Staying on Track This Holiday

I hope everyone had a great Thanksgiving. I started writing this post the day before Thanksgiving so it was written in anticipation of the big day…figures I am just finishing it up now. This is my favorite week of the year and although I can’t believe we’re here already, I also can’t believe how much my whole family needed this break! It seems long overdue. I love Thanksgiving. I love thinking about everything I’m thankful for and remembering all my blessings. I’m so much more aware of them all during this time….and then of course I love the turkey meal- my all time favorite and I love football games and colder weather (for a little bit), parades on TV, and what’s not to love about all the turkey trots! So as you can tell I’m anxiously awaiting the upcoming festivities.

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I’m suffering from a minor knee injury so I had to take a few days off from running. I have no idea what I did to my knee. I ran on the treadmill Monday night because this guy asked if we could.

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He also asked me to put this Momentum Jewelry charm on his shoe…a man after my own heart. The charm says “dream big”.

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So I ran and then I did some kettle bell lifts on the Bosu ball. I’m not sure what I did but I’m assuming the injury I sustained happened on the BOSU although I felt nothing initially. It wasn’t until later when we were watching Monday Night Football that I started to feel like my knee was bruised. It got worse through the night and when I woke up for boot camp at 5:00 a.m. it was as stiff as could be but felt like an external injury. I did boot camp just no leg work or impact and then iced it and took Motrin. It bothered me all day so I took Wednesday off from running and this is what it looked like on Wednesday night…ignore the pasty white legs!

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It felt slightly better as the day went on and with some more ice and Motrin I could only tell it hurt if I touched it. Oh and it was warm to touch.My sister thought I was bitten by a spider. It didn’t stop me from getting up and running on Thanksgiving…I had to get the turkey trot in…couldn’t miss it. Too much good eating had to go on later that I needed the run in the morning. I was a stuffed bird by the end of the night though and after Nolan suffered a major meltdown after dessert we called it a night.

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So many of you know that this time of year people start talking about how the average American gains 6-10 pounds from Thanksgiving to New Year’s and then the day after New Year’s everyone goes out and gets a gym membership to shed the holiday pounds and make good on their resolutions (even if it is only for the first two weeks of the year or until that free month membership expires). Wouldn’t it be great to not get so far behind the eight ball? It would be so much easier to just be mindful through the holiday season so that when all is said and done you’re not really any different than when the season began…other than hopefully mentally reset and ready for a new year. We all hear “everything in moderation” and I think if we take that approach to the holiday season we won’t feel like we’ve fallen off the wagon and gotten run over by it come January 2nd.

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This year I’m going to approach the holidays with a non-stress attitude. I’m going to spend more time with family and friends and less at the stores shopping.

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I’m going to spend less time checking off items on my “things to do list” and more time enjoying my little boys.

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I’m going to run more and worry less, and I’m going to soak up all the joys of the season so that my heart and my soul feels happy and ready for the next year ahead.Merry Christmas!

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Oh and if you’re interested I’m going to do the Runner’s World Run Streak again- log a mile everyday from Thanksgiving until New Year’s Day. This is a great way to keep yourself in check over the holidays. If you do join me and you follow me on Instagram hashtag #milestohomestead and #RWRunstreak.

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How many of you participated in a turkey trot this weekend?

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Finding Balance

So we’ve made it to November…how did that happen? I love November. It is one of my favorite months and Thanksgiving is my favorite holiday. I love that it isn’t too cold yet and we haven’t quite hit the hustle and bustle of the holiday season, there is just something so special about this time of year. I try to think about that when life gets super crazy. I try to remember what a great time it is even when I’m busy and stressed. Slowing down for even a few minutes in the morning before I start my day can be a game changer. It’s all about finding your balance.

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Right now my work life is super crazy. I’ve been busier than ever. I know it is only temporary but in times like these you have to do a little shifting in order to maintain your balance. Balance is not a static thing, it is always evolving based on your circumstances and sometimes our priorities shift and therefore so does that balance. I keep thinking about the Corona commercials where they say to “find your beach”. So true.

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Finding balance is probably one of the most elusive goals we can try to achieve. Balance is different for everyone but it always centers on our values. What we value most in life and what is truly important to us is always at the center of our quest for balance because that is where we derive our happiness. Whether that be family, church, exercise (running), work, or any other activity we find important to us, we have to figure out a way to make time for all of those things. We have to prioritize. I read somewhere that the first step in doing that is to rule out things that are just not going to work for you. Even though you think you could possibly squeeze it in you just have to accept that sometimes you can’t do it all.

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The thing that I have finally accepted for me is volunteering to be a homeroom mom at my sons’ school. Every year the flyer comes home and every year I stare at it tempting myself with the idea that I could squeeze it in. Then I think about it a little longer and realize I could probably squeeze it in but at the expense of what? So this year I decided I was going to stop beating myself up about it and I was just going to simply offer to help when I can and accept the fact that being a homeroom mom is just going to be one thing I cross off my list of things to do. It felt great to finally shorten the list.

