Wednesday, May 28, 2014

Tips for Running with a Jogging Stroller

Summer is here and the temp has been in the 80's and 90's this week. Heat and humidity feel almost refreshing after such a frigid winter! Our family is battling allergies right now, but we really can't complain about this gorgeous weather.

In a few weeks, I'm running a local 10k with E and the jogging stroller (if the weather is stroller-friendly). This is the first race I've heard of that has something for jogging stroller runners, too.

First place stroller wins a gift card - How cool is that?! That gives some extra motivation to those running with the extra weight of a baby (or babies) + stroller :)

Check out the June Bug Run

Since running the Fargo Half Marathon, I haven't been doing any official "training". I run simply because I enjoy it and push the pace/distance when I feel like it, which hasn't been much with my allergies gone wild. Structured training plans are something I enjoy though running on a whim is refreshing, too.

So, since I mentioned I will likely be racing with E in the jogging stroller, that means I need to "train" (or whatever you want to call it) with the stroller.

Race specific runs = a good idea!

E is my jogging stroller champ. He is so patient!


Tips for Running with a Jogging Stroller

After E was born, I did a lot of research on our stroller and on running with little ones. Here are a few tips worth sharing:

Thoroughly read your stroller owner's manual. Pay close attention to the minimum age restriction and whether a car seat adapter should be used or not.

Check over your stroller before each use. Loose wheels and flat tires are bad news! If you have a weather shield for your stroller, be sure it fits correctly so baby can breathe.

The weather shield is key for anyone who lives in the northern climates! With the BOB Ironman and weather shield, I can run rain, snow or shine.

The BOB Ironman Single stroller has been absolutely amazing. I highly recommend buying it on sale because quality jogging strollers are spendy! We got ours on a Black Friday sale :)

Fuel for two. Appropriate fueling for both you and your baby is important. Make sure baby stays hydrated and a treat may keep him/her entertained for a few extra miles. On longer stroller runs, I bring water for both of us and a rice cake or apple sauce pouch for E. He loves the GoGo Squeeze applesauce!


Prepare for the weather. This goes for both of you, too. Now that we are in the summer months, E's sun hat goes everywhere with us. The retro sunglasses are great when he decides to leave them on! Be sure to put sunscreen on your baby - especially their little legs and feet that hang out of the stroller!

Baby's got style!

Run with proper form. Running with a stroller is more difficult than running solo. Ease into it and be sure to keep your form in check. Runner's World has great information about buying the right stroller and correct stroller running form. Check out their article for more information!

(Image Source: Runner's World article)

Happy running this week and may God bless your summer!

What are you up to this summer?
Have any upcoming races?
Do you ever run with a jogging stroller?


Linking up at Project Pin-it and Fitness Fridays.

Wednesday, May 21, 2014

Attitude is Contagious

Attitude.

A good one can make your day; a bad one can break it.

A good one is inspiring and a bad one spreads like a pandemic disease.

Last night I came home with a bad attitude because I let someone else's careless comment get to me. It sounds ridiculous now as I write this out but at the time I was fighting back tears. (I blame it on the weaning hormones!)

This morning I asked God to show me a verse that would speak into this situation. Why do words hurt so much? I opened up the book of Proverb and there was my answer. Reckless words really do feel like a sword stabbing your heart!
Reckless words pierce like a sword, but the tongue of the wise brings healing. PROVERBS 12:18
This verse reminded me of the careful thought we should put into our words. Is what I'm saying building someone up or tearing them down? Are my words wise or reckless?

Bad attitudes are contagious because they cause us to say bad things. Those reckless words then go on to hurt someone else and the bad attitude spreads.

Life is too precious to waste on a bad attitude. Today is a blessing. It's not perfect, but that's the best part. Perfect is boring.

Romans 15:13 is my prayer today. God gives us a joy that can't be taken. The Holy Spirit is our comfort and counsel on even the most trying days!
May the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace as you trust in Him, so that you may overflow with hope by the power of the Holy Spirit. ROMANS 15:13
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It's been rainy, gloomy and a tad bit chilly the last few days. Bright side >> I got some beautiful post-rain pictures! This is the only blooming tulip at our house. It is also the only one that E wanted to destroy.


Don't let a bad attitude keep you from enjoying the simple beauty of God's creation. Bright side >> Seriously!


I love May because... 1) It includes Mother's Day. 2) It's our wedding anniversary. 3) If you switch around the letters in "May", it spells my name. 4) It's my 27th birthday on Saturday. Bright side >> All of the above.

Momma's got a new pair of running shoes for my birthday! Broke them in with an easy 4-miler on the treadmill today.


This kid makes my day! His personality and strong will is really coming out now that he's a "toddler".

