Weekends, Whirlwinds, and Boxes

Happy Monday!  I hope everyone had a lovely weekend.  Our past few weeks have been filled with adventures, which lead me to taking a break from blogging last week.  Let me fill you in.

About a year ago, we started talking about looking for a home.  After a few twists, turns, and much discussion we did something I always said we wouldn’t do.  We started looking for a house in the small town in Michigan where I grew up.  It was a slow process.  We looked at dozens of homes over many months, and nothing seemed to be a good fit.  Then in June, we found what we had been searching for.

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Mary even got her own little house.  Something for her to grow into.

At the end of July we were in Chicago when we got the call that the house was going to be ours and that we should start packing.  We had one week to box up everything in our possession.  We had originally planned on doing a truck load in early August and then coming back after our family vacation to do a final load.  But when we reserved a U-haul, I noticed that the reservation was for five days.  So we did something crazy.

With the assistance of our family, we loaded up our home and drove the U-haul up to Michigan.  We unloaded it and then drove the five hours back to Chicago the following day.  The next day we loaded it up with every last thing we owned and drove back to Michigan.

Then came the part where my husband and daughter are saints.  We then drove back to Chicago and slept in an empty apartment for a weekend on an air mattress, so that I could take my ACE Health Coach certification exam.  When I sat in that testing room and went to hit the submit button, I was incredibly nervous.  What if we took that trip and stayed in that empty apartment and I had to tell them I failed?!  Fortunately, I passed with flying colors and it was totally worth it.

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Those were some sparse accommodations.

For the next two weeks we lived out of suitcases on vacation and then at my parent’s house for another.  A week ago Monday we signed the papers on our house and immediately went to our new home.  We compared paint colors, and spent the next six days painting and prepping.

Yesterday, we finally began unloading all of our stuff and the home began to feel like home.  We still have a lot of work ahead of us.  There are to do lists that run about a mile long.  Fall work in NYC is right around the corner.  We still will be traveling to Chicago monthly to visit family and for work obligations.  And there is still so much to unpack!  But for right now, we are just going to enjoy the view.

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How was your weekend?  Any packing/unpacking tips to keep us sane?

 

Healthy Eating On The Road

Over the past few weeks we have logged a lot of mileage in the car (over 2,000 miles in one week!).  Road tripping can be both fun and stressful.  Eating on the road can make the equation even worse.

Whether you are training for a race or trying to watch your waistline, meals during road trips can be overwhelming.  It can often feel like healthy options are few and far between.  But the good news is that most of the time, you can find something to appease your appetite while remaining mostly guilt free.

At the gas station:  I am not a fan of fast food.  I rarely eat it.  Instead, I often scour the gas station and find some treats to make a “road picnic.”  Nuts, cheese, meat, and fruit are my staples.  Almost all gas stations sell string cheese by the single stick; often in various cheese flavors.  Small packs of heart healthy nut combinations are a quick way to get some healthy fats.  Most gas stations usually have single bananas, apples, or oranges.  Many modern gas stations now offer cups of fruit such as strawberries, grapes, and pineapple.

Look for things like small packages of Smart Food popcorn where you get a delicious cheesy flavor and plenty of food without a ton of calories or fat.  Another favorite of mine is That’s It Bars.  Mary now loves these too.  They aren’t cheap but they are made of only fruit and come in at 100 calories.  You feel like you are eating a granola bar, but in a far healthier version.  Our one year old can eat a full bar on her own.  It’s rather impressive.

Get your sparkle on.  Sparkling water is found just about anywhere these days.  Simply put, it is carbonated water often found in various flavors.  With zero calories and no sodium, it is a great choice on the road and at home.  It gives you those bubbles you might crave from a soda, minus the sugar and additives.  This is a great option for keeping you hydrated on the go.  LaCroix has been my go to for years!

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Compare your fast food options.  The Dietary Guidelines recommend reading food labels and comparing your foods, especially when it comes to sodium intake.  Modern technology makes this easier than ever.  While on the road, you often get advance notification of what fast food options are coming up.  When we are trying to decide where to eat, we pull up nutrition facts and compare our options.

Not surprisingly, some of the seemingly “healthier” options on menus are laden in preservatives and fat/calories.  Many salads often pack on many more calories than sandwich options.  What often appears to be a guilt free chicken option, often is much less healthy than going for a simple hamburger.

