I Took The Leap (Run)

Happy Wednesday!  For my friends in the U.S., Happy Thanksgiving Eve.  Regardless of where you are, I am thankful for all of you for following this blog, commenting, and making my life full of fun and excitement.

We are in the Chicagoland area for the week visiting family and friends.  We’ve already had a fun filled past few days visiting with cousins and friends.  Last night we took a train ride down into the city to our old neighborhood.  We met up with family and a running friend for dinner at one of our favorite sushi restaurants, Fin.  I can’t recommend this place too much.  First of all, it is BYOB, which is something I love about Chicago restaurants.  Second, the quality of sushi is among some of the best I have had anywhere and I have had the luxury of dining at some of the best places in NYC.  However, unlike NYC these rolls don’t come at Morimoto prices.  We had an embarrassing amount of rolls and appetizers for less than $60.

It was my first time having sushi since being pregnant last winter and it was worth the wait.

Mary on the other hand was waiting all week to take the train into the city.  She’d been talking about it for days and the experience didn’t disappoint.  I love Chicago train conductors.  They are super friendly to passengers, and especially to kids.  Mary ended up carrying our tickets in her pockets the rest of the night.

One thing I have not done since Lucy was born is run outside.  I’ve been sticking strictly to the treadmill since I was about 31 weeks pregnant.  It has been 10 weeks since Lucy arrived and I have been mostly just trying to fit in runs when the kids are sleeping or when it is convenient.  This has meant treadmill runs to Netflix in our basement.  I finished off Grace and Frankie and rolled it over to Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt.  Both of these shows lured me in and I have not minded running indoors.  Last week I even managed to log 52 miles.

To be honest, coming back from pregnancy can be difficult for a runner.  Our bodies expand and don’t always adjust very well.  We have a hormone called relaxin that prepares our bodies for birth and leaves our us pretty loosey goosey for quite awhile after.  It’s easier to roll ankles and move things out of whack.  Last time around I did a number on my pelvis by trying to do too much too early, making it even more painful to come back.

A few weeks ago I was jogging in our driveway, chasing after Mary on her bike.  I had to stop because things just weren’t feeling right.  The treadmill provides just a bit more support and even ground for coming back from injuries and pregnancy.  Because of that, I was hesitant to get outside and go for a run.

We have a Turkey Trot coming up on Thursday and a lack of indoor options while we are away this week.  Both of these were perfect excuses to get me outside for a run.  Let me tell you though, I was nervous!

However, on Monday I was in a car all day and ate way too many “car snacks” (aka crap).  I really wanted to break a sweat and get a good run in.


So I threw on some cold weather running gear and decided to just go for it.  My plan was to do 7 miles, but I quickly realized I needed this run in more ways than one.  I forced myself to keep the pace where I felt comfortable and not let my dusty GPS dictate my pace.  I did use the GPS as a reference for mileage and occasionally checked it because I was curious to see what my comfortable pace was, but I didn’t let it set the pace.

I felt great.  My new Asics that felt weird on the treadmill, felt amazing on the pavement.  I quickly decided to change my 7 miler to 8 and soon started playing the numbers to see if 9 would be doable.  At some point I had to stop and text my husband because I knew in my heart that I really wanted to get a double digit run in, just to know that I could.

It was almost as if I started to run better as my body remembered how to do things.  Even with the Chicago winds, everything just felt so enjoyable.  I finished off 10 miles feeling great and ready to devour a ton of sushi later.


Sometimes we just have to take that leap and trust our bodies.  One thing I always try to remind my runners about is that once you are a runner, you are always a runner.  Things happen in life that cause us to take breaks.  Perhaps we get injured, or we just need a change for a bit.  Regardless of what takes us away from running, it is always there waiting for us.  It takes a few runs to get back at it, but it usually doesn’t take nearly as long as you anticipate.  Running is always there.  Your body and your mind will remember and do their thing.


Happy Thanksgiving.  Any Turkey Trots on the agenda for you?

Anyone else tend to go a little crazy when they order sushi?

Eliminate Stress For A Healthy Holiday

I used to dread Thanksgiving.  I wasn’t a fan of turkey for some strange reason, and I dealt with some tremendous food noise in my head.  However, over the years I have become a big fan of this holiday and have learned that it can be a really fun time to gather around the table and actually enjoy yourself sans guilt.

When we spend a holiday or other family gathering worrying about what we eat and how it affects our bodies, we don’t get to enjoy some of the greatest times with the people we love.  The holidays shouldn’t be a time where we add stress to our lives.  It should be a time of enjoyment.


