Ice Ice Baby

It has been a while since I’ve had a bad run, so it was probably in due time.

I wanted so badly to run outside today because it was 45*. . . .FORTY-FIVE!! It felt like a heat wave after last week’s single digits. But this is what the conditions looked like today–ice and water everywhere.

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Kind of like this song. . . .

Cullen really liked dancing to the music!

I was literally on my way to the gym to run on the treadmill this morning when I made a last-minute decision to run outside. As I was driving to the gym, the main roads didn’t seem too bad. Plus I would have my studded shoes which would help, right?

I got changed and bundled Cullen up. (Yes, I also had to push the stroller across the ice rink. Actually it probably helped me from falling since I could balance on it.) As soon as I took two steps on the road, I knew I had made the wrong decision. But it was too late now because the child care at the gym would have closed before I was able to finish my workout.

I run-skated along at a blazing speed of 11 minutes per mile. ELEVEN!! Ugh, I’m not even sure that pace remotely helps to become faster. The plan called for 5 miles, but after 4.5 miles and 50 minutes of running, I was done. Actually Cullen was getting fussy too, which was another reason I called it quits.

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Every year we have weather like this, and I get so excited because it is often after a cold snap, but then I try to run outside and remember why that doesn’t work. I thought about including ‘tips for running outside on the ice’ in this blog post, but then I decided my advice would be: don’t do it! Stay inside. It isn’t worth it!

Backing up to yesterday (Monday) when I did do run on the treadmill. My workout was 4 x 400 @ 5:55 pace. It went well, but I kept thinking, “How do elite women run this pace (and faster!) for the entire marathon!”

The total mileage was 8 miles, and I had to run a little faster at the end to make sure I got all 8 miles done before the treadmill shut down after an hour. (I hate having to start it back up again after that happens.)

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Some other random happenings from around here. While shopping at Target, Craig picked out this stocking for himself. Go figure.

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I got a good portion of this blog post done while Cullen was taking his bath. He loves playing in the bathtub and could stay there for hours.

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Tomorrow I run inside!

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Monday – Friday

Happy Friday everyone! I hope your week was a good one, and you have fun plans for the weekend! I’m working on Saturday and Sunday again at the store. When I work all weekend, I try to get as much done during the week, so I don’t have a big to-do list come Monday.

It has been a bitter cold week, but we are getting some reprieve today, with temps in the 30s, so let’s hope it stays like this for a while because temps in the single digits are no fun. Nonetheless it was still a good week. Here’s a little recap on what we were up to.

Monday

I definitely wasn’t too sad my plan called for a treadmill workout on Monday. I didn’t have to run outside in the fridgid cold, and I could sleep in because I could take Cullen to the child care at the gym while I ran on the treadmill.

I did an 8 mile progressively faster workout that started at 8 minute miles and worked down to a 6:15 pace. It was a little tougher than usual, but sometimes those first few workouts on the treadmill are that way.

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Every time I use my Apple headphones when running on the treadmill, I get little shocks from them. Does this happen to anyone else? I had an older pair that did the same thing. I thought it was because they were cracked, but this brand new pair does the same thing. I’m guessing they aren’t designed for sweating in.

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Someone let me try out their Garmin Vivo Active watch: think GPS + text messages on the watch. I’m still playing around with it, but I think I’m glad I didn’t buy it myself. I haven’t figured out if I can ‘split’ my training runs at different times, which is a feature I use often. I haven’t synced it to my phone because I’m not sure I would want text messages coming to my watch.

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Tuesday

We stayed at home most of the day on Tuesday, except for an appointment at the chiropractor to have my neck adjusted. Flannel was necessary with the temps in the single digits. (He’s looking at a picture of himself when he was 2 months old.)

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Wednesday

I coached Raven Run Club in the morning. Cullen came along to watch and play with Raina. They were two peas in a pod eating their snack. Cullen thought it was so fun to talk through the foam roller.

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That evening, I did an 11 mile interval workout at The Dome. I had 4 x 1200 @ 6:18 pace. I am still in my speed training block, which ends mid-December. It wasn’t a very hard workout, but my coach wants me to continue training at this intensity for a while.

