Warm Weather Running After A Cold Winter

Happy Monday!  Please excuse my absence.  We were hit with a nasty stomach bug. We are healthy now and took a 20 hour drive down to Florida to escape the ridiculous amounts of snow that we have been getting in Northern Michigan.  Quite honestly, our family is fed up with winter.

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Hopefully the last time I shovel the driveway this winter.

Last week we had a blizzard (literally) and another snow storm.  Large amounts of snow make running outside difficult.  The snowplows do a great job, but don’t always reach our neighborhood in time for a workout.  Running in heavy snow can be very difficult and can also change your gait, increasing your risk of injury.

On top of this, I have a toddler who still takes naps.  The combination of weather and young children means that I often have to schedule my runs during nap-time.

To be quite honest, I don’t mind the treadmill.  After years spent working outside in Central Park during the winter, I don’t particularly care for cold weather.  I’d much rather spend my time being warm and on a beach.

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That brings us to Florida!  I’ve spring vacationed in this state pretty much my entire life.  We enjoy the St. Augustine area for its history, cultural experiences, and long flat runs on the beach.

Our first few days here were chilly, and running was easy and breezy.  However, when we got our first hot day, I hit the struggle bus.  Every year this happens to me and this was the first year that I gave myself the grace to take walk breaks when necessary.  Because I had done some outside running in the days before, I knew that it was the weather and not me.  My body just needed to get acclimated.

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So what do you do when you visit a warm place after running in the cold for several months?  And what happens if you have been running inside on the treadmill all winter and find yourself on a hot and humid run?

With either scenario, you are going to experience some changes that might present some difficulty.  Both scenarios also present some advantages.

For the cold weather outdoor runner- you are going to be pleasantly pleased to see that your outdoor running has you somewhat acclimated.  Hills, wind, and other obstacles will be familiar territory.  You might also find that running feels easier with fewer layers and unobstructed ground.

On the flip-side, you are definitely going to notice the warm weather quite quickly.  Remember how awful it felt to run in the cold at first?  Then your body adjusted and 20 or 30 degrees suddenly “didn’t feel so bad.”  You will need to acclimate to the warmer temps and that is going to take a little patience.

For the inside treadmill runner- you might be pleasantly surprised to see that running in a warm and humid gym setting might give you an advantage with the weather changes.  While you will still need to adjust, it might not take you quite as long.

You may find that hills, wind, and other terrain changes will present other obstacles for you.  My quads were singing after a few days of running outside.  Muscles that were used less or in different ways were being asked to work again.

Most runners will need to make a few changes at first.  Whether you ran inside or outside during the winter, if you are going to be running somewhere warm and humid soon, you will need to make a few adjustments.

You definitely need to stay on top of hydration.  Warm weather means more sweat.  Excess sweating leads to dehydration.  Keep drinking water and consider adding some electrolytes to your hydration plan.  Nuun and Vitamin Water Zero are great examples that can help keep you hydrated and even retain some of that water when you get started.

Slow everything down!  Don’t worry about your pace.  Just because your body asks you to slow down as you adjust to the weather, doesn’t mean you are losing progress in your training.  Remember that slow running actually has great benefits and your body is just asking for a little help getting used to your new environment.

It’s okay to walk when you need to.  I will admit that this is the hardest rule for me, but when I remember that it’s okay to take walk breaks as my body is adjusting, everything gets a little easier.  Forcing myself to be miserable isn’t making me a better runner and it certainly doesn’t make the run enjoyable.  When you find the need to walk, turn it into a game and use landmarks to help get you through.

Just enjoy the sunshine and your ability to run and remember that in a few days, everything will feel easier.

How do you handle changes in weather and environments when you run?

Training Doesn’t Always Have To Be Perfect + Riding The Wave

This summer has already been a whirlwind for us.  The first half of June was spent preparing for our 2 year old’s first dance recital.  That was a crazy foretaste of what our lives will like be in a few years as our kids grow, and sports and other activities take over.  Rock was in NYC until the end of June and that meant the majority of my runs were on the treadmill while children took naps.

