Wednesday, October 22, 2014

Staying Fit in Your Season

This week at One Year and Beyond we are sharing ideas for keeping in shape while caring for a toddler!

Each season of life brings it's own blessings and challenges. In this season with a little one in the house, I am learning how important it is to use my time on what truly matters - God, serving my family, building relationships, taking care of my health. E is growing up so fast and he is SO busy. I hope I'm a pro at this whole time management thing before I have a 2-year-old and a newborn in the house (wishful thinking).
Teach us to realize the brevity of life, so that we may grow in wisdom. Psalm 90:12 NLT
When it comes to staying fit in this season, chasing a toddler all day burns a lot of energy but it is still very important to be intentional about working out. Wrangling E doesn't really push my heart rate up super high (except when I'm panicking) and it doesn't work each muscle group.

Everyone is busy and we all have the same 24-hours. It's so easy to let exercise fall by the wayside but that's the worst thing we could do! Staying in shape actually gives you more energy for the day and I'll take all the natural energy I can get!

Playing kickball outside with the dog!

5 Ways to Stay Fit with a Toddler

1. Exercise while the toddler sleeps. Fit in a workout in the early morning, late at night or even during nap-time. Working out early in the morning is something that I have grown to enjoy!

Yes, I have a belly at 8 weeks. You really do show sooner with the second pregnancy!

2. Get active with playtime. Playing with your toddler is a great form of exercise. I know a solid game of hide and seek gets my heart pumping! Play kickball outside, climb on the local playground or just run in circles - they all help to burn of a little of that toddler energy!

3. Make house/yard-work fun. E loves to help around the house and the yard right now and I'm guessing this stage won't last into his teens. Cleaning the house and yard work count as a good form of cross-training and it keeps him busy!

We wash the floor using towels on our feet and "skating" around the house. Martha Stewart probably wouldn't approve, but Pippy Longstockings does! (See her technique here.)

4. Workout with your toddler. Take your kiddo for a jog in the stroller or roll out the yoga mat in the house. (If you are using weights, beware of small fingers and toes!) Eventually, your toddler may develop their own special exercise "routine".

E usually jumps all over my mat and then lays down to kick his legs. (I must look crazy when I work out.) Here was E's first burpee that he didn't realize he was doing:

Working his way up again...

And going for the big "jump"!

5. Share a healthy snack. Especially with Baby #2 growing, it's very important to keep snacks around the house. Might as well choose something healthy!

E and I usually split an apple or banana but yesterday we found a new special treat: Homemade "Luncheable" sandwiches! Blame it on the pregnancy hormones, I haven't had a Luncheable in years but I have been craving them like crazy. Turns out, the homemade ones are even better!

How do you stay fit in your season of life?

Linking up at One Year and Beyond and Fitness Fridays.

Thursday, October 16, 2014

Running in the First Trimester

This pregnancy feels real now that I'm exhausted, nauseous and constantly hungry. Though I feel pretty rough, Leo and I couldn't be more excited for Baby #2!

Running this week has been a challenge. The dog and E in the jogging stroller have been my running partners most days and we are moving at about 9:30/mile. That's a big change since the Wild Hog Half only 3 weeks ago! Though my pace has slowed drastically, I am thankful to be out and moving.

Exercising helps so much with the pregnancy symptoms and there are many benefits for you and baby. Oddly enough, even my nausea fades a little while I run.

Why Exercise While Pregnant?

Running for Women by Kara Goucher is another one of my favorite running-related books because it covers a topic that has been taboo for so long - running while pregnant. There is a lot of misunderstanding with physical activity and pregnancy so it's nice to take in valid information.

There are so many benefits to staying active through your pregnancy:
  • Reduce backaches, constipation, bloating, and swelling.
  • Prevent or treat gestational diabetes.
  • Increase your energy.
  • Improve your mood and your posture.
  • Improve muscle tone, strength, and endurance.
  • Help you sleep better.
  • Improve your ability to cope with labor pain.
    Source: American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists

With my first pregnancy, many people had the "deer in headlights" look when they learned I was running at 30+ weeks pregnant. Now had I been sitting on the couch eating an entire package of Chips Ahoy cookies, they would have had no problem. A little backwards, isn't it? Those people often mean well, but their reactions can be very discouraging.

