Thursday, April 23, 2015

Running Favorites Q&A | 34 Week Update

Happy last full week of April 2015! I'm so excited for my favorite month to begin...

May = the Fargo Marathon, summer weather, Mother's Day, our wedding anniversary, my birthday, my mom's birthday and likely our baby #2's birthday!

MB from Tutus & Tennies tagged me to share some of my running favorites just in time for tomorrow's Fitness Friday link-up. Plus, it's time for another baby update, too :)

Alright, let's jump right in:

My Running Favorites: Questions Answered


1.) LOCATION: Trail, Road or Indoors?
My heart belongs to trail running. My first full marathon was on the trails and there is never a dull moment. I don't trail run much anymore because I am usually pushing a jogging stroller along with me. These days, running outdoors is wonderful to me.

Best trail running memory ---> My husband and I went trail running a ton on our honeymoon (almost 3 years ago!) and it was absolutely gorgeous out there...


... mud, blood and all. Now that's romance!


2.) TIME OF DAY: Morning, Noon or Evening?
Morning, all the way! I am a morning person and there is nothing better than watching the sun rise on a run. Spending time talking with God on a morning run feels amazing - it's so peaceful and it feels like life slows down for a while. Watching a beautiful sunrise is like a little glimpse of Heaven.


3.) WEATHER: Sunshine, Mild or Hot?
Sunshine and the 60's is a perfect race day for me with a light breeze (very light!). I'm not too picky on the temperature outside but the amount of wind really makes a difference. Running in any season is enjoyable if the wind isn't whipping around too crazy.

4.) FUEL: Before, After and sometimes during?
While running pregnant, I make sure it eat and drink plenty before and after runs. Heck, I just eat all the time. When not preggo, I will maybe take a bite of a granola bar before a morning run but it's not necessary.

If I'm training and plan to run for 90 minutes or more, I opt for eating a small breakfast before heading out. I bring with a GU or homemade gel for runs of 90 minutes+.


5.) ACCESSORIES: Music, Watch or more?
My Garmin is always with me and usually our toddler in the jogging stroller, too. I always bring my phone with me while running pregnant - especially now in the 30+ weeks - just in case! When I'm training for a long race, I love to run solo with my iPod to just zone out. Music + jogging strollers do not mix!


6.) REWARD: Food, wine or ???
A shower and maybe a treat. After my last long run for the Wild Hog Half Marathon, I had a pumpkin doughnut from Tim Horton's. What was already delicious became extra amazing because I was SO... HUNGRY...


7.) TYPE OF RUN: Long, tempo, intervals, hill repeats, progression, or easy?
These days all of my runs are done at an "easy" effort and any run is a good run! Running in the third trimester varies so much from day to day. Today could be a great run and, by tomorrow, baby's position may change and my bladder will be very uncomfortable. I'm taking one day at a time and keeping it easy until baby's big day!

(I guess I really like the "thumbs up" pose)


In my non-pregnant "training mode", tempo runs are my favorite but speed interval sessions are getting up there, too. Last year I started focusing on making each run with a specific focus - speed, hills, long, tempo, etc. - and it improved my running drastically. I'm excited to train for a full again using more focused training!

WHO'S NEXT? I'm tagging these 7 wonderful running ladies to share their running favorites:

Wendy @ New Moms Talk

Jill @ Jill Conyers: Fitness, Health & Happiness

Jessica @ The Fit Switch

Krystal @ The Runner Within

Sarah @ Run Far Girl

Leslie @ Her Little Dog Too

Aimee @ Forty By Forty Fitness
.....

And, because we are now a couple weeks closer to Baby's due date, here comes another pregnancy update:

Baby #2: 34 Weeks



Baby's Size: Butternut Squash, average fetus size: 17.2 to 18.7 in, 4.2 to 5.8 lbs.

Cravings: Sourdough waffles, sausage, eggs, and gravy, toast.