So how do we go about that?  Below are a few tips from me as a certified Health Coach, personal trainer, and someone who has had to learn these lessons herself.

Start your day out right.  When you know that you are going to be gathering at the table and enjoying a little extra or eating things you typically wouldn’t indulge in, it helps to get some activity in earlier that day.

Our family has made it a tradition the past few years to pick a local turkey trot to do together.  It is not only a great way to get in some exercise and start out the day on the right foot, but it is also a great way to start the day with family and friends.  When we encourage each other to be active, it is so much more fun and a positive experience.


If you don’t like running, that is totally fine.  Go for a walk, hit the gym before it closes, or get the family outside for a tackle football game.  Being active boosts your energy, gets your metabolism going, and also elevates your mood.

Scan the table.  One great thing about Thanksgiving is that there are a lot of healthier options on the buffet.  Veggies are abundant and turkey is a great lean meat.  Just go for the white stuff!

Pick out the healthy options first and make those your biggest portions.  Then go ahead and indulge in those other yummy sides that you love but watch your portion sizes.

Stick to one plate.  Make yourself one plate and commit to it.  If you are still hungry after one large helping, take a moment to determine if it is true hunger.  If you feel that you truly are hungry, go for some extra veggies, or load up a salad.

The same goes for dessert.  Pick one piece of dessert or take 2 mini slices of pie if you can’t decide.  Odds are that it will still be there tomorrow, so don’t act like this is the last time you will ever get to eat dessert!

Bring something healthy that you love.  If you aren’t certain what will be on the table and you want to make sure you stick to a good plan, bring something that you know you will enjoy that is also healthy.  Perhaps you know that the appetizers will be your downfall.  Then bring a delicious veggie platter and some hummus.  Add some garlic to give it a kick and then enjoy!


Remember that one day doesn’t break everything.  Sometimes you just need to enjoy yourself.  One day of unhealthy eating is not a complete loss.  You can always get back on track tomorrow.  At the same time, that doesn’t mean to just give up and eat everything you see.  Check in and make sure you are still hungry.  Try to be sensible with your portions.  But remember that tomorrow is another day and you can start it with a healthy breakfast and a solid workout.

Be kind to yourself.  Food should never be a source of guilt.  No one sticks 100% to their eating plan (okay, maybe Tom Brady, but how fun is that?!).  We all slip up and we all have foods that we love to eat just a little bit too much of.  Be kind to yourself and give yourself grace to have a less than perfect day.  Try your best to avoid the negative self talk.  Food is meant to be enjoyed, not to make you feel miserable.


I can almost guarantee that we will all eat just a little bit too much, and a few things that we know we don’t really need.  Find a way to enjoy it and make a plan for how to start the next day in a healthy way, both mentally and physically.  

What are you looking forward to most about Thanksgiving?

The Days Fly By

Happy Monday!  We had a wild week around here filled with snow and frigid weather.  We lucked out and didn’t receive the foot of snow that was predicted, but I am not ready for winter to be here.  Whether I am or not, it appears that winter is here to stay.

I spent a day at work training clients and we also took some time to finally close up our cottage.  Perfect timing.  I wasn’t expecting the snow to arrive so soon and that would have made for a mess.  We still had our lawn furniture and picnic table sitting outside.


We packed plenty of fun in this weekend.  Saturday started bright and early with pictures with my side of our family.  A few weeks ago we met with a local photographer to get some pictures taken with our girls.  They were so great that we decided to do a large family photo for my parents.  However, when the weather turned from cold to super cold, we thought we were out of luck.

Fortunately, our photographer was able to arrange for us to meet at the Grand Traverse Resort and do an indoor shoot. I can’t wait to see how the pictures turned out, as we used some really great areas of the resort as our backdrop.  If you are in the area, I highly recommend Wallhanger Photography!

It was also really fun to be there because the Beerd Run was getting ready to take off.  I had been interested in this event but opted out when we signed up for our photos.  This is a 5k that takes you around the resort and offers microbrew samplings at each mile marker.  There is beer and warm food offered at the end and each runner gets a knit beanie with a beard attached.  It sounded like a fun event, and judging from the people we saw hanging out in the lobby, it definitely was a great time.  Nothing is better than being able to use a warm lobby and indoor facilities before a race, especially in that weather.  Having quality microbrews on the course and afterwards is pretty great too.  Clearly, this is a recreational run, but if you saw my post on what makes a great race, this one certainly looked like it qualified!

After the shoot, Mary was famished and devoured a donut….or at least all of the chocolate that covered the donut.  Glad we kept that sweater clean until the shoot was done!

