The run that you feel in your loins.

In my younger days I played a bit of golf. I remember one day in spring practice my golf coach was going over proper grip, back swing and follow through. We were at a par 3 hole and had to hit the ball over a river to the green downhill. Nervously, I stepped up to the tee and adjusted my grip and stance. It was my turn to swing. I arced my 3 wood back and smoothly pushed it through to connect with the ball. BING! It hit the sweet spot. The ball beautifully lofted up and over the river and plopped down softly 3 inches from the hole. It. Was. Epic. I remember my coach saying, “And that right there is why we play golf. You can take a thousand bad swings, but that one great one will keep you coming back. You felt it in your loins didn’t you?” I had. It was such an amazing feeling. Like for one instance, I had experienced totally and complete perfection.

While you don’t have a club in your hands when you run, you can still experience hitting that sweet spot while running. You know the run. The one where everything just clicks. You get in the zone. You start cruising along. Your legs feel like they’re flying. You find your rhythm and then you look down at your pace watch. “Damn! I’m killing my pace today!” The run feels like perfection. You feel it in your loins.

Those are the runs that we live for. Those are the runs that keep us coming back for more. That right there is why we run.

I had one of those this week. I’ve been struggling for a while to find my running mojo and get back my love of running. I’ve been doing several short distance runs trying to find my pace and running self. On Tuesday’s run I found it. Or maybe it found me. It was just a 5 miler but it was a 5 miler without stopping. It was a 5 miler almost 40 seconds off my current average pace. It was a 5 miler where my body didn’t feel beat up and tired. I saw some of the old me in that run. There was a spark of the old runner I used to know. Just like that sweet spot connect in golf, that run has me coming back for more! I can’t wait to lace my shoes up and head out the door. In constant pursuit of another sweet spot run.

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Week 1 Gallon a Day Challenge

Has it been a week already? I have been drinking a gallon of water a day now for 7 days straight as part of the Gallon a Day Challenge. I plan to continue this for 4 weeks to see if I notice any changes in my health and/or appearance from the beginning to the end. It’s time for a weekly update.

I’m finding it’s easier now to consume the 128 ounces. It’s becoming more of a habit. I drink one 16 oz. glass of water right when I wake up and one right before I go to bed. I also drink one right before every meal. There’s 5 of my 8 glasses right there. The first few days I was counting all fluid consumption (including my 2 cups of coffee) toward the gallon. I figured it would be a struggle to get all of that fluid down. Now I’m not counting the coffee at all. I’m hitting my gallon pretty easily.

Here’s a break down of some of the things I noticed over the week:

  • My body held onto the water for the first two days. I was bloated, bloated, bloated! Then, all of a sudden it stabilized and released the water.
  • I’m having some crazy night sweats. A lot of that is postpartum fluctuating hormones, but they seemed particularly bad this week. I don’t know if there’s an increased water consumption correlation or if it’s just unstable mom hormones.
  • Ehrm …things are moving a lot better. Yes, I’m talking about poop. I’d read that proper hydration results in healthy bowel movements and MAN were they right. It’s a moving! I actually feel really “clean” for lack of a better word and have less lower stomach pooch, which I’m told is sometimes due to backed up bowel.
  • My cravings are less frequent and less intense. This one has been really noticeable for me. I usually have terrible sugar cravings, especially late afternoon and at night. I’ve noticed that I’m wanting to reach for the chocolate less. I’ve been pretty “meh, whatev” about the Valentine’s chocolate we have in the house. Usually I’m grabbing for several pieces a day.
  • I haven’t really noticed any weight loss, but I haven’t been eating particularly great either. So maybe I should say the fact that I haven’t gained any weight is a win?
  • I have had not one, but TWO people tell me how great my skin looks!! Wow! I don’t particularly see it but we’re our own worst critics, right?

I’m hesitant to put these pics up because I look like absolute hell in both (ack!) but this is for science right?? Ha. Both pictures were taken about the same time in the morning and I have no makeup on (Ok, maybe a little mascara but a girl’s gotta wear mascara!). I also only put on my morning sunscreen, no extra moisturizer.