Exercising while pregnant is actually good for you and baby. The key is you do need to listen to your body extra closely and stay hydrated. Be sure to check with your doctor or midwife before you begin a new exercise program.

Here are a few tips for running in the first trimester from Kara's ob-gyn, Robin Barrett, MD. Dr. Barret is an avid runner and marathoner herself!

My lovely notes from pregnancy #1. I'm a little out-of-control with highlighters... 

Post-Workout Pizza Pocket

Where there is running (and pregnancy), there is food. I have been craving tomato sauce and soup since before we even knew I was pregnant. Ironically, "Prego" sauce is my favorite. This week I wrapped up all these wonderful ingredients - sausage, pastrami, spinach, Prego sauce, and cheese...

into this gigantic pizza pocket:

In a time when I'm always hungry yet nothing sounds good, this pizza pocket really hit the spot. That entire gigantic pizza pocket is now gone after Leo, Uncle Bug, E and I devoured it for lunch.

E's smile of approval!

During these first trimester weeks, I'm taking it one day at a time, resting when I can and drinking water like there's no tomorrow. My miles are slower and mileage is lower but slow miles still count!

Linking up at Fitness Friday and Mommy Moments.

What keeps you motivated to exercise?
Have any tomato recipes to recommend?

Tuesday, October 14, 2014

Busy Toddler Indoor Activities

This week on One Year and Beyond we are sharing busy toddler activities. Since the weather is cooling off in our area, now is the time to brainstorm busy toddler indoor activities to survive the winter!

This summer we have been spoiled by many trips to the playground and hours upon hours spent playing outside. With October flying by fast, the dreaded winter is on it's way, whether I want to accept it or not.

Now that E is a busy toddler, here are a few ways we are going to keep busy on those -20°F days that may be in our future...

Busy Toddler Indoor Activities

1. Make an Art Mess Project.
Let your toddler create a messy work of art with markers, finger paints, egg cartons, play dough, or whatever other toddler-safe mediums you have. Color Wonder markers are the best!

2. Create a Rec Room.
Designate a room in your house as a recreation room for balls, ride-on toys, and other outdoorsy things. Our basement is the rec room and the change of environment really helps on those indoor days!

3. Fun Snacks.
Give your toddler a snack and let them make a mess. Pouring Cheerios with measuring cups is one of E's favorites. Sweeping the entire kitchen after doing this is a guarantee.

4. Plan a Play Date.
Invite a friend over for a play date to change up the routine. It's fun for your toddler and mom gets to visit, too!

5. Go on a Field Trip.
Head out to the library, a friend's house, or even the grocery store. The local elementary school has "pop-in and play" time every Friday and it's wonderful. There are other toddlers there and so many activities for them!

What are your favorite indoor activities for little ones?

Linking up at One Year and Beyond.

Friday, October 10, 2014

Friday Favorites - 10/10

It seemed like Friday would never come this week, but it's finally here! Here are my 5 favorites for Fitness Friday :)

1. Double Coffee. I hate to be "that person", but when the Starbucks guy handed me a cold frappaccino instead of a cappuccino I had to say something (in the nicest tone possible!). The guy said I could have both drinks and turns out the frappaccino isn't even caffeinated so E and Leo shared the treat on our way home :) This was something so simple that 100% made my day!

Vanilla Cappuccino and a Vanilla Bean Frappaccino... 

2. Harvest Weather. The guys are exhausted and nearly everyone in this town is looking more worn out and grumpy than last week. Harvest is getting closer to being done one day at a time. Thank God for this weather and for caffeine to keep those guys awake!

Our family this fall - E is so blessed to have Uncle "Bug" living with us!

3. Running Aimlessly. No races on the calendar for the rest of the year! I love the structure and focus of training for races but sometimes I enjoy running without a goal pace in mind, too. Good luck to everyone running the Blue Ox Half Marathon this weekend!

