August 30, 2014
by Jen
2 Comments

Honey Stinger, Power Gels, and GU, Oh my!!!!

I hope you are all having a great Labor Day weekend!!!! This has been a super busy but great week for me. I wanted to chat for a bit about the age-old topic of fueling! Before we get into that though I thought I would give you a week re-cap :) . I changed my running schedule up a little this week….just because of some things we had planned and to  hopefully help my 1/2 coming up next week.

On Tuesday we went on a family fun trip to Dutch Wonderland (an amusement park) with the families at our church. It was a blast! There were 40 of us all together and the kids all had such a great time!!!

Here is about 1/2 of our group:

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Swings with Courtney

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Crazy water log ride! My kids like to be in the front :)

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Monday I decided to do a 9 progression run which meant Tuesday I wanted nothing to do with speed work. For my speed work this week I wanted to do more of a tempo instead of repeats just to help prepare for my 1/2  :) . Typically in a week I only do 2 stress workouts; 1 speed day and the long run. This week I did 3. The progression run, the tempo and the long run. Next week my plan is to cut the miles back a bit and take it easy.

Monday: 9 mile progression: 8:08, 7:59, 7:54, 7:48, 7:36, 7:33, 7:42 (oops), 7:24, 7:07

Tuesday: early 6.5 miles before our trip to Dutch Wonderland

Wed: 8 miles 8:03

Thurs: Tempo run, 6 miles at 6:48 pace with 1.5 mile warm up and cool down

Friday: 8.25 miles at 8:09 pace

Sat: 12 miles at 7:34 pace.

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One thing I have been working on in almost all my runs is making my last mile my fastest or close and I am hoping this will help me at the end of my races!

Now onto the age-old question: How do you fuel during races?

This is something I definitely do not have down and I am always looking to find out what works for other people! One thing I have learned is that there is no right answer to how to fuel. Everyone is different and what works for one person may not work for another. There are also SO many options from chews to gels to food. In my opinion once you have found something that works well for you, stick with it! I have tried several different things and while I have found something that is ok for me, I am not set on anything just yet.I have run 3 1/2 marathons and have not used fuel for any of them, but am thinking a gel might help me finish better. For the marathon I have tried many things, but for my PR marathon I got almost 3 gels down. The last one was tough :) .

I have used and like the honey stinger chews, but I have a hard time-consuming enough of them. I like the idea of just swallowing a gel and being done with it! I also really like to chew gum (actually, I HAVE to chew gum) when I run and this makes that more challenging.

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I have tried a whole slew of gels and barely like just a few. I can handle the Salted Caramel, Chocolate PB and Honey Stinger Fruit Smoothie….and I don’t really like any of them…but I can make it work.

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I have a hard time just getting them down fast without wanting to gag (sorry if that is too much info). I have had some people say just take them small bits at a time but that just seems like a pain to be carrying an open gel and trying to make that work. If you do that let me know how and what you think about it!

My hardest and worst marathon I brought 3 gels and after 1/2 of one I felt like I just could not handle anymore, so I ran the rest of the marathon without anything…SO hard and I totally hit the wall.

One of the best ways to find out what fuel will work for you is to just try different kinds on your long run. This really is the only way to find out what works for you. The only reason I hate this is because I don’t want to ruin a long run with the wrong fuel, but it really is the only way to know.

There is also the option of candy…which I have done, but am not thrilled with.

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I am going to be looking into some ways to fuel with food. My husband is particularly interested in this and I am planning to try some recipes from this book:

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So the next question then is how many and how often?

Most things you read will tell you to take one gel every 45 minutes to an hour. Again, it is going to be by trial and error as to what will work specifically for you. It is a good idea to look at a race map to and know where the water stations are and plan accordingly! Some runners even do a gel or part of a gel before the race starts…I will admit, I have never done this.

So, my question for you is how do you fuel for races? What is your favorite product?…I am dying to know!!!!!

Do you use fuel for 1/2 marathons?

August 23, 2014
by Jen
7 Comments

First week of school- done. Long run- done!!!!

What a week!!!! I home school my daughters and this was the first week of school for us!!! It is always hard to get back in the swing of things. I must say though, that I do like routine (even though I haven’t been able to get into one yet), and I love the back to school hype!!! The new things we are learning, the new school supplies, the new shoes and clothes…. getting all geared up for a new year is fun for me!!!I can’t believe my girls are already in 5th and 7th grades!!!!!

