the landscape. Philadelphia is open and flat. Like anything else in Pittsburgh, this zoo has plenty of hills! So while we weren’t aiming for a workout, we covered probably about 2.5 miles of hilly walking. Perfect, since we ended up staying until mid-afternoon and I never got my run in.

IMG_3115

The elephants came right up to the water and started drinking it!

IMG_3117

We went into the primate house, but I don’t have any photos from it. There was a baby gorilla! I’m not sure how young it was, but it was definitely the main attraction for everyone who went inside. We also saw a gorilla take a poo, though, so… big day in the primate house.

IMG_3121

My favorite animals to see are always the giraffes. Ever since high school, I’ve been jokingly called a giraffe because of my long neck, so I feel I relate to them. Winking smile Plus, they are just such chill looking creatures and crack me up. The two zebras in the exhibit were really active- running and chasing each other, rolling in the mud, playing like you would see dogs play with each other. I’ve never seen zebras act like that before and it was pretty funny.

IMG_3126

She doesn’t smile in pictures often, but I swear Riley was having a great time! haha

IMG_3129

This poor cheetah was in the next exhibit over, pacing back and forth, watching the zebras and giraffes. I couldn’t help but laugh because he’s never going to get them. (His partner was sunbathing nearby, well aware that his prey was unattainable.)

IMG_3134

Riley got a piggy back ride. I’m not sure who enjoyed this more- Dave or Riley!

IMG_3135

The aquarium was easily Riley’s favorite part. When she saw the fish in the tanks she got SO EXCITED. I was not expecting it at all, but something about them really made her giggle and point and shout for us to look at them. She tried so hard to climb out of her stroller to get closer. It was one of those moments that made me so glad to be her mommy because she was so happy.

IMG_3141

IMG_3142

It wasn’t a big loss that the penguins didn’t parade. We saw them in their habitat, but Riley had no interest. She wanted to go back to the fish. Smile

IMG_3143

The two polar bears were putting on a good show, too. One of them has this peculiar dance that he does day in and day out and has done is for years. I later read it’s because polar bears are used to covering miles and miles of space, but when they are confined to a habitat they can no longer do that. So this is their way of adapting or getting out the frustration. It is apparently not an uncommon site at zoos. Poor guys.

After the polar bears, the zoo turns into a kids’ area, but Riley was too young for it yet. As we passed the petting zoo, however, Riley saw some goats and got excited for them. In October we went to Trax Farms Fall Festival where they had a petting zoo and she got to pet goats then. She must have remembered!

All in all it was a fun day. Maybe next year, we can go back and watch the penguin parade. I think Riley will really enjoy the animals then!

Weekly Workouts and Adventures

Running | January 19, 2017 | By

Hey, all! I reached 20 weeks this past Saturday and I can’t believe that I’m halfway through this pregnancy already! It feels like it’s going so much faster than with Roo, but at the same time 20 more weeks seems so far away. Crazy, right?

So let’s just jump right into my week, shall we?

Friday

No workout for me today.

We had our 20-week ultrasound! It suddenly made this pregnancy much more real and exciting. We don’t know if we are having a boy or a girl- like Riley, we are waiting until the big day!

Our “active little one” gave us a thumbs up to let us know everything is going well in there. Smile

IMG_9532

Afterward I got some me time while Dave watched Riley. This included getting a gel manicure. I don’t get them often, but I do love them. Plus, they are only $25 and last way longer and look infinitely better than when I do my own nails.

IMG_9551

Saturday

4 surprisingly easy morning treadmill miles while watching Revenge. I know I am waaay behind the times, but has anybody else seen this show? I’ve been wanting to watch it since it first aired years ago, but only recently started. The first few episodes sucked me in so fast, but now? I don’t know. I still like it, but it’s getting too complicated and some of the characters bug me. Tyler. The real Emily Thorne. Even faux-Emily is starting to wear on me a bit. So after Saturday, I gave it some time off and will go back to it in a bit. Possibly today.

But anyway, it got me through treadmill miles surprisingly quickly.

IMG_9542

Saturday night, Dave and I actually went out! One of Dave’s coworkers watched Riley and we went to a friend’s surprise 30th birthday party at a local brewery. Of course, I still couldn’t drink, but they had locally made soda that was delish and it was fun to hangout with everyone!

