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Month: April 2017

the Saturday Sprint

the Saturday Sprint

HELLO!

Oh how I would love to shout that from a mountain top this morning.  I’m going on day 7 of having no voice.  It finally came back yesterday enough that people can hear what I’m saying but prior to that I was at a whisper for the entire week.  This morning is a little better yet so I have faith that I’m on the mend.

As it happened, last weekend I received a package of loose leaf tea from someone that I lent some baby clothes to.  I’ve never been one for hot drinks of any kind but having lost my voice, I figured a cup of herbal tea would be a good addition to my breakfast routine.  I picked up this little guy as an infuser and low and behold am finding myself looking forward to a cup of tea every morning.

If you’re in the Ottawa area, I recommend checking out this organic and locally sourced herbal tea!

Despite not having a voice, I decided on taking a day-trip to Montreal with the boys to celebrate my nephew’s third birthday!  We were on the road by 8:30am and made it in time to play at the park for a few minutes before lunch.  We spent the afternoon going back and forth from the park playing with sandcastles and dinosaurs.

My sister hosted a birthday party for Chaz that evening with three of his friends and their families.  We were pumped to be there for taco dinner and a dinosaur cake!  Shortly after dinner, I got the boys in their jammies, loaded the car and was back on the road by 8pm.  We came, we played, we ate, we partied!

I was excited to quietly hang (again, no voice) with a friend and creator of Gooseandco Boutique at the party.  If you haven’t yet checked out my review of her Grow With Me pants, you should do that here.  While in Montreal this time, I picked up this mega cute sweater for Jude.  It will be the perfect light weight layer for the spring/summer.

We were all a little tired (read: cranky) getting up on Friday but with the help of a morning playdate, Dad having the afternoon off and an another full day of sunshine, we were all smiles.

We even got around to starting some of our seeds for the garden.  This is our 5th year growing a garden together in the backyard.  At the end of every season, we strategize about what went well and what we’d like to change for the following year.

This year we’re trying something new and using our 30x40ft space to plant mostly root vegetables that we intend to harvest and store in the fall to be eaten throughout the winter.  During market season, we make a point to go every Saturday morning so we will stock up fresh fruits and vegetables while they’re in season.  I’ll keep you posted on our progress as it goes along.

Yesterday we started carrots, beets, parsnips, squash, pumpkins, cantaloupe and a few leafy greens – spinach and kale.  We had help from the kids so…. we’ll see.

Last thing before signing off and heading outside, I want to share about our favourite new bakery.  We started buying from Wilkie’s Bakery at the Carp Farmers Market last spring.  In the fall, we joined their bread share program and looked forward to picking up our two loaves every two weeks throughout the winter.  They recently opened their own bakery in Pembrooke so we made the trip as a family on Monday to check it out!  We enjoyed home made soup, panini sandwiches, a muffin and an amazing sticky bun.  Be sure to look for them at the Carp Farmer’s Market or enjoy a drive to Pembrooke!  Either way, we’re thrilled to be supporting these guys and their delicious food.

Have a great week!  See you Wednesday…by then it will officially be race month.  Yikes!

 

Mama’s Half Marathon – Running while pregnant

Mama’s Half Marathon – Running while pregnant

This week’s training update in the Mama’s Half Marathon series is brought to you by the old saying: “two steps forward and one step back” – with this week being the ‘step back’ unfortunately.  Due to a variety of excuses, I only made it out for one run this week and logged a measly 8.5kms.  I keep telling myself that it was a nice chance for my body to rest  – and while that’s true – we’re closing in on race month and I really should be running 4-5 times x week.  Oh well, I’ll take what I can get.  It was a beautiful evening to run with hubby and I’ve always enjoyed my babies tagging along – on the inside or out!  Don’t mind the branch in the picture… it was the best “tree stand selfie” we could muster.

I’m really excited to be writing about my journey running during my pregnancies.  In the early part of my pregnancy with Clyde, I read just about every blog post ever written about running and being active while pregnant.  As an active person pre-pregnancy, I intended to continue with my activities for as long as it felt comfortable but the more I read, the more motivated I was to stick it out for as long as I could.