If you ever find yourself in the Traverse City area, I highly recommend a visit to the Grand Traverse Resort and Spa.  You will find a beautiful facility full of shops, restaurants, great hotel rooms, a fantastic spa, and a top of the line fitness facility.  If you enjoy swimming, golfing, or playing tennis, this is a great place for you.  Oh, and there is a Dylan’s Candy Bar too!


We spent the afternoon taking a drive along the Old Mission Peninsula.  With views of both the East and West Bays or Lake Michigan, this is a stunning stroll.  The peninsula is packed with vineyards and wineries along with a few fantastic restaurants and breweries.

After Mary’s gymnastics class, a run for me, and a nap for the girls, we were off to Grayling where we tried out a new barbecue restaurant.  Ray’s is seated right along the Ausable River and has some pretty delicious bbq as well as a great selection of beer.  We loved the high ceilings and warm fireplace and Mary loved the giant moose on the wall.


Pulled Pork salad was so good!

The rest of the weekend involved some cleaning time and a big family dinner on Sunday.  When the weather gets cold, I certainly love spending time in the kitchen.

We also got in the crafting mood and made a hand turkey on canvas.  Michael’s had a great deal on canvas (8 for $11) so I picked up a few for holiday arts and crafts projects.  This one came together with a little washable finger paint.  After a quick dry, Mary got to use marker pens (like you would use for bingo) to make the feathers.  I added a quick border and we now have a new Thanksgiving decoration.


Next to Mary’s pumpkin we made for Halloween.

On the running front, I was able to log 45 miles last week.  I will call that a giant win for 9 weeks out from having Lucy!  Running is feeling good, although not yet quite back to the speed I would desire.  I was able to bump up the distance of a few of my runs this week and that felt like a huge success.

We are planning on doing a 5k Turkey Trot on Thanksgiving day and I am looking forward to pushing Mary for that one.  5k’s are not my favorite as I feel they are a bit of a sprint and I tend to go a little crazy.  I’m relying on Mary to keep me in check for that one!

Do you have any Turkey Trotting plans?  Any weekend highlights?

Getting Back On Track, Wild Days, & Ice People

Ok, I do believe life is calming down a bit and it is time to get this blog back on track again.  Please excuse my absence.  With a toddler in the house, along with a now 8 week old, life is always an adventure.  Top that off with a busy fall season that brought Rock back out to NYC for a few weeks, and I honestly couldn’t find extra time to sit down and type up the number of posts I have jotted down and in my head.  We will get there!

Our family of four is starting to really come together.  Big sister is in love with her little sister and enjoys helping out.  When she isn’t busy trying to give Lucy a pacifier or a blanket, she can be found giving a bottle to her own babies or attempting to burp them.  It is so incredibly cute to watch.  I really adore seeing her imagination come to life.


Daniel Tiger is all the rage in this house!

Work has been busy in several ways.  As I mentioned before, Rock had to spend a few weeks in NYC wrapping up our fall sports session.  I have been training clients at the gym one or two days a week and I also had several runners finish various marathons.  Congrats to everyone who finished Chicago, NYC, Toronto, Marine Corps and a few others.  Weather played a few tricks on us this fall, but that seems to be the trend lately.

Last weekend we got to witness a really cool event here in Michigan.  The Iceman Cometh is a 30 mile bike trek from Kalkaska to Traverse City, MI.  Not only does this wild race lead you down dirt roads and trails, but Northern Michigan weather plays an interesting variable.  Some years it is sunny and warm, others it snows.  This past year it decided to throw a few twists in by adding both snow and rain.


It is so fun to see our small town grow by about 300% as cyclists pack the streets.  I had to leave early in the morning for a work meeting and I was loving the sight of so many bikes warming up all over town.  When I drove back home later that afternoon I passed a cyclist on the highway riding through a downpour.  This guy did the 30 mile trek through the woods and then worked his way home on the highway.  It was truly inspirational and definitely something crazy that Rock and I would do for an adventure.

Between this event and all of the marathon excitement over the past few weeks, I am definitely starting to contemplate my next race.  My doctor just ran Detroit and he now has that on my radar.  My friends just did Indy and that is certainly intriguing me.

For now, I am also just loving getting my mileage in on the treadmill while watching my latest Netflix binge, Grace and Frankie.  I do have to stop multiple times because I am laughing too hard to actually run.  I couldn’t manage to watch Stranger Things 2 while running.  I would have flown off of the mill about 5,000 times!  I had to save those episodes to watch with Rock, because if I watched them alone I wouldn’t have slept at night.