IMG_9559

Monday

Invigorated by last Monday’s early morning, I did a 5:30 treadmill run again. 3.25 miles at approximately a 10:20 pace. I’m definitely slowing down a lot from where I was at the beginning of pregnancy, but I’m glad to be getting some of my endurance back. This run was surprisingly effortless.

IMG_9570

Tuesday

I did the same 10 lb. dumbbell strength circuit as last week and barely finished it before Riley woke up. I was hoping to get some more core exercises in, but never made it. Even though it’s only a short circuit, it definitely gets my blood flowing and my heart rate up.

The afternoon was spent at another play date with my friend and her son. This time, Riley discovered slides and boy is she a fan. She has a little trouble transitioning from the top to actually sliding down so I had to help her every time, but it was so stinking cute.

IMG_9590

Wednesday

I REALLY didn’t think this was going to happen! I set my alarm for 5:30, but was relatively certain that I would blow it off for more sleep. Lo and behold, when the alarm went off I realized that if I wanted to really make this change and not have it be random one-off days, I had to DO it. So I got up and on the treadmill.

As my “reward,” I got to do intervals! I know, most of you are probably thinking that’s a sick joke, but I love love love intervals. Especially short ones. I ran one mile warm up, then alternated two minutes fast with one minute recovery for a mile and a half, then one minute even faster with one minute recovery for a mile, followed by a half mile cool down. Total 4.1 miles- my longest early morning run in about a year. I was so shocked with myself for getting it done and treated myself to a Dunkin Donuts latte later than day. Can’t go wrong with a latte!

How do motivate yourself to wake up early?

What Pregnancy and the Postpartum Journey Have Taught Me About Running

IMG_9573

Running teaches us a lot about life. It teaches us about hard work and perseverance, chasing goals and pushing past our perceived limits. it becomes a coping mechanism when we’re weak, and a
“high” when we’re strong. We learn to be better people. Running helps us to lead bigger lives.

This is my second time on the pregnancy journey and with a one-year-old to look after, my life has changed drastically from where it was two years ago when I was running high mileage weeks and 8:00 minute paces. The things I’ve learned from running helped me a lot through pregnancy, including endurance during a water-broke-on-Pitocin-19hours-labor. It helped me bounce back after delivery and I was able to run a marathon at 6 months postpartum.

IMG_6378

Hatfield and McCoy Marathon

But I’m still learning. Running has taught me so much about life, but this journey has also taught me so much about my running. So without further ado…

What Pregnancy and the Postpartum Journey
Have Taught Me About Running

1- Priorities Change

IMG_9230

Back when it was just me and Dave, I ran a lot. Part of this is due to the extreme convenience of lunchtime runs at the office gym, but in the nice weather, I would almost always run outside after work. This meant getting home from my run after Dave got home, dinner being pushed back, and as a result, our whole night being on the later side. I’m a night owl by genetics, and I don’t trust running in the dark, so evening runs are my favorite and when I do my best. During peak marathon training, this could mean 8-10 miles after work, but to me it was worth it.

Now, I barely want to run at all when Dave gets home. Instead I want to make dinner and eat as a family, which includes Riley. Since she has a bedtime, pushing dinner back too far isn’t an option. And besides, I would rather be with my little family than on a treadmill. And I’ve learned that this is okay. I’ve started ditching my night owl ways for 5:30 mornings so I can run before anyone else is awake. When the weather is nice, I bring Riley with me and we go on stroller runs. She loves to go with me and is a great coach. If I slow down, she “yells” at me because she wants to go faster! Then, when Dave walks through the door, we can all relax as a family and not worry about rushing dinner and bedtime.

IMG_7157

2- Pace Isn’t Everything

IMG_8826

I’ve never been what you would call a fast runner. My race-official 5K PR is in the 24-minute range. This never stopped me from pushing myself hard to become faster and for farther distances. I love to feel the wind while sprinting. The rush from a fast, well-raced 5K can trump a marathon finish high. I love speed. (Perhaps this is how track got me hooked on running.) But speed isn’t easy when you’re exhausted or when you’re 35 weeks pregnant and 25 pounds heavier. You have to learn to let go of that deep seated desire to go faster. Instead, find a comfortable pace- one that doesn’t make you have to pee every half mile- and settle in, knowing that running no matter how fast or how slow is still an accomplishment. Hell, even walking can be good!

