Run, Sun, And Mother’s Day

Happy Monday!  I hope everyone had a lovely weekend.  Ours started out with a soaker as a Nor’easter slammed NYC.  We did something we rarely do, and stayed in pretty much all day, minus a trip to Target and Costco.  Even if we had wanted to venture out, the rain was so heavy it pretty much made doing anything outside impossible.

We slipped out in the early evening to grab some takeout.  Mary loved wearing her rain boots, raincoat, and new umbrella from the Easter Bunny.  She just needs to learn to walk with the umbrella above her and not in front of her face.  Apologies to everyone she ran into on our walk.  Come to think of it, she fits in nicely with most New Yorkers in the rain.

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Sunday was much brighter and we got out for a run.  This was a welcome change for me as I have been dealing with a random injury.  I didn’t run far, but it felt great to break a sweat.

Mary and Rock treated me to a handmade card, a gift card to Lululemon (because I am dealing with a serious need for pants as my belly grows), and an awesome collage with pictures of us.  It was so thoughtful of them!

After naps we decided to hit the Central Park Zoo again.  Rock had never been and he had most of the day off from work.  We had a great time and Rock was just as surprised by the zoo as I was last week.  We both agreed this is a perfect place to go with the family when we just need to get out and explore for awhile.

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We finished the weekend off with dinner and Pinkberry’s Meyer Lemon frozen yogurt.  I’m telling you, this is so good, I promised Rock I would be happy to have just that for dinner all week when the temps creep up close to 90 degrees!

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Saturday night I was laying in bed and having trouble falling asleep (probably from my lack of doing anything all day).  As I laid there, I was reflecting on being a mom and had a funny flashback from when Mary was born.  I was laughing enough that I had to wake Rock up and ask him if he remembered.  His response?  “Of course!”

Mary was due on August 30th and being responsible parents, we scheduled a session to go over car seat installment and safety on August 5th.  We met our instructor on the first floor of a parking garage and after a quick Q&A session she invited us to get out of the car and come look at some car seat examples.  As we stepped out of the car, something happened.

When we returned to the car for our car installation, I insisted that Rock hop in the back with the instructor and I would wait in the front seat.  From the back Rock gave me a funny, “Are you okay?” face.  I mouthed to him, “I think my water broke!”

I honestly didn’t absorb much of anything the instructor showed Rock after that.  Fortunately, he is a responsible parent and paid attention.  We kept our cool and waited until we pulled onto Lake Shore Drive to freak out a bit.  I quickly called my doctor’s office and they insisted that we go straight to the hospital.

A few minutes later, Rock let out a shriek.  As we were driving, he looked in the rearview mirror and there was a baby in our newly installed carseat, staring back at him.  Turns out the instructor left the dummy in the car seat when she taught “us” how to buckle in.  So there we were turning back around to return a doll before we headed to the hospital.  It was the start of quite an adventure.  On the bright side, we got that car seat installed just in the nick of time!

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Pretty much like that.

How was your weekend?  Any funny Mother’s Day stories?

Holiday Weekends, Lazy Blogging and Giveaway Winner!

Happy day after Global Running Day!  I obviously went for a run, but didn’t take a pic because I’ve been on a bit of a blogging hiatus this week.

Last week was super hot and muggy here in NYC.  For any runner, this is discouraging.  For a runner coming off of one marathon and trying to get back into training for another, it was disastrous.  I didn’t get a single planned run in last week.  I will touch upon this topic a bit more next week.

We decided to escape the city on Saturday morning for a little afternoon up in Fishkill.  This is one of our favorite spots to go to when we need a quick escape from the city.  In the past, we might have gotten a room for a night or two and dined out and strolled around.  But with a baby and dog in tow, we decided to make it a little day trip.

We had originally planned on hitting one of our favorite rail trails and take turns getting our six mile runs in.  But when we woke up and it was already sizzling out, Rock went for a quick run and picked up our car.  We loaded and up decided to go walk the rail trail for a bit.