What is your next race adventure?  Any Netflix suggestions?  I’m running out of episodes!

Criteria For A Great/Bad Race Experience

What is your criteria for a great or a horrible race experience?  I’m not talking about your performance, getting a PR, or crashing at an event.  Today I want to discuss what factors about a race make for a good experience or a terrible one.  This topic came up the other day as we were figuring out our Turkey Trot plans and I thought it was worth a post and wanted to hear your thoughts.

Great Experiences:

Aid Stations:  One of the best races, in my opinion, is the Chicago Marathon.  Race Director Carey Pinkowski has worked to cover all of his bases to ensure that every runner has a great time on the course.  Several years ago the weather was terribly hot and as the race went on, they ran out of water.  They also had a shortage of port-a-potties on the course one year.  Now he makes certain they have more than enough water and there is an abundance of facilities throughout the course.


Chicago has so many aid stations and so many options that you almost feel like they are the cheerleaders of the course.  Even if there wasn’t a single spectator along those 26.2 miles, the amenities alone would have you covered.

Swag:  A great way to start a good experience is to hand out sweet swag at packet pickup.  Grandma’s Marathon had custom socks.  The Cherry Festival Half Marathon handed out wine glasses.  Give me something sweet before I even get to run and you win my heart over.


Post Race Goodies:  Hand me just a water bottle at the end of a race and unless I got to run for a very low registration fee, I am going to be super disappointed.  One of the first races that my husband and I did together was the Hudson Valley 15k in Upstate New York.  The race finished in the parking lot of a restaurant.  There was an awesome spread of eggs, pasta, sausage, and garlic bread.  Feed a hungry runner and they will definitely leave happy.

Beautiful Courses:  Even if there isn’t a lot of support along a course, if the scenery is great, I will definitely enjoy myself.  Both the Charlevoix Marathon and Run For The Red Pocono Marathon are smaller and head into quiet areas where there are very few crowds.  However both races have gorgeous and very different views.  One rolls through the mountains and the other along Lake Michigan.


Show Your Racers Some Love: The Chicago Spring Half Marathon has first aid support via bikes along the race course.  While coaching one year, I had multiple people ride by and ask how I was doing because I was 20+ weeks pregnant.  The Pocono Marathon had age group awards and I had to leave before they were handed out.  Within days, my award arrived at my door and was big and beautiful.

Bad Experiences:  

Where Did The Facilities Go?:  Runners have one thing in common.  We all have to go and we all want to hurry up and go.  Nothing is more infuriating than waiting in line for an hour and nearly missing your race because there aren’t enough restrooms.  Grandma’s Marathon in 2016 was one giant hot mess.  They actually had plenty of facilities but placed them in such a manner that half of them were unreachable.  It also happened the year before too!

Congestion:  You are going to see a theme here in the next few bullet points.  Several years ago I ran the Hot Chocolate 15k in Chicago.  When a race has almost as many participants as the Chicago Marathon, zero corrals, and 5k and 15k participants running the first two miles together, you are going to end up with some very pissed off runners.  I love the 15k distance, but don’t expect a PR at this event unless you shimmy yourself up to the front of the line.  The finish was slightly redeeming with chocolate everything.

Painful Packet Pickup:  While I lucked out and did’t have this experience, many of my runners had a horrible experience at the Hot Chocolate packet pickup one year when the computers went down and people were waiting in line for hours for their packets.  The Chicago Marathon again takes the cake for this one when you walk in and out of there in 5 minutes with your packet and shirt at the giant expo.  No one needs to be on their feet all day before they run.

Annoying Crew On The Course:  My first experience was actually at the Charlevoix Marathon when a volunteer nearly tripped me running across the course to hand someone water.  Next, it happened at the Hot Chocolate 15k when the aid stations created narrow tunnels to hand out marshmallows and other goodies.  Stand to the side and give people space.  If we want sugar on the course, we will come up to you!

Not Taking Care Of Your Runners:  Look out for a huge rant here.  Ram Racing (the same company that does the Hot Chocolate races) hosts the North Shore Turkey Trot 10k on Thanksgiving and it has become a family tradition.  Every year a large group friends and family meet to do this event.  I love to eat and this is the perfect way for me to break a sweat and feel a tad less guilty about my overindulgence later in the day.


This is a pricey race for a 10k ($50+)  and you don’t get a whole lot in exchange.  As their signature, they do give you something cool at packet pick up.  In years past it has been a bright yellow fleece hoodie, turkey flannel pants, a crazy furry hat, and last year a black pullover.  I will hand them this.

