Friday, August 18, 2017

What To Love About Hills

Yesterday when V woke up from his nap, he was still super tired.  He didn't want to go back to sleep but he laid like this for a half hour while I rubbed his back to help him stop crying. He can be a hard boy, but he sure is sweet too.

Then he got up and decided that instead of a back rub, I needed to brush his hair. He has a thing for brushes. He LOVES getting his hair brushed right now.

Which explains why I couldn't find my brush anywhere when I got up to run this morning. I ended up using my round brush to get enough tangles out to put it up in a ponytail.

After my run, and getting J off to school, I made some eggs that turned into a big egg. Right now if I'm eating eggs, it has to be fried. Scrambled used to be my favorite, but lately, fried eggs have been what hits the spot.


I did hill repeats this morning for my run.  I used to hate running hills, I dreaded every one of them. But I actually really like running hills now. This could be because just about every run I go on has at least one hill in it, or it could be because I've realized how much hill workouts do for you.

I thought that the trick I found to get good running pictures would work, but it didn't....I'm now thinking it's just my phones fault....or maybe I just need more practice. 

Hill workouts can replace some of your speed workouts. Hills help you improve your leg turn over which makes you faster.

Running hills also increases your endurance.  After doing some hill workouts here and there, going on your long run won't feel quite so hard, you might even be able to add an extra mile or two on.

I love hill workouts now because the biggest difference I've seen in my running came from running more hills than I used to.  When you know your race has some hills in it, you're definitely going to want the practice from running up hills without getting too tired to keep going once you're at the top. And just think of how much faster you're going to be able to run a flatter race when you've worked hills for a while.   Also, think about all those races that have a (or a few) big hills in them and how everyone always dreads those hills and how everyone always seems so beat after those hills.  What would it be like to be able to cruise up those hills and then feel like you can keep going? When you practice hills, it will be easier to get through them come race day.

I also love hills because I feel like they give me a good mental challenge as well as a physical challenge. Most runs do this to some extent, but I feel like running hill repeats like I did today, helps me focus on form and remind myself that I can get through tough things. Today I found myself repeating "I can do anything one more time" over and over again when I started to think I was done mentally.  This is something I used to tell myself when I was running on the treadmill all the time. "I can do anything for 3 more minutes." "This is nothing! If I can run like this for 10 minutes one time, I can do it again." These kinds of exercises help me push through a lot of mental barriers and make big progress in my mentality and in my run.

So here are some ways to incorporate hills into your runs.

- The most obvious: Find a hill to run repeats on. Start easy by giving yourself a goal of up 3, down 3 (down hill work helps a lot too).  Run up the hill at a moderate pace and then slow your pace when you start on the down hill. Take a break, stretch and reset before you start again. When you feel like you can add more, do that.

- Add a hill into your regular routes. When you know it's hill day but you want to just add a hill or two into your run instead of focusing only on hills, find a hill near by one of your routes and just plan your run around that hill. This one is probably the easiest way to get a hill run.

- If you need to run inside, use the incline button on the treadmill to do hill repeats, or just to mix things up during your run. Alternate between incline and flat. Not every hill is the same so adjust the incline settings so that you're not always running up the same grade of incline.

What is your favorite way to eat eggs?

What workouts do you feel help you improve the most?

Thursday, August 17, 2017

How Running Helps Me With Emotional Struggles

I wanted to talk a little bit about emotional problems and how running has helped me through those rough patches in life, but first here's a little bit about our day.

This morning after dropping J off at the bus, we went to Costco. M decided that she was big enough to walk and not ride in the cart. It kills me that they are getting this big. She ended up walking and riding on the side of the cart like this the whole time.

After we got our errands done, M wanted to do a workout. So I found THIS kid workout video that they like to do every now and then and M and V entertained themselves with it while I made some lunch. 

After we had lunch, V wasn't ready for a nap yet and we had a while before J got home, so we went out back to play for a while. They are trying to soak as much summer in as I am before it gets cold. (Notice V's choice of "toy" is a fork...)

On our way to pick J up, M kept striking poses like this. She's quite the character. I'm not sure where she got this funny little side to her personality but I hope she's always this happy and silly. 