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I read a good article on this subject from the Huffington Post. Some of the tips the author gives for finding balance are:

  1. Define what a balanced life means to you
  2. Create boundaries
  3. Say No without explaining
  4. Keep a journal
  5. Understand & accept that you’re not a superhero

A few other tips I read and have heard from numerous people are:

  1. Turn off the computer and put down the phone long before you head to bed for the night
  2. Wake up a little earlier each day and try to enjoy some quiet time on your own
  3. Read the Bible before you go to bed or when you wake up or both
  4. Become an expert in time management and set goals for all areas of your life
  5. Learn how to adapt-be flexible

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You need balance in running too. You have to mix it up. You can’t always be running for endurance, you can’t always be training for a marathon, and you can’t always be increasing your speed. You have to incorporate other facets to your workout so that you have balance. Adding in a strength training session a few days week, stretching, hill repeats, swimming, cycling, or some other form of cross-training will help you have more overall fitness. Running can really be a metaphor for life-right? The past few weeks have really made me think about the tremendous amount of stress we put ourselves under and how that can secretly reek havoc on our health and well being. We shouldn’t wait until we’re faced with serious issues before we make changes, we should really make our own happiness a priority and we should resign ourselves to start today.

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Have a great weekend!

 

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Happy October & 1st 30+ Mile Week

Hey everyone…Happy Weekend! I love weekends and I love Octobers. It has been such a beautiful week weather-wise here and I know I probably say it too much or post it too much on Instagram but I love running in the Fall! It just feels so good to be out there enjoying nature and taking in all the beauty around us.

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Maybe that is why I had my first 30+ mile week last week for the first time in what feels like forever. It probably is the first time since the Spring when I was home and had way more time to run, prior to the last round of kidney troubles. I was super excited about my progress…although I did have a very sore hamstring, which I’m sure was a result of the increased mileage. But regardless, overall I felt good and strong. I am relieved because in my last post I was pretty much saying the complete opposite. That’s the thing with running though, you’re constantly battling yourself and there are good runs and horrible runs but for some reason we keep coming back. I guess because you feel so great when you have a good run!

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We mixed it up this week too and added some new moves into our boot camp tabata circuit. We tried these side planks with a leg step out and pull in that I swear left me sore for the past few days. I was actually beginning to think I injured myself doing them but I feel pretty good today so I guess it was just that soreness…you know the good kind.  Here is a little visual that I got off of Pinterest that explains the move I’m referring to.

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You should try this move, if I feel this sore I’m thinking it must have really worked!

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In other life happenings, the car I showed in my last post has been fixed and should be ready for pick up today! Oh how I’ve missed my Subaru. I cannot wait until we’re reunited. Our patio is just about complete so I will post some before and after pictures next week…maybe.

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And this little guy turned 6!

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He had a cute little party with all of his little friends and then a second party with all of his cousins. We wound up celebrating him all weekend…which was good because the joy he brings to our family is worth celebrating multiple times!

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Well I hope you make it a great day and have the opportunity to get outside and enjoy this fabulous season (although maybe not today since it is going to be rainy and windy. We’ll be spending our morning freezing at a football game…’tis the season!

 

 

 

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Running Life One Mile At a Time

Sorry for the repost but we are trying to figure out my notification issue so I am re-posting the same entry from the other day.

Hey there! Happy October! I’ve been trying to get on here and do a blog post but I keep getting side tracked and I’m not sure what I feel like writing about as of late. I am finally embracing the new season even though I didn’t want to let go of summer. But now the house is decorated and the temperatures are a little cooler and so I think it’s time.

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One of the best things about change of season is the perfect conditions for running! I love running in the Fall! However, running has been extremely challenging lately. I can’t seem to break out of this running slump no matter how hard I try. My runs have been labored and hard and I find myself walking so much. I’ve also noticed that I’m totally calling the run out in my head before my feet even start pounding the pavement. I will be lacing up my shoes in my garage and I’ll start thinking about how I’m not going to be able to finish this run or make it that long so I need to be prepared to stop and walk or maybe even cut it short. How I know this before even stepping foot out the door must be a certain gift I have or something because just like that, the run unfolds exactly as I expected.

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To be fair to myself though, this past month has had its share of challenges. I started a new medication that is supposed to control my kidney stone issue. Yes, my doctor thinks she’s found the answer, which is actually awesome…but the medication is not. Let’s just say it doesn’t make me feel great. She warned me that this might happen and that I might find myself unable to run everyday. The medicine makes me dizzy and shaky and just fatigued. It lowers your blood pressure so that has something to do with it. The good news is that it is going to hopefully put an end to the stone issue and also keep the calcium from leaking out of my blood stream, which I’m sure my bones appreciate. The other bright side is that I think the side effects are temporary and that my body is adjusting. Of course I was instructed to up my dose two weeks into it, so the side effects are back but I think they’ll subside soon. So the meds have posed an issue with running.

