Fit Friday Motivation: 4/20/2018

Happy Friday everyone!  We have *almost* made it through another winter-wonderland-wonderful week (here in Southwest PA, at least).  Seriously, is winter ever going to end?! We better have an awesome summer after putting up with all this snow nonsense these past few months.  I’m no stranger to running in freezing temps, but snow and ice and COLD are definitely not my favorite conditions to run in.  Or live in, really.  I’m sooo ready to log some springtime miles.  Soon, hopefully.  If not, I’m going to become an early-age snowbird and ship myself off to warmer climates.  Preferably near a beach where I can lay and sip margaritas every night after the kids go to bed… okay, now I’m just daydreaming.

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Source: Google Images

Enough griping about the weather.  On to more important things– it’s the day before a race weekend! Woohoo!  That in itself is all the motivation I need to get myself through the day.  Tomorrow I’m waking up early and running one of my favorite local races– the Takeoff 2018: Trooper Kenton Iwaniec Memorial Race.  This race supports a great cause– honoring DUI victims and raising awareness about the serious implications of impaired driving– and always brings a large crowd with many members of law enforcement attending.  There is a beautiful and moving service prior to the race to honor local State Trooper Kenton Iwaniec, who was killed in a tragic DUI accident in 2008.  It’s so empowering to see so many members of the community come together in support of such a great cause.

This race holds a special place in my heart because it was the first 10K I ever ran back in 2011.  Despite the terrible conditions that day (I can still vividly remember the rain, cold, and extreme wind), I enjoyed the race so much and was in awe of the fact that I could not only run but race for a distance of 6.2 miles.  It was the start of my love for “distance” running (“distance” being relative at that point in time).  The 10K still remains my 2nd favorite race distance to run (13.1 being my all-time favorite, of course).

Since that first 10K in 2011, I’ve only had the opportunity to run this race two other times, so I’m really looking forward to running it tomorrow.  My fastest time here was in 2014 when I ran it in 54:44 (an 8:50 pace).  Ah, the speedy (for me) days.  My main goal for tomorrow is to finish in less than an hour (a 9:39 pace minimum).  I haven’t run a 10K distance race in over two years, though, so I don’t even know if that is realistic.  My most recent 5K pace was 9:02 and that included some unfortunate walking incidents, so I’m hoping that a 9:39 pace for 10K is sustainable.  Only time and my Garmin will tell, I suppose.

My past few races, I’ve been getting sidetracked (not completely sidelined, but sidetracked) by side stitches.  Ugh.  Aren’t they the worst?!   I have no idea what is causing them, but I’m planning to use the next few weeks to try to figure it out so I can hopefully avoid them during the Pittsburgh half in May.  My first thought is that my core isn’t strong enough, because after two babies (one being a c-section) and zero core work, it’s not strong at all.  I’ve done some core moves this week, although for this race it might be too-little-too-late.  My second thought is that my nutrition is completely inadequate, because it isn’t focused on my training at all right now.  My plan for yesterday & today is to go heavier on refined carbs and lighter on fats, as well as hydrate, hydrate, hydrate!  The side stitches that I got during my 10-miler a few weeks ago were 100% the result of not being hydrated sufficiently.  I used to make sure I was drinking plenty of fluids the entire week before a long race, but during my two-year-running-hiatus I guess I completely forgot that was something that I do, haha.  I drank too much during the race itself to compensate for my dehydration (I was SO thirsty), and the side stitches showed up not long after that.  Big oopsie.  Live and learn, I guess.  So hydration is the name of the game today.

I’m really looking forward to hitting the pavement tomorrow; I’ll be sure to come back and update with how it goes.  What are your plans for the weekend??  Are there any “sprinter” (spring that’s actually winter) races on your calendar?!

It’s Friday, so it’s time for some fitness motivation.  I don’t know about you, but Des Linden’s first place victory at Boston has been my all the motivation I’ve needed all.week.long.

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Source: Google Images

Watching replays of her victorious finish seriously gives me goosebumps!  I don’t know that I’ll ever be blessed with the opportunity to run Boston, but Des and so many other women like her are my running role models– I would LOVE to not only be able to run another full, but to be competitive when I do it.  After her victory on Monday, I’ve set a new goal for myself: run another full marathon, and beat my previous time when I do it.  Although the logistics (i.e. two babe under 3) make this a long-term goal, it’s a definite new goal of mine.  When the time is right, I want to start training for another 26.2.