This year we are tackling a new project which has been fun to and get ready for and figure out. My husband and I are in charge of a home school over sight group. To home school in MD you have to be under an over sight group, whether it be a private school or an approved church. Since we have so many home school families at our church, we went ahead and became an approved over sight group. I am really excited for the coming year….we have such a great group of kids!!!

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My girls wee SUPER excited to get new computers as aNow  back to school gift from Grandpa and Grandma….who were also here for a quick visit a few weeks ago!!!!! (Thanks Grandpa & Grandma :) !!!!!!!)

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Our DC Visit

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Now onto running!!!!!

I am 2 weeks away from a 1/2 marathon and 12 weeks from the Richmond Marathon!!!!

This week has been a great week of running for me…the only exception being that I only got out the door early once. To all you runners who get out there in the 5′s…you are amazing! This week my goal is to get to bed earlier so that the early wake-up is not so hard! Somehow we get busy with things and it just gets late! I am also spending time this weekend on a lot of school things so that I am not working on that late either. We’ll see how it works. I am one of those people that always seems to find something to do :) .

This weeks running schedule that I had planned out kinda scared me :) . I don’t follow a specific running plan. I have come up with my own that is a combination of several different things that I have read and liked. Doing it this was also gives me the liberty to be flexible.

This week I had 6 mile repeats on Tuesday for speed and an 18 miler on Sat. I must say, long runs scare me. My mid-run fueling is not the best, and the distances just kinda scare me. One of the best things I have done to help me with my long runs is to break it up mentally.

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For this particular 18 mile run I had a loop that was about 4.5 miles that I repeated 4 times. That made breaking the run up pretty easy. The only down side to this loop was that it was a little hilly and on the roads. A few weeks ago we ran on a trail for a long run and I really liked that. But here is what the week looked like:

Monday: 8.25 miles at 7:58 pace

Tuesday: 2 mile warm up. 6 miles at 6:32 average pace. 5th mile was the slowest at 6:42, last mile was the fastest at 6:27. 1 mile cool down.

Wed.: 9 miles 8:16 pace

Thurs: 8.25 miles 7:58 pace

Fri: 6.5 miles 8:30 pace. I was pretty tired today so I did not let any miles get under 8:25 and I cut it back to 6.5

Sat: 18 miles 8:02 pace. This run felt really pretty good. My last 2 miles were the fastest at 7:36 and 7:27.

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Total for the week: 59 miles. I am pretty sure that this is close to as high as I will go mileage wise a week. My longest runs will be 20 miles, and with that I may decrease a few of my other weekly runs.

For my training I am trying to focus on 2 key workouts a week. One being a speed run and the other being the long run. The other runs I am just letting them be at a comfortable pace. For at least a few of them I have also been making sure my last 2 miles are the fastest.  I also take 1 rest day a week.

Tomorrow is a rest day for me and then back at it on Monday!!!!!

How is your training going?

Anyone else fear the long run? What are your tips for getting through it?

Are your kids starting or already started school?! Do you like back to school?

 

 

August 15, 2014
by Jen
9 Comments

A hospital stay & some fun news!

What a week! This pretty much sums up our week…

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My youngest, Courtney, had a fever all weekend. We kept going back and forth on what we should do…was it just a virus or not. Her fever had gone really high over the weekend and she was also throwing up. Monday we decided it was probably more than a virus and at this point she was having a whole lot of stomach pain. I brought her to the Express Urgent Care (which Courtney will tell should not be called express). They then sent her to the ER thinking it was appendicitis. After a CT scan and blood work they told us it was not appendicitis, but a UTI that spread to her kidney and formed an abscess. She was admitted and given an IV to rehydrate her and give her a strong antibiotic. From the blood work they could tell that a lot of her levels were off so they also fixed that. She was there from Monday till Thursday and by Thursday she was ready to come home for sure! The nurses we had we super nice and that helped a lot!!!! They took blood from her several times, which was not that pleasant, but she did great! From what I have been reading, (which by the way I am glad I am reading this after the fact) if the infection gets into the blood stream it can be very bad. Thankfully we are home and she is recovering :) . It was really nice to be in our own beds last night! She will have to see a kidney specialist in 2 weeks to re-evaluate and make sure the infection is gone.

The hospital has a program where people make quilts and they are given to the patients…I LOVE this idea!…here is Courtney with hers.