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Then about two weeks ago I had a car accident. I was hit by the pizza delivery boy on my way home from work, only a few feet from my lane! Thankfully no one was injured but I was extremely sore and had to take a few days off to let my body recover. My Subaru Outback, that was less than a year old, didn’t fare too well in the whole ordeal.

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Then when I did set back out for a run, I had the unfortunate experience of witnessing a grown man going to the bathroom on the side of the road in the ditch…and he wasn’t peeing. Lucky for me I noticed him well before he noticed me and I was able to turn around and run in the opposite direction as fast as I could! I was so disgusted, annoyed, freaked out, all of the above. I ran home thinking that the odds were against me and that maybe I should hang up my running shoes, but I decided to just put them away for the day. I figured that I should get a grip, its only running and who cares if I feel like I stink at it.

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Then this week I started the increased medication dosage and came down with a nasty head cold. So my plan was to race this weekend in a local 5 mile run but with my cold and not feeling well coupled with the rainy damp weather this morning, I decided to meet up with the Stella’s group to run. And guess what…the run felt great! So maybe there’s a light at the end of the tunnel after all. Maybe I need to change my thoughts about this running slump and stop listening to the voice in my head that is predicting how my run will go. I know I preach it all the time, mind over matter, now I need to practice it.

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We can overcome anything we put our minds too. Things don’t always go according to plan, even running plans, and sometimes you just have to roll with the punches, readjust the sails, and continue to move forward- pretty much the tag line of this blog, Running Life One Mile At A Time! 

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5K Recap & Racing Plans

Happy Monday…where do the weekends go? They are always too short. It is the first day of school in our neck of the woods, which means my little Brooks-ee-roo is going to Kindergarten. Since I’m still sobbing about that fact and the fact that summer has dwindled away, I decided to post an entry I actually completed last week but never published. So today I’m recapping a 5K race that I actually ran back in July. Better late than never.

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I have run this 5K many times. I ran it before I had kids, pregnant (didn’t know it yet), with a baby in tow, with a toddler and baby in tow, and then again with one toddler. I love this local little 5K run. For being a small little race they get an excellent turnout, have great post-run food, and have a DJ that adds to the high energy atmosphere surrounding the race. The race itself weaves through two little boroughs and people sit on their front lawns cheering on the runners and spraying them with their hoses. It is held on a Wednesday night in July. So usually it is extremely hot and humid and this year there was rain right up until the start.

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This year was extra special because both of my boys ran in the kids mile race prior to the 5K. Brooks was a little unsure and there were tears at the starting line because he didn’t realize I was not running with him. His big brother stepped in and reassured him that he’d be right there with him. However, when the starting whistle went off, Nolan took off and never looked back. It was so exciting to cheer them on and when we saw Nolan coming over the crest of the hill headed down toward the finish line we were cheering so loud. He crossed the finish line and secured his first win! He was so excited. I was able to make my way back up the road a little and I found Brooks. I ran the last part of the race with him and he was so happy. He finished strong. Then he asked me if I knew what he thought about the whole race, I said “no what”. He replied “you”. Then he told me all about how bad his side hurt. I absolutely loved that the boys participated in this race. We are always busy with baseball, football, fishing and all that stuff, that it felt good that we did something I love as a family. It made me feel really proud to watch these two little boys run their hearts out.

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My race started shortly after their raced ended. I was nervous, which always happens no matter how many times I run a race, and I wasn’t sure what I expected out of myself for this race. I wanted to get a good time but had a feeling I wasn’t quite in 5K racing shape. A 5K to me is a major challenge in that there isn’t enough time to worry about pace and things like that. Its short so I usually approach that as just go all out until the finish. I had a few things to contend with in this race though. One it was hot and humid, second it had just rained so the surfaces were slick, and third I started deep in the middle of the pack.

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So right off the bat I started out way too fast but felt that was my only option to break away from the pack. I like running on the outside lane so I always make my way there right from the beginning. Coming into the first turn though I felt winded. I think it was part nerves and part just starting out way too fast. I settled myself down and tried to stick with a pace that was a little faster than my normal run. It was a challenge but I held onto that and as I rounded the last corner and headed up the hill to the home stretch.

