Wednesday, March 22, 2017

Three Essential Running Resources


I’m not sure about YOU, but once I started becoming involved with my running relationship, an unknown part of me began to surface. I call it…”Runner’s OCD”. For every race, I would look up the previous year’s results for my age group. Then, I would scroll down past the obviously competitive or seasoned runner results and began examining the times I wanted to beat. My mind would think, “Hmmm, I can do that. Why not?” After that, I had to break down their final race time into miles to figure out the pace and try to compile my own set of goal miles that would hopefully equal out the same pace, or have me finishing slightly faster…everyone does that, right? Anyways, I’ve come across some extremely helpful resources that do a lot of the work for you and will make your “Runner’s OCD” dreams come true!

 
1. Pace Calculator from coolrunning.com
This is my #1 go-to for training runs, and even checking on my previous events. You are able to calculate your running pace per mile or kilometer! By entering a little bit of info, you can calculate your time, distance, pace, and even calculate your splits! It is magical and FREE! 

2. Time Calculator from calculator.net
If I’m writing out my various “goal” times per mile for the duration of a race, I enjoy entering them into THIS calculator. It allows you to add the time of each mile, eventually ending up with an overall time. Yes, you may have an overall average pace for your next race, but planning ahead and breaking down each mile is a little more complicated. Not everyone runs a consistent, steady pace! Some runners go fast for a few miles, slow down for a mile, then finish hard for the final miles and still end up with their goal average pace. 

3. Treadmill Pace Conversions from hillrunner.com
Estimating your treadmill workouts can be a little confusing. How does mph translate to speed? What happens if you’re running at a 8% incline for half of your run, then 1% incline for the remainder of the run? There are many factors with the ‘ol treadmill, but this chart has your answers!

Friday, March 17, 2017

Runnin’ O the Green-STROLLER Style!


In 2015, Runnin’ O the Green was the first race I had ever done! Put on by the City of Bellingham Parks and Recreation, this event brings in quite a bunch of both runners and walkers alike. Distances of 5k or 8k are offered, with the cost of registration remaining the same for either distance. It pays off to register early online because it starts at $15, goes up to $25, then $30, and tops at $35 for day of race registration.  Costs include chip timing and a cool shirt, plus tons of St. Patrick’s Day themed fun! This year, we also got a green cowbell with the race logo on it.

Race start photo by Jon Brunk at https://brunkphoto.photoreflect.com/

In 2015, I ran the 5k with a time of 28:57 (9:19min/mi pace). In 2016, I ran the 8k distance, finishing in 37:03 (7:27min/mi pace). This year, I wanted to switch up the experience yet again by doing the 5k while pushing Eisley in the stroller! Her first adventure racing in the stroller was last June at the Race Beneath the Sun 5 mile trail race. Look back on the race recap here and get an idea of what it’s like racing while pushing a stroller!


Ready to race with her cowbell and Madeline
My alarm sounded off on race day and I was excited that it wasn’t raining! I checked the weather and it said the rain would arrive by 11:00am, which is perfect for a 10:00am start time. Little boo was still asleep, thank goodness. We haven’t coslept for a few weeks now, and she’s been sleeping later in the mornings as a result! I can’t even describe the joy of actually sleeping in our bed, versus the months of sharing a floorbed with a wildly active toddler (she moves around and even talks in her sleep!).

Sometimes your race photos don't turn out very well :)
We left around 9:00am to make sure we would find a decent parking spot. That was easy enough, then almost immediately little raindrops began splatting on the windshield. Good thing Eisley was prepared! A band was already playing Irish music in the Boundary Bay Beer Garden. People were dressed up in all sorts of funky costumes, too! At 5 minutes until the start, we moved along to the starting area. I was somewhere in the middle of the pack. I couldn’t hear the announcer, but once the crowd started hollering and the cowbells were ringing, we were off! Fast runners, slow walkers, and everyone between were all mixed up in the pack. There definitely wasn’t any order of paces. Weaving around and trying to pass people with a large jogging stroller is quite a challenge! I expected pushing the stroller up the initial hill would be the most difficult part of the race, but I was wrong. The State Street shoulder was only wide enough for two people to run next to each other comfortably. I had to be patient and wait for my chance to yell out, “excuse me!” so we could pass others. Some people already decided to walk instead of run or move over to the side.

