Wednesday, November 6, 2013

Running while pregnant

Thank you so much for all your kind words on my last post! It feels so good to have the secret out!

Running while pregnant has always been something that I hope I could do.  Obviously I had no idea what to expect while being pregnant but I hoped that I could continue to run.  Over the course of this year I had maintained mostly 40 mile weeks with some mid 30 mile weeks thrown in when I got busy with social events.

At the beginning of July I had two weddings on back to back weekends, followed by a bridal shower and a bachelorette party.  That left no weekends in July free for any down time.  My mileage took a bit of a hit and I started to run lower 30 mile weeks. I was trying to get pregnant and wasn't sure if running was causing a problem or not. 

August rolled around and although my social schedule freed up, I didn't really pick up the mileage and just stayed with 30 mile weeks.  I was enjoying it and for the first time in a long time I felt relaxed and almost stress free (if that is possible). The month passed quickly and soon Labor Day was almost here.  I felt normal, I continued to run in the mornings.  I have heard from friends and other bloggers that they have started a run and felt horrible and that was when they knew they were pregnant.  I did not have that.  I really had no idea.

Most mornings when I ran before I got pregnant, I had the dead legs feeling for the first few miles and I would struggle on the hills.  My pace was usually a little slower than any afternoon runs so there was nothing out of the ordinary for me.  I never noticed a change until weeks later but by then I already knew I was pregnant.

I kept running - I listened to my body most days.  Sometimes running in the morning was not even an option because I would wake up too hungry and need to eat. Thankfully I never had any morning sickness or nasuea and was able to continue running as long as I kept my body fueled.  Some days I didn't want to exercise at all but on those days I would make myself go to the gym.  I would tell myself to just walk on the treadmill or run if I felt like it.  Every time I made myself exercise I would feel better.  Of course there were days when I knew I shouldn't exercise and I didn't and just rested.  But on days when I was just having an off day, I would try to run and just manage as many miles as I could.

My weekly mileage since finding out I was pregnant has been 25 miles a week and it has worked well for me.  Most runs in the first 12 weeks were about 3-5 miles and I was able to keep my easy pace and not slow down too much.  Running on the treadmill was so much easier because it was constantly flat.  Hills are just tough for me and I get out of breath really fast.  When I found out I was having twins I knew that exercise was going to be an important part of my pregnancy.  I don't know how long I will be able to run but I know that I want to try and stay active and exercise until the end, even if that means giving up running. 

I still run the hills though.  In the past 2-3 weeks I have finally started to almost back to normal.  This past weekend I ran 8 miles for the first time since August(when I ran 10 miles).  The previous highest mileage was in week 5 when I ran 7.  Most days I don't really set a mileage goal for myself. I try to think of a route I want to run and if I start out and feel good I just keep going until I don't.  Most days it is about 5 miles and then I feel like I am ready to stop.

This past week I also made my return to my running club.  It was good to be back running with people since I have done almost 100% of my runs solo since July/August.  I wasn't sure how I would hold up for an easy speed workout but it actually went really well.  I did 2.5 miles warm up at 8:50 pace then did 2x10 mins at 8:20 and 8:00 pace.  I threw in 2x400m at the end, both at 7:24 pace and really enjoyed those.  But by the end of the second 400m I knew I was done and called it quits with a total of 6 miles.

I am really surprised at what my body capable of while being pregnant.  I am also very thankful that my body is able to run and to feel good while running.  I am just taking it day by day and hoping to feel good for as long as possible.

And now for one little baby bump photo.  This is from before heading to running club on Tuesday night after work. 

Thursday, October 31, 2013

My next "race"

Wow it has been a while since I have posted. I didn't realize it had been so long.  But I am just dropping in now to share some news with you all.

For the most part of this past year my schedule has been jammed pack with social events and it has been busy.  Training for a race just didn't seem to be right and my heart wasn't in it so I decided to relax my training and just get through most of the summer before deciding what to train for.

It was the most relaxing spring and summer I have ever had. There was no pressure to get up at 5am to run long miles (even though I do love that).  I still maintained a good base and really enjoyed running each and every mile. 

August finally rolled around and my social schedule really lightened up.  I had two weddings left in September but really most of my obligations were finished and my mind started to think about what was next.  It was too late to try and run the September half marathon that I usually do but I thought maybe I could squeeze in a few 5ks in the fall, especially with my best running friend, who had her baby in late July, and was making her comeback to running and getting back in shape.

As the end of August approached I was feeling really good, I even ran 10 miles at 8 min pace and felt like I had not even lost much of my speed.  Then two days later I found out I was pregnant.  It was the most excited news!

My plans for racing in the fall went out the window, but I knew I wanted to keep running.  My mileage decreased a bit but I just took it easy and enjoyed each run.  I was surprised that I never really felt that bad while running. Sure there were slower days and morning running got tough when the weather started to get colder but I just plugged along and felt pretty good on most of my runs.

Then when I was about 8 weeks along we had the first ultrasound and I found out that I was having not just one baby BUT TWO! We were shocked to find out that it was twins.  I didn't feel any different, my runs still felt great and I was doing well.

And so things have continued from there.  Today I am 13 weeks along and feeling really good.  I did have some fatigue in the beginning and most nights I am in bed by 9pm at the latest but I am so thankful for no morning sickness. 

The one unique thing about my pregnancy so far is that I am lactose intolerant.  I had a small touch of this before hand - I have always had a sensitive stomach and I had trouble when I ate a lot of ice cream; Iwould never feel good but now it seems with being pregnant everything is exaggerated for my stomach.  Not only can I not handle dairy, but I also can't handle greasy foods or anything really fatty or sugary.  I think its the first time in my entire life that I have not craved candy, cookies or cake. 