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http://www.nutritionwonderland.com  Would you know that a simple hamburger has fewer calories than a grilled chicken sandwich, or a snack wrap?

Make yourself an informed consumer and read the nutrition facts before you even get there.  If you know that the burger you are craving packs on an extra 700 calories, before you get in line and are tempted, you are far less likely to overindulge.  Knowing ahead of time that a simple hamburger or a salad with half of the dressing will keep everything on track, will allow you to order with confidence and avoid questioning your decisions.

What are your tips for eating healthy on the road?

Staying Healthy On Vacation

Guess what?  We are away again and this time we are on our family vacation in Glen Arbor, MI.  If you are unfamiliar with the area, Glen Arbor is situated on Lake Michigan and hosts two Caribbean blue bodies of water, Glen Lake and Little Glen Lake.  The Sleeping Bear Sand Dunes in Glen Arbor were voted the Most Beautiful Place in America by Good Morning America.

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That’s not the Caribbean.  This is Little Glen Lake.

I love vacations because they offer us new places to explore.  However, I know that for many of my clients, vacation can be a stressful time.  Many people worry about gaining weight while away or getting out of shape.  While these can be stressful situations, there are many ways to embrace vacation and make the best of it.

Go explore.  I love running when I am away.  There is seriously no better way to see new places than on the run.  You can change routes easily and pop into fun places on a whim.  Weave about city streets or take a running tour.  Reach out to a local running club to see if they offer any runs while you are there or ask if someone from their club might be interested in playing tour guide.

One of my runners is away for the summer on an internship in an area where there aren’t many options for mixing up routes.  I sent her a link for a local running club and suggested she get in touch.  Not only did she hear back from the club president, but she happened to run into her at a local race and did a few miles together.  What an awesome meet up!

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The Sleeping Bear Heritage Trail runs for 24 miles.

Do what the locals do.  Maybe you don’t like running or just can’t find the time to fit a run in while you are away.  Find out what the locals do.  Here in Glen Arbor there are bike paths galore.  They are tree lined and beautiful.  Local shops and motels offer bike rentals. This is an activity the whole family can get in on.  Even little ones can come along in a Burley and enjoy the view.

Kayaks, Stand Up Paddle Boards, and canoes are other great options.  See what your vacation spot has to offer.  Try something new and get out and be active.  Take a walk around town and explore the shops.

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I gave SUP yoga a whirl in Aruba!

Eat locally.  One of the best things about Northern Michigan is the pride they take in their local foods.  Fresh local veggies, arguably the best cherries in the nation, hoppy brewed beers and locally roasted coffee are just a few of the offerings.  Embrace the fresh food and try something new.

On a recent family night out, I ordered the “Super Salad.”  Pickled asparagus, quinoa, manchego cheese, shave brussels sprouts, chopped kale, and a chicken breast over a bed of field greens.  It was super filling and an absolute hit.  I am going to need to recreate that one!  Better yet?  This was at a local tavern.  More often than not, restaurants offer a few healthy, crowd pleasing options wherever you are.

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This was salad perfection!

Play!  Just get out and have fun.  Don’t stress about what you did or didn’t do or about that extra heavy dinner last night.  Enjoy everything in moderation.  Have a great time and don’t sweat the small stuff.  Remember that any activity is far better than no activity.  This means that splashing in the water with family, chasing after little ones, and playing hide-and-seek are still keeping the metabolism pumping.

What do you like to do on vacation?

 

Why I Wish I Had Been More Patient Coming Back From Pregnancy

Happy Monday!  Thank you for all of the amazing birthday wishes for Mary.  We had an absolute blast.  It is so hard to believe that she is transitioning from a baby to a toddler.  I’m seriously not ready for this.

Last year, I was fortunate enough to run throughout my pregnancy.  I had the best doctor, who was a runner herself and worked in a clinic full of runners.  Not all pregnancies are suitable for running, but I was lucky enough to run up until 35.5 weeks.  At that point my doctor noted that the baby was making an effort to arrive early and I was advised to stop running until 37 weeks, when I would be considered full term.  Our goal was to make it to there so that our baby wouldn’t be considered preterm and need to go immediately to the NICU.  Obviously, no parent hopes for that.

