A new normal

A friend of mine, who I met through a run club, recently posted that she had been dwelling in the “remember when” stage of running. She had been struggling and could only focus on the past.

I can relate, because that’s where I’m at, too.

There used to be a time that I was thrilled to finish a race of any kind- 5K, 10K, Half and then a full marathon. While training for the first half and full, I celebrated each time I ran further. Running was full of celebration each time I accomplished something I could be proud of.

Then, I started getting faster. Blowing by each PR at every race I was doing. Again, so many celebrations.

Then I plateaued and started slowing down and it wasn’t fun anymore. Completing a long run or a race no longer felt like such an accomplishment and I began running less. Less often, less miles, less races.

I felt like a fraud once after another runner met up with me at the finish line and said “What was your time… Oh, I thought you were faster than that.”

Yeah, I know that he’s a jerk and that the running community is usually much more supportive of one another, but it stung.

Running got harder and then my husband and I decided to start a family. Running pregnant is really hard, but I’m still at it. It ain’t pretty, but I’m putting one foot in front of another. I’m averaging a 13-minute miles with several walk breaks. This is a new normal.

I plan to run a couple 5Ks this summer and set some “pregnant PRs.” And hopefully, by the grace of God, I’ll be able to find the time to invest in myself and get back at it with a newborn, or shortly after.

Running, like life, is a roller-coaster. It’s full of ups and downs. Little humps get in the way and sometimes you’re on top of the world and other times you’re in a deep valley.

Over my 31-years of life, running has been a priority and it has taken the back seat. This is just the beginning of my new normal and I’m learning to accept that. From here on, my running friend and I are going to focus on the present instead of the past.

Here we go!

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Running Pregnant

Along with a myriad of questions I get when I tell someone we’re expecting, the most common is, “Are you still running?” Yep! Sure am… well, kinda…

At my very first appointment, my doctor insisted I keep running. No marathons, just to keep at it.

HOW on Earth do women do it?! I’m only 17 weeks pregnant and I’m here to tell you- IT’S HARD! I have quite a bit of energy back (after getting through the first trimester- which I’m pretty sure I slept through) but now I feel like I’ve lost some endurance and breathing seems overly difficult. So, I’m still attempting to run, but it always includes walk breaks. In addition, I’m walking some, using the elliptical here and there and still taking yoga 1-2x per week.

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Supposedly yoga and running/walking now, will make labor and delivery go quicker later. Hey, I’m willing to give it a try!

This is our first child, so I spend a lot of time asking the doctor, “Is this normal?” Thankfully, so far, his answer has been, “yes.” While I’m sure that he gets annoyed with all my questions (even though he’s never showed it), I’ve been equally annoyed with some of the comments I’ve received regarding pregnancy and specifically, my belly.

So, as a public service announcement, here are some things YOU SHOULDN’T SAY to an expecting woman:
(and yes, all of these have actually been said)

  • “You probably shouldn’t be running.”
  • “You know, I was wondering… I knew you were on Weight Watchers and I saw your tummy and thought ‘wow, that’s not really working for her.'”
  • “Will you go back to work?”
  • “Was this planned?”
  • “You’re awfully big… are you sure you’re not having twins?”
  • “Wow. You look like you just rolled out of bed.”

JUST DON’T.

You know what I really want to hear right now? Three words: You look great! 

Share with me in the comments: tips for staying active while pregnant?!

 

A healthier generation: My wish for baby Lee

I haven’t officially announced it here, but if you’ve followed along to my Facebook page lately, you know that I’m pregnant and we’re expecting our first child early October!

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I’m currently 17 weeks and I’m excited to be regaining the energy that was literally sucked from my body. I couldn’t wait to go home from work and crawl in bed in February and March and now I’m back to a normal sleep schedule and more workouts. Yay!

I can’t help but think about that little baby growing in my tummy every moment of every day. I even dream about him/her when I’m fast asleep.

Today’s youth are not expected to outlive their parents. Heart disease plays a big part in this, as the number one killer of Americans. I work for the American Heart Association, but more than that, I’m passionate about creating a healthier community and generation.

The work we have to do is more than I can do alone and I’m asking for your help.

I expect more for my child and know you do too. Please consider giving a gift in honor or memory of someone you know, or in honor of our our future generations. To donate to my personal Heart Walk page, please visit this link.

