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?

Saturday, September 16, 2017

Weekly Round Up

Saturday again?  It feels like the weeks are slipping by really fast lately! If you missed anything with us that you want to catch up on, here's our weekly round up

Monday: I have a race next Saturday, and that always makes me think about all my bad running habits. So I shared a list of 6 bad running habits to break before your next race (I need to work on several of them)

Tuesday: Life gets busy and one excuse you hear all the time in running and in a lot of other things is "I don't have time to ______ every day." So I gave some tips on how to "fit it all in" your day.

Wednesday: I've been running and racing a long time. I've learned a lot and I shared a few of those things.  

Thursday:  J is at school full time now and so she eats lunch at school. She's a picky eater so I pack her lunch to make sure she'll eat SOMETHING. I shared one of my favorite products that I use to pack her lunch with. It's a game changer.

Friday: Morning running helps my brain be more creative and function better. 

I hope everyone has a wonderful weekend! See you on Monday!

Friday, September 15, 2017

Being Active In The Morning Helps Me Be More Creative

If you're looking for a way to wake your brain up either in the morning or at mid day, go for a run. Or do some other activity that gets your heart rate up. I woke up not wanting to get out of bed. It was dark and I hate running in the dark. And I wanted to still be asleep. But I knew that once I got going I'd be glad I did. So I ran and I noticed how awake I suddenly felt after a mile of my run. My mind was firing off different ideas and I was alert and so glad that I went out.  And look at this gorgeous sunrise I got to see at the end of my run. There are no filters on this picture. It was unreal.

More on the mind/body connection stuff later. 4 easy paced miles this morning and the temperature was perfect. After getting cleaned up and J off to school I had some breakfast. Does anyone else think that bread is one of the best things to eat after a run? This may just be because it's what we always had after races in high school so it's what I'm used to. I would have prefered Great Harvest's cinnamon swirl bread but I had to settle for plain old white bread toasted with butter. I also had an egg to make me feel like I was being a little bit healthier.

V decided to have yogurt and dry crunch berries for breakfast. He already knows that the berries are better than the crunch. 

Then M asked if we could go on a walk and she could ride her bike.  It was a really nice morning so we went around our neighborhood before we came home to finish up our morning chores. 


So I want to talk a little bit, today, about the connection between mind and body and how taking care of your body helps you have a stronger mind. There have been a lot of studies that show that exercising for 30 minutes or more a day will help your memory be stronger. This probably comes as no surprise to anyone reading this.

I wanted to talk about a different view of this though, the creativity side.  I don't have any scientific research to give you on this today other than my own experience but hopefully, you'll at least find it interesting or entertaining. 

A good amount of my blog content comes to me on a run.  Sometimes I'll get home and have a list of 5 or 6 different topics that I want to talk about. There is just something about getting outside, breathing fresh air and seeing the things around you that help you be more creative. 

It doesn't really matter what time of day you get out and enjoy your exercise in nature (and even if you have to exercise inside, it still helps) but this is something that I found happens more often when I run in the morning VS running at night. I think, for me, running at night my brain automatically goes to the things that have happened through the day. And that can be really therapeutic in some ways but in the morning, my brain isn't worrying about the day's events yet. If I can get out and running before my brain has to function a whole lot I find that I am in a better place during my run mentally. I'm not running off frustration or anger. I'm not thinking about how I yelled at my kids when I shouldn't have. I'm just running and my blood is flowing and more oxygen is going to my brain and the rest of my body and I can think very clearly. Then the rest of the day I'm thinking more clearly, I'm in a better mood, I notice the little things that matter most more often, and I can deal with the stress of being a mom more than on my rest days/night workouts. 

Plus, waking up early, even if it means starting in the dark, means I get to witness beautiful sunrises. And that is something you can't just witness by looking at a picture. You can see it that way, but you can only witness that by being up and going early enough to watch it. 

What helps you be more creative?

When was the last time you watched the sunrise?

What is something that you do that affects you differently in the morning VS at night?

Thursday, September 14, 2017

This Changed Sack Lunches Forever For Us

If you have a picky eater (or anyone really) that takes lunch to school, the GoStack by Blender Bottle will change your life. Ok, maybe not change it, but it will be a huge game changer in the way you pack school lunch.  I'll talk more about this in a second.

Yesterday we spent the afternoon playing at my sister's house. The weather was amazing so we let the kids run around her back yard for a while and we got to visit. This little man was in heaven! He was so happy to wander around the yard for 2 hours doing whatever he wanted. He's also quite the cheeser. He knows when his picture is being taken.

