Saturday, September 30, 2017

Weekly Roundup

Hello, weekend!  Here's our weekly round up

Monday: I ran a 5k last weekend and shared all about it!

Tuesday: Running on a team and solo are both great things, I shared the Pros and cons of team running.

Wednesday:   Morning and evening runs both have their place in my life. I talked about the differences between them for me and how they affect me differently.

Thursday: Effort is something that is personal and different for everyone. Sometimes it can be hard to tell what effort you're giving. I talked about how to judge your own effort on your runs. 

Friday:  Burnout is one of the most frustrating parts of being a runner (or just in life in general) I shared a few ways that I know I'm getting burned out and how I handle it. 

I hope you have a great weekend! If you're interested in getting emails from me that include extra tips, weekly roundups, products that I'm loving and just a little extra Running On Life over all, feel free to subscribe on the sidebar! I'd love to connect!

Friday, September 29, 2017

What I Do To Get Through A Burnout + Things From Our Day

The weather was amazing yesterday, so we spent some extra time outside. Trying to enjoy as much of this warm weather as we possibly can! M and I were practicing our gymnastics moves (she was doing summersaults). I'd really love to get this girl into tumbling or gymnastics or something.

After school, we all went to the park to play until it was time to make dinner. 

We got most of our fall decorations up last weekend, but I wanted to make a fall banner for our little kitchen window. So that was my project last night when all the kids were in bed. 

I just cut out different color and size of leaves with my Cricut and the sewed them together to make it. Super cheap, easy, cute way to decorate for holidays. 

While M was on her field trip at school today, I took V to target to get some stuff on our list.  He really loved the Halloween decoration isles today. Everytime we passed this he would point at it and when we would stop he'd get a little nervous but then want to go back. 


This morning it took everything I had to get out of bed and go run. There was not one part of me that wanted to run except that I knew I'd regret not going later. So I got up and went, and the whole run I was thinking of how tired I was.  I ran exactly a 5k and then I was done.  Maybe it's because it's getting colder and staying dark longer that is making it hard for me to get out on my morning run. Or maybe it's a burnout.

Here are a few ways that I know when I'm burned out:

  • It doesn't sound fun to run anymore
  • I'm feeling really sluggish and slow
  • I'm finding excuses not to get out and run
  • I'm feeling discouraged from lack of progress (This is probably the biggest one for me)

So if it is a burnout, what do you do when you feel it coming? 

For me, burnout happens a lot when I'm not seeing the progress I'm making. That's when I know that it's time to make a new goal! A new goal is a great motivation for you to get going again and enjoying it. Goals help you stay focused and remember why you run in the first place. And the feeling of meeting or surpassing a goal jumpstarts my motivation to keep going every time. When I see that I can do things that I wasn't able to do before, it always makes me want to see how much more I can give.  Whether it's signing up for another race or setting a new distance or pace goal, it helps a lot to be able to see progress in something. If you're not injured and your burnout is mostly mental, set a new goal for yourself and focus on that until you find the drive again or meet your goal.

When I'm feeling like a burnout might be coming, I start to plan around my fun runs instead of what I had scheduled. Running in a group or with a buddy, putting music on, doing intervals or tempo runs instead of just a regular run, finding a new route. All of those things combat boredom on a run for me. So when I get the feeling that I really just don't want to run (and I'm not feeling injured) I try to make my run as fun for me as possible.

Once in a while, the burnout doesn't last long and it's something that I can just put my music on a push through. Usually, after a few hard or discouraging runs, I'll start feeling better about things again.

Sometimes having a burnout doesn't mean you need to stop running altogether. Sometimes it just means that you need a couple of rest days. I have a race this weekend that I'm not sure I'll be running.  I'd like to run it, I'm just not sure I will because it might be one of those times that I just need a weekend off from running.  (We will see what happens there).  But taking a few days off, or a week off, from running doesn't mean you can't do other forms of exercise. It's probably best that you do something to keep you moving anyway.  This is a good time for hiking, biking, strength training, swimming, or even just going on some nice walks. 

If nothing seems to be working, and you just can not find the motivation no matter what you do, it is 100% ok to take a break for a week or two (or longer if you need) and find something else to do until your motivation comes back. Running is always there for you when you are ready for it. Running doesn't have a season or a cut off date, it's there all the time when you're ready for it. 

What do you do when you feel burned out?

What is your favorite way to cross train?

Thursday, September 28, 2017

Judging Your Running Effort

Hello! How is your day going? I hope everyone is happy and being productive today. Somedays, I feel like I'm most productive in the mornings and then after that, I feel like I'm just making it through the rest of the day. Last night I did a treadmill run (that is based on personal effort and which I'm going to talk about further on in this post) while I watched This Is Us. I missed the first 15 minutes of it because I was putting kids to bed, but I'll rewatch it. Does anyone else battle with themselves between watching a show when it airs or watching it in your free time?  2.6 miles in 20 minutes for the day.