It was so hot on the trail that we made it about a half mile into our trek when we were drenched in sweat and decided that was far enough.  I pulled out a water bottle for the baby and the dog and as they were slurping, I noticed a perfect shaded grassy area along the path.

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We ditched our plans and held up there for a nice long while.  Several cyclists came by and commented on how we had found the perfect spot.  It really was.  The dog loves to roll in the grass and sunbathe.  Mary is almost 10 months old and loves to walk with her favorite toy that I refer to as the lawn mower.  She was walking all over and just hanging out in the green grass.  It was seriously the perfect arrangement.

From there, we grabbed some sandwiches, dined in the car and then hit the road back to the city.  We were home by 3:00pm.  Oh how life changes!

Sunday was Rock’s birthday!  We celebrated with an early breakfast at the diner (thanks to Mary who thinks 6:00am is the perfect wake up).  Then we went over and tried out the splash pad at the park across the street from us.

It was a total win!  Mary loves swimming and all things that involve water.  She crawled, walked, and sat in every water feature she could find.  She also just loves waving at anyone who looks her way and is very taken by other children.  We had a blast in the park.

While the weather has cooled a touch, we are still trying to adjust to the heat.  Runs are starting to get back to normal and splash pads and pools are becoming the norm around here.

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We switched up the traditional Memorial Day fare for sushi (hey it was hot!).  Mary tried her first veggie roll, and loved it!

A big shoutout to everyone who made it through hot marathons last weekend, especially the Bayshore and Vermont City Marathons.  I know it was rough and many of you were unable to finish.  But let me say that anyone who survives marathon training is a finisher and winner in my book!

And now for the giveaway winner from last week’s blog post on The Benefits of Hiring A Running Coach.  A huge congrats to Katie@AdultingDaily.  Please get in touch at the e-mail address from my website.  We can set up a time to chat, get your consultation, and together we will create the perfect custom plan for your upcoming training!

When Customer Service Stinks… You Blog About It

Hello there!  We are back in the states after a lovely week in Aruba. We are tan and totally unrested. But such is life with a teething baby. 

Over the last few months I have been dealing with some humorous situations that are both disappointing and ridiculous. Rock and I were chatting about them during a run the other day and he said, “These are so nuts you have to blog about it.”

Starting back at Christmas I ordered our holiday cards from Snapfish.com. I have ordered from them for years and have loved their products and awesome deals. In fact, I order a lot of photo books and things for projects for our programs in NYC and at home. In the past year or so they started messing up orders by sending them to other addresses, but each time I called the 1-800 number and received my order within days. 

So when my cards arrived on photo paper instead of card stock, I assumed it was my fault and quickly reordered the exact same order again and made certain it was on card stock. I was relieved when it arrived days before Christmas and on the correct paper. But just as I was about to send them out, my mother-in-law pointed out one major flaw. They were all signed by the Andersons. We are not the Andersons!

 

Lots of typos there too!

 
It was too late to reorder so I shrugged it off and crossed out the incorrect name and signed it with ours. We joked that it would be humorous for years to come. 

And then the second half of my order arrived. I ordered ornaments with photos of our family as well as photos of family members with baby Mary. This is what I received:

  At this point I was more than annoyed and went to call Snapfish. Guess what?  They no longer have an 800 number and you can no longer speak to a live person. All contact must be done online with their chat service. 

I waited several minutes and finally spoke/typed with someone who had very broken English. When they offered to replace my cards, I pointed out that we no longer wanted them. I was given a 50% refund. And then I was told that my ornaments would be redone and rushed to me. 

I waited a month before contacting Snapfish again to let them know that our Christmas gifts had not arrived. They told me to look for an e-mail. I received it days later and it stated that they wanted to confirm our satisfaction with their service. I immediately responded and told them I was absolutely not satisfied and had not received my product.  


  
 We are currently waiting to see if we receive our order….. 