This also applies for getting back to running postpartum. I waited the full six weeks and when I got back on the treadmill. The first time I ran at a 12-minute pace with plenty of walk breaks. It was tough, but it was exhilarating. Speed is good and fun, but it’s not everything.

3- Sleep Wins (Listen to Your Body)

IMG_8755

Many people pride themselves on getting up and getting that workout done early, despite a late night or poor sleep. While I understand that this can be motivating and can even boost your energy levels, pregnancy or life with a newborn is not the time to skimp on sleep. Your body needs to rest and recover, your baby needs time to grow strong. Jeopardizing any of this for a few miles truly is not worth it. As I’ve mentioned before, the first few months of pregnancy see a serious dip in exercise for me. I am overwhelmingly tired, and I have learned to go with the flow. Running will always be there waiting, ready for me when I know that I am ready to return. I knew the first few months with Baby #2 that sleeping in the morning was much more important than a few half-assed miles. Now that I have more energy, I am able to get up and get that run done. It’s still hard to do, but I know that my body is ready and can handle it. But don’t ever jeopardize your health or your baby’s just for the pressure of saying “I got it done.”

4- How to Run for Myself

IMG_8616

I am SUPER competitive. Silently, (though she probably knows it) I have always been at secret competition with my best running friend. This was never a particularly healthy thing to do, but luckily I learned to let it go. When I was 5 months pregnant with Riley, I ran a local 5K with this friend and it was the first time that I didn’t even consider finishing at the same time. I simply wanted to finish in under 35 minutes. I ran a relatively easy sub-30. She placed in our age group. But it didn’t matter to me. I was proud of her for her speed and proud of myself for racing at all!

IMG_2159

Everyone is at different places in life. Don’t judge your runs based off someone else’s. There are so many variables. I’m not saying to never be competitive (I do think it makes you work harder), but running for myself and for my own happiness, health, and strength has lifted a huge pressure off my shoulders and made the sport so much more fun.

5- The Treadmill Isn’t That Bad

IMG_9570

I hate the treadmill. It’s boring as f**k. And it always feel so hard (probably because it’s boring). But you know what? It’s really not that bad. Actually, it’s hella convenient. Pregnant and postpartum women aren’t exactly known for having strong bladders, so when you have to pee frequently during a run, a treadmill is usually located relatively close to a bathroom. More privacy than behind a bush, less fragrant than a porta-john. Win-win. It’s also great for those early morning, late night, freezing cold, blazing hot, sauna humid, pouring rain, blizzard condition, or baby’s napping runs. I can say all these because I own a treadmill, but at least six of those can apply to gym treadmills, too. So let’s give a hand to the dreaded ole treadmill. We don’t appreciate you enough!

6- Why I Run

IMG_8093

Finally, my pregnancy and postpartum journeys have made me do some soul searching and rediscover why it is I run in the first place. It’s not because I made a deal with a friend in college. Although that started it, it’s not what kept me coming back day after day, year after year. Running is hard. There is no argument in that. It wears us down and sometimes tears us down and humbles us. But it offers so much more. It is my sanity. Raising a child is hard, time-consuming work and mom-guilt is a seriously real thing. Running helps me to alleviate my stress and recenter myself so I can be a better mom to Riley and #2. It also gives me the strength and energy to chase and carry my babies.

IMG_6413

But I don’t just run for them. I run for me. Because when you take away the watch that tells you your pace and distance, your splits and how much slower than you were two years ago, what’s left is the feeling of your legs in rhythm, your chest pounding (ignore that stabbing pain from your lungs), and the wind as you cut threw it. There is nothing so refreshing. It has built up my confidence and given me something to be proud of about myself. I have raced everything from the 55m to the marathon because I enjoy that feeling. I have seen so many cities and made friends. I am a runner for myself and for the opportunities it brings me.

Have you run through pregnancy or while raising kids? What has life taught you about running or exercise?