Uggg! I am Not a Winter Runner!

I really want to be one those cold weather beasts that get out there at the break of dawn despite the 20 degree temperatures and the wind chill in the teens. I have images of myself running along a picturesque pathway lined by snow covered trees, seeing my breathe with every step forward. But, alas I am not a cold weather runner. In fact, I am really not a cold weather person. In the winter months I become a hermit who only goes out for the necessities.

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I don’t envy those that love running so much that no matter the weather they are out there. I do however, wish for the warmth of spring so that I can once again hit the pavement and push my limits. Certainly, my love-hate relationship with running will continue when the weather warms and the days begin to feel a bit longer. So what am I doing over the winter to maintain my fitness? Honestly, I have had fits and starts where I exercise for a dew days and then weeks of sitting on the couch. (Well, as much as a mom of two preschoolers sits on the couch…) Despite that I have a plan.

I have decided to practice yoga in the morning via the Do You Yoga? 30 Day Yoga Challenge and do weight/strength training in the afternoon or evening. Having heard that yoga can be as beneficial as other aerobic exercise I am ready to give it a go. I also enjoy the feeling of accomplishment that comes from a good strength training session. I will not pretend that this plan is not going to require commitment and dedication. It is going to require a lot of both but in the absence of running I am willing to push through any obstacles that may come. I will let you know how it all goes.

Are you a winter runner? What are your best tips for staying active during the winter?

Finally Running Again: How a Beautiful Fall Day Inspired Me to Run

It seems that it takes the fall to be in full swing for me to get myself in gear and start training. It was at this time last year that I decided to embark on training for my first ever five mile Turkey Trot. So just in time for the cooler weather to give me every excuse to not get out of bed in the morning and go run, I decide let’s do it again! Fortunately, this weekend was beautiful. So when my husband asked me what I wanted to do and my mother in law so graciously wanted to visit with the kids, I said “Let’s go for a run!” He was a little surprised and admittedly I was also a bit surprised that those words came out of my mouth. I mean, who decides to go for a run on the most beautiful fall day that happens to be the first time in forever that you and your husband have a babysitter? Yup, ME!

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So we dropped the kids off at his moms and made our way to the trail to get in a quick run. The trail was full of all kinds of people riding bikes and running, walking and enjoying the day. We parked at the top of what is called “The 100 Stairs” and started from there. In order to get to the path we had to descend the stairs so that was a mild warm up. We stretched at the bottom and got going. Considering I had not been running in about two months, I decided to keep the pace light and easy. Immediately, I knew that this was not going to be the “easy” run I thought it might be. My legs were screaming at me to stop but the beauty of the day, my heart and my head said keep going. On top of that, as we were running, my father-in-law appeared on the path coming towards us. He was in the midst of his 7 or 8 mile run but decided to change course and join us. So here I am running with my husband and his father. There was no way I was going to stop running and walk. I determined that it didn’t matter how slow I went I was going to keep going. There was a point at which they were barely in my view but I told my husband to keep going and I would catch up. They reached the turn around a minute or three ahead of me and we reconnected to head back to the stairs. My father in law ran ahead to keep his pace and my husband jogged along with me. I told him to keep his pace but he decided to hang in there with me. He was conserving his energy so he could run those stairs.

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The beauty of the day was matched by the fact that I ran 2.34 miles in 33:50. That was an average speed of 4.1mph and an average pace of 14:29min/mi. I am proud of those numbers as a restarting point. I intend to run for the rest of the fall to train for a 5 mile Turkey Trot on Thanksgiving in November. What is encouraging about my first run of the fall is that I know that with a few more runs under my belt I will be back in stride in no time. I am grateful that my husband is so supportive and that is what “Team Fit Mommy” is all about!

I will be writing updates on my progress until I run the race in November. Come back and check my progress. Are you training for an upcoming race? Join the conversation, tell us about your training.

Can a Walk Be as Good as a Run?

Yesterday I decided I and my children needed to get out of the house. It was mostly a mommy trick to tire them out in hopes they might take a nap. No luck on the nap but we did walk 2.39 miles. I was amazed that my three year old was able to keep pace the entire way with out needing break. (Except for the moments of wonderment like picking up fall leaves or noticing some mums along the way…) However, the walk got me thinking. Can a long walk have the same benefits as a run?

Some believe that a walk actually can be better than a run because it is less harsh on your joints and you reap the same benefits of building endurance, muscles and strengthening your heart. I know that running enthusiasts may be thinking, “Nothing beats a good run.” Yet, I realized it took almost the same amount of self motivation to go for that distance with a two year old and a three year old in tow. It took more effort to hold a little one’s hand while pushing a jogging stroller. Ultimately, it was a better experience because I got to share it with my children.
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As parents, sometimes we are so busy figuring out how to get things done without our little ones we forget that by including them in our daily routines we are teaching them valuable lessons of self-discipline, consistency and a healthy lifestyle. So the next time you are thinking of reasons why you can’t exercise, slow down and consider talking a walk with your kids. It can be a time of bonding and discovery that you both will treasure!

