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?

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Turkey Trot Training: Run #4 Confidence is Coming

After my horrible run the other day in the cold wind, I jumped back out there today ready to redeem myself. And redeem myself I did! My first mile was much better than the other day. My music was working, my legs were strong, and my breathing improved. I was able to find a comfortable pace and keep moving forward. I guess one could say I had…

“Relentless Forward Motion”

While my body reminded me that I still have more training to do to be ready for the five mile run on Thanksgiving, I could feel my confidence coming back. With every step forward I was able to envision myself running farther and farther. It helped that I challenged my old time again and again my “Little Virtual Trainer” gave me “race” updates. This time she congratulated me when I had passed the “competition” by saying, “Your competition has fallen behind, great job!” There is something about that little voice that just makes me giggle. She actually has a bit of a British accent and it makes me smile.

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As I finished the first mile, I was still “ahead of the competition”. I ended the first mile with an 11:42 min/mile pace. I knew I was going faster than the wind run but I was really not expecting that much faster. This is where the confidence started to build. I was able to keep pushing during the second mile. The second mile, I was comfortable in my pace and relaxed. I tried not to focus too much on how much farther I had to go or too much on technique. I just wanted to finally be able to enjoy a run.

At the end of the second mile I was tired but not exasperated. I ran 2.1 miles at an average pace of 11:42 min/mile in 24:09minutes. That is a whole four minutes faster than the wind run the other day and two minutes faster than Training Run #2! It was a great feeling to know that I was able to challenge myself and win. That is the thing about running. Even if you have a running partner, or run with a group, your real competition is YOU! Even if you never win a race, there are always personal records to break. I am no where near my fastest mile but because I have done it before, I know that I can do it again.

What personal bests are you trying to break? Join the conversation…

If you missed Turkey Trot Training Run#1-3 you can find them on the Team Fit Mommy Website here:
Finally Running Again
Turkey Trot Training Run #2
Turkey Trot Training Run #3: The Good, The Bad, The Ugly

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.

Summer Running, the Affair Continues

My husband has discovered my secret affair. What’s crazy is that he is ok with it and has joined me. I didn’t expect it, but I am so happy he has decided to develop his own affair with running!

Since the last time I ran I have had a hip injury, gained five pounds, lost five pounds, done lots of mountain climbers, burpees and squats with a 45 pound weight bar. Then my husband says, “So, when are you going running?” Hmmmm… I wanted to say never, but I knew that in my heart my love hate affair with running would continue.
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To my surprise when I stepped on the track for the first time this week, I felt like I was home. My husband decided he would start running too, so we waited until it cooled down a bit, loaded our 2 and 3 year olds in the car and headed to the track. We decided we would start off with a mile since neither of us had run in a while.
The first 400m was a little bit of a push but not as challenging as I imagined it would be. I found a good rhythm and was able to keep a good pace. Overall I ended up running 1.15 miles in 13.46 minutes. Not bad for not having run since April. Our second night out I ran a little slower but felt more in control of my breathing and pace. Let me just say all of the conditioning I have been doing in the form of strength training and bodyweight exercises is paying off. I was able to run and feel confident about my running for the first time ever.
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All that is great but the part that motivates me the most is the fact that my husband has decided to join me. We have worked it out that while I run he entertains the kids and while he runs I entertain them. It worked out well. Another great benefit of this plan is that my children get to see and experience their parents being active and maintaining a fit and healthy lifestyle.

I am happy that I am continuing this affair. I hope it lasts a lifetime!
Are you having an affair with running too? Tell us about it. Leave a comment!

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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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