The rain was seriously pouring down by this point and we were on the gravel trail winding along the bay. There were puddles and deep, muddy sections that were unavoidable between the runners and pedestrian traffic. The stroller wheel got stuck and nearly fell over sideways, but I was able to get her up and moving fairly quickly. There was only half a mile left to go, so we sped things up! Eisley kept looking back at me saying, “Momma, you running a race!”  We finished in 26:36, an 8:42min/mi pace. Another runner at the finish line gave me a high five and said that I did pretty awesome with a stroller, but that Eisley still beat me! (She’s always a hair faster than me crossing that finish! Haha.) We were both way too wet to wait out the 1.5 hours until the St. Patrick’s Day parade would begin, so we said our goodbyes and headed home. Eisley kept talking about the race and running throughout the day, which melts my heart! I’m sure she would recommend that you try running a race with your kiddo in the stroller too! It makes for a fun, healthy experience for the momma and babe alike!

Sunday, March 12, 2017

Lactation is for Lovers!


Here’s a bit of honesty for you…before I was pregnant with Eisley, I wasn’t even sure what ‘lactation’ meant! Formulas and breastfeeding didn’t really matter to me since they hadn’t yet affected me personally. A few of my friends already had babies and I knew they typically drank from a bottle. Not once did I question what was actually IN the bottle, or how it got there. My lack of knowledge along with my urge to research everything led me to taking a variety of classes during my pregnancy. Many soon-to-be parents take the typical birthing classes, but we also took Parenting Basics (I learned how to change a diaper and about weird things like Cradle Cap), Prenatal Yoga (hello Kegel exercises), and best of all, a 2-day BREASTFEEDING class.



How did I have NO IDEA all there is to learn about nursing? No wonder new moms have such a difficult and often painful time. The Center for Disease Control’s 2014 Breastfeeding Report Card shows 49% of babies still breastfeeing at six months old in addition to supplementing formula, and only 18% of babies EXCLUSIVELY breastfeeding at six months old. Only 26% of babies are still breastfeeding at twelve months old. I believe that breastfeeding classes should be available to ALL soon-to-be moms, either on a sliding pay scale or better yet, FREE. Hospitals, birthing centers, pregnancy clinics, churches, or even non-profit organizations would be great platforms to educate women about nursing and also educate their spouses/partners with ways they can support the process.

Our first attempt to nurse!
Did you know about the numerous positions to try while nursing, such as the cradle hold, cross-cradle hold, football hold, reclining back, or side-lying position? What about the importance of ensuring a proper latch to reduce nipple pain and to make sure your baby is swallowing correctly? I was surprised to learn that majority of insurances will provide you with a breast pump for FREE or that hospitals will let you rent one! I also discovered many natural methods of improving your milk supply including certain foods or herbs, which I will write an entirely separate post about. There is an abundance of helpful information to help you approach breastfeeding with confidence. If you are able to meet with a Lactation Consultant, please do so! They are specialists who can help you individually according to your unique body and baby. I nursed Eisley exclusively until six months old, then continued to nurse until she was 23 months old. We definitely had our share of struggles, but the bond we created and our health benefits are totally worth it.



Here is a list of resources that I hope will help you prepare for your new baby, improve your current breastfeeding situation, or for you to pass along to a friend that may be struggling:

Web MD 

Saturday, March 4, 2017

February Miles + the Stay-at-Home Mom


The biggest and most obvious change since we’ve moved to the county is our weather. We are literally so close to town, yet the slight distance and elevation change give us colder temps and much more precipitation…aka SNOW! There have been days with a couple inches of snow in town and 18 inches of snow in our area. Yes, it is beautiful to look at, but have you tried running with a stroller in the snow? (Don’t bother trying…doesn’t quite work out). This winter weather has put a major dent in my training and I’m sadly seeing my mileage decrease. Trust me, I am looking forward to the spring!



Wk 1: 1-4: 3.26 miles
Wk 2: 5-11: 9.63 miles (including Fragrance Lake 10k)
Wk 3: 12-18: 18.71 miles
Wk 4: 19-25: 20.60 miles
Wk 5: 26-28: 8.75 miles
Total miles for February: 60.95

February included one race, the Fragrance Lake 10k, which you can check out here if you missed the recap. Although I haven’t been squeezing in the mileage I’d like, I have been able to enjoy a wide variety of running. I ran in the rain, in the snow, in the sun, with the stroller, on the road, on the trails, and on the treadmill at the gym. One thing that I haven’t been able to do is run with friends or do any sort of social runs, which I foresee happening once the temperatures warm up and the weekends aren’t snowy. 

