Christmas Weekend + Weekly Mileage

Our extended Christmas weekend is wrapped up today. [Craig had today (Monday) off as well.] It was a nice weekend, but man it flew by! Here’s a quick recap on what we’ve been up to.

Christmas Eve day I watched a friend’s baby because their daycare was closed. She loved giving Cullen hugs and kisses. (I’m not sure how much Cullen dug it. Ha!)

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Christmas Eve we invited Craig’s parents, uncle, and grandma over to our place so I could put Cullen down at his normal bedtime of 7:30 p.m. We had dinner and then opened gifts.

Craig had a Star Wars Christmas. I bought him, Cullen, and myself matching Star Wars shirts that say, “Chewie, we’re home.” (J. Crew is probably the only retailer I’d wear a Star Wars t-shirt from.) Obviously this is Cullen’s shirt.

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Craig was also quite excited about his Star Wars pillow from my sister and her fiancé!! He’s been asking for this throw pillow for about 2 years now. (Ever since he discovered Easy.) It says, “I love you I know.”

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The other gift he was far too excited about was his long underwear complete with a fictional butt flap. I also got a matching one from his grandma. He has been wearing his nonstop.

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Cullen got a new John Deere tractor toy from my parents. He also got a couple new farm books, which he loves.

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Christmas morning I made Greek Yogurt Pancakes with green and red sprinkles, along with bacon and eggs for breakfast. Then we went for a family run. I pushed Cullen in the stroller for 2 miles while running with Craig, and then dropped the boys off at home before finishing up my other 2.5 miles.

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Christmas afternoon we went over to my in-law’s for dinner and another round of gifts.

Saturday morning I had 10 miles to run with a second go at my 5K time trial. The first time I did my time trial, it was rough. I really struggled running, when I should have easily been able to run around 19:00. I ended up running 19:18 the first time, but this time I ran 18:33!! I cut 45 seconds off, but that’s because my iron levels are finally coming back up. This time around I felt so much better and was surprised at how easily the pace came. (I brought the treadmill to the correct pace and let it run for a couple of minutes before I hopped on. That’s why the distance and time don’t match up.)

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Sunday was my day off of running. We slept in until almost 9 a.m., but that’s because Cullen and I were up for about 1.5 hours from 6 a.m. – 7:30 a.m. After church, I met up with Brittany for a pedicure. It is Brittany’s birthday on Thursday, so I wanted to gift her a pedicure before her baby comes. (Only a little over a month away!)

We went to Pure Nail, which used to be Glaze Nail Bar off Dimond Blvd, and I was very happy with our experience. I especially liked that everything was clean, new, and modern, and it didn’t smell at all when we walked in.

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Sunday afternoon I took Cullen and Sadie out for a walk. It had been a while since we’ve been out because it has been pretty cold here. (I usually won’t take Cullen out if it is below 20*F–otherwise he gets too cold.) Then we hit up Gap and Baby Gap for some good deals. (An additional 50% off clearance items!)

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Today (Monday) has been pretty low-key. I ran 8 mile this morning with drill work afterwards. Then I met Cullen and Craig at the coffee shop. We hung out and Cullen insisted on walking up and down the three stairs over and over again. He’s getting very close to walking. He’s taken a few unassisted steps, but he still prefers to hold our hands.

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Here’s a look at how this past week of workouts went. I can tell I’m still low on iron, but by the end of the week I can feel the supplements kicking in, and I know it will only get better as time goes on.

Monday

6 miles, easy | 8:19 average pace

I took the stroller on this run so I could sleep in. I stopped quite a few times (not ideal) for crossing roads, because Cullen was getting fussy, and to take a couple of pictures.

Tuesday

8 miles with 3 x 600 meters @ 5:50 pace

I really struggled with this again. (I did the same workout a couple weeks ago.) I had to stop and get off the treadmill after each 600 in order to catch my breath. I knew this probably would be tough as my iron supplement wouldn’t have kicked in yet.