Last night's run was more for therapeutic reason than for training or conditioning for anything.  I've been dealing with a lot of anxiety the last few months. I'm not really sure that I've ever had a lot of anxiety in my life. I've definitely dealt with depression and stress a lot in life, but I think this is the first time that I can say I've had anxiety. (And I haven't been diagnosed with it, I'm just sure that's what it would fall under).  The first thing I've noticed is that I'll wake up about an hour after falling asleep for no reason. My heart will be racing, I'm sweating, and my body starts to shake and then I can't stop my mind and I can't go back to sleep. Most of the time I'm good during the day as long as I keep going and I don't think too much about a growing to do list or any other life stressors. So maybe it's not even an anxiety thing. (?)

The first I started noticing this happening was the night my grandma Ann died (both of my grandmas were a huge part of my life and helped raise me so we were VERY close). She died very suddenly in a fall. It was a complete shock to my entire family and it was pretty traumatic. So that night when I woke up every hour feeling sick to my stomach, heart racing and crying and shaking, I knew why. I had a reason for it. But since then it's happened once a week or so for no reason.

I've started noticing triggers and knowing when I'll probably have a rough night, and last night happened to be one of those nights. When I start to feel THAT stressed, I usually have a hard time getting out the door, especially for night runs.  But I knew that running would help me, not only relax, but also to process through what stresses I've been having. I was able to go out and run 3 miles with my sister. Not only did her listening to my problems help, but the run itself helped. And today I wanted to talk about how running can help with emotional/mental problems.

There have been studies done that prove that the endorphins you get during and after a run help with these mental health issues.  And that's amazing! I am very grateful for those endorphins, but I wanted to share the ways that running has helped me through anxiety and depression and not just the scientific side that we always hear about.

First, I have struggled with depression for several years. My high school years were the hardest for me. I'd been bullied in school, I didn't have a lot of self-confidence, things just never seemed to go right for me, I felt a lot of pressure to be a certain way...I could keep going, but I won't. I was struggling.  I was on the cross country and track teams and I told myself that I was doing it to be good at something. And while that wasn't true, I had told myself that enough that I believed it and then when I would do bad on a race, it would pull me down further. But the truth is, and looking back at those times I'm pretty sure I knew this then, I did it as a way to help me feel better.

Running gave me a group of friends that were in so many ways better than the friends I would have had with out running. It gave me a support group. And while several of the people on the team didn't help with the social aspect of it (so happens that my bully since grade school ended up being on the team) a lot of the people DID help me. I had so many friends that actually cared about me. Who wanted to talk to me, who thought I was important. And that didn't only give me someone to talk to, it also gave me a confidence boost.

When I would run on my own, in high school, it gave me the time to clear my mind. It gave me time to focus on me and to not worry about what others were thinking. It gave me time to work through the feelings and frustration I felt as a teenager.  It also gave me some time to just feel whatever emotions I needed to feel at the time instead of hiding them from everyone around me. And I always came back feeling a little better.  I felt like showering after a hard run was helping me wash away all those bad feelings.

Those things are all things that I have continued to have when I run.  I took a long break from running after high school but with in a few years, I realized that I needed it more consistently in my life. I needed something constant and something that I could control. It made me feel safe. Running also made me feel strong and like I could get through anything.

Now that I have a little bit of anxiety that I am also dealing with, I've been noticing how much running also helps me with that.  Usually, during a run, I'm thinking of a few things: My day/my problems, things that have to do with running (that normally turn into blog posts) or running.  I've noticed that it doesn't really matter what I'm thinking about on a run, I will always come home feeling better. The chance to be outside, to push myself hard, to breathe deep, to feel my legs and my lungs and all the little uncomfortable things seems to be oddly comfortable.  When I get back and get myself cleaned up, it's a lot like when I was in high school, and I feel like all the bad feelings, the stress, the worry, whatever it may be, is going down the drain like dirty water. I am able to think more clearly and to figure out answers to my problems.

What is something that helps you with emotional struggles?

How did you start running?

Wednesday, August 16, 2017

Making a Habit and The First Day of School

Today J went for the first time on the bus, she had her first day of first grade, she ate lunch for the first time at school and she made a lot of new friends. This girl is growing up too fast.