So, in the spirit of competitive running, this Friday’s Fit Motivation comes straight from the champion herself:

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Source: Google Images

Any fitness endeavor, running most definitely included, gets to be hard at times.  We get tired.  We lose our spark, and wonder why we ever started in the first place.  In these moments, it’s easy to talk ourselves into quitting.  All motivation seems to be gone.  But, there was a reason you started– and that reason doesn’t just go away because you’re going through a hard time.  Even when you lose sight of that reason, just keep showing up.  Even when you don’t want to, just keep showing up.  Don’t give up on your dreams and goals.  Just keep showing up.  If you do, you’ll get through it.  You’ll improve.  You’ll remember why you started.  And you’ll find that spark again.  Whether it’s a tough race or a months-long fitness funk, just keep showing up.  If you do, you’ll be proud of yourself for reaching your goals.  If you don’t, and if you give up– you’ll never reach your goals.  You’ll only be letting yourself down.  Disappointment is a downwards spiral that you don’t want to pull yourself into.

I don’t know about you, but as an overwhelmed mom-of-two who is struggling to get back into the running scene after taking too much time off, this really speaks to me.  I look at my pre-baby paces and get discouraged because I’m nowhere near where I used to be.  So many times I go into a race with high expectations and get let down when I see the clock at the finish line, minutes later than where I had hoped to see it.  Or I am mid-race, holding a great pace, and ruin it all by making a rookie mistake (e.g. dehydration).  In these times, it’s easy to say “what’s the use?” and give up.  Some goals just take time.  And time takes dedication.  If you give up, you never reach these goals.  If you keep showing up, you do– it’s as simple as that.

There are so many ways you could interpret Des’s words, but this is how they speak to me.

Happy Friday, everyone– enjoy your weekend!

 

 

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Back at It

After taking an embarrassingly long hiatus from running, working out, blogging, and all-things-healthy in general, I’m finally getting back into the swing of things, and feeling more and more like myself again in the process.  I wish I could say I had a good excuse for taking such a long break, and typically I try to chalk it up to having two-under-two, with my youngest just having turned five months old a few days ago.  Yes, things are very busy in my household at the moment.  And yes, I have been pregnant for the better part of the past three years.  But, in all reality, I have no excuse for falling off the bandwagon.

I worked out fairly regularly when I was pregnant with my first daughter, and I continued to eat healthy foods well into my third trimester.  Although life hit a rough patch after she arrived (difficult delivery, postpartum/seasonal depression issues, insane sleep deprivation, the list goes on…), I was determined to get back in shape as soon as possible.  Although I felt like I had lost a lot of my fitness, I was still able to {slowly} run one of my favorite half marathons at 6 months postpartum (read my recap here).  I knew it would take time, but I was determined to bounce back to my former fitness levels.

When I found out I was pregnant yet again when H was just 9 months old, all of that determination went out the window.  I was tired.  I was busy.  And I just didn’t have it in me to keep reaching for my fitness goals.  I really wanted to be back in good shape before getting pregnant again, but when that didn’t happen, I let it deter me from even trying to sustain the level of fitness that I had attained since having H.

So I quit working out, and I quit trying to eat well.  Even though I knew it wasn’t what was best for me or for the sweet baby girl growing inside of me, I let myself slip.  And once I was on that slippery slope, things all went downhill from there.  I regret that for so many reasons.  One – delivery is SO hard when you’re not in shape.  If, in the rare event I ever get pregnant again, I will 100% commit to working out the entire time, just to help ease the labor of delivery.  Trust me- if you are pregnant, you WANT to be maintaining your current level of fitness. TRUST ME.  Two – after taking nine+ months off, you are essentially starting from the bottom again.  All the hard work I put in and all the miles I logged over the course of a few years before reaching my PR’s went out the window, and that’s really discouraging.  And three – running is such an important part of who I am, and that part of me was missing the entire time I was pregnant with M.  I love running, and I missed it dearly when I wasn’t doing it, even though just the thought of lacing up my shoelaces exhausted me.