A lot has happened to me this year and it has made me begin to think about blogging.  I feel like I lost the desire to write back in the spring when I wasn't training for anything and just running for fun.  Maintaining a blog, taking pictures of everything is a lot of work and it just became too much.  I know I enjoy reading about women's journeys through pregnancy and running but I am not sure I really have any desire to blog about this.  It is quite personal and I am becoming more protective of my little twins. 

I really hope to continue running for as long as possible and I hope to exercise until the very end.  It is a new kind of training plan for a very special race day but so far I am really enjoying it. 

Happy Running!

Wednesday, April 24, 2013

Why I don't eat organic produce

Note: I would like preface this post with the fact that this is my opinion.  I do not believe that everyone should think the way I do or make the same decisions that I make. I believe that everyone should do what they think is best for them and their family.  Since this is a running blog and fueling is an important part of running, I wanted to discuss and see what others opinions were.

Running is a high priority in my life. I plan my days and weeks around running. But in order to run far and fast I need to eat. I have always been a healthy eater (thanks to my mom) but I never really looked into what exactly I was eating.  My mom would buy the food when I was growing up and I learned from her how to buy what I needed for meals and use what I had bought, not letting too much go to waste.

My mom taught me to be a budget grocery shopper. I take pride that I can feed Brian and I with weekly breakfast, lunch and dinners and not spend a fortune.  Each week I buy what we need and really try to stay close to buying what is on my list. And then we usually eat what I buy and if we don't, I freeze it for later.

On my grocery list each week is always a few things - A few (produce) staples that I always buy (depending on season).

Oranges and grapes (spring/summer)
spinach (summer)
tomatoes (spring/summer/fall)
brussel sprouts
lettuce and fixings (summer)
apples (fall)
Blueberries/strawberries (summer)

I try to buy fruits and vegetables that are in season.  Only if Brian requests something out of season will I buy it because often I don't want to spend the extra money.

And that is also one of the reasons I don't buy organic fruits and vegetables.  I can't bring myself to pay more for a fruit or vegetable just because it says organic. And just because it says organic - I really have no idea where that fruit or vegetable comes from or what exactly organic means for the farm producing the products.

That doesn't mean I don't buy organic. In fact I buy this big container of organic spinach because it is in fact cheaper than any other container of spinach at the store. And that spinach really seems to last a long time in the fridge. I also bought organic carrots a few weeks ago because the grocery store was out of regular carrots.  And I needed carrots - I was making carrot cake for Easter.

 I do frequent my local farmers market from May through October and buy local whenever I can. I support local farms but in all honesty I have no idea what kind of practices my local farms have. I always wash my fruits or vegetables before eating them in order to wash anything that may be on the surface but beside that I just eat it.  I am also lucky to have a great grocery store which often supplies its stores with locally grown produce. In fact - my grocery store also tries to help educate shoppers as to what fruits and vegetables are in season.

Part of me wonders about all these people choosing to buy organic - what did they eat growing up? I highly doubt that the previous generations (including my own) grew up eating Organic produce.  I certainly did not eat organic - I was raised on the very similar fruits and vegetables that I buy weekly, from the same grocery store in fact.   Do you think starting to eat organic food now at age 20 or 30 or 40 will somehow make your body better and take away from all that you ate or drank while you were young?  What about all that alcohol you drank in college? Will eating organic reverse any damage you did then?

My point in all this is that I personally believe that eating organic isn't worth it.  Who knows what "organic" really means or what "organic" pesticides are put onto organic produce.  I haven't done a lot of research on this subject (because I know there is a ton) but from what I have heard, apparently organic pesticides aren't that great for you either.

I just wonder what the generation of today's children will have to deal with when they have been raised on organic produce and years and years later we finally find out the harmful effects of something.  And I don't think that eating organic or not eating organic can specifically be linked to any diseases. There are so many different factors to weigh and so many different possibilities - everyone is different.  There is no real way to know what will happen when we are older based on what we eat right now.

And I could go on and on, but I wont.  Its a tough subject and there really is no wrong or right answer. Its basically just what is right for you and that is all that matters.  I have many friends and family who eat organic and that's the choice they make. I don't judge them or think they are wrong. And I hope they don't judge me or think I am wrong for my choices.

For further reading on this topic, I suggest reading this article or reading about this study.

Do you buy organic? Why or why not?

Monday, April 22, 2013

Cheating on Mornings, with Lunch.

It has been a rough couple of days.  First, two weeks ago Brian came down with this flu/cold that has been going around work.  Symptoms are a fever and cough with a runny nose.  Sounds awful and it was - it knocked out Brian for a good four days.

Just as I thought the sickness had left our house, I got a sore throat and chest congestion.  It was the worst thing ever and there were times I thought I would never breath normally again.  I suffered for over 5 days and finally was able to breath normally again a few days ago.  I wasn't totally knocked out like Brian was (thank goodness) but with the chest congestion, there was no way I could run and so I resigned myself to my longest streak of off days in over a year.

It was what my body needed.  Plus the weather was horrible.  A cold front blew in last week and we had snow. Not a lot of snow but there were flurries falling from the sky and it put me in no mood to be outside.

It feels like the last two weeks have just been a dream.  Before Brian got sick, we were planning to go to Boston.  Unintentionally I had scheduled a trip to visit my college roommate on the weekend of the Boston marathon.  We hadn't planned to be at the race on Monday, but I had really wanted to spectate.