M was really sad when she realized, this morning, that she wouldn't have J to play with or any of the neighbor kids because they were also going to school. Most of the kids in our neighborhood are J's age so I'm really excited for M to get into preschool in September and make her own friends.  For now, I told her that I will be her friend.  After we got J to the bus, and ate breakfast, we went on a walk which turned into going to the park.  M was convinced that if you put your hands up on the slide like it's a rollercoaster, you will go faster. 

We didn't stay too long because V didn't have shoes on (I didn't think we would end up at the park instead of him having a nice stroller ride) and the wood chips were bothering his feet. But he loves the slide too. 

We went home and did some chores and M played in her room for a while before we had lunch and went to pick up J. They entertained each other the rest of the afternoon. Maybe having them apart will help them get along better.


I had a reader ask me about how to make morning running more of a habit. So I thought I'd share a little bit about habits today.  You can also read about how I became a morning runner HERE

They say it takes 21 days, at least, to form a habit.  So I think the first thing you have to do when you decide to make good habits, is to give yourself a time frame of at least a month. Especially when it's a running habit because runners need to take off days so that they won't get injured or burned out. Mark it on the calendar. Circle the day that you want it to be more of a habit than something you have to work for. If you're a visual person and you need to see your daily progress, mark the days off on the calendar that you DID go out for a run. 

I love what THIS article says about making habits. It talks about how there are three "R"s to making a habit: Reminder, Routine, Reward. I think this is a really good way to think about how a habit starts. You have some kind of trigger (or reminder) to do the actions (which becomes a routine) and then you get the reward (the consequence, good or bad, of the routine...the outcome).  For the sake of this post, the routine, the habit we are forming, is running. So we just need to talk about the reminder, and the reward.

PC: James Clear of

Think about the things you do during the day, think about when your run will fit best into your schedule. If you're trying to fit your running in during the morning (like I've been trying to do) think about the things that you do during the morning to help you get out of bed and go.  

Some people like to eat a little something before a run, some people like to get their morning started and then go for a run, and some people, like me, like to get up and go on a run before anything else happens in the day. I know that if I don't do it that way, it will be a lot harder for it to get done at all.  So for me, my reminder is my alarm in the morning--when my alarm goes off, I know it's time to get going on a run. 

But let's talk about making getting out of bed in time to run a habit (I think this is the biggest part of this habit and it's the part of the morning running habit I need to get better at, especially now that school started).  I totally get the snooze pusher people because I don't normally look forward to my alarm going off. In fact, I hate the sound of an alarm and I hate the feeling that I get when my alarm does go off. Hopefully my habit of waking up will become enough of a habit that I will someday be able to do it without an alarm. But how do you get yourself out of bed without pushing snooze at all? 

If an alarm isn't enough to get you out of bed, try putting some kind of visual reminder by your alarm clock. Find a motivational quote to stick to it, blocking the snooze button so that you HAVE to see it to hit snooze.  One of the quotes that I like to tell myself over and over when I'm having a hard time getting out the door for a run is "If you would have left the first time you thought about it, you'd be done by now." (I don't know who said that, but I like it) It isn't always true. The first time you say it you probably wouldn't be back by then, but if you keep delaying it becomes true. You can also try putting your alarm across the room so that you have to get up to turn it off, then you're out of bed anyway and might as well get going (This is what Trevon does).

The outcome, or the reward of getting out of bed the first time your alarm goes off, is that you have time to go out on a run in the morning. That's pretty self explanatory. And then the rest of your day will go more smoothly and you'll be much more productive. 

Now let's talk a little bit about rewards. I'm a big fan of rewards. Yes, I do bribe my kids for certain things (I just bribed them with a donut if they stop chewing on their hair for a couple of weeks) and sometimes I bribe myself. I feel like running has a lot of big rewards by it's self in the first place, but when you need some extra motivation, I think it's a good idea to put extra rewards in place.