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I don’t notice any huge differences yet in these two pictures. My eyes seem a little brighter and maybe the bags under my eyes look a little less sunken and bluish. Overall I think I look less tired in the second picture. But, I’m getting the exact same amount of sleep (which is not a whole lot with a 4 month old!).

I wrote a post on tips for drinking more water during the day if anyone is interested in joining me. I will continue to chug, chug, chug with this water challenge and see what week 2 holds for me. In the meantime, if you need me I will likely be in the bathroom.

New Orleans Rock ‘n’ Roll Marathon 2014 Recap

This weekend I had a lot of running friends run the 2015 New Orleans Rock ‘n’ Roll Marathon and Half Marathon. I loved seeing all of their expo, “flat runner”, tweetup and finish line brag pics! I didn’t sign up to run it this year because I didn’t feel like I would be ready to run it in time and didn’t want to put that kind of pressure on myself after the arrival of Baby Z-peat. I really just wanted to soak up my time with his sweet little face. But, I ran it last year. I never did a race recap on it. I thought it’d be fun to post a race recap one year later. Let’s see how much I remember!

This race was just doomed for me from the start. Everything that could go wrong did. I had every intention of running the full marathon that year. I trained hard all fall and PR’d a couple of my half marathons leading up to the race. I was feeling strong late December with two 20 milers already under my belt. Things were looking good. And then Christmas happened and then I got the flu. Ugh. I was sick for over two weeks. When I finally started to feel better my body was so incredibly weak.

Two weeks before, my friend Nicole was running the full too. It was going to be her first. She wanted to come over to my ‘hood to run with me for her last long run for a change of scenery. It was going to be a test run for me to see how my body would do. If I could manage the whole 20, no matter how slow, I would run the full. If not, I would downgrade to the half.

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We started our run and 6 miles in I just was not feeling it. I knew then that this run would be a real struggle for me. I stuck it out for 12 miles and then had to call it quits. I felt so bad for having to leave her to finish out those last 10 miles but I just couldn’t go any longer. (She rocked those last 10 miles anyway!) My body was spent.

My dear friends Sarah and Ryan were coming in for the race and I was so excited to see them! Mr. Z, Little Z and I met up with them the Saturday of the expo and had lunch before heading over to the expo to pick up our packets and peruse the running goodies. Funny enough, this is where I bought my first FlipBelt and fell in love with it. I was nervous though. I was supposed to run the full with Sarah and I was still feeling pretty crummy.

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To add insult to injury, Mr. Z was supposed to run the half. That same week he started having severe nose bleeds…to the point he had to go to the ENT to have a blood vessel cauterized. The Dr. told him under no uncertain term was he to run for 4 weeks or he could risk hospital stay. So, he was out. I convinced my friend Kerrie to come run on his bib with me. She’d been having some calf and shin pain but I twisted her arm and she relented. Yay!

Sunday morning I got up, still feeling crappy and exhausted. I had NO energy. My body felt beat down and tired. I had decided that I was just going to shuffle through the half and get it done. I’d paid my entry. I was going to get a medal one way or the other dammit!

I walked out the door to my car and was greeted by crazy, thick-as-pea-soup fog. FOG! UGH! Seriously? Kerrie and I were following each other across the bridge. When I got to the toll booth, I saw that they were caravaning people across at 35 mph due to the thick fog. 24 miles at 35 mph. Seriously????? Ugh! Luckily we had given ourselves plenty of time to get across, get parked, catch the shuttle, and meet up with Sarah. We were doing good on time.

We finally got across the bridge and the fog had lifted a bit. We got parked and were gearing up to go catch the shuttle to downtown. I couldn’t find my headphones. I tore the car apart. No headphones. Damn. Not a huge issue since I run without headphones most of the time but I like to put them in if I start really struggling or hurting for an extra bit of motivation. Kerrie and I always talk our heads off while running so It was OK. We started to walk to the shuttle buses and I had a nagging feeling in my head that I was missing something. I felt for my car key and it was gone. GONE!! I started to freak out. Kerrie, (thank God for her level head) ran back to car and looked for the key using her iPhone light (it was still dark out). We were hoping I had just dropped it at the car. I began to backtrack behind her looking as well. No key. Anywhere. I thought maybe I had just locked it in the car while rummaging for my headphones. At this point I was feeling crappy, exhausted and freaked out over losing my car key. We decided to say “F it” and just run the damn race since we were so close.