The closest I have been to the Boston finish line
 When the bombs went off on Monday, I got a stream of texts. Many friends thought I might have been in Boston.  Thankfully we weren't.  It was horrifying to see the devastation and every time I re-watch the videos of the bombs going off (From the perspective of the runners) I get chills and have to look away. I can't even begin to think about what it was like to be there, to be a runner on the course, to be spectating.

So that has been the last two weeks for me. Nursing my husband back to health and then just trying to keep myself alive last week.  All in the midst of  watching the sport I love attacked.  It felt like I was in a fog for most of the week. Partially unbelieveing that something like that happened and then feeling so helpless because I couldn't even run when I most wanted to. 

But it feels like I am back now and feeling pretty good except for this lingering cough.  Hopefully in another few days that will be gone too.

This morning I had plans to get back into the groove of morning running.  It had been 3 weeks since I had run at 5am and even though the forecasted temperature was 30F, I thought I would definitely get out for a run before work.  30F in spring is wayyy different than 30F in winter, right?  Well seems I can't force myself to run in cold weather anymore.  I just have no desire to bundle up and I am so ready for warm weather. I am so ready to wear shorts all the time.

So the lunch run has returned this year and although it is tough to slip out in the middle of the day, it feels so good to run in the sunshine instead of the dark.  It is a great way to break up the day and get some fresh air and exercise. 

I am only running once during the week at Lunch and it usually happens to be Mondays but its a nice change from the dark mornings.  I am hoping to get back to morning runs this week - lets hope I can pull myself out of bed at 5am.

Thursday, April 4, 2013

AM Treadmill vs. PM Outdoors

Yesterday afternoon as I was trying to plan my Thursday workouts, I posted on facebook with a question -

"Which would you chose? AM treadmill run or PM outdoor run in 50F weather?"

I loved all the responses (If you didn't see the comments, you should check it out) but it didn't really help my delimma.

I guess I should have put in more background information.

On most Thursdays this is my schedule - 
4:35am Alarm goes off
4:35-4:50am Get dressed, brush teeth, pour coffee
4:50am Leave for gym 
5:00am Arrive at gym
5:03-5:51am Run on treadmill at gym
5:52-5:59am Walk to Total body class, set up equipment
6:00-7:00am Total Body class
7:03-7:25am Shower and get dressed at gym
7:25am Leave gym and drive to work

Its a pretty intense morning but after doing this for over a year now, I have the schedule perfected.  I pack my lunch and breakfast the night before and have my gym bag packed before I go to sleep. I lay out my clothes to be worn to the gym to make the morning go even quicker.

Not very awake at 5am at the gym
And this schedule works great in the winter because its cold and dark so I don't mind running on the treadmill.  Plus its pretty convenient to get a workout in - usually 5-6 miles - and then just walk up the stairs to the total body class.

But now that the nice weather has finally decided to arrive, I am torn between the AM treadmill run and the PM outdoor run.

On one hand, running before Total Body class is awesome because I get to run and I get my cross training done all before 7am.  Then I have my evening completely free to clean the house, do laundry, or whatever else I need to do around the house.  But on the other, I have to get up super early and run on the treadmill which is not so awesome.

Waking up to go to Total Body class in the morning and then coming home to run after work is just tough for me because 1) showering twice in one day is just not fun for me and 2) I hardly ever feel like working out after work no matter how nice the weather.

Today is supposed to be the first nice day in a VERY long time and I wanted to take advantage of the warm 50F weather by running outside but instead I got up at my usual Thursday morning wake up and went to the gym and ran on the treadmill.  It wasn't so bad to run on the treadmill this AM because it was super cold outside (25F) and the run was actually pretty awesome.  After warming up for 10 minutes, I ran a 35 minute progression run starting at 8 min miles (7.5 mph on the treadmill) and increasing every 5 minutes, ending at 7:20 min miles (8.1 mph) then cooled down for about 0.4 miles before I was out of time and had ran off to TBC class.

Of course I would have loved to run outside but it just seemed more convenient and time saving to run at the gym.  Maybe once the weather gets to be nicer in the mornings, I will try and run outside before TBC class.  

Which would you choose??

Wednesday, April 3, 2013

Meditating while Running

Recently on most of my morning runs even though I feel half asleep, my brain is usually going non stop.  It can be annoying at times - I spend most of the run worrying about work or other things instead of just enjoying the run.

In the last couple of weeks of February it had become so bad that I knew I needed to find a way to turn off my brain while running.  I needed to find a way to refocus on the run and forget about all my worries.

I began to do a little research about mediation and meditation while running.  After doing some reading, it seemed like an easy thing to do.  For so long I had seen meditation as a religious thing but instead I suddenly saw it as a way to relax.

And I needed a way to relax.

I found that it was easy to start, I just need something to focus on while running.

I decided to try to remember to focus on my breathing.  That seemed like an easy way to start - it wasn't complicated and it was something I always did, especially while running.  I feel that so many runners use music to block out their breathing when they run when in fact it can be one of the greatest training partners that we have.

So I started to focus on my breathing while running in the morning.  Usually I would give myself the first mile to get into the run and warm up.  Once I was warmed up I noticed that my mind would start to wander and I would begin to worry about work or what I needed to do that day.  When I noticed this happening I would simply refocused by telling myself to pay attention (listen) to my breathing instead of thinking. I focused on each time I breathed in and out, sometimes I counted my breaths, and each time I refocused I forgot what I was worrying about and remembered to focus on the run.

This simple reminder to refocus was all I needed.  Eventually every time I realized I was worrying, my mind began to just think about my breathing.  Over the course of a few weeks it suddenly became instinct and slowly my morning runs were not filled with my mind spinning in worry, but instead of just enjoying the run.