Today is my rest day and that is a good thing because I am EXHAUSTED! I'm normally in bed by 10:00 (I know sometimes that makes me feel kind of old, but it's true) but last night I stayed up for two extra hours because Little Adventures is having a big outlet sale that they extended to online. And I have a birthday girl coming up and she wants this a Merida dress, so I found one that was on sale that looks just like on the movie. The sale goes until the 30th and online is only while supplies last. So if you have a little princess girl who needs a dress, jump on that. They are amazing quality and they ship free in the U.S.

Yesterday J brought home her school pictures. I'm always pleased with how hers turn out. Growing up I had to get retakes every year from the time I was probably in 3rd grade until I was a sophomore in high school. So far J doesn't have this problem. Her pictures have come out great and I'm always jealous of her hair! 

For lunch today I remembered that I had some leftovers from a family dinner the other night and I made a really delicious sandwich with them.  I didn't have my normal sandwich bread but it was still good. Honey mustard, mozzarella cheese, and pulled pork toasted in the broiler for just until the cheese melts. Then I put bbq sauce on it. 

Then we shared some striped cookies after lunch. I used to love these as an ice cream sandwich. 

M has really been into jumping lately. So she asked me to take a picture of her doing jumps. I think I need to get her in gymnastics because she's constantly doing cartwheels and summer-salts too. 


I want to talk a little bit today about effort. This is something that is different for everyone. My best effort is going to bring different results than your best effort. Just like how pace is different for everyone, so is effort. And I honestly think everything that has to do with running is going to be different for everyone. 

So my run last night is one of those runs that is broken up based on your effort scale. You start out at a 65%-70% and by the end, you are going 90%-100%.  It can be tricky, though, when you're just starting out as a runner and you're not sure what your 65% effort feels like compared to you 80%.  So how do you figure out what effort you're at?

There are a few different ways that you can judge the effort that you are giving on a run.  And there are different levels of effort used for different runs. For now, don't worry about looking at your pace on a GPS or the treadmill. That will come later. 

I would say that warm-up pace is super easy. You can breathe through your nose. You can easily talk to people you're running with. It's just enough to get your heart rate up and your body warm. To me this is about a 50% effort. This is the pace I use for warm up and cool down. 

A slow run, for me, would be about a 65%. Here I can talk to people around me, I know I won't tire quickly, and my breathing is even and easy.  If you're running solo and you need to test your effort, try singing/saying two bars of your favorite song. If you can get through those talking almost normally, I'd say that's about 65%. 

A nice paced run that I use most of the time is around a 70-75%.  I can breathe easy and talk pretty well still but my heart rate is up and it takes a little more effort to talk.  Most of my runs are done at this pace because most runs should not be at race pace. You want to save that energy for race day. 

Then when I do speed work, that's where I start getting in the harder effort. I do my speed runs between 80-90%. You can't talk. You are breathing evenly but it takes work, Your muscles start to feel tired quickly, you can't run for long at this pace. I usually do intervals at this pace or I do fast finishes to my runs at this pace.  For me, this is about race pace for a 5k as well. 

100% for me, is the last half mile or so of a 5k.  I'm giving every last ounce of energy that my legs can squeeze out. Breathing gets hard and when it's over it takes a minute or two to catch your breath. 

Like I said earlier, effort is all relative. The best way to figure out what your effort range is is to try it of course. Get on the treadmill and do some intervals starting at a very low pace and work your way up. Run for as long as you can and take some breaks in between before going to the next level.  

Who was your favorite princess or Disney character growing up?

How do you judge your effort?

What is your favorite TV show right now?

Wednesday, September 27, 2017

Morning Vs Evening Runs

This morning was supposed to start with a run, but Trevon had an early day at work so we switched our schedule around. So this morning started with some cleaning and other things on my to-do list.  Sometimes the only way to get anything done is to let the kids watch some TV. When I have to get something done and the kids are being too helpful, I usually will turn on something like a youtube channel that they like (Mostly nursery rhymes or Super Why) it always gets their attention long enough for me to get at least one thing marked off my list. We also read the book Wacky Wednesday today, notice the shoe on the entertainment center? M thought she would try to make our day wacky too.

These two can be the best friendamies,  They love to tease each other! Today they discovered hide and seek. I'm not sure V got the whole point of the game, but he liked it when M would chase him.