After all that, we were cutting it close for the race start. We caught one of the last shuttles to the start line and managed to still make it to our corral. Unfortunately I completely missed seeing Sarah at the start. We slowly meandered our way to the start line and I was still a stress ball and nervous wreck over losing my car key. We got to the start and began running. We were off! About a mile in I ran into Nicole and Karen! I snuck up behind her and goosed her. HA! She was looking strong and ready to tackle all 26.2 miles!

Our motto was to just keep moving/shuffling/walking until we crossed that finish line. The miles ticked by. I’m so grateful for Kerrie’s conversation and taking my mind off things. Before I knew it we were halfway done and in the French Quarter. It was CRAZY foggy in the Quarter as we got close to the river. It was very eerie and actually quite beautiful running through it.

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By mile 8 we were hurting. I still felt crappy. It was taking every bit of willpower to run and keep moving. I had zero energy. What was wrong with me? I was running 16 and 18 milers just a few weeks before with no issue! But we kept it fun and silly and just kept moving, moving, moving.

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The last few miles were a blur. I just remember entering City Park and wanting to be done so badly. Just keep moving. Just keep moving. I finally saw the finish line and it was such a wonderful site. We were almost there. Kerrie took off in a sprint. She wanted to be done. I didn’t have any gas left. I just kept moving slowly to the finish line. We. Were. Done.

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We got our finisher medals and walked back to the car hoping maybe we might see the key along the way or dropped right at the car. Nope. Nothing. Nada. Fuuuuddddggggeeeeee. I call Mr. Z and told him I had lost the key. He was so wonderful and drove across to bring me the spare key. We walked over to CC’s and had some warm coffee (I ALWAYS pack a credit card or a $20 in my belt for those “just in case” times thank God!). We waited there until he arrived with the key. Hallelujah! I drove home, got a hot shower and crawled into bed for a long nap.

All morning I was telling Kerrie that something was off. This was not me! I’m not this scatter brained! I just was not feeling well. No energy. Exhausted. Well, a week later I found out why!! I was pregnant with Baby Z-peat! No WONDER!

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I can honestly say this was one of the craziest, messed up races I have ever done. I have no idea how I made it through it but I did. Amazing what a little willpower and good friends can do!

Tips for drinking more water

I am now officially on Day 5 of the Gallon a Day Challenge. The bathroom and I are very well acquainted right now. Ha! But I’m already noticing some changes! I’ll post a weekly update next week. When I started this, I thought “There is NO way I can throw back a GALLON of water!” It just seemed so intimidating. But, I committed and started to chug, chug, chug. I thought I’d post some tips that I’ve learned that are helping me drink more water.

1. Use a fun glass or bottle. I have been using my son’s Nemo glass a lot. It makes me smile each time I fill it up and I think to myself “Just keep swimming” and then I chuckle because my bladder is so full I feel like I’m swimming.

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2. Divide it up into increments that you can wrap your brain around. I like to use the Tervis small (16 oz) and large (24 oz) glasses. It’s easier for me to wrap my head around drinking 8 small glasses. I count them off in my head during the day.

3. Drink throughout the day. I drink 16 oz. as soon as I wake up and 16. oz right before I go to bed. That’s 2 of my 8 glasses done for the day. You can even space it out and set yourself calendar reminders to drink a glass every few hours. Sometimes I need a little reminder to take a break from work and drink. I know some people who fill a gallon jug each day and have increments marked in marker on the jug for morning, mid-day, afternoon, and evening.

4. Use a straw. I find I drink more consistently and mindlessly throughout the day if I have a straw in my glass. Otherwise I let it sit and then end up gulping down a large glass. If I have a straw in the glass it disappears quicker.