After dinner last night, I got to work on making J's lunch for the next day.  I always make J's lunch for school and I always make it the night before so it's not such a rush in the mornings. J is a picky eater so it's tricky to come up with ideas for her lunch. One thing my sister taught me was that if you put anything on a toothpick and call it a kabob, kids will eat it.  So these are "pizza kabobs". Tortilla, cheese cube, mini pepperoni layered on a toothpick. 

I'm going to do a full review on these, but I wanted to show you them now too. These are amazing things called GoStacks. They are made by Blender Bottle. One of the things J is picky about with her food is that it touches. She won't eat a grape if it touches her chicken, although she eats both grapes and chicken. So this is a great way for me to pack her lunch without using a thousand zip lock bags. 

J is also not a fan of any veggies. ANY OF THEM. She used to like broccoli, but something changed. She will sometimes nibble on corn, but corn isn't something that is easily prepared in a cold sack lunch. What she does love is sour cream. I know that it sounds gross...but I sent baby carrots with her to school with sour cream (I added the tiniest amount of ranch mix to it) in hopes that she will maybe at least try it. We'll see how that goes. But that's another thing I LOVE about these GoStacks! I can put dips or sauces in them and they don't spill and get all over the place. You know when your kid gets home from school and you open their lunch box and there's some questionable kind of liquid mess? That doesn't happen with these. Everything stays clean and where it's supposed to be. The only liquid in her lunch box is the condensation from her melting ice pack. 

One more thing about the GoStack today (I'm going to do a bigger review soon) You can stack as many together as you want. The tops of the lids stack to the bottoms of the jars and you can use as little or as many as you want. It makes it very convenient to fit it into a sack lunch.  So, if anyone in your family takes lunch to work or school, or if you just need a convenient way to carry snacks with you on the go, get a GoStack, I promise you'll use it all the time, and you'll probably end up buying more. 

Today was my rest day, but I got a pretty good back workout from giving M rides around the house on my back. 

And after running errands, I got home and parked the car and thought "wow, my car smells really clean right now". When I went to take the groceries in, I found out why. The dish soap I bought spilled on the carpet of my car. At least it's soap and fairly easy to clean up. Plus it makes my car smell clean...could be way worse (glad it wasn't the milk). It all came up real easy with a towel and a dish scraper (which we haven't used on any dishes ever...just sticky messes). 

Who has a picky eater/were a picky eater as a kid? What are you tips with that?

Who had a rest day today?

Wednesday, September 13, 2017

5 Things I've Learned From Racing

I have 5 (just a few) things I've learned from racing for you today, but first here's how things have been going for us around here.

We saw a huge pile of pumpkins for sale at the grocery store.  M wanted to buy one but I told her she's just going to have to wait. I'm not done with summer yet. I think I may be in denial a little bit over here (I think this happens every year).

While we were out watering our plants, we noticed this huge grass hopper getting ready to go find a good snack in my tomatoes.  Not today grass hopper. I squirted him down...I hope that no one here is a bug activist, but I planted my vegetables for me, not them.

I also saw that my plants all finally decided to deliver!  Finally, we are getting strawberries and tomatoes that are getting big and ripe. I'm really hoping that our little strawberry bush produces a ton of strawberries next year!

You would think V would enjoy his huge box of toys or his ball pit, but nope. His favorite thing to play with right now is toothpaste.  No one but him enjoys this phase because we never know where the toothbrushes are, I'm constantly taking the toothpaste away and trying to distract him while he throws a fit. And yes, we do have child locks on the drawers and yes I have tried putting it in a different place. He's smart, and tall.  

M was excited to go to school again today. She started asking me if it was lunch time this morning at 8:45 because she knows that after lunch we go to school.  I'm loving that she's enjoying it, and I really hope that she keeps on enjoying it. 

This morning started out with a 20 minute run while listening to the Tiny Leaps, Big Changes podcast. I've recently started listening to more of these now and then and I really like this one because they are generally pretty short and don't take much time to listen to but they are full of good thoughts and ideas. 


I have done something like 300 plus races since I've started running. Not all of them were 5k's but they were still all races. There are a lot of things I love about racing but one of them is that I learn something every time I race. Here are just a few of the things that I have learned.

1. Every race is different. It doesn't matter how many times you run the same course, the race, the way you feel, what your mind is doing, how you trained, the people you're running with, the weather, even the shoes are all different. There is always something that happens just a little different from a race before. So just go into it knowing that things might not go exactly the way you expect. For better or for worse, something unexpected will happen.

2. One I wish I would have caught onto earlier: you really are just racing against yourself. Yes, you do place in a race and you want to try to place high, but really the thing you're trying to do is cut your current time down. So really, the only one your racing is you. Don't feel disappointed if you don't place, just be happy about the time you get.