To be honest, when I was advised not to run, Rock comforted me and asked me if I would be okay on the sidelines.  I gave a huge sigh of relief and told him it felt great to be told not to run.  In that last week it had started to feel uncomfortable and I was starting to dread running.  I felt like I had to because I was a coach and I was still coaching runners.  I couldn’t let them down and didn’t want to feel like I was failing them or myself.  Being told to take it easy actually came easily!

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Oh hey there, baby!

At 36.5 weeks my water broke and I was admitted to labor and delivery.  Fortunately, after 25 hours of labor, Mary arrived and was healthy enough that despite having two pediatricians in the delivery room, she was deemed okay to stay with us in the room.  It was both amazing and overwhelmingly scary to hold that 6 pound 2 ounce little baby.  She was finally there with us.  But yikes, what did we know about raising a tiny baby?!

I experienced some extreme blood pressure issues during delivery and was told to lay low for two weeks and then see my doctor again.  It wasn’t a problem because Mary was up every 2-3 hours for a feeding and we were exhausted.  We didn’t want exercise, we just wanted sleep!

When I saw my doctor again, she was happy to report that I was healthy and asked if I had started running again.  I said of course not because I had been adamantly told not to run and to not plan on it for awhile.  She smiled and told me to get back out there and get going.

There was a small part of me that was relieved to be back in the swing of things.  As just about any new mom wants, I was hoping to get back into my pre-pregnancy shape.

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But another part of me felt like I had to get back to running.  I promised my bosses that I would be back, and while they didn’t expect me to, I felt like I had to prove to them that I kept my word.  I felt like I owed it to my athletes to be back there and not just on the side lines.  I wanted to be running their 20 miler with them in four weeks.  A lot of it was ego.  I needed to prove to myself, my bosses, my runners, and also my readers that I was a committed coach and runner.

And so at 2 weeks postpartum, I ran 3 miles.  It felt great, both mentally and physically.  When I finished I felt terrible.  I felt sick!  Two days later I started experiencing hip pain and ignored it at first.  That was until I tried to go for a run and my left foot dragged on the ground behind me.

Pregnancy releases a hormone called relaxin that loosens your hips and pelvic region to allow for delivery.  It takes several weeks or even months for the hormone to remove itself from your body and for your joints to tighten back up.  My hips were essentially “wobbly” and I pinched a nerve in my lower back.

Beyond the physical pain, there was just the pressure I put on myself.  I felt like I needed to get back in shape and show everyone that I was serious about my job and the sport.  I was eager for Mary to fall asleep and to get workouts in, clean our messy house, and get life back in order.

Looking back, she was so tiny and there were so many times where I could have held her in my arms and enjoyed more quiet moments of just us snuggling together.  This isn’t to say that I neglected her or didn’t hold her a lot.  But, that time is fleeting.  Those moments of tiny baby snuggles don’t last long and soon they are wiggling, crawling, and pushing away from you.

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And that job that I felt was such a priority and so important to show my dedication to?  I don’t even work there anymore.  I felt I owed it to them to get back as fast as possible and looking back, it really wasn’t that important!  You just never know where life will take you.  But your babies will be yours forever.

While I am thrilled that I ran through pregnancy and bounced back quite quickly, there is another side to that story.  Our bodies will come back to their former selves whether we do it in a few weeks or a few months.  Running will still be there whether we come back in a few weeks or even a year.  But our babies are only babies for a very short time.

To any new or expecting mom, give yourself the grace to skip some workouts.  Allow yourself some extra naps holding your baby on your chest.  Trust me, you will sleep again.  And before you know it, your baby won’t be a baby anymore.

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One Year Ago & Why I Am So Glad I Ran Through Pregnancy

Oh my goodness.  I blinked and a year went by.  One year ago on August 6th, little Mary Katherine came into our world.  We didn’t know what we were having and the moment we saw her our lives changed forever.   Then I told Rock that girls are super fun to buy clothes for (which is totally true!).

Mary has changed our lives in so many ways.  At first, I thought we would never sleep again.  Then she started smiling, and crawling, walking, and talking.  It really does get better!