Every summer for the past few years Rock and I have participated in Traverse City’s National Cherry Festival of Races.  I realized this year that of all the races we have done, this is the only one we make a point to sign up for.  The Cherry Festival is a really fun event for all ages and their races are beautiful and well organized.  Despite the fact that Rock had been logging 30,000-40,000 steps each day in NYC but not always having a chance to get in a run and my lack of hitting the pavement, we decided we would do the half marathon again.

We also convinced my brother-in-law to come join us.  He had done his first half marathon in May and finished just under 2 hours.  Shortly after, we discussed his goal of aiming for a 1:50 half and decided that with some smart training, it could be a potential A goal for this particular race.  I created a plan for him and we worked out some game plans to get him through race day.

The week before the race, Rock and I decided that regardless of how little actual training we had done, we needed to get at least 10 miles in before race day.  I had been logging daily 7 mile runs, but hadn’t set foot in the hot summer conditions yet.  Obviously, we picked a day when the temps were to hit the mid 90’s.  By the time we dropped the girls off at daycare and started, the air was already soupy.  I knew it was only a matter of time before things fell apart.

Fell apart they did.  At mile 5 we stopped for a water break and by mile 6, I was down to taking a break every half mile.  I was dehydrated and felt ill.  I made it home, but was left feeling pretty defeated.

Then we left for our annual week in Northern Wisconsin where just about everything I ate was fried and every run was done pushing our double stroller up and down hills in the hot summer heat.  Things were not looking good!

Friday night we arrived home with our bellies full of the only fast food we could find along the interstate, leaving me up at 3:30am with heartburn.  Not exactly the ideal pre-race dinner!

An hour later we were up and fueling again, ready to hit the high school where buses were waiting to ship us out to the Old Mission Peninsula where the race would start at a winery.

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I would be lying if I didn’t say I was nervous.  I was beyond nervous.  I knew that my body could handle 13 miles.  I love double digit runs.  However, that 10 miler the week before was really playing hard in the back of my mind and race day was going to be relatively warm.  While it was 50 degrees when we started, I knew it was going to climb by 20 degrees over the next two hours.

The first two and a half miles wove up and down through dirt paths of local cherry orchards, before spitting us out on the road that runs along West Grand Traverse Bay.  From here we followed the bay for the next several miles.  The view is beautiful and the homes along the water are quite spectacular.

I felt good, but noticed that the heat was getting to me and I was waiting to see when my body would fall apart like before.  I had a mile where I started to feel like I was fading and feared the end was near.  Then I began to feel a renewed strength in my legs and my pace slowly increased.

I kept assessing how I was feeling, but at times I was reading into it too much.  I was trying to find the negativity.  Once I realized this, I worked to clear my head.  I turned my music up and just let my body settle in.  I had done this distance many times.  In the past, I was in better shape or more prepared, but my body and mind knew how to do this.

I forgot that every mile can be so different.  Some miles will feel great.  Other miles, your body will struggle.  There will be miles where your mind tries to fool you into giving up.  And there will be miles where you are ready to tackle just about anything.  The key is, you can’t let any particular mile take over your race.  You have to remember that things will change.  The good will come with bad.  The bad will eventually wash away.

When I remembered this, my mind gave my body renewed strength.  I had no idea where I was in the pack of runners, but I knew I would be okay and I decided to stop worrying about everyone else around me, and just run the rest of that race.

I crossed the finish line surprisingly better than I had expected.  When the results were posted I was walking to the car and happened to look on my phone.  I was shocked to see that I had finished 26th for the women and 3rd in my age group.  What a pleasant surprise!

You never know what might come of your training.  There might be injuries or other setbacks.  Life can get in the way.  The key is to do the best with what you have.  Make it work and then go forward on race day and trust your body.  Let your mind trust you.  Training will rarely be ideal.  That doesn’t mean that your race can’t have great results.  Roll with the wave and you never know where you will come out at the end.

 

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I also have to give a huge congrats to my brother-in-law who finished with a 12 minute PR in his second half marathon ever.  He’s seriously a rockstar!

Waiting For The Wall

Happy Monday!  Excuse my lack of presence. We were away for the past week on a family vacation in somewhat sunny Florida.  The weather was chilly most of the week.  However, yesterday when the time sprung forward one hour, all the kiddos who we were sharing a room with, decided to finally sleep in their own beds through the night.  It felt so good, I stayed in bed until the littlest one finally decided to get up.