Remember how I mentioned marking off the calendar?  The day you picked to circle--to be the end day that you hope running has become more of a habit--think of a reward that you wouldn't normally do for yourself, and if you make it to that day, and feel like you've earned it, reward yourself with that. Go get a donut, get a pedicure, go see a movie, make your favorite dinner, give yourself an extra hour of you time. What ever sounds good to you. 

I think when you're trying to break or form a habit that you're really interested in it's much easier for you to find the drive and the motivation to do that. I think a lot of habit forming also has to do with setting goals. You can find the energy, time, motivation, etc to run in the morning if it's something that is important to you! 

Who's kids are already in school?

What are your running goals or habits you want to make?

What do you do in the mornings to make sure you get going?

Tuesday, August 15, 2017

Last Day of Summer and Choose Your Own Adventure Workout

This morning we decided to celebrate the last day of summer by having some donuts. I'm really so sad that school is starting already. 

The girls went with sprinkle donuts and I got a chocolate bar to share with V.  This may have been my lunch today...

We've done a lot of school prep today.  J is kind of a picky eater so coming up with ideas for lunch to take to school has been a challenge. Today I decided to make some banana bread for her to take as part of her lunch. And then the girls went to a birthday party and V took a nap at my parent's house while I did my workout.

It's been a while since I did a strength training workout and either I lost a lot of muscle since, or I worked really hard because my arms were shaking for an hour afterward.  I did what I like to call a choose your own workout (like those choose your own adventure books from elementary school).  This is where I look up different workouts on Pinterest, one for legs, one for arms, and one for core and I pick three different moves from each and do them. This helps keep me from getting sick of the same workout over and over. 

I did a mile warm up on the treadmill 

Lying side leg lifts 

Donkey kicks

killer lunges

Squats with a shoulder press

Skull Crushers

Bicep Curls

Front dumbell raises



Renegade Rows

Push Ups


Flutter kicks



When I got done I had some carnation instant breakfast to refuel. My mom and I think a like in this area. I try to refuel with in 30 minutes after my workout. I'm not sure if this is 100% true or not (remember I'm not a coach or a nutritionist, I'm a mom who likes to work out :) ) that refueling with in 30 minutes of finishing a workout is the best in order to build muscle. 

What is your favorite way to refuel?

Who starts school this week?

Monday, August 14, 2017

Weekend at the Cabin

My Friday morning started out with an at home workout and half way through I was joined by this little man. He has a thing for combs, utensils, and toothbrushes right now. He can bypass all the childproof locks on the drawers and we never know where anything is now. 

We had a little getaway this weekend before J starts school this week (I really don't know how this is happening, and I really wish it wasn't yet).  We went to the cabin for the night and let the kids play with cousins and have a sleep over. In the morning I went on a ride up the mountain with my parents, my grandpa, and my dad's cousins. My grandpa used to own a lot of this mountain and there were a lot of cool things that I'd always heard about and never seen. It was time to finally see them! The whole drive I kept thinking about how I should just buy a pack of wild flowers to grow in my yard next year because they were beautiful. 

I found these cool rocks to bring back down the mountain for the girls (they and V stayed with Trevon and played). 

My parents had a lot of stories about when they were younger and would go hiking and hunting there. We walked around for a while and took a lot of pictures. 

The views from the top were, obviously, amazing. 

The pictures are amazing, but they aren't doing it justice. When I was standing on the top, I heard an airplane and looked up to see it. Then I had that feeling that I was too high up and I was going to fall off the mountain if I didn't sit down haha. Does that happen to anyone else?

We've had a big rattlesnake problem at the cabin this year (one reason we haven't been up as often this summer) so when I was taking these pictures and I kept hearing dragon flies and crickets I kept thinking it was a rattle snake. But thankfully we didn't see any!

I'm beyond blessed that I've grown up being able to come to this place! And I'm so thankful that I grew up learning to love being outdoors and going on adventures. I wouldn't trade that for anything and I really hope my kids can keep learning those same things.

When we got home and cleaned up I saw this on Instagram and I could relate to it pretty well. 

Now it's time for us to get ready for a new schedule and new adventures. I'm still not saying goodbye to summer. We will be squeezing in as much playing as possible even if school is starting. 

What was your weekend Highlight?

Do you have a favorite place from your childhood?

Are you an outdoors or indoors person?