J has only been in school for almost 2 months now, but sometimes I have a hard time getting her to do her homework. Last time we went through this (last week) I had her do spelling with playdough. Last night I had her do it with watercolor paints. Sometimes you have to think creatively to come up with ways to get homework done without a fight. 

 Last night was my strength training night.  I usually go to my parent's house and use their home gym for this, but the kids got to bed late and I try to get my workout done before 9:00 so that I still get good sleep, so I did an at home workout with the bench Trevon's aunt gave to me when we were in Idaho.  It was a short one, but it was just what I needed.


Since I started running most mornings now instead of in the evenings, I've noticed a few differences in how running in the morning and in the evening affect me differently. I think there is a place for both night and morning runs. In my life, I use both and I get something different out of each of them.

Morning running:
  Morning runs jump start my day and get my brain active too. When I run in the morning I get back feeling ready to start my day. I come back energized and with a lot of new or creative ideas for my family or even for this blog.  

My day starts out so much easier on the mornings that I run. When I don't have a run planned, I've noticed a big difference in how long my body wants to stay in bed.  If I have a run in the morning, I get up quick and get out the door before I start to think about anything else.

When I run in the mornings I tend to eat a little healthier throughout the day. I'm much more conscious of what I'm putting into my body and that I want to make healthier choices. I also crave more of the healthier options than my junk food, even though I really do love to eat junk food once in a while.

Morning runs have cooler temps but as you've probably figured out, I prefer running in the warm (I can't say I love running in the heat). I can go do my long runs better in the morning (as long as I get up in time) because I don't feel like I've pushed my limit in the heat. 

Evening Runs:
 My night time runs are used to de-stress and declutter my mind.  When I run at night, I get back feeling so empty of all the frustrations that were bothering me, sometimes I have solutions to problems. It really can be the most relaxing part of my day. 

When I run at night I'm WAY better at drinking water throughout the day. I'm always much more hydrated during my night runs and throughout the day.  Especially when it's summer and I know that I'm going to be running in the heat. 

Running at night I always see people around that I know, and that pushes me to keep going because I wouldn't want them to see me take a break or slow down. ;) It also makes me happy to see people on my run.

I love both morning and evening runs. They both do great things for me and my day. Sometimes I like to do two short runs instead of one long run. It doesn't matter what time your run, you just fit it in when it works for you. 

Who has creative ways to do homework to share?

When do you fit your run in?

What do you find different from morning to evening runs?

Tuesday, September 26, 2017

Pros and Cons of Team Running

If anyone missed my race recap from yesterday you can find it HERE. We had a busy weekend but a good one!  After the race, we came home and got cleaned up for family pictures. But then the rain started and the family pictures got canceled so, we decided to put up the fall/Halloween decorations instead.

Sunday it rained all day long. From about 5:00 PM on Saturday to about 6:00 PM on Sunday. After church and dinner, we did some family visits and then came home and when the kids went to bed, Trevon and I went through some of his baby pictures that have been in storage. We found this one of him and his brother petting a skunk....I'm not sure how this story ended but it couldn't have been too bad, he doesn't remember doing that. (Maybe the skunk was dead??).

Before bed, we had some hot chocolate my favorite way -- with ice cream in it. 

Monday morning V decided that he was going to be independent in feeding himself. That's a really great thing except for the mess it makes. 

We spent some time at the library Monday morning as well before we ran our other errands. We usually meet my sister there so that M has some time with cousins before they have to go to school. Our library lets us check out these baskets to carry our books in. I just found out about that a couple of months ago. It makes getting books so much easier. But now that we end up getting so many books and I'm pushing a stroller through the library too, I'm considering just taking my old backpack or something to put them in since that will be easier to carry.


All of you know by now that I started out my running life on a team. My first team was the Hershey track team in my neighborhood and then I went on to the high school team.  I had things that I loved about those teams and things that I didn't love so much about them and I thought that today I'd share my pros and cons list of team running. 


- Team running can be really great for beginner runners, especially teenagers who need a new way to branch out and make new friends. I had a lot of friends on my high school team who were there for me in many more ways than just running. Not every person was my friend, but there were a few friends there that changed my life in so many ways for the better. 

- There is a sense of unity in a team (or there should be). Your teammates look out for each other and it becomes kind of like a family. If someone is having a rough day, the rest of the team is there to help lift them back up. 

- There is always someone there to push you a little harder. If not the coach, then your fellow runners are there to support you and to push you to your limits.

- When you're on a team, there is always someone to celebrate with when you do well!  You will always have people cheering you on from the beginning of a race until you cross the finish line. And we all know how great it is when someone is supporting you and cheering you on.

- If you get injured, odds are someone on the team has had that same injury and can give you advice on how to prevent it or make it feel better. 