4. Taper Crazies. Despite being crankier than usual, dizzy and hungry as a horse, I attributed all of my unusual behavior to tapering for the Wild Hog Half marathon. The taper crazies are a reality for many long-distance runners but it turns out my crazy was caused by something someone else...

3+ weeks, not 3+ babies :) I'm pretty sure there's just one there.

5. Big Brother in Training. E started his big brother training last week! His expression looks like "Wait... I have to do what?!" He has until June 6, 2015 to prepare and I'm really hoping to make it full-term with Baby #2.

Take 5 seconds to think of one simple way you could bless someone today. We are blessed to be a blessing!
Therefore encourage one another and build each other up, just as in fact you are doing. 1 Thessalonians 5:11
Let God use you!
View pin here

Tell me about your Friday!

Monday, October 6, 2014

Loving Your Post-Preggo Body

I'm joining up with One Year and Beyond this week and the topic is loving your post-pregnancy body. Back in April, I wrote a post on this topic called "Body Image After Baby" and this is the perfect time to revisit the discussion.

As E is getting older, I'm feeling like I have my body "back". After a beautiful summer of playing outside and two half marathons, I'm in better shape than I was pre-baby. I feel great!

Now here's the kicker... We want more babies. As many as God chooses to bless us with.
Children are a gift from the LORD; they are a reward from Him. PSALM 127:3
E and I chilling at the finish line of the Wild Hog Half Marathon

With more babies comes more pregnancy and more body image battles.

E is now 19 months old and he is gearing up to be a big brother! Yes, God has graciously blessed us with Baby #2! It's early in the pregnancy but this is something we want to share right away. Life begins at conception and this is our baby - E's little brother or sister - no matter how old he or she is.

Bring on the early preggo bloat and that awkward "is she pregnant or just eating too much?" stage. We're growing a baby here! Throughout this pregnancy, I want to keep a godly perspective and be always thankful remembering how fervently we have been praying for this child!

Loving Your "Mom Body"

Here are a few thoughts I shared in a past post about body image after baby. Whether you are expecting your first one or a mom to many, I pray that this can be encouragement to you.
  • Be Thankful. Health is something that is so easily taken for granted until you don't have it anymore. Pregnancy can be easily taken for granted, too! Being able to grow a life is a (sometimes very uncomfortable) blessing from the Lord, not a burden.

    I'm reminding myself to be thankful for the blessing of carrying our son, for each run, for each day that I can chase our toddler, and for the health God has given me. I would love if the Lord blessed us with many more babies and I know my body will change drastically with each one! I don't want to waste the rest of my life feeling self-conscious and discouraged.

  • Don't Compare. Every woman's body is so different that you can't compare your postpartum progress to other moms or to your pre-baby body!

    Reading about other mom's postpartum fitness journeys and goals can be encouraging, but it can also drag you into a comparison trap. Just remember that even those super fit moms are human, too! It's very likely that she has those days of feeling bloated and discouraged just like every other woman.

  • Take Care of Yourself. No matter how busy you are, it is important to set aside time to exercise! If regular exercise seems daunting, start with 30 minutes at least 3 to 5 days a week. It will make such a difference!

    Being able to keep up with our kids is enough motivation to exercise for me. I want to be able to jump on the trampoline, play soccer, and go for family walks/runs when they are older!

What helps you to keep a positive body image?

Linking up at Mommy Moments and One Year and Beyond.

Tuesday, September 30, 2014

Race Report: Wild Hog Half Marathon 2014

For this week's Tuesdays on the Run, the topic is "Favorite Race Distance". Even though I've been on a little streak of running half marathons this year, I still claim the full marathon to be my favorite distance and the half marathon is a close second.

My appreciation for half marathons has grown because:
  1. Training works really well for this season of life with a little one in the house.
  2. Half's are HARD. Running 13.1 miles isn't that challenging, but it's all about pace. Some runners race a half marathon at my speedwork pace! 
  3. The long runs don't need to be that long. The longest I ran this time was just over 13 miles.
  4. Post-race recovery is much quicker than the full. Three days after the race, I feel great... minus a nasty cold.
  5. The half medals are just as pretty as the full medals :)

The full marathon has a special place in my heart because that's where I started off as a new distance runner. I hope to run another 26.2 in 2015 but I know I won't be able to stay away from those half's for long!