 

As it happened, I had extremely smooth, low-risk pregnancies and was able to run right through to 39 weeks with Clyde and 38 weeks with Jude.

During my first pregnancy, I felt really crumby in my first trimester – extremely tired, bloated and I put on a lot of weight pretty quickly.  As soon as I started to feel like my old self, I started back to my activities and only continued to feel better.  Together, Clyde and I ran over 300 kms and completed a Sprint Triathlon at 32 weeks.  This is us at 38 weeks running the 5km Colour Run!

I wore this sports bra, these tanks and a really old stretched out pair of Groove capris for all of my workouts.  I was also gifted a support belt (like this one) and never exercised without it.  Note: the support belt rides up until your belly is big enough to fill it out.  I found wearing it over a shirt or high waisted pants helped in the beginning to keep it in place.

In my 39th week, I set out for my usual run after work and all of the sudden my belly felt heavy and uncomfortable.  At that moment, I knew our journey running together would slow to a walking pace until he was able to join me in a stroller.

The decision to switch to walking wasn’t quite so black and white the second time around.  My hips were sore for a few weeks but only while I ran.  I was determined to get as close to 39 weeks as I could but at 38 weeks, I finally slowed to a walking pace.  Together, Jude and I ran over 150kms and continued to enjoy cycling – often with a toddler in tow!

This time I invested in some maternity activewear.  I had been eyeing this tank top from For Two Fitness while I was pregnant with Clyde but never felt like I could justify it.  Between pregnancies, I had all of my Lulu tanks hemmed and exchanged my capris for new running tights so I didn’t want to stretch anything out.  It was the perfect excuse to snag this tank top and a few more things while they were shipping my way ;).  I chose the ‘Running for Two‘ tank in grey, a solid colour tank in the blue, these capris and these shorts.  Everything fit true to size and the quality was fantastic.  I really enjoyed knowing that I had clothes that fit, that looked good and that were intended for running and other higher intensity workouts.

Running has always been an outlet for me to clear my mind, cleanse my body and enjoy some time outside.  These things were more true than ever for me during a time that neither my body nor my emotions felt like my own.

I ran at an average pace of 6:35-6:50/km covering 3-7km in distance.  My priority was always to run short distances at a comfortable pace as often as I could.

I often used that time to think about my impending labour and birth experience or the rest that I would enjoy once the baby arrived.  Staying active also helped me keep my weight in check and left me with very little to lose to get back to my pre-pregnancy weight.

Growing a baby is like walking at a steady incline for 9 months.

Our motto: climb the hill and rest at the top!

Pictures below from the family hike we did to the top of Luskville Falls on Jude’s due date.  My contractions started on the car ride home and we were a family of four at 1:19am the next morning :). Check out his home birth story here.

 

the Saturday Sprint

the Saturday Sprint

Hello and happy Saturday!

This week I spent lots of time reminiscing about our long weekend away with family.  We love to be home and host for special events and holidays but it’s also a treat to be in someone else’s home and have beds made and meals planned for you.  We enjoyed some free time to run, play at the park and of course – hunt for eggs!  Can you spot the ones that Clyde is making a run for?  I loved the magic of hunting for eggs when I was a kid.  We have spent two Easters with Clyde’s cousins and it’s so much fun to watch the big kids help him fill his bag.  This year they got wise and traded him all of his candy-filled eggs for sticker-filled eggs.  Poor guy.  I don’t think he’ll fall for that too many times!

We have a strategy to avoid bringing home candy in the masses at Halloween but haven’t found Easter to be much of a challenge…yet.  So far, we are letting him have candy with his breakfast after the big hunt and then it’s all gone.  I think it’s helpful that the Easter Bunny also leaves a gift so something new is a nice distraction.

This year, each of the boys got a shirt from Farm Life Outfitters.  They are in the process of updating their products so the ‘Little Farmers’ section is missing but check back soon because it should be up any day!  We are proud members of their brand fan team and will release some discount codes once things are back up and running!