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She got this great basket filled with goodies from some of the families at our church. In it was glow bracelets so we decided to make them and give the nurses a surprise!

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We did a lot of coloring and videos and board games :)

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The best part of her hospital stay….

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Needless to say my running this week consisted of whatever I could get in whenever I could get it in. No speed work for this mom this week!

Monday- 8.06 miles at a 7:56 pace in the AM before the hospital visit

Tues- 7.34 miles (8:12 pace) in the evening while my husband took a hospital shift

Wed- rest day….a run just wasn’t happening today

Thurs- 9 miles at a 7:48 pace in the morning. My husband came early to the hospital to take a shift so I ran, showered and headed back and we were able to go home that night!!!!

Friday- 8.25 miles at an 8:10 pace.

And my fun news……I am an ambassador for ProCompression!!!!!!! I actually found out on Tues morning, but have not been able to do anything with it till now!!!!!

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I am super excited about this! I LOVE ProCompression socks and I buy them whether I am an ambassador or not.

The tall compression socks are awesome and I really love them because they are easy to get on and the compression is perfect. I have tried several other pairs that took 20 minutes to get on (and you know as soon as you FINALLY get them up they are on the wrong foot) and were so uncomfortable. I wear these for recovery after a long or hard run….yes I have been known to wear them around all day and make all sorts of fashion statements :) ! I also will wear them for some races…I like to wear them when the weather is really cool because they also help to keep my legs warm :)

If you are not a tall compression sock fan though then you MUST try their trainer lows…I LOVE these socks also. They just came out with new PC runner socks that are simply awesome!!!!

They are having a great sale right now on all trainer lows!!!

Take advantage of super savings on all Trainer Low socks. Get 50% off and free shipping for all orders over $20 (to your US address only)!

Simply select the Trainer Lows you want and enter coupon code LOW at checkout…it’s that easy! Quantities are limited and coupon code LOW expires August 31, 2014

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Basically this week just FLEW by and I didn’t get nearly the amount of things done that I was planning…but that happens, so time to readjust :) .

We start school next week so now I am in MAJOR organization and planning mode!!!

As much as I love, love, love summer, there is something about back to school that is exciting for me too :) …at least until it gets the slightest bit cold outside and the start-of-school excitement wears off, then I am ready for summer again!

How was your week?

Have you tried ProCompression?

If you have kids when are they going back to school?

August 7, 2014
by Jen
3 Comments

Thursday’s update and a trail run!

Happy Thursday!

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I don’t know about you, but the days are just flying by here…I am not sure why I thought I would have so much more time in the summer…that is definitely not the case!

I thought I would give you a training update since it has been awhile since I did that. I am now 14 weeks away from my full marathon and 4 weeks away from my half. I am pretty excited for both races. I come up with my own training plan for my races. This cycle I have been pretty consistently following this:

Monday: 9 mile run with some fast miles either in the middle or end so I go into my speed or hill work on a little tired legs

Tuesday: Speed (usually mile repeats or hills)

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Wed: Easy 8 or 9

Thurs: Easy 8 or 9

Fri: easy 8 or 9

Sat: Long run

So far I have been liking this routine and seeing improvements!

Last Sat we decided to drive to a trail that is about 30 minutes away as a family. My husband and I ran and the girls biked. I had never been to that trail, so I was a really hoping I would like it since we went to the trouble of driving t here…..I loved it!

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When I ran in IL I did all my runs on a trail across the street from where I stayed and I think it really helped my knee. When we left for IL I wasn’t having bad knee pain…but it was there. It wasn’t when I ran, but when I did lunges or squatted down…I was just aware there was something there. After 1 week of running on a trail, gone! I feel nothing at all anymore. I am thinking I want to make an effort every once in a while to do some running on a trail!

Sat ended up being 12 miles on the trail. The pace was all over the place because I was running while my girls biked. There was a 10 something mile in there and then we ended on a gradual downhill….great for the bikers, hard for the runner mom trying to keep up. The last 2 miles were at a 7 minute pace.

Monday: I did 9 miles 7:43….Last 3 miles 7:36, 7:30, 7:08

Tues: Hills! I was planning on doing the mountain hill that I found but I decided not to. Instead I did a route with hills in it and just ran at a speedier pace up the hills. The route had 10 hills 4 were 1/4 mile more gradual hills. The others were smaller but steeper. It ended up being 9 miles at an overall 7:54 pace

Wed: 9 miles at an 8:23 pace

Thurs: 8 miles at an 8:06 pace and we are off to the beach!!!!

