Body After Baby: Four Months

Hey guys! Sorry this month’s update is a little late, but I wanted to get it written. After this month’s post, I will skip month 5 and do a 6, 9, and 12 month update. Progress is much slower month to month now, so there isn’t as much to say, but here we go!

I am now 4 months postpartum, and January was a tough one. Coming off of the holidays not really losing any weight, and the cold made for slow progress. Also, I dove head first into marathon training, and when I do lots of long runs, I eat. When I marathon train I typically gain a little weight because I am hungry ALL THE TIME, so this has been a tricky balance.

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I joined the gym, but am not happy with their childcare situation, so I’m not sure what to do about that one. So, because of this, I haven’t gone as often as I would like. I have been going on Tuesday and Thursday when Emma Kate is at daycare for part of the day, but then that cuts into my time to work so it has been difficult. I try to make it at least one more time, whether it be when Bobby comes home from work or on Saturday when Bobby can watch EK, but, I also need to long run on Saturday so again, haven’t really found a balance yet.

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My weight fluctuates a lot, but I am pretty sure I only lost .5-1 pound this past month. I’m not sure what to think of it, except hopefully it will be easier once the marathon is over and I’m not running so many miles. Since I have such limited time to workout, I have really only been running. I run 5 days a week as opposed to my ideal which is to run 3 days a week, and cross train/strength train 2-3 days a week.

I still feel much “thicker” in the middle, and have about 9-9.5 pounds to go to be where I would like to be. I feel like my body has shifted where my weight is held, and I am just shaped differently now. I would be lying if I said looking back on old photos didn’t irritate me a bit.

I successfully ran my first post baby half marathon, and am looking forward to running the runDisney Princess half marathon at the end of this month. I am running with Jen, and we are running for fun/stopping to take lots of character photos etc., so thankfully there is no pressure.

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I am still taking my Advocare products, the Catalyst and Spark seem to give me an extra boost in my workouts so I don’t feel as tired, but that doesn’t stop me from wanting to eat all the things after. I have recently started taking another one of their products, called Fibo-trim, that will hopefully help with my portion control.

I FEEL good which is really important to me, and I have been sleeping well, but I know if I can get a few more pounds off it will help my running and my confidence. I can finally fit into my old runningskirts.com athletic skirts (they are cut a bit bigger than the running skirts) so that was a nice surprise, I was able to wear one under my tutu at my race in New Orleans. I have a ton of cute workout clothes I am dying to get back into, so hopefully soon!

Be looking for another update at the end of March for my 6 month progress, and hopefully I will have more to report by then!

QOTD: When you train for a race and log a lot of miles do you eat more/feel more hungry?

Supporting the Little Guys: Smaller Races Can Be a Blast

Chicago, New York, Boston, Disney. What do these places have in common? Well, for one thing, they are all ripe with history and amazing places to visit throughout the year. But, another commonality shared is they all contain marquee races, drawing in thousands of runners and millions in revenue. Some of these places even have more than one big race. I’m glad races like those exist. It’s great to meet up with thousands of those who share your passion and cover the city in a seemingly endless tapestry of neon colors and space blankets.

But, what about the smaller races? Or, what about the towns that don’t have the means to invite an elite field and/or can’t support a 35,000 runner course? I’m only recently reminded of this by reading an article in this month’s Runner’s World, which talks about although running is enjoying a Renaissance period, smaller races are losing their sponsors, permits and are closing down[1].

While they may not be the biggest or sexiest, smaller races play a vital role in the running landscape.

One illustration of the importance of the smaller race is the sense of community involvement. Think about it. Has there ever been a race, no matter how small; there wasn’t at least one person along the course cheering you on? My guess is most, if not all of you will answer no. That’s what makes this sport so awesome, the people, even if they aren’t the runners. Not to mention the potential for positive economic impact for the community that can be resonate in the ways of local restaurants, gas stations, stores, etc.