On most of my runs, I have to refocus a lot. And by a lot, I mean at least 25-30 times for a 6 mile run.  Because running is my MAIN stress reliever and when I run my mind goes to things that I am dealing with.  I would often play out sequences of how I would confront a co-worker I was having a hard time with or I would replay a moment from my day and think about what I would have said if I had thought quicker.  The inner dialogue that I would have while running became out of control.  Bringing the focus back to breathing and running reminded me that there really is nothing I can do about my worries (or the past) while I am running and I finally was able to bring myself back to the reason that I run for stress relief.  I run to escape the worry - to have 30 minutes to an hour to be away from all the things in my life that are STRESSING me out! 

I encourage you to try this.  Call it meditating or just call it bringing the focus back to running and the purpose.  Life is stressful, running isn't supposed to be!

A few links where I did my research -
How to meditate while running
Runners World - meditating

Monday, April 1, 2013

40 mile weeks

I am not following a training plan.
I am not training for anything.
I am just running to run.

Then how come, every week I feel like I need to hit 40 miles?

Every since I started to hit 40+ miles a week consistently last year, I kept that as my focused weekly base mileage.  There have only been a few times when I haven't hit that mileage and it was because of either a) sickness or b) part of the training plan for race week.

But now there is no piece of paper telling me I should run 40 miles a week in order to train for a race and there is not race on the horizon to train for but I still feel this urge inside to run 40 miles a week. 

I feel like if I don't run 40 miles a week, I will start to lose something. Maybe I feel like I will lose a part of the runner I became last year.  But I know that runner is already slipping away as I am not running the way I ran last year.  I am not running two hard speed workouts a week and I am not running crazy long runs on the weekend.

It is a slow process to come to terms with not always pushing and training hard.  And all that I have given up in the past few months has been difficult. It hasn't been easy to stop running fast, long speed workouts or super long runs.  It hasn't been easy to just relax and run. 

I think I am holding onto the last part of a regimen I had for over a year. The final piece of everything I built last year and everything I accomplished.  I don't know if I can give up my 40 mile weeks just yet. I have already given up so much.

In the coming months as my schedule gets busier and busier with more and more events, there may be weeks when I just can't run the 40 miles and I hope I can be ok with that. Only time will tell.

Whats your weekly mileage? Is there a "number" of miles you strive for each week?

Tuesday, March 26, 2013

Over It.

Winter, that is.

I am all for the four seasons - spring, summer, fall and winter. I live in an area where we have those four distinct seasons and usually each one only sticks around for about 3 months.

But this year, Winter will not leave!

It is getting a little ridiculous when there is still snow on the ground and the forecast shows snow all week at the end of March.

Plus I am tired of putting on layer after layer of clothes just to go outside and run.  I am ready to pack away my spandex and under armour tops, my winter running jacket and my neck warmer.  Bring out the capris and long sleeves, please!

This is me before heading out for my Saturday long run.  The sun was shining but the temperature was only 25F. I was not thrilled by the weather.

The long run actually turned out pretty good. I planned a semi-new route that took me on some of my favorite roads and by the end of the run the sun was shining brightly in a clear blue sky.  This was my first solo 12+ mile run in a  long time and I just enjoyed taking in the sights as I ran.

Even though it was beautiful out, I am over this winter. I am so ready for spring.

Wednesday, March 13, 2013

6 ways to make Oatmeal great

I haven't always been an oatmeal lover, especially not the homemade kind.

Growing up, I often would eat the instant oatmeal and I still stock it in my pantry in case I need a super quick breakfast.  I know its full of sugar but it tastes so good and let's be honest, its better than not eating anything.

In fact, I often eat the instant oatmeal for breakfast before my long runs and races.  I ate it before my marathon too. It just works for me to eat that before running and has really never caused any issues.

But I do try to eat homemade oatmeal during the week because I know it is better for me and it does keep me fuller, longer.  But just plain oatmeal is gross.

Here's a few ways I have tried to spice up my morning oatmeal - 

Use milk instead of water

Most oatmeal recipes call for a 1:2 ratio for oats to liquid and I usually do 1/2 cup of oats to 1 cup of liquid.  I have found that using even 1/2 cup of coconut or almond milk with 1/2 cup of water makes the oatmeal taste creamier.  I prefer almond of coconut milk because I can't always handle dairy, especially after a morning run.

Add a little Brown sugar to the top (and bottom)

My favorite instant oatmeal is the maple brown sugar variety so trying to make the homemade stuff exactly like that was my goal.  I added brown sugar to the bottom of the bowl and then poured in the oatmeal followed by another sprinkle of brown sugar.

Mix with Peanut Butter

Adding a dollop of peanut butter to my oatmeal has become one of my favorite ways to enjoy it. The peanut butter melts from the hot oatmeal and gets all creamy and gooey.  This is a perfect way to mask the oat taste.

Mix with chocolate

This didn't exactly turn out how I wanted because I only had cocoa powder in the house but mixing a little chocolate into oatmeal is another great way to mask the oat taste and have some chocolate too.

Top with Pumpkin Butter

When I made my first batch of Pumpkin butter back in the fall, I put it on everything! Muffins, toast, and of course oatmeal. This is one of my favorite ways to eat oatmeal.  The pumpkin taste goes so well with the oats and I usually devour the oatmeal.