Rock took Mary in the jogging stroller for an 8 mile ride to grab donuts (I love the way he thinks) and I met them there with the car to trade off.  As I started my run, it was almost 11:00am and the sun was beating pretty hard. It was only 73º, which would be a pleasant run in the summer.  But I haven’t been running in that heat for a long while and the last half of my run was straight into the sun on an unshaded path.  Curses for sleeping in!

Right from the start, I began preparing myself for this being a harder run compared to my others this past week. Despite some breezy days, the cool weather worked in my favor and I was running sub 8:00min/miles for eight miles a few days before.  However, I also know that you need to keep your pace on the slower side for most runs.  While my pace has been slowly getting faster and those sub 8:00’s felt relatively moderate, even those need to be slowed down from time to time.

I started Sunday’s run out and got it in my head that I would keep the pace at what felt “easy.”  I would ignore my GPS’s pace function and I would just do what I could.  I knew it was going to get hard at some point and I was going to aim for getting to six miles before I opted to walk for a bit.

I broke the run into half mile segments and checked each one off as I went and also checked in to see how I was feeling.  I used my music to push me through and I kept a calm conversation in my head.

Those last few miles were harder but as I approached each one, I was surprised that I was still feeling okay.  They weren’t quite as hard as I made them out to be and I used that as fuel to keep me going.

Isn’t it the worst when you head out for a run and haven’t mentally prepared yourself?  Have you ever started out feeling so great and having the best of intentions, only to get to the halfway point and you begin to struggle?  It is so hard to keep going when you are taken off guard.  It can mentally take the wind out of your sails.

I realized yesterday that I am still a bit traumatized from my last marathon.  There, I admit it.  I really want to run another marathon.  Nine months after I had Mary, I ran the Run For The Red Pocono’s Marathon.  I PR’ed by over 8 minutes and qualified for Boston with a 14 minute buffer.  I felt amazing!

A month later I ran Grandma’s Marathon.  It was supposed to be flat and fast; a welcome change from the final hills of the Poconos.  But the weather had other things in mind as the temps climbed into the 80ºs and black flags lined the course.  My body gave out.  But my mind gave out long before my legs did.

It was a very difficult experience.  It took all of those happy emotions from a month before and dug them in a deep, dark hole.  I knew and I still do know that I am capable of a great race.  But man, that was one painful experience on both a physical and mental level.  The marathon is a beast and when you have been beaten down, it can be hard to get back up.

I’m eyeing races and trying to find the one that is just right for me.  I will be back soon.  It is a great reminder that running is far more than just putting in the miles.  We have to train our brains to handle the highs and the lows.  Preparing for those difficult days is important.

Sure, you don’t want to be a Debby Downer before each run.  I am not recommending that you always prepare for the worst.  But it helps to know what obstacles might be in your way.  Think of how you might handle them.  When difficulties arise, use them as training tools for how you might approach them on race day.

It also never hurts to have donuts waiting for you when you arrive back home!

I didn’t hit the wall yesterday.  It was a pleasant surprise.  But it was also a great reminder that no two runs are alike and sometimes they can really throw you for a loop.

How do you prepare for these tough runs?

It’s Not Very Chilly-5 Minute Slow Cooker Chili

Apparently long weekends leave me a few days behind on catching up!  We had an awesome long weekend playing with family at Shanty Creek Resorts.  If you recall, we were there a few years ago when Mary just started crawling and we basically had the place to ourselves.  A year before that, we got married there in the summer.

Things have changed just a little bit!

This time, these non-skiers enjoyed a winter weekend playing in the snow.  Well Mary and Rock played in the snow and I sat at the Lakeview Restaurant and watched them tube down the runs.  They had a blast.  Lucy and I chowed down and had fun too.

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Just watching some Olympics.

We finished the weekend off by enjoying a delicious meal and flight of beers at Short’s Brewing Company.  I didn’t get any pics because I was fresh off of an 8 mile run and was both ravenous and seriously into my tasting of five delicious IPA’s.