While we were gone for the long weekend, a bunch of our avocados had ripened and were ready to eat all at once.  In our house, that’s a cue for guacamole.  Yum!  From there, I decided that tacos in some form would be a good dinner option.  Given that we’re in training mode, I opted for DIY lettuce wraps and I don’t think I’ll ever have tacos any other way.  They were light and tasty and wrapped in lettuce so I helped myself to many, many ‘tacos.’  I should have taken a picture but honestly I couldn’t slow myself down to stop and get a camera.  If you’ve never had lettuce wraps before, imagine a head of iceberg lettuce cut in half and peeled into layers.  Fill each layer with taco ingredients like you would a soft tortilla and fold it accordingly.  Something like this.

While I was on a roll in the kitchen, I also filled the fridge with some new salad dressing options.  Salad dressings are incredibly easy to make and are a far better option than anything bought from a grocery store – often filled with added sugars and preservatives.  If you have an avocado kicking around, try this.  It’s one of my favourites!  For the lettuce wraps, I really wanted a ranch dressing so I made this and was very satisfied.

We store our salad dressings in mason jars in the fridge and typically use them up in a week or so on salads and as dips for veggies.  Later in the week, I made my own version of a Cobb salad and topped it with the leftover ranch dressing and guacamole.  Here’s what dinner looked like for us that night – two adult salads and two ‘deconstructed’ salads for Clyde (2.5yrs) and Jude (7mo).

When not hunting for eggs or assembling salad dressings, we were laying low this week sorting through clothes in anticipation of the warm weather and visiting with friends.  This weekend we are hosting a First Aid and CPR course out of our home so a little down time was in order before heading into another busy weekend.

Once again, I hope that you and your families had a wonderful Easter and get to enjoy some of the sunshine that’s coming our way!  I will leave you with one more cute picture of the boys because bowties and khakis and everything else that is boys all dressed up.  I could just eat them up!

 

See you Wednesday for the next edition of Mama’s Half Marathon.  This week talking about staying active during pregnancies!  …and also a training update because it’s almost race month.  Yikes!

Mama’s Half Marathon – Healthy body, healthy mind, healthy marriage

Mama’s Half Marathon – Healthy body, healthy mind, healthy marriage

If you’ve been following my Mama’s Half Marathon series, here is my training update:  I started last Wednesday with a short, intense 4.3km treadmill run during Jude’s nap.  The rest of the week I logged three longer runs – progressing in distance each time.  Friday, was 7.3km, Sunday was 8.6km and yesterday was 10.5km for a total of 30.7km run this week.  When I do my longer runs, I maintain a comfortable pace of 6m12s-6m18s/km.

If you caught the Sprint on Saturday you may remember that we were out of town for the long weekend with family.  This meant lots of free time and lots of hands around to help watch the kiddos so we made the most of it!  We even managed to do our Friday run together and spend a little time just the two of us (these days, that qualifies as a date in our world).

This brings me to today’s topic: training season for us means a healthy body, a healthy mind and a healthy marriage.

Over the years we have registered, trained for and completed many different races together including ringing in the New Year with a midnight run in NYC, community runs like Kanata Race Day and triathlons as big as the Muskoka Ironman 70.3 (which we apparently didn’t photograph…).

When we’re working towards the same fitness goal, our marriage is always in a good place.

We date regularly – riding bikes to the beach, jogging along trails or swimming to the dock and back.

We are compassionate – offering each other some time alone for a workout while the other plays with the kids.

We eat well – prioritizing eating high quality meals at home together.

We are budget savvy – choosing to set up a circuit workout in the basement on a Friday night after the boys are in bed.

The upcoming Ottawa Race Weekend Half Marathon is the first fitness goal we have set together since becoming a family of four.  I’ll be honest that our training sessions aren’t quite as romantic as they once were but there’s still something magical about having everyone working towards a common goal amongst the chaos of our day-to-day life.

A few weeks ago, I shared some training tips for running.  If I could add one more it would be to register with a friend, a partner or a spouse.

Adam and I have been really fortunate to train with lots of different friends and family members over the years.  We really enjoy spending the time with that person and keeping in touch throughout training season.  It’s really helpful to make workouts a priority when you’re meeting with someone to run, bike, swim or do whatever your chosen activity is.