 

How is your training going?

Do you run hills?

Do you run more trails or roads? If you do roads (like me) do you ever run trails?

 

July 29, 2014
by Jen
17 Comments

Never be embarrassed by your pace!!!!!

This post came to me this week after hearing 2 different people tell me that they were embarrassed by their pace. One from a super sweet, super awesome running blogger friend of mine and the other from a lady at the conference that I attended. At the conference I had the opportunity  to do a little interview with one of the speakers during her session. She was talking about healthy ways we can relieve stress and clear our minds and she knows that I run. She wanted to get across some of the many benefits of exercise and learn a little more about running. After the session a lady came up to me and we talked a bit more. She started out by telling me that she was embarrassed by how slow she goes.

I just have 2 things say:

1. NEVER be embarrassed by your pace!!!!!

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2. Remember that comparison is the thief of joy

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I am even talking to myself when I say this. I have had days…even a few weeks at a time where I just could not get into it and my paces were just off of what they had been or where my legs felt like they weighed a million pounds. I have looked at someone else’s paces or mileage and compared….it can be easy to do. Then you start thinking that for whatever reason what you are doing is now embarrassing….but that is such wrong thinking. We need to get control of those thoughts and think about the truth. We are all at different places in life with different goals. We are not all professional runners, but we are not all beginners either. So be proud of where you are at and what you are doing and keep at it!!!

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Now of course we will all have those days when we know that we could have done better but for whatever reason we don’t. Maybe you are tired or it is that time of the month :) or it is just an off day….we ALL have those days. Running is made up of good runs and bad runs. One day may feel effortless and the next may feel like it is all you can do to get one foot in front of the other…it is just what running is all about. What is so great about those hard days is that they make the great ones seem that much greater!!! Even on the hard days though, never be embarrassed by your time. It may not be as fast as you want or as another runner, BUT you did it when it was hard! Sometimes it is just our body telling us “I need a break and I am taking it whether you give it to me or not”.

The point of this all is just to say that sometimes we just need to give ourselves a break. Look at where we are at and how far we have come and take it one step at a time :) .

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Remember why you love running!

Speaking of loving running…I really love running today!

I had an awesome speed work day today!

My workout went like this:

2.5 mile warm up (8:15 pace)

4 x 1 mile on the roads with 1/4 mile walk in between.

Mile 1: 6:24

Mile 2: 6:25

Mile 3: 6:22…..At this point I am thinking there is NO way mile 4 will be faster than this but I am going to give it a try and not look at my watch until I am done!

Mile 4: 6:12!!!!!! This is not only a positive split (which I hardly ever do), but it is also the fastest mile that I have done on the track or road since high school I think!

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2.5 mile cool down 8:10 pace

I am really pretty excited about that last mile!!!

So……

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Do you ever find yourself comparing or feeling embarrassed by your times?

What are some ways you stay motivated on the hard days?

 

July 28, 2014
by Jen
5 Comments

Running while traveling & with friends!

Phew! This past week just flew by!!!! We left bright and early Monday morning for our 12 hour car ride to IL! We had a conference that we were going to while the kids attended a kids camp. The conference was held at the church that we attended while living in IL and it was amazing!!! The theme of the conference was Calvary the Crowning Moment of Grace. To give you a better idea of what it was about some of the workshops titles were: The Battle Begins and Ends with your Thoughts, Find the Abundant Life, When Fiery Darts Come my Way, Utilizing the Talents that God Only Gave to Women, Triumphing in Christ, and Encouragement for the Ups and Downs of the Ministry…..all sound so awesome right! It was really a great week!

I thought it would be fun to give you some tips that I have for running while traveling….because I run and I travel :) !

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1. Be prepared!

Pack what you need to run…clothes, shoes, watch, socks, sunglasses, ect. I also suggest having a little bag in the car that has your running stuff because you just never know. Maybe you didn’t get a chance to run in the morning but a later in the day you have a chance. If you don’t have your stuff you will be out of luck.

2. Be flexible.

I always go into traveling knowing that I may have to change up my whole routine. I may or may not get the miles in. I may or may not get in the speed work and it may or may not be at the pace that I had planned. You also may have to do your runs at completely different times than you are used to. My advice is to just go with the flow…embrace some change and have fun with it.