Between our trip to humid Mexico, some dry and stuffy aired flights, and a chilly return to reality, my throat has been soar for a few days.  My tonsils are swollen and I am trying to remedy things with sweaty workouts, lots of hot and cold hydration, and some warm soothing meals.  While I have enjoyed a few meals that involved meat, I’ve stuck to my plant based eating most of the time.  It has been surprisingly easy.

I scoured a few websites to look at various planted based recipes and then decided to try my hand at making my own slow cooker meals.  Last night I made this Slow Cooker Lentil and Quinoa Chili.  I wasn’t certain how this would turn out, but I was pleasantly surprised.  This meal cost around $10 to make and as the lentils and quinoa cooked up, the slow cooker was filled to the brim.  This will last us for several meals.  There’s no browning of meat or veggies.  Just dump the ingredients in and turn your crockpot on.

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Enjoying some chili with her post ballet Happy Meal

I missed the last episode of “This Is Us” when it aired after the Super Bowl.  So I don’t know how things ended up, but I did see the episode when the fire started and I do cringe a bit each time I turn my slow cooker on.  But give this one a try.  I don’t think you will be disappointed.

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Slow Cooker Lentil and Quinoa Chili:

Ingredients:

1 onion (chopped)

1 green bell pepper (chopped)

1 red bell pepper (chopped)

2 cans diced tomatoes

1 can pinto beans (drained)

1 can black beans (drained)

1 can chili beans (drained)

1 can tomato sauce

4 cups vegetable broth

1/2 cup water

1 1/2 cups lentils

1/2 cup quinoa

2 tablespoons chili powder

1 tablespoon cumin

2 teaspoons oregano

1 teaspoon paprika

3 cloves minced garlic

Salt to taste

Directions:

Pour all ingredients in slow cooker.  Cook on low for 8 hours.  Top with your favorite fixings.  Enjoy!

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Check out my other chili recipes!

3 Cans And 6 Veggies Chili

Super Easy Turkey Chili

 

Staying Healthy On Vacation-Back From Mexican Adventures!

Happy Thursday!  It’s been a bit longer than I had planned on being away from posting, but we were on vacation.  Our internet was so spotty, I couldn’t get anything to load.  It was the perfect time to put down the computer and just enjoy being with my family.

We headed out two weeks ago for an 11 day vacation at the Sunscape Sabor in Cozumel, Mexico.  Staying at all inclusive resorts can be both awesome and terrible in many ways.  On the bright side, you can pay for your trip up front and then spend very little during the rest of your vacation besides tips and excursions.  This is nice because you can easily budget for your trip without too many surprises.

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On the other hand, these resorts can be really hard on your health and wellness because it can be very easy to fall into a trap of eating too much, too often, and consuming a ton of calories in alcoholic drinks.  Meanwhile, there are sunny beaches and pools to lounge at and avoid activity.

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From my experience, there is an interesting mentality that occurs when people head to a buffet.  Even in a cheap hotel where the food is of relatively poor quality, people flock to the buffet and start piling tons of food they typically wouldn’t consume.  Did you ever notice that the eggs that sit in those containers are usually some sort of liquid egg substitute that doesn’t always even taste like eggs?  Sit back the next time you are in this situation and watch what happens.

Being mindful of what we ate at the buffet was key to a healthy vacation.  I’ve been continuing to eat mostly plant based foods and this actually made eating easier on this trip.  The quality of food at the resort wasn’t that great but they always had a ton of vegetable options.  I was able to make salads each afternoon for lunch and each evening I stuck to mostly veggie based options.  With a buffet this is surprisingly easy.

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This view certainly doesn’t hurt!

We had a really great time at our resort but we were also very aware of how we approached this vacation.  First of all, Rock and I both really enjoy exercise and try to make a point to get some activity in each day and also spend time being active with our family.  The first day we were there we went for a 7 mile run together.  There is a nice one way road along the resorts that allows you to safely exercise outside.  However, we weren’t used to the heat and humidity and struggled pretty badly for the last mile.

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Fortunately the Sunscape Sabor had an excellent small gym that had really nice quality cardio machines and a really beautiful yoga studio.  I was able to get an 8 mile run in most days during the girls hour long nap time.  Getting a daily sweat in really helped keep me feeling energetic, which is important when traveling with an infant and toddler.  When you stick to a normal activity routine, your body and mind feel better.