How do you involve your children in your fit lifestyle? Join the conversation. Leave a comment! Subscribe to Team Fit Mommy for more fitness and family fun! Follow us on Facebook, Twitter and Pinterest for daily fitness motivation.

Running with No Music

Yesterday was a beautiful but crisp Sunday morning. So, before my kids woke and required my full attention I jumped up and got out the door for a run. Several things happened in my haste to get out the door. One, I only put on a tank top and a sweatshirt. Two, I didn’t charge my phone all the way and Three, I forgot my ear buds!!! I knew that after I started moving number one would not matter that much but two and three were almost enough for me to turn around and go home.

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I didn’t really want to be out there. As a matter of fact the last thing I said to my husband before I left was ” I don’t feel like doing this but…” It was cold and when I made it to the track and realized that I really wanted some music to help me along. There were two choices and I chose to just keep going.

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As I ran along, I realized that running with no music can be a great way to get focused and balanced. During the week, life can take everything out of us. It could be work commitments or family obligations or some other thing that has sucked the life out of your week. However, a good run can change your perspective. It may not change any of the situations but it can change your mind.

As I ran with no music, I began listening to my own thoughts. I was amazed at how many thoughts I had that told me to stop and quit. My mind was battling my body over and over again. I had to force my mind to quiet itself and focus on my surroundings, my breathing, my footsteps, my heartbeat. Anything but the fact that I had run less than a mile and I wanted to stop.

After I completed the first mile I started to feel a little better about being out there. I realized that the soundtrack for my run had little to do with the music I would have listened to as a barrier to my discomfort. I realized that feeling the discomfort and thinking through it was helping me to become stronger.

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I am thankful for those moments of peaceful surrender to my mind and body. As I continue to train, I can’t say that I will always run without music because sometimes that is the best way to push past the pain. I will say that over the next few weeks I will consider leaving my ear buds home a few more times and just enjoy the run!

Do you run with or with out music? What is some of your favorite music to run to? Leave a Comment!

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Here I GO AGAIN!… Let’s Run!

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I trained and trained and this past November I ran in my first five mile Turkey Trot! I felt great and confident and unstoppable! And then came this never ending winter and I lost all of my momentum.  So what did I do? I signed up to run in my first ever TEN Miler, the Broad Street Run… I am still in a small state of denial that I have signed up to do this. Despite the fact that I have only run a few times this entire winter, despite the fact that I have never run this far in my life, and despite the fact that I now have about six weeks to train and be ready, there is something in me that wont let me change my mind.

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So what is my plan to accomplish this new goal? I have been trying to find the motivation. I have pushed my self out the door to go for a run and so far I have not been able to create the consistency I know it will take to complete this run. I have had a friend invite me to the gym, I have made a public announcement on Facebook that I am doing this and yet I still have not been on more than a few runs so far… So this is what I am going to do.

First, I am going to stop worrying about failing. Worrying will not create the strength and determination I need to get this done. Between now and May, when the run occurs, I will have many small failures along the way. What I realize is that the only real failure will be if I don’t try.

Second, I am going to take one day at a time. Being a wife and a mom makes every day different and sometimes challenging. So if I don’t make it out the door to run I will not beat myself up but I will find a way to train at home. Endurance does not always come from miles and miles of running… I have become so much stronger  by doing some other types of training along the way.

Third, I will believe that I can do this! Believing in yourself has the power to transform a dream into reality, a vision into a plan and a thought into an action.  Nothing great ever happens without belief in one’s ability to accomplish a goal.  So what I have never run ten miles before. So what I have not run as much as I would like to feel comfortable about this…  I believe that I can do it and I will!

Here I go again… Running might not be my first love, but I love challenging my mind and body to do something I didn’t think I could do.

What new fitness goals do you have? Join the conversation and leave a comment.
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Running My First Thanksgiving Turkey Trot

“The miracle is not that I finished. The miracle is that I had the courage to start. – John Bingham”

This year I have so many things to be thankful for. I have a loving, supportive husband, two beautiful and healthy children and fifty pounds lost that I hope to never find again! With all of that, one would think that there was nothing else to be grateful for but I am ever so thankful that I made the decision to challenge myself and take on running in my first ever five mile “Turkey Trot”.

I trained for six weeks. When I started I could barely run a half mile and the thought of running five miles was really only a dream. Yet, when the day arrived, although mildly nervous I was confident that I had trained and prayed enough to be able to finish this challenge strong. The race began at 9:00 am in a picturesque area of Philadelphia’s Fairmount Park called Forbidden Drive. There were hundreds of people who signed up to run and the air was full of anticipation.

