Running On Average

Monthly Mileage and March’s Call to Action

Lifestyle, Running | February 28, 2017 | By

Hello! We’ve reached the end of another month so quickly. I feel like I was just writing a recap for January!

Instead of going through all my resolutions, I’m just going to stick with my mileage. My February goal was 28 miles. I achieved…. 34.3! Look out, world, I’m ready to run an ultra!

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In all seriousness, I’m very proud of those miles. For starters, I’m still running more than I did when I was pregnant with Riley which is a huge boost, because I feel infinitely more out of shape than I did with her.

Secondly, the past two weeks have brought some challenges with my intestines and I’m not sure if they are pregnancy or ulcerative colitis related, but the discomfort/pain has made me back off running. The baby’s health is first and foremost and if I need to take some extra rest time for my body to heal, then that’s what I am going to do, no questions asked. It seems to be on the up and up, so hopefully we’ll continue that way and March will go off without a hitch.

Speaking of March, the word I am going to embrace and embody this month is:

-Action-

I’ve mentioned in previous posts that I’m a dreamer and a thinker, but I have a hard time putting plans into action. After some deep diving, I’ve realized that I’m afraid to do things wrong, that I’m not good enough to do something, or that I simply don’t know when/where/how to start. Basically I’m a perfectionist with low confidence.

But I’ve realized that by letting these doubts and uncertainties crowd my thinking, I’m missing out. On things as little as buying home décor to as big as writing.. and finishing… a novel (I have three started). In March I want to work on making myself move, getting the courage and motivation to stop thinking and planning, writing and rewriting to-do lists and just freaking DO it already.

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Who’s with me? Let’s carpe the hell out of this diem! Smile

Catching Up and Gorgeous Weather

Running | February 22, 2017 | By

I don’t know where you all live, but here in Pittsburgh the weather is unusually gorgeous. Not just for February, but for any time of year. It’s not totally cloudy and it’s warm. Mid 60s warm! The birds are chirping and I’ve been able to take my workouts outside without ten thousands layers. Hallelujah!

Let me start off with a huge apology because I haven’t posted in over a week! Of course, I have reasons/excuses, but mainly I just didn’t know what to write. I felt like I was in a rut. But I’m back and ready to go (I hope).

My stomach has started to really be wonked out the past week/two weeks. I’m not sure if it’s just the joys of pregnancy or if my ulcerative colitis is finally rearing its ugly head again (I’ve been in delightful remission since Riley was born). It made working out or even the desire to workout unappealing. I’ve been tired, my stomach’s been in pain, and on the back end…. yeah. It makes me hesitate to go outside even though the weather is beckoning me.

Let’s start with Valentine’s Day.  Dave was away on business Monday-Wednesday night, so I only got one early bird treadmill run in on Tuesday morning. 3.25 miles at a respectable (for me right now) 10:30 pace. A treadmill dance party was also included because my playlist is just so ballin.

My next workout wasn’t until Friday when I took to the streets with Riley for a midday run. This was prompted by me NEEDING to get us out of the house. We popped out 4.5 stroller miles around the neighborhood and Roo fell asleep during the last half mile.

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Sunday, my stomach really wasn’t feeling a run- or I wasn’t confident in my stomach’s ability to handle a run- so instead Dave, Riley, and I took a nice walk around the hood for 3.1 miles. It was actually really nice to take a break and just talk with Dave without worrying about housework or meal prep or chasing Riley, who was chatting contently in the stroller.

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Yesterday, I took Riley to the park for a stroller run and some time on the playground. We ran 2.15 miles out and almost back, stopped at the playground and played for about 25 minutes, then ran the final .8 miles back to the car. It was our first time on the playground and it was the best part of my run. Winking smile She was so happy and giggly, the weather was in the 50s, and life was just good. So that was another winner of a run!

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How have your workouts been lately? And how’s your weather been? I know it’s wrong for this time of year, but sometimes being wrong feels so right!

Snow Play, Running and Weekend Adventures

Lifestyle, Running | February 13, 2017 | By

Happy Monday! This weekend was amazing. It all started Thursday morning when we woke up to about 4 inches of snow. I LOVE snow so seeing the winter wonderland outside was ridiculously exciting to me.

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Of course, Dave still went into work, but it felt like a “snow day.” I got to sleep in a bit and still run 3 miles on the treadmill for my baby girl woke up. Starting my day with a run makes me feel so much more put together. I never in my life thought I’d become a morning runner- especially not a consistent one- but over the last month and a half I’m really starting to enjoy starting my days that way. Of course, once daylight savings hits and there is still daylight after Dave gets home from work, I may revert to my evening ways. I truly love running at dusk when the sun is setting, birds are chirping, and there is that glorious mix of cut grass, summer heat, and grilled dinner aromas filling the air.