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5. Add flavor if you need. I do not like the taste of our tap water. I usually use the filtered water out of our refrigerator since it tastes so much better. But there are times when I don’t have that luxury. I carry a couple of tubes of Nuun All Day Hydration with me to drop into my water when I’m out and about. The subtle flavor really helps the drink-ability and breaks up the monotony of drinking plain water all day.

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Hope these tips help some of you add more water to your day. You can do it. Remember to “Just keep swimming!” 🙂

Drink more water – Gallon a day challenge

I’m sure many of you have seen the article floating around social media about the woman in the UK who drank 3 liters of water a day for one month. For us non-metric folk, that’s approximately 101 ounces. She took a before picture and an after picture and documented how she was feeling. The changes she reports are remarkable. And the before and after pictures are startling. She felt better, less headaches, better skin quality, and lost a bit of weight all by just increasing her water intake.

Confession: I do not drink near enough water. My fluid consumption revolves mainly around 2 cups of coffee in the morning, a couple of cans of sparkling water, possibly an iced tea and maybe one more cup of coffee in the afternoon. On a good day I’m getting 60 to 70 ounces of fluid. While that’s not entirely terrible, I can do much better. The old rule of thumb was to drink 8 glasses (8 oz) of water a day = 64 oz.  A lot of athletic trainers suggest a lot more – 100 to 128 (one gallon) ounces a day. If you scour the internet you can find recommendations anywhere from 60 ounces to one gallon. Recommended water consumption depends on several factors: temperature, physical exertion level, overall health, and weight. Some references also suggest going by urine color. A properly hydrated body should produce urine that is pale to light yellow.

Bottom line for me though is I feel like I don’t drink enough. My skin is dry. I’m fatigued often (could be newborn mom syndrome too, but it’s worth a try). I have massive luggage under my eyes. So, I’m taking the 30 day challenge. I intend to consume 128 ounces of fluid a day for the next month. I took a before picture yesterday sans all makeup (EEK!) and began drinking one gallon of water. I chugged and drank and chugged and drank my 128 ounces yesterday and I plan to continue for the next 30 days. The bathroom and I are getting very well acquainted. I’ll post a weekly update on how I’m feeling and any changes I notice. Stay tuned!!

 

 

 

 

AWESOME Giveaway from For Two Fitness!

I am thrilled to partner with For Two Fitness for an amazing New Year giveaway. If you recall, I wore For Two Fitness apparel through my pregnancy with both my pregnancies and they quickly became my absolutely favorite maternity fitness apparel brand. For Two Fitness is running a phenomenal giveaway for the New Year. Read the details below.

Happy New Year! We are so thankful to YOU — our community, customers, and friends. To express our thanks, we are hosting a huge giveaway this week in partnership with some amazing brands and our ambassadors. The Grand Prize is valued at $1000. We have phenomenal prizes, including the newest offering from BOB – a Revolution FLEX jogging stroller – plus prizes from ASICS, Ergo and Maison Drake baby boutique, and For Two Fitness – all facets of your healthy mom lifestyle are in this prize pack!

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The grand prize winner will win everything you see listed here. Prizes have been furnished by our wonderful brand partners in connection with a sponsoring ambassador (Katie from Mom’s Little Running Buddy and Melody from Will Run For Margaritas). Here are more details about the amazing products that have been generously donated for you to win and enjoy:

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Grand Prize Giveaway items:

  • The New BOB Revolution FLEX single stroller
  • For Two Fitness maternity athletic outfit (top and bottom of winner’s choice)
  • Ergo 360 Baby Carrier furnished by Maison Drake baby boutique
  • Asics Running Shoes (1 pair of the winner’s choice)

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Wow! We are thrilled to give away these amazing prizes. This contest runs from Monday, January 12th through midnight on Friday, January 16th. Visit the For Two Fitness site to enter. Be sure to follow @ForTwoFitness and our co-hosts @run4margaritas and @momslrb on Instagram in order for your entries to be valid.

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Thanks for celebrating the New Year with us! Good Luck!!

Getting the itch to run!