Aversions: Browning hamburger or venison.

I'm Feeling: SO THANKFUL that God blessed us with this smooth week of pregnancy! With my first pregnancy, we discovered I had a UTI and was dehydrated at 33 weeks, had a preterm labor scare and took a ride in the ambulance... It was an intense time to say the least. Aside from bladder squishage, I'm feeling great.

Sleep: I'm still feeling a lack of energy, especially in the PM, but that's to be expected. Every night of sleep requires 2 bathroom breaks. It's not so bad compared to being up with a newborn all night :) I'm so thankful E is consistently sleeping through the night!

Weight: Up 20 lbs from pre-pregnancy weight.

My Prayer for Baby: "Lord, thank You for watching over our baby this week and for helping my body to grow this new life. It is truly a miracle that I am so thankful to be a part of! Continue to prepare our family and all of our hearts for this new member of the family. I give any and all of my pregnancy and childbirth worries to You, knowing that You care about every detail of our lives. Guide baby's development and I pray that he or she will arrive in Your perfect timing! Amen. "
Humble yourselves, therefore, under God’s mighty hand, that He may lift you up in due time. Cast all your anxiety on Him because He cares for you. 1 PETER 5:6-7
Last Week's Workouts: 
Monday: 3.1 miles with the dog, 9:55/mile. A 5k to celebrate the Boston Marathon.
Tuesday: Strength Training
Wednesday: 2 treadmill miles, 10:16/mile. Treadmill running always feels harder!
Thursday: 3.36 early morning miles, 10:55/mile. Squished bladder today...
Friday: Prenatal Yoga
Saturday: 3 mile family run, 11:05/mile. Beautiful day!
Total Mileage: 11.46 miles
What are your running favorites?

Linking up with Jill Conyers at Fitness Friday.

Monday, April 20, 2015

Marathon Monday + My Second Blogiversary

This week marks my blog's second "blogiversary" (blog + anniversary)! Yes, blogs get anniversaries, too. I learned that last year :)

Today also happens to be Marathon Monday in Boston, too!
I squeezed on my 2012 Boston shirt to celebrate during my snowy 5k run this morning (yes, snowy). It fits over the baby bump but my belly band covers about 2" of exposed belly.

#preggoproblems


Two years ago I wrote my first post on Life to the Full!

Why a Blog?

I started reading blogs when I was pregnant with E. While there were many pregnant women around me, maybe a few worked out but zero were interested in running. Most people thought it was quite weird to run while pregnant - like it scared them. That's when I found Jen's blog, This Runner's Trials, and Janae's blog, The Hungry Runner Girl.

While I prefer a good old coffee date conversation over blog-reading, reading about these women and their experiences with being an active pregnant woman made me feel much more "normal". They were a source of encouragement to help balance out all of the negative comments I heard as a soon-to-be first-time mom + runner.

By starting my own blog, I wanted to encourage other moms who are in a similar place in life as me in the same way as those women had encouraged me. Sources of encouragement are hard to come by in this world!
Therefore encourage one another and build each other up, just as in fact you are doing. 1 THESSALONIANS 5:11

Life Then: April 2013

Life to the Full was created when I was a brand-new mom on maternity leave with our 7-week-old little man. Life with our newborn was rather predictable - eat, diaper change, sleep, repeat. At least he napped because E sure didn't sleep much at night!

Even back then, I struggled to grasp the "nap while baby naps" concept. Rather than browsing Facebook or Pinterest during naps, I figured I could do something more productive like write. I've always been a journaler but blogging was something new.

I didn't start the blog with a grand mission in mind besides to encourage others. I wanted to share my faith and what I'm learning through motherhood, wife-hood and marathon training. I never would have dreamed I would be writing on this blog two years later!


Life Now: April 2015

Since this blog's creation, we have moved to a new-to-us house and a new hometown. Our family is growing in size and my career has changed drastically. God has been growing my faith through all of these changes and He has been opening up new opportunities in blogging, too. There isn't much that hasn't changed in the last two years!