Case in point – the lovely Kayla Itsines has built herself a successful business on the basis of reaching out to all women to workout together.  The BBG community is alive and thriving across all social media platforms with the goal of offering a support and accountability network while still working out from the comfort of your own home.

Whether you’re working out with thousands of people virtually, meeting with a colleague for a run at lunch or putting a date night on the calendar to go for a bike ride – be active together!

In the same way that misery loves company, you can find strength in numbers.

 

the Saturday Sprint

the Saturday Sprint

Hello and Happy Easter from Barrie!

We took a road trip yesterday morning to spend the long weekend with Adam’s family.  Our plan is always to wake up, load the car and hit the road so when the kids woke up at 5am, we decided to make lemonade and hustle out the door.  Being on the road by 7am got us here in time for a late lunch and a full afternoon and evening of bike riding, trips to the park and playing outside.  So much fun!

We’ve learned that a morning drive is the best time to tackle a long trip with Clyde.  He’s rested, fed and has spent an hour or two running – or biking – around while we packed and loaded the car.  By the time we’re ready to leave, he’s usually content to climb in to his car seat and start a marathon of shows on the iPad.

We continue our weekend tradition of going out for breakfast and choose a spot an hour or more along the way.  On this trip we made it to Bancroft and ate a terrible breakfast at Dixie Lee’s.  It was desperate times.  Fortunately it was warm and sunny so we seized the opportunity to go for a walk while we were out of the car.

In other news, I still find myself marvelling at the sight of grass and the feel of sunshine.  This week we made the most of every minute that passed with no rain and spent it outside playing.  We broke out the gator, the swings and the sand toys and it felt a bit like Christmas!

Probably the highlight of our week was checking out Canada’s largest playground at Mooney’s Bay Park.  My sister in law joined me and the five cousins enjoyed a full morning checking out all of the different structures.  We packed balance bikes and a picnic lunch – it was the perfect kick off to spring!

We are enjoying time with our family today and I hope you are doing the same!

See you on Wednesday for a training update and thoughts on why racing together makes for a good marriage in our house!

Mama’s Half Marathon – Training eats + Why we don’t feed our kids dessert

Mama’s Half Marathon – Training eats + Why we don’t feed our kids dessert

Training update: This week I logged 15km of running with one longer run of 9km.  I had one attempted run with both kids in the stroller and it went terribly because Clyde kept trying to climb out – you win some you lose some!  We’ll see what this week brings.

Alongside modelling an active lifestyle for the boys, we also want to eat well as a family and do our best to set them up with healthy eating habits.

Adam and I love to eat.  We love kale smoothies and ice cream sundaes and everything in between.  We eat meat and fish and drink beer and wine.  We eat at restaurants and cook frozen pizzas at home.

By many accounts, we nourish ourselves no different than anyone else – and while that may be true, we have made a few changes over the years that have allowed us to eat well and to eat clean.

Clean eating is one of the greatest lifestyle choices that we would like to impart on the boys.  It’s the choice to eat whole foods that are minimally (or not at all) processed, refined and handled.

The irony about clean eating is that it’s possibly the most simple lifestyle – but given today’s food industry, it’s a hard transition and a conscious decision to say no to pre-made meals, most restaurant menus and packaged foods.

If you read last week’s post about our active lifestyle, you may remember reading that you can’t out exercise food.  While we strive to eat clean all year round, it’s particularly top of mind while we’re training for a race or working towards a fitness goal.

If I’m going to arrange a babysitter and/or plan a day around a long run, I don’t want to jeopardize my progress by making a poor choice with how I refuel my body.  Choosing to eat clean foods will also contribute to increased and consistent energy and a smooth recovery making my next workout that much more productive.

Here’s a typical day of eating for me:

Breakfast: Scrambled eggs from a friend and local hobby farmer, toast from Wilkie’s* with almond butter and an apple or gingerbread pancakes topped with plain greek yogurt and a drizzle of Ontario maple syrup.