Now that our little family is complete and things are starting to settle down at home, I’m looking forward to getting the fitness and nutrition aspects of my life back in order.  I’ve run a few races this summer just to gauge where I’m at and how hard I’m going to have to work to get to where I want to be, and let’s just say I have a LOT of work to do.  But, I’m determined to get it done, and I’m determined to have a great year of running in 2018 (is it too early to be making New Year’s running resolutions?!).  I want to be a healthy role model for my two young daughters, and I just want to feel like myself again.

With those two motivators in mind, I’m setting some simple goals for myself in the coming months.  My main goal is to commit to running twice per week.  One shorter run during the week, and one longer run on the weekend.  I’m also going to try to sneak a weight session in when possible, but I’m not going to beat myself up if it doesn’t happen regularly.  Eventually (once the baby starts sleeping through the night, hahaha), I plan to add an early-a.m. spinning sesh in there too.  Another goal is to clean my diet up.  A lot.  No more frozen pizza for lunch because it’s quick and easy.  No more putting off eating until I’m so hungry I’ll eat anything in front of me.  Meal prep is going to require more time planning and less time cooking now that I have little ones at home, so I’ll be on the lookout for easy/healthy meal prep ideas.

My ultimate goal?  To knock the socks off of the 2018 Pittsburgh half marathon in May (which I already signed up for!).  This is my favorite race of all time, and I have run it every year since 2011 except for this year.  All for a great reason, though– I was in the delivery room snuggling my new baby girl that day.  So I’m looking forward to returning in 2018 with, hopefully, a great finish time.

What are your current running and/or fitness goals?  Have you ever returned to running after having a baby?  Do you have any quick and easy healthy meal prep ideas?  

 

 

 

Fit Friday Motivation ~ 5.6.16

Happy Friday!!  We have officially (almost) made it through the week!!  I know that I personally cannot wait for two entire days off of work in a row.  This week feels like it’s been dragging on forever.  What does everyone have going on this weekend?  Last weekend was so busy with the marathon going on, plus I had a hair appointment, plus Miss H had her 6-month shots, so I’m looking forward to a relatively relaxing weekend.  We are ordering pizza for lunch at work today, so I’m planning to cook a healthy dinner with my hubby tonight and RELAX with him and Miss H afterwards.  I’m going to do a shake-out run tomorrow at some point then do some super-clean grocery shopping afterwards.  My diet has been less-than-ideal lately, and it’s been taking a toll on my energy levels and my waistline.  It’s time to plan ahead and make some clean meals for the week.  I’m thinking oatmeal, grilled chicken salads, and sweet potatoes will be on the menu– I plan to make a “What I’m Eating This Week” post next week so I’ll update you then.  Sunday is my very first Mother’s Day, and I cannot wait to spend it with Miss H and my husband! I have no idea what we are doing yet– we’re last-minute like that– but I’ll be happy as long as we are together.  I’m really looking forward to it.

You may or may not remember that I have two half marathons on my schedule coming up in the next month, and I was waiting to see how Pittsburgh went before I decided whether or not I was actually going to do them.  Well, Pittsburgh went reasonably well for me (see my recap here) and was actually a good reminder of why I love running in the first place.  With a new baby in the picture, running has obviously been on the back burner for me for the past few months.  It’s easy to fall out of love with something when you aren’t doing it regularly, and I have to admit that I was falling out of love with running before the Pittsburgh half.  Which isn’t a good thing, since running is essentially a necessary therapy for me (read about why I run here).  Although I took a much-needed hiatus from running right before and right after Miss H was born and I have no regrets about that at all, I’m ready to start logging the miles again. I love the endorphins that come along with a challenging long run– they keep my emotions on an even keel and keep my stress levels manageable.  If I’ve learned anything about my return-to-running the past few months, it’s that a happy mama is a better mama, and I would give anything to be the best mother I can be to Miss H.  So, although spending time with my family will always be my first priority, I know that I need to continue running long distances whenever my schedule allows.  Miss H is on a more predictable sleep and nap schedule now, so it will be easier to plan my long runs for a time when she will be (mostly) napping or sleeping.  Since I am already signed up for the two upcoming half marathons, I have decided  that I want (or need, rather) to run them.  I feel like the picture below pretty much sums up how I feel about long runs, and it was kinda perfect for this particular Fit Friday post.  Enjoy.