Another argument for the little guys is that smaller fields mean less competition. And, for those who are, let’s just say competitively challenged (like myself), this provides an opportunity to get your name next to a low number. For instance, when I lived in Chicago, my wife and I ran a 5k that supported a local charity. When it comes to small races, this one was probably the smallest I had ever run. The field was probably no more than 75 people and the start line was essentially the rubber time mat. There was no fanfare or announcement, we all just looked at each other and started running. There was one volunteer at the water stop and a handful of spectators. Plus, we had to run early as there was another 5k to start in two hours and it used some of our course. I would say I ran it okay, certainly not my best effort, but two weeks later I received a medal (keychain) in the mail saying I had won my age group (out of ten people)! It’s the first running medal I had ever received based on performance and not completion and one of my favorites. If this were a larger race I may not have won or even placed.

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I think the third, and one of the most important reasons, to run a small race is frequency. Small races give you the chance to try new race tactics without the fear of heading into a $150 race with an untested strategy. My Achilles Heel in racing is getting caught up in the hoopla and starting too fast. Even though, I know when people pass me at the start they are going too fast and I’ll catch them, my ego goes berserk and I begrudgingly take off. But, when running smaller races, I get to test out different methods to overcome that issue and feel okay if one of them doesn’t work since I have a small race the following day or week. Use these races to hone your craft and see what works best for you.

In these days of renewed focus on supporting the small business, extend that sentiment to the small race, too. The reasons I shared above are just a few of the many benefits these races can provide to you. So, do them a solid; sign up for a race, have fun and then post a recap for other runners to experience through your perspective. Don’t rule out the little guys, they may be more fun than you could ever have imagined.

Happy running! Run fast. Run smart.

About the author:

Justin Stone lives in Boston, works in advertising and loves everything about running. Most days you can catch him on the Charles River running path or behind the lens of his camera snapping shots of the city’s vibrant and diverse culture. You can read about his running exploits (or whatever else is on his mind) at his blog: www.alwaysrunningforward.com

You can also find him on these social sites:

Facebook – facebook.com/alwaysrunningforward

Twitter – DisnyRunr24

Instagram – DisnyRunr24

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[1] Douglas, Scott. “Some Smaller Marathons Suffering Despite Boom.” Runner’s World. Web. 05 Dec. 2013.

Dealing with Confidence and Bad Runs

It happens to all of us, the run that is no fun and difficult from the very beginning.

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I felt like crap, but am loving the look of my Under Armour Monza’s!

You tell yourself you just need to warm up, but two miles later you still feel like it’s pure torture. You can’t find your groove, everything seems labored and more difficult, and you just don’t want to be there.

I had one of those lovely runs yesterday morning. It was a GORGEOUS cool morning, and I hadn’t run a long run in three weeks. I had been resting due to illness, and thought I would run a great eight miler since I had been resting for so long. Well, for some reason my “great 8 miler” turned into a “yucky, slow, and depressing 6 miler”.

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My “that was a yucky run” face. Oh yes.

What went wrong? I have ZERO idea. Well, not entirely true, I have been switching up my eating, but I still don’t think that warrants such a bad run. I just felt in a funk and wanted to be done and got really mad at myself.

Why do we do this? Even though I KNOW every run isn’t a good one, and that one bad run doesn’t mean anything/that I am a terrible person who will never have a good race ever, it doesn’t seem to stop these thoughts and doubts from creeping into my mind. I left my run feeling very down on myself with little confidence in my abilities.

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This one is titled “How did THAT happen? Ug”.

What do you do when you have a confidence breaking bad run? What if it lasts a couple weeks? (I fear I may be in a burn out/funk over here!) I have a half marathon in six days, and then Dopey training (OMG yikes) and need to snap out of this!! Aaaahhhh!

QOTD: What do you do to get over a bad run or get out of a running funk?

Back to Baltimore

Guess what? I am headed back to Baltimore today! Yup, hopping a plane from Orlando and headed up there for one day to run a half marathon with Under Armour as part of the Baltimore running festival.

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Under Armour is one of the sponsors of the race, and they invited me up to run. So, poor Bobby will be driving home from Disney alone while I take Magical express to the airport this morning! I am so excited and can’t wait to share the experience with you.

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As always I will be posting on Instagram, Facebook and Twitter and will do a full race recap after. It’s just a quick trip, but I am stoked none the less.

Let me give you some fun facts about this race:

-VIP section for Under Armour employees

-Post race yoga

– A set up at the event so people can get more familiar with Under Armour

-Held in Under Armour’s backyard in Baltimore

-over 30,000 runners come to Baltimore for the festival

-Tough, hilly, (but fun!) course.