Wednesday

9 miles, easy | 8:16 average pace + striders

I felt okay during this run. It was dark and early in the morning, but I feel more hard-core that way. I still find myself getting winded over the smallest exercises.

Thursday

6.5 miles, easy + 5 striders | 8:25 average pace

Went fine–nothing great, nothing terrible.

Friday

4.5 miles + 5 strides

I ran 2 slow miles with Craig and then ran the other 2.5 miles by myself. I felt fine. It wasn’t too cold, which was nice.

Saturday

10 miles | 5K time trial

This 5K time trial went so much better than the first time around. I first ran 7 miles, which wasn’t ideal, but we had a 60 minute run for the training group I coach. I then went to the treadmill and ran my time trial. I started out at a 6:07 pace and was going to hang on as long as possible. I was still feeling good halfway through, so I started bumping up the pace every quarter mile or so. By the end I was running a sub-5:30!!

Sunday

off

Total: 44.5 miles

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A Day in the Life – 14 Months

Merry Christmas Eve! I hope you are able to spend some time with the ones you love today and celebrate the birth of our Savior.

Cullen is 14 months old today! He is becoming more of a person each day with a personality like his dad: explorative, adventuresome, and definitely a momma’s-boy these days!

I enjoy doing these ‘day in the life’ posts, so I hope you enjoy them as well. This is our day yesterday (Wednesday), so I could give you guys a better account of the day without the holiday celebrations. Plus I’m watching a friend’s baby today, so things are going to be different anyhow.

Tuesday, December 22

9:15 p.m. Cullen finally goes down for the night. This past week we have really struggled with getting him down at his normal bedtime of 7:30/8:00 p.m.

Wednesday, December 23

3:07 a.m. I hear Cullen fussing in his room. I wait a while (5-7 minutes) to see if he’ll quiet down, but he doesn’t. I rub his head and stroke his temple to calm him down. (Lately stroking his temple has been the one thing that sometimes will actually work for me. It is funny and difficult because the thing that gets him to sleep is never the same thing from nap time to bedtime and from one day to the next. Sometimes dad rocks him to sleep, sometimes I rub his back, other times I stroke his temple. And then other times I just sit in the rocking chair until he falls asleep.)

3:30 a.m. Cullen finally falls back asleep, but now I am awake and having a hard time falling back asleep. It usually takes me 20-30 minutes to fall back asleep.

5:30 a.m. I wake up and look at the clock, 30 minutes until my alarm is set to go off. I debate about getting an early start on my run but end up fall back asleep.

6:00 a.m. My alarm goes off. I get dressed, go to the bathroom, brush my teeth, and get ready for my run.

6:20 a.m. Start my 9 mile easy run. The run goes okay. It is cold out–probably in the low double-digits. (I don’t even check before I go out because I know it is cold, period.) I can still tell I’m winded more than usual because of having low iron.

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7:35 a.m. Return from my run. As soon as I get home, I hear Cullen starting to stir.

7:45 a.m. I get Cullen from his crib. We say good morning to Craig and hang out for a bit.

8:00 a.m. I jump in the shower while Craig is still home, so he can keep an eye on Cullen while I’m showering.

8:10 a.m. We head downstairs for breakfast. I made a smoothie to share with Cullen (He loves smoothies.), and I have a morning glory muffin as well. After breakfast I clean up the kitchen and put everything away.

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8:55 a.m. We go back upstairs, so I can finish getting ready. Cullen plays while I get ready. He current favorite toys include: my toothbrush, the nail file, my make-up brush, and shoes. I also get Cullen ready and pick up our bedrooms.

9:50 a.m. Cullen and I venture out for some errands. Our first stop is a Dino’s Donuts to pick up a treat for Craig. Craig gets a maple bacon donut; I pick out one with sprinkles for myself.

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10:15 a.m. We stop by Craig’s work and drop off his donut. We chat with him and a few of his coworkers before letting them get back to work.

10:45 a.m. We head to the 5th Avenue Mall to pick up a Christmas gift for my mother-in-law.

