Running On Average

Week of Workouts

Running | March 2, 2017 | By

Hey, all! We’re officially into March and with my plan to make this month one of action, here is a recap of my weekly workouts. Only two this week, because I’m battling my insides again this morning.

On Monday, I decided to try something new. I took Riley to South Hills Power Yoga for our first Mommy and Me yoga class! I was a little nervous because I had no idea what to expect and I haven’t taken a yoga class since before she was born.

Overall, the class went well. We placed our mats in a giant circle around a bin of toys and the kids could either participate with us or play with the toys and run around the empty half of the studio. Riley was the youngest of the runners; there were two babies who could only wiggle.

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The mama bear within me is apparently strong and I spent more time keeping an eye on her and making sure she was okay or not in anyone’s way than I did focusing on my yoga. I did get a pretty good workout in and had some struggles with certain poses. Going from high to low plank was a big one because my belly just kept getting in the way! We did a lot of chair and warrior poses and I can still feel it in my upper arms and shoulders!

The studio was right next to a Panera, so of course we went next door afterward for a latte. Winking smile

By the time we got home, Riley was passed out in the back seat so I think it’s safe to say all the running around wore her out!

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Tuesday morning, despite accidentally sleeping through my alarm, I managed to get up an run 3.25 miles on the treadmill. MUCH better than the two mile walk/jog I thought was going to happen going into it.

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I LOVE the feeling of a good run and taking pressure off myself during pregnancy has reignited my love of running. I’m so excited to see what I can do in July when I start postpartum running!

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!

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?

Weekend Rewind

Lifestyle, Running | December 19, 2016 | By

Let’s start off by saying that the weather this weekend was not conducive to running. On Friday morning, it was a balmy 5 degrees with a “real feel” somewhere below zero. Guilt-free I decided that my trusty treadmill was the way to go….until I saw another runner on Instagram who ran outside in the same weather. A little bit a guilt crept in and I briefly considered running outside to be a “real” runner, but you know what? That’s just stupid. I have been having trouble getting into the swing of exercise since emerging from the first trimester, so if I was already pumped and ready for an indoor run, why jeopardize that with thoughts and comparisons of some runner I had never met? To that runner; kudos for getting out there and braving the cold. To me and all the treadmill runners: kudos for lacing up and hopping on that ‘mill. Both are tough!

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Yeah, no thanks!

I did 4.5 treadmill miles with 2.25 of them at intervals. Mind you, they were not blazing speed intervals- somewhere in the vicinity of an 8:20-8:40 pace, but I felt amazing and happy to finally be working on speed.

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My best Frenemy.

**I do find it weird that when I ran outside last weekend (in the cold) that I kept roughly an 8:45 pace the whole run despite hills and felt good. I think two things were at play here. 1) I was so damn cold last weekend that I ran as fast as I could just to keep warm and 2) the treadmill, as I have mentioned before is largely a mental exercise and I am not very strong in that area yet.

But I digress.

4.5 miles boom bam over and done. Felt SO good. We spent the rest of the day at Toys ‘R’ Us picking out a few small gifts for Riley for Christmas, grocery shopping, and making delightful Gouda and Apple Stuffed Chicken for dinner. Two thumbs up on THAT recipe. I should have taken a photo.

Saturday morning, Riley woke us up at about 6am so no sleeping in. As we were lying in bed with her bouncing around, we watched a transformer blow outside and out went our power. We spent the morning eating oatmeal and tea (thank goodness for a gas stove), enjoying playtime by candlelight because the day was so gray and rainy, and layering our clothes to stay warm. It turned out to be a really fun morning and the power (and heat!) came on just as Riley was going down for a nap. Score.

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They Melt My Heart

Yesterday consisted of an easy 2.3 mile treadmill run at 10:00 pace and blueberry pancakes. Then baking ALL THE CHRISTMAS COOKIES. I love baking, so between the smell of freshly baked cookies and my post-run high I was in my happy place all day. The final count is 326 cookies and not a single one burnt. Hallelujah! I don’t know how I managed.

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We have: Peanut Butter Cookies, Gluten Free Oatmeal Chocolate Chip Cookies, Coconut Macaroons, Thumbprints (my personal favorite),  Chocolate Wows, and Almond Macaroon Fingers. Now don’t worry, we don’t eat them all; some go to Dave’s parents and a majority go to my parents for their Christmas Eve party. That is, if I can go all week without eating them (I can blame pregnancy, right?)

This morning I did 50 minutes of prenatal yoga and now here we are. Less than a week from Christmas. Who’s still staying motivated and getting their workouts in? Who’s working their way through the cookies and other holiday treats (no shame in that game)? And who’s managing to do both?

Cheerios and the Treadmill

Running | December 14, 2016 | By

Hey. friends!

Have you ever had one of those days where you just feel like nothing is getting your attention the way that it should? Has it ever been your children?

I was having one of those days on Monday. Riley woke up earlier than usual. She didn’t nap well. I was exhausted from the weekend, although I can’t remember doing anything that would warrant me being so tired, except that baby #2 is sucking all my energy. I just couldn’t get my ish together on Monday. I was getting frustrated at myself for not being a super playful mom and getting impatient for Dave to come home. None of this was Riley’s fault, I just felt like I never got myself together for the day, you know?

Call it a SAHM Case of the Mondays. They happen to the best of us.

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