Lunch: 
Raw veggies sticks with hummus, frozen pizza from Our Pizza Farm*, and a handful of grapes.

Snack: Clyde and I love to bake so there’s usually something like these healthy banana muffins around for an afternoon snack.  If not, I like a bowl of plain greek yogurt drizzled with maple syrup and topped with granola and berries.

Dinner: Oven baked or barbecued chicken from a local friend and farmer, sweet potato fries and steamed broccoli.

After kids are in bed**: These cookies or ice cream from Carp Custom Creamery*.  Closer to the race, I will do my best to trade this for a light snack of crackers and veggies with hummus but cookies and ice cream are my kryptonite … and I’m still nursing full time so Mama’s gotta live a little while she can.

Drinks: Water.  All day, everyday.  We occasionally offer Clyde a glass of milk because we have it in the house for baking and bowls of cereal but otherwise, we are a water from the tap kind of family.  I don’t go anywhere without my Klean Kanteen or my Swell Bottle so that I always have water available.  In training season, staying hydrated all the time is particularly important.

*I specifically mentioned the source of these foods for three reasons.  Firstly, we buy from them during market season and enjoy seeing the vendors each week.  Secondly, they’re local sources that pride themselves on producing a high quality product with fresh and local (when possible) ingredients.  Thirdly, all three companies established a share or pick-up program this winter so we were able to stock up or plan our meals accordingly knowing when we would have these foods in the house.  Not only did this benefit our meal planning but it also had a huge positive impact on our grocery money because the money was spent up front and then we made a commitment to use what we had and then wait for the next pick up.

Next…**

You may have noticed that I chose the words “After kids are in bed” instead of “Dessert.”  This brings me to my next topic…. why we don’t feed our kids dessert – gasp!  Do you feel badly for them?  Hear me out!

Along with the concept of clean eating, we want the boys to understand that truly all whole foods in moderation contribute to healthy eating habits.  I didn’t say that we don’t allow our kids any junk food, I specifically used the term ‘dessert.’

If we’re going to offer our boys something sweet – right now only Clyde, we will put it on his plate with the rest of the his food and it becomes part of his meal.  It’s really interesting to watch him eat it.  Sometimes he goes right for the treat and finishes it right away but most times, he eats a bit of everything throughout his meal.

What we’re avoiding is the build up of sweet food – the desire to want what we can’t have so to speak.  What we’re instilling is that all whole and clean foods contribute to healthy eating habits and good nutrition.

So often, kids today are asked to finish their meal or have ‘x’ number of bites before they can have dessert.  This is not only teaching our kids that their meal is just a means to eat something sweet but also that the ‘best part’ comes at the end.

The concept is less about not eating sugar or junk food and more about educating them about how food drives their bodies and to make good choices, always in moderation.

So… your thoughts?  Not so bad, eh?

 

the Saturday Sprint

the Saturday Sprint

Good morning!  Is that sunshine I see?  My calendar says that the first day of spring was weeks ago but I think Mother Nature finally got caught up today.  This winter sure felt relentless.  I’m looking so forward to stepping outside without having to layer myself and two others.

I’ve been pulling out spring and summer clothes for the boys only to realize how much they grew over the winter.  Clyde especially!  His pants are suddenly two inches off the ground and his not-so-little feet are squeezing into his running shoes.

Even more so than growth spurts, the last few weeks have had us marking down a few big milestones.

Our sweet Jude turned 7 months old on the 5th.  In the past month he gained a pound and grew an inch.  He is stable sitting up on his own and sprouted his first tooth!  He also joined us for mealtimes and is enjoying getting a taste of real food.  This week I offered him a bit of water with a straw and he drank from it without any hesitation.  That had me back to the drawing board doing sippy cup research.  I settled on the Zoli Bot and so far am very pleased.  Clyde has been having so much fun helping me make purees for his little brother and holding his new cup for him.  We do a combination of solid food and purees.  I use the Infantino Sqeeze Station and often follow recipes from here to make my own pouches.  I keep a stock of them in the freezer and pull one out for both of the boys if we’re going to be out for a meal.  I must admit that it’s entertaining to watch a toddler throw back steamed cauliflower and kale in 10 seconds flat.  Everything is more fun from a pouch (muahaha).