Hello from Fragrance Lake!
There have been some major changes lately, like the fact that I’m in the process of going back to school and plan to start in the Fall.  I am applying to the Massage Practitioner program and plan to become a Licensed Massage Therapist. The days of being a stay-at-home mom are soon to be behind me, which is exciting and scary at the same time. Thinking about leaving Eisley to go to school four days a week makes me cry. I already feel my heart missing her because we have spent this special time together, but I also knew it wouldn’t last forever. Now that I know there are six months before starting classes, there is an official countdown of us spending all of our time together. I soak up every moment that we share with each other and plan on making this our best summer yet! I am so thankful to have had this opportunity to stay home with her and I cannot imagine the strength other women have that must return to work or school soon after their baby is born. Major props to all of the moms out there, doing what is best for their unique lives! 


Monday, February 27, 2017

10 Quotes about the Great Outdoors


There is nothing more satisfying than exploring the world around us, reconnecting with Mother Nature. We find a calming peace within the trees and a quiet mind away from the man-made world. Spending time outside has even been linked to lower depression symptoms and an overall improved mental well-being. Plan a backpacking trip, head out for a hike, or hop into your kayak after reading these quotes about the great outdoors!

Barr Trail in Manitou Springs, CO

1. “I am in love with this world . . . I have climbed its mountains, roamed its forests, sailed its waters, crossed its deserts, felt the sting of its frosts, the oppression of its heats, the drench of its rains, the fury of its winds, and always have beauty and joy waited upon my goings and comings.” - John Burroughs

2. “Adopt the pace of nature: her secret is patience.” -Ralph Waldo Emerson

3. “We both loved the birds and animals and plants. We both felt far happier out of doors. I felt a peace in nature that I could never find in the human world, as you know.” -Tracy Rees

4. “Go out, go out I beg of you. And taste the beauty of the wild. Behold the miracle of the earth. With all the wonder of a child.” -Edna Jaques

5. “The world is a book, and those who do not travel, read only a page.”  -Saint Augustine

Whatcom Falls Park in Bellingham, WA
6. “Look at a tree, a flower, a plant. Let your awareness rest upon it. How still they are, how deeply rooted in Being. Allow nature to teach you stillness.” -Eckhart Tolle

7. “A good traveler has no plans, and is not intent on arriving.”  -Lao Tzu

8. “Happiness is a direction, not a place.”  -Sydney J. Harris

9. “Earth provides enough to satisfy every man’s need, but not every man’s greed.” -Mahatma Gandhi

10. “Your deepest roots are in nature.  No matter who you are, where you live, or what kind of life you lead, you remain irrevocably linked with the rest of creation.”  -Charles Cook

Lake Whatcom in Bellingham, WA
If you enjoy this list of quotes, make sure to check out 18 Quotes about Motherhood and 13 Running Quotes to Encourage You!

Wednesday, February 22, 2017

Fragrance Lake Half Marathon/10k 2017


In 2016, the Fragrance Lake Half Marathon/10k was my first race of the year AND my very first trail race! I chose it with six weeks to train, with majority of my runs having to be on a treadmill due to the magic of drop-in childcare. I ended doing much better than I had expected, in fact, I finished in 1:13:17 as the second place overall female! Even though I REALLY wanted to try the half marathon distance this year, it would’ve been silly to even attempt that challenge at my current fitness level.

Standing with the First and Second overall Females! Girl power!
A major difference this year was the ability to go run out on the trails, in addition to the gym, during my “extremely casual” training plan. We also had a family member spending time with us, so they could stay with Eisley during naptime while I could go running. I am very thankful! Another big difference was the weather this winter. We had icy conditions, below freezing temperatures, and tons of snow that seemed like it would never melt. I made the most of being snowed in by doing wall sits, kettle bell swings, lots of stretching, and jumping rope in the garage.