- There's always someone to talk to on your runs. You don't get bored on your run as easy and turn around early because you have a group of runners to talk to. 

- Everyone understands the love of running.

- You have a coach that can give you different runs to improve your performance. Speed, long runs, hills, you name it, your coach has probably heard about it and will have you run it at some point.


- When you're on a team there is no way your coach can work one on one with you.  So you might not get exactly the workout that works best for you.  Coaches who are over a team have to use workouts that work best for most everyone. When you hire a personal trainer or coach they can tailor the workout to your specific needs

- Fewer rest days happen when you're part of a team because you're expected to be there.  Personally, I need at least 1 good rest day a week. In high school, most of my injuries happened when we started two-a-days and I only had one rest day. Now I have 2 rest days (one of them I might sneak in an easy workout sometimes) and I haven't been injured since. 

- Sometimes when you're on a team you start comparing to your teammates and for me, that was always really discouraging. I think this is something that I would still struggle a little bit with if I was on a team now too. I tend to compare myself to others a lot as it is.

- Sometimes being on a team can be hard because when you have a bad race and it effects the team placing in the race, you feel like you let the team down. 

Team racing can be great! And if that's what is going to get out and going every day and keep you accountable, then I'd say sign up for a team right away. But it's not for everyone. Think about what will make reaching your goal easier for you and do what will work best. 

What is your favorite treat to have in the colder months?

Were you ever on a sports team?

Monday, September 25, 2017

Run to Walk 5k With Now I Can

Happy Monday! I hope you all had a great weekend. Ours was very rainy and cold, but it was still good. I had my Now I Can 5k race on Saturday and I want to share about that with you today.

I woke up Saturday morning at 6:00 because I like to make sure I am awake and that my body is awake by the time the race starts. This year the start was at 8:00. I knew it was going to be a chilly morning so I dressed warm.  I haven't really used these pants (that I got when they were still called running tights and not leggings) since high school, but since I've been running in the mornings and Utah decided to get cold fast this year instead of gradually ease into things, I've been wearing them again.

We got to the race just in time to get warmed up and line up for the start. Usually, I'm there a little earlier so that I can get to know the area, but it was cold and Trevon and the kids came to cheer me on (which I was so happy for. Races just are so much better when you have people you love come with you to run or to support) so we spent as little time as possible in the cold. It was only 40 degrees! Some people really love running in that temperature, I'm more of a 60-70 degrees kind of runner. I don't like to layer and I don't like to see my breath while I'm running. I like to be very comfortable in a tank top and shorts while I'm running. We are getting to the point in the season when that temperature isn't a possibility to run in anymore. 

I've run this race a handful of times. It's been a couple of years though since the last one because they normally have this one in the spring/early summer and it landed on the week before I had V. I didn't think they would want to deliver a baby in the middle of the race so I didn't run it haha. But this year it was a different course than the previous years. We have a lot of river trails around our area and they did the entire race on the river train in out and back form. So that was a fun change! And it made it really easy not to have to worry about police officers stopping traffic for you.  They had the race very well marked with not only signs at every turn and along the course, but they also had really great, friendly volunteers cheering us on and making sure we were headed the right way.  They even had a mini water stop at the halfway point which is pretty different for a 5k!  The course was also pretty even with up and down hills but mostly flat. I did have a little worry about the course getting congested since it was an out and back but that didn't happen at all, at least from what I could tell. The only down to this course was that the river train sometimes has a lot of bumps and cracks in it. So watch your step around those parts so you don't trip. I didn't finish with a PR but I also wasn't expecting to. I haven't raced in a couple of years and it was COLD. (I know I keep saying that but it was really cold, and that affects my running and not in a good way most of the time) But I was happy with how I did.  At the end, they had donuts and hot chocolate (I'm not sure if there is anything runners like more than donuts after a race...or any other kind of "junk" food) and lots of fruit. They also had some games and balloon animals for the kids while everyone was finishing the race and then they had prizes for the top 3 women and men overall and winners of the age groups. And they also had a raffle afterward.  Every dollar that people spent on the raffle (and the proceeds of the race) go to the Now I Can foundation which is a foundation that helps disabled children reach their greatest potential which you can read more about HERE

If you're in Utah County and are looking for a good race, I'd suggest this one. It's a small race but it's for an amazing cause and it's so fun.  They don't hold anything back.  (I took this picture in the mirror because the camera on my phone changes the direction of the words on selfi mode...then I realized that the mirror does that too (smh))

Who had a race this weekend?

Has fall started for you yet?

What is a race that you run every year?

Saturday, September 23, 2017

Weekly Roundup

Saturday! Race Day for me!!!  I'll have a race day recap coming up soon. But for now, here is our weekly roundup for last week.