Spring fever is hitting me HARD.

But back to the snow day. Dressed in her fleece footie pajamas, coat, mittens, hat, and little boots which I later discovered were not really meant for a walker- especially outside- I took Roo out for some snow fun. At first she wasn’t sure what to make of it, but once she followed the tire treads over the snow and into our cul-de-sac, she took off. Running around and giggling and dipping her toes in slushy puddles. Pointing at the patches of snow and yelling as if trying to tell me what they were. She was SO HAPPY. And so freaking cute.

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She also got so messy! After about 40 minutes, I brought her in and bathed her then let her run around and “read” before her nap.

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I know this isn’t a mom blog, but, my gosh, how can I not talk about this sweetie?

Friday was Dave’s day off, so we went to the indoor playground at the mall. He’s never gotten to go and he and Riley both had a blast!

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Then we played some more in the snow.

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Saturday was a complete change of weather. Sunny and 55 degrees. I couldn’t NOT go for a run outside. My plan was to do 3 miles, I figured I’d only do 2.

I ended up with 5 glorious, windy miles under my belt.

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Yesterday was a rest day and Riley was under the weather. Poor girl. She’s never really been sick, but I think she’s getting some teeth in that are really bothering her. She did score some new shoes, though, that she keeps handing to us to put on her. We’ve got a new shoe addict!

That was my weekend. Today we’re back to the grind. This week promises to be a bit hectic, but we’ll just roll with what comes our way.

What were the highlights of your weekend?

My Running Story

Running | February 9, 2017 | By

Every runner has a story, their tale of how they got the be where they are. Since I hope to be doing this for a while (both running and blogging), I thought I’d share mine.

Like many people, I was not always a runner. It’s cliché, but true; I used to hate running. Instead you could find me in the studio dancing, on stage subpar singing and acting, the orchestra room playing violin, or the football field playing clarinet in the marching band. Yeah, I was that kid. My mind is more creatively oriented. It never even crossed my mind to go for a run up through high school. I was more interested in music and dance.

For as art-focused as I was, I wasn’t super feminine or delicate. I would go backpacking with my dad and his buddies. I liked playing backyard soccer and pickup basketball with my mom even though we were both terrible.

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Me and mom post marathon #1

When time came to apply for colleges and start thinking about my future, I wanted a change. I wanted to do something more rugged, intense, something to be proud of. What I wanted was to join the Marine Corps via ROTC.

Those dreams came to an abrupt (and looking back… fortunate) end when I was hospitalized my senior year of high school and diagnosed with severe ulcerative colitis. For those who don’t know, ulcerative colitis is an autoimmune disease that affects the large intestine. There is no known cure and only different methods of trial and error in the hopes of achieving remission. I won’t bore you with all the details, but the Crohn’s and Colitis Foundation of America website has great information.

I was hospitalized for a week, given a blood transfusion, and put on two different medications. I had lost 15 pounds and a lot of blood in less than two weeks and was genuinely lucky to be alive. I got scolded by my pediatrician for putting off the doctor visit for so long (two years), and my gastroenterologist told me point blank that the Marine Corps was out of the question for me.

I’d be lying if I said I didn’t feel any relief from the rejection. I knew I was sick and admittedly didn’t know how I would be able to handle boot camp… I couldn’t be anywhere unless I had a quick escape to the bathroom available. True remission didn’t come for years after my diagnosis, and made college more challenging for me than the average student.

I was accepted into Susquehanna University and majored in Creative Writing, with minors in American History and Psychology. Susquehanna is where I got my start in athletics. Despite battling colitis, I joined the swing dance club, the dance corps, and women’s rugby. I wanted to play rugbyso badly. It seemed so fun, so intense, so… exhilarating. And it was. I fell in love with the sport. I held this sense of pride because rugby isn’t some sport that you can brush off easily. It’s brutal. You take a beating. But, MAN, the feeling of tackling someone, or catching the ball in a lineout, preventing someone from scoring a try…. it’s like the runner’s high at the end of a race.

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Despite my slender build, I was placed with the pack, the typically “bigger” players, but we were a pint-sized team and my height categorized me as a “big” girl. This suited me, because the pack was more tackling and less running. Of course, to play rugby you had to run regardless of your position. Every Wednesday, our workout was a short team run down to the Susquehanna River and back and, my God, I thought it was a long distance. Two or three girls would add on and run along the river, but most of us just did a simple out and back. The total mileage for the run? One mile. One freaking mile. We did plenty of plyometrics, suicide sprints, and practiced plays and tactical moves. The game was a great workout, for sure. And it was thrilling, even with the injuries. (I’ve broken my nose, fractured my finger, and lost count of how many times I’ve dislocated my shoulder)

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Beer can ice pack. That’s how to roll in rugby.