I stay at home full-time with a two-year-old ninja and am eight months pregnant with our second baby. Last year I ran my first half marathons and plan on running another half this Fall. And hopefully another full next Spring! When I'm not running long-distance, I'm running around chasing after E, who is acquiring a love for running himself :) "More run, mom! More run!"

This year I tried some new things on the blog by writing a few book reviews and one product review. I'm now an "ambassador" for For Two Fitness, Fitfluential and Moms Meet, which have opened up great writing opportunities! Working with Google Adsense (the sidebar ads) has been another experiment for this year.


My Approach to Blogging

About 75% of my writing on the blog is written in my journal first in outline-form. I'm not a fan of being on the computer, especially when our toddler is awake, so the journal is an easy way to record my thoughts without logging on to the computer. By the time I'm on the computer - nap time or bed time - all I need to do is edit photos and type up my notes.

Blogging is a great creative outlet for me as a stay-at-home mom. I work on the occasional freelance graphic design project on the side but designing graphics and writing content for the blog has been a great way to keep my design skills sharp.

"Link-ups" have grown to be one of my favorite parts of blogging. In a link-up, bloggers with similar interests connect and share their latest posts. The Fit Dish, Fitness Friday and One Year and Beyond are my regular link-ups. I am so thankful for the awesome encouraging women I have met through these link-ups!

Future Plans

It has been on my heart for a while now to share my testimony on the blog. That post will be coming soon! Also in the future, I would like to write more product and book reviews and share more recaps.

After baby is born, I won't be posting as often as we adapt to being a family of 4. Once we get the hang of our new life, I look forward to sharing baby + toddler updates and the adventures in training for the half and full marathon as a mom of TWO!

As far as monetizing the blog, I plan to continue working with Google Adsense and possibly Amazon Associates. The business-side of blogging is especially new to me. I have a lot to learn!

How did you celebrate Marathon Monday?!

P.S. Happy blogiversary to Jessica at the Fit Switch who is also celebrating this month!!!
Linking up with the Fit Dish. #dishthefit

Wednesday, April 15, 2015

Why We're Not Potty Training... Yet

We're talking potty training on One Year and Beyond this week. It's a topic I'm totally unqualified to write on but I will share our experiences at this point nonetheless.

Is our toddler potty trained? Short answer: No.

Here's where we are as of today. E is 25 months old and there are days when I question his readiness to ditch the diapers.

Potty training has been on the mind for a few months now but our game plan is to postpone until Baby #2 arrives around the end of May/early June. Though our plan makes perfect sense to me, there are times I've wondered is it right to wait until after Baby is born? Or should we just take the plunge now and deal with a regression later?

The potty has been set up in the bathroom for a few months. He certainly has no fear of it but his interest in actually using the potty like a "big boy" is wavering. He would rather wear the seat as a hat. Gross, I know! He's not allowed to do that anymore :)


One day he shocked me and told me he wanted to "boop" in the potty. We hurried to the potty, dropped the diaper and a minute later HE DID! I have heard horror stories about potty training boys but was feeling very hopeful that day. Yes, I took a picture and sent it to my husband. I think we were all shocked!


Since that day, he still uses the potty but inconsistently. I ask him to use the potty and offer a choco chip if he goes, but some days he says no potty. Yes, he even turns down the chocolate chip!

For now, we are waiting for Baby's arrival and, once some sanity returns to our home, onto hardcore potty training we go! The big boy undies are ready and waiting.

Meanwhile I'm doing a little research on the whole potty training process. You know, while I'm in a less sleep-deprived state than when our newborn arrives!

This post from Heidi at Honeybear Lane has been very helpful ---> 50 Potty Training Tips from Real Moms. It reassured me that holding off on potty training is the right decision for us!

Basically, potty training is best to start when no major life changes are happening - i.e. new baby - because your child needs to feel secure enough to successful transition into potty training itself.