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Source: Google Images

What’s on your fitness agenda for the weekend? 

Fitness Friday: The Month Ahead and My Workout Playlist

Hi friends.  HAPPY FRIDAY!

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Source: Google Images

I swear this has been the longest week at work; I’m so looking forward to having the next two days off to spend with my little babe, my big babe, and my poodle-babes.  After my official “return to running” post a few weeks ago, I’ve been sick not once but twice.  TWICE.  Last weekend I came down with some monstrous stomach bug that took the goals I had set for myself for the week and completely shut them down.  What the heck.  I seriously haven’t been sick in years, and now I’ve been sick twice in the same month.

Needless to say, I haven’t exactly started training for the Pittsburgh half with the *bang* that I was hoping for.  BUT this is the start of a new month, and I’m pretty optimistic about my training the next four weeks.  Plus my first postpartum 5K is coming up this month along with my first ever Beer Mile (yes– both on the same day), so I have a few things to look forward to.  Although the fact that I have been neither running nor drinking regularly makes me a little nervous– it should be an, err, interesting day.  When I signed up for the races a few months ago, I may have been slightly delusional about just how back-in-shape I would be at this point.  I could have signed up for just-the-5K or just-the-Beer Mile, but nooooo– I thought it would be easy-peasy to do both.  I even went a step further and signed up for a competitive heat for the Beer Mile.  What was I thinking?!  Even though I could definitely push it for a mile at this point and consider myself somewhat “competitive,” there’s no way I’ll be able to push it and chug four beers along the way.  Four beers with a minimum ABV of 5%, per the official rules at beermile.com.

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I may or may not be purchasing these socks in the near future, just to see if they make me run faster.

I am a lover of all beers and feel like beer is the perfect complement to a good run (I swear by drinking a post-run beer to relieve inflammation!), but I haven’t had more than two adult beverages since Miss H’s arrival in October.  I’ll be curious to see how it goes.  At least my little brother will be there running with me– he can pick me up off the track if need be.  For better or for worse, I promise to come back and write a recap.

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Source: Google Images

Since I don’t have much in the way of running or training to write about, I thought I’d share my workout playlist with you.  I don’t know about you, but I love exercising and running to music (always in races, although rarely on training runs).  I know that not everyone feels the same, but there’s something about a good song on my iPod that makes it really easy for me to kick my workouts up a notch.  I’m always on the lookout for new and different songs to motivate me when I work out, but it seems I always go back to the ol’ standbys below.  They’ve gotten me through so many races, lifting sessions, and living-room-spin-sessions.  So if you’re looking to add something new to your workout playlist, I’m happy to share with you the songs that really get me going in my workouts:

  1. Alive – P.O.D.
  2. The Anthem – Good Charlotte
  3. Are You Gonna Go My Way – Lenny Kravitz
  4. Baby Got Back – Sir Mix-a-Lot
  5. Back in Black – AC/DC
  6. Beautiful Day – U2
  7. Berzerk – Eminem
  8. Boom – P.O.D.
  9. Click Click Boom – Saliva
  10. Crazy Train – Ozzy Osbourne
  11. The Distance – Cake
  12. Fat Bottomed Girls – Queen
  13. Ghost – Ella Henderson
  14. Gimme All Your Lovin’ – ZZ Top
  15. Glory Days – Bruce Springsteen
  16. Hey Mama – David Guetta feat. Nicki Minaj, Bebe Rexha, & Afrojack)
  17. I Want You – Soundgarden
  18. The Look – Roxette
  19. Lose Yourself – Eminem
  20. Mony Mony – Billy Idol
  21. My Body – Young the Giant
  22. Mysterious Ways – U2
  23. Nookie – Limp Bizkit
  24. Rollin’ – Limp Bizkit
  25. Runnin’ Down a Dream – -Tom Petty & The Heartbreakers
  26. Sing – My Chemical Romance
  27. Sleep Now in the Fire – Rage Against the Machine
  28. Start Me Up – Rolling Stones
  29. Take Out the Gunman – Chevelle
  30. Thong Song – Sisqó
  31. Thunderstruck – AC/DC
  32. Two Tickets to Paradise – Eddie Money
  33. Uptown Funk – Mark Ronson (feat. Bruno Mars)
  34. Welcome to the Jungle – Guns N’ Roses

What are some of your favorite workout songs?  Have you ever heard of or done the Beer Mile?