Ok, so many of you know I’ve been in a running funk lately. I just have not felt the desire to run. I have a long list of excuses:

  • I wasn’t feeling physically (exhausted) and mentally (mostly) up to it after Baby Z-peat was born.
  • I was struggling finding a balance between work and having two small boys to make time to run/work out.
  • The holidays kept us so busy.
  • I LOVE Christmas and I wanted to make the holidays special for Little Z and our family so running/working out wasn’t a priority.
  • I was sick for almost 3 weeks around Christmas and did not feel up for running/working out.

But here’s the main reason: I just WAS NOT ready. Period. I needed  a break to recharge. I had tried to run several times after Baby Z-peat was born and the runs went well physically, but I quickly lost interest. To be honest I was loving spending time with my family. I loved holding my sweet, sleeping son in my lap. I loved playing firetrucks with Little Z. I loved going on nature hikes and adventures. I loved making Halloween and Thanksgiving and Christmas crafts with them. I loved decorating the house for all the holidays. I loved meeting my girlfriends for coffee (red cups! Yay!). I just did not want to run and have the pressure of a race training schedule hanging over my head. This time is so precious. They are only this small for so long and I really just wanted to soak it all up.

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But all that has passed. I finally think I am ready. I’m feeling that itch to run…and I mean RUN again. I’m well. My family is finding it’s rhythm and schedule. I feel that longing to lace up the shoes and head out the door for a couple of hours. And I’ve even signed up for several races! I’m making a race calendar again. It feels right. I just had to wait the funk out and let it run it’s course. i needed to come back when I was ready. And so…

I ran! I ran! I ran! I ran a nice little 5k around the neighborhood this weekend. It felt amazing! I took it slow and easy and ran. No stops. No walk breaks! I’m hoping to slowly ease back into it and not lose the motivation and desire again. But I think I’m back on the right path or the right pavement. Ha!

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My one resolution for the new year.

Welcome 2015!!!! I took a little blogging hiatus over the holidays to just relax and enjoy my family. We had an amazing, blessed Christmas. We celebrated…maybe a little too much. 😉 Now it’s time to look forward and start the new year fresh! I’m only making one new year resolution this year, to Lighten Up. I plan to do this in a number of ways:

1. Lighten Up a few pounds. I think this is everyone’s resolution at some point but I don’t want to say “lose weight”. I really just want to lighten up the few holiday pounds of fat and work on gaining lean muscle mass. I plan to do this by “Eating Clean in 2015!” Ha. I know…corny…but the rhyme cracks me up. I’m getting back on the clean eating band wagon. If I can focus on clean eating 80% of the time I think I’ll be in good shape. This means no dairy, no sugar (ack!) and limited wheat (only unprocessed) products. This is a very lean protein and veggie/fruit heavy diet. I felt amazing when I did this in November and dropped some significant weight.

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2. Lighten Up my pace. I am still struggling with finding my running mojo. I’m hoping once we get past the holidays I can get back to a routine where I can incorporate running more. Baby Z-peat is now old enough where I can take him to the gym and use the gym daycare for an hour or so. I plan to start using it in the mornings while Little Z is in pre-school and try and log a few miles and workouts. And if weather is permitting I’ll break out The Beast (double jogging stroller) and start run/walking again. I know that consistency is the key to getting my running fitness back and getting my speed back up.

wpid-20141206_092053-1-1.jpg3. Lighten Up the clutter. We have managed to accumulate a massive amount of crap over the years. It is time to purge, purge, purge. We started cleaning out a couple of closets over the break and managed to fill several garbage bags for the trash and several boxes for donation. It feels so good to reduce the junk and get it out of the house. I plan to tackle one closet and room at a time and just obliterate the junk and organize. Get ready to work Mr. label maker!

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One closet down! Gotta love plastic bins, bins, bins!!

4. Just Lighten Up. I need to lighten up the negativity and self-doubt. I need to not take things so seriously. I need to enjoy life’s little moments more. This one is difficult. It’s hard not to compare yourself to others and then be wracked with self-doubt, especially in this age of social media where everyone posts EVERYTHING. I need to remember to run my own race, at my own pace, in my own time. My situation is my situation. I need to find my own way and be proud of my accomplishments big and small. So for starters here’s one accomplishment that I’m super proud of: this little guy!

wpid-20141225_080835.jpgWhat are some of your resolutions for 2015??