Saturday, August 12, 2017

Weekly Roundup

Happy weekend. I feel like this week went by really fast! J starts school next week :( I'm not ready for it to be the end of summer already! I feel like we still have a lot of playing we should be doing. But it's the end of summer...back to reality and routine. That is the nice part of having school start, more structure to your day. But it is really nice to be able to relax and enjoy having an open schedule. Ahh, summer, please don't leave.

Anyway. I'm sure you'll hear more about school starting in my upcoming posts. So let's recap over this last week's posts.

Monday: Someone told me that runners never look like they are enjoying it. So I talked a little bit about how a smile can change your whole run. 

Tuesday: When I became a mom, my running changed and I shared what kind of changes I had to make.

Wednesday: We had a family night at the Living Planet Aquarium.

Thursday: I did a run and took the kids to the park. We really want summer to stick around longer.

Friday: Thinking about school starts next week got me thinking about how the seasons are going to change, and how the seasons changing makes changes in my running. 

Bonus: I was able to do post this week over on Women's Running Community about things that changed when I started running in the morning. 

Have a good weekend everyone!

Friday, August 11, 2017

Rainstorm and How the Seasons Change My Running

Last night we had a huge rain storm in our area. It's been a while since we've had a good rainstorm, and Trevon and I have always loved to sit and watch rainstorms. Since we don't really have a porch to watch it on, we decided to all go out to the camper and watch it out there.  Clearly, V was real excited about the whole thing.

The girls wanted a milkshake, so I let them eat it out there...we are loving our camper. Sorry about the grainy/dark pictures. We started out with the lights off and then realized that we installed lights for a reason. 

V got restless (see the first picture) and I got tired of getting him off the table.  So I told Trevon that V was his kid for the rest of the night. V was a little bit hard yesterday. Actually, everyone was extra needy and hard yesterday. Those days just happen sometimes. 

At the end of the storm, J and I were walking back to the house and saw this huge rainbow.  This is the second full double rainbow we have seen this summer at our house.  I debated going out for a run because running during/right after a big storm is one of my favorite times to run. But I knew that I'd be running in the morning and that I'd probably use my rest day to, you know, rest. 


This morning I got up to go running, I forgot to make a running plan the night before. I always try to plan out what kind of run I want to do so that it's easier to just get up and do it.  So it took me a little longer this morning to get out the door. I decided to do some intervals on the treadmill. 4x400 at around a 7:15 mile and then 2x800 at around a 7:40 mile. 

Summer seems to be slipping on by at a pretty quick pace. I'm not loving that! I love summer. I don't even mind running in the summer heat one bit. And I also feel like it's been a really mild summer for us.  But seeing summer slip by got me thinking a little bit about how weather affects running.  Not just in the way that it's extra hot and you need to make sure your extra hydrated or running in the shade. Or in the winter when you have to bundle up more to be able to keep your muscles and lungs warm, but also in the way that it changes the time of day that I run and my routine of it all, too.  

I don't like to run in the dark or in the cold. So normally in the winter I take my run indoors on a daily basis instead of running outside. I think this year I'll venture out a little bit more than I have the last few years. Usually, when I get back from a run, I'll get a drink of water, do a little stretching and then work on some core strength. But during the winter, I can't get those layers off fast enough.  Sweaty, long sleeved, layered clothes drive me nuts! 

Come spring time, I'm always feeling a little confused. Especially around March. It looks really nice and warm outside. And I think I'll go for a run. So I throw on a tank top and shorts and walk outside and it's 40 degrees with a cold breeze. I always have to remind myself, during early spring, to wear warmer clothes than I think I should. At least until I can trust spring.  But I also love spring running because the light starts to change again. I can run earlier in the morning or later in the evening and I can run outside without always freezing (except those times when it looks warmer than it actually is). 

Summer running is my favorite. I can run basically anytime that I want. As long as I keep myself hydrated and make sure I map out a run with some shade or water fountains, I do great. Waking up in the morning to run is far easier for me in the summer time because the sun is already coming up. And there is something about those summer morning runs that is nice for me. Everyone is just waking up and getting going, it's nice and cool, I have more energy, it's just great all around. 