I often hear people say that they didn’t realize how selfish they were before they had a child.  I have to disagree.  I believe that you are meant to enjoy time doing things for and learning about yourself.  The same is true that you need to spend time living with roommates, living on your own, and then living with a partner or spouse.  Each of those steps in life changes you and makes you appreciate the next one.

Before we had Mary, my husband and I could procrastinate all morning and then pop out of the house on a whim to go for a run.  It was fun.  There were times when we argued about the other’s pace, or loud breathing, or preferred routes.

When I was pregnant with Mary, I was the one whose pace slowed.  I was okay with it, but it changed the dynamics of our running.  Rock did his run and I did mine.  Sometimes we ran similar routes.  Sometimes we did our own thing.

I loved running while pregnant.  It of course kept me fit.  But I felt like it was a special one-on-one time that I had with my little one.  I didn’t want to over exert myself, so I used my conversation pace to keep things in check.  I would chat with our baby and tell them how excited I was to meet them and to someday go on runs in the stroller.

It was a time for me to prepare for what was to come.  However, even with the best preparation, you can’t really “prepare.”  Until you have your first child, you just never truly understand how much a baby will change your life.  I still have moments where I stop and think, “Holy crap.  This is 24/7.  This is all about Mary and we are just living in her world!”

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It is okay.  I love it!  It has been amazing watching this tiny little thing that was born almost a month early, grow into a big girl who is in the 90th percentile for her height.  First she was crawling and then suddenly she was walking.  She loves food and will eat just about anything you put in front of her, except for noodles.  She eats sushi (just vegetable rolls) and any fruit or vegetable.  I watched her eat 20+ blueberries at dinner last night!

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Recently, we have started using the jogging stroller for much more than walking to the grocery store.  We often coordinate one of her naps with a run in the stroller.  Remember those times that Rock and I would argue about pacing?  Running with a stroller slows you down.  And it is amazing!  It isn’t about the run.  It is about us being able to do something we love, and together again.  It’s about us doing something as a family.

From the moment Mary was born, I have continued to run.  Running through pregnancy allowed me to bounce back pretty quickly, and I am super grateful for that.  But what I am most grateful for is that for as long as our little girl will remember, her parents ran because they loved it.  They workout because they love being healthy and they do it together.  While I may never be able to fully shelter Mary from the social stigmas of  “perfect bodies,” what I hope that I can do is show her how a healthy relationship between food, exercise, and how we perceive ourselves can truly work.

This has been the best, most exhausting, and rewarding year of my life.  Happy Birthday Mary.  Thank you for teaching me so many lessons that you never realized you ever possibly could.  As I said when you were born, I am so thrilled to be known forever as “Mary’s mom.”

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The Lesser Known Benefits Of Running

Hello from Northern Michigan!  Can’t keep up with us?  Neither can we!  In the last week, we have done three trips up to Michigan and back to Chicago.  The good news is that we are here to stay for awhile and have some fun planned adventures in the next few weeks.

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Last night as I was enjoying the warm weather and calm lake, I started thinking about the lesser known benefits of running.  Sure you love the sport because it increases your aerobic efficiency, it boosts your metabolism, and it gives you killer calves.  But have you ever considered the other amazing benefits running has to offer?  Let me share:

Pedicures often take far less time compared to the average person.  As I gave myself a quick pedicure last night, I noted that with only 9 nails left, thanks to Grandma’s Marathon, it really does speed up the process.  There are two others that look like they might skip town too.  Soon it will only take about 70% as long!

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You never procrastinate when it comes to laundry.  Runners often bring about a “special” funk.  We sweat hard and we stink.  If we let that stuff sit around too long, our friends and partners might not stick around very long themselves.  Laundry is always a top priority for us.

We get every invite to events that involve drinking.  Beer has carbs and we know that carbs are essential to our recovery.  There are very few runners that I know who don’t enjoy a drink or two and blame it on their recovery….or at least casually state that they deserve it because they did 13 miles that morning.

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Why have just one when you can try all five?

Because, baby you’re a VIP.  Open the velvet rope and let us in.  Once upon a time I bought so many pairs of running shoes off of Zappos.com, they made me a VIP customer.  Thanks to my incredible shoe purchasing ability, I now get free overnight shipping.  Totally awesome and yet slightly dangerous if you know your credit card number by heart.