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So grateful for the Simple Hydration bottle on these hot vacations!

Finally, when it comes to alcoholic drinks, I try to be aware of what I am consuming.  While I do enjoy beers, I avoid drinking them too often because they are loaded in carbs that go right to your belly.  I also avoid fruity or creamy based drinks because these are basically like consuming multiple alcoholic milkshakes or juices.  I personally enjoy wine and this is a lower carb, lower calorie choice.

Other great options if you choose to drink on a vacation are mixed alcoholic drinks with a club soda or diet cola base and a light amount of alcohol.  Moderation is always key and it is always important to hydrate plenty throughout the day.  Aim to drink a big glass of water when you wake up and then with each meal.  Sparkling water is also an excellent and refreshing option to mix things up.

Also keep in mind that sleep is vital to staying healthy.  Budget for good sleeping time whether it be a siesta or going to bed at a reasonable hour.  Waking up ready for the day not only is important for health and wellness, but also makes your vacation more enjoyable.

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How do you like to stay healthy on your vacations?

Simple Homemade Valentine Decoration (Great For Kids)

I love decorating for the holidays.  As soon as Thanksgiving dinner is over, I am ready to pull out my Christmas decorations.  The tree goes up and the balsam candles are lit.

When we came home from Christmas in Chicago, I was sad to see that our tree had shed entirely shed itself.  That night, we went to work at getting that thing out of our house before it left our living room covered in needles.  I was sad to see it go, but it was time.

Now that the New Year is over, I’m ready to get some other decorations out.  Last year, Mary was just getting old enough to color and I pulled out a few craft projects.  Doilies adorned our cabinets and we painted her first ever project.

This year she has a new love for crafting and I am taking advantage of it.  We made this adorable Valentine canvas in just a few minutes.  What I love about projects like these, is that regardless of your child’s age or ability, they turn out great.

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If you want to attempt the framed picture (last year’s project) it is a really nice and easy one as well.  Simply take a piece of white paper and allow your child to use appropriate colored finger paint.  Let dry and then cut into a heart shape.  Tape to a piece of pink construction paper and place in frame!

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Project Materials:

White canvas (I purchased ours in bulk at Michael’s)

1 sheet of computer paper

Washable Dot Paints (like what you use for bingo)

Tape

Make Your Project:

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Take your computer paper and fold in half.  Draw half of the heart.  This is easier than just drawing a free hand heart, as it stays more uniform.  You could also trace one if you have a stencil.  Cut out heart shape and set aside.  Tape the sheet of paper to your canvas.  Start by taping around the outside.  Then using very small pieces, secure the inside just slightly along the edge.  Once secure, use appropriate colored dotters and blot the inside.

The dot paints won’t bleed under the paper and will cover the area nicely.  They even look great when overlapped.

After you have finished with the dot paint.  Gently peel the paper off, as soon as you have finished painting.  You can carefully use the edge of the blotter to cover any areas that weren’t covered.

Year In Review

Happy New Year!  It’s been a bit over a week since I last posted.  I attribute that to a whole lot of fun activities going on over the holidays and to an early Christmas present from Mary in the form of the Norovirus.  The latter wiped me out for nearly a week.  What can I say?  We do encourage her to share as much as possible!

2017 was a really fun year for our family and also for my running.  It didn’t involve many races or racing goals, but there was plenty of mileage to be had anyway.  Here’s my quick recap and mileage.

January:  132 miles

I started this month out by jumping into training for the Boston Marathon.  We got hit almost daily with several inches of snow and I quickly realized that winter marathon training in Northern Michigan can be quite miserable.

February: 171 miles

I continued training for Boston, until we found out that we were expecting in October.  At this point, I decided that I would rather not train for a marathon while being pregnant and hope to qualify again another year.

March: 197 miles

Being pregnant certainly wasn’t going to stop me from running.  When we got to Florida, I spent 10 days running on the beach with Rock and enjoying some warm, snowless, weather.