Add bananas (and other fruit)

I have found many different ways to add bananas into my oatmeal. At first I would saute up the bananas on the stove while cooking my oatmeal and then top my oatmeal with the bananas.  Frying the bananas made them very sweet so I didn't need to add any sugar.  But this is slightly time consuming and it does dirty another dish so I started putting the banana into the oatmeal about half way through.  The banana wasn't mushy from being cooked in the oatmeal and added a lot of flavor.  To get more fruits, I sometimes top my oatmeal with blueberries too.

Here is my recipe for oatmeal -

1/2 cup rolled or old fashioned oats
1 cup milk (any kind)
1 banana, sliced
Toppings - cinnamon, PB, fruits, etc

Add milk and oats together into a pan and bring to a boil.  Once boiling, reduce heat and stir occasionally so it doesn't burn the bottom and doesn't boil over.  Cook for 10 minutes or until oatmeal is desired consistency.  Add sliced banana half way through or wait until the end - its good either way.

If you are crunched for time, take 1/2 cup oats and 1/2 milk and mix together in a microwave safe bowl.  Add sliced banana and mix together. Then pop it in the microwave for 2-3 minutes, stopping and stirring half way through.  Once it is finished cooking, add toppings and enjoy.  Same great oatmeal but way faster!

How do you like your oatmeal??

Monday, March 11, 2013

5am feels like 4am

Daylight Savings took effect over the weekend and I feel like my whole week is going to be off until I get adjusted.

For the first few days when we change the clocks, I always think about the old time.

The first morning back to work especially.  Because when my alarm goes off at 5am, my brain instantly thinks -

"It is really 4am."

And I know a few of you do get up at 4am (or earlier) but for me there is just something about getting up at a time with a 4:xx in first number.  A 5:00am wake up just seems much easier than 4:59am even though its only one minute.

Even though the clock didn't actually say 4:00am on it, my body felt like it was 4am and it was difficult to get myself in gear and out the door on my run.  The one thing driving me to run was that the temperature was 54F! I put on my capris and long sleeve shirt and headed out the door for my run.

54F at 5am hasn't been seen in months and my planned 6 mile run turned into 7 miles.  I just didn't want the run to end because a) it was so nice out and b) that meant I would have to go to work.

This mornings run reminded me how much I enjoy summer running. 
How much I enjoy not having to put on 13 layers to go run.
How much I enjoy not wearing gloves. 
How much I enjoy not seeing my frozen breath in the beam of my headlamp.

I think I am ready for spring time and warmer weather for sure. I enjoyed winter while it lasted but it has over stayed it welcome.  Time for spring!

Friday, March 8, 2013

Hot Tea or Cold Water?

While I am at work, I am constantly cold.  I often wear two layers to work - a long sleeve and a sweater but still end up being cold (even in the summer). On most days, by mid morning I usually put on another fleece jacket I keep at my desk just to stay warm.

After weeks and weeks of this, I figured out that drinking super cold water was not helping to keep me warm. Every time I started to feel cold, I began to fill my water bottle with hot water from the cafeteria instead of cold and popped a tea bag into my bottle.

It worked like a charm and suddenly I wasn't always freezing at my desk daily.  But it made me start thinking, was drinking tea just as good as drinking water?

After doing some super quick research (thanks google) I found a little study that said that drinking tea was actually better than drinking water.

Drinking water is replacing fluid in the body and drinking tea is replacing fluid and contains antioxidants. Seems like a pretty good deal and I think adding in a few cups of tea a day isn't a bad idea.  Plus adding in a few cups of tea can help by reducing your risk of heart attack along with a few other benefits.

I still drink my coffee in the morning with breakfast but I think adding in a few cups of tea can't hurt.

What do you think? Hot Tea or Cold Water??

Tuesday, March 5, 2013

Detoxing from Birthday Cake

Sunday was my birthday but it seems like I have been celebrating and eating cake since last week. 

 And now I feel like I can't look at any more sweets for a while. Which is so unlike me (since I love all things desserts) so you know I must have really over done it and had too much cake.

To celebrate my birthday, Brian and I drove to visit my aunt and uncle.  Because we were visiting them I didn't run for two days - Saturday or Sunday.  It has been a very long time since I have taken back to back rest days. 

It has been since September 29th. 2012.

But I knew my body needed a rest and I actually really enjoyed the weekend and didn't miss running too much.  Instead of running, Brian and I went skiing Saturday morning at a local ski resort. I have been skiing since I was little and Brian snowboards. 

The skiing was amazing at the top of the mountain - the trees were covered in snow and everything looked so beautiful.  At the bottom of the hill, the snow was crusty and icy and not so good so we tried to stay near the top as much as possible and chose slopes that weren't over used. 

It was a perfect way to spend the day and I was so glad we got the chance to go together.  One of the best parts was riding the six passenger chair lift from the bottom of the mountain to the top! 

After skiing, we celebrated my birthday with dinner out with my family and then drove home Sunday.  I spent most of the day laying on the couch and doing absolutely nothing. It was glorious. Since Sunday was my actual birthday we went out to dinner again since I had no desire to cook.  It was a lot of food and by Monday all I wanted was to eat healthy vegetables.

This weekend we will continue to celebrate with Brian's family.  I am not the only March birthday - in total between Brian and my family, there are 10 birthdays in March.  Let the celebrating continue but I think I may skip the cake!

Thursday, February 21, 2013

Too much Treadmill

I haven't run outside in 7 days.

And there is a good reason for that. Well a few good reasons.

First, my best friend and best running buddy is pregnant!  She is about 16 weeks along and she has found that running on the treadmill works better for her.  So in order for us to "run together" I have been visiting the treadmill a bit more often so we can chat while we run.