Fall running is a close favorite. It will be interesting for me to see how running in the morning will go this fall because I really struggle getting up when it stays dark longer.  But I love the feeling of fall. I don't know what it is. I love buying school supplies even guys. It's weird. I think the reason I love fall running so much is that cross country season starts in the fall and that was always a fresh season for me.  

Changes in season changes a lot of things about running, but one thing I've always loved about running is that the running season never really ends. Races may not happen as often, but you can still run anytime you want. You don't have to have a team (although it's nice to have that kind of support and buddy system), you can just decide to run, dress accordingly and go. 

What was your workout today?

What is your favorite season? Or favorite season to run during?

Thursday, August 10, 2017

Tempo Run and A Trip To The Park

Here are some pictures that Trevon sent me from when we went school shopping. This is what happens when daddy comes shopping with us.  At least they had fun with him. I think they don't like shopping with me as much because I don't do things like this.

V and M watched a show together while I was running.

We went to the park yesterday morning. It was an overcast and cooler morning so it was a perfect time to go.  We bought THIS backpack leash for us to have V wear when we went camping. He hated it at first but now he's getting used to it and realizes that he can walk around on his own as long as he doesn't go too far. It was really perfect for when we went to the aquarium and that's where he got to like it the most too.

We don't normally go to this park because it's pretty small and there is NO shade. But this was the perfect playground for V. He loved going down the slides and trying to be a daredevil by walking down them instead of sliding down them. 

The girls love it when we go to any park. This park is super close to our house, so everyone was happy. We came home, had lunch and put V down for a nap and the girls picked a movie to watch. Summer is wrapping up but we are trying to hold on to it as long as possible!!


Last night I did a tempo run. I don't normally specifically do these runs but the change made it super fun and made me very conscious of my pace. A tempo run is when you run a slow warm up, then run a steady faster pace for a certain amount of time or distance. Then you slow down for a shorter amount of time or distance before speeding back up to the faster pace. So, for example, you run a 5 minute slow warm up, then you run faster for 4 minutes, and then slow for two minutes and then back to fast for another 4 minutes and so on. I did 4.5 miles at a 8:30 pace. 

I used to always wonder why to do tempo runs when I could just go out and run the same pace without slowing down at all. But tempo runs are designed to help you increase the endurance you have to stay at a faster pace. Instead of running at the same medium comfortable pace, you push yourself a little harder during intervals of the run to increase the amount of time you can run at that faster pace. This pace should feel "comfortably hard" and then you slow down to an easy pace to get your body ready to do the harder pace again.

Things I was thinking about on my run: How do people get good, clear running selfies?? I found THIS article today talking about exactly that! I was so excited, I'm going to try it out. 

It used to be that you would never see me running without my music on.  But lately, I've really enjoyed running with just my thoughts.  I don't run to music hardly at all anymore, but I do like running to music when I'm really struggling with my mind games. Music helps me to just tune out all the negative thoughts in my head when they start getting worse and worse. I also like listening to music for runs like this and speed runs because it helps me set and focus on a pace.  

I am over at Women's Running Community today talking about what happened when I started running in the mornings. Run over there to check it out!

Do you listen to anything while running?

What is one type of run that you've never quite understood the point of?

Wednesday, August 9, 2017

The Living Planet Aquarium Family Night

Instead of a run or workout yesterday, we took the kids to the Living Planet Aquarium for family night. They do $5 off/ticket deals on Monday nights so we took advantage of that. It was so worth it and so much fun to watch the kids get so excited about different sea creatures.  At first, V was not happy about the situation. He was standing, watching all the animals and just figuring out that the glass was separating him and them, and then a fish snuck up on him and he turned face to face with it and started screaming at it haha. It took him a couple more minutes to be ok with things again.

The big favorite by far was the penguins and the river otters. One of the penguins decided to show off some tricks for us while we were watching and V was really wowed by this.  The girls squealed and laughed, which a childless couple later thanked us for letting them be a part of that. I was really impressed with how fast those little penguins can move! One of the otters also decided to do a little swim show for us before cuddling up to the other otters for a nap.

