January 15, 2010

Running for Moms

Today, during lunch, I had to step out and all I have to stay is "Wow, beautiful running weather." We have had 20 degree weather for so long that 40 degree weather felt amazing.

For Christmas, my mom bought me and the girls a jogging stroller. After I realized how beautiful it was outside, I was so excited about going for a run with the girls in the new stroller. I decided to go for a run with them after work and also tomorrow morning. Tomorrow I am planning to run at a park, but I thought it would be a great experience to run with the stroller today in our local streets.

I wanted to make sure I didn't head out too late to avoid running once it got too dark out, so as soon as I logged off of work, I dressed the girls and myself and we headed out the door. My dad came along for the run as well. My dad was worried the stroller would be too wide for the sidewalks, but considering I have seen many people walking with double jogging strollers before, I wasn't too concerned. I figured it would be a learning experience for the future. If we couldn't run, then that would be fine.

Wow, what a difference running (even walking) with a jogging stroller was. Such a smooth ride. We first hit the park just a couple blocks from my house to make sure the stroller was ok and then we hit the streets and went to another local park with a 1/2 mile path. At first I didn't really feel much of a difference running with the stroller. I thought that was odd considering I was now pushing 60+ pounds more than usual, but once we ran about 1 mile and were going slightly up a hill I started to feel the burn on my thighs and glutes. Man, oh man, now that was a burn.

Overall it was a good experience and am excited about running my six miles with them tomorroow in a park with a trail. If I can get use to running with the girls in the stroller, I'm assuming that when I don't run with the stroller I will run faster (which is great).

So with this blog I leave a message to all mothers out there. Having a child/children is very time consuming and a very selfless job, BUT it is very important to take time for yourself. Running for me has many benefits...the main is that it's exercise and keeps me healthy and promotes weight loss. The second is that it's "me" time and what mother can't use some of that??? Maybe you don't have the time or the money to join a gym, but running/walking doesn't cost anything. Take the time at least a couple times a week to go for a run or walk and if you have to, take the kids. Buy a jogging stroller (new or used) or use the one you have and enjoy the outdoors. It's possible!! and trust me, you will enjoy every minute of it.

Being a healthy mom makes you a better mom.

As Alicia Keys wonderfully put it, YOU ARE A SUPERWOMAN!!!

January 14, 2010

Challenging all headphone wearing runners

When I started running last June, one of the essential items I would take out with me on a run was an mp3 player. Not only did the music provide a distraction and entertainment during my run, but running to the beat would help me run. In late July I ran my first 5K race and running to the beat of the music was what got me to the finish line without stopping to walk once.

The more I ran, the more I loved it, and the more I researched EVERYTHING about the sport. One day while researching, I realized that in some races wearing headphones (listening to music) was highly discouraged, and in some cases, even banned. BANNED, what do you mean banned? Well, if you wear headphones during the race, your race time does not count. I suddenly thought, "how can I possibly run without music?". That prompted me to start questioning myself. Why couldn't I run without music? Look at all the people that run without listening to music, why am I so dependent on music. The reason why is because it was my crutch. It was an aid I was using to keep me going.

Considering that one day I might have to run a race without headphones, I decided to try running without them. I headed out my first time and it really did seem much more difficult to finish my run. It just felt like I didn't have enough energy, but now I realize it wasn't that I didn't have enough energy, it was "mp3 withdrawal". The next time I went out for a run, I took my little cute pink mp3 player with me and although I had charged it for hours, the battery was low and within a few minutes died. After that day I was never able to revive my mp3 player. After a few days without it, I realized that I no longer depended on it to be successful at running...I mastered running without music - even my long runs.

It is a little odd for me to think that I run at times for over 1.5 hours and there is nothing to distract me and entertain me while I run. You might think "It is boring to run without listening to something." Well, I am here to tell you that it is far from boring. My mp3 player refusing to charge was the best thing that happened because now while I run, I can enjoy every moment of it. There is so much to see & hear while you run.

If you are currently a headphone wearing runner, you are probably not someone who runs with a group...for the most part, you run alone (like me). I challenge you to go for a run without your music or audio book. At first, you will go through withdrawal - it will seem much harder to run, but once you are free from the headphones, you will realize that your run is much more enjoyable than before.

When you run with music or an audio book, your focus is on what you are listening to and not to your body and surroundings. Running without the crutch, makes you much more attentive to the nature around you, even if you run in a city. You hear the leaves dancing around on the floor from the wind, the car motors humming as they pass your side, the laughter of children playing in the street, the sound of wind chimes, the still of a side street with little to no traffic - all these sounds and sites bring warmth, even on a cold day. They are sounds of music being created by life and can bring such peace.

There is one more great thing about running without music - to spend time with your thoughts. How often do you really take the time to just think? Think about life - the good, the bad, the indifferent. Think about your plans and how you are going to get there. Think about the goals that you have set and your progress. Really, no one runs alone because your thoughts are always with you, but many times we shut them out. These past few months I have spent many moments with just me, my thoughts, and my surroundings and I can honestly say that I have never had so much perspective on my life. I have been able to come up with ways to overcome hurdles, make plans, and just simply think things through. I must even confess that at times I talk to myself, but in the end I can say that I am a much more balanced person for it.

So how about it??? Put on your running gear, leave your mp3 player at home, and enjoy time with your thoughts and life's music. It will take some adjusting, but I promise that eventually you will treasure every moment that run brings you. Are you up for the challenge?

January 13, 2010

Running in Freezing Temps

Hello and Welcome to my first blog entry about my training experience for my first marathon. I will be running the NJ Marathon on May 2, 2010.

My name is Andi. I am 28, married, with 2 toddler daughters. Although I was very active when I was younger I have never been a runner. Running was always just a means to an end, a way to train for whatever sport I was participating in (usually soccer). After having my second daughter, I needed to lose weight and change my eating habits. I started going to the gym and eating right, but was struggling with losing weight. I knew this was normal and wanted to come up with a long term goal that would keep me focused...and hence the goal of running a marathon.

I started running June of 2009 and set out a goal to run a marathon in the fall of 2010. I set small goals for myself and registered for 5ks, 10k, and eventually ran a 15k at the end of November. Since I had been doing so well training and sticking to the plan, I decided to run the marathon in the spring. The NJ Marathon is the perfect fit because it's a beautiful course along the beach (which I love) and it's in my home state.

I officially started training for the marathon in the beginning of the year and am into a week and a half of training. It has been quite an experience considering we (NE) haven't had below freezing temperatures for such an extended period in decades. But that hasn't stopped me from training. I have learned the do's and don'ts of running in cold weather, both through research and through personal experience. In some ways, it's easier to run in freezing temperatures then in hot and humid weather. At least in the cold, you can bundle up and achieve a comfortable state. Running in the heat, especially when it's humid, can many times be unbearable.

So to initiate my first entry on my blog, I have decided to provide you with the gear I use to run in freezing temperatures. Through trial and error I have finally figured out the best gear to wear to reach a comfortable state of running - no matter what the temperature or distance. Before I list my items, I just want to make you aware that I am a bargain shopper and the links provided below may not be to the exact gear I wear, but very similar. TIP: You can find high quality running gear at affordable prices at Marshall's or TJ Max. Hope this helps you run in the cold.

So here goes.

Half Face Mask:



Wicking Baselayer Shirt:

Running Jacket:

All-weather or fleece gloves

Reflective Belt (for running when it's dark)

Tights (any kind)

Fleece or Sweat Pants (no link provided)

Crew Socks (no link provided)

Sneakers (no link provided)