3. Be safe!

If it is a totally new area then I suggest driving out the run first and know where you are going. If you have friends there then ask them where to go. Take your phone!…this will come in handy if you get lost and is just a safe idea.

4. Be social.

If you are going somewhere where you have friends then run or walk with them. This trip was the first time that I ran with another runner that I met through Instagram and it was a blast!!!! It made my long run fly by.

5. Have Fun!!!!!

Visiting new areas can be a blast! Take advantage of that!!!

This last week I really had no idea how my running would go. I knew with the conference that we would be busy so I was thinking that I would have a hard time getting the miles. It ended up being a great week…the only thing I left out was speed! We got to stay with relatives that live right on a nice trail and that was SO nice!!!

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Not only did I get all my miles in, but I also got to run with friends and got up early everyday to do it (this will help get back in the habit for when school starts in a few short weeks :) ). Another major plus was the lower humidity…it felt SO nice!!!!! Here is what my week looked like: 53 total miles

Monday – 8 early miles and then in the car we went :)

Tuesday- 9 early miles on a trail right by where we stayed.

Wed- 8 early trail miles

Thursday- 6 miles with a great friend followed by 2 faster miles on the trail when I got home

Friday- 6 early miles

Sat- early 14 miles with Stephanie….a new friend that I met on Instagram who just happened to be in the area at the same time as me. You can find her here:      http://instagram.com/joyful_miles?modal=true

I should have taken a picture with her but I am not always thinking about that :) ! Then back in the car for 12 hours home.

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Pro Compression and DVD’s for the car ride home :)

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I must say that I do 95% of my running alone and this really doesn’t bother me…I like it. But I REALLY enjoyed having 2 days this week when I ran with someone else. My long run seriously flew by! I was thinking that 14 miles was going to be pushing it…I haven’t done more than 10 since my last 1/2 back in May and it had been a long week of pretty late nights and early mornings, but it really went by so fast and it was so much fun getting to meet a new running friend!

I read this article from Runner’s World about running with others and it was really good and has some great points!

Running Friends are Friends with Benefits

 

How was your running week?

Have you ever met up with social media running friends?

Do you run alone or with other runners more?

Do you love or hate car rides? - I am definitely not a road trip lover!!!

July 16, 2014
by Jen
0 comments

Training Update & keeping kids motivated

Just over 7 weeks to go until the Bird in Hand Half marathon!!!! I must say that I was super excited to see that this race has been awarded the top 10 in cool race medals by Runner’s World!!!!

The Coolest Race Medals

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The way that they set this race up is super fun! The 5k, which my girls are doing, is the night before. Before the 5k they have a hot air balloon launch and then after they have a bonfire and s’mores party! Then the next day is the half marathon which also has a hot air balloon launch before it! I am really looking forward to this!!!

I have added some speed and hill workouts to my training. For this training cycle I am doing 1 stress workout (speed/hills), 1 long run, 3 in-between easy and hard (for me that is about 7:50-8) runs of about 6-8 miles, and 1 easy run (anywhere from 8:20-8:50). I am trying to run a chunk of my miles at closer to marathon pace and see how that works for me. I am doing this knowing that if I really feel like I need to slow up a day or two than I will and not stress out about it. I want to get my body comfortable going at that pace and see what happens. There are so many different plans and different approaches to training out there! Some say run less, some say run more, some say run slower, some say run at marathon pace, some take days off, some do not take days of….ect ect. I really think it is all about finding what works for you at any given time.

I have been doing my stress workout on Tues. Last Tues was hills, yesterday was mile repeats.

I was pretty pleased with how it went! I did a 2 mile warm up (8:03, 8:01) and then did 4 mile repeats on the roads with a 200m walk break in between. They were 6:25, 6:21, 6:31, and 6:32. It was pretty hot and humid out too. Ideally, I would like to turn that 200 walk break into a 400 jog….but I really just wanted to walk. My legs felt good…my breathing was a bit of a struggle…but the short walk break was all that I needed to catch my breath.

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I just got a new iPhone (compliments of ebay) after having had my other one smashed. I decided to just get one on ebay and take a chance rather than shell out a ton of money because my plan is not up.

Note to self…if you let your kids play at the park after a run with them…don’t set your phone on your car! So far it seems great…but the camera has a hard time focusing…note the blurry picture above.

