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?  

 

 

 

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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!

Fit Friday Motivation

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Source: Run U Mother Facebook page

I think everyone has had these runs at one point or another– the ones where your defenses break down and you begin to doubt yourself, your abilities, and your training.  It might be during a race or during a training run.  And as much as I dread having this type of run, I never let it defeat me when it does occur.  I push through to the finish line because I know when I do, I’ll be a stronger person and a better runner.  These are the kinds of races, training runs, workouts that show us what we’re really made of.  They force us to put our heart and soul into them just to get to the finish.  They teach us things about ourselves that we never knew before.  They show us that we’re capable of so much more than we thought possible.  In my opinion, these are the runs that make a runner a runner.  They makes us stronger people and stronger athletes.  I dread the experience, but I love the after-effects.  =)

I hope everyone has a fun, fit weekend!! =) 

Friday Favorites

  1. Fall Races

    Source: Google Images

    Source: Google Images

    My favorite time of the year has FINALLY arrived!!!  The part of fall that I’m most excited about??– fall races!!  And fall running in general.   Unlike some, summer is one of the worst running seasons (second only to winter) for me.  I dread running on 90-degree, super humid, mosquito-infested days.  My summer running game is always lacking because, I admit, many days I just can’t bring myself to get out the door to train.  I just force myself through the occasional 5K instead.  The chilly days of fall here in Pennsylvania are, in my opinion, the best conditions for running.  I love putting on my long sleeves and tights and heading out in the brisk air for a nice long run!  I’m getting giggly just thinking about it.  My fall race lineup– a scenic-foliage 5K, a half marathon, a 5K with buckwheat cakes afterwards (wahoo!), ANOTHER half marathon (Half Fanatics here I come!), an inaugural 10-miler, and my beloved Turkey Trot!!  I’m so looking forward to the fall running season.

  2. Dried Cranberries

    I’m always surprised how my taste buds seem to know when the seasons are changing.  Right around this time each year, I start to crave cranberries, apples, and PUMPKIN.  I scored a gigantic bag of dried whole cranberries a few weeks ago at the Dollar Tree for, that’s right, $1.  A HUGE bag.  Unfortunately, I ate all of them before I thought to snag a picture of the bag.  Oops.  So you’ll just have to use your imagination to see how tasty an extra-large bag of dried whole cranberries must look.  I’ve been mixing them with raw nuts for a satisfying mid-day snack the past few weeks.

  3. Pumpkin Beer

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    Coinciding with my love for all things pumpkin this time of year is my love for pumpkin beers!!  I don’t care what brand it is, when I go out for dinner, I almost always order a pumpkin beer to accompany my meal (unless it’s breakfast-time– in which case pumpkin coffee is an acceptable substitute).  My favorite part about this seasonal beer is that 90% of the time when you order a draft, the rim of the glass gets coated with a delightfully-cinnamon-sugar blend!! Yum!  WARNING:  only one or two of these should do you! haha.

  4. Homemade Energy Bars

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    This week, I found a recipe for homemade “energy” bars that I absolutely needed to try.  The recipe is simple:  1 cup dried fruit (your choice) + 1 cup nuts (your choice) + 1 cup dates all blended together in a food processor, then pressed into a square pan and chilled in the fridge.  Super easy and super healthy.  I made mine with raisins, walnuts, and dates because that’s what I had on hand, and they turned out A-M-A-Z-I-N-G!  Despite the fact that I almost burnt up my food processor while making them, these turned out to be a great (and delicious) success!  I think next week I might try to make them with cranberries + almonds + dates…

What’s your favorite season to run in?

Do you love seasonal foods?? What’s your favorite??

 

I hope everyone has a great weekend!! =)