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April: 159 miles

We headed out east to New York City for 2 months of work.  Mary got to skate at Wollman Rink in Central Park, where we used to work, and where Rock and I first met.  I got to enjoy running in the park, along the East River, and on Randall’s Island.  We also got some running together as a family up in Fishkill, NY.

May: 84 miles

May was a learning month for me.  When you are pregnant, your body requires far more electrolytes than it normally does.  I ran through what felt like a terrible calf cramp that ended up being a muscle tear.  This lead to some down time for healing.  When I finally got back out to run, I tripped over a brick and messed up my pelvis (thanks pregnancy hormones!).  It was June before I could even walk properly again.

June: 161 miles

This was a recovery month for me.  As I eased back in to running, I wasn’t certain if I would be able to do the only race I had planned for the year.  Fortunately, I played it smart and took my time.  Many days I broke my runs into two parts and this seemed to really help.

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July: 158 miles

I spent a week pushing Mary in the running stroller in Rhinelander, Wisconsin and the following week I was feeling well enough to do the Cherry Festival Half Marathon in Traverse City.  At 27 weeks pregnant, I was careful not to push myself too hard and was pleased by both the beautiful course, and my 1:53 finish.

August: 143 miles

I could tell my outdoor running was coming to an end as we enjoyed a week of family vacation up in Glen Arbor, MI.  However, as I took my runs inside and was feeling great, I was surprised when some early labor lead to modified bed rest.  Our fabulous doctors and nurses kept me and the baby healthy enough to just hang out at home.

September: 27 miles

Lucy Carroll Dudek arrived 4 1/2 weeks early and stole our hearts.  I was so scared about sharing my time between Mary and another sibling and couldn’t imagine how I would possibly love another child as much as my first.  The truth is though, that I love being a mom more than ever before.  These two girls bring so much love into our lives.

October: 160 miles

I took 18 days off after Lucy was born and then eased back in on the treadmill.  This was both easier on my body and also for a mom who now has a toddler and a newborn to take care of.

November: 192 miles

This month marked my first outdoor and double digit runs.  We tried the Winnetka Turkey Trot in Winnetka, IL and had a blast.  This was also Mary’s first time riding with me during a race and also her first kids race.  It was all a success!

December:  193 miles

Despite ending the year with a GI bug, the whole month marked some really great mileage and runs.  We had a fabulous Christmas and start to our New Year.  We are so blessed as a family and I thank you for following my adventures.

Total mileage: 1777 miles

What was a highlight of your running this year?

32 Weeks & Taking Time To Treat Myself

Happy Monday!  Thank you so much for the kind words last week about my rib.  I am happy to report that I am feeling much better.  I had intentions of updating last week, but our family vacation was so much fun that I decided to take a break and just enjoy being with family.

The start of last week was rough.  My rib was continuing to pop out of place and the most frustrating part was that it was happening while I was sleeping at night.  Who in the world gets injured in their sleep?!  I woke up on Saturday and Sunday nights at 2am and spent most of the night pacing and trying to find a comfortable position to sleep in on the couch.  We were sharing a house with family and we were sharing our room with our daughter.  I felt very disruptive and frustrated.  I know that soon sleep will be at a premium when the baby arrives and I would love to get some decent sleep right now!

On the bright side, I did get to see an incredibly beautiful sunrise at 5am on Monday morning over Lake Michigan.  I might have been exhausted but I now know what all of you early birds rave about.

Monday night I could feel a tight knot it my back and I decided to get online and see if there was anyone in the area that did prenatal massage.  As luck would have it, the Amira Spa at The Homestead Resort offers a prenatal massage.  I decided to bite the bullet and spend the $120 for a 50 minute massage.  I felt a little guilty but at that point I was so sick of sleepless nights, I decided it was absolutely worth it.

I was blown away when I arrived at the spa on Monday afternoon.  The Homestead is the largest freshwater resort in the United States and is located on the outskirts of Glen Arbor, Michigan.  To get to the spa you wind around and all the way up to the top of the large hill that the resort sits on (they have skiing in the winter).  When I pulled up to the gates of the spa, I was absolutely shocked.

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The entrance.

Upon entering, I was met with babbling brooks and streams that wound around the spa with ample seating in shaded areas.  Steps led up to an infinity pool overlooking a cliff out to Lake Michigan.  From there you could see the crystal clear lake and Manitou Islands.  Fountains spouted water across the pool and patrons lounged around the area in robes.