Meanwhile, Rock purchased a pair of Yurbuds for me as one of my wishes for Christmas. I have weird ears that won’t hold earbuds. And I love this product (as you have seen me rave about on here on multiple occasions).  I wanted a set that has the microphone because I use them when I coach groups and also to walk the baby and dog and still manage phone calls. 

Two weeks into using them, the microphone stopped working. I e-mailed Yurbuds to let them know and waited for two weeks for a response. When it finally came, it read, “We are contacting you to ensure that our response to your e-mail was satisfactory.”

Again, they had never responded. I e-mailed back and said that no it was not satisfactory, because I was never contacted in the first place. And two weeks later, I have heard nothing back. 

So here are my questions for you:

Is it a red flag when a company does not allow phone access anymore?  And have you watched a company you love change their service for the worse?

And what earbuds work for the earbud inept?!

Combating Running Boredom

One of the biggest complaints I hear about running is that it is boring.  If I had a dollar for every time someone told me they tried to run but it was too boring….well I would have a lot of dollars!

I am not going to completely disagree, because the truth is running has the potential to be pretty dull.  But my mom used to ban this word from our house as kids because she said boredom is a state of mind.  If you are bored, find something to do.

Even the treadmill can have it’s redeeming factors.  So let’s take a look at a few ways you can make running a bit more interesting.

Trashy TV and magazines.  When I first got back into running, I was an exclusive treadmill runner.  To get through my runs I started using “US Weekly” as my method to nail my workouts.  In fact, at one point I used to say things to Rock like, “They say that Angelina and Brad are splitting up.”  Rock would respond with, “Who is they?!”  And I would have to confess that my sources were US Weekly and People Magazine.  But I thoroughly enjoyed my time with these pages and lots of reality TV.

Change it up buttercup.  If you ran loops around a track all day you would most definitely be bored.  Talk about a hamster wheel!  And the same thing holds true to running the same route day in and day out.  But if you were to start trying new routes or even hit up some trails, you would notice that an environmental change does wonders for your workouts.  This is what I love about running.  You can explore so many great places!

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Tune into something enjoyable.  I use music a lot when training.  It can be a really effective tool to help you.  Music can motivate and also help you maintain your pace.  It doesn’t have to stop with a play list either.  In fact, right now I can’t figure out how to get my voice commands to not pop up as I run, so I swapped my iTunes for Pandora.  This is fun because I just plug in different genres and listen away.  Everything is unpredictable and with the right channel, I find myself enjoying new songs to add to my playlist for marathon training.

You can also listen to podcasts or radio shows.  I’m a big fan of Wait, Wait Don’t Tell Me! and listen to this if I happen to run on a Sunday.  Other runners love TED talks.  The possibilities are endless and with a little noise to block the boredom chatter in your head, you will get lost in the miles.

Solve a problem.  Make a list.  I cannot tell you how many times I have solved a problem during a run.  From dealing with a sad time to figuring out how the heck to get organized, running seems to make everything less frazzled.  In fact, on Saturday I ran 12 miles and figured out just what to pack for an upcoming trip.

Sometimes I go over grocery lists and think of which recipes to use for the week.  I build the grocery list in my head during my run and then repeat it to myself for a few miles so that I don’t forget.

Find a friend or a group.  Misery loves company.  Find some other bored runners or a running group and chat the miles away.

I know that running isn’t always the most enjoyable sport.  But the boredom excuse can easily be combatted.  Try a few of these tricks or share with me a few of your favorite ways to enjoy the run.

 

Greetings From Northern Wisconsin

Happy belated 4th of July and Canada Day!  My apologies, I went away to Northern Michigan last week and had so much fun I let the blog slide. 

A week ago Saturday I coached a group training run in Chicago and quickly swung by our place to pick up Louie the dog. The two of us then drove 6 hours up to Northern Michigan. It would have been a nice easy 5 hour trip but road construction all the way north was just brutal. 

My mom threw a lovely pool side, brunch and baby shower on Sunday. It was so fun and made the anticipation of our little one even more exciting. Holy little baby clothes!