However, amenities on the course have become sparse.  The first year there was coffee and hot chocolate before the event.  Runner’s World raved that you receive a small individual pie at the finish.

Last year there were no pies, no coffee, and no hot chocolate.  There are no medals at the end  and the only thing you can look forward to is someone handing you a bottle of water as you walk to your car.  (Note that I am okay with no medals at the finish of a 10k).

I personally am pretty bitter because two years ago I placed 2nd in my age group and was sent a great medal in the mail.  Last year I PR’ed the 10k and placed 3rd in my age group.  After I inquired about my age group award, I was told to wait a few weeks and it would arrive.  After a few months I e-mailed and was told there was a hold up in China with their medal distributor and to please be patient and not e-mail again.  Finally, I e-mailed 10 months after the race and never received a reply.  For a pricey 10k with sparse amenities, one nice piece of swag, and no age group award, I can’t justify doing another Ram Racing event.

This year we will be doing a much smaller event with our family and friends and keeping it chill.  But I am still going to be bitter about that age group award!

What are your criteria for a great/bad race experience?  Care to share your best and worst race experiences?

We Don’t Use The “F” Word In Our House

Full disclosure, before you think I’ve gone and become a tame mom, I still have moments of F-bombing.  I tend to do it under my breath these days, but the truth is, profanities still happen around here.  I have two kids, can you blame me?!

There was a word that was much more common in my daily vocabulary and I am doing my best to erase it ever since I became a mom.

I grew up as a competitive figure skater.  Like other sports and activities where lean bodies are ideal, as I moved up the ranks, this type of body and weight were encouraged.  Whether coaches and judges came right out and told you to lose weight, or gentle nudges were given, it was very obvious that this body was essential for success in the sport.

I spent a lot of time watching other skaters and comparing my body.  I sized myself up in the mirror at ballet.  I was athletic.  I had muscles.  This left me looking much larger than other girls with skinny little legs.

You hear people telling you that “muscle weighs more than fat” but when you hop on the scale and hear that other girls weigh “X” amount of pounds, you start to feel overweight.  Numbers run through your head and you compare yourself to others.


The notion of diets came into my life at an early age.  Other girls were discussing them, family members were on various diets, and weight was at the forefront of my mind.  I even had a coach point out to me when I was 12 that I was developing because I was getting “fat” in my armpits.  At the time, I was tiny, but regardless it should have never even been discussed and was very inappropriate.

I spent all of my teenage years and much of my early adulthood obsessed with my weight, exercise, and foods that I should/shouldn’t eat.  While I was fortunate to never have an eating disorder, I definitely had a very unhealthy relationship with food, exercise, and body image.

Friends in high school were annoyed by my constant whining that I was “fat.”  I was always looking for someone to tell me that I wasn’t.  Even if I didn’t believe them, I needed that reassurance.


I may not be able to protect my girls from the pressures that awaits them in the outside world.  But I am going to do my part by showing them a healthy relationship with my body.  My weight might fluctuate. I may not feel my best at times, but I will certainly never utter the “fat” word in our house or anywhere else.  I will enjoy my food and encourage our family to enjoy a variety of healthy foods.  We will also enjoy every delicious and tasty bite we get to discover along the way.  Food is not meant to cause guilt and exercise is not meant to be punishment for what we eat.  Sweat is NOT your fat crying.  It is the awesome bi-product of moving your muscles.

I will also do the best I possibly can to not criticize myself.  This can be difficult, but young impressionable children do not need to see a role model or anyone else feeling dissatisfied with their bodies.  Confidence can carry a person a very long way and I truly believe we can pass this attitude on not only to our children, but also to the people we surround ourselves with in our lives.


I have many female clients who refuse to use mirrors to correct their form or to ensure they are properly doing exercises because they do not want to see their reflection.  I cannot tell you how much this saddens me.  These amazing women are wonderful people.  We should somehow be far past this discomfort with seeing our image.  There is much more to ourselves besides a number on a scale.  Beauty goes far beyond pounds or pant sizes.

Learning to love ourselves isn’t always easy, and there are years of adolescence and puberty to wreak havoc on young minds.  Being body positive is a great way to set an example for young girls and boys. Even better, this positive attitude shares the love with yourself.

Regardless of whether you have children of your own, try to take a moment of pause before you criticize yourself or use the “f” word.  Consider what it does to your own confidence and to the people around you.  It is very likely that you are loved by many people and we often forget that when we put ourselves down, it hurts their feelings and confidence too.  Let’s work together to raise a new generation of body confident children and to lift ourselves up at the same time.