Quick tips if you decide to pick up one of these awesome squeeze stations:
– Once you plunge the food into the pouch, twist the container and plunger off at once before pulling the plunger back up.  Otherwise, you end up pulling some of the food back up into the container and it makes a giant mess.  You’ll see what I mean.
– I use these disposable pouches.  I realize that it’s not a win for the environment but everything I read is that the reusable pouch is impossible to clean properly.  It’s also extremely handy to have them stock piled in the freezer and to toss finished snacks when we’re on the go.
– I didn’t have a good experience with the spoon accessory.  The hole is so tiny that even the smallest lump would cause a clog.  When it did come through, it piled up on the back of the spoon and I had to tap it to the front before feeding it to him.  Instead, I just squeeze it onto my own spoon to feed him or (better yet), Jude has mastered sucking from the end like a straw and he will be self feeding in no time – winning!


Getting back to milestones – and possibly most exciting of all for Jude is that my previously bottle refusing cutie finally decided that being fed by someone other than me might not be the worst thing in the world!  In the past few weeks he has taken three bottles from Super Dad and Grandma like he’s been doing it his whole life!  I can’t even describe the joy that this brings me.  Bring on the pump – and thank you to the Minbie bottle for a great design!  $30 well spent.

Our big boy also has a few milestones worth writing about this week.  All at once, we have said goodbye to diapers and afternoon naps!  We’ve been casually potty training since Jude was born in September.  I figured I was house bound with a sleeping infant so I might as well stick a potty in the living room and get that over with.  Clyde showed genuine interest right away and used the potty a few times but was never willing to commit.  It was a source of frustration for me as the weeks and months went by knowing that he was physically capable of doing it but was still choosing to use a diaper.  Everyone told me that he would do it on his own and sure enough, last Saturday he woke up, asked to wear his big boy underwear and never looked back!  So proud of my big boy.  I hope that this will serve as a reminder for me going forward to have patience for my sweet boys as they accomplish big things in their own time.  We celebrated by letting him choose a toy and without any prompting or guidance he chose a wheelbarrow.  Fitting for our hard working boy after his Daddy’s heart!
Sorry Jude! #picturefirst

We also said goodbye to afternoon naps this week, as previously mentioned.  Since the time change, bedtime was getting increasingly difficult and our not yet 3-year-old was still awake at 9pm pretty regularly.  We switched to a quiet time in the afternoon and he’s now willingly in bed between 6:30-7pm and sleeping a full 12 hours.  It’s been a refreshing change for all of us!  I thought that losing his nap would be devastating but I actually really enjoy knowing that we have a full day available for activities and not having to make plans with time constraints.  That said, it finally caught up with him after a few days and he crashed pretty hard on the living room floor – hat and coat still on!  Is there anything sweeter?

I’m so glad to be home this summer and am excited for all of the adventures ahead with these cool dudes.  Last week we made our first spring trip down to the farm to visit the horses and the tractors.  We are incredibly fortunate to back onto family farm land and it’s a walk that we do daily when the weather is nice.  This was the first time that Jude was able to sit in the tractor and alert enough to acknowledge the horses.  Clyde was so excited to show his little brother all of his favourite things.


Last but not least, I’m proud to share my first successful review with a great Ottawa parent resource network called Kallababy!  Jude and I were given the opportunity to try a class called Salsa Babies and submitted our review for the Kallababy website.  Check out the review here and stay tuned for more!

See you on Wednesday for an update on my half marathon training and why we don’t feed our kids dessert – gasp!

Mama’s half marathon – Training plan and tips for running

Mama’s half marathon – Training plan and tips for running

Last week, I started a 9-week series titled “Mama’s half marathon” to journal my training wins and woes after registering for the Ottawa Race Weekend half marathon.  If you are familiar with my first training attempt, rest assured that I did finally find the safety key for my treadmill and have since accomplished two indoor runs!  Is there anything more motivating than this little smirk staring at you while you sweat it out?  Adam and I are highly motivated by the concept of setting a good example for our boys of what it looks like to lead a healthy,  active lifestyle.  Our wish for them is that they will know no different than to be active for life.

