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Month: May 2017

Mama’s Half Marathon – That’s a wrap!

Mama’s Half Marathon – That’s a wrap!

I did it!  This is me coming up to the finish line of the Ottawa Race Weekend half marathon with a finishing time of 2:25.  It wasn’t the performance I envisioned for myself but if this ‘Mama’s Half Marathon’ journey taught me nothing else, it helped me to expect the unexpected when pursuing an active lifestyle with small kids.

Ten weeks ago, I very hesitantly set out on a journey to train for and complete a half marathon with my husband.  If you were with me during that first post, you may recall that I admitted to hoping the race would sell out before I could register and that my first attempt at a training run was not a success.

My hesitancy was not for lack of desire to exercise routinely or to run.  Pursuing an active lifestyle via sport and exercise has been a part of who I am for as long as I can remember.  No, my hesitancy came from a feeling of already having too much on my plate as a Mom to a 6mo and 2.5yo.

I wear an Apple Watch (because I’m an Apple geek like that) and one of its features is that it tracks your minutes of exercise and calories burned.  There would be many evenings that I would flop onto the couch post-kids’ bedtime feeling completely drained only to see on my watch that I had only achieved a small percentage of those daily goals.  Where would I find the time or the energy to start running again?

Once again, reaffirming my extrinsic motivation, hubby signed us both up for the race and slowly but surely I started finding the time in my day to run little bits here and there.

If you followed me on my journey, you already know that it was far from a textbook training regime but I thoroughly enjoyed documenting my progress – and lack of progress – each week on the blog.  It was amazing to see my desire to exercise intentionally increase and even more so to see the boys adapt to Super Dad and I going for a run and working out throughout the week.

MHM Week 1: 9 Weeks until race day
MHM Week 2: Training plan + tips for running
MHM Week 3: Training eats + Why we don’t feed our kids dessert
MHM Week 4: Healthy body, healthy mind, healthy marriage
MHM Week 5: Running while pregnant
MHM Week 6: Race weekend logistics
MHM Week 7: What’s your motivation?
MHM Week 8: A full circle journey to race week

Race day itself was very much a reflection of my journey to get there.  It required the help of family, the encouragement of one another and friends, the proper motivation and just enough grace to handle the unexpected.

 

 

Race weekend started for us when we dropped off the boys at their grandparents house for a sleepover on Saturday afternoon.  They agreed to bring the boys down and through the crowds to meet us after the race the next day.  From their house, we ran some errands and then snuck in a ‘date night’ dinner on the patio of our favourite restaurant.  We made our way home to pack our bags for the race and get a full night’s sleep.

Our race started at 9am on Sunday morning so we were up and out the door by 7:30am to meet with friends and ride the bus together to the start line.

We made it just in time to power walk to the start area, squeeze into a coral and start our race.

I was off to a great start, pacing a full 30 seconds faster than my training runs.  I was anticipating this to be the case with all of the excitement and the crowds so my quiet goal of finishing sub 2:04 (a previous personal best) was pushing me along.

Nearing the 10km mark is where things started to go downhill for me.

It was a hot day – the first truly warm day we had had in weeks – so I was untrained to sustain a decent pace in the heat.  Being the competitive person that I am, I figured this was the case for most participants and pressed on as best I could.  The race was well organized with mist stations and lots of water so it was manageable – but not ideal.

Despite having previously blogged about training around the same time of day as your race, my long runs were always in the mid-late afternoon.  It coincided with Jude’s second nap and was a good time of day for his grandparents to watch him.  I realized mid-race that I would normally have had breakfast and lunch prior to a long run which didn’t leave me wanting for any running snacks.  Now part way through a morning half marathon, my piece of toast with almond butter wasn’t doing a great job of sustaining me.

After my long training runs, I noticed that my knee was sore for a day or two.  Even after my last few short runs, it started to bother me in the same spot.  I attributed this to my need for new runners and figured I would put up with it for the race, deal with the sore knee in my recovery and pursue new shoes for my next event.  Ever so faintly in the back of my mind were the words ‘listen to your body’ but I figured I had come this far…  Sure enough, at the 15km mark, my knee wasn’t having any more of me running on it and I was brought to a halt.  I called my Mom and we talked on the phone while I alternated hobbling and speed-hobbling for the remaining 6kms.