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First and foremost in my mind was the fact that I had my husband drag our three year old and our 17 month old out in the frigid weather to support me. After I made sure they were sufficiently bundled up, (Mommy duties never rest…) I was able to focus on stretching a little before the race began. The event was truly a family affair with my husband and children there. In addition, my father in law lent his support by running with me! I was extremely happy to have a running partner to get me through the run, as I had never run a full five miles before.

” Before every run is a race between your mind and an excuse. Win it!”

At the start I was confident. I told my father in law who is a half marathoner, I was taking it slow and easy. There were all kinds of people out there running: entire families, young and old and a variety of fitness levels. Although it was a race and the mayor was there to present awards to the top three finishers, the only race I was running was against myself. I turned on my running app to keep track of the miles and the time and we were off!

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We were in the middle of the pack, which made for a slow start but once we got moving we were able to get a steady pace going. Somewhere around the one mile mark my father in law pulled away from me but I just kept my steady pace. He came back and got me and we made the 2.5 mile turn around together. Let me just say, when you are cold and a bit nervous it is inevitable that having to go to the bathroom is going to happen. I don’t know if I was happier to see the turn around or the bathroom!

On the way back to the finish line I took the time to text my husband and tell him we were on our way back and then I fixed my mind on finishing strong without stopping. My breathing was still good, my legs still felt strong, and I was beginning to sense that feeling of accomplishment with every step closer to the finish line. When I saw the four mile marker my excitement grew because I knew was in the final leg of completing something that I would have never dreamed of being able to do a year ago. At the 4.5 mile mark, a police officer gave some encouragement to my father in law in the form of a “way to go sir”. I found it kind of humorous that that the encouragement was offered to the marathoner who runs that same path a few times per week, while I, the newbie was given a slight nod of the head. Never judge what a person can do based on age or appearances because little did that officer know, my father in law was keeping pace with me as my support even though he could have left me in the dust.

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When we crested the final incline I could see the tents at the finish line. Immediately I began looking for my husband and my kids so I could share the moment with them. As the finish line came into full view, I caught the attention of my daughter who broke free from her dad and ran out to meet me with a big smile and a hug. All the weeks of getting up early, running in the cold, falling and injuring my knees, pushing myself beyond my mental and physical limits to become a runner were instantly worth it when I crossed that line. As I crossed the finish line hand in hand with my daughter on her third birthday, I was overwhelmed by how blessed I really am.

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I faced the physical and mental challenge and I completed the race in one hour and twelve minutes. As we end this year and enter a new one challenge yourself to accomplish a new fitness goal. While we were running my father in law asked me to complete a half marathon with him in the spring… What new activity would you like to accomplish?

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RUNNING ~ Week Six, Day Two: Steady Progress

Can someone please tell me when the first mile stops feeling like I am going to die? Six weeks into this and I really felt like I may not be able to complete the Turkey Trot next week. I was having a serious mental battle on my run this morning. I started with a brisk walk to the track which is approximately .91 miles. Then I stretched and ran two miles. During those two miles I really questioned why I was doing this to myself when I could be at home in my warm bed. God always has a way of reminding that this journey is about more than my current discomfort. Just when I was about to decide that I wasn’t going to run in the Turkey Trot, I heard this song playing
in my earphones… Steady My Heart by Kari Jobe
So I kept going…

On the track I happened upon another couple who were in the midst of their workout. I saw them from afar and could tell they were experienced runners. I don’t know what their splits were but I know they were a lot faster than mine! I am proud of my 10:35 min mile pace on the first mile and 11:26 min mile pace on the second mile. Although they lapped me… Twice… I really used it as encouragement to continue the course. Considering six weeks ago I couldn’t run one mile and it was definitely a lot slower, I am happy that I felt like a runner out there this morning.

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After I ran the two miles I stopped, but I wasn’t quite satisfied. So I did some stretches and made the decision to run ONE MORE MILE. It wasn’t my fastest mile but it was still progress. My third mile was my slowest but like I said I choose to see it as progress. (11:52 min mile) looking back on today, I actually completed the five miles I was hoping to complete. I just did not run the whole thing. Tomorrow is another day to reach my goals… but everyday I’m PROUD of my progress!

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When you started running, at what point did you feel like a runner? Leave a comment.

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RUNNING ~ Week Six: Back at It and Feeling Strong!

After my little tumble the other day, I had to get back in the game mentally and physically! When I awoke this morning I knew I was going to run but I wasn’t sure how far or how fast. Now that I am six weeks into this plan I was hoping to be able to have my short runs be three miles and my long runs be five miles or more… My body is not agreeing with the plan! However, I did not let that stop me from getting back out there. It would have been easy to use excuses to stop and quit.