Be sure to follow the Baltimore running festival on Facebook for more information! There are a FEW half and full entries available at the expo if you still want to run!

QOTD: What is your favorite thing about race expos?

The Pros & Cons of Running a Local Race

Nicole is guest posting today and sharing her list of pro’s and con’s about local races. Check it out and see if you agree!

I love races. It’s pretty much the only reason that run at all. I look forward to the crowds, the t-shirts, the medals (if they have them) and the excuse to eat as much as I want afterwards, because, hey, I burned some calories. So I got to thinking, which do I love more, local races or destination races? Well, here is my pros and cons list on local races. (You can catch my previous post on destination races here).

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PROS

You get to sleep in! No waking up at 4am, you can roll out of bed and drive easily to your destination.

You don’t worry about forgetting to pack something (though at one local half marathon, I left my headphones in the car and luckily my boyfriend was able to grab them and give them to me before the start of the race. Can you imagine?? Running 13.1 miles WITHOUT music? As if!)

You can run with friends or see familiar faces before and after. I love it when I see people I know. It really makes the tick tock of time that happens when you’re waiting for the race to start go faster.

You may be able to place in your age group because of the small pool of people running! This is a good one for those of us that aren’t super fast runners. One 5k I did, I actually won my age group…and I finished in 30 minutes. Granted, I may have been one of five 30-35 year olds at that race, but whatever, I got a ribbon!

CONS

Sometimes, they’re not as well organized. Local races are put on by local people who are just like us. They have regular people jobs and families and putting on a race is something extra for them to do. I always give a little slack for organization. My boyfriend and I put on a trail run once and it was CRAZY! There is so much that goes into putting on a race (I’ll save that story for another blog post). Luckily, no one got lost and everyone was accounted for – oh and everyone won a prize (PRO). It was a small crowd, 50+ runners, we had enough prizes for everyone.

Scenery is not always great. If you’re like me and always running locally, you’re always seeing the same scenery. It can get boring sometimes.

The t-shirts aren’t always great. I’m going to be honest. Really, I run for the t-shirts and medals. And local races don’t always have the best. Though I do use my cotton t-shirts I get from local races as my “throw-away” clothes at RunDisney races.

To sum it up, the best thing to remember is no matter what, a race is a race and it gets you out there to do what you’re training to do on all those runs by yourself! Runners are such a great group of people too, so get out there and enjoy what your neighborhood, city or surrounding city has to offer you.

QOTD: Do you prefer local or destination races?

Pros & Cons of Running a Destination Race

Today Nicole from Live Laugh Eat Run is going to be talking about the pros and cons of running a destination race, while I am this morning actually RUNNING a destination race! The 10k portion of the Dumbo Double Dare is this morning! eekkkk!

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Here we go!

Pros

You get to travel! I love traveling, so this is definitely the number one reason for me to do destination races. New places, new things to see, it’s all so exciting.

If you’re going to a LARGE destination race, i.e., RunDisney or Rock ‘n’ Roll races, you usually get a pretty awesome shirt and medal at the end of the race. And I am all about the bling.

Buzz factor. There is SO much energy at a large destination race that you can’t help but feel overcome with excitement to GO! I love running with thousands of people all intending to reach the same goal, to cross that finish line.

Cons

You forgot to pack your visor, your arm band, your shoes, etc. Or, you packed your visor, arm band and shoes in your checked luggage and the airline lost your bag! ALWAYS pack your most important running items in your carry on. Better safe than sorry.

Not knowing your way around town easily and getting lost on your way to picking up your race packet/getting to the start line. When we were in Barcelona, we did the Cursa dels Nassos 10k. We had NO idea where to go to pick up our packets and basically ended up across town (I am directionally challenged). We eventually got them and were able to find our way to the start the next day, but it was a little stressful.

Large races sometimes have SO MANY PEOPLE. As I said before they have great energy, but sometimes you can get a little overwhelmed with the amount of people you are surrounded by.

All that said, I do highly recommend, if you’re a runner, to try a destination race. If it’s in the middle of a city you’re not familiar with, it’s a great way to see the sights! There are so many that I want to do, like Marine Corps Half Marathon, Niagara Falls Women’s Half Marathon and the San Diego Rock ‘N’ Roll Half. One of these days I’ll get there!