P.S.– don’t forget to “like” my Facebook page!!  I’m just getting it started, but I will be updating it more often than my blog once it really gets going. =)  

Four Miles Done & Weekly Goals

The weather in Pennsylvania was absolutely beautiful over the weekend, and after sickness had me down & out for a few weeks I FINALLY got outside for a run!  My little-brother-slash-training-buddy had some other things going on this weekend, so I went for a solo run.  I rarely run by myself and am usually not fond of it, but it was actually nice to get out by myself for a change.  I find it calming to just listen to the repetitive beat of my shoes hitting the pavement, and I enjoy the scenery much more when I’m running without distractions.  It’s nice to do that every once in a while.  Not to mention the fact that I’m just getting back into shape after having Miss H, and I always feel like I’m slowing my brother down– it was a good chance to just go at my own pace and focus on increasing my fitness so that hopefully I’m a somewhat competitive training buddy for him soon.

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Southwest Pennsylvania has some beautiful scenery– the perfect distraction on any run.

I do get bored more quickly when I’m running alone, so it’s definitely not something I like or plan to do often.

I headed out Saturday morning after I put Miss H down for her morning nap with a goal of covering 4 miles regardless of my pace.  This was only my third run since last May (eek), so I just wanted to know that I am physically capable of covering that distance without worrying about my speed.  My first runs were 1.6 miles and 3.1 miles, respectively, so this would be my longest postpartum distance.  I usually shoot for a goal pace of at least 10:00/mile for my longer training runs (4 miles is considered a “long” training run for me right now), but I’m definitely cutting myself some slack this spring.  I feel like I’m just starting out running again.  I’m really hoping to be back up to my pre-pregnancy speed before the fall racing season if not before!

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55 degrees and sunny = perfection.

Because I didn’t want to venture too far from the baby (it sucks working all week– I hate taking time away from her on the weekends too!) and because the running routes are fairly limited near my house, I ended up doing a nearby 2-mile loop twice.  The loop is basically downhill for one mile then uphill for one mile, so I always have to remind myself to slow down & pace myself for that first downhill mile because, if not, that second uphill mile really kicks my butt.  My splits were as follows:

Mile 1: 10:52 (downhill)
Mile 2: 11:41 (uphill)
Mile 3: 10:06 (downhill)
Mile 4: 11:52 (uphill, and I was running out of steam)
Average: 11:08 min/mile

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It wasn’t easy and it was certainly not my best time, but I covered all four miles and could still walk yesterday, so I call it a success haha.  Not bad considering it’s been practically nine months since I last ran.  I’m looking forward to hitting the pavement more often in prep for the three (yes, three) spring half marathons that I’m currently signed up for!  Woohoo!

Running without a partner gives you plenty of time to think, and I had a lot to think about on Saturday’s run.  As I huffed and puffed through those four miles, I realized that it’s time for me to get serious about getting back into shape.  The baby is almost four months old, she’s sleeping better at night (I’m only getting up once or twice a night, which is a huge improvement over her newborn days), and my c-section incision is feeling much better.  It’s time to get back into a regular workout routine.  I bought a spin bike over Christmas plus I have all the free weights that I need in my spare room, so it should be easy to fit in a home workout here and there whenever I can.  I decided to set some fitness goals for myself for the week.  Because I’m back to work full-time and I’m far out of shape compared to what I used to be, my goals are small but completely do-able:

  1. Fit in one 45-minute spin session,
  2. Fit in one good leg training day (I know this will help my running immensely),
  3. Train abs one day (totally necessary to help me bounce back from my c-section), and
  4. Run 5 miles next weekend.

That’s all.  Cheers to a healthy and happy week ahead. 😉

Did you run this weekend?  What’s on your fitness agenda for the week?     