In hindsight, the relaxin hormone may have also contributed to my sore knee.  Training for this race as a nursing Mom had never given me any trouble but race day was not so fortunate.  I pumped while I ate my toast in the morning but with it being a rush to get out the door, I was still pretty full leaving the house and wouldn’t be seeing Jude for another four hours.  Sure enough, while on the phone with my Mom during the race, we were discussing what was more uncomfortable – my knee or my overbearing need to nurse.

Despite all of this, I pressed on and was proud and relieved to run (read speed hobble) across the finish line.  I did it!

A few quick things to consider for future races:
– Give myself more time to relax and pump before leaving the house;
– If Super Dad and I are both running a long distance race, I will consider arranging childcare for overnights pre and post race…nursing, snuggling and changing diapers can wait one more day;
– Invest in new shoes at the start of training and consider a shorter distance if pregnant or nursing;
– Always avoid the stroller in large crowds – once again, it was baby wearing for the win!

Thank you again for following me on this journey.  I am proud to have participated in Ottawa Race Weekend and to have accomplished my goal!  I would love to hear about what you’re working towards and your tips or tricks to make race day a success with a young family.

Next week we are switching gears entirely to embark on a new family adventure – be sure to check in and see what we’re up to!

the Saturday Sprint

the Saturday Sprint

Milestones, milestones, milestones!  I feel like this is my life chant right now.  With an almost three year old and an almost one year old, we are witnessing so many exciting changes every day.

Specifically this week, Clyde nearly brought me to tears after breakfast one morning as he walked into the kitchen looking very ‘school ready.’  He had gotten his backpack and filled it with a variety of cooking utensils and then took it down the hall to his room.  A few minutes later he came back having picked out his clothes, gotten himself dressed and strapped his bag on his back.  Clyde still has one more year until I really need to shed some tears about him going to school but for a second it was as if we were already there.  A full year early and I was already overflowing with a mix of emotions – namely pride but also a wee bit sad.  Amidst the busy days, it’s moments like this that quite literally stop me in my tracks and remind me to soak it all in.  […and for those that are wondering, he did finally let me close the button on his pants hours later as we were leaving the house!]

Another source of great pride for Super Dad and I is to watch Clyde as a big brother.  Like all parents, since finding out that we were expecting a new baby, we talked to Clyde about how great it will be to have a sibling.  Now that Jude’s here, we talk to Clyde about taking care of his little brother and how they will be each other’s best friend.  I’d like to think that we are the ‘parent sibling whisperers’ but I know that we can’t take full credit for how great he is as a brother.  From the very moment he met him and still today, he is Jude’s biggest fan (next to me, of course) and we couldn’t be more proud.  […and for this reason, it seems only fitting that Jude should wear a sweater that says ‘Clyde’s Cool’ haha!]

That brings me to Jude, my sweet little baby. This boy has two new teeth coming through on the top – so close that his gums are basically a light shade of pink.  He’s recently started crawling on all fours (reverting to the army crawl when he’s really in a hurry) and pulling himself to standing when he can get a good grip.  This skill still catches me by surprise when I turn around to see him up on his feet.  Please nobody mention the “w” word because I’m nowhere near ready.

Having a second baby had me feeling a little nervous in the beginning that I wouldn’t have the same time nor the love that I did with my first.  When I found out that we were expecting another boy, those feelings intensified as I was sure that it would feel like I had ‘just done all of this’ having already ‘raised’ a boy.

Now almost nine months into being a boy Mom x 2 and I feel like a changed woman.  It is my greatest joy to be raising these two blonde, blue eyed beauties and while there’s no doubting that they’re brothers, they are already so different in every way.  This love train is moving full steam ahead through each and every wonderful milestone.

Mama’s Half Marathon – A full circle journey to race week

Mama’s Half Marathon – A full circle journey to race week

…and just like that, nine weeks have passed and race week is upon us.

While I would love to continue the tradition of starting with a training update, I sadly have nothing to report.  Actually, that’s not entirely true.  Adam and I completed one 3.8km outdoor run together on his birthday last week.  Not exactly the kind of progress one hopes to be making in the pre half-marathon taper but hear me out.

When I look back at my calendar from the week, it was certainly not for lack of trying that I didn’t accomplish many training runs.  My days were full of chasing a balance bike, walking endlessly alongside the most beautiful tulips and climbing various structures and trees at parks across the city.

Adam and I had our sights set on one more short run and one last long run over the long weekend.

You see, my birthday gift to Adam was the ‘gift of time.’  I arranged for both of the boys to have a sleepover at my Mom’s – packed their bags and met her on Saturday at the market.  She graciously agreed to keep them until Sunday afternoon leaving us ample time for a nice evening run, an uninterrupted sleep (say, what?) and a long run in the morning.  (Thanks, Mom!)