Best friends and running buddies for life! (Pregnancy photo!)
Second, the weather has been horrible this week.  I refuse to run in winds greater than 20 mph. Combine that with snow and I will definitely not be going outside for a 5am run. 

Beautiful but not the best run conditions
So the treadmill and I have become pretty good friends in the last week.  It has been six days with 46+ miles of treadmill runs and my quads are ready for a break. 

Every winter I hear many other runners complain about how they hate the treadmill and how hard it is to run on it.  And I wouldn't disagree - the treadmill is tough and boring.  But when the roads get snowy or icy and the conditions become dangerous that I worry about getting hit by a car, I prefer to be on the treadmill.  Running on the treadmill is the safer option and is less stressful because then I don't have to worry about dodging cars or losing my footing in the snow.

The gym I belong to that has the treadmills also has TVs in front of each treadmill and I think that is one reason I can stand to run so long.  Having the TV really distracts me from focusing on watching the tenths of miles tick by.  Also having a buddy to talk to while on the treadmill makes the time fly by as well.  Without at least one of these distractions I don't think I would last long on the treadmill. 

Running on the treadmill really is a mental battle. Just like in a race, you have to have your head in the game when running on the treadmill in order to meet your goal. If you go into a treadmill thinking "this is going to be horrible" then it most likely will.  Instead if you think "this isn't ideal, but at least I get to run today" then I bet the treadmill run would go a lot better. Its all about your outlook.  And a treadmill run is still a run and at least you got to run today.

I really do love winter running but sometimes for my safety (and to keep Brian from worrying) I head to the treadmill.  At least for now the weather looks good for the next week so I think I can do most of my runs outside and avoid the treadmill for a while.

Tuesday, February 19, 2013

Catching a Sunrise

It isn't often that I actually catch a sunrise while running. Most of the time it is while I am in the car driving to work. 

And taking pictures while driving is possibly the hardest thing ever.

But we are slowly entering the time when the sun will actually start to dawn while I am out running during the 5am hour. And I can't wait. 

I don't often run with my camera and so I end up regretting not having it more often than not when the sky slowly transforms from darkness to color.  But this year I have decided to try and run with my camera more often in order to catch the perfect sunrises.

The area around my house is very hilly which on some mornings when I am feeling tired, the hills can be torturous.  But on occasion as I set out in the darkness at 5am, I steadily climb the hills to reach the top and see the dawn peaking just above the horizon. And it breath taking.  Out on the empty (semi) country roads, at the very top of a giant hill I can see out above the city and see the sun rising.

It feels like forever since I have actually caught a sunrise while running.  Soon enough it will be that time of year again.

Meanwhile, I will just catch the sunrise on the my drive into work.  Currently the sunrise is 7:02am which means that dawn is happening as I am driving and it is gorgeous to watch.  This morning especially - the sky was just barely blue with a tinge of red as I left my house, but by the time I has driven 10 minutes, the sky was ablaze with red and orange.  And then by the time I had gotten to work (another 10 minutes), the sky had turned a warm orange.

Red in the morning, Sailors take warning.

And then it started raining an hour later.  Guess the weather lore was correct today. 

Friday, February 15, 2013

A messy morning

Do you ever have a morning or even a full day where bad things just keep happening and it seems like a sign that you should have stayed home that day?

Well that seems to be the kind of day I am having today.

When I woke up at 5:30am this morning, my first thought was "I don't want to go to spin class and I don't want to go to work, I just wanted to stay home today."  But that is a usual thought in my head when my alarm goes off early.

After gorging myself with delicious Italian food (and lots of bread) at last night Valentine's Day dinner, I knew staying in bed would not make me happy so I got up and headed to the gym.  This is when all the trouble began.

As I was pulling out of my driveway, I realized I had left my breakfast in the fridge. I stopped the car, jumped out and went back in the house to grab my hard boiled eggs from the fridge.

As I was driving down my road, I realized I had forgotten my cosmetic bag in the house. I turned the car around and went back and got it.

When I finally reached spin class at the gym, I found out that my friend who usually joins me for spinning wasn't coming to class today.

Half way through spin class, it dawned on me that I had forgotten to pack a belt for my pants.

After I picked up coffee from Tim Horton's for my coworker and myself, I managed to spill said coffee not once, but TWICE and run over a curb while trying to save said coffee.

Once I arrived at my office and started reading my emails, I found out that my co-worker on my project wasn't coming in today due to the brakes going out on her car.

As I went to my 9am meeting at a different building, I couldn't find a parking spot in the usual "inter-plant parking area" and had to park at the very back of the regular parking lot.

Any one of these alone doesn't seem so bad but when they all componded together I just did not have a good morning.  Thankfully that was where the problems ended and the rest of the day has been uneventful. In fact, I found a little surprise in my pocket which really brightened my day - a leftover jolly rancher my friend had given me the last time I wore my jeans.

Happy Friday!!

Wednesday, February 13, 2013

Giving up Facebook

 This is just a mini peak into my life outside of running....

Today is Ash Wednesday and the beginning of Lent.  I was raised Catholic, went to Catholic school from grade 7 through 12 and even though I haven't always been big on giving something up for Lent, I thought this year might be a time for a change.

2013 seems to be the year of doing things differently.  Most years I have started off by training for a race but not this year.  Most years I have tried to plan my way through each week and month but not this year.

I am trying to get my Type A personality to take a back seat and be more flexible.  Over the weekend as I thought about the season of Lent and preparing for Easter, I decided that I needed to make some more changes in my life.  