At least it wasn’t boring old running,

Boring old running came my junior year, when my roommate and I decided to share each other’s sports. She would join the rugby team if I would join the track team. She only ever came to one rugby practice before deciding that it wasn’t for her, but I stuck with track. This meant playing four seasons of sports in three seasons’ time, since rugby was fall, track was winter and both were spring. Between that, the dance clubs, and the accredited dance courses, I was in pretty damn good shape. But not good running shape.

I was easily one of, if not the, slowest sprinter on our team. I sprinted the 55, 100, and 200 meters and found my niche in the 200. I loved the feeling of cutting through air, running as fast as I could, long strides and arms pumping. It was amazing. And if the battles of colitis hadn’t inhibited me, I’m sure I could have gone faster and farther.

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Post college, there aren’t many sprint races to sign up for. I still ran short distances, but it wasn’t until my guy at the time was starting to get distance and vague that I really picked up the sport. I was pissed and running was a way to release that. I signed up for my first 5K- a local St. Patrick’s themed race called the Hooligan Hustle- with the goals of no walking and finishing in under 30 minutes. I was so nervous about my colitis and what to do if, you know, nature called. Luckily, she didn’t. I accomplished both goals and was immediately hooked on racing.

And that guy? He didn’t last much longer. Winking smile

I began signing up for increasingly longer races: more 5Ks, 10k, 10 miler, half marathon, and finally to my own disbelief, I received the confirmation email for my first 26.2- Rock N Roll USA- which I completed exactly one year after my first 5K.

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High 5 from Dave at mile 14 of marathon #1

I’ve come a long way from the sprinter I was in college and although I’m not breaking any speed or distance PRs right now, I need to remember how far I still am from that girl who had trouble running a mile to the Susquehanna River and back. Running has given me so much in life. It brought me confidence and friendships, taught me endurance and pushing through when the going gets tough. I learned how to be self-motivated. I learned how to run despite fear and despite a disease that can make it hard to leave the house at all. It’s made me a stronger, happier, and better person. I’ve gotten to see new places and experience great cities through running. I inspired my mom to run and found a new way of bonding with her.

And I gotta say, it put me in the best shape of my life and gave me a pretty hot bod.

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The start of Hatfield McCoy Marathon (#3 and 1st postpartum)

What’s your running story?

Embracing February: Calm and Connected

Running | February 6, 2017 | By

If you recall, in January I embraced the word calm and tried to embody all that it meant. Mostly, it went well. I still had days where I couldn’t get myself together and nights where I was awake for two hours or more just anxious and overthinking, but in my outward emotions I was definitely more calm, especially with Riley. Although it’s winter and the days can feel long, I feel like we fell into a good groove.

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I embraced calm with my running, too. I was up early many mornings to get my runs in, but I didn’t pressure myself to go a certain pace or certain mileage- just simply to run by feel. This was hugely beneficial and I often (though certainly not always!) surprised myself with my run and was able to start my day with a clear head.

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For February, my word to embrace is

Connect

Everyone is talking about disconnecting from their cell phones, from technology, from distractions. I hugely agree with this, but I don’t want to put a ban on my cell phone or laptop, so to speak, because I don’t think that I am obsessively attached to either. Instead I want to work on connecting offline, in being present and connected to the moment, not thinking about what I need to do later or whether or not my life is exciting enough.

I feel isolated often being a stay-at-home mom and also being rather shy. It’s not necessarily that I am an introvert- I NEED other people and connections- but I am very anxious about making them and have a heard time really feeling close to someone. I’ve been living in Pittsburgh for over three years and only now am starting to feel like I have some friends. But my closest friends (sisters and mom) live hours away. So I want to make a point to open up and connect with the friends I am making. Stop being so shy about even texting them or hesitant about going out.

I even feel weird connecting with people on Instagram and writing comments- even though that’s the point of social media! I guess I fear rejection? I worry about putting myself out there and posting because not many people respond and it makes me doubt my efforts.

I also want to connect more with my body. I told Dave last night that I need to stop missing my pre-babies body and waiting impatiently for #2 so that I can get back to normalcy. I’ve been frustrated with how I don’t fit in my normal clothes and am so uncomfortable, but in all honesty, it’s not that bad. I need to breathe and love what it and what it’s all for.

I want to love and enjoy this pregnancy as much as I did Riley’s and in order to do so I need to connect more with my body. Appreciate the runs that I still can run, lay still and feel the little baby wiggling around inside (truly one of the coolest feelings). I found a yoga studio that offers both prenatal yoga and mommy and me yoga classes and I want to try to take at least two this month as a way of connecting with my sweet babies.

So that’s my goal. As always, I want to continue connecting with Riley during everyday life and not take for granted my chance to spend all day every day with her (even when they seem long).

Have you made a goal this year to disconnect from technology? How do you connect?