Thursday

Thursday was my day off of running. After running 10 days in a row, I was ready for a break. I attempted to sleep in, but Cullen woke up at 6 a.m. It seems like the days I have to wake up early to go running he sleeps until 7:30 a.m., but the days I have the opportunity to sleep in, he wakes up early. Go figure.

During the morning we headed to the library to play in the play area.

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Then we went to story time for the first time. They read stories and sang songs. Cullen was especially intrigued by the singing.

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We only lasted for about 15 minutes before we had to leave. Since Cullen woke up early, he wasn’t the happiest baby. Then he saw his snack in the diaper bag, but when I wouldn’t let him have it, he lost it. Oh well. We went out to the lobby to have the snack instead. Notice all of the strawberries are gone. This kid loves his fruit. He could live on fruit (and yogurt) alone.

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Friday

This morning I did an easy 6 miles with 6 striders at the end. We got some new snow overnight, so it was pretty slow-going, which is never fun. Plus sleep wasn’t very good as Cullen was up 4 times last night.

I have been living in this Lululemon Down for a Run Pullover when it has been so cold on my runs. It is down-filled and great for keeping me warm while blocking the wind. This is the first item I’ve owned that I can honestly say has kept my core warm during these single digits runs.

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The rest of the plans for the day include a trip to the gym to lift weights, a walk outside since it is finally warm enough, running some errands this afternoon, and making some white chicken chili for dinner.

Enjoy your weekend!

Give Thanks

With Thanksgiving just a week away, I naturally start to think about all of the things in my life that I am thankful for. On a daily basis I try to remember all the things I have been blessed with and not just during this time of the year. Here are some things I’m especially thankful for.

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My health

I have been very blessed with very few health complications over the years. I couldn’t tell you the last time I went to the doctor (besides my pre and post-natal visits), I usually only get sick once or twice a year, and I am generally very healthy. I also carried a baby to term, which is not something everyone is able to do.

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My husband

I am so thankful for Craig’s humor, his support for allowing me to stay at home with Cullen, a voice of reason when I can’t make up my mind, and being my number one running fan. I am very thankful I am not a single parent raising Cullen. I feel blessed he has been so helpful with Cullen, watching him during the weekends when I work, and being more of an overprotective parent than myself.

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Family

Even though none of my family lives here, I am still grateful they call often, FaceTime, and stay involved with Cullen and what’s going on in our lives.

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Cullen

This little kid keeps me laughing every day and is so fun to watch grow and develop. I want to be a better person for him.

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Running

(Of course you knew this was coming.) Running gives me so much joy. I love how I feel after going for a run and how it clears my mind. It keeps me striving to improve my fitness and challenges me to do things I never thought possible.

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Friends

It took me several years to meet people I connected with up here, so it is so nice to finally have friends to hang out with and run with. (Most of my closest friends are also my running friends.)

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Being able to travel

This year not only have I been able to go back home to Minnesota twice, but I also traveled to Cordova, AK and Oregon for two weeks. We usually get out of the state a couple times a year, which definitely helps with the isolation that comes with living here.

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Then there are the little daily things that I am so thankful for but often take for granted: the fact I can leave my front door without being scared of being hurt, I have a roof over my head and bed to sleep on at night, and I have ample food and a variety of clothes to wear.

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Question

What are you thankful for this holiday season?

Weekend Highlights + Weekly Mileage

Hey! I hope you had a fabulous weekend and your week is off to a great start!

I worked both Saturday and Sunday, but thankfully I love my job, so it doesn’t feel like work.

Saturday morning was my long run. I ran 6 miles before Raven Run Club, and then 10 miles with the training group. It was a bitter 3* when we started. Three layers on top, two layers on bottom, and I still wasn’t very warm. Luckily the hand warmers in my mittens helped quite a bit.

[For any locals. . . .we have a walk-to-run training group starting in December, and a winter training group that starts in January. Click the Raven Run Club link above if you are interested.]

16 miles | average pace – 8:24

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I worked at Skinny Raven Mini all day with this beautiful view. Silly sun setting at 4:30 p.m. already.

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After work, I came home to a candle-light dinner. Craig made halibut with garlic mashed potatoes, glazed carrots, and a side salad. It was amazing!

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Sunday morning I was up bright and early again to log 6 miles with Brittany. My car said the temperature was 2*, but a business sign said the temp was -3*. Either way it was cold!

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My legs and ankles were so cold, I didn’t even feel this sore on my ankle. I’ve worn these shoes many times before, but the tongue of my shoe rubbed on my ankle causing the skin to break open. I made the rookie mistake of not wearing socks that covered my ankles, so the skin was exposed to the cold air and must have been different because I’ve never had a problem with the tongue causing any discomfort in the past.

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After church, I worked all afternoon again, but got to come home to my two favorite guys. Craig insisted we all put on our matching red plaid shirts and vests with patches on the shoulders. (You can’t see mine, but they are there.) He thinks it is so fun when we all dress alike.

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My training is getting more difficult with the winter weather we’ve been having, but I’ve always run year-round, so it isn’t like this is anything new for me. I had a solid week of training, nonetheless, with 66 miles for the week during this block of speed work.

Monday

10 miles | 4 miles @ 6:45 – 6:50

I ran 3.5 miles outside, then 5 miles inside, and 1.5 miles back home. Splits from the 4 up-tempo miles – 6:45, 6:42, 6:40, 6:46. I felt fine and the 4 up-tempo miles came easily. 

40 minutes of weights at the gym

Tuesday

9 miles, easy | 9:09 pace

It was really hard getting out of bed this morning, but once I got going I was fine. 

Wednesday

6 miles, easy | average pace – 7:50

I was able to run during the day because Craig was off for Veteran’s day, and it was so nice. I feel so much better running during the daylight–wish I could do that every day!

Thursday

11 miles | hill workout – 5 x 3:15 minutes uphill

I wasn’t able to push the pace very much since it was so slippery, but I did the best I could.

Friday

8 miles | average pace – 8:45

Met up with a couple other ladies and ran through downtown Anchorage.

45 minutes weights at the gym

Saturday

16 miles | 8:24 pace

Super cold at 3*. It just takes so much more out of me when doing long runs in the winter.

Sunday

6 miles | 10:00 pace

I ran with Brittany, who is in her 3rd trimester of pregnancy, so we took it nice and easy. It doesn’t bother me to a run once a week at a slower pace; I’m just thankful for the company!

Total: 66 miles

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Questions

  1. What was the highlight of your weekend?
  2. Do you like to dress like your significant other and/or child?

Follow Me

Woohoo! Happy weekend everyone! Any big plans for the weekend?

8 miles done this morning with two other lovely ladies. We took it nice and easy at an 8:45 pace through downtown Anchorage.

After getting Cullen ready and having some breakfast, we headed to the gym so I could lift weights for 45 minutes. My coach had me do some different types of core work, and I think (hope!) I’m going to be sore tomorrow. I love the new Body Renew in South Anchorage. The facilities are so nice and new and modern.

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Afterwards, I took Cullen to the library because someone told me they had a great play area for little kids. They were right! Classic Cullen–one shoe on, one shoe off.

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There was an enclosed area with tons of toys, kid-sized tables, and books (of course) for Cullen to play with. He had a blast and did not want to leave when it was time to go.

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Have you ever tried these maple bacon Kettle chips? They definitely had a sweet-savory flavor to them. I’m pretty sure they took the BBQ flavor and added some sweetness to them; that’s what they tasted like to me anyhow.

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Also, if you like hearty, grainy bread and you live near a Costco, you must try this Cranberry Walnut Bread that they sell. It is full of chunks to walnuts and cranberries (of course), wheat flour, and rye. I usually have a few slices at a time with Earth Balance “butter.”

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So here’s random little tip I have been doing with our orange juice that saves us from drinking orange juice like nobody’s business. Instead of mixing up an entire pitcher of orange juice and then having it gone in two days, I put the orange juice concentrate in this dressing maker, and then when we want some orange juice, we just add the concentrate to a glass with some water. I also like adding the orange juice concentrate to smoothies, and Cullen likes really watered-down orange juice. Good thing he doesn’t know any different yet.

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I’m trying to be more diligent about getting a few blog posts up each week. I finally feel like we’re in a pretty good routine, so blogging seems a little more doable these days.

If you are interested in receiving an e-mail each time I publish a new blog post, subscribe by entering your e-mail address in on the right-hand side of this page. This is the best way to be guaranteed you know about each post.

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I usually try to post a link in Facebook each time I have a new blog post, so you can also ‘like’ The Runner’s Plate on Facebook too.

By far my favorite form of social media these days is Instagram. I only recently started an account there (this summer. . . .when I also go my first smartphone). My friend, Brittany, kept raving about Instagram and how much better it was than Facebook and now I understand why! No “extra” stuff (ads, “this person liked this,” “this person commented on this, etc.) just a lot of fun pictures! Follow therunnersplate on Instagram.

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Winter Races

There aren’t a lot of races during the winter months up here, but there are more now than there were when I moved up here 8 years ago. (How did I get to 8 already?!) I have two races picked out for the rest of this year but am not sure what I’ll be racing next year. I’ve thrown around a lot of ideas but haven’t settled on anything yet.

The first race for me coming up this month is the Turkey Trot. Did you know that more people race on Thanksgiving Day than any other day of  the year? This is only the 4th year Skinny Raven has put on this event for those who live in the Anchorage area. I didn’t run the race the first year (I’m not sure I knew about it??). The second year I did it for fun because I was injured. And last year I was just a few weeks postpartum and barely getting back into running.

But this year I plan to race the 5K. How fast I will be able to run this race will depend upon the road conditions (snowy and/or ice) and the temperature (I don’t do well in colder temps.). But I am looking forward to lacing up the racing flats and seeing what my little legs can pull off that day.

The other race I’ll be running this year is the Northern Lights Resolution Run on the eve of December 31. This will only be the 2nd time Skinny Raven has put this race on, and if you live in the Anchorage area, I highly recommend signing up for this race. It was seriously a blast last year. The route was super slippery, but the blacklight tunnel, paper lanterns, music, and other decorations lighting the path made it so much fun! Plus everyone decks out in their lighted gear and bright colors.

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Picture from last year’s race.

Yesterday I coached two Raven Run Club training groups in the morning and then went for my run late morning. It was so nice to be able to run in the daylight–I could see and even though it was the same temperature as it is in the mornings, it felt warmer since the sun was up. I would love to be able to go during the day every day. (Plus then I could sleep in more!)

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For lunch, Craig, Cullen, and I ate at South Restaurant & Coffeehouse. It is a relatively new restaurant in town, and Craig and I finally got a chance to try it for his birthday a week ago. We had sandwiches, a salad, and soup on the cafe side and enjoyed everything we had.

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During the afternoon I had a sports massage, which was absolutely heavenly. The last massage I had was when I was about 35 weeks pregnant, so this was a treat!

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Post-massage bliss.

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Questions

  1. What is your next race?

2. When was the last time you had a massage?

Cullen’s Favorite Book

Cullen woke up at 5:30 a.m. Tuesday morning, so I stayed up even though my alarm was set for 6 a.m. I knew it would be best to get an early start because I was meeting Brittany at 7 a.m., but I had to get 4 miles in beforehand.

Luckily it wasn’t too cold this morning (low 30s), but I am not looking forward to the end of the week and next week when it is supposed to be in the single digits. I’m not ready for that! I ran 4 miles and then met Brittany for 5 more. She’s doing awesome running at 27 weeks pregnant! We ran through the neighborhoods since they were plowed better than the sidewalks and not very slippery.

When I got back home, Cullen was still sleeping, which I was surprised about, so I took the opportunity to foam roll, do my postpartum ab video, and grab a bowl of cereal while chatting with Craig before he left for work. Cullen finally woke up at 8:45, which is late for him. (He went to bed about 7:30/7:45 p.m.) When he got up, I was more than ready for breakfast.

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I made oatmeal for us to share topped with peanut butter. Cullen also had some yogurt and an English muffin with mashed avocado. He’s funny because he doesn’t always like eating cut-up pieces of avocado, but he loves licked off the mashed avocado off a piece of toast.

The Minnesota love koozie was given to me by my sister when she asked me to be her matron of honor at her wedding! Next summer her and her fiancé, Nick, are tying the knot in Minnesota. I’m stoked!

After breakfast, I changed Cullen, and he insisted on reading his Moo book. It is just like the Dog book (both by the same author) but with farm animals. I read this book to him no less than three times each day.

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I shower and get ready for the day while Cullen plays. (Right now he is loving a couple of new toys he got for his birthday.) Then we run a few errands. We stop at REI to return an item. (I bought a hat for Craig for his birthday, but he didn’t like it.) Then we stop at The Clothesline Consignment, so I can drop off a bag of clothes I am trying to sell. I have not been liking many of the options in my closet, so I have been purging and getting rid of things I never wear. That way I can buy some new clothes like this Oiselle Lux Sweatshirt and this New Balance Heat Hybrid Vest.

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I also stopped in at Sephora for a new facial cleaner and moisturizer. I recently purchased a different cleaner and moisturizer, but they weren’t working for me. I picked them out myself and should have asked for help the first time around. Hopefully these two products will be better for my skin.

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We didn’t get back until 12:30 p.m., so I quickly reheated last night’s dinner and toasted a piece of bread that I topped with mashed avocado. (I think Cullen had about half of my toast.) I used to rarely eat avocados, but now I can’t go a day without having some. I can’t believe I was missing out for so long.

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I also had this Chicano Flip yogurt cup. It was definitely good, but I’m not sure it was that healthy.

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While Cullen napped, I worked on this blog post and posted some items to be sold on E-bay. If you are interested in a Timbuk2 XS messenger bag or a Oiselle Sweatshirt, check out my items. I also worked on thank yous for his birthday gifts and made pizza dough for dinner.

Cullen loves playing with the vacuum attachments. He likes to dust with this one.

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Then it was time to walk Sadie because she was getting crazy. (Cullen isn’t sleeping in the picture; he’s just looking down.)

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Craig had to work late, so we add pizza by ourselves. I made half with meat and half vegetarian.

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Questions

  1. If you have kids, what time do they wake up?
  2. What is your favorite facial cleanser?
  3. Ever try to sell things on E-bay?

A Day in the Life – 12 Months

I almost forgot to do my last ‘A Day in the Life’ post for Cullen’s 12th month to finish off the year.

I have been able to day one of these posts every month since Cullen was born, so now I am finishing up with month twelve. One thing that remains constant: there is no typical day. And if anything, this is further from a typical day for us, but I still wanted to get something written up and posted on the blog for memory sake.

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Sunday, November 1

8:20 p.m. Cullen goes to bed. This is definitely later than usual, but he napped for 3 hours during the afternoon. (He was in his carseat when he was napping and for some reason naps a lot longer in it than his crib.)

Monday, November 2

12:00 a.m. Cullen wakes up. I let him fuss for a while, but after 20 minutes he isn’t quieting down, so I go nurse him back to sleep.

5:00 a.m. Cullen wakes up again.

5:20 a.m. After he goes back down, I contemplate getting up now and giving myself ample time to get my run in or sleeping until my alarm goes off at 5:45 a.m. I figure I might as well get up so I can drive to a route that I ran yesterday that was clear of snow for my tempo workout.

5:50 a.m. Drive to my running spot. As I get in my car, I see that it has snowed a little bit more overnight–not more than half an inch. However, this is a bummer because I have a tempo workout on the schedule, and the snow has now taken away my clear pavement. Thankfully I know the route has dry pavement underneath the snow (and there isn’t ice patches lurking underneath), but I also know that I am going to have a hard time hitting my prescribed paces. I figure I’ll do my best and see what I can manage.

6:00 a.m. Start my 10 mile workout. My workout is 2 x 2 miles @ 6:40 – 6:45 pace with 1:45 rest in between. Normally I would have no problem hitting this pace, but the snow + icy intersections and corners + some gradual uphill prevent me from hitting my paces. My actual splits were: 6:48, 6:51, 7:13, 6:58. I do my best and put forth the effort I would in a workout like this.

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7:25 a.m. Finish my workout, stretch a little, and drive back home.