DeEtta’s Taco Soup

I recently saw that someone posted a Weight Watchers taco recipe. I didn’t love everything in it, so when I went to the store tonight I just grabbed a whole bunch of stuff for my own version of the recipe. It was AMAZING.

My husband recommended I use beef next time, but I used ground turkey breast to keep it a 0 point soup. AND he ate two bowls, so I don’t think he really minded.

And because it was 0 SmartPoints, I added some tortilla chips on top and a tablespoon of sour cream. Delish!

This is going to make a great lunch to take to work this week!! I hope you enjoy it as much as I did!

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DeEtta’s Taco Soup Recipe: 
1 can Rotel
1 can corn
1 can black beans
1 can diced tomatoes
1 jar salsa
1 package of dry ranch seasoning
1 package taco seasoning
1 lb 99% fat free ground turkey (cooked)
1 medium onion (sauteed)
1 green pepper (sauteed)
Pepper and cayenne to taste
Optional: 2 cups spicy V8 juice (included in SmartPoints)

Don’t drain the cans, just dump. Mix together in pot and simmer 20 minutes. You can also prepare this in a crockpot!

Serving: 1 cup, 0 SmartPoints
Serves: 16

Optional toppings: tortilla chips, non-fat Greek yogurt/ sour cream, avocado 

2018 Goals

It’s that time of year again… When you’ve over indulged and are ready to get back on the band wagon with a list of New Year’s resolutions…. To lose weight, be more productive and take time for yourself…. sound familiar?

I’m right there with you. Here are some of my goals for 2018 (I like goals over resolutions):

  1. Incorporate yoga in addition to my running workouts. I’m shooting for 1-2 times a week and I started by signing up last week. I’m so looking forward to going back this week to work on stretching, strength and clearing my mind. The next two months of work are hectic at my job and I recognize that I need to carve out time for myself and let the stress of the day melt away before going home to spend time with my husband. After I’m bored comfortable with yoga, I plan to incorporate more weights and strength training.
  2. Say “no” more. For a hot second, I thought I was Super-Woman and took on more than I could handle at work and in my personal life. Saying “no” or “no, thank you” is going to be a focus when it doesn’t fit within my passion, my goals, or my timeframe. “Saying yes to happiness sometimes means saying no to those you are trying to please.”
  3. Run a half marathon this year. I don’t know if I’ll ever run another marathon. After last year’s attempt, I’m not ready to try again just yet. My heart and mind weren’t in it and then I ended up injured following my 18-mile training run. I have started a half marathon training plan that kind of fell apart over the holidays and being sick. I’m focused on picking it back up and completing at least one half marathon this year. I’m actually going to shoot for two in the spring (Liberty Half and Running With The Cows) but if I only get one in, I’ll be pleased.
  4. Grow the Ottawa Running Club. Fliers, Facebook ads and Letters to the Editor are the ways I plan to continue marketing the Ottawa Running Club. The group has grown sparse with the cold weather but I have no doubt numbers will be back up when the weather turns nice.
  5. Read listen to five audio books. My commute to and from work feels more productive when I’m listening to a book. I’m currently listening to Braving the Wilderness by Brene Brown on my phone through Audible. It’s a nice distraction when I’m running, too. Though, all I’ve been listening to lately is “The Greatest Showman” soundtrack! So good!
  6. Lose 30 lbs. Yep, I said it. I have been wanting it, but not bad enough to do the work. I’m getting my mind right to accomplish it. I don’t expect it to happen tomorrow but little by little, I’m hoping to reach my goal.

So, there it is. I put them out in the universe. So tell me, did you make New Year’s resolutions? Did you write them down and create a plan? Share yours in the comments!

What I’m Listening To

Sometimes music gets old. Which, is why I’ve started listening to audio books and podcasts more frequently.

This summer I’ve finished FIVE books, thanks to the Audible app. That’s about four more than I’ve read listened to in the past five years! I’ve started listening to books being read to me while on my commute to work and while I run. I rarely have time make time to sit down and read. It’s just not important to me in the grand scheme of all other things on my list. Sometimes, I need to think about something other than how hard a run is, so an audio book is a great way to let my mind wonder.

Below you’ll find a list of the books I’ve read this summer with how I rated them. All five I finished, were great! One or two that I started, I couldn’t finish, either because the voice reading was annoying or because I wasn’t into it. I learned you can listen to a sample of the voice reading before you purchase, so now I do that. Below the book list, you’ll find some of my favorite podcasts too!