Monday: Things from LAST weekend 

Tuesday: I don't have a diet that I follow, and I think a lot of diets don't work anyway. I think a lot of eating has to do with habits. So I shared my tips on how to eat well and still enjoy it (because eating should be enjoyable).

Wednesday: Nobody is REALLY good at something right from the start.  It might take a while (it might take a really long time) to get better at something, but progress making is all that matters. 

Thursday: Rest day can be harder than other days sometimes. And sometimes we need to work to enjoy our rest days.

Friday: Every time I get to race day I question all of my training and I start to wonder if I over did it or didn't do enough.... I shared what I remind myself when I start to have race day nerves pop up.

I hope you all have a fantastic weekend.

Who's racing? 

Who has something fun planned?

Friday, September 22, 2017

Race Day Nerves and More Things From Our Day

I'm sharing my thoughts on race day nerves today, but first, here's a little bit about our lives the last couple of days. 

I added peaches to my yogurt and granola this morning. I'm pretty sure that the more fruit I add to this meal, the better it gets. 

It was a nice day yesterday. The temperature was near perfect, so I made sure that we got to spend some good time outside.  M finally opened the sandbox yesterday. This used to be the girl's favorite spot and this summer it has been pretty empty.  I was really glad that she decided that would be a fun thing to do again.

I made brownies the other night and I ate most of them yesterday afternoon.  (You can have all the sides, I just want the middle pieces).  We took the rest over to our neighbors partially just so I would stop eating them. 

J came home from school and we got to work on spelling homework.  J is a little miss smarty pants and I think she might be getting a little bored with homework already so we try to find ways to make things more exciting. Last night was playdough.  Heres a little playdough tip: I put a piece of saran wrap down and stick it to the table for easy clean up of the playdough crumbs. It also helps so that they playdough doesn't leave that filmy mess on my table.

After dinner, I wanted to get out and enjoy the warmth some more. The kids went to play with friends and I went on a little walk and then went out to visit the neighbors and watch the kids all play. 


I picked up my race packet today.  Now I started wondering, did I train right?  You guys, I've run probably over 100 5k's in my life. You would think that I would know how this goes, and I wouldn't worry about overtraining or undertraining or anything like that, but I do.

I think that it's pretty normal to get a little bit of the jitters. And although it sounds kind of silly, I think it's also normal to question all that you've done to work for a race. It doesn't matter the distance. It just happens. You want to do good in the race, you want all of that hard work to pay off with hopefully a PR. And I think when we start to think that way, we stress ourselves out and it can be bad on race day.

So when I start to question my training and worry if I did too much or not enough, I try to remind myself that I did what I knew how to do and I did it in the best way that I could.  Now is not the time to worry about what I did to train. That part is behind me and can't be changed. Now is the time to focus on race day and what I can control to make race day good.

I also like to remind myself that even though it's really good to have goals and hopes and a vision for how you want the race to go, it's not always going to turn out that way. The best thing you can do in this situation is give it your all in your race and be happy with the results knowing that you did your best. And that is the mindset that I am having for this race. I haven't raced in 2 years. My PR was on a fast course with lots of downhill. This is a different course, on a different day, with a different training cycle. So no matter what happens, I am going to come out of this race with a positive attitude and excited to do another.

Do you like the edges or the middle of the brownie best?

Did you ever study spelling in fun ways?

What do you do to calm your race day nerves?

Thursday, September 21, 2017

Enjoy Your Rest Day

This morning started out promising but as soon as J went to school all promises of a productive cleaning morning were off. It was one of those mornings that you go to get something done and realize you can't do that thing until you do something else. For example, I went to eat some granola, but my granola was gone so I went to make more. So I went to start making some more but then I realized that last night some bacon grease dropped in the oven and I needed to clean that first. Once I started cleaning the oven V was climbing all over it so I had to get him entertained doing something else. Only half of the oven got cleaned because he's one and nothing lasts long attention wise. I started making the granola again and realized I didn't have clean measuring cups. So I unloaded the dishwasher. Then V decided to help take the clean dishes out of the drawer and scatter them around the house. Once I got going on the granola again M decided she really needed to watch a movie so I spent 20 minutes explaining to her that we have things to do this morning and she could watch the movie, she just needed to wait until after lunch.  I finally got the granola in the oven and tried to focus on cleaning the 3 other rooms that had been torn apart in the process.  And M decided it would be a good time to play with playdough. Then V decided it might be good to try to eat the playdough. I was ready for a nap by 10, but we still needed to go to Costco. It was just one of those mornings where nothing gets done.