7:40 a.m. Arrive back home and see Cullen is still sleeping, so I drink my post-workout Generation UCAN, put dishes away, catch up with Craig, make the bed, and foam roll while reading e-mails.

8:20 a.m. Cullen is still sleeping, so I take the opportunity and hop in the shower to get ready for the day. (I never get a chance to shower before he’s up!)

8:45 a.m. I hear some circus-like music coming from Cullen’s room. It isn’t a toy I’ve heard before and cannot figure out what the noise is. I open up the door and see Cullen pushing the buttons on his swing through the bars of his crib. I didn’t even know his swing played that music. Ha! I pick him up out of his crib, change his diaper, and give him some snuggles. Afterwards, I finish getting ready and then we head downstairs for breakfast.

9:00 a.m. Breakfast time! I have an English muffin with almond butter, and I add jam to one half. I also have some dried pineapple and half an apple.

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9:30 a.m. We head upstairs and play with some new toys from his birthday. I pick up his room and do a little bit of computer work in between playing with him and reading books.

10:40 a.m. We go on a walk with Sadie. She definitely gets a lot more hyper if she doesn’t get her daily walk.

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We have fun walking through the woods, while I sing silly songs to Cullen.

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11:40 a.m. Return from our walk. We usually don’t walk quite this long, but the fresh air is good for everyone.

11:45 a.m. I start on making lunch.

12:00 p.m. Lunch is pretty bare bones. . . .I desperately need to do some grocery shopping.

strawberry banana smoothie with greens + cheese quesadilla + veggies

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12:30 p.m. I clean up the kitchen while Cullen plays.

12:45 p.m. We head upstairs. I change Cullen’s diaper and his clothes, which are dirty from eating and wet from extra drool these past couple of weeks. (He has 4 new teeth on top and 2 more coming in on the bottom. That will be 14 teeth total!) While he isn’t showing too many signs of being tired, it has been 4 hours since he’s been up, and I am pretty sure he is in need of a nap, so we start reading some books and winding down.

1:00 p.m. Cullen goes down for his nap. During his nap, I work on this blog post, do a postpartum ab video, and order my beloved Mizuno Wave Riders.

2:30 p.m. Cullen wakes up from his nap. He has been very consistent with taking a 75 – 90 minute nap thankfully! We get ready to go and run some errands.

2:40 p.m. We stop at Cabela’s to look for a gift for Craig. [It’s his birthday tomorrow (Tuesday)!] But I don’t find what I am looking for, so we look at the fish and other animals. I take this picture of the onesie and send it to Craig because he’s been bugging me about buying a onesie, so we can all wear our onesies in an awkward family photo. “What I lack in muscles, I make up in humor,” direct quote from my husband. Yep!

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Our next stop is at Costco for some staple grocery items. I also pick up a jacket for $15 that I think will be really nice for running, some running gloves, and a gift for my sister for Christmas. Cullen enjoys the samples.

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Our third and final stop is at the thrift store: Value Village. (I have been a cheapskate and buying my jeans on E-bay or at the thrift store for $15 – $20.) I find a pair of skinny jeans today. They are American Eagle, which isn’t my preferred store to buy things from, but they fit well, and they are only $13. I’m all about the good deals.

4:40 p.m. We return home, and I unload the car and put groceries away while Cullen plays.

5:00 p.m. I work on dinner.

5:15 p.m. Craig gets home from work, and watches Cullen while I finish dinner.

5:30 p.m. I call my sister and talk to her while trying to clean up the kitchen a bit.

6:00 p.m. Dinner is served: Baked Breaded Chicken + roasted sweet potatoes + avocado slices. Super easy and super delicious.

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6:30 p.m. Cullen has food all over from eating, so we take a bath and get ready for bed.

7:00 p.m. I can tell Cullen isn’t tired, so I start washing the dishes while he rides around in his “car.”

7:30 p.m. We go upstairs and play for a while again.

8:00 p.m. Craig returns home from his haircut and watches Cullen while I finish cleaning.

8:30 p.m. Cullen finally goes down. I get ready for bed.

8:50 p.m. I finish this blog post.

9:30 p.m. Lights out for me.

The end.