Rock had an exciting weekend celebrating his brother’s bachelor weekend. Then he hopped on a tiny plane and flew up to Michigan to spend the week with us.   

We enjoyed a lovely week at our lake house. It started out perfectly with gorgeous weather that made spending the day on our beach just perfect. Louie has learned to swim and also just loves hanging out on the sunny dock. He is a boy after my own heart. We both like to sunbathe. 

  
 That great weather was followed up by two days of pretty nasty weather. Rain and cold temps had us finding other activities. But it didn’t deter us from wandering the woods with Louie. I’m convinced he hates being a city dog because I have never seen him so happy as when he wanders the woods. He adores chasing squirrels and deer!  

One of those rainy days I was napping on the couch and we had a knock on our door. Our amazing neighbors made a pot of chili and dropped some off for us with cheese and homemade corn bread.   We had just been contemplating what to do for dinner and were unable to decide.  You have to love Midwestern kindness!  

We had one last day of great weather and beach time before we had to pack it up. With a car full of adorable baby onesies and blankets, we headed up over the Upper Penninsula of Michigan and across to Rhinelander, WI. 

Rock grew up going to camp here in the summers and if you have followed this blog for awhile you might recall we were up here last summer too. He returns each year to coach their hockey portion of camp. I will be forgoing the skates this summer. But I have been enjoying some nice long runs and more beach/dock time with Louie.    

     I hope everyone had a lovely weekend. I will be back later this week with some more of my usual running ramblings. Now that we are in full swing marathon training mode I have lots of good info to share. 

The Dishes Don’t Do Themselves….Nor Does Your Workout

Once upon a time I used to be a messy girl.  If you know me now this is hard to believe.  These days I love cleaning and can’t stand the bed not being made as soon as I get out in the morning or doing the dishes as soon as I am done with a meal.  But back in the day my bedroom at home was a disaster and I used to think my mom purposely made it a mess when I wasn’t there.  I hated cleaning anything and found it to be a huge chore.

And then I got my very own first apartment and things suddenly changed.  I quickly learned that when you are done with the dishes it is much easier to do them right away instead of letting them sit.  If you wait, it becomes mentally more tedious to get yourself to stand at the sink and take care of the issue and the longer you wait the harder the grime sets in.

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The same goes with exercise and running in particular.  The reason I bring this up is that the other day I was at the gym and after my nice little run I ended up in the locker room alone with a girl who was on her cell phone (which also is a huge pet peeve of mine….leave the phone for after the gym!).  This girl was young and she was complaining to whoever was on the other side of the line that she didn’t want to work out, so she was calling them to kill some time.  After the call ended she sat on a bench and played with her nails and stared at her phone.  Then she got up and got in her locker and put on lip gloss and then waited some more.

I couldn’t have been in the locker room for more than 15 minutes total, but she was there the whole time.  In my head I was thinking that had she just gone and done whatever she had to take care of for the day she would have been done with 15 minutes of her workout already.

As I have gotten older time has become more and more valuable to me.  And wasting time means less time at the end of the day to sit down and relax or to spend with my husband. Sure it makes me rush from one thing to another at times but it keeps me from dawdling in between tasks.

The truth is that I don’t always want to work out either and this is what I do for a living.  I coach runners and figure skaters and train athletes on a daily basis.  I live for exercise in all sorts of forms.  And some days it takes everything in me to go get a run in.  Sure I’d rather take a nap or sit on the couch and watch The Chew (ever notice my life also revolves around food?!).  But I also know that the longer I wait to do a workout, the harder it is to get started and the more precious time I have wasted.  Fortunately I also have a husband who trains athletes and is a runner and we often use each other to keep ourselves motivated.  On days when I don’t want to run he pushes me to get it over with.  Sometimes I might say I will do it later and he reminds me that later in the day I am dragging and it will just be more of a pain to get that run in.