That's where we're at for now!
.....

Thank you to Host Heather Leigh and Co-Hosts Ally, Faith, Our Family Grace, and Hannah for organizing the One Year and Beyond link-up.

One Year and Beyond Topics:
April 2 // Spring activities and craft ideas for toddlers.
April 9 // How you keep your toddler occupied while grocery shopping.
April 15 // Potty Training.
April 22 // Ways to distract a toddler while you're cooking/cleaning etc.
April 29 // Clothes shopping for your toddler. (Deals, where to shop, saving money, etc.)

Please feel free to share any potty training wisdom or humorous stories!

Tuesday, April 14, 2015

My Favorite NO-EXCUSES Workout

Confession: I am have been a strength training slacker.

While most days I love to go out for a run, my number #1 excuse for slacking on strength training has been that "it takes too much time".

Over the past year, I have started to strength train consistently a couple times a week and my view of strength training has changed immensely. A strength training workout doesn't require an hour or even 45 minutes at the gym. Even a short strength session is better than none at all and it can be done at home!

Have 20 minutes you can spare? Fit it in then! I have worked in strength training while cooking supper and I didn't even burn the food ;) (Just make sure to set a timer!)

In all honesty, I just like to run a lot more than I like to strength train. Remember, we make time for what is important to us! And strength training just wasn't that important to me. Until now.

Though I'm far from "hardcore" in the strength training world, a quick workout a couple times a week has been very beneficial for my running and this pregnancy, too! To tell you the truth... I actually enjoy strength training now.

Plus, I can even include our toddler in a quick strength workout. He likes to lift up the 2.5 lb. weight plates and say "Heavvvvy!" :) Starting the strength training young!

Join up with the Fit Dish linkup as we share our favorite quick workouts. #dishthefit


A friend recommended one of Gina Aliotti's workout videos to me and now they are something I do weekly! Here is one of my favorites:

G-Fit Workout of the Day by Gina Aliotti:

  • 15 Bent-Over Bicep Curls
  • 10 Alternating Reverse-Grip Side Lateral Raises
  • 15 Bent-Over Rows
  • 10 Alternating Diagonal Front Raises
Rest and Repeat circuit x 2.

Watch Gina's demo video at 34 weeks pregnant!

View Image Source
Check out more of Gina's strength training videos on her Facebook page!

What is your favorite quick workout?
How do you get creative to fit exercise?

Linking up with the Fit Dish and Fitness Friday.

Thursday, April 9, 2015

Grocery Shopping Survival with a Toddler | 32 Week Update

This title is a bit misleading. Grocery shopping isn't usually a matter of survival with our toddler.

This week on One Year and Beyond, we are sharing the ways we keep our toddlers occupied while grocery shopping. Shopping with E is enjoyable 98% of the time. My goal in the below strategies is to prevent the 2% chance of him morphing into an absolute grocery store terror.

(Keep in mind, these strategies are geared towards parents shopping with ONE toddler. If you have more than one, I've got nothing. Haven't been there, haven't done that.)

My Toddler Grocery Shopping Strategies

  • Take the cart. Even if you need only one item... take the cart. Every time I grab the basket instead, I end up waddling around with a toddler in one arm and basket in the other.
  • Involve them in the process. Talk your toddler through the grocery list. Ask them to help looking for items. They may be small, but toddlers are people too!
  • Let your toddler walk or push the cart. If you're feeling brave and have the extra energy to find an AWOL child, that is. 
  • Bring a snack and drink. A snack and a sippy cup of "moo" save the day for us and keep E from wanting to sample whatever groceries I'm buying.
  • Avoid shopping when toddler is overly tired or hungry. Exhausted + hungry = grocery store meltdown. If you need to shop when child is exhausted, at least bring some fruit snacks!
  • Stay off the phone. Personally, it bugs me if I'm with someone and they talk or play on their phone the entire time. A quick phone call or text is fine, but I do my best to stay off the phone out of respect for the little person I'm with. 
  • Enjoy the process. Yes, try to enjoy grocery shopping. Rather than it being an annoying chore to do, think of grocery shopping as spending quality time with your child. It's an adventure to them!
  • When a meltdown does occur, try to ride it out. If E starts to throw a fit, I ask him what he needs and, if he's totally unconsolable, I just keep on shopping. Eventually he forgets why he's crying and calms down. Sorry to all the other shoppers, it's either that or ditch my groceries. Giving into his tantrums will just make it 10 times worse next time!