Back to running….today I did an 8 mile easier paced run with the last mile being the fastest.

This week is going to fly by! My parents are visiting for a few days so we have some fun things planned :) …then next week we are spending the week in IL to visit friends and attend a conference. Summer is officially flying by!!!!!

The kids training is also going great! We are taking it slowly, but surely :) . They are doing about a mile each time we go.

There are a lot of things you can do to help get your kids motivated to run or do any exercise for that matter. Kids are a lot like adults when it comes to running….they like to be motivated!

Here are a few things that you can do to help motivate your kids

1. Buy them something new for running such as:

socks, a Runningluv, a new water bottle, an outfit, a hat, a watch, new shoes…..all of these are great motivators!!!!

2. Sign them up for a race! Nothing motivates a kid more than the chance to earn a medal!

3. Make a chart. Kids love charts and putting stickers on them. They love feeling like they are accomplishing something…and really, who doesn’t!

4. Be the example. If they see you doing it…they will be more likely to want to. Kids follow what we do way more than what we say!

5.  Push them a little. My kids are not always excited when I say let’s go for a run, but they are almost always glad we did it! It is the same with me though. I do not always get up and have the attitude that I can’t wait to run..some days I just flat-out don’t want to do it….but those are days when the sense of accomplishing a run when I didn’t want to feels great!

6. Start small and build. Start with where they are pretty comfortable and keep building

7. Take a scenic route…..just enjoy being outside!!!!!

8. Have fun!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

These are just a few tips that I use that might help keep your kids inspired to move!!!

 

Do you have kids that like to run? How old are they? What do you do to keep them motivated?

What is the coolest race medal you have won?

July 8, 2014
by Jen
7 Comments

My first HILL workout & kids training update

I took a mini unplanned blogging break :) , but I am back! Summer is just busy and schedules are different! We have had a lot going on at church and I have been spending the extra time with the family or running. Late dinners and fun nights outside with the family have left almost no time for blogging in the evening….but hey, that is life! :)

Here are some summer swimming pictures :)

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I am now 8 1/2 weeks away from my half marathon and 18 1/2 weeks away from my full. I have come up with my own training plan for both and am starting to incorporate hills into my training.

This also means the girls are 8 1/2 weeks away from their first 5k!!! They are super excited! I am doing a very basic plan for them and trying to make it really fun! They have done 2 training runs so far that were 3/4 of a mile running and 1/4 walking.

They want to get one of these to monitor activity…I am thinking about it. Does anyone have one, I would love feedback…

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You know, there is a reason that I have never actually done a hill workout before….THEY ARE HARD!!!!!!!

I am not a big huge fan of hills so the thought of repeatedly going up and down them for miles sounds horrible…..but I did it, I survived, and it wasn’t that bad (after the fact).

I found this hill near my house…..it is big!

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I did a 3 mile warm up followed by 6 hill repeats. I wanted to do 8, but it was pretty hard and it is my first hill workout so I went with 6. Then a 3 mile cool down. I ran up the hill about as fast as I could and that was an average of about a 7:30 pace and jogged really easy down it at about a 9:30 pace. I had to stop at the top a few times just to catch my breath!

I found this article on hill training:

HOW TO LEARN TO LOVE RUNNING HILLS

I am not sure love is a word I will ever use to describe hill training, but I know it will only make me stronger and I love that :) !

Speaking of stronger, I also got a pass to a local gym so I can work on some strength training. I only got a 7 day pass for now and we’ll see how it goes. My husband and I went last night (yes, we are that crazy couple that does date nights at a gym and gives each other a marathon as an anniversary gift :) ). We did about 30 minutes of weight lifting and I am definitely feeling it in my arms and shoulders today!!!

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And….this happened to my phone! It is amazing how accustomed we are to having a phone…. it is hard to go for only a few days without one! I have to just ask what people who buy these phones on ebay do with them?!!! So….I had some pictures on my phone that I was going to use in my post…but gonna have to wait :) !

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We had some friends visit for  a few days and I tried out this recipe for making brown rice and I LOVED it!!!! This is definitely my new go to recipe for brown rice!

OVEN BROWN RICE:

Ingredients
1 1/2 cups brown rice
2 1/3 cups water
2 teaspoons unsalted butter or vegetable oil
1/2 teaspoon salt

Instructions
1. Adjust oven rack to middle position.  Preheat oven to 375 degrees.  Spread rice in an 8-inch square baking dish.