Until then, keep on keeping on.

QOTD: Is there anything I am leaving off this list?

An Ode to the 5k

 

Oh 5k, how I loathe thee. You would think that because you are such a short distance compared to other races I have run, that I would think you are a breeze, but this is not the case. Sprinting for 3.1 miles is not my idea of fun. Constantly pushing at your pace threshold for that long of a time is really quite exhausting.

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It is the only distance that makes me so nauseated the last half mile that I think I may vomit on a spectator (sorry in advance, you shouldn’t wear new shoes and stand so close to the finish line). I ran a 5k training run yesterday, and decided that the training run was more painful that running Goofy’s race and a half challenge. Oh yes, I went there.

Don’t get me wrong, Goofy was painful, but in an achy-my-whole-body-hurts kind of way. I wasn’t gasping for breathe or ready to collapse at the finish line during marathon weekend. My sides didn’t cramp and my stomach wasn’t upset. It’s just a different kind of pain that I can’t explain to non-distance runners. Granted, I ate terribly all weekend and haven’t been getting the proper sleep, but that 3.1 miles was still really tough for me.

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I had 3 miles of shame to run thanks to the 49er’s losing, so I made it 3.1 for good measure.

Even though I loathe this distance more than my dogs hate bath time, I still continue to sign up for them. Why? Well, that’s a great question. For one, they are local, so it’s a chance to race and not have to drive far. Two, I don’t have to train for months like I do a half or full marathon, and three, I love competition. The thrill of crossing a finish line is just too much for me to stay away from, no matter the distance.

So, I will continue to run 5k’s, because I love to run. It’s what I do. I hate the race while running it, but as soon as I cross I am ready to sign up for another one. So who is ready to run? I have two 5k’s on my calendar in the next month.

QOTD: The 5k: love it or loathe it?

Weekly Recap: October Week 5

 

Good morning! We are headed down to Orlando today, and had fun spectating at ironman Florida yesterday. My sister survived and did very well, and now we are headed to Disney, because Bobby and I have a race to run next weekend!

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Let’s take a look at my workouts from this last week. If you will remember, the weekend before (Saturday) I ran the Jazz half marathon, so I took the week pretty easy and didn’t run until Thursday trying to let my arch heal.

Sunday: rest (day after half marathon)

Monday lift upper body weights, 30 minutes stationary bike

Tuesday: lift weights, upper body, 30 minutes stationary bike

Wednesday: off (was wearing holter monitor)

Thursday: upper body weights, 4.5 mile treadmill run

Friday: rest/travel

Saturday: ironman spectating (walked about 2.5 miles total, some in the sand, ran about .5 miles trying to catch my sister to take pictures.

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This week will be interesting, and won’t be a typical pre half marathon race week. We will be in Florida all week, walking around a lot and eating sodium filled restaurant food. Oh well. What can you do. It will be a really fun race, we just won’t be getting very many miles in (except walking) or eating healthy foods. Today we check in and head to EPCOT for the Food and Wine Festival before running wine and dine!

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October 2012 Goals

 

I wrote a post in September talking about my goals for the month. Now that it’s October (WOW) it’s time to look back and see how I did. I decided to only set 3 goals for September, I have been really busy so I wanted to set some “mini” obtainable in a month goals as opposed to more long term ones. To review, here are the three goals I made:

1.) Run 4 days a week

2.) Drink 8 glasses of water a day

3.) Stop negative thinking/pessimistic attitude

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aaannnddd here is how I did:

1.) Run 4 days a week (A-) I did this all but one week, where I ran three times. I am happy to say I finally feel like I am starting to get back on track with my workouts. Let’s hope this trend continues and I stay injury free!

2.) Drink 8 glasses of water a day (A+) It has been very hot and humid, so this goal was pretty simple to follow. I think I drank nearly 8 glasses just during and after my runs! I only had a glass of sweet tea at dinner on Friday or Saturday nights, and other than that and sports drinks, it has been water all the way, and not going to lie my face has cleared up a LOT. I have always been that girl that struggles with acne her whole growing up, but between not wearing makeup every day and drinking lots of water, it’s looking pretty good!

