Things I’ve Learned Since Returning to Work

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So, I’ve been working outside the home for almost 6 months now. It’s definitely one of those weird time paradigms because it seems like I just started but I also can’t imagine my days/life without this job.

Things are going extremely well. I’ve settled into a good routine and I whole-heartedly enjoy what I’m doing on a day-to-day basis. I’m excited to start and build a career here. And it’s more than just a job for me now – it’s a social experience, too, which makes going to work enjoyable and even fun.

I wanted to share some of my thoughts – things I’m loving and not loving – about working.

Eliminate or cut back on the time sucks. This isn’t a nice to do, it’s a must do. I’ve cut back tremendously on the things that suck time out of my day – especially in the mornings when I’m rushing around and in the evening when I’m home and spending uninterrupted time with my boys. Prepping things like work and running clothes, coffee, lunch bags for the boys, lunch for me all save my husband and I a great amount of time in the mornings. I also don’t check social media or do much of anything on my phone until I am on the bus. It’s so easy to plan to check one thing and then 15 minutes later, the phone is still in your hand.

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    Juggling Family, Work And Life With Long Distance Running

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    This post was originally featured on Women’s Running (it can be found here).

    Training for long distance races (half marathon, marathon, ultras) is difficult in and of itself. It becomes a whole other challenge when you factor in all the responsibilities many of us have–being a spouse, having children, owning or maintaining a home and/or working a full or part time job.

    I had more flexibility with my time before I was married and had kids. It was fairly typical for me to spend a couple of hours each day working out or at the gym. I’d run (with no set training plan–just however far I felt like running that day), cross-train and do some strength or core work.

    These days it is a delicate balance to juggle my responsibilities with my training. My “free” time is limited. I no longer have the luxury of running whenever and however far I like. And so, my training has to be adjusted a few ways.

    Make each mile count. Gone are the days where I just head out to run with no idea of how long or far I will be out. I’ve been forced to get smarter with my training. I am no longer able to waste my time running “empty” miles. Nowadays, each mile has to matter and every run has to have a purpose. I follow a training plan and ensure that when I leave the house, that run means something to me and my goals.

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      Life Lately + Entering Taper

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      easter

      He’s in his bathing suit – it’s an Easter tradition in our family (since I was a little girl) that the Easter Bunny brings your first new bathing suit for the upcoming summer!

      Hope you and your loved ones had a wonderful Easter! We started off the day with baskets, an egg hunt and lots of candy and chocolate.

      Shortly after the festivities, I headed out for my last long run – 18 miles. I can’t say it was a great run. It was incredibly windy (weather app said ~20 mph winds) but it seemed to be gusting MUCH stronger for a lot of the run. And it never seemed to be at my back. It was just one of those runs where you just want it to be over. Lately, I’ve been feeling really bored and lonely for the longer runs and would love to have a friend to chat with and keep the miles easy and relaxed.

      The plan for yesterday’s run was 14 moderate pace and then 4 fast finish. Well, the fast finish didn’t happen. I guess technically it did happen because I pushed harder those last 4 miles, but I didn’t come even remotely close to the paces that my coach had scheduled for me. I’m chalking it up to the crappy wind.

      18 total miles – 7:52 pace. Ran blind for the first 14 and then spent 4 miles staring at my Garmin hoping the miles would tick by faster (and that my pace would drop). Neither happened.

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        Staying Active as the Summer Ends

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        As much as I look forward to summer, I’m always a little excited when it starts to come to an end. I love the crispness in the air as temperatures start to drop and I always have this overwhelming desire to do anything and everything outside again.

        Although this summer wasn’t sweltering like it has been in recent years, I still avoided some of the more demanding outdoor activities with the boys during the days in July and August (unless it involved a pool or water).

        But, as always, once the cooler days start coming around, my family and I try to take advantage of the weather and do as much outside as we can. Below are a few of our favorite activities:

        Nighttime Stroller Running: We’ve only been doing this a few weeks, but it’s a family favorite already. We either take the double and alternate pushing or we each take a single.  It’s a great way for my husband and I to catch up on our days, for the boys to get that last bit of fresh air and for us all to stretch our legs. Lately, the boys have been asking to “run” when we get close to home, so we let them out of the stroller and they run the last little stretch home. 

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          Mamalete Day 2014

          Just a reminder – there are four giveaways (in honor of Mother’s Day) right now (Vitamix S30 Blender Entry into in24 Philly Race + Pair of Saucony Shoes + Sparkly Soul Headbands)

          I hope you all have a wonderful weekend and a special Happy Mother’s Day to all the moms!!!