Before I ramble on anymore, here is the race report for my second half marathon:


Wild Hog Half Marathon Results:

Finish Time - 01:36:30
Average Pace - 7:22/mile
Placing - Overall: 33rd out of 569. Females: 6th out of 331.


Race day was beautiful, sunny and warm (for a Fall day in ND). Temps ranged from 65-70°F with 12-20 mph winds.

Race summary:

On the Friday before the race, E and I made a quick trip to the race expo to pick up my number and then continued on to Sam's Club for groceries and lunch with my brother and sis-in-law.

The expo was small, but I really appreciated that since I was there with a toddler. It didn't take long to pick up my number and the race "swag" was great. They gave the half marathon runners a nice glass with the Wild Hog logo, Fitsok socks, a Kind granola bar (so good!), a pink water bottle (for out-of-town runners), and an obnoxiously bright zip-up shirt. The shirt is really comfy and I guess the wild color will be helpful when I run in the dark this fall/winter?

And here was my impulse buy of the race expo... I do my best to avoid buying anything at the expos, but this was a worthy purchase! This "GoFit Massage Bar" is the replacement for the kitchen rolling pin I have been using to roll out sore muscles. It's awesome and has completely relieved the hip tightness I've struggled with in the past!

Race day arrived. We were up at 4:40 on Saturday morning and I was off to a great start because I was actually able to eat breakfast! I put on my race clothes, ate a banana and a peanut butter waffle, plus drank some coffee. I wrote Psalm 115:1 as a focal point for this race:

My hardcore babysitter and good friend, Megan, was up with me at 4:40, too. We let E sleep until the van was packed and ready to go. After a quick diaper change, I handed him a sippy cup full of milk and smoothly transitioned him to his carseat. Success! He fell asleep again and we were on the road to Grand Forks.

We pulled into the race area at 6:30 a.m. and Dunn Bros was conveniently located right next to the parking lot. Megan got some much-needed coffee and we parked in the corn field across the street (only in farm country...). While waiting for the starting time, E loaded up on some super healthy cheese balls for his second breakfast.

At 7:45, I headed to line-up and my cheering squad found their place to watch. I found the 1:35 pace group and we headed off at the gun shot. For the first three miles, I tried to hold back and stick to the pace group. After fighting with myself for a while, I decided to head off on my own and see how it goes.

Mile 1 - 7:05
Mile 2 - 7:05
Mile 3 - 6:58
Mile 4 - 7:08
Mile 5 - 7:07

By mile 6, I was already running out of gas. The dizziness I had been struggling with earlier in the week started to creep up on me again and my prayer was "God, please don't let me pass out!". It would be super embarrassing to pass out in a race, but really it wouldn't be super healthy either. Plus, you need to finish to get a medal :) I ate my other gel and hoped that it would give me a boost of energy.

Mile 6 - 7:13
Mile 7 - 7:18
Mile 8 - 7:16

At this time, I knew that my goal of running a 1:30 was far out of reach. The dizziness was getting to me and hot spots were forming on both feet. My trusty shoes that covered many training miles decided to bug my feet now! My thoughts turned to "What's the point of pushing through this anymore? Should I just give up and walk?".

I looked down at the verse on my arm and knew that whether I ran a personal best or an absolute worst, God should be glorified through my actions and my attitude. What attitude was I going to have? Would just giving up because I was having a bad day be honoring to God? (There are legit reasons to DNF but my bad attitude was not one!) My pace continued to slow but I was still moving.

Mile 9 - 7:27
Mile 10 - 7:37
Mile 11 - 7:43
Mile 12 -7:51
Mile 13 - 7:42
Mile .1 - 7:22

Even in the last 2 miles, the thought of walking was tempting. After running 11 miles, how could I give up with only 2.1 to go?! One foot in front of the other. I let go of any pace goals and prayed that I didn't pass out or trip over my own feet before that finish line.