After Costco, V helped put groceries away by making sure we had enough room for them. He really loves carrying these muffin boxes around. Just these boxes. He never chooses any other thing from this cupboard. 

Some days you just have to be ok with not getting much done and letting the kids run the show for a little while. I went out into the camper to look for something that M left out there last time we were in the camper and I realized that I need to spend more time in there. I really love the way it turned out. Maybe it should be my "office" while it's not being used for camping. (Excuse the pillows on the floor and the curtains all a mess, we've had a few windy storms that knocked them all over the place). 


Today is a rest day (and that must mean for more than just running according to the kids). I usually take two rest days a week, and sometimes only one, when I can fit a workout into one of those days. Does anyone else struggle a little on rest days? Rest days are needed for recovery, they are necessary, but sometimes rest days feel like they take twice the amount of energy to get through. Rest days also seem a little harder in terms of emotional strength for me. I'm always a little more stressed, a little more emotional on rest days. The reason for that is obvious to me, but it doesn't make rest day any easier.

If you struggle with rest days like I do, here are a few ideas of things that might help make rest days easier for you.

- Easy, low-impact workouts.  Rest day, like I said, is necessary. We need to take a day or two a week off from running to make sure that our body is getting the recovery time that it needs. But if you're like me and need to do something a little active, just change up what you do with something low impact. Instead of running, go for a good walk with friends or with your kids, ride your bike, do yoga. Find another simple but fun way to get some exercise without feeling like you did a hard workout. 

- Find another hobby that you can do to take the extra time up that you would be running.  Find a good book to read or show to watch. Do something to make it feel like a special day instead of a day that you don't look forward to. For me, rest day usually means I find a book on tape or a podcast to listen to while I clean the house (today that didn't happen haha).

- Find a sanctuary for yourself and spend some time there. I spend a lot of time on the warmer days in my backyard. It's been one of my favorite things about my house for a long time. I go out during quiet time, while V is asleep and M is watching a movie or playing in her room and I spend a few minutes doing something I love out there (usually read or blog). When the girls were really little we also spent all of our time during the day out there. It was a favorite place for them to be as well, and I'm a little sad that they don't spend as much time out there anymore.  

- Remind yourself why you need a rest day. Sometimes on rest days I feel really tempted to fit a run in any way. And on some rest days, when my cardio and impact levels have been low for the week, I will try to fit it in. But on weeks that I know I need to take it easy, I remind myself that rest day is what is keeping me from being injured and having to take more time off in the long run.

Rest days can be hard for some, and that's ok. Just do something to make sure you're enjoying your rest days as much as your other days and your body will thank you for it.  

What do you do on rest days?

How many rest days do you take a week?

Wednesday, September 20, 2017

Movie Morning and Making Progress Is What Matters

This morning started with my run.  20 minutes of speed on the treadmill today. It was supposed to be cold but when I walked outside I thought it didn't feel too bad, and then when I walked back out after the workout, it was cold. And then when we walked J to the bus it was colder. I'm not ready for this! Luckily we always have hot chocolate stocked up because hot chocolate is one of the only ways I make it through winter. It's only fall, but it felt a little like winter this morning and I think it's going to end up feeling that cold for the next few days.

Because it was a rainy, cold morning, we had a movie morning before taking M to school. 

This is currently V's favorite activity. He is constantly pulling all the movies out. At first, we thought maybe he was thinking the movies were books, but I'm pretty sure he just likes to make the mess with them because I always tell him not to do it. If you ever need to find him, just follow the trail of mess he leaves.


While M and V were watching the movie this morning, I watched a Facebook Live that Monica from Run Eat Repeat was doing and she brought up something interesting in part of her video.  She talked about how when you first start something, you're never REALLY good at it. And I thought that would be something I'd like to touch on a little bit today.

When I started running I was ok. I wasn't really good. I got better through my first year of competitively running, but what I was really bad at was listening to my body.  Because of that I never was really good at running at first. I was constantly injured and I didn't give myself enough of a recovery time to get any better at running. It wasn't until I'd taken a nice long break and started running because I needed it in my life (not because I wanted to compete) that I started getting better at it. The good part about my stubbornness was that I didn't give up. I kept working at it. I started doing better research on different workouts. I cross trained more. And I got better. 

Now I'm running better than I ever have. I'm not the best, by far.  I have a lot that I can work on. There's always room for improvement in things that are important to you.  When you decide to continue actively pursuing something, that's when you start getting better at things.

My point is that even when you feel like you suck at something. The only way you're going to continue to suck at it is by quitting. There will be setbacks, and there will be times when you want to quit. That is part of the journey and part of progress. When you start to feel discouraged, or when someone tells you that you're not good at something, or when you feel like you're not making progress, the thing that matters is that you don't quit. Keep on trying.  Eventually, you'll see some progress. It might be small progress, it might be slow progress. But progress is progress and that's what counts. 