How do you like to set an example for others?  Share your confidence building ideas!



I Blame It On The Sleep Deprivation

Has it really been three weeks?!  I haven’t posted in nearly three weeks and it has also been that long since little Lucy came into our lives.  What a wild adventure.

I didn’t intend to step away from blogging, but at the same time, I felt so much pressure with our first child to continue blogging, get right back into running, and start work as soon as possible.  As I saw her grow so rapidly, I realized that all of that pressure was totally unnecessary.  It is most important to enjoy every moment we have with our families and children.  So I have been taking time to enjoy baby and toddler snuggles and everything else that comes with being a mom of two little ones.


Despite arriving a month early, Lucy was healthy enough to come home with us after 48 hours at the hospital.  We were so excited to bring her home and get back to some sort of normalcy.

September is a busy time in our lives, as our fall session of classes in NYC starts.  A few days after we settled back at home, Rock had to take off for a week in NYC.  We had a feeling our baby was going to arrive early, but we had no idea when.  Both of us were sweating when he should head to New York.  He definitely didn’t want to miss the birth of our baby, but we also have business to take care of.  Once we knew that everything was fine, it was perfect timing for him to make a quick trip.

I was lucky enough to have some wonderful friends and family step in to help out.  Thank goodness because two kids present different challenges.  While big sister is loving her new role, she is also two and likes to test just how firm we are about rules.  Like any new sibling, it can also be a tricky adjustment.  Patient friends stepping in was a huge blessing!


Last weekend we took our first road trip as a foursome to Chicago for a family wedding.  With our original due date being two weeks after the wedding, we were not sure if we would make the festivities.  Fortunately, we all were able to be there and Mary even got to participate in her first flower girl gig!

Lucy hunh out with a friend of ours for the evening and I got to dress like a normal human for the first time in a long, long time.  I missed my little girl, but had a fun few hours feeling fabulous.

Mary nailed her flower girl role (thanks to a lollipop down the aisle) and she later rocked the dance floor.  She recently started ballet classes and opted to hit the dance floor in her ballet slippers.



On the running front, I have been busy with lots of runners preparing for fall marathons.  It has been so exciting to watch everyone’s progress and live vicariously through their training.  I have to say they are giving me major marathon envy and I have a few ideas for next year.

When we got back from Chicago on Sunday, I did my first run since I was told to take a break at 34 weeks.  It went surprisingly well.  Last time I got right back in two weeks after Mary was born and it was a bit too early.  I ended up injured and pushing myself too soon.  This time around I felt mentally and physically ready and had a great 3 mile run.  I’ve had a few other runs since then and am slowly increasing the mileage.

Today I am starting back to work with a few solid hours of personal training.  For the next few weeks/months I am going to stick to just one or two days of personal training a week and see how things go.  I am looking forward to getting back to work for a little bit, but want to make sure I take advantage of every baby and toddler moment I possibly can.


I hope to start blogging with more frequency and getting back into what this blog was originally meant for; a little bit of my life and plenty of running/fitness related info.  Thanks for your patience during my hiatus.  No guarantees over the next few weeks that it won’t happen again!


New Adventures

Happy Friday!  I have been absent for a few weeks.  My apologies but things threw me for a loop and I opted to take a break from blogging until life calmed down a touch.  Things really haven’t calmed down and at this point, I can assure you that they likely won’t.  But we at least have an action plan and feel back on track!

Two weeks ago, Rock had to leave town for the weekend.  Mary and I opted for a fun girl’s weekend (along with our dog Louie).  We spent our afternoons at the lake playing in the sun and had a super exciting movie night together.  Mary is really into Daniel Tiger (from my beloved Mr. Roger’s Neighborhood) these days.  It worked out perfectly that Saturday night there was a new Daniel Tiger episode about his family having a new baby and bringing her home from the hospital.  I had just hit 34 weeks and this was a perfect way for Mary and I to mark the occasion. How else does one really discuss with a 2 year old that things are going to be changing soon?!  I will also admit that I totally cried while watching this episode.



Before Rock got home on Sunday I was able to get a great long run in on the treadmill while Mary napped.  I had a stellar week of running, logging 51 miles!  I felt fantastic.

However, by 8:00pm that evening I started to feel contractions and they held on throughout the night.  I figured they were just run of the mill Braxton Hicks, but when they lasted for over 12 hours and stayed close together, I gave my doctor’s office a call and they sent me to labor and delivery.  I was shocked to find out that we were in preterm labor and we spent 24 hours at the hospital getting the contractions to subside and some steroids to help the baby’s lungs mature, just in case.  If you’ve been a follower of this blog for awhile, you might recall that Mary made an early entrance into the world, and this was pretty much to the day that she started trying to arrive.