If you weren’t with me when I started this half marathon journey, you may be wondering what could have possibly got in the way of such a well thought out plan?

The rest of you know what’s coming.

Motherhood!  The most unpredictable and slightly comical journey of life.

You better believe by 5pm on Saturday, I was bed ridden with all possible flu symptoms and a diagnosis of mastitis.  Bring it on!

For the remainder of the long weekend, sitting upright felt like a challenge never mind attempting one last 18km jog.

As I sat down to write my final race post, I looked back on my notes for what I had planned:

– share our meal plan leading up to race day
– share about what a taper is and what our running schedule is
– talk about race kit pickup and final race day logistics

…but to be honest, I have none of that planned out.

I can’t help but think about how my ‘Mama’s Half Marathon’ journey has truly come full circle – from having to search my toddler’s hiding spots for the treadmill key in week one to nursing my infant endlessly to heal the mastitis in week nine.

Registering for and accomplishing a race day of any kind is a major feat and I’m here to tell you not to get hung up on the details.

The great news is, I am proud to say that I am feeling prepared and excited for race day – a drastic change from the ‘me’ that hoped the race would sell out before I could register.

I noticed changes in my body and am feeling comfortable in my summer clothes.

I found far more opportunities to run with and without my family than I expected.  Even better than that, we learned that Clyde really enjoyed running alongside us and he is going to participate in the 100m Tot Trot at the upcoming Kanata Race Day!

My desire to be intentional about exercising throughout the week was refreshed and I am excited to continue running.  Adam and I are also signed up for Kanata Race Day and I am looking very forward to doing my first 5k with my sister!

For now, I’m off to read the e-mail I got last week about my race kit and confirm with the grandparents that they can still take the boys for a sleepover on ‘race eve.’

Thank you so much for following along on my journey so far.  I’m looking very forward to reporting back next week about how it all went and sharing about what’s coming up next for our family!

I’ll give you a hint: it has nothing to do with exercise – gasp!

the Saturday Sprint

the Saturday Sprint

May is a busy month over here!  It’s been a few weeks since I’ve written a proper post and I’m feeling slightly out of practice.

The first half of this month has flown by.

We’ve celebrated birthdays, anniversaries and Mother’s Day.

We’ve had friends welcome new, beautiful babies and others that are in the home stretch of their pregnancies!  I get to meet the newest addition for one of my closest friends next week and I am counting the sleeps.  Another boy for my two hooligans to grow up with!

So many of my best friends growing up were the kids of my parents’ best friends. I remember being equally if not more excited than my parents to get together with those families so that we could eat endless bags of chips, watch movies and play games.

Nowadays, every time a friend of ours has a new baby, it thrills me to think that the social circle for our whole family is growing!

Case in point, one of our favourite families had their third little boy just eight weeks before we had Clyde and the two of them are the best of friends.  I’m not sure how much longer his Mom and I will be able to hold them up for this annual photo but I can only hope that it will be long enough for them to one day return the favour.

Last week, we got to celebrate Henry’s 3rd birthday complete with Paw Patrol decorations, chasing bubbles, jumping on a trampoline and cheering on our hometown Ottawa Senators in their playoff run.  The party was fun and all but I think that means my big boy will be three in less than eight weeks…hold me!

I’ll admit, while I would love for them to stay babies forever (and ever), I am pretty excited for this warm weather with a ‘big kid’ and a mobile baby.

With the few nice days that we’ve had so far in May, we have successfully played ourselves right out.  We’re rocking picnic lunches, full days at the park, water play, bike rides, endless ball games and tree climbing.

Pictured here is Clyde asleep on the couch (sort of) after a full day of outdoor play.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Bring on summer!

 

 

the Saturday Sprint – Mother’s Day Edition: it takes a village!

the Saturday Sprint – Mother’s Day Edition: it takes a village!

Happy Mother’s Day!

I realize that this edition of the Saturday Sprint is coming a day late but I wanted to take this opportunity, on Mother’s Day, to acknowledge all of the amazing females in our lives.

I have talked before about our willingness to ask for help.  So often, it really is the only way that we’re able to accomplish so many of the activities that we strive for.

Even more than that however, I am personally grateful for the love and influence my family receives from so many inspiring women – Great Grandma, Grandma’s and Auntie’s.