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          Truth: There are many days where I feel overwhelmed with being a parent. My boys are at ages where they are SO impressionable – I feel like they soak every single thing in (for better or worse) that my husband and I say or do (I learned this the hard way after my oldest started repeating a phrase I yelled at him a handful of times – no curse words, but it wasn’t what I wanted him saying outside the house).  And so we are trying to be the best example we can be. We are trying to lay the foundation for things like a love for school and learning (which I remember my mom instilled in me from the youngest age), a healthy relationship with food, good manners and an active lifestyle.

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            Weekend Highlights + 20 Mile Success

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            This past weekend was amazing! Thank you for all of your words of support and good luck wishes for my husband! He is officially a half-Ironman! =)  Below are some of the highlights from our weekend:

            – Crossing Finish Line with our youngest. I can’t stop smiling at this picture. This is the first finish line the little guy has crossed.

             Half Ironman: Despite the heat (it was 90 degrees + super humid despite being a week into October), a pinched nerve in his neck last week (he was on steroids and muscle relaxers until race day to help with the pain and stiffness), a flat tire on the bike and bad stomach cramping during the run, my husband crossed the finish line!! There will always be something to complain about if you want to, but we are focusing on the good instead. He is a half-Ironman!

            Weekend with our youngest – It was so fun to get 24+ hours with just the little guy. I put a picture up on IG last week and mentioned how I am loving my 90 min twice/week with him right now while my oldest is in “class” (it’s a toddler program that focuses on being around other children and the beginning parts of taking directions/listening). I love that they have each other. I grew up with three sisters and can’t imagine my life without them in it. But, it’s a constant struggle to give them both the undivided attention I wish I could give them. So I will gladly take these special moments when I can.

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              BOB Strollers Review + Stroller Running Q&A

              Are you on TwitterInstagram or Facebook? Let’s connect! 

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              When I lived in NYC and had the opportunity to run in Central Park every day, I saw tons of mothers pushing their little ones in running strollers. I always knew that I wanted to be one of those moms when I had little ones of my own.

              So when it was time to register for my baby shower, I did some research and asked a few friends which stroller brand they recommended for running. All signs pointed to a BOB Stroller by BritaxBut then I had to decide which model to get – there’s the Revolution SE, Revolution CE, Ironman, Sport Utility and Motion. It was a bit overwhelming with all the different models and it was made even tougher because a lot of the baby stores we went to didn’t carry the stroller in the store or only had one model to test out.

              Ultimately we chose the Revolution SE. We did not want to register (or buy) two strollers, so whatever stroller we were going to use for running would have to double as an everyday stroller as well.

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                Single Parenting

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                I have so much respect for single moms and dads.  I function fine with the boys during the day but I start counting down the minutes until my husband walks in the door after he finishes work.  Kind of unfair to him because he just returned from a full day of work too.  But, even if I just occupy myself with one little guy while he gets the other, it’s a huge break. Especially when the littlest is now doing things like this:

                I’ve had to single parent twice in the last week.  It’s exhausting. Straight from work on Friday, my husband headed up to Boston for a wedding and returned late Sunday afternoon.  And then late Tuesday night, he went down to DC for work and returns tonight.  It’s tough to have no break. No help at dinner. Bath time. Cleanup. Bedtime. It doesn’t help either that my youngest has been waking up 1-2x a night lately and the oldest is up for the day just after 5.  So there hasn’t been much sleep for me.  But who needs sleep when you have these two little nuggets?

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                  Breastfeeding and Endurance Sports

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                  I’ve gotten a ton of emails, comments, and messages from readers asking how I am managing to breastfeed while Ironman training.  I am not going to sugar coat this post and pretend that I am doing all of this training while happily and easily breastfeeding without any issues or concerns. SO not the case. Juggling both is hard.  I do a lot of things on a regular basis to ensure I have enough milk. And as my husband can account to, I am often stressing out about how much milk I am providing for the little guy.

                  I’ve had issues with supply (which I discuss below) and it’s almost a daily fight to keep the supply up.  But, here I am – just over 4 weeks away from my first Ironman and still exclusively breastfeeding my 9 month old son.  If nothing else, I hope this post shows that breastfeeding CAN be done while training for long distance events like marathons and even an Ironman. Yes, it takes a bit more time and energy to maintain a healthy supply, but it 100% can be done if you are determined and make yourself as knowledgeable as you can about breastfeeding.

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                    Tempo Run with Double Stroller

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                    Last Wednesday was supposed to be a 45 min run (with 25-30 min at tempo).  My goal pace would have been between 6:40-6:45  (average) for 4 miles.

                    But after deciding to sleep in a bit, my options were either the treadmill or the double stroller.  I spent almost the entire winter logging miles on my treadmill in the basement – long runs, intervals, tempos.  It was the rare occasion when I would head outside – especially on speed days.