11:30 a.m. I can see Cullen is getting tired. I wanted to make one more stop, but I am trying to be diligent about putting him down for his nap by noon. Otherwise if he goes down too late, he naps too late, and if he naps later than 3:30/4:00 p.m., we have a really hard time getting him to go to bed by 7:30/8:00 p.m. again, so I opt to go home.

11:55 p.m. We arrive home and we start the nap time routine which is the same as the bedtime routine (minus the bath and pajamas): read books with blanket and Cullen gets his pacifier. (Naps and bedtime are the only time he’s allow to have a pacifier.) By 12:15 he’s asleep, which is a huge improvement from where we used to be and the days I would spend an hour or two trying to get him down for his nap.

During Cullen’s nap, I do a boatload of different things: work on two of Craig’s Christmas gifts (two handmade ones), eat lunch, buy a shirt from J. Crew, buy these Sorel boots, catch up on e-mails, work on this blog post, and figure out what I’m making for Christmas day.

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3:30 p.m. I am talking to my sister, when I hear Cullen wake-up. I can usually count on Cullen napping for 1.5 hours, and oftentimes it is 2 hours. Usually once a week it goes for 3 hours, and I guess today was the day.

3:45 p.m. I go and get Cullen and feed him a really late lunch. I work on cleaning up my projects and getting things put away.

4:30 p.m. We head to Skinny Raven, which was the other errand I wanted to do this morning. I pick up a Nike order than came in for me and chat with my coworkers a bit.

5:30 p.m. Return home.

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5:45 p.m. I quickly get changed and head to coach the Skinny Raven Training group at The Dome. We are currently doing a beginner training group for those new to running.

7:15 p.m. I return home from training group. Craig is attempting to put Cullen down for bed, so I grab a bite to eat.

7:45 p.m. No such luck, Cullen isn’t going down yet. I play with him and chat with Craig about our day.

8:05 p.m. I start washing dishes and picking up the house.

8:20 p.m. Cullen is starting to act a little more fussy, so I try to get him to go down. I read some books, check to make sure he has a clean diaper, and then lay him in his crib. I rub his back and sit in the chair for a while, but it isn’t working.

8:50 p.m. I finish up picking up the house while Craig plays with Cullen.

9:15 p.m. I get ready for bed while Craig ties to get Cullen to go down.

9:30 p.m. Success! The baby is down! I finish up this blog post.

10:10 p.m. Lights out for me.

The end!

Struggling With Running Due to Low Iron

I have always struggled with running during the winter months, but I am having even more difficulty this winter. My usual struggles include being cold all the time and my muscles not working well in the sub-freezing temperatures, plus the dark mornings aren’t very inviting either and motivation lacks a lot more. However, lately I have been struggling with breathing and feeling really winded. I find myself being out of breath just walking up the stairs and paces that should come pretty easily have been hard to hit.

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I stopped taking my iron supplement during the middle of August–right around the time of the marathon. I simply ran out and didn’t think it would make that much of a difference. I guess now I know though that it does! I am 95% sure the reason I’ve been struggling with my running is due to being low on iron. I’ve been anemic before in college and a couple years ago when I was retested. I started taking my iron supplements again on Thursday, so hopefully I will start feeling better soon. Edited: I previously wrote that it takes 120 days for a red blood cell to grow, (The red blood cells carry the iron.) but in reality it only takes seven days. A red blood cell’s lifecycle is 120 days, which explains why it took me about 4 months to feel the way I do. Hopefully then I will feel the effects of the iron supplement sooner than later! I am just glad I don’t have any important races coming up.

Luckily I just had an easy 6 miles to run today. I ended up pushing the stroller because Cullen was up until midnight last night. (I challenge anyone who thinks they have a worse sleeper than our little rascal.) So I opted to sleep in and push him in the stroller for my run.