P.S. Don’t forget to check out my Facebook page!

Moving on up…

My last post was about how I was sooo ready and sooo excited to start running again and training for the Pittsburgh half in May.  So, logically, I came down with the cold of the century a few days later (okay, that may be a bit of an exaggeration– but to a girl that literally hasn’t been sick in YEARS, it sure felt like the cold of the century).

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Needless to say, I haven’t been running or doing anything active at all the past two weeks.  Between working, taking care of myself, and taking care of sweet baby H, I haven’t had the energy or time to do much besides rest (which is important every once in a while too).  Two weeks later, I finally have my voice and my energy back– and I WILL get a run in this weekend!  The temperature is supposed to be cooperative even though the rain is not (mid-fifties in February in Pennsylvania– yes please), and I’m looking forward to taking full advantage of it.  Every winter run that’s NOT done on a treadmill is a win in my book.

On a related note, I blame my first-cold-in-years on two things: 1) not running/exercising regularly, and 2) not getting enough sleep (hello nighttime feedings).  I learned just how important those two things are when it comes to staying healthy, which is motivation for me (and hopefully for you) to make them both a priority even when life gets busy.

Although I haven’t been running or exercising, I have been working on a Facebook page for my blog!  Moving on up! Now I can quickly and easily post my random running ramblings for all the world to see without publishing a blog post! hehe.  So if you want to check it out, please do so at {drum roll, please} Cristi Rae Runs on Facebook!

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I’ll be back soon with {hopefully} some fitness updates!

What’s the winter weather looking like in your area for the weekend?  Do you have any plans?    

Sunday Runday – Half Marathon Training Day #1

Sunday marked my first training day for the 2016 Pittsburgh half marathon and my official “return to running” day since the birth of my beautiful baby girl in October!  In fact, I quit running last May (after carefully & slowly running the Pittsburgh half) because I felt like I was pushing myself a little too hard and was going past my comfort level on my runs as my belly grew bigger.  I initially really wanted to run throughout my pregnancy, but I switched to weekly spin classes as my body started telling it was time to slow down.  Spinning can be a very intense workout, but for me it was easier to keep my heart rate down in spin class than it was on a long run, and it was still a great way to keep in shape throughout my pregnancy (something I highly recommend doing– I felt like it helped SO much with labor).  So spinning it was, and I put running on the backburner until after baby girl was here.  Before I had H, I planned to return to running as soon as my OB gave me the okay.  An emergency C-section changed those plans, though, so even when my OB cleared me for exercise at 6 weeks I just didn’t feel comfortable jarring my body around at that point.  Now, at almost 14 weeks postpartum, I finally feel like it’s time to start running again.  And I’m so, so looking forward to it.

The weather in our area was absolutely beautiful yesterday (well, relatively speaking– a 50 degree, sunny day in January is much more appealing than a 50 degree, sunny day in, say, August– so I wasn’t complaining).  It’s rare to be able to wear capri pants and a short sleeve shirt on a January run, but yesterday’s temperature was perfect for it.  My younger brother and I are training together for the Pittsburgh half, so he came to my house and we set a goal of running a steady 5K distance for our official “kickoff” training run.  That’s a lower distance than I’ve ever started my training at in the past, but since I haven’t done much of any form of exercise since before H was born, I wasn’t even sure if I could run that far.  My brother has been doing treadmill intervals for months, so he was looking for a relatively-short-distance steady run as well.  We just wanted to test the waters since half training has been out of our vocabulary for so long– we usually run at least one half marathon each fall, and obviously we skipped doing that last year.  We are essentially starting our training from scratch for the first time in a long time.  With the exception of two stops to catch our breath (something we usually do on this particular route– PA hills can be killer), we were able to run the entire distance with no problems!  Our overall pace was a bit slower than usual– we ran an average pace of 10:52, and we usually aim for a 10:00 pace on our training runs– but we were both happy with our first run of the season.  We even did a short sprint at the end of our run, just to get our fast-twitch muscle fibers going.  We both felt great afterwards.  And now I’m more excited than ever to keep moving and keep training.  It feels great to get my “running legs” back again!

Are you training for any races?  How did your weekend runs go?