3.  There is always another race. If you don't feel like you did as good as you'd hoped in your last race, there is always another race you can sign up for. Always another shot at your goal. And that's how you succeed is you keep trying.

4. It's way better to be friendly in a race than to act intimidating. Not only is it proven that you will perform better when you're enjoying it, but it also gives people the impression that you're a jerk when you act intimidating. Also, part of the fun of racing is getting to know new people.

5.  Race day is not the day to worry about training. You did that part, now it's test time. So relax and enjoy and remember #3, there's always another race.

What is your favorite season?

Anyone have a favorite podcast?

Don't forget to sign up for my email list. I haven't done much with it in the past but I'm going to try to do more with it now.  Including sending extra tips and answer lots of your questions. Feel free to email me anytime and I'll do my best to answer your questions. 

Tuesday, September 12, 2017

A Few Tips on How To "Fit It All In" Your Day

The excuse "I don't have time" hasn't ever made a whole lot of sense to me.  We all have the same amount of time in a day. Every person on this earth all have 24 hours in a day. So if one person has time for something why doesn't someone else? Well, this all has to do with HOW we CHOOSE to spend our day. I'm going to talk, today, about how you can find time to fit it all in.

There are some things you can't control during your day. Like if your kids wake you up 3 times the night before, an accident happening and causing a lot of traffic, the grocery store line being extra long, kids not napping, etc... but while we can't control things like that, we can control the way we react to those things.  I can choose to go to bed a little early so that I won't feel the need to sleep in as long and I can get up and going at my normal time. I can choose to leave the house a little early and miss the traffic or I can choose to be prepared to multitask during the traffic and listen to a book/podcast/what ever inspires you in the car. I can choose to go to the grocery store at the slower time of day so I don't have to wait so long in line, I can choose to have my kids help me clean or watch a movie or play quietly instead of napping so I can get what I need to do done. Those are all just examples that I've dealt with a lot, and I'm sure there are a thousand more examples that you can think of.

If you're feeling like you just don't have time to do everything on your list it's time to prioritize your list and see what you really need to focus on to fit everything in.  After making a list (actually sit down and write out every single thing that you have to do in a day) organize it into these categories.

What is the most important/pressing thing on your list?

What is something that you want to do for you, something that makes you happy?

What does your family need done?

What is extra?

This is what some days looks like for me:

Once you have all of the things written down, Put the things in that you have to do first. If you have a meeting, or Dr's appointment or something like that, schedule those things first. Then start filling in your day with your important things first. Put them in places that they will work best for you. Then move onto the things for your family that need to get done, put them where they fit best. Then fit in the things that are for you, the things that make you happy. Because I'm a strong believer that you can't take care of other people unless you take care of you too. With your extra time, find what else will fit in here and there.

 I can't say that I sit down and write things like this out on a daily basis. I just kind of go into auto pilot now because we have a schedule and it's second nature to me now. But when I did have to write things down, I loved using a planner kind of like THIS ONE because I liked how the time was broken up during the day, and I like how there is room for notes.

Prioritizing isn't the only way to make you feel like you have more time in your day though. I think we have so many distractions now days that we tend to waste a lot of time with out realizing it. Limiting those distractions is an amazing way to find extra time in your day.  A big distraction for me is my phone. I'm sure there are a lot who can relate to that. But I find that once I get started on something, like cleaning the house or helping my kids with the homework, my phone stays in the other room or in my pocket instead of in my hand.

Multitasking can be a good thing and a bad thing. With some things, multitasking means that we aren't giving one task all of our attention which means we aren't doing our best. If you want to multitask make sure you're doing it with things that don't take more concentration. For example, I listen to podcasts or other things that motivate me while I'm folding laundry or cleaning the house. Or I read J her spelling words while I'm making dinner.

Life can be stressful, and when you start to feel stressed it helps to write it all out, figure out what things are things that you have to get done and fill in the rest. You'll be surprised with how much time you actually do have left over. And if you get all your things done early (using those extra minutes you get from limiting distractions) then you might even find time to do your workout.

How do you limit your distractions?

What are your favorite ways to multitask?

Are you a list maker?

Monday, September 11, 2017

6 Habits to Break Before Your Next Race

I have a race coming up and because of that, I've been thinking about all of my bad running habits. But before we get to all of that, here are a few things from our weekend.

We started the weekend off with a last minute swim. I'm not sure how long swimming will be happening from now on out so we have to squeeze it in when ever we can.