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The run went fine, but Cullen started to get really fussy towards the end. Tomorrow I have a short interval workout on the treadmill in preparation for a second chance on my 5K time trial. I’m worried it isn’t going to go that well again. I think it will be better because I won’t be coming off a cold, but I think it is still going to be pretty challenging.

Oh well, we live and learn, right? I’m just glad I can still run. And really it is an easy fix, but it will just take a little bit of time.

Finally, happy solstice, and here’s to only gaining daylight from now on!

How I Became Faster After Having a Baby

Prior to having a baby, I thought my days of continuing to improve and better myself as a runner were over. I still wanted to run competitively, but I really didn’t think I would be able to set new PRs. And definitely not in the first year postpartum.

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As you may recall, I had a C-section, and due to that I had some difficulties bouncing back as quickly as I had hoped. At 4 weeks postpartum, I did start running/walking but most of it was walking with very little running. My c-section scar gave me a lot of discomfort when I ran, and I thought it would be something I would have to deal with for quite some time. (I was going based off other people’s experiences I had read online.) It was a dull ache that lasted during the duration of the run, and it would usually linger throughout the remainder of the day. I was pretty bummed and giving up hope. But I am that person if I want it bad enough, I will continue to work until I find a solution to the problem. So I started talking to a few people, and it sounded like the discomfort was due to scar tissue build-up. I started massaging the incision, and within a few weeks, I was running pain free and starting to increase my mileage again.

At this time it was about mid-February, and I was running about 35 – 40 miles per week, 5 times a week with a treadmill tempo workout on Mondays and a indoor track speed workout on Wednesdays. I had a pretty good schedule going with only having to wake up early a couple times a week because this guy was still up multiple times each night.

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I could tell my fitness was coming back pretty quickly, and I knew I was onto something when I ran the Heart Run 5K in April (6 months postpartum) only 10 seconds slower than my current PR. At this point, I decided to hire my coach, Nichole, back to see what I could accomplish during the summer months. My favorite time to train!

Nichole was excited about my progress, which motivated me to continue to work hard each day and see what I could do. There were many sleepless nights, but when the alarm went off at 5:00 or 5:30 a.m., I didn’t give myself a choice. Out the door I went for my workout. I had already made the choice to go after it, so I wasn’t going to give up now.

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Thankfully I was able to following Nichole’s plan to the ‘T’–only missing a couple of workouts (one due to being at altitude). Craig was so supportive, watching Cullen during all of my morning runs and on the weekend during my long runs. Luckily I was able to push Cullen in the stroller during some of the shorter runs (and on double days), which allowed me to sleep in occasionally.

During the craziness of taking care of a baby all day, I continued to do my best to eat healthy. I think a combination of being too busy to eat, breastfeeding, and not being on “the pill” helped me to drop about 10 pounds. Any (healthy) weight loss definitely helps in running faster.

My training included a lot of tempo workouts at 6:30 pace and medium-long runs with some speed sessions thrown in there. I peaked at about 75 miles, which is quite a bit less than the 100 miles I had done the previous two summers. (I was definitely okay with this since I was only getting about 6 or 7 hours of sleep each night.)

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The ultimate cap to my training was winning the Moose’s Tooth Marathon 9.5 months postpartum. I still don’t know how I averaged a 7:05 pace for 26.2 miles. (Okay, only 25.2 miles for this race.) I feel so thankful and blessed to be running as well as I am. Let’s hope training continues to go well this winter, and I can set even faster PRs this next summer!

There were a lot of contributing factors that helped me become faster after having a baby, but here’s a quick overview:

  • Hiring a coach to motivate me to push just that little bit extra.
  • Having my coach write different types of workouts to challenge my muscles in a different way.
  • A lot of hard work.
  • Dropping 10 pounds.
  • Possibly some physiological changes in the postpartum body that gave me an advantage to run faster?? (this article)

And to be honest, most days I’m not even sure how I got faster. I feel blessed to be where I’m at, and my return to running definitely motivates me to keep pushing and see how fast I can get. I’m still gunning for that sub-3 hour marathon!

Weekly Mileage – End of Speed Block

Happy Monday, everyone! I hope you had a nice weekend. I got to spend some time with my boys, go to an ugly Christmas sweater party, do a long run, and work at the store. It was a busy weekend, as always, but a good one.

Saturday morning I delivered my cupcakes to Skinny Raven, and then Craig, Cullen, and I went to the coffee shop to hang out for a while. We definitely can’t sit and chat like we used to pre-baby, but it was still fun to be there for a while.

When we got home, Craig put Cullen down for his nap. (Craig is actually better at putting Cullen down for his nap or at bedtime than I am these days. Cullen falls asleep much more quickly for Craig. It is definitely nice that we can take turns now.) After I knew Cullen was down, I set out for my long run. Overall, my long run went okay. It didn’t go exceptionally well, but it wasn’t horrible either. I averaged 8:23 on a hilly course, which is a little slower than my usual pace, but I wanted to take the hilly route because I know it will make me stronger in the end. It was 25* F during my run, but I wasn’t very warm, and when I got back, my face was bright red from the windburn and cold air.

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After the run, I foam rolled and stretched for a bit, and then we made peanut butter bars that we took to the ugly Christmas sweater party. These bars are definitely a go-to for many potlucks I’ve attended. They are super easy to make and taste incredibly. I can’t say they’re healthy though.

This was our third time attending our friend’s ugly Christmas sweater party. (I seriously cannot believe these ugly Christmas sweater parties are still going strong.) Last year Cullen was just a few weeks old.

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This time he was crawling and moving around like lightening. He still isn’t walking yet, and I think it might be a few weeks yet. He still needs to hold both of my hands to walk but practically runs when he does walk. He was actually a really good baby and made it to 10 p.m.–as long as he was with me. He was such a mama’s boy and wouldn’t even go to Dad without fussing.

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Sunday brought an early run before church. Seven easy miles at a slow 9:00 pace, but I got the miles in. After church I worked at the store (Skinny Raven Sports) for the afternoon into the early evening.

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This past weeks of running was an okay one. I felt like each day I would barely get my run in before the day ended. I finished up my speed block of training, and my coach said I would be very happy about this. I think the hardest things about this training block has been training in the winter and the sleep-deprivation that I’ve been in for over a year now.

Monday

8 miles, easy pace

I ended up doing this run in the evening after Craig got home from work. It went well, and it was kind of nice to run in the evening rather than the early morning.

Tuesday

8 miles with 3x600m at 5:50/mile pace 

I did this workout on the treadmill. I would have loved to do it outside, but the tracks are covered in snow, and I didn’t know a good way to measure 600 meters on the road.

The 5:50 pace was fast. Holy cow! I don’t know how the elites run that pace (and faster!) for an entire marathon! But I hung on.

Wednesday

off

It was weird to have another day off after not running on Sunday, but Sunday was an unscheduled day off due to my cold.

Thursday

4 miles easy + 5 strides

Easy run before the time trial. I slept in until the last possible second, jetting out the door, and returning as late as I could before Craig had to go to work.

Friday

9.5 miles, including a 5K time trial

This didn’t go as well as I hoped it would. I thought for sure I would be able to run around 19:00, but I only managed to run 2 seconds faster than my current PR of 19:20. I maintained a 6:07 pace for the first two miles, but during the last mile, I really struggled to hang on.

Saturday

15.5 miles

I ran during the afternoon, so it was nice that it was light out while I was running.

Sunday

7 miles, easy

Slow-going. After two hard days in a row, I was feeling it!

Total: 52 miles

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Questions

  1. What was the highlight of your weekend?
  2. If you did a long run (or any run), how did it go?
  3. What are you looking forward to this week?

5K Time Trial

I had a 5K time trial on my schedule for today. This time trial has been giving me anxiety for the past two weeks, so I am glad it is finally over, but I was hoping it would go a little better.

If it would have been at a race, or if I would have had someone to pace me, I don’t think it would have been as scary. But with a baby, I was limited to when I could go, and there aren’t any upcoming 5Ks that would have been feasible to race. So it was inside on the treadmill.

I actually tried to do it this morning at the gym, but the childcare was full. At first I was secretly happy about this because that meant I was off the hook. . .for the time being. At the same time, I knew I would have to think about for the rest of the day.  We went back home, did some things, Cullen took his nap, and then we came back to the gym this afternoon when the childcare opened back up.

While Cullen napped, I worked on making 70 cupcakes for an event at Skinny Raven tomorrow.

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We are celebrating the 16th birthday of the Brooks Adrenaline–the #1 selling shoe for us. So if you are looking for something to do, you can come by and have one of the yummy cupcakes I made: chocolate, yellow cake, or red velvet. . . .your choice.

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I started out with a 3 mile warm-up. I then did some stretching, striders, and went to the bathroom (just like I would in a race). Then it was ‘go’ time. I thought I could pull off a 19:00 5K, so I set the treadmill at a 6:07 pace. I started off feeling strong and confident I could maintain this pace. I turned on some up-beat music (the running station on Pandora) and focused on the task at hand.

Half-way through I was starting to feel tired, but I tried to motivate myself with the fact I was half done. But then mile 2 came, and my really heavy, labored breathing set in. (Much too soon!) I legitimately thought about stopping at this point–something I hardly ever think of doing. I dropped the pace down for a few tenths of a mile and had to bump it down again. That last mile went by so painfully slow. Each tenth of a mile seemed to take forever to get through. I bumped the pace back up for the last two-tenths of a mile, but I was spent by the time I was done. 19:18. . . .not what I was hoping for. This is 2 seconds faster than my PR set pre-baby. I know I should have been faster on the treadmill even.

I don’t know if there is a good explanation, or it was just a tough thing to do by myself. I do wonder if I need to go back to taking my iron supplement because when I was anemic, I really struggled with being able to catch my breath even on easy runs. I just thought this pace would come a little more easily.

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I ended up doing 9.5 miles total. I was supposed to do 10, but the gals in the childcare said Cullen had been crying for about 10 minutes, so I stopped early. I don’t think he was used to me being gone that long.

It is what it is, and maybe I still have quite a bit of work to do. But I’m not giving up hope yet on this sub-3:00 marathon.

Skipping My Long Run

As always, we are staying busy this week, so here’s a really quick update on what we’ve been up to so far.

When I got home from work on Sunday night, Craig had this awesome fire going for me. I was so excited because I have requested a fire many times in the past.

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I had a long run scheduled for Sunday morning, but after being up with Cullen for 3.5 hours, sick with a cold, and an alarm set for 5:30 a.m., I decided to forego the run. I felt horrible, but my coach said I made the right decision. Sunday/Monday night was another rough night for all of us (Cullen has been cutting 8 new teeth this past month!), so I opted to run in the evening after Craig got home from work. It was actually kind of nice running in the evening. When I got back at 6 p.m., Cullen was already sleeping!! But he woke up again after a 2 hour nap, so we were up from 8 p.m. – 11 p.m. That little rascal.

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Cullen does this thing where he wrinkles up his nose and snorts through his teeth. I tried to capture it in this picture, but it makes me laugh every time he does it.

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When we were out running errands this morning, we stopped at the UPS store to drop off a package to be mailed, and the lady working gave us these two books. How nice!

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I also stopped at Hut No. 8 to sell some of my clothes I never wear. After being pregnant for nearly a year, I’ve been lacking on things to wear. I feel like I’ve had to rebuild my entire wardrobe since a lot of things are kind of outdated and don’t fit anymore.

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Has anyone ever read the book Boss Baby? It is quite hilarious (and true!). Cullen kept requesting I read this page again and again.

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I love packing Cullen’s lunch. I have so much fun trying to incorporate as many colors into his snack as possible.

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And who would have thought a baby would like tea so much.

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This afternoon while Cullen napped, I worked on our Christmas cards. I scored a pretty sweet Black Friday deal on these Shutterfly photo cards.

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Questions

  1. Do you send a Christmas card/photo to your friends and family?
  2. What odd thing does your baby/child like?
  3. Do you prefer to run in the morning or evening? 

Our Day {Friday Edition}

Yesterday morning I had an easy 10 miles to run. I distinctly remember doing my first 10-miler in college, and I thought it was SO far. Now to think that’s a medium distance run for me!

I started at 5:45 a.m. and a fresh layer of snow had fallen the night before. It was quite pristine and calm running at that time of the day. The run went fine, and I felt okay–nothing great, nothing terrible. I was a little sore from Thursday’s speed workout.

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After I got back, Cullen was still sleeping, so I took advantage of my time to foam roll, stretch, and shower. He woke up at 8:00 a.m., and he played while I finished getting ready.

Breakfast was up next. I had two eggs with an English muffin–one half with mashed avocado and the other with almond butter. Usually I would opt for peanut butter, but I haven’t been craving peanut butter as much. I have a piece of bread with mashed avocado almost every day. So good!

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It was also a weight lifting day for me, so we headed to the gym. I lifted for 45 minutes and made sure to focus on some good core workouts. My postpartum abs aren’t completely healed, but they are very close. I only have about half of a finger-width gap. I also did some more stretching and foam rolling. I’m pretty sure I could stretch and foam roll all day and still feel tight.

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Then it was time to finish up my Christmas shopping at the mall. I only had to get three more small items, and I am so glad I am officially done Christmas shopping! Someone in my family got an iconic Alaska gift from the mall gift store, but I’m not saying who.

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When we got back home, I put Cullen down for his nap and worked on my athlete plans. I was lucky he slept for 2 hours, which isn’t usually the case. It is amazing how much you can accomplish in two hours.

When he got up, we played. Cullen finds the smallest pieces of random things on the floor and gives them to me as if it were a present. He thinks it is so fun. This time is was a small piece of an onion peel.

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I thought about going for a walk, but I was running short of time before I had to be to work. (I ended up working for just a couple of hours last night to cover for someone.) But on our walk yesterday, I discovered this tree trimmed for the holidays in the middle of the woods. How cute!

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When I got home from work, Cullen was in his ‘car’ scooting around. (He loves this thing!) He insisted on having some freeze-dried strawberries for a snack. Classic Cullen: sticking his tongue out while trying to open the bag.

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He absolutely loves these freeze-dried strawberries from Target. I am actually going to wrap some packages up for his Christmas gift. Ha! Does that make me a bad mom if that’s all I give him for Christmas. (It does seem kind of nice I don’t have to get him anything for Christmas since he has no idea what’s going on.)

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After a bath, books, and a bottle, Cullen decided he wasn’t tired and stayed up for another two hours until he fell asleep at almost 10 p.m. I was wiped from being up since 4:30 a.m. that morning. He’s getting his molars, so I am hoping that is the reason for his late-night shenanigans. Right now he has 15 teeth!! Crazy boy.

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Questions

What seems like a long distance to you?

What is one food item you have almost every day?

What are your weekend plans?

Tips for Running with a Stroller

I’ve definitely had my fair share of runs with the jogging stroller. But since I am still training competitively, I try not to run with the stroller too often. I usually only run with it once or twice a week, and they were always short, easy runs–seven miles or less.

We didn’t get a stroller until Cullen was about 7 months old. Since he was born during the winter, I knew I wouldn’t be able to push him through the snow or on ice anyway. The City of Anchorage doesn’t do a great job of plowing the roads in a timely manner, so they quickly build up with snow and ice which isn’t conducive to pushing a stroller. Plus he would be so young to be outside in the elements. (Although my coach, Nichole, did push her newborn all of last winter. She has a Chariot with a cover, which would make it much warmer for the baby.)