First off, I know that I spend way too much time on Facebook.  Usually when I am bored I tend to pull out my phone and open the Facebook app.  I don't even post that much on Facebook, I just scroll through the news feed and read everyone else's random posts as something to fill the time.  I do not need to be checking that 1500 times a day.  When I stopped and thought about it, I knew I could be spending my time more wisely.  Like reading a book or printing out pictures from my wedding which I haven't done yet (opps) or writing blog posts. So I decided I needed to limit my Facebook viewing time and eventually try to give it up as much as possible.

Of course giving up Facebook is easier said than done.  I started on Monday to limit myself from checking Facebook mindlessly and found that the first step to making this successful was to log out of the app on my phone. (I feel like deleting the app would have provided a similar result but I wasn't ready for that drastic of a step).  This helped so much that I managed to only check Facebook once that day while I was at home.  Tuesday was very similar; not having immediate access on my phone helped me to only view Facebook once.  Today I am trying to stay away from Facebook all together.

So far this seems to be working out well for me. In fact, I actually got more done Monday and Tuesday night at home than usual.  I just felt more productive and I am sure Brian appreciated having all his white clothes washed.  

Besides limiting my Facebook, I also decided to give up wine.  In fact this was a new years' resolution for me too, but I broke that last weekend.  Every time I have wine I end up having stomach issues the next morning.  Better to not drink it at all so I am recommitting myself to that.

The third thing I decided to change in my life was trying to be more flexible. Like I said I have a type A personality that sometimes gets in the way of me being spontaneous and fun.  I am going to work on being more flexible with my schedule (especially since I am not training for any races).

They say it takes 21 days to break/form a new habit and Lent is 40 days long.  We will see how this goes!

How much time do you spend on Facebook? Would it be hard for you to give it up?

Thursday, February 7, 2013

Winter Wear + Summer Giveaway

I have received a few questions about what gloves I wear while running since I do have Raynaud's and keeping my hands warm while running is a priority.

As long as I wear appropriate gloves for the weather, I don't have a problem.  It is usually the cold steering wheel that I touch post run to drive home (without gloves on) that causes the problem.

To keep my hands from getting cold while running I wear a pair of old Woolrich gloves I took from my mom's house over 4 years ago.  These gloves have been with me for a long time and they really are great.  They are thick but not too bulky and are the glove/mitten combo which really helps me to be able to start and stop my watch easily without taking off my gloves.

These gloves have to be at least 7 years old and I am not sure where my mom got them but they were most likely a pair that she used often to cross country ski or snowshoe or walk during the winter.  I am just thankful she let me keep them!

I do have a MANY other pairs of gloves that I rotate through and wear thicker or lighter gloves depending on the weather.  For any weather below 40F, I will wear my thicker Woolrich gloves or the two other pairs of thicker winter gloves I have.  I ONLY wear my woolrich gloves for long runs in the winter, otherwise my hands will freeze since I am usually out for at least 1.5 to 2 hours.  (Referring to the gloves pictured below in the back row, and the pair on the right in the first row.

For runs when its warmer but not quite warm enough to go glove-less, I wear the two different pairs in the first row (left and middle). These are very light gloves and often do not help to keep my fingers warm.  I ONLY wear those two pairs of gloves when the temperature is between 40F and 55F.   I also had a pair of Nike gloves but I seemed to have misplaced one glove so I haven't been able to wear them.  I can usually stand to run glove-less when the temperature is above 55F, but sometimes it doesn't matter and my hands get cold.

It is a slightly complicated system.  I always try to air on the side of caution and over dress my hands.  This way my hands will be warm and I won't have a problem.  My hands do sweat when I run with gloves so I either have to wash the gloves or let them dry before my next run.  That is another reason I have multiple pairs - in case one isn't dry from the previous days run.

There you have it - my slightly complicated winter running glove situation! 

And now on to the giveaway!

Albion Fit which offers Women's workout clothing and swimwear contacted me a few weeks ago and wanted to do a giveaway for my readers!  Since I bet a lot of you are sick of winter already, let's start to think about summer and all the cute clothes that come with it.  I had never heard of Albion before this so I was excited to check them out.  Their website has so many colorful and fun clothes plus swimsuits!

I am always searching for cute, colorful workout clothes and I really think Albion has some great options. A locally, family owned company based in Utah, Albion is committed to the environment by striving to make a green manufacturing facility and recycling plant waste by using earth friendly materials in their products. The garments that Albion makes and sells are fashionable but also practical.  They are committed to offering fitness clothes that are not only high performance but also high style which works for me.  Who doesn't love to be comfortable in your workout clothes but also look pretty awesome?! I know my husband Brian is always trying to get me to wear cuter workout clothes and my birthday is coming up, so maybe I should drop some hints to him :-)

One lucky WINNER will have a chance to win the Love Racer from Albion Fit! 

How To Enter

For a chance to win one of Albion Fit's Love Racer in any color, you must "like" Albion Fit on facebook.  Then visit Albion Fit's website and pick out your favorite piece of clothing.  Come back here and leave me a comment telling me your favorite!

Bonus Entries - Leave a comment for each

1. Like Morning Runner on facebook
2. Follow Albion Fit on Pinterest
3. Tell me what you are most looking forward to this summer!

And if you would like to buy anything from Albion, receive $15 off purchases of $50 or more when you use the code morningrunner15 (expires on 2/26/13).

Giveaway is provided by Albion Fit and will end Saturday February 10th, 2013, open to all U.S. residents over 18 years and older. Winner will be chosen at random and contacted through email.

Tuesday, February 5, 2013

Race fees

Over the past two or three years I have consistently run about 10 races each year.  For me it seems like that is the perfect amount to keep me busy with training and also add in a few fun 5k races.