On our last shopping expedition, we made a special stop at the baby clothes. I have resisted the temptation to buy new clothes for baby (not knowing the gender helps) but it's still fun to browse!

We asked E if he's having a baby sister or baby brother:


E's toddler-senses predict that baby is a girl! Guess we'll find out in 8 weeks or so!


Baby #2: 32 Weeks



Baby's Size: Squash, average fetus size: 15.2 to 16.7 in, 2.5 to 3.8 lbs.

Cravings: Sourdough waffles, sausage and eggs with biscuits and gravy AND Cadberry cream-filled eggs. Not exactly a healthy choice but at least they are seasonal!


Aversions: Heartburn.

I'm Feeling: Excited, slightly overwhelmed and impatient. I'm ready for our baby to be here yet I know he or she needs to stay put for at least 5 more weeks! I don't feel as big as I look... until I eat. My stomach doesn't have much space these days. Morning sickness-like symptoms came back to me around 30 weeks and I have them in the mornings on and off now - just the nausea, dizzy sort of thing,

Sleep: I'm feeling really tired lately, especially from after lunch to bed-time. I sleep like a rock minus at least two trips to the bathroom per night.

Weight: Up 19 lbs from pre-pregnancy weight.

My Prayer for Baby: "Lord, I pray that You guide my family and me to peace in all situations. As we make important decisions for our family, I pray that You give us wisdom and peace as we follow in Your will. Thank You for this pregnancy and our family. Guide us in Your will everyday and help us to follow the way You want us to raise our children - not how the world tells us to raise them.  Amen. "
Now may the Lord of peace himself give you peace at all times and in every way. The Lord be with all of you. 2 Thessalonians 3:16
Last Week's Workouts: I'm feeling more tired this week and am cutting back on the miles. Hoping the weather warms up so I can run outside with the stroller again!
Monday: 3 treadmill miles, 10:16/mile.
Tuesday: 2 treadmill miles, 10:20/mile. Feeling extra tired today!
Wednesday: Strength Training
Thursday: 4.05 miles with the stroller & dog, 10:54/mile. Sunshine!!!
Friday: My body said REST today!
Saturday: 2.07 miles, 10:50/mile. Feeling super pregnant lately.
Total Mileage: 11.12 miles
.....

Thank you to Host Heather Leigh and Co-Hosts Ally, Faith, Our Family Grace, and Hannah for organizing the One Year and Beyond link-up.

One Year and Beyond Topics:
April 2 // Spring activities and craft ideas for toddlers.
April 9 // How you keep your toddler occupied while grocery shopping.
April 15 // Potty Training.
April 22 // Favorite Spring activities.
April 29 // Clothes shopping for your toddler. (Deals, where to shop, saving money, etc.)

What are your best grocery shopping strategies?
Have any tips to share on shopping with a toddler and a newborn?!

Monday, April 6, 2015

The Ultimate Adventure: Hiking the Grand Canyon Rim-to-Rim

For this week's the Fit Dish link-up, I'm sharing a little story of my golden birthday and the biggest hiking adventure of my life (so far).


Let's go wayyy back in time... My golden birthday celebration all started with running my first road marathon on May 21, 2011.

My almost 24-year-old self doesn't look that much different than me now - just add my husband, a big ole pregnant belly and our toddler to this picture:


I survived the 26.2, stopped to tie my shoe once and crossed the finish with one dying toenail. Gross. My older-younger brother was my "pit crew" and it was a wonderful day because...

Early Birthday Present: I qualified for the Boston marathon!
Equally Awesome: My family and I were leaving for Arizona the next day!

Three days after the marathon, it was officially my golden birthday so my adventurous brothers and I took off to hike across the Grand Canyon.

Apparently we take hiking very seriously. The older-younger bro at my left, youngest bro at my right.


Our Plan: To hike 23 miles from the North Kaibab Trailhead to the Bright Angel Trailhead in one day.

View Image Source

Our parents so kindly dropped us off at the North Rim trailhead in the early morning and we headed on our way. There was a light dusting of snow on the North Rim and cool temps that morning.


We hiked switchbacks, switchbacks, and more switchbacks!


The cool temps changed to a hot, desert-like climate as we hiked deeper into the canyon. We packed a few water bottles each and were able to re-fill at a couple locations.


Even the desert has a sort of beauty to it.


At the bottom of the canyon, we took a much-needed break at the Indian Garden to cool our feet in Victor's Oasis. The river flowing through this area makes it possible for more vegetation to grow. We ate our packed lunches and continued on our way for the last leg of the hike.


The last leg of our hike was all up as we climbed the South Rim. The views throughout the whole hike were breathtaking!
The heavens declare the glory of God; the skies proclaim the work of His hands. PSALM 19:1

11.5 hours and 23 miles of hiking later, we met up with our parents on the South Rim of the canyon just in time for supper. That pizza tasted extra amazing. I brought my hiking stick with to supper...


My Dream: To return to the Grand Canyon with my husband and our kids some day! That may be years from now but maybe, just maybe we will have teenagers crazy enough to hike Rim to Rim with mom and dad.

And, of course, I hope Grandma, Grandpa, my brothers and their families would join us, too!


What would be your ultimate adventure?
How do you stay active on vacation?

Linking up with the Fit Dish.

Thursday, April 2, 2015

Our Favorite Spring Things: Toddler Activities & Crafts

Spring is here and we are one step closer to shorts weather!

We are so excited to be outside in the sunshine again. E and I both love the outdoors plus it's a great way to burn off all of his toddler energy! Today I'm sharing a few of our favorite spring activities and crafts with the One Year and Beyond link-up.

Here are a few ways we are keeping busy indoors and outdoors:

Our Favorite Spring Toddler Activities & Crafts


Go On a Nature Walk // We found a fake leaf on one of our recent walks and E was so proud! There is always something new to see or collect when exploring outside.


Make a Playdough Pizza // When it's a bit too chilly outside, we stay in and play with our homemade playdough. E loves to make "pizza"!


Take a Stroller Walk or Run // This is mom's favorite! When I want to get in some extra exercise, E and I take the stroller out to run a few miles. It's still a bit cool and breezy here most days so we use the weather shield on our stroller. My pace is slowing a lot at 30 weeks pregnant but E still falls right to sleep.


Color with Mess-Free Markers // Color Wonder markers rock because they only color on the Color Wonder book! E isn't picky about what he colors on so these markers have been a mess-saver for me.


Chalk It Up // The snow has melted off our sidewalks and we now have a whole new art canvas to scribble on! As long as your toddler won't eat the chalk, this is a fun and safe art project plus the mess stays outside!


Thank you to Host Heather Leigh and Co-Hosts Ally, Faith, Our Family Grace, and Hannah for organizing the One Year and Beyond link-up.

One Year and Beyond Topics:
April 2 // Spring activities and craft ideas for toddlers.
April 9 // How you keep your toddler occupied while grocery shopping.
April 15 // Potty Training.
April 22 // Favorite Spring activities.
April 29 // Clothes shopping for your toddler. (Deals, where to shop, saving money, etc.)

What are your favorite spring activities?