I love that he wants to explore and learn. I don't love that he shakes his head when I tell him "No". Bright side >> Misbehavior is a teachable moment. (Proverbs 23:13-14)


If you are the distance running type, I recommend watching this video. Bright side >> Running is a great attitude adjustment.



How is your Wednesday going?
What do you do to fight a bad attitude?

Linking up at Thriving Thursday, Fitness Friday, and the Click and Chat Social Link Up.

Monday, May 19, 2014

730 Days of Marriage

Leo and I are celebrating 730 days of marriage today! 730 days or 2 years - call it want you want to, this is the sequel to the "365 Days of Marriage" post.

We dug out our marriage vows today and reread them. The weather is rainy today, which is not good for farming but, on the bright side, Leo gets to spend some extra time with E and I!

Marriage hasn't been easy, but it is character-shaping and it is a wonderful blessing. Marriage belongs to God - always has, always will.
“God created marriage. No government subcommittee envisioned it. No social organization developed it. Marriage was conceived and born in the mind of God.” Max Lucado
This was us then:

We took a ton of pictures on our wedding day and it was a blast! 

This is us now (+1):

Now we attempt one family photo and it turns out like this :)
“But at the beginning of creation God ‘made them male and female.’ ‘For this reason a man will leave his father and mother and be united to his wife, and the two will become one flesh.’ So they are no longer two, but one flesh. Therefore what God has joined together, let no one separate.” MARK 10:6-9
The end of my wedding vow is my prayer for our marriage every year: "Let our marriage be a light to this world and a display of God's love."

Do you have any anniversary traditions?


Tuesday, May 13, 2014

Race Report: Fargo Half Marathon 2014

This weekend reminded me why the Fargo Marathon is my favorite race ever. The course is great (and flat), but the race environment and spectators are what make this race so special.

The race course was lined with spectators from start to finish. Music, cheering fans, and runners everywhere! And we only had to travel 2 hours to get there. It doesn't get much better than that!

The Fargo Marathon Finish
Image Source: Fargo Marathon Facebook Page

Quick Sidenote: Looking for an easy way to keep track of your race results? Athlinks.com is a great site that keeps a record of your race times and placings!

Before I start off on another random tangent, here is the race report:

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Fargo Half Marathon Results:

Finish Time - 01:34:08
Average Pace - 7:12/mile
Placing - Overall: 166th out of 5173. Females: 35th out of 3303.

Weather:

We couldn't have asked for better weather on race day! The sun was shining and the temp was in the mid-60's - perfect running weather. My very kind sis-in-law, Danielle, brought Mark (her husband/my brother) and me to the Athlete's Village at 6:45.

The morning was a bit chilly so we hung on to our warm-up clothes as long as possible.The porta-potty lines were ridiculously long so we decided to take our chances and just not "go" until after the race. Now that's risky business!


Race summary:

Sleep was scarce the night before the race. E had a bad night of sleep so he ended up in bed snuggling with me most of the night. We had a little snoring issue in the hotel room, too, though I'm not blaming my parents because I happen to be a world-class snorer myself!

When morning arrived, my stomach was not doing well and I was only able to eat a half slice of peanut butter toast and 1/4 banana. That's not like me at all! I read my Bible while attempting to eat and God put Isaiah 40:31 on my heart. I wrote this on my arm for the race:
But those who hope in the Lord will renew their strength.
They will soar on wings like eagles;
they will run and not grow weary,
they will walk and not be faint.
ISAIAH 40:31
We weren't in the Athlete's Village for very long before it was time to drop off our bags and head to the starting line. My brother and I made our way up to the 1:30-1:45 pace group for the starting announcements.

While waiting, I ate half of my "Espresso Love" GU Gel because I was already hungry and we hadn't even started running yet! I adore coffee, so I thought "Espresso Love" sounded like the best GU flavor ever... but it didn't sit in my stomach so well. The flavor was really good but I was so thirsty afterwards.


Mark took off in the front of the 1:30 group and I was a few minutes behind him. For the first two miles, I was at a sub-7:00/mile pace which was almost a minute faster than I had planned! I was caught up in the momentum of the herd but the pace felt easy (at the time).

Mile 1 - 6:49
Mile 2 - 6:58
Mile 3 - 7:02
Mile 4 - 7:13
Mile 5 - 7:15
Mile 6 - 7:09

Half/Full Difference #1: Those half marathon people start out fast and they stay fast! In the full marathon, my strategy is to hold back for the first 6-miles in order to survive the next 20. The race is long and I have a chance to make up ground later in the race. In this half, the 1:30-1:45 group started out fast and most stayed fast! I kept thinking to myself "Slow down or you're going to regret it later!". I trained for a ~1:40 finish time and wasn't sure if I could hold this for the full race.