What is something that gets you through the winter?
What is something you used to suck at but you are getting better at?

Tuesday, September 19, 2017

Eating Well and Still Enjoying It

Let me go on a little bit of a diet rant here.  I have never followed a specific eating plan. I've always been of the opinion that eating should be enjoyable and not something that takes a whole lot of stress. I think a lot of diets today make eating WAY too complicated and then eating becomes a chore. It shouldn't be that hard! (I saw this on Instagram and thought it was funny and obviously true and a good reminder that we need to enjoy life and not worry so much about eating).

Also, a lot of diets are fad diets that don't work long term anyway.  Either because you get sick of the food, or tired of worrying about the food or how much you eat. Or because the food is nasty and you're pretending like it tastes good to make yourself feel better about having to eat it. (My potato chips taste way better than your kale chips, just admit it).

I get it. I know that some people need to be on a diet. I know that some have some hormonal changes they are making through food. I know that some people have allergies to certain foods. I know that Dr's put people on diets because they aren't eating healthy. And I'm not a Dr or a nutritionist so I'm aware (and you should be too) that I'm not giving health advice professionally. But I am going to share what I do to make sure I'm eating well and still enjoying it.

I'm going to admit once again that I do not eat healthy all the time. I eat sugar, once in a while, we eat out, I eat pizza and hamburgers (yes with the bun) I eat ice cream a lot and I eat a lot of other things that would be considered a no-no for other people. I enjoy food, a lot. And I really believe that's how it should be, food should be something you enjoy and get to enjoy.

All that being said, I try to keep what I eat on a daily basis, healthy and purposeful. For me, breakfast and lunch are much harder for me than dinner to be conscious of. I'm willing to bet that's the case for a lot of you reading. For me, this happens because I'm hurrying to get kids where they need to be on time or worrying about getting them fed first and I forget to worry about me until I'm starved and don't want to wait long for something to cook.  Because of this quick and easy are usually the name of the game.

Quick and Easy:

- Granola has been a lifesaver for me at breakfast time. I usually eat mine on top of a cup of yogurt. I don't put a lot on there, maybe around 1/4 of granola and the rest of the toppings are fruit (dried or fresh) and sometimes a few chocolate chips. This is quick and tastes great and it also keeps me full until lunchtime.

- Smoothies are always a great way to make sure you get your fruit and veggie servings. I'm not super great at adding veggies to my smoothies. I can do carrots in there and that's about it, haha. But at least I can add those and some fruit and I can get that ready in about 2 minutes or less. I also like to make smoothies because my kids like them and I know that I can get them to eat at least one veggie that way.

- At lunchtime, if I remember in time, I'll grab a frozen chicken breast put it in the oven while I make the kids their lunch. I will usually cut up some broccoli, drizzled with olive oil and salt and pepper and roast that alongside the chicken. By the time the kids are settled, my lunch is ready and we all get something filling and good for us.

- I roast a lot of veggies at dinner time too because it's easy to do and it's really healthy. Plus 90% of our family eats veggies best that way (J won't touch a vegetable for anything). I just spread whatever veggie of choice for the night on a baking sheet, drizzle with olive oil, sprinkle with salt and pepper and put it in the oven at 400 for 15- 20 minutes or until the veggies are tender. It makes for a really healthy, easy side dish.

- When all else fails, and my day is going crazy and I don't have time or energy to make a meal of any kind. I grab my favorite Blender Bottle, a carnation instant breakfast, and a yogurt or some fruit.

Another reason I think a lot of people are eating unhealthy has to do with portion size. We have all been taught that we can't leave the table until our food is gone. And then we overeat because we were starving before we sat down to eat and our eyes were bigger than our stomachs (my grandpa used to say that too me all the time!)

Portion Control :

- A really popular trick I've heard over and over is to use a smaller plate. It makes you think you have more than you really do on your plate so you tend to get/eat less. Never worked well for me because there's always seconds. But at least you're not getting seconds after a big full plate of food. Still portion control.

- Drink a glass of water right before you sit down for dinner. Not only does being well-hydrated help you not feel so hungry, but having something in your stomach will make you feel a little fuller and you won't need to load up so much on food.