With that in mind, I’m sharing my training plan this week on the blog as well as some tips for starting to run.  There’s something about coming out of a long winter hibernation that has so many people wanting to get outside and get moving!  Adam and I are both certified personal trainers so please don’t hesitate to comment below or e-mail me directly with additional questions if need be!

First things first – what you need:

Truthfully, all you need is a pair of running shoes, socks and comfortable clothes.  That’s part of what makes running such a desirable form of activity is that it can be done at no cost.  Of course, there are a few small things that can make for a more positive experience so please take the word need with a grain of salt.

Properly fitted running shoes.  Please notice that I said “properly fitted” and not “fancy or expensive” running shoes.  Visit a store with staff that are educated about running (i.e. the Running Room) and ask for help in finding a shoe at a reasonable price point.  Having a new and properly fitting shoe can make a big difference in terms of comfort during and after your run.  If you are running regularly, your shoes are likely due to be replaced annually.

Activewear – something comfortable!  While it’s important to feel good in what you’re wearing, investing in new activewear is a great tool for motivation.  For example, “when I accomplish (blank) goal, I will buy myself a new top or bottom.”  If you read my “What is that and where did you get it” post, you’ll know that I love to shop second hand.  Kijiji and Facebook are full of NWT (new with tags) and lightly used activewear at a fraction of the price.  If you’re in Ottawa, be sure to join ‘Lulu in the Capital‘ on Facebook!

Nike+ Running App.  If you are running with a phone, be sure to download the Nike+ Running App.  It tracks all of the important details about your workout (distance, pace, time etc.) and acknowledges when you’ve achieved various milestones (fastest run, longest run etc.).  If you know other people using this app, you can add them as a friend and track your runs together and send each other challenges!  This app is also integrated with Facebook and if you choose to share that you’re out for a run, the app will cheer for you when someone clicks ‘Like’ during your run.  It may sound silly but I always thoroughly enjoyed being surprised with a “hooray!!!” during a run by myself.

Music. Whether you like the American Top 40 or Country’s Biggest Hits, plan ahead with some of your favourite songs and watch the time fly by while you run!  If you’re a fellow Apple geek, subscribe to Apple Music and it will change your life.

Next up – training plan:

To put it simply, if you want to get better at running, you need to do more running.  Before having small kids at home with me, I would run 4-5 times per week when training for a race.  My preferred distances range from 4-7km and always at a comfortable pace.

Nowadays, with my sights set on a half marathon, I intend to run 3-4 times per week progressing from 3km (high intensity) to 15km (comfortable pace) over the next 8 weeks.  On my off days, I will do my best to incorporate an alternative form of physical activity (cross training) like weight training, cycling or lane swimming.

This week, I accomplished two treadmill runs at 1.0 incline and 6.0mph speed for 3km plus two outdoor runs – one by myself while Grandma and Grandpa watched the boys and the second as a family.  Both outdoor runs were 4km at a comfortable pace.  My cross training included a baby wearing salsa class and a 75 minute cycling class.

If you have a specific distance in mind that you’d like to accomplish, it’s a good idea to Google a race plan.  For example, I Googled “5km race plan” and the first link was for an 8-week first time 5km training plan.

Lastly, tips for success:

Register yourself!  Above all other tips, if there’s a distance that you would like to accomplish, choose a race and register yourself.  This gives you an end date to work towards and with money attached, you’re more likely to see it through.

Remember, the habit of the habit is more important than the habit itself.  What’s most important is that you are consistent.  Forming a habit takes 21 days so if you are new to running, set a goal for the first three weeks to put your running shoes on and walk or run everyday.  It can be as little as a 5-minute walk down the street and back or as long as a 10km jog.  All that matters is that you are developing the habit of running or walking into your regular routine.

Don’t plan a day off.  Life will always get in the way of a workout at one time or another – especially if you have wee kids in your life.  Plan to be active in some capacity everyday and then don’t beat yourself up over any days missed.