M loved that she was allowed to touch some of the animals. She touched a starfish and a baby shark. We tried to touch a stingray but it was too far away for us to reach. J didn't love this idea so much and decided to just look at the animals. She was most excited about the penguins and the sharks (my phone ran out of space when we got to the sharks so I didn't get any pictures...I need to look into a new phone).  They had a lot of friendly workers there to help monitor the touching tanks and teach you how to touch the sea creatures without hurting them.  They also answered a lot of interesting questions that everyone had.  I asked one guy in they ever have a problem keeping the ducks in the ponds and he said "All the time. They like to wander around all the exhibits, especially after we close." I thought that was kind of funny and it reminded me a little bit of Night at the Museum.  I couldn't help but picture the ducks wandering around and acting like they were in charge or checking out all the other sea creatures in the aquarium.

As you can see, the lighting there is fantastic for pictures...I didn't even think to take my real camera until I was looking at the pictures when I got home.  This is something I should probably work on. Then again, it's not so much about getting amazing pictures as much as it is watching the kids enjoy themselves.  One of those "be in the moment" things. It's something I battle myself on more than I probably should. I always question myself, when I'm taking pictures, if I'm being part of the moment or if I'm just taking pictures of the moment. Either way, these pictures don't live up to how cool everything is there, and if you live in Utah, you need to make your way over to the Living Planet Aquarium and spend some time. I suggest Monday nights because it wasn't crowded AT ALL and it was cheaper than a regular day ticket. 

What is your favorite family activity?

Are you an animal lover?

Are you good at the "be in the moment" balance?

Tuesday, August 8, 2017

How Being A Mom Affected My Running

I've been a runner for 2/3 of my life now. But only 6 years of that has been running as a mom.  It was amazing to me how many things being a mom changed for just my running alone.

Sometimes being a mom (or becoming a mom in this case) causes some restrictions in running. The first big change was with my first pregnancy, my doctor advised me not to run (he was an older doctor and it was my first pregnancy. He was being really cautious.  Running has been proven ok, and even good for pregnant women, but you should always ask and listen to your doctor!) So I didn't run. I did the bike and elliptical and a lot of walking and some weight training but I didn't run for a good 7 months during that pregnancy.  So coming back to running after I had J took a really long time.

Learning to start again/run with a stroller is one way that being a mom affects your running. Once I was okayed to run again, it took another 10 months or so to feel like I wanted to run.  I knew I was going to be out of shape and I knew that I would probably get impatient with myself.  I had a jogging stroller but I didn't use it for jogging until J was 8 months old! And it changed my pace. Not only was I out of shape, but I could barely make it a mile pushing the stroller.

I took this picture right after that first stroller run.  I've hardly ever run with a stroller since, even though I still have a really nice running stroller....maybe I should pull that out again and give it a try? 

Being a mom affected the time of day that I could run at. Before I was a mom, I ran basically anytime I wanted or had free time.  Most of the time that would end up in the middle of the day or first thing in the morning. The day I became a mom that all changed.  When I did start to run, it was usually in the evenings once my dinner had settled and someone else was around to take the kids. Suddenly I was no longer a day time or morning runner. I didn't have the energy to run in the mornings after waking up several times with kids at night, and the middle of the day was impossible unless I wanted to pull that stroller back out and try to talk myself out of being frustrated about a slower or harder run because of it.

When my kids got a little older, running was affected by giving me built in running buddies. For now, when they run with me, it's just for my warm up. But I'm always super proud of them for running and improving.  It's even kind of fun to run with the kids.

Being a mom affected the whole reason that I run in the first place.  Sure there are still some of the same reasons: It helps clear my mind, It helps me stay in shape, but add on several other reasons like it's some of the only ME time I get, it helps me be a happy mom, and it helps me sleep better at night.

Being a mom affected the way I run.   I don't just go out and run wherever like I used to. I only get so much time to run a day so I plan my runs to make sure I'm making the most of them.  For now, I stick to the 5k (hopefully I'll be making it to 10k's soon) because it's what I have time to train for. There's no way, at this point in my life, that I could train for a marathon. Being a mom keeps this part a little interesting though because it means that as my kids grow and my family changes, so does my running. And that means I need to be flexible and patient and be ok with some changes.