The air here has been terrible because of several fires on this side of the country. So I haven't had many chances to run outside.  So when I woke up and the sky looked fairly clear, I jumped at the chance to do my long run outside. It was perfect temperature and I felt really good until I hit about the two-mile mark. Then I had to turn my long run into a 3.5-mile run.  The air was still too bad for my little asthmatic lungs and they started to tighten up a little bit. I didn't want to risk it. I did snap a picture of this pretty sunrise though.

And this one.  The smoke may be terrible to breathe, but it also makes for great sunrises and sunsets. 

The rest of the morning was spent baking cookies and cleaning around the house. I had a primary (the children's group in our church) party to go to. Trevon's aunt was getting rid of this cute serving tray so I snatched it up before we left Idaho last week.

And then the rain came! And it poured for quite a while and cleaned out more of that smokey air! So the windows were opened and the fresh, clean air came in.

While we were at the party, my grandpa's cat wandered over to get some company. Since my grandma passed away, this poor cat has felt so lonely. I'm not a cat person AT ALL, but I felt bad for little Pete.

My kids got to spend some time with my parents this weekend and they are really into Mario Kart right now. Hang on a little longer guys, I'm going to get a new phone soon and hopefully that will help a tiny bit with the quality of my pictures.  I would carry my nice camera around to take pictures, but have any of you carried 3 kids worth of stuff around daily? I'm not adding a camera to that right now.

Then with the leftover cookies, I made this delicious cookie sandwich.  Trevon helped me put the kids down to bed, and went to his dad's house to watch the football game and I got some very much needed me time.


Now, onto this talk about running habits. We all have habits, some are good that we want to keep going, and some are not so good that we want to change so that we can improve ourselves on. Sometimes we don't notice things that we are doing that are actually bad habits, (especially when it comes to running) until they are pointed out to us. So here are 6 bad running habits to break before your next race. (or just for running in general...)

1. Looking down:  This was a big problem I had in high school. They tell you not to do this because of neck strain, and while that is a really good reason, I think there's a little more to it.  Test this out, look down at the ground or at your feet for a little while next time you run, and then look up!  Not only does it help you with your running posture, but it can also help with your drive.  I know that when I'm looking up, being aware of my surroundings, focusing on the horizon instead of the ground, I feel way more confident and way more involved in my run. When I look down, I usually start to feel myself thinking about how tired my body feels and about how much further I have to go.  Breaking this habit will help you not only in your running posture during a race, but it will also help you be more confident in your race, and you'll do better.

2. looking behind you: My high school coach always told us not to look behind us.  When you're in a race and you take a peek behind you to see how close the next runner is, it throws off your rhythm of running but it also makes you lose focus and makes the person behind you think they can over power you.  Even if you feel like you have a lot more to give in a race, looking behind you gives your component a confidence boost and a bigger drive to pass you. (But, if you do get passed or pass someone, it's always really nice to tell them good job.)

3. Swinging arms side to side: This is another thing that I need to work on.  My brother used to always try to remind me not to swing my arms side to side instead of front and back because when you swing them side to side you're wasting a lot of energy. It causes your body to move slightly more sideways than moving them forward and back. While they have found that this is truer in sprinting than in distance running, I still think it would make a little difference to get your body in the habit of swinging them straight frontward and backward instead of side to side.

4. Squeezing your fists: This also has to do with energy. It takes extra energy to clench your fists tight. When you let your arms and hands relax a little bit more, your legs, feet, and lungs have more energy to work with.

5. Not warming up/stretching:  This one, you guys, this one is a bad one for me. I either feel like I look dumb warming up in front of a big group of people (at a race), and I know I shouldn't and it wouldn't matter, or I forget altogether and I don't do it. Warming up a little bit before a race helps so much, especially if it's a colder race (for me anyway).  It not only gets my muscles loose, but it prepares my lungs to work harder.  I've noticed that since I started having a problem with asthma.  But it's not just doing a little jogging before hand that helps. Stretching while you're waiting for the gun to go off can help you keep your muscles loose and warm so that you don't have to worry about an injury during the race.

6. Letting nerves get to you:  starting the race too fast:  Nerves play a big part in how you do on race day.  When you're used to racing you start to learn how to use your nervousness to your advantage, but it might take some time. Going out too fast at the beginning of a race is a huge no-no. You can waste all your energy at the beginning and not have any fuel left in your tank to finish your race strong...or at all.  If this is something you struggle with, find a way to help calm you down enough that your adrenaline isn't the only thing driving you.  Think about all the work you've put in for this race. Talk to some of the other racers a little bit, find a song you like to listen to, take some deep breaths. When the gun goes off, remind yourself that you have to do some pacing. It's good to start fast, but it's better to finish strong. Try your best to keep a good pace that you can gradually speed up until the end.