Everyone wants directions from you.  How do you get there?  You go two miles down this road and turn right.  Go another two tenths and then turn left.  Your destination will be .35 miles down the road.  How do I know?  I just do.

We are no match for a buffet or an eating challenge.  In fact, post long run, you will find me dining at 5:00pm (and blaming it on our baby) because I have no time for waiting in line to eat somewhere.  This girl gets hungry and she needs to be fed.  This is also why I rarely ever order pizza because I will eat the whole darn thing.  Try and stop me!

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That time I told you guys I was pregnant and then at all the paczkis!

See what I mean?!  Running really is quite awesome.  What are your favorite benefits that you reap from the sport?

Back From Studies And Certified

I know, I know..last week I said I would be back for the week, but we have had a lot going on for the past two weeks.  I have lots of fun updates to share this week.  But first I will start with yesterday’s excitement.

When Mary was only a few months old, Rock and I lived out of a motel for a month in Upstate New York.  I was watching the morning news and a “health expert” was chatting about “healthy” ideas for snacks.  I was totally annoyed and yelling at the TV.  Health and fitness are my life and I get frustrated when I see poor information passed around.  Rock mentioned that I should find a way to get certified in a field of health and wellness and that brought about a search.

Shortly after, I enrolled in the American Council of Exercise’s Health Coaching program.  I was so excited to receive my text book and follow their online courses.  However, there is one problem with being a new mom.  Between coaching runners and figure skaters, and also training many virtual athletes, my plate was pretty full.  Any spare time was spent with Mary and Rock.

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This meant that for the past several months, I spent my evening hours when Mary went to sleep studying (and trying to blog) and working with clients.  It was a slow process.  But like anything else I do, I wanted to make sure that I didn’t just know the content.  I wanted to fully understand and immerse myself in the program.

Yesterday, I finally sat down and took my proctored exam in a suburb of Chicago.  Let me tell you, I was super nervous.  I was pretty certain I knew the material.  But it had been a long time since I sat for an exam like this.  I didn’t want to disappoint myself or my friends and family who have been so supportive.

But I am happy to report that I passed and I did really well!  And now, I am incredibly excited to venture into another field of health, fitness, and wellness.  It is my goal to provide the best services and opportunities to my clients and athletes.  Adding this certification to my resume’ allows me to offer more opportunities to anyone who works with me.

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Moving forward, this goes beyond just runners and endurance athletes.  I now have the opportunity to assist with almost anyone who is looking to make a lifestyle change or further their path towards healthy living.  I am looking forward to working with clients of all backgrounds and finding everyone’s own personal, health driven journey.

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What does any good Health Coach do after they pass their exam?  Drink giant margaritas with awesome friends, of course!

I will be sharing more about health coaching in upcoming posts once life settles down a touch.

A huge thanks goes out to my friends and family who have been so supportive in this venture.  A massive thanks goes out to my husband Rock who encouraged me to delve into this field and then took the helm this past week when I became a studying freak.  And a special thank you to my clients and athletes for not only being so supportive but for also understanding when my replies to e-mails, texts, and phone calls weren’t as prompt as usual this past week.  Despite that, they were the first to offer their congrats yesterday.  I am so grateful to have you all in my life!

Less Running and More Drinking: Summer Weather Got To Me

Happy Monday!  That was some crazy weather we had last week.  Here in Chicago, like much of the rest of the country, we had some searing temperatures.  I woke up on Saturday morning and it already felt like 95°F.

I used the weather as an excuse to do a lot less running.  I logged 20 miles between Monday and Sunday, approximately half of my normal mileage.  The miles that I did get in were very slow and sweaty.  It was the perfect time to take some much needed rest from running.  Work has been super busy lately (there are a lot of upcoming races and we are in the peak of training) and life in general is pretty busy.

It is important to remember that running should be fun, and we need to take breaks; even from the things we love the most sometimes.  Coming back fresh and excited helps us to maintain a healthy relationship and avoid becoming stale.  When I did run, my legs felt fresh.  When I wasn’t running, I made sure to do other activities.

I also made a point to hydrate.  During the day, I did some healthy hydrating.  One of my favorite mocktails is also my favorite summer drink.  I am a huge fan of all things LaCroix.  I love their good old standby flavors of grapefruit, lemon, lime, and passion fruit.  I also love their new flavors like cherry lime and cucumber blackberry.  When I finish a long, hot run, I find that it is easier for me to down a glass of sparkly bubbles, than a flat glass of water.