I was sent home on modified bedrest and said goodbye to running.  Not a huge deal.  Having been put on bedrest before, I knew that I likely wouldn’t be running up to my delivery date.  So instead, I worked at finishing up watching the entire series of Gilmore Girls on Netflix.  This show has gotten me through treadmill running during my pregnancy.  I am happy to report that I finished the series and made it through all but 20 mins of the Gilmore Girls reunion movie.

At 35 1/2 weeks of pregnancy, things were feeling great and I was certain we were going to make it the whole way through.  That was until my water decided to break in the middle of the night and we made a 3:30am drop off with a pajama clad Mary in the parking lot of a gas station.  We passed her off to my mom as the attendant watched us and I felt like we were doing some strange illegal activity.  Mary on the other hand, thought it was awesome to be wearing her pajamas in the car and chatted it up with us in the wee hours of the morning.

We arrived safely at the hospital, got settled into a room and had a super smooth delivery at 1:21pm on Thursday September 7th.  Little Lucy Carroll Dudek arrived healthy and happy at 6 pounds 1 ounce (just an ounce shy of her sister).  She may have been early but she came out kicking, screaming, and looking great.



We opted not to know the sex of our baby and it was a wonderful surprise.  I spent my entire pregnancy, certain that we were having a boy.  In fact, every time I went to pick something up for the nursery, it took all my willpower not to go for a shade of blue or to gravitate toward some onesies for boys.  It was an awesome surprise to find out that I was wrong (and Rock predicted correctly…..insert joke here about men actually being correct sometimes).

We are all so excited and Mary was thrilled to come to the hospital and visit her new little sister.  Mary arrived in her “I’m The Big Sister” shirt that I picked up for her and with a stuffed animal that we took her to pick out a few weeks ago.  In return, I had a special Big Bird tucked away in my bag as a gift for the new baby to give to Mary.


I know that it will be an adventure for the new big sister over the next few days and weeks but we made a few decisions over the past few months that I feel really helped with her transition.  Once we hit our second trimester and felt comfortable telling family and friends, we started discussing how we were having a new baby join our family soon.  Mary knew that there was a baby in my belly and she spent a lot of time over the past few months rubbing my belly and giving the baby kisses.

We also hit up Barnes and Noble and purchased several different children’s books about becoming a big sister and bringing home a new baby.  Mary loves reading books and when we would pick out something to read each night, she gravitated towards these.  Over the past few weeks, and as her vocabulary grew, it was reassuring to hear her discussing her new role as a big sister.Lucy6

There are also several Daniel Tiger and Elmo’s world episodes that touch upon babies and bringing new babies home.  I think these were also really helpful in educating our little one about the new changes that were to come.

Thank you to all of our friends and family who have been so helpful and supportive over the past few weeks.  Thanks to my runners who were patient and a huge thanks to my personal training clients who have been dealing with my hiatus!  A special thanks goes out to all of the awesome followers of this blog who have sent messages and kind words.  We are really blessed!

33 Weeks-Feeling Good(ish) Again

Happy Monday!  I hope everyone had a lovely weekend.  We finally had some nice weather around here and made sure to take full advantage of it.

Last week was cool and rainy for the most part.  Rock and I spent all day Friday in a First Aid and CPR certification course.  We are both working as trainers now and are fortunate enough to be provided with top notch training.  It was a full day course, but the weather outside was cool and rainy.  So we really didn’t miss much.  I needed to renew my CPR for several of my certifications and I always think it is a great idea to get a refresher before bringing a new baby into the home.


I have witnessed several occasions where CPR has been necessary.  I cannot emphasize enough how great it is to at least have some knowledge of what to do.  You really never know when a situation will present itself.

After we left work on Friday, we stopped at a new grocery store in Traverse City called Lucky’s.  This place is a bit like Trader Joe’s and our new favorite spot to grab groceries.  I am a bit of a nut for really great produce and meats and cheeses.  The delicious baked goods don’t hurt either.  We stocked up, picked Mary up from daycare, and then headed to the lake for the weekend.

The weather wasn’t great Friday night but we wanted to be out there bright and early because the weekend promised to be beautiful.  Despite the cold rain, we enjoyed a nice warm fire and just chilled on the couch for the evening.

Saturday morning we were up and enjoying coffee and by 8:30am Mary begged us to put her swimsuit on and she was out playing in the sandbox.  I took my coffee out on the dock and just soaked in what felt like the last little bits of summer.

In the early afternoon we headed over to Shetler’s Dairy Farm for a new adventure.  Shetler’s is five miles down the road from our house.  They have a fabulous dairy store that carries bottled milk and other products and also does ice cream.  There is a petting zoo for children with calves and foals and a little area for children to play.  While I am not a big dairy drinker, I love giving Mary this healthy option and have to say that their chocolate, strawberry, and orange cream milk is delicious!





Our friend Pete recently designed a huge corn maze on the property and we were the first ones of the day to arrive and give it a try.  The Shetler’s have numbered posts inside with paper punches as a scavenger hunt.  If you can find all of the posts with the different paper punches you can turn in your ticket for a prize drawing. Pete and his wife are runner’s and I told them that it reminded me of a much saner version of the Barkley Marathons.

The maze was fantastic but we came up short and couldn’t find one of the posts.  Mary had an absolute blast leading us around all of the paths and looking for the prizes.  We will likely be back because Rock wants revenge!

After getting some runs in during Mary’s nap time, we spent the rest of the day playing on the beach and in the sun.  We grilled up some awesome bacon cheeseburgers that we picked up at Lucky’s.  And to top it all off, during our morning walk a neighbor gifted us with some of their fresh corn.  We threw that on the grill too.  It was a perfect late summer barbecue.


Sunday morning was even nicer than the day before so we took a family walk and made sure to hit the beach nice and early.  We played in the sun until Mary’s nap and then cleaned up the house and headed back home.   It was a bit sad to leave as the leaves are already starting to change and I am not quite ready for summer to come to an end.  Hopefully we will be able to return for a few more days again soon.

I finished the day off with a six mile run, leaving me with 43 miles logged for the week.  I’m super happy with that number as I am now 33 weeks pregnant.  While I feel better than I have in a few weeks, I also feel like I have a beach ball stuck to the front of me!  The third trimester is definitely an adventure of ups and downs.

How was your weekend?  Are you sad to see summer coming to a close too?

Horrible Training Runs=Race Ready Runners

This past weekend there was a very common trend all over social media.  I’ve touched upon this subject before, but I think that it is a really important one to revisit.

For some reason, this past weekend seemed to be the time for everyone to have one of those terrible, horrible, no good, very bad training runs.  Friends and clients alike, regardless of what plans they were following, seemed to have a rough weekend.  For some it was the weather, but for others it was just one of those mysterious days where nothing went right.


I know this can be incredibly discouraging.  Nothing is worse than getting part way through a long run and feeling like you can’t make it or you just want to quit.  It messes with your head in all sorts of crazy ways.  Just about any runner will start to play the race day questioning game.  “How will I possibly make it through race day if I can’t get through X miles?!”  This is totally normal.

In fact, it is absolutely normal to break down.  Maybe you cry.  Maybe you scream and shout profanities.  Whatever it is that you need to do you, go for it.  Have a moment.

Then it is important to sit back and reflect.  This is a great time during your training to figure out just what went wrong.  Did you fuel properly before, during, and after?  How was your hydration game?  Did you get enough sleep leading up to your run?  Was it the weather or something else that was out of your control?

Perhaps you will find the answers, and that is great.  Or you might find that you just plain had a crappy run.  That is okay too.


Here is the good news about your bad run:

It can be a learning experience.  Upon reflection, if you discovered that you made a few mistakes, you have come out ahead.  Now you know how to learn from those errors and move on.  Better now than on race day.  Take those lessons and use them to make your next long run even better.

You got it out of your system.  Odds are that during your training, there is going to be a really bad run.  It is inevitable.  So roll with those odds and shake it off.  Move forward and be grateful that it is over and happened now.

You know that you can survive.  To me, this is the number one takeaway from a terrible training run.  Marathons and other endurance races are a rollercoaster of emotions and physicals ups and downs.  Every runner needs a really bad run before race day in order to know that you can survive.  Regardless of what comes at you out on the race course, you can take a moment and recall that you’ve been in a similar situation before.  You pushed through and you finished.  You can do it on race day too.

Having a bad training run is inevitable.  Take the time to reflect.  Go ahead and get mad.  Learn from your experiences and then move on.  Go forward with confidence that in the future you will be an even stronger runner both mentally and physically, thanks to that crappy run!


All smalls after finishing the most miserable marathon of my life. I even thought about getting on a bus at mile 18 to quit.  I survived!

What have you learned from a bad training run?