                    Now that I’ve been running and biking almost exclusively outside, I DREAD the treadmill.  And I’ve (re)learned that running outside is harder.  A 7:45 pace on the treadmill is much easier (at least for me) than a 7:45 outside.  You have to work for every step, every mile.  And you can’t zone out the way you can on the treadmill – especially on speed days.

                    Truth is, I have been forcing myself to get outside as much as I can.  I’d rather run slower outside on a daily basis and be ready for my pace on race day then run much faster on the treadmill and walk away from a race disappointed.

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                      Enjoy Each Mile

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                      Graduation and Commissioning Day (May 30, 2003)

                      Today is 10 years since I graduated from West Point.  The last 10 years feel as though they flew by.  I can so clearly remember being back at West Point.  But at the same time, being back at school seems like a lifetime ago.  I’m always amazed at how it can feel like that.

                      My four years at West Point were where some of my best memories were made and where some amazing friendships began.

                      Looking back, life seemed SO easy then.  Yes, we had a pretty heavy course-load, extracurricular activities and the occasional room inspection that would take us hours to get ready for (truth be told though, I loved having a spotless room =) ).  But, that was really all we had to concern ourselves with.  No little ones to look after, no cooking, no bills.  We were in college, enjoying our freedom, and making cherished memories with one another.

                      The best part, for me, was that my girlfriends and I were all together.  I was in the same company (and roommates) with my girlfriend, Lauren, for the last three years.  I lived with Annie during our freshmen year.  But, we were never more than 1/4 mile of each other.  Meeting for dinner, tv watching, and girl talk was an almost daily occurrence.

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                        Tired is JUST a State of Mind

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                        Tuesday’s swim workout was tough.  It was 2,800 LONG yards.  It wasn’t a terribly hard workout on paper, but my arms were still {really} tired from Sunday evening’s 2 mile swim.  I felt fatigued during the warm-up on Tuesday morning.  The WARM-UP!!  Not what you want to feel when you have 8x100yd repeats and then 4×200 yd repeats in the set. I can’t even describe to you {how close} I was to calling it a day after the warm up.

                        You always hear about how tired you will be when you train for an Ironman.  But I never fully understood just how tired.  It’s not the tired that I’m used to when I am training for a marathon and am mostly focused on running.  Yes, my legs are tired, but they actually aren’t as tired as they are after a hard mile repeat workout or 20+ mile run.

                        This is a different kind of tired.  My whole body is tired.  It’s more of a general fatigue and flat out exhaustion.  Ironman training is a new ballgame for me.  One day it’s a hard swim.  The next it’s a tough bike ride.  The day after that, it’s an hour run with 800m repeats tossed in the middle for fun (ps. there’s NOTHING fun about that).  The next it’s a steady state brick.  And those are just the weekday workouts.  The weekend ones are even more intense.

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                          I Miss Running

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                          I couldn’t get my act together this week and get out of bed when my alarm went off.  The littlest guy has returned to his twice (or sometimes three) a night wakeup to nurse (maybe a growth spurt?) so I’d like to think it’s from a lack of sleep.  I am slightly OCD and so I set multiple alarms on my phone offset by 5 min – in case I shut the alarm off while I’m still half asleep.

                          The plan works great in theory – and most mornings, I have no problem jumping out of bed with the first alarm (I am typically not a snooze girl) – but when you are exhausted and continually hit snooze on the alarms, it means that there is an alarm going off every 5 min.  You don’t really get any sort of sleep in those 5 minutes.  It’s just enough time to start to fall back asleep before the beeping commences.  One morning, I hit snooze for 40 min.  My husband wanted to kill me.  Per his request, the alarms are now set 10 min apart.

                          This week was an eye opener for me.  Since most mornings I was running behind and couldn’t follow my planned workout, I fit in what I could.  I’ve noticed that when I am pressed for time, my mind and body immediately want to squeeze in a run – not a bike or swim – regardless of what I was supposed to be doing that day.  I think part of it is that I miss running.  It sounds strange to say because I am running – and often times, about 3-5x/week.  But, I miss having my whole day revolve around running – I used to eat, hydrate, sleep for my run the next day.  I like running on tired legs because of a hard run the day before – not because I had a hard bike ride.  And it’s not just the act of running – I am spending more time reading and learning about the other two sports and am finding that I am spending much less time completely focused on running. And I miss it. 

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                            Making Time for My Spouse’s Fitness

                            Don’t forget to enter the Garmin Forerunner 10 Giveaway! 

                            I saw a tweet last week from a new dad saying he was happy to be getting back on track with running post-baby.  My first thought was along the lