Running On Average

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.

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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!

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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

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

Easter

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.

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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!

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

Running

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.

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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.

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

Welcome to Running On Average!

Lifestyle | March 14, 2017 | By

Gooood morning! Did anyone out there get slammed by Snow Storm Stella? We didn’t and I am profoundly disappointed. I mean, I knew we wouldn’t, but we didn’t get a single snowflake. Bummer.

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No snow this morning!

On the bright side, I get to take Riley out for our doughnut date today. And coffee, let’s not forget the coffee.

I know I haven’t been active on the blog much lately and while it may not look much different, there has been a lot of work going on on the “back end.” (Like learning that it’s called the back end.) Hopefully by the end of the month, I’ll have things running more smoothly and will be blogging on the regular again.

The name is meant to be more relatable both to my life and to the average runner. I am no elitist and I am no Carmen Sandiego; I am just a busy mom who likes to run when she can and still chase her dreams. So my running is not as exciting as other fitness bloggers, especially right now, but I feel like I can at least offer a little something for the average runner to relate to.

Hopefully I’ll be running on the regular soon, too. I had some pretty great workouts this weekend- 5.25 miles on Friday morning then spin class Saturday morning- but am battling the start of a sinus infection and haven’t worked out since Saturday. Sigh.

In OTHER exciting news, back in January I was accepted to write as a contributor for the Pittsburgh Moms Blog and my first post publishes today! It’s about regaining momentum during back to back pregnancies. Go check it out!

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Outtake from the blog photo shoot- she’s too cute!

That’s really all that I have for now. Keep running my friends and let me know if a snow storm is headed your way! Smile

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!

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?