3.) Stop negative thinking/pessimistic attitude (B-) Not going to lie, this is still tough for me. It kind of comes and goes in waves. I will do really well for a few days, and be really positive, then something will happen and send me into a temporary tail spin. I am really going to keep working on not letting little things set me off and ruin my day or week, and instead try to learn from the situations and use them as an opportunity for growth.

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October Goals:

1.) PR in a half marathon. I have two halfs this month, the first I doubt I will PR in, but the 2nd, I think it’s possible if I continue to work hard to get back to where I was. Reason why I won’t PR in the first one…ok, I guess it’s time to spill the beans. I am going on a cruise right before the half marathon, so Bobby may have to roll be through the course. I am of course VERY excited about my trip (got a great deal!) but the half…oy.

2.) Actually make a craft from Pinterest. I always see and pin the cutest things (especially for the holidays!) but never actually make anything. I am so not crafty, it’s kind of sad. Must remedy this.

3.) Read a book. October is pretty crazy with travel, but reading a book relaxes me, and it also means I am taking time for myself, so this is a good goal for this wild month.

4.) Vlog more.  I vlog here and there, but I want to do it a bit more consistently, at least once a week. I think that’s a good starting point.

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Be sure to enter my giveaway, only a couple days left to enter!

QOTD: What is a goal you have for October?

*Check out my NEW travel page! It’s on my menu at the top of the page as wel.

Favorite Race Bling

 

It’s no secret I love to race. I love the thrill of the start, the adrenaline of the home stretch, and the accomplishment of crossing the finish line. However, I am a girl, and I also really, really love the bling. I have collected a good bit of it in the past 3 years (and really really need a new rack to hang my medals on!)

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I display my two medal racks proudly in our bonus room. What’s the point of throwing it in the closet in a box or displaying it somewhere no one ever goes? I love looking up from my desk and seeing them, side by side, my two full rows of accomplishments.

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With five new races already on the schedule, a new place to hang medals is a must. Maybe I just need one of those extender bars to go underneath so I can have two rows of medals? Anyway, I am getting off topic here. While I love ALL my medals, a select few hold a special place in my heart. I thought about what I would do if I had to narrow it down to three medals, and this is what i came up with and why.

1.) Disney marathon 2011

This one is pretty obvious to anyone who knows me, I love runDisney and Disney in general. This was my first (and only so far) marathon, and I was so proud to get this baby! I worked my tail off to get there, and it felt so great to cross that finish line. Whenever I look at it and think about that fun day, it puts a smile on my face.

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2.) Rouge Orleans Ultra Marathon Relay

This race was so hard. It was the first overnight relay (and only) I had ever done, and I had NO idea what to expect. it was fun, miserable, difficult and awesome all wrapped into one. I slept 1.5 hours during a 36 hour time slot, ran about 21 miles, biked about 10 miles, oh, and the temps overnight were on the teens, or and we were up high on a levee in the crazy wind and cold. I am so proud of this accomplishment, and even though in the middle of it I swore I would never do it again, I find myself saying “I can’t WAIT to do another one of these!”

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3.) Rock ‘n Roll New Orleans half marathon 2012

I chose this one because I have run all three RnR NOLA races so it reminds me of three races! I love New Orleans, love that it is my roots, and love this race! Not to mention I am obsessed with Fleur de Lies and well, take a look at this beauty! This year’s race was a fun one for me because my husband ran it with me. (We always run the same races but he always takes off, he’s way faster than me!) We ran every step together and he coached and encouraged me to a PR. I will always remember this one!

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**Ok friends, now it’s your turn! e-mail me at [email protected]. Send me a photo of your favorite race bling, what race it’s from, and tell me (briefly, please) why it is your favorite. If you have a blog put the URL in there as well, and once day next week I will write a post and share all of your photos and stories! Please send photos by this Saturday morning the 7th, 10:00 am CST to make it into the post. If you miss out I may do part 2 at a later date, maybe this fall when you can collect more race bling!

*You can check out race recaps from these races and more by clicking on my races tab above!

QOTD: How do you display your race medals? On the wall? In the attic? Hanging on your mirror in your bedroom like my mom’s are? (haha she may kill me for that one)