Plan your route…or don’t. In time, you will come to learn what motivates you to be active.  When it comes to running, I have the most success running a planned and familiar route.  I will run the same 5km route everyday and am highly motivated to reach the markers along the way and know how much of the run I have left.  Alternatively, Adam finds that extremely boring and would prefer to run a new route every time.  For him, the time passes more quickly when he doesn’t know where he’s going – for me, it feels like the run will never end.  Pay attention to what motivates you!

The first km is the worst.  Whether it’s the first km of every run or the first few runs of the season, rest assured that even seasoned runners experience discomfort when getting back into shape.  So often, I hear people say that they hate running.  Well I’ll be honest, sometimes I hate running too.  It’s an activity that requires commitment and perseverance to get to a place where you are physically and mentally in good condition to enjoy running.  Stick with it!  You’ll always be glad that you went for your run.

You can’t ‘out exercise’ bad nutrition.  If you’re putting forth the effort to be active, do yourself a favour and make good food choices.

Join me next week to hear about my training plan with respect to food and some of the key changes that I make during race season. Have you set a date for your summer or fall race yet? Comment below if you’re working towards something!

the Saturday Sprint

the Saturday Sprint

Good evening and happy Saturday!  It was an exciting morning in our house because Super Dad was home from having been away at a conference this week.  The days passed much more smoothly than I had anticipated but we’re glad to be back to full strength.

This time last week, Adam and I were enjoying some 1-on-1 time with each of the boys.  Jude got dressed in Dad’s staple outfit – plaid and jeans – to go help Dad at Nana’s and Clyde stayed in his jammies to go out for breakfast with me!  I am always especially proud of my big boy in a restaurant setting (for breakfast).  He sits nicely at the table, is fun to talk with, socializes with people at nearby tables and is comfortable speaking with our waiter or waitress.  Read more about our love for weekend breakfast dates here!

Before leaving the house for our dates with the kiddos, we marked a date on the calendar for ourselves.  On Sunday May 28, Adam and I will be running the Ottawa Race Weekend half marathon!  It’s not exactly dinner and a movie but registering for a race together always leads to impromptu dates running, cycling, swimming or working out together leading up to race day.  My first solo attempt to complete a training run was a bit of an adventure.  You can read the full story and follow along for Mama’s Half Marathon here!

In honour of race day, I chose a healthier dessert recipe this week. Goodbye candied green beans and hello oatmeal almond butter cookies!

I’ve talked before about how willing we are to ask for help and how grateful we are for it.  This week, with Adam being away, Grandma and Grandpa picked up Clyde in the afternoon and kept him for a sleepover.  It’s a bittersweet feeling for me when he goes anywhere for an overnight – I’m excited for him and I know that he’ll have fun (and that I will enjoy the time to rest) but I miss him!  Getting pictures like this in the morning certainly helps.  “Cheeeeeese!”

With our alone time, Jude and I went on tour to visit my Dad at work and then to my work to see some colleagues!  I’m always a proud
Mama bear introducing and talking about my boys.  It was especially heartwarming to see my Dad in the same light as he toured Jude around his office.

We also caught up with a close friend and participated in a baby wearing salsa class!  Keep an eye out for my review of the class on the Kallababy website in the coming weeks.

We finished off our week with another round of “cousinpalooza!”  This time at my sister’s house in Montreal.  My sister-in-law and I loaded up our five kids (ages four and under) on Thursday afternoon and made it in time to celebrate Auntie Jamie’s birthday!  It was a wild 24 hours with all eight kids under one roof again but always so much fun.  Key to success: this time it was an outing to Fundazzle so our crew could run loose!

Finally, an apology for the delay in posting today.  We were all pretty drained arriving home from Montreal last night and then first thing this morning Adam and I were off to the Activate Ottawa Fitness Expo with Jude!

Spring is (somewhat) in the air and we are feeling motivated to shake off the cobwebs from Winter.  Anyone else kicking up their fitness regime?  Be sure to check in again on Wednesday for an update on my journey to Ottawa Race Weekend’s half marathon!