I was pleasantly surprised to cross the timer at 1:36:30. The last few miles seemed to take a decade and I wasn't sure when I would finish.

I love running, but I was SO GLAD TO BE DONE with that one. Maybe it was running in the heat when I'm not used to it or being sick that really affected me this race; I'm not sure. Either way, I have no complaints. This was a great race and I know I pushed myself to the absolute limit. There was nothing left when I cross the finish!

After wobbling down the finisher's shoot, I grabbed a banana for E along with some pretzels and went to find my cheering squad. The best part about smaller races is it's super easy to find your people and chances are you will see some familiar faces, too :)

After cleaning up, we headed to Panera for the best lunch ever! A BBQ chicken flatbread sandwich with tomato soup for me, cinnamon bagel with peanut butter for E, and a Mediterranean flatbread sandwich with pasta for Megan.

Conclusion: Mindset is just as important as fitness on race day. I hadn't been feeling physically well this week, but my mind proved to be a greater challenge for me than my body.

I am so thankful for my supportive friends and family, for God giving me the health to run, and for possibly our last beautiful summer-ish day of the year.

Grand Forks sure knows how to put on a good race!

My #1 Fan!

How do you keep yourself going when your mind tells you to stop?

Linking up at Tuesdays on the Run and Fitness Friday.

Wednesday, September 24, 2014

Taper Week + Apple Everything

It's taper week for this Saturday's half marathon! That means I'm A.) Attempting to rest (whatever that means with a toddler at home) and B.) Baking a lot.

This morning's run was a "dress rehearsal" for race day; basically, just wear whatever you plan on wearing on race day and make sure everything works. By "works" I mean, no chafing, rubbing, or blistering issues. I haven't met a single person who enjoys chafing and blisters! Vaseline is a runner's best friend.

Here we are, my "dress rehearsal", minus the construction worker's vest and hand light (it was 5:30 a.m.). I suppose the dark running gear won't be necessary on race day as the race starts at 8:00 a.m. Running in the daylight will be quite a treat!

E and I are heading to the race expo on Friday and then getting some power groceries - I'm looking forward to both! Love race expos... and groceries. Leo has duties this weekend and won't be able to watch me run, but I am very excited to spend time with my best friend this weekend. We're having a girls' night (plus E) on Friday and she is babysitting while I run on Saturday.

For each race, I write a verse from Scripture on my arm and I'm thinking this is the one for Saturday >>> Psalm 115:1 reminds me of God being my #1 priority. Everything we do is all for His glory! Keeping my eyes on God enables me to compete with less stress and more joy.
Not to us, LORD, not to us but to Your Name be the glory, because of Your love and faithfulness. PSALM 115:1
My favorite little cheeser

When Life Gives You Apples...

Make lots of apple things, eat wayyy too many apple-related dishes in one week, and completely burn out on apples.

One of our awesome neighbors gave me a whole load of apples last week! I have been an apple-bake-a-holic in order to cook them up before they spoil. I definitely have the "carb-loading" aspect of racing mastered. Here are a few recipes that I've tried so far:

Crockpot Apple Crisp. Easy to make, delicious, and relatively healthy (for a dessert).

Crockpot Apple Crisp Recipe

Overnight Apple Cinnamon Oatmeal. Something fun to try with steel cut oats.

Overnight Apple Cinnamon Oatmeal

Apple Cinnamon Granola. This recipe was one of my favorites, especially with peanut butter and dates added to the recipe.

Apple Cinnamon Granola

Homemade Apple Sauce. My neighbor gave me a quick run-down of how to make homemade apple sauce. Making apple sauce was much easier than I expected but peeling the apples did take a while.

Homemade Apple Sauce

Apple-Filled Crepes. Since the guys are gone for harvest most evenings, E and I can eat breakfast food for supper :)

Apple-Filled Crepes

The apple crisp was E's favorite!

Do you have any half marathon taper tips?
What is your favorite apple-related recipe?

Linking up at Tuesdays on the Run and Fitness Friday.