We are so fortunate to share a city with so much of our family – specifically, my Mom (Nana Q), my Step Mom (Grandma Sue) and my Mother-in-law (Grandma Chris).

Our boys see one or more of their Grandma’s nearly everyday and their faces light up at the sight of any one of them.  These ladies are truly a gift to all of us.  They are respectful of mine and Adam’s decisions as parents and know when it’s appropriate to bend the rules as the Grandma.  They are generous, kind and endlessly loving.  They offer wise words of advice after having raised kids of their own.

That next generation that the boys are so fortunate to call their Auntie’s.

My sister and my sister-in-laws are amongst my best ‘Mom friends.’  They love on my boys like their own and never miss a beat in helping me keep them in line. They are the highlight of family get togethers, offering either comic relief or a shoulder to cry on – or both.  Best of all, they are raising the most beautiful best friends for Clyde and Jude.

Last but certainly not least, we are grateful for Adam’s Grandma who celebrated her 84th birthday this past week.  A visit to Nanny’s is never complete without a home made treat for all of us.  It is so special to see the joy that Clyde and Jude bring to her and even more so to see that the feeling is mutual.  We left with videos of Jude belly laughing with Nanny from our most recent visit.

This journey of motherhood has been the most gratifying and challenging experience thus far in my life.  With such a young family, we are in a season of life that requires so much support from others – advice and time being at the top of the list.

I know the time will come when it’s my turn to give back and until then, I will accept help with the utmost gratitude and take notes from the best of the best on how to be an amazing female role model!

It’s really true what they say that it takes a village to raise a child.  Near and far, I couldn’t have asked for a better village with whom to share in raising our boys.

Mama’s Half Marathon – What’s your motivation?

Mama’s Half Marathon – What’s your motivation?

If you’ve been following along the Mama’s Half Marathon series, you know that I like to start with a brief training update.  This week was fun because I was working towards a ‘mini goal’ to close my rings on my Apple Watch everyday.  The Apple Watch tracks your movement and sets a daily goal for you to achieve 30 minutes of exercise, stand once an hour for 12 hours and burn a certain number of active calories.

With this in mind, we went for a family bike ride and I completed 4 small runs (~3km), 1 medium run (7km) and one long run (17km).  It felt good to be focusing on something new while still training for the race.  Smaller workouts are also much more family friendly.  Clyde and I snuck out one night before dinner for a small run just the two of us.  I ran with the stroller and he jumped in and out as he pleased.

A few weeks ago, I wrote about some tips for training and touched briefly on finding out what motivates you.  I’m bringing it up again today because for me, finding out how I’m motivated has been the difference in accomplishing so many things.

I am primarily extrinsically motivated.  I do best when I have accepted a challenge and/or am working towards a tangible goal.  30-day challenges, registered race days or the offer of a reward will motivate me to stay active.

When I learned about extrinsic motivation, I was able to look back on times that I was successful and see it in action time and time again.

My earliest memories of identifying a successful time driven by extrinsic motivation dates back to hockey camps and my desire to win the ‘athlete of the day’ award.  One of the five days that I was in camp, I would work particularly hard with my sights set on receiving the prize at the end of the day.

More recently, Adam challenged me to give up ice cream, my all-time favourite dessert, for one year in exchange for $1000.  Being the ice cream fanatic that I am, I had plans to visit a creamery later that month so we put that date in the calendar as ‘my last dance’ and the bet would be on for one full year.

Was I successful?  Heck yes, I was.  I won the athlete of the day at camp and I happily accepted my $1000 cash prize.

To find out more about extrinsic motivation, check this out.

Adam is primarily intrinsically motivated.  He is consistently active because he does it for the joy of running, biking, swimming – or any other form of exercise.  He enjoys setting personal fitness goals and has the drive to see them through.

To find out more about intrinsic motivation, check this out.

One form of motivation is no better than the other.  What’s important is being able to identify how you are motivated so that you can set yourself up for success.

If you are someone that is driven by extrinsic motivators, set a goal for yourself and establish a clear reward that you can strive towards.

If you are someone that is driven by intrinsic motivation, try writing out your vision for yourself – maybe, where you see yourself in 6 months and how you will get there.

In both cases, be sure to consider some of the following when establishing a goal:

Write it down.
Be realistic.
Set a clear timeline.

I learned a lot about goal setting a vision board during a time when I worked for Lululemon.  Knowing what motivates you and what you’re working towards is extremely powerful.

Here is some more information about goal setting.
Here is some more information about personal vision.