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Falling and hurting my knees took the wind out of my sails. It happened just when I was getting into a flow mentally. I had reached a point where I could push myself just beyond the point that I thought I couldn’t go any further. I actually pushed way beyond that point when I continued to run and finish three miles after I fell!

I had to get it back mentally, so today I completed four miles… One of which I ran. I walked the first mile, stretched, ran the second mile and then walked two more miles. The great thing about today’s run is that I completed a 10:34 minute mile! Wow! A ten and a half minute mile! I really did not see that coming but I will take it! I guess you could say I got it back!

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The beauty of my run today was that it was the first one of the week. The pace gives me something to build on for the rest of the week. I am thinking of adding a day to my workouts just to build a little more consistency into my routine. Currently I run every other day, three days a week and take off the weekends. I really want to be able to complete five miles by then end of this week so I will have to push myself to reach that goal.

It was a great morning. Physically I could have felt better but mentally, I was strong!

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A New Season, Time to Make a Comeback

Every season I like to make an assessment of where I am and where I’d like to be. Fall is a great time to reassess because it is the final quarter of the year. Whether you have had a great year or a rocky year thus far, you can always make a plan to be better. I am a football fan and nothing is greater than a fourth quarter comeback! Designing your comeback is easy. Executing your comeback is the challenge. Every great player or team has a coach who helps guides them to victory! Let these simple ideas be your coach to your fourth quarter comeback!

First, set a goal or a few goals. Don’t try to accomplish too much too fast. This is a three month plan to gaining a healthy lifestyle and your success. When you are trying to gain a healthy lifestyle it is important to look at what you are eating and what you are doing.
Create an eating plan which includes at least four small meals and two snacks daily. It sounds like a lot of food but once you start eating this way you will find that it’s easy and you are never hungry.
What you eat is as important as how much you eat. Your meals should consist of lean protein, vegetables, and whole grains.

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MyPlate.gov is an excellent resource to help you determine portion size. In addition to watching what you eat, cutting out sugary drinks including fruit juices and adding more water to your diet will aid you in your journey.

As important to your eating plan is your exercise plan. Exercise will help you develop overall fitness. A quality plan includes a minimum of three exercise session per week. You want to combine cardio and strength training in your plan. Keep in mind that you don’t have to spend hours in the gym to achieve your goals. Thirty to forty-five minutes per day five days per week is more than enough. Try to find an activity that you enjoy. Walking, jogging, running, skating, swimming, Zumba, hooping… If you find something you enjoy you are more likely to continue doing it. Going for a walk everyday is a great way to start. Some people go all out when they start and end up losing steam because it’s not sustainable. Consistency is the key to long term success.
Staying committed to your goals is a winning strategy. You can finish this quarter strong and stage the comeback of the year!

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Try this workout to jump start your plan!

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RUNNING ~ Week Five, Day Three: Keep Running!

It finally happened… I FELL! The other day I talked about the challenges of running on city streets and today I met one of those challenges face to face! I was just starting to get into a flow. I was thinking about why I always feel like I’m dying the first mile of my run, I noticed a car pulling up to the corner, I was trying to decide if I was going to go straight or cross the street and then…. I tripped on an uneven patch of pavement and DOWN I WENT! I was so alarmed that I jumped up and kept running!

I knew my knees were scuffed up a little but I didn’t even stop to find out how badly until I reached the next corner. The damage wasn’t bad so I kept going. As I jogged, my knees kind of tingled from pain but I determined that I wasn’t going to turn around. I hadn’t even gotten a mile in yet. In my head I kept hearing, “Keep Running”! So I continued on to the track. Oddly, the adrenaline rush I got from the fall propelled me to a slightly faster first mile time than I had all week.

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When I got to the track I noticed that I had a Facebook message on my phone from my lifestyle mentor Dr. Ian Smith! It was just what I needed to take my mind off of falling, off of being in pain, off of wanting to quit! At that point I was inspired to keep going and finish strong!
As I mentioned the other day, every day as a runner is different. There’s always something new to challenge your drive and enthusiasm. I am finding that if you continue to push on and persevere you can overcome anything!

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Today I overcame not wanting to run today, falling, injury, and just plain wanting to stop and go home. I ran 3.01 miles and walked .91 today. As far as I’m concerned I’m very proud of myself for continuing despite the obstacles I faced. When I came home I put some ice on my knees and marveled at the runner that I have become.

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As you continue on your journey, let me inspire you to not give up despite the obstacles you face. Keep going until you reach your goals. Take one step at a time and you will get there! Just KEEP RUNNING! Have you ever faced an obstacle that you had to overcome? What was it and how did you overcome it?

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