In 2010 I only ran a fall half marathon along with the Boilermaker 15k and a bunch of small 5k races.

In 2011 I ran a spring half marathon, didn't race during the summer since it was too hot (and I had had bad experience with racing in the heat previously), and then ran a fall 15k race.  Additionally I ran a few 5ks and also a 10k race.

In 2012 I ran a spring half marathon and then a spring marathon.  I didn't race much over the summer except for the Boilermaker 15k.  In the fall I ran a half marathon followed by three 5k races.

My city has a pretty good variety of races so the majority of the time I race very close to home.  The farthest I have ever traveled for a race is the Boilermaker 15k which is within 3 hours of my house. I enjoy sleeping in my own bed the night before a race and going through my normal routine on race morning.

Besides having races close to home, I really enjoy running races that don't cost too much.  I haven't run a big half marathon or full marathon yet and I have hard they are great, but for right now I prefer to stay close to home.  Running the same races every year can get boring but so far there have been enough options close to my home to keep my training fun and exciting.

Last year even with the marathon I kept my race fees fairly low.  In total I spent about $315 dollars on races.  When signing up one race at a time, it doesn't seem like much but the costs do add up.  I am really a saver at heart so its hard for me to spend a lot of money.  In fact, one of my ten races was free last year because it was for my college reunion.

Race fees in 2012
Spring half marathon = 50 dollars
Spring marathon = 70 dollars
Fall half marathon = 60 dollars

For my marathon, I signed up on Decemebr 31st, 2011 even though I didn't know if I would be able to run the marathon since I was still making my comeback from my strained psoas and knee pain.  The only reason I signed up so early was to avoid the fee increase of 5 dollars.

That's the most I have paid for races.  My marathon was the most expensive so far.  I think it would be really hard for me to spend over 100 dollars on a race.  I have a hard enough time spending that on shoes.

Thankfully, most of my 5k races are pretty cheap, ranging from 15 to 25 dollars. Running most of my races locally is also a really nice way to give back to community.  I try to run races that has the money go back to support businesses, charities and running clubs in the area.

How much are you willing to spend in races??

Wednesday, January 30, 2013

Things I am loving right now

Here are a few things that I am loving right now.

Violets of March by Sarah Jio.  Loved this book.  Could not put it down.  Finished it in 2.5 days. 

Cold winter morning running.  Last week it was so cold in the mornings but I still braved the weather and ran outside.  It wasn't fast but it was wonderful to be outside in the fresh air.  My eye lids did get a bit frosty.

Moroccan Oil. I had heard that Moroccan oil is good for your hair especially if you have frizzy hair (which I do).  I also heard it was expensive so I decided to just try some from the grocery store before I spent big bucks on it.  I tried this on my hair, putting a small dime size dollop into my palm and rubbing it into my wet/damp hair and it works really well.  It doesn't get rid of the frizz completely but this works better than anything else I have tried!

 Snow! I love the snow and I really want to go skiing again so I am hoping we start to get more snow!

What are you loving lately??

Monday, January 28, 2013

I wish I was a food blogger

I seriously wish I had enough time and energy to cook and photograph like many of the food bloggers I follow.

First, I am not that good with a camera.  And usually I forget to take a photo because I am so hungry by the time I finish cooking.

From "Your Cup of Cake"
 I think I have over 100 recipes bookmarked mainly because I love how the food looks in the photos.  I am in envy of all the bloggers who take such great photos of food!

Post photos of delicious looking desserts and I am sold.

From "Oh, Ladycakes"
So I live vicariously through the food/cooking/recipe blogs that I follow and often times I find that the recipes they post with all those amazing pictures really are good recipes and have become favorites in our house.

One of Brian's favorite meals is this Cheesy Chicken and Broccoli Rice casserole.  Back in his bachelor days, when he was in college and swimming on the college team he would make rice with chicken and then pour a can of cream of mushroom soup over it.  Add in some broccoli and this was his favorite (and easiest) meal.  Then I came along and I could not make it for him because I did not like how it tasted at all so when I stumbled across this recipe I made it for him and he loved it.  Now I never have to see another can of cream of mushroom soup again.

Last winter I had never made soup before.  I tried this minestrone soup recipe and it knocked Brian's socks off.  He loved it so much that he requests it often in the winter. In fact I made this last night since we were having our neighbors over for dinner.  Delicious.

From "Iowa Girl Eats"
Last year I needed a healthy dish to bring to a potluck and I made this southwestern black bean salad. It turned out delicious and everyone loved it. Now I make it often to bring to parties or serve when I have guests over.
From "Skinnytaste"
And my personal favorite is this mac and cheese recipe I found.  I could eat mac and cheese every day (I could also eat pizza too) but it really can not be that good for you so this recipe was perfect because I can eat a reasonable amount and not feel sick from all the fat.

From "Skinnytaste"

Here are a list of the food and recipe blogs that I currently drool over, I mean follow

Skinnytaste - These recipes are easy and delicious and I usually have most of the ingredients already on hand in the cupboard.

Iowa Girl Eats - LOVE her and all the delicious recipes that she posts!

Peas and Crayons - Some fun and creative recipes plus the creator of "What I ate Wednesday"

Your Cup of Cake - Looking for a cupcake recipe? Look no further. So many different kinds, not enough time!

Raspberri Cupcakes - Gorgeous photos. Enough said.

Oh, Ladycakes - Just found this one so I am still new to it but the pictures say it all.

How Sweet It Is - Noticing a theme here? I seem to love food blogs specifically focused on desserts.

**All photos are not mine and are from Fabulous Food bloggers!