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I totally forgot about cherry lime!

My sister-in-law introduced me to a LaCroix mocktail when I was pregnant and I have never looked back.  Minute Maid makes a delicious 15 calorie per serving lemonade.  They also make this in 12 ounce cans at 5 calories per serving.

Pour yourself a glass of sparkling water of your choice and add a splash of the lemonade (or 1/3 a can) and enjoy.  It makes for a perfect post run refresher or a great mocktail anytime during the day or evening.  Go wild and throw a splash of vodka in there for an evening imbibe.  Hey, it works for both night and day!

During the summer months, I love bubbles when cocktail time comes around.  I have a few current favorites.  My longtime go to, has been a sparkling Rose’ from a vineyard in Suttons Bay, Michigan.  L. Mawby only makes sparkling wines and his “Sex” is the perfect summer wine for picnics or late night cocktails.  Plus, who doesn’t like showing up at a party and offering someone a bottle of Sex?!

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If you ever get the chance to do some wine touring in Northern Michigan, I highly recommend visiting L. Mawby where you can sit on the back porch with a small tasting plate and a glass of his sparkling wine.  Stop by next door at Big Little and sample their Tire Swing, another of my favorites!  Visit their websites where you can order yourself a bottle of both if you can’t make it to the vineyards.

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Finally, the week after Mary was born, I popped into my favorite wine shop, The Bottle Shop.   When the owner found out I had just had a baby, she invited me to the back for a celebratory tasting.  She poured a small glass of her favorite prosecco and added a squeeze of fresh lime.  Cielo comes in at just under $10 a bottle.  It is light and refreshing.  When you add the fresh lime, it gives the prosecco a bit of a sparkling margarita flavor.  It is the perfect summer sparkler.  Cocktails don’t get any easier than this!

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The weather is looking cooler this week.  Rest assured I will be running again and back to posting more about summer running tips.  Until then, cheers!

What are your favorite ways to hydrate for real and for fun?  Share your favorite simple cocktail ideas!

Summer Running: Tips To Deal With Heat And Humidity

Summer is in full swing, and that means I am getting a lot of e-mails regarding humidity and training.  Just about anywhere you are running right now you are likely experiencing heat and humidity.  In my opinion, humidity is one of the most difficult factors to deal with as a runner.  I personally experienced this at Grandma’s Marathon in June.  It took me down.  And it took me down hard and fast.

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Unfortunately, when humidity rears it’s ugly head, there is very little we can do in the midst of a run.  However, there are a few things you can do to prepare as well as a few things you can do to make running more tolerable. 

First, remember that it will get better and you will come out on the other end, a stronger runner.  While running in muggy conditions can be very difficult, our bodies do adjust over time and will handle the weather more efficiently.  You likely won’t be running at your normal pace or feel as great as you do under perfect conditions, but your body will begin to deal better after approximately two weeks.

If you allow yourself to slow down and work through the conditions, your body will adapt and you will actually find that you become a stronger runner.

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Slow it down.  As I mentioned before, you will need to slow your pace down.  Be patient with your body.  If you try pushing it too hard, it will revolt and give in.  If you need to do a six mile training run and you try to push at your normal pace, you might fall short of your planned mileage.  It is much better to slow down and get those miles in.  You will likely feel much better about your training.  Falling short of mileage often leads to frustration.  Running your miles at a slower pace will give you a sense of accomplishment once they are done.  Remember that slower running has many great benefits for your training.  It will by no means destroy your pace.

Hydrate, hydrate, hydrate.  Hydration during the hot and humid season is essential.  You will sweat a lot under these conditions.  Proper fluid intake is essential to get through all of training.  Keep in mind that hydration begins days before a run and not just the 24 hours prior to one single run.  It is essential to aim for maintaining euhydration, which is a normal state of hydration; meaning neither dehydrated or over hydrated.  Aim for light yellow to straw colored urine as a way to ensure this status.

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Source: usada.com

If you are having trouble finding a hydration system for your run.  I highly recommend the Simple Hydration bottle.  It hooks to your shorts or running belt and you will quickly forget it is even there.  I am a big fan!