As I’m closing in on race day, I’ve been thinking about what’s next for me.  I’m excited to share that I will be joining the BBG community and spending my summer sweating with Kayla.

The BBG workouts are all 28 minutes or less and involve exercises that Clyde will be able to try too so it should be fairly easy to squeeze in during a normal day – and without the need for babysitters.  Adam is also working towards a muscle toning goal so we snagged a new piece of fitness equipment from Kijiji to complete our home gym!

After race day, I will do a weigh-in and take some measurements in order to set clear goals for a September check-in.

My extrinsic motivator will be a shopping spree for my newly toned bod in time for my return to work after Labour Day.

Any other extrinsic motivators working towards something exciting?

 

Mama’s Half Marathon – Race weekend logistics

Mama’s Half Marathon – Race weekend logistics

The month of May is full of celebrations in my family.  We kick it off with my Dad’s birthday, then tip our hats to my sister on her wedding anniversary and soon we will get to celebrate Super Dad on his birthday!

This year, the 1st of May also marked the official countdown to race day with just 28 days to go.  It’s race month, baby!

First things first: a training update.  After last week’s ‘one step back’ training mishap, I wanted to make sure and kick it into gear this week.  I managed to squeeze in four runs for a total of 30kms logged including one long run of 15km.

Other distances included a 3.5km high intensity outdoor run, 4km treadmill run and a 7.5km outdoor run.  My long run felt great and was a really encouraging start to race month.  My goal will be to include one 15-18km run weekly until race day.  Included is a picture of my cheer squad keeping busy while I run on the treadmill.  Please notice that Clyde has his running shoes on because it was his turn first to go for a run.  So cute!

With race day being at the end of May, I still have a few weeks of training left but am making sense of some race weekend logistics in plenty of time.  Silly as it may sound, things like what to wear and what water bottle to use are valuable things to consider leading up to race day.  I’ve also included my plan for childcare, race day fuel and more.

What to wear.  I’ve decided on a t-shirt similar to this from Under Armour and these running shorts from Lululemon.  I like the Champion sports bra from Costco and a pairs of running socks like these.  I’m currently training in these running shoes but will probably break all of the rules and switch to a new pair in the next few weeks.  (My knees and hips were sore by the end of my long run this week which is an indicator that I’m due for new shoes.)

All of the above items that have been in my workout drawer throughout all of my training so I know that they fit well and are comfortable.  If you’ve been working towards a goal and intend to pick a new outfit for the race, do it a few weeks prior to make sure that it fits well for the duration of your activity.

Music.  If you’re planning on having a set playlist for the race, now is a good time to start putting it together.  Adam and I subscribe to Apple Music so we have full access to iTunes.  I like to pick my music as I go but may put a short list together in the next week or a two.

Race fuel.  After 45 minutes-1 hour of consistent exercise, your body will benefit from replenishing some of its stores (vitamins, minerals, sodium etc.).  Consider training with some whole food options (dates, bananas, dried mango etc.) and/or a homemade electrolyte drink.  The race will have fuel stations throughout the course offering you water and depending on the distance, a fuel option.  While these are great resources as you need them, you’re best to arrive prepared with food and drinks that you have trained with and you know your body can tolerate.

Childcare.  Since Adam and I are both running in the race, we have asked a set of grandparents to be responsible for the boys on race weekend.  The half marathon is on Sunday morning so the boys will go to their grandparents on Saturday afternoon for a sleepover and meet us at the finish line after the race.  This may just be the first time that we sleep through the night before the race.  We’re hoping it shaves a minute or two off our time.  Be sure to provide your family with a course map and a suggested meet point after the race.  We will also be providing the grandparents with a carrier for each of the boys.  If you read my babywearing series, you know that I am a big fan of not having to lug a stroller through the busy streets of downtown.

Since Jude is still breastfeeding full-time, I will be pumping that morning before the race to make sure that I’m comfortable while running.

Goal setting.  Now is when we start to set or modify our goals for race day.  With a few weeks of training behind us and a few more to go, we have a pretty clear picture of what a realistic finishing time looks like.  On my long run today, I finished with an average pace of 6m22s which would give me a finishing time of 2h11.  With that in mind, I will be working towards a sub 2h04 finish.  I’m counting on increasing my training pace over the next few weeks as well as an adrenaline boost on race day.

These are the things that are top of mind in our house these days as we get ready for Ottawa Race Weekend.  Please comment below if there are other things you like to do in preparation of a race!