I have more of a drive and more stamina, during my run, since having kids.  I used to look for runs that would allow a few stops (stop lights...that's a tiny bit embarrassing to admit) now I don't think about that at all. I feel like I can set my mind to a distance and I can almost always hit that distance. My mind loses most of its own games and I'm able to over power the feeling of wanting to quit early. This works both ways though...Running also makes my mothering stamina stronger.  :)

There are so many little ways that my running is affected by being a mom, but being a mom doesn't make it so that I CAN'T run. In most ways, being a mom has affected my running for good!

What are some things that have changed your running over the years? 

Monday, August 7, 2017

A Little Smile So You Can Enjoy Your Run More

This weekend started out with several little disasters in our house, all caused by one very micheivious boy. First, while I was getting ready for the day, V stole and broke the top off of my Mary Kay soft lips tube. I got over it quick because it was an old tube...I mean, old.

Then when I was helping J with her bracelet she was making, V stole my phone out of my pocket and ran off with it.  A few second later he came running back in and handed it to me "Ehh?" (which is his "here" sound) The protective screen was cracked.  But that's not even the worst of it.  A few minutes later I was helping M put some toys away and it got aweful quiet. When I found him he was holding a tube of tooth paste and there was some on the floor. Following the trail of toothpaste to my bedroom and on my bed. The quilt that my grandma (who died a year and a half after I was married) had blue toothpaste all over it. 

Worried it would stain I moved pretty quickly and didn't think too much. I threw it in the washing machine and when I pulled it out, the toothpaste was gone, but my entire quilt was no longer white. It was pink.

I hurried to post it on Instagram and text it to my mom and my mother in law to hopefully fix the problem.  After two days of hoping and praying that OxiClean and color catchers would do the trick,  it didn't. My quilt still has a pink tint to it, and it's now rough and faded. I cried.  And then I had Trevon put it away and get our non-important bedspread out so that if anything else got ruined it would be that one. 

Then we moved on to other things. We took the girls school shopping and got some really fantastic deals at Carters.

And I got in a run in the afternoon.  20 minutes on the treadmill helped relieve some of the stress and saddness from my quilt. 

Saturday evening we spent some time as a family, and we went to my parent's house where the girls played croquet and other yard games while we got to visit with my parents. 

It ended up being an ok weekend, despite a number of catastrophes that happened.  I kept trying to think of how Grandma would react and I could only picture her shaking her head and chuckling a little and then not letting it bother her more. It's easier said than done though.  They are just things, and in the end, they don't matter. My phone can be replaced and the quilt is still intact...just a totally different shade now. The Mary Kay probably should have been thrown away anyway, and now I can spend the rest of V's life wishing a boy just like him someday as a grandson. He really is a sweety. He knew he was in trouble and he snuggled right up to me to watch a Dorris Day movie (to make myself feel better) and he didn't move until I told him it was time for lunch.

Anyway, moving on.  The other day I was talking with a friend of mine and running came up (it usually does for me).  She mentioned that she saw a meme about how runners always look like they are mad or in pain. And I had to laugh because it's pretty much true.

I remember in high school my coach used to tell me to smile a little and have fun while I was racing. And I remember thinking "that's not intimidating..." But then thinking about it now, I think it probably would be a little intimidating to pass someone who is grinning ear to ear during a race, like it's nothing to them.  Maybe not...

Anyway. I was thinking about this on my run the other day and I decided to try smiling during my run. It's a little hard to hold a big smile and still get the air I need to my lungs, but I smiled a little. And I felt great during my run! And I also realized that when I run past people I know and smile and say hi, I tend to speed up a little. Is this because of actually smiling or just because I feel like I can't look like I'm dying when I pass someone? I'm not sure, but it helped.

So I made a goal to run the rest of my run with a smile. I did pretty good -- and felt really good the whole run. It did get a little hard not to get a little bit of a scowl on my face during my fast finish...but I did it. And it felt good.

So then I made a little goal to smile more often when I run from now on.  I'm wasn't sure that smiling scientifically does anything for your run, so I looked it up and it turns out it does And if nothing else, it helps you enjoy it more.