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Source: usada.com

Consider retaining some water.  If you see that the forecast calls for hot and humid conditions, consuming something salty the night before can be helpful for retaining water.  Something like chicken noodle soup, soy sauce, or even pizza has a high salt content.  This can help facilitate some levels of water retention for your long run or event the following day.

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This is how I feel the morning after eating sushi or pizza!

Be patient and give yourself some leniency.  Some days are better than others.  Some runs are most definitely better than others.  If your body isn’t feeling it, give yourself the option to slow it down, take walk breaks, or cut it short.  Missing a run or two is not the end of the world.  It won’t hurt your training or make you a slower runner.  But it could keep you safe and healthy.  Always listen to your body and do what is best for you.

How do you prefer to deal with summer running conditions?

A special best of luck to Chicago Rock n Roll runners this weekend.  An extra special shout out to Pamela and Elaine.  Super proud of your hard and smart work!

Stroller Running (Ahem…Jogging).

Several months ago I did my first run with Mary in the stroller.  I came home from a long training run and popped her in the seat for two miles.  I was hesitant to see how it would go, but excited to introduce her to the world of running.

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We have a great running stroller, but it is slightly bulky for travel and we had to leave it behind when we went to NYC for the spring.  We recently pulled it back out and took Mary for a 6 mile run and Rock and I took turns pushing each mile.

While Rock was coaching hockey last week in Wisconsin, I had the chance to push Mary during her naps.  My goal was to get her to take her shorter morning nap in the running stroller.   We tried it out for an entire week and it was fantastic!  The first day it took her 15 minutes to fall asleep and the second day she fell asleep within the first mile.

Each morning she slept for just about an hour, which was long enough for me to get in my daily mileage.

Here are my pointers for running with a stroller:

Invest in a nice timepiece.  When doing our baby registry, we were overwhelmed.  What the heck do new parents really need?!  If you are a runner, you need a jogging stroller.  If you are a walker, you need a jogging stroller.  They are pricey, but please take my advice and do your research.  Figure out what your family needs.

Rock and I looked at all of the available strollers and went with the BOB Revolution SE.  It is comfy for Mary and has great attachments for baby and parent (snack table for baby and coffee holder for mom).

Stroller1

This thing has shocks like a car and an air pump to make sure the wheels are good to go.  There is a sun roof and pockets galore.  The only drawback is that while it does fold down, it isn’t nearly as compact as an umbrella stroller or our Maclaren (yikes, kids are expensive!).

Make Sure Baby Is Ready:

Our pediatrician recommended that you do not run with your baby in a stroller until they are able to sit up on their own.  While Mary was able to do this during the winter, I didn’t want to subject her to crappy weather.  So we waited until spring.   You definitely want to wait until they are able to hold their heads ups comfortably, as you do not want them bouncing around and out of control.

Ease Into It:

You don’t need to do a marathon on the first day.  Try doing 20-30 minutes the first time.  I put her snack tray up and added some treats to make the jog a little more enjoyable (for her)  A quick trip for your first attempt is a good idea.  It will be challenging for you and you also don’t want to overdo it for baby and make it a bad experience for them from the start.

Plan To Run Slower:

Pushing a stroller with a baby is no joke.  It isn’t super hard if you have the right stroller.  But it isn’t also won’t be easy.  I run a minute and a half slower per mile with a stroller than I do on my own.  There are great benefits to slow running and you can chalk it up to resistance training too!

As I mentioned on Monday, I ended up running a really solid race the weekend after doing 5 days of slow mileage pushing the stroller.  It won’t ruin your pace in the long run.

Always Be Safe!

Running with your baby presents new challenges.  Make sure you always wear the attached safety strap for the stroller.  While you may be the strongest and most diligent parent/runner, accidents happen.  If you trip, the strap will ensure that the stroller stays with you and doesn’t stray down the road.

While I love listening to music to keep my mind from focusing on the miles, when I run with Mary, I keep my phone handy for emergencies, and I am 100% sans technology.  If anything, I spend my time chatting with her.  Music should be left for your solo runs.

Be smart and obey the rules of running on the road.   Always run against traffic.  Run on sidewalks whenever you can.  And run defensively.  Assume that drivers are not paying attention.

Do you run with a stroller?  What tips would you add?