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The spa itself was small, but I was met by a lovely receptionist who had me fill out some paper work and then offered me a drink.  I was then lead to a small ladies locker room where I was given one of the most comfortable robes I have ever worn.  From there I was lead into a spotless room where I laid down on a luxurious heated table.  Laying down on the heat alone felt like it would remedy the pain!

My massage therapist was a new mom herself and was so helpful with finding tender areas and working out knots.  She noted that my upper back was extremely tense and my scapulae had very limited range of motion.  It felt so good to ease some of the tension I had likely been carrying around for weeks.  She finished my treatment with lavender scented oil.  I decided right there that lavender was my new favorite scent this pregnancy.

I left feeling refreshed and revived.  The receptionist offered me a drink and told me I was welcome to spend the rest of the day hanging out at the pool area.  I could have even had a glass of wine had I not been almost 8 months pregnant.  Let me tell you, it was tempting to cancel my plans and sit at the pool for the rest of the day.

I did find a shaded garden and waited for Rock and Mary to pick me up.

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Tuesday night was a bit better as far as sleep went but I was a tad disappointed that it didn’t immediately go back to normal.  I felt a little hopeless, but I noticed during the rest of Wednesday that my body was starting to feel loser and better.  By Wednesday night, I got almost a full nights sleep in my own bed!

Long story short, sometimes we forget just how much pressure we put on our bodies. Whether we are pregnant, getting daily workouts in, or spending hours at work each day, we need to remember that our bodies need some love and attention.  It might not be a luxurious massage that makes things better for you, but there are plenty of ways to treat your body.  Drink some extra water, take a yoga class, or foam roll for a few minutes each night.  Your body will appreciate the extra attention.

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It stormed one of the last nights in Glen Arbor and we were treated to this view!

The rest of the week was a huge improvement and I am happy to report that I managed to get 39 miles of running in.  I’m still taking a break from strength training and might wait until after the baby arrives.  But I am taking a little extra time to listen to my body and treat it when I need it most.

How do you take care of yourself when your body needs a little extra love?

30 Weeks- Do You Want Worms With That

Happy Tuesday!  I meant to do a post for Monday but we had company Sunday night and we went to bed way past our bedtime.  It was a great excuse not to blog.

Saturday marked 30 weeks in my pregnancy and the end of another pretty good week.  I ran 42 miles last week and felt really great with my running.  It takes me a little longer to run these days and I have to take frequent bathroom breaks, so on days that I am feeling really good, I just break my run into two parts.  For example, last Tuesday I did a 6 miler in the morning and finished the day with a nice easy 5 mile run.

My stomach seems to be growing by the day which hasn’t made running too difficult yet, but it did throw me off a bit the other day when I tried to swim in the deep end of a pool.  Everything seems to have shifted a little bit!

Our treadmill is temporarily out of commission (a belt broke) so I am doing a few runs outside.  This isn’t my preferred mode of running these days, due to bathroom locations, but I leave myself the option of doing two shorter runs.

I’m still working several days during the week and that is going well.  But when I work a full shift, I am exhausted by the time I get home.  I plan to work through the month of August and actually will be picking up some extra hours at the end of the month to help out some co-workers.  However, after that I plan to really scale things back.  You just never know how those last few weeks will go.

On Saturday we drove to Traverse City for Mary’s swim lessons at the Y.  It worked out perfectly for me to get a few hours in with clients while Mary and Rock went for a swim and then a run together.  We then drove back home and loaded up the car and headed to our cottage at the lake for a week.

Rock asked me to stop on the way and grab some worms, because Mary is in love with fishing off of the dock.  When I stopped in the small party store, I decided to grab some butter for the next morning.  There is a tiny diner down the road from our cottage and they make the best pancakes.  I had big plans for take out the next morning.

When I went to pay at the counter, I set the worms and butter down and the girl who rang me up asked, “Is that your weird craving?  Worms and butter?”  I had to laugh.  Some people say the strangest things to you when you are pregnant (such as the woman at TJ’s who proclaimed I was definitely having a boy last time), or just help themselves to a belly rub (not cool).  I appreciated her sense of humor and it made me smile all day.