Photo by the infamous Takao Suzuki
The night before the race, sometime during the twilight zone, Eisley woke up crying and I coslept in her room until morning. After 2 ½ years of being on this motherhood journey, I am definitely used to functioning on interrupted sleep (sleep…what’s sleep?). I whipped together a delicious smoothie with banana, turmeric, blueberries, mango, oats, orange juice, and hemp protein powder. Reflecting back, I wish I had a piece of toast or bowl of oatmeal also. I made sure to have some Strawberry Lemonade Nuun in my pack to keep me hydrated and replenish my electrolytes. Of course I was running behind schedule (#momlife) and it took longer than anticipated to find parking, job 2/10 mile for my bib/check-in, and do a mini warm up. In the quick moments before the race start, I finally met two awesome ladies that are both inspirational ultra runners (hellooooooo!). 


We took off at 9:00am and runners were movin’ along fast for the first 1.2 miles on the Interurban Trail. We had this ‘relatively flat’ time to gain speed before the slow climb/power hike/jog up Cleator Rd. Even though it seemed like an eternity, I think Cleator was only ¾ mile before we jumped on the beautiful single track trails. I tried to ignore my watch and now I’m glad I did! The display was accidentally showing my average pace, not my current pace. I couldn’t figure out why it was barely changing when I was trying to push harder, ha! Fragrance Lake looked lovely for the short time we ran along it. There was one other female runner ahead of me for a while that I was struggling to pass. Between the zigzagging muddy trail, my downward momentum, and the random rocks/roots, I couldn’t get around! The melted snow helped me out by providing a huge mud puddle that we each went around on separate sides, allowing me to squeeze past! Now, I hauled tail down the trail, constantly imagining her right behind me. The best motivation is a good competition! My tingling legs heavily sprinted down Chuckanut Dr to the finish line and my time was 1:06:45! I managed to cut off 7 minutes from last year’s time and that felt amazing! I tried to stay warm while drinking coffee and walking around, waiting over an hour for the awards ceremony. I took third female overall and was lucky enough to take home a finisher medal and award that were wood crafted by Elevation Culture, a San Diego-based business. Full results can be found at Ultrasignup. Thanks to Destination Trail for putting together such a great trail running experience! Next year, MAAAAAAAYBE next year, I will actually do the half marathon! 


Saturday, February 18, 2017

How to Deal with DOMS


The morning after a big race or tough workout, you may open your eyes, stand up, wobble around, then fall right back down into your cozy bed. (Sometimes I start walking down the stairs and feel like my legs will give out under me!) You could have a strong case of the DOMS…aka delayed-onset muscle soreness. This soreness can last between 3-5 days and it is typically the most painful 24-72 hours after exercising. The American College of Sports Medicine describes this process occurring due to tiny tears to the muscle fibers from exercises that cause the muscles to lengthen while force is applied. Instead of waiting it out, give these methods a shot to help you deal with the DOMS!



1. Drink Pineapple Juice! Delicious pineapple contains an enzyme called Bromelain which helps relax inflamed muscles and has anti-swelling effects. It is even linked to lower pain and is a great alternative to over-the-counter pain medications. Instead of drinking the juice, you can simply eat it or even make a smoothie!

2. Take a Salt Bath! The magical mineral in Epsom Salt is Magnesium, which is absorbed through the skin while soaking in the bath. It can also be taken orally, but who would really turn down a relaxing bath? After hard runs, lactic acid builds up, causing sore muscles. The magnesium helps to flush lactic acid buildup, allowing the muscles to relax and relieve pain. Simply add 2-3 cups of Epsom Salt to your warm bath and soak for at least 15 minutes.

3. Roll with it! Foam rolling is a form of self-massage that helps to release muscle tightness and promotes muscle elasticity. Tighter areas or “knots” can be somewhat uncomfortable while rolling due to the pressure, but it should never be too painful. There are many resources available online to learn different methods of foam rolling to focus on specific areas of the body.

4. Munch on Turmeric root! Whether you slice it up raw on a salad, blend it into your smoothie, brew herbal tea, or take it as a supplement, your body will thank you! Turmeric supports the body’s inflammatory response, is rich in antioxidants, and contains Curcumin which has pain relieving effects. Curcumin can also be taken on its own as a supplement. 

5. Try the RICE Method! Otherwise known as Rest, Ice, Compression, Elevation, this treatment is typically used for minor injuries, but it is also effective for soreness. The RICE Method reduces swelling, promotes flexibility, relieves pain, and forces you to chill out and take a break. Instead of standard ice, I enjoy using a bag of frozen peas or corn!