- If you're a big snacker during the day, make sure you're eating well enough at meals that you don't feel the need to snack during the day. It's ok to have something now and then but don't go crazy. I used to work in marketing (I loved that job!) and they constantly had snacks on hand. Popcorn, M&M's, granola bars, etc. They had them all the time, and anyone was welcome to them. I constantly ate M&M's. Like ALL THE TIME. Luckily I was also running 10 miles a day at that time. After a while of noticing how much I was eating them, I stopped having the M&M's in a bowl and my desk and I started carrying a water bottle around with me instead. And every time I finished a full bottle of water, I'd go fill it back up, grab a couple of M&M's and drink the water again.

- If you need a physical way to control your portions, This product by Blender Bottle is a big help! I talked a little bit about how this product helps me pack J's school lunches, but I also use this for me too. When we are on the go (park, picnics, running errands...) and I know that my kids or I will need a snack I take it in my GoStack. I love the GoStacks because you can take as much or as little as you want and stack the whole thing together or divide it up between kids. You can pack crackers for one person, carrots for the other and they don't touch (picky eater problems).  You can pack snacks like this ahead of time and they are ready to either leave in your bag or grab out of the fridge and go. I could go on forever about the GoStacks, and I will do a full review on that soon, so I'll save that for then. If you are looking for a great way to carry snacks or control your snack portion size, this is it!

Other reasons you feel like you need to be on a diet:

- You eat too late at night. I really, truly believe that this would solve a lot of diet issues for a lot of people. I'm not saying that you can't have a bowl of ice cream after dinner once in a while, or you can't go have a piece of cake at a birthday party or something like that. I'm just saying that if you'd stop eating by 7:00 at night wait until breakfast, you wouldn't be eating around 200-300 extra calories a day and your body would lose more weight. Drink water if you feel like your stomach is empty. Indulge once in a while, but don't sit down most nights and have a snack before bed.

- You feel like you don't have time. When it's been a long day and you don't have time or energy to make dinner so you call your husband and say "pick something up on the way home". It is super convenient and it's ok to do now and then. But the quality of the food you bring home isn't as good (healthy) as what you could make at home. Even some prepackaged meals that you get and put in the oven to warm up for your family aren't as healthy as what you can make on your own. Yes, it takes more effort, but it's really not that hard if you take time to do it. Time management, remember? Make meals ahead of time and freeze them, or even just make parts of meals that you can put together when it's time to.

- To go along with the last one, make things on your own instead of buying them. Granola is, again, a good example of this for me. I make my own granola because I can control how much sugar is going into it that way. And it's cheaper.  By making your own soups, granola, cookies, basically making your own anything, you're in control of what goes in there and how healthy you want it to be.

- Last but definitely not least, workout. Exercise. Move. Do something besides sitting at your desk or on your couch all day. Because when you burn calories, it doesn't matter quite as much what you're eating.  I'm sure that one of the big reasons I can eat whatever I want is because I workout 5 times a week. What you put in your body does matter (I do try to make an effort to eat good, healthy food.) But when you are active you feel better and perform better in your daily tasks. You have more energy and you don't feel sluggish.

These are examples and not the only way to be healthy, and I know that diets have their place, but this is how I make sure I am being healthy and I'm still able to eat what I want. You know yourself, you know your body, find what works for you!

Have you ever been on a strict diet?

What is your favorite/least favorite vegetable?

What is one way you make eating easier for you?

Monday, September 18, 2017

Our Weekend Happenings

Here we are back to Monday.  I hope you all had a great weekend, ours was pretty relaxing.  Here are a few things that we did.

Friday was a really rainy day. We were so glad for the rain and spent the morning cleaning the whole house, listening to a book on tape and watching the rain with the windows open. It was nice to get a lot of housework done (because it's been a little neglected lately) and the nice cool air was nice in the house.

Our next activity was playing mice with M.  These are great because they are like pets but they only die when the batteries die and you can always replace the batteries. 

Then it was shape time with V.  He's a pretty busy boy so he's not all that interested in sitting and playing with toys like this but lately he's finally been into it. It didn't last too long, but it was nice to have him still for a few minutes.

Saturday was sunny but cold.  That rain made our temperatures over 20 degrees colder than normal. I did the Drop and Go treadmill workout from the Hungry Runner Girl's blog (she gave a whole bunch of interval workouts try) and walking home I got goosebumps all over my legs.  This isn't real good news for my race on Saturday.  It's not looking like it's going to be getting any warmer. 

V wandered around the house with his blanket like this all morning. I love that he loves his blankey. (He also thinks this calculator is a phone). The girls went to play with friends for most of the day, which means I got to go out and get some errands run kid free. 

Lunch was granola in one of my favorite spots in my house.  I am not a banana fan but I decided to put it on my granola with strawberries. I didn't hate it, I actually liked it. But I still don't like bananas.

Are you ready for the cool fall weather?

What is your favorite/least favorite fruit?

Do you have a favorite spot to sit in your house?