Summer books I listened to: 
The Perfect Stranger by Megan Miranda: 4.5 stars
The Couple Next Door by Shari Lapena: 5 stars
The Woman in Cabin 10 by Ruth Ware: 4 stars
Behind Closed Doors by B.A. Paris: 5 stars (Super intense and heavy)
The Breakdown: 4.5 stars

My favorite podcasts: 

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Human Race is my ALL-TIME FAV. This is storytelling at it’s finest. This is my go-to on my commute after work when I’m trying to motivate myself to run when I get home after a long day. Some of my favorite recent episodes are:

Ali on the Run Show: Ali Feller is a writer and editor in NYC. She shares her own journey of running and has guests talk about marathon training, yoga, mental health and wellness.

Wrongful Conviction: Another favorite! And not at all running related but IT’S SO GOOD. This podcast features men and women who have been convicted for crimes they didn’t commit- some of them had even been sentenced to death. I’m often left thinking “HOW did this happen!?”

So, tell me, what are some of your favorite things to listen to while on the run?

My summer in a nutshell

A lot has happened the summer and I haven’t blogged in a while…. (These are in no particular order.)

  1. Started a running club.
    On 4th of July weekend, I launched the Ottawa Running Club to bring together runners in my community. I have met lots of new people and it’s been a positive experience so far. Every Wednesday evening and Sunday morning we meet at the local rec center. I map an out-and-back route, post the map to our Facebook group, mark each turn with orange flags and set up two water stops along the way.  I set that course for 6 miles on Wednesdays and 8 miles on Sundays, but runners can go at their own pace and turn around at any point. Some days there’s only 2 of us and some days there are 11, and that’s okay.
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  2. Celebrated my goddaughter’s 1st birthday! 
    Miss Maisie had an awesome birthday celebration full of love, laughter, and cake! I loved visiting the Springer family and getting some quality time with my cousin/ friend, Jessie. Jess, I never know if I should introduce you as my friend, or my cousin! I often say friend, because you can’t choose your family, but I choose to have you as my friend! 🙂 Love you and your precious family!
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  3. Spent 10 glorious days at my all-time most favorite event: The Iowa State Fair.
    I took my vacation to go to the Fair, spend time with family and friends, and work at a merchandise store for the Blue Ribbon Foundation. I even got to take miss Maleigh (another Springer kid) with me for a day and show her everything I love about the event. She says that she’s now “a fair-lover for life.” Mission accomplished!
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  4. Got to see my friend & college roommie get married. 
    My mom and I took a girls trip to Normal, Illinois to see Emily get married. It was a beautiful weekend and so good to see her so happy. I was also able to reconnect with some Wartburg College friends.
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  5. Witnessed my parents being inducted into the Iowa 4-H Hall of Fame. 
    My parents were recognized at the Adair County Fair and the induction into the 4-H Hall of Fame took place at the state fair. They have supported Iowa youth in so many ways and it was awesome to see family and friends come together to support and thank them.
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  6. Sent my (little) brother off to college.
    How is that possible!? Hank is only 2 weeks into his time at Iowa State University and so far, life is good. I’m proud of him and I look forward to watching him continue to grow and learn.
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  7. Spent some quality time with our nephew, Kayden.
    Baseball games, ice cream stops, and the Flint Hills Rodeo. We always have a good time with him!
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  8. Trained 75+ people in Hands-Only CPR.
    I had the opportunity to go to 41-Action News and train their employees as part of their partnership with the American Heart Association. It was a super neat event, and something I’ve been trying to accomplish for a couple years now. I feel confident that the Kansas City community just gained 75 life-savers. Pretty cool!
  9. Was diagnosed with IBS.
    TMI, I know. BUT, I finally found some answers to the stomach issues that I’ve had for the past 2 years. I’m on medication and a probiotic that helps me manage things. Running with IBS brings on a whole new set of challenges. That’s a blog post for another day…
  10. Celebrated 7 years with the love of my life. 
    Okay, so this hasn’t actually happened yet, but it will, in 12 days. We went on our first date nearly 7 years ago, and shared our first kiss at the Ol’ Marais Car Show, right on Main Street in front of God an everyone. (Shhh… don’t tell him I told you that!) In October, we got married just a couple blocks down from that first kiss location.
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    So it’s been a good summer… I’m sorry I’ve been slacking with the blog posts! More to come!