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Like those dishes, running and exercise are much easier if you just get it over with when it is time to do it.  So what do you do when you don’t feel motivated?

Use the 5 minute rule.  Promise yourself that you just have to do 5 minutes and if it still stinks you can quit.  Odds are that once you get started you will just want to finish what you previously had planned.

Just put the clothes on and make them fun.  Have some workout clothes you love to wear.  If you feel good in them, it is a lot more fun to get started.  Once you make the effort to get dressed it is a lot easier to get out the door.

Find something you love.  If you enjoy a certain workout you are much more likely to do it.  Find a class you enjoy or an instructor that makes you look forward to going to the gym.

Mix it up.  When I have to hit the treadmill I always do intervals.  They make the workout go by much faster.  Doing intervals or fartlek workouts keeps your routine from getting stuck in a rut.  You can do this with just about any workout.

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What do you like to do to keep yourself motivated?

A Sport With Something For Everyone

The other day I was running with a friend and we were chatting about her progress in the past year.  She has sped her pace up about a minute per mile on long runs, which is no small feat.  I said that I was super proud of her and the transition she has made into a “runner.”  She is currently training for her fourth half marathon and she is doing her second full this fall.  Talk about impressive!

She told me that what really helped her, besides using a training plan and training with a group, was the fact that running is a sport that anyone of any ability can join and take up at any age.  With other sports, unless you did it as a kid or in high school, you kind of missed the boat or are way behind the rest.  But running is an activity we are all capable of starting at any age and hopefully continue to do as we get older.  I love reading articles about ladies and men who pick up running in their sixties and continue to win their age groups well into their 80’s or sometimes even in their 90’s.  As a figure skating coach I can certainly tell you I don’t ever see that happen on the ice.

The other great thing about this sport is we create our own barriers and we set our own bars.  We are the only ones who can determine whether we can or cannot do a half or full marathon.  No one (well, perhaps besides your doctor) can tell you that you are not capable of that.  There are training plans created for every level of athlete and nothing short of an injury can keep you from achieving your goals.

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I love the fact that races are created with every level in mind.  Sure, the Boston Marathon and Olympic Marathon Trials are usually meant for elite runners.  But go check out any other race of just about any distance and you will see runners and walkers of all levels welcomed with open arms.  There is room in this sport for athletes of every level and pace.

My friend was telling me about her experience last summer when her family went to cheer on her dad at his Ironman.  Long after her dad completed his race they went back around midnight to watch the final finishers.  Here she said were the most inspirational finishers.  People struggled and practically crawled in the early hours of the morning; after many hours in the water, on the bike and on their feet.  This was where the crowds gathered and cheered the loudest because watching your peers push themselves to the limit is the ultimate inspiration.

A few weeks ago I helped pace a Team Momentum member for a 5k.  It was a fun experience as she hit her new PR.  After we gathered our things and headed out I went and grabbed our dog Louie and walked back over to check out the festivities.  I just happened to walk back as the final finisher was completing her race an hour after the gun went off.  It would be easy to think that you would just walk past and not give a second thought about that lone runner out there.  But that was so far from the truth.  Louie and I slowly followed her as she struggled that last quarter of a mile.  We cheered and so did the crowds and a mentor ran onto the course to give her a hug and encourage her to keep going.  The announcer chimed in over the loud speaker and the electricity of the race picked back up like it was the beginning all over again.

It might have been the pregnancy hormones but I shed a few tears as I watched this woman complete her first 5k.  She trained with a local running group that works with athletes of all levels.  They offer training from marathons to 5k’s and she was part of their first time running track.  The recognition and praise she received from everyone was just as grand as that of the first finisher.

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There is nothing fake about this attitude toward the last finisher.  There is no fake welcome to the beginner runners who show up to run groups.  Unless you meet a seriously grumpy, bad running apple you will find that most runners are thrilled to see newbies join our sport.  We love talking about running and the more people we have to incessantly chat your ear off about the latest shoe model or our favorite fuel type, the better.  That is something I can really stand behind.

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