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I didn’t buy a fancy jogging stroller. My mother-in-law found this one used from a friend of her’s for $50. I had tried out the Baby Jogger and the BOB, and thought I was going to buy a BOB, but when she bought us this stroller, I didn’t complain. It is the 10K Ultimate InStep jogging stroller, which I see they don’t even make anymore. I honestly have no complaints about it, and really like it’s sleekness and minimal feel. (I’ve since used a BOB and thought it was really bulky.)

It has big wheels, shock absorption, a medium-large areas to store gear, a canopy, and hand brake. This particular model does have a fixed front wheel, so it doesn’t swivel from side to side, which makes it a little trickier to turn corners. Honestly I’ve gotten used to it, and it really doesn’t bother me. If anything, I think I like it better because I can run faster with the fixed front wheel. With that being said, I think most people opt for the swivel wheel, so they can bring their stroller to the store and maneuver around more easily.

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Thankfully Cullen has loved riding in the stroller. Like I said earlier, he was a little older when we started pushing him in the stroller, which may have helped. And anytime he sees his blue snowsuit hanging in the closet, he gets so excited. I think that’s a good sign!

Tips for running with a stroller

Start short

When starting with runs while pushing your baby in the stroller, make sure to start with some shorter runs–20 – 30 minutes. This way your baby gets used to being in the stroller for an extended period of time and you can get used to pushing the stroller. It definitely is no easy feat! The first time I pushed the stroller on a run (probably about 4 miles), my arms and upper biceps were really sore the next day. Obviously it was something new for my arms, so just be aware this will probably happen to you as well. I haven’t had any problems since those first few runs, and I think I finally have some shoulder definition.

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Get a grip

Fortunately, I haven’t had any problems with my wrists aching while pushing the stroller, but I did meet a mom who had to wear wrist braces because her wrists would get so sore. I don’t know if it helps or makes a difference, but I am constantly switching my arms and alternating which hand is pushing the stroller. I rarely push with both hands–only when running uphill, but instead push with one hand while my other arm swings naturally. I think I alternate so much because when I first started running with the stroller, my arms would get tired quickly, so I was constantly switching them back and forth. I guess it stuck because I still find myself doing that. Now it is second nature, and I don’t even realize I am doing it.

Bonus: the InStep comes with a cup holder and console for storing a few small items. It is an extra accessory you have to buy for the BOB. However, ours got lost when traveling to Minnesota this summer, so I’m going to have to buy the BOB one anyhow.

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Snug as a bug

I always bundled Cullen up in warm layers even during the summer here. You can see in the above photo I have shorts on, but Cullen has a hat and blanket on. It is still cool in the summer here (50s/60s), and I almost always had Cullen dressed as if it were a chilly fall day. The blanket would sometimes fall off, but as long as I tucked it around him, it usually stayed put.

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Pancake-flat

It is hard enough pushing the stroller, you don’t need to add any more resistance by having to push it uphill, so do yourself a favor and pick a pancake-flat route. I can still maintain an 8 minute pace and even a sub-8:00 pace if I wanted to. (Once again I think the fixed front wheel helped with that.)

Distractions are key

I’ve been fortunate in that Cullen just sits contently in the stroller the entire time we run, but I know not all babies are that way. I would suggest brining some toys, snacks, and pacifier along in case your baby gets fussy. Most strollers have plenty of space to store all of your gear.

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Watch your stride

As much as I try, I’m sure my gait is altered a little while running with the stroller. I try to combat this by paying attention to my stride and trying to make sure my stride feels the same as it does without the stroller. Also, make sure the stroller you are running with has a bar at the appropriate height for you. I’ve pushed a stroller where the bar was much higher, and I felt like my hands were at chest-level rather than down by my stomach.

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So there you have it, my tips for running with the jogging stroller. While I don’t love pushing the stroller, it isn’t that bad either. And if it means I can sleep in that morning, I’m all for it!

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Questions

  1. What tips do you have for running with the jogging stroller?
  2. What kind of jogging stroller do you have?
  3. How often do you run with the stroller?