2.  Bring water and butter or oil to a boil, either in a saucepan or in the microwave.  Keep an eye on it and take it off heat immediately after it starts boiling.  Immediately stir in salt and pour water over rice in baking dish.  Cover baking dish tightly with 2 layers of foil, or heavy-duty foil.  Transfer baking dish to oven and bake rice until tender, about 1 hour.

3.  Remove baking dish from oven and uncover.  Fluff rice with fork, then cover dish with kitchen towel and let rice stand for 5 minutes.  uncover and let rice stand 5 minutes longer.  Serve immediately.

 

We also made these for dinner last night and they were easy and great…and super healthy!

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All we did was:

cut up some zucchini, and a few different kinds of squash, cut up some strips of chicken, seasoned it all, wrapped it in tin foil and grilled it for about 20 minutes and ….done!

This is now another easy go-to summer meal for us!

So, it has been awhile ….how is your summer going?

How is your training going?

Any favorite summer recipes for Squash and zucchini?

 

 

June 26, 2014
by Jen
4 Comments

Birthday Salad & 3 F’s

Yes, I officially have the best husband!!!! He went to Wildfire and got us my favorite chop salad for dinner for my birthday! I am now officially 34 years old…where has the time gone!

When we moved to Iowa from Chicago, we moved away from the restaurant that has my absolute favorite salad. Then when we moved to MD I discovered there was a Wildfire not too far from DC, where my husband has meetings sometimes….like today! I am actually not a huge salad eater…but this salad is amazing!!!! Whenever I visit friends in Chicago we always go for this salad at Wildfire :) …YUM!

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Then there was this present from my sweet girls :)

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And my parents are making sure I am properly hydrated by sending me this cool gift!!!!

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Yesterday we have Strawberry Fest night at our church. I have never seen so many ways to make strawberries unhealthy :) ….but it sure was good! The best part hands down was the chocolate fountain!

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I made a strawberry pizza…Yum!

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Now that we have had a food fix, let’s talk about running. The last two weeks I have really just worked on 2 things. Focus and finishing fast….3 F’s :)

One thing I have been wanting to work on is my focus, my mental game. Focusing on the mile that I am in and not thinking about the whole run. I have a tendency, even in training, to go out fast worrying about my overall pace for that run. I want to instead take it a mile at a time, the 1st mile of a training run should not be one of my faster miles!!!

I have also ended every run I have done for the last two weeks with the last mile being the fastest. This is almost always not the case for me, but something that I think will really help come race day!

These are 2 things that I want to continue to work on throughout this training cycle.

 

What is your favorite fruit? Anyone else love chocolate fountains?

What is something you are working on this training cycle?

When is your birthday?

June 24, 2014
by Jen
2 Comments

Running non-necessities that are necessities and money saving tips!!!

Happy Tuesday…by the way, where is June going!!!! This month is flying by!!!!

I want to start out by thanking Carly at Fit Fine Day for featuring me on Fit Mama Friday!!! You can find the link HERE

Doing this feature gave me the idea for today’s post. It reminded me of all the “non-necessities” of running that now I consider necessities.

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It is kinda like when you try to remember what in the world you ever did before you had a GPS for you car!!!!

I also wanted to throw in some money saving tips for these items too because we all know that money doesn’t grow on trees and it is always nice to save some money :) !

#1. Nice shoes! This ranks #1 in importance too. Sure, you can run on cheap shoes that you get at Kohl’s and I did that for years, but you are WAY better off going to a running store and being fitted for the right type of shoe.  The shoes that you find at Kohl’s are not the same as the ones you will find in a running store and they are less expensive for a reason. You will always find someone who can also get away with wearing their running shoes for years, till they have holes, running them totally into the ground….but that is not most people and I would definitely not recommend trying it!

MONEY SAVING TIP- Find out what your right shoe is and then check Running Warehouse or Road Runner Sports for a deal. Sometimes you can get a good deal at your local running store and some stores offer a discount when you bring in old shoes! Once you find your shoe, you can also buy several pairs when they come out with the next model and go on sale. For example, my Saucony Guide 6′s are $65 right now at Running Warehouse because they just came out with the 7…stock up time!!!!

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#2. The right clothes. Right now that means light weight and colored, wicking running tops. Remeber all those cotton t’s that we all used to run in…don’t :) ! Technical fabrics pull moisture away from your body, keeping you cooler. Avoid clothes that are 100 percent cotton. Cotton fabrics absorbs sweat, which weighs down the clothing and can cause chafing. Dark colors also absorb the suns heat and will cause you to overheat much faster!

MONEY SAVING TIP- You don’t have to buy brand name…look at Kohl’s, or a store like TJ Maxx. Another great place to find these is ebay! You can find like new nice running tops for a fraction of the price. Another thing I do is buy ahead. At the end of a season when stuff gets drastically marked down, I buy a few things for next season. I just bought some really nice winter things for a fraction of the original price!!! I actually got a lot of my favorite Saucony tops at the end of the season last year for $8-$10!!!! I don’t dry my running tops so they will last longer.

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#3. Socks! This ranks right up there with shoes. Remember those thick cotton Nike socks we all had…no more! They make some awesome running socks out there that your feet will love! My favorites are Feetures and PRO Compression

MONEY SAVING TIP- There is no real money-saving tip here…you may just have to bite the bullet and drop $10 on a pair of socks :/. I always find a coupon code for 40% off for PRO Compression and Feetures will run sales sometimes where you get a free pair of socks. I also will ask for them as a gift…birthday, Christmas ect :) .

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#4. Garmin!!!! I love my Garmin, don’t know what I did without it! Even if you are not that concerned about pace it is great for knowing distance.

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MONEY SAVING TIP- These are a bit pricey, but worth it to me! Look for just what you need on it to save some money….you can drop A LOT of money on one of the more complex models! They do make a basic simple Garmin (the Garmin 10) that will meet the needs of a lot of runners. You can also get models that include heart rate monitors…it all just depends on what you are looking for. You could take a chance and look on ebay for this…definitely check sellers feedback and know the risk. They also have online runner’s swap shops where you could probably find one. This is another good gift idea :) .

#5. Sunglasses- I actually use mine in the summer and winter!..snow is bright and causes a glare :) . These don’t have to be super expensive but make sure they are for athletics and are lightweight. You also want to make sure they block out 99-100% of UVA and UVB rays. It is probably best to try a pair on before you buy them to make sure they fit your face right.

MONEY SAVING TIP- A lot of expos will run deals on sunglasses. You can look on Ebay but I suggest having tried them on somewhere first to make sure it is something that fits you. Running Warehouse and Road Runner Sports also offer great deals.

#6…Female only one…..A good sports bra! It is all about comfort and you just have to find what you like. My favorites are Nike Pro bra and Oiselle strappy bra.

MONEY SAVING TIP- If you find one you like and it goes on clearance, stock up! I bought a lot of my Nike ones when they were getting new designs in and mine went on sale. Don’t dry them!!!! This will make them last quite a bit longer!!! I have quite a few of them, but mine have lasted for a long time and still are in excellent shape!!!

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To me, these are the most important things. If you are new to running and just getting started, these are the things I would start with!

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Here are a few other things that are nice to have right now

NICE-TO-HAVE STUFF…some summer specific

1. Nathan hand-held water bottle. I have one, but rarely use it. I hate carrying things when I run, but with the heat this is a necessity for a lot of runners. If it gets really hot I will I think this is the best way to carry water. I have also set drinks in places I will pass by ahead of time so I don’t have to carry a water bottle.

2. Runningluv. I love these!!!! They are perfect for keeping sweat out of my eyes and affordable. They hold up and wash well and the owners of this company are just super nice people too!!!!

3. VegaSport Recovery Accelerator and Nuun. I have been trying to pay attention to my recovery, and these have both been very beneficial in that area… although I would not consider them necessary. I run around 45-55 miles on an average week and the Vega has been great for my muscles and the Nuun great for hydration and electrolyte balance.

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4. Ipod- this totally depends on the person. Some people can’t run without music, others can’t stand running with music! I fall somewhere in the middle :) . Sometimes I like to have it and other times I don’t. I will also do audiobooks and podcasts. Sometimes, if I am really not in the mood to run, but have a long run on schedule a good audiobook is all I need to get me out the door…..and once I get started I am good :) .

5. SPIBelt – I also do not like thing around my waist so I only use this for races…. actually only marathons. I want to forget it is there and this brand worked the best for me.

 

What are some of your favorite running must-haves :)

Anyone else think summer is flying by WAY too fast?!