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I could see the clock at the finish line and I knew I hadn’t hit the time I wanted. It was still a good time 22 minutes and change but I was hoping for 21 or better. It was enough to win my age group but I couldn’t help but feel that I could have pushed it more. I know we all do this to ourselves, I kept thinking that at some other point in my life I was in better shape and I was faster and I could have finished the race in a better time. Although, then I think there were also times in my life where I couldn’t come close to a 22 minute 5K. I remember trying to finish in under 30 minutes. It’s all perspective. What racing does though, is it fuels a fire. It creates a spark in us that makes us want to do it again. At least that is what it does for me. I was so glad I participated in this race because it reminded me of how nervous, excited, exhausted, and awesome running can make you feel! So I am trying to figure out a fall racing schedule. I haven’t committed to any races yet just because our schedules are just getting worked out. However, I am planning on a half marathon and then something longer than a 5K but shorter than a half. I’m not sure what that will be yet but I’m excited about the upcoming running season…especially with the Fall like temps we had last week! What are your racing goals for the upcoming season?

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Well have a great week. I’m going to gather my many thoughts about school and will post about that later after the tears have dried! Be happy go running!

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Back to Running After Vacation

And just like that…July is gone!

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Oh July you were such an awesome month…why couldn’t you stay a little longer?

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Sorry August, nothing personal, it’s just that July was that good. What a busy month we’ve had. I just did a double take on my last post…I can’t believe I haven’t written since the 4th. That was unintended, I didn’t realize the next opportunity I would have to write wouldn’t be until August 1st! So let’s get back at it.

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While July proved to be my favorite month of the summer thus far, it is also a time of year where vacations, baseball games, picnics, concerts, pool parties, and all the fun stuff summer has to offer can get you off track with your exercise routine.

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That is why I titled this post “Back to Running After Vacation”.

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I don’t typically ever take a break from running. I am usually still mindful of my running schedule no matter where I am and I squeeze it in. If running won’t work I do something else. I adapt to the situation and tailor my routine accordingly.

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However, I’m human, and when my son asks if we can go on a bike ride along the beach in the morning, I say yes even if I had planned on running. When the family wants to walk to the ice cream parlor for cones I go along and I have an ice cream cone.

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We’ve had a month of baseball tournaments, which also means a month of eating dinner at 8:30-9:00 p.m. often at a nearby restaurant, and countless trips to the snack bar for soft pretzels, hot dogs (my son- I don’t eat hot dogs), and whatever other unhealthy treats that might be available on a hot day in July.

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A week at the beach, as lovely as it is, also means drinking Summer Shanty and sitting in our beach chairs watching the kids play in the water while snacking on chips and the like. Backyard BBQ’s, summer concerts, pool parties, and all that other good stuff often involves eating and drinking more than you had wanted to or planned. Throw in a few missed runs or workouts and you’re left feeling pretty heavy and full and just “blah”. You probably feel like you are in need of some cleansing and that you need to get yourself back on track. You need to get back to running after vacation!

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Trust me we all need and deserve a vacation so first things first, don’t beat yourself up too bad. Like I say earlier, you’re human. Sometimes life gets in the way. We all need a chance to unwind and enjoy without pressuring ourselves to be doing something else. So with that said, enjoy that vacation, enjoy that break from the normal, just don’t unpack your bags and move in for good. Don’t make it permanent. Get yourself back on track and into a routine when your break has ended. You’re never too far gone to start. So start today. Get moving.

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The first thing I did the day after we got home from vacation was go running. I was determined to run. Now it poured rain and I had to cut it short because I was drenched, but I was determined to run no matter what. I finished up the last few miles on the treadmill. This morning I got up and ran my normal Monday morning run and just like that I’m back on my schedule.

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Commit to your workouts. No excuses…not even rain. If you think you’ll figure out a way to keep yourself from exercising, get out there first thing in the morning and get it done. If you tackle it in the morning you’re more likely to complete it. When you put it off throughout the day you’ll put it off and eventually later will be never. Don’t fall into that cycle. Make time not excuses. If you are someone who does better with a goal set, sign up for a Fall race today! If that is the motivation you need, then do it.

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Drink water. You don’t need a fancy expensive cleanse, you just need to flush your system. Water can do that just fine. Increase your fruits and veggies and lay off the snacking.

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Plan your weekly meals so that you know what’s for dinner and you know what time you’ll be eating. If you’re like us, football starts today! So I have to really think dinner through. I need something quick, healthy, and on the table by 5:00 p.m. If I wait until after we’ll start that cycle of eating at 8:30-9:00 p.m. and with school on the horizon I need to break that routine now.

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Add something new to your routine. If you’re a runner, add a nice evening walk into your schedule. Take the dog along or go on a nice bike ride with your kids. Add some strength training into your routine or a few sprints. Adding a little something extra will help you feel like you’re bouncing back quicker and that you’re back on track.

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Vacations are great, we all need them. We all need these July’s in our lives where we can enjoy life and the people we share it with, but that doesn’t have to come at the expense of our health and well being. It felt great to have a little time to myself to do what I love, to run!

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