While summer weather has been a bit odd here in Northern Michigan (lots of rainy days and cooler weather) we had a splendid weekend.  I sat out on the dock and worked on training plans for clients Saturday evening.

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Sunday was bright and sunny and after a giant serving of homemade cinnamon bread and pancakes from Shirley’s, I got a slow 6 mile run in the sun.  It felt great and I now consider any run without the need for a potty break to be a major success!

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Not super pretty, but I had to cut them up for full syrup coverage!

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I admit that this is also how I wrapped up my run.

Afterward we had some friends out to play and grill.  It was a perfect day/evening and we went to bed way too late.  Isn’t that what summer is all about?!

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How was your weekend?  What are your standards for a “successful run?”

27 Weeks Pregnant, 13.1 Race Miles, And I Swallowed A Bug

Happy Monday!  I have posts ready to go, but was without an internet connection last week.  Hopefully this week fares a little better.

We had a fabulous weekend here.  On Friday we drove back from Northern Wisconsin, just in time for some of our Chicago area friends to arrive for a visit.  We were super excited to see them.

It was a quick turn around for Saturday as we ran our traditional Cherry Festival Of Races in Traverse City.  For years we have done the 15k (I love the distance).  But this year I wanted to avoid one of the massive hills, and was looking for a little challenge to push me through the summer.  So we signed up for the 1/2 marathon.  Saturday also marked my being 27 weeks pregnant.

Later, I remembered why I never did the half marathon.  The race starts at 7:00am and you have to take a bus from the local high school out to the end of the Old Mission Peninsula by 6:15am.  We also live over a half an hour from the bus location, making for a very early wake up call.

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On the bus to the start.

However, I decided half way through this race that we would be doing this one again each year.  Despite the early start, I loved the drop off point for the race, a local winery!

The first two miles weave up and down and all around this local vineyard.  It was a bit of a challenging trail race to start.  Then the race pops out on the road that runs along the shore of West Grand Traverse Bay, all along the peninsula back into town.  It was flat, cool, and just beautiful.  The weather was nice and dry and the early morning temperatures were perfect.

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I stopped at mile 6 to use a port-a-potty (I e-mailed the director to make sure the course would have plenty) and was super appreciative of all of the water and Gatorade along the course.

Funny story:  Around mile four, I was breathing through my mouth when a bug flew in and I had zero chance of not swallowing it.  My gut reaction was to start heaving.  However, being almost in my third trimester, I started freaking out because the hacking was making me have to go to the bathroom.  I managed to pull it back together but it was a rollercoaster of emotions there for a minute or two!

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I absolutely love how this race comes off of the peninsula and right into downtown Traverse City.  People are lined up along Front Street to cheer on all of the runners and wait for the Grand Royale Parade to start.  You go from a quite run along the lake to feeling like you are in a big city race.

The finish ended with beautiful medals, water, bottles of cherry juice, bananas, cookies, cherries, and a food truck handing out chocolate milk and granola bars.  Busses were also there to deliver you back to the parking lot.

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I was also really impressed with the beautiful technical shirt in our goodie bags.  Even better, the local winery had a stemless wine glass for all of the participants, along with coupons for tastings.  The race was truly well thought out.

My goal was to finish in under two hours, with my B goal being to finish in under 2:10.  I was thrilled to cross the line at 1:53:03.  That is a time that I am really proud of.  Being pregnant and running is truly a great gift.  After being injured in May, I had been afraid there was no chance I would be able to run 13.1 miles by this weekend. In fact, I was worried I might not even be running again by now.

What made the run even better was having Rock by my side the entire race.  He ran ahead a few times to take some pictures of me and for the rest, he held back behind me and gave me some space.  He knew this was a special time for me to get one big last mileage push in during my pregnancy.  He was there to support me, but also gave me my space to run as I wanted.  I feel so lucky to have a partner like him to run with!

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A special thanks also goes to my parents who hosted Mary for a sleepover Friday night so that we could get up and on the road super early.  They brought her to the finish to cheer us on.  She promptly asked for my medal.

Did you race this weekend?  Ever get a wine glass for a run?