By mile 9, I was pretty well shot and my stomach was feeling horrible. I grabbed a Vanilla GU Gel from the aid station and tried eating half of that. The sugar seemed to give me a little boost but I was still nauseous. Thank God that He doesn't mind hearing our sometimes off-the-wall prayers because mine at that time was "God, please keep me from throwing up in this race". Praise God, He did just that!

My watch died at mile 10 and I didn't know if I could keep a sub-8:00 min. pace to the finish. While pushing through the last 5k, I kept thinking (Isaiah 40:31 in exhausted fragment sentences) "Hope in the Lord. Renewed strength. Run and not grow weary."

Mile 7 - 6:49
Mile 8 - 6:58
Mile 9 - 7:02
Mile 10 - 7:13
Then my watch died... :(

Half/Full Difference #2: Less time to chat. In past marathons, I have met a nice person or two to visit with as the miles passed, but during this half there wasn't much visiting going on for me. I think it was due to the pace difference and a shorter race distance. I am much more chatty at a 8:15/mile pace rather than 7:12/mile!


E hung out with my family and my friend Megan while we were running. Since he's 14 months old now, he's basically a grown up and likes to "pretend drink" coffee!


At the end of the 13.1, we were so glad to cross the finish! Mark crossed the finish line at 1:30:58 and I did a few minutes after in 1:34:08.

Half/Full Difference #3: Half training was more baby-friendly. According to most long-distance runners, I ran extremely low mileage in training for this race with 35 miles being my peak mileage week (yes, that is ridiculous)! My mileage looks pretty good compared to Mark's, though. The farthest he ran was a 7-miler, yet he is so bull-headed that he still finished in a great time!

The lower mileage and lack of 20-milers made training much easier to fit in. Most training runs could be done early in the morning, during nap-time, or out with E in the jogging stroller.


Conclusion: Half marathons are a blast! My first half felt like a really long sprint. Post-race recovery has been great. E wanted to play on the playground after the race and my right hip was stiff climbing up and down the stairs, but after a night's sleep it was back to normal.

The 26.2 will always be my favorite race, but 13.1 is the perfect distance for me while we have little people running around the house.


My first half marathon was a blast and I hope to run another one someday in the future. I am thankful for the opportunity to race and for all the people who support me:

Thank God for the gift of running and the health to be able to run.

Thank you to my amazing husband for driving to Fargo after work and spending Mother's Day with me!

Thank you to my awesomely supportive parents who help me so much. Whether it was horse shows back in the day, tennis matches in college, or races now, they have always been there!

Thank you to my brother for beating me (as usual) by ~3 minutes and for his wifey coming to watch us.

Thank you to my best friend Megan for cruising the race expo with me looking for free stuff.

And thank you to Mr. E for making me a "mom" and for behaving for Grandma and Grandpa while I ran!


I love E's monkey hat :)

What's better than a post-race playground trip?!
LET THE COMPETITION BEGIN.
LET THE GLORY BE GOD'S.
Linking up on Whimsical Wednesdays and Fitness Friday.

Sunday, May 11, 2014

Happy Mother's Day!

Happy Mother's Day to all the mamas out there!
Her children rise up and call her blessed. PROVERBS 31:28a
Now that I am a mom myself I appreciate my own mother even more. Motherhood has been the most challenging yet most rewarding role of my life! I haven't been at this for very long though it is truly amazing how much has changed in the last 14.5 months.

Last week, I read an article called "What You Do Matters, Mama" and it basically summed up everything I feel on those more trying days. Find encouragement in knowing that God is with us! He sees us. He hears us. He is for us!
"May we see the glory in the mud and mildew and monotony of motherhood. God is doing a good work in us, through us, with us." Erika at For the Family

I love you, mom!


I couldn't have asked for a better Mother's Day weekend! Race day was a sunny mid-60's, my brother and I both crossed the finish in one piece, and Leo was able to meet up with us that evening after work. I am so thankful for my time with family and for God blessing me with this sweet little boy!


I will write up a race report on the Fargo Half Marathon this week :)



Linking up at the Click and Chat Social Media Linkup.

Monday, May 5, 2014

Marathon Monday: Mother's Day Gift Guide for Runners

(WARNING: This post contains a picture of my foot. Don't say I didn't warn you.)

It's Fargo's Marathon Monday! Only five days until the half marathon and six days 'til Mother's Day!

This week started out on an interesting note. I woke up at 6 a.m. to sneak out for an easy 3-mile run and had a shoe malfunction. I didn't change anything - same shoes, usual sock style - but my heel was feeling a tad bit uncomfortable. A few hours later, I looked down at my heel and noticed this bad boy -->


My last two long runs were 14.67 miles and 10 miles, both went without a hitch. Of all days, I happen to have shoe issues on a 3-mile day! My shoes and I had an issue in the past but I fixed it right up with some duct tape. Classy, right? Duct tape did the trick until today...

...

Enough whining, on to race goal paces.

On my longest-long run, the 13.1 mark passed at around 1:50 or so, which is 10 to 20 minutes slower than my "A-Goal" time. The idea of running a 7:00 to 7:30/mile pace for 13.1 miles makes me want to spit my coffee all over the computer right now. (Don't worry, I won't. I'm on Leo's computer.)

Long runs are vital, yet they aren't a solid predictor of the pace you will maintain on race day. This article from Runners Connect sums up my thoughts about race day.
"The secret is, you should almost never feel like you could run a full marathon at goal pace in training. If you do, it’s likely your goal is far too easy." View full article here.
My goal pace does feel like a big stretch right now, so looks like I'm right on track! A good taper + race day adrenaline can do wonders. Now to enjoy a taper week, prevent any further blistering, and play outside with Mr. E!


Do you have any races coming up?
How do you determine your goal race pace?

5 Mother's Day Ideas for Running Moms

If you are looking for a gift for that special momma in your life, here are a few ideas! These are my personal opinions of course :)

1. Make a card or handmade gift.

Who doesn't love handmade gifts!? I helped E out with the card below, but the scribbles are all him.


2. Take her on a coffee date.

Caribou is amazing AND roasted in Minnesota. Medium vanilla cappuccino, please :)


3. Take her out to supper.

OR make her supper (and do the dishes if you're feeling crazy). It's hard to beat homemade pizza!


4. Give her a race entry.

A race entry is a wonderful gift (for a running mom)! This weekend's half is the day before Mother's Day. Weekend with family + running + cute race gear = AWESOME.


5. Get active as a family.

Go for a family walk, play tennis, run around the playground. Just do something to move together. I told Leo that running as a family is my love language. Maybe I will ask Dr. Gary Chapman to add that to his "5 Love Languages" book!

5a. For pregnant moms, the cutest shirt ever!

If the Lord blesses us with another pregnancy, I want to hunt down a "Running for Two" shirt! Finding shirts to cover the baby bump in the last trimester can be tricky and this shirt looks like the perfect solution. Plus it's adorable.


What is your most memorable Mother's Day?

Linking up at Thank Goodness It's Monday and Whimsical Wednesdays.

Friday, May 2, 2014

Because You Are Young

This world strives to keep us discontent; always wanting more or something other than what we already have. The lie goes something like this: "When I have ______ or when I am ______, I will be happy. Then I will have 'arrived'". Meeting a person who is content is rare! Being content doesn't just apply to material possessions; it also applies to our season of life.

I have caught myself "wishing away" certain seasons in life. When I was single, I longed to be married. When we were engaged, I couldn't wait to be married. Now as a new-ish wife and mom, I find myself wanting to be more experienced; not to be considered a young new mom.

In 1 Timothy 4:12, Paul wrote to Timothy about being an example for others in the faith despite being young.
Don’t let anyone look down on you because you are young, but set an example for the believers in speech, in conduct, in love, in faith and in purity. 1 TIMOTHY 4:12
I don't know how old Timothy was when Paul wrote these words to him, but I do believe his words can speak truth into all of our lives.

"Young" is a Season

Being "young" isn't necessarily referring to age alone, but also to our season of life.

Leo and I are in season of new, new, new. Still considered newlyweds to some (2 years on May 19th! Woop!), new-ish parents, and new in town.

The dreaded "just wait 'til" comments started when we were engaged to be married and still pop up, even now that we are married and survived pregnancy and the first year of parenting! Just wait 'til the "honeymoon years" are over. Just wait 'til you have more kids. Just wait 'til you have teenagers!

There will always be people who look down on you because of your season in life. They are likely struggling with contentment in their own life and feel it necessary to discourage someone else.

Give them grace because we've all been there. When life is frustrating, it is tempting to be harsh with others!

Being an Example

To make the best of your season, focus on God's truth and what Paul shared with Timothy.

Glorify God today.

Mentor and encourage others that are in earlier seasons of life.

Seek mentoring relationships with believers who have been in your season.

Pray for contentment in your heart.
Godliness + Contentment = Great Gain! (from 1 Timothy 6:6)

Know that God has you in this specific season for a purpose. Rather than wishing it away, look for opportunities to glorify Him. Whatever your season of life, be encouraged. Live each day as an example for others in speech, in conduct, in love, in faith, and in purity.
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These days I'm embracing this holy-cow-I'm-a-mom ground-up-cheerios naptime-workout slobbery-baby-kisses irregular-sleeping season! I don't want to wish away the precious time I have with this boy.


What season of life are you in?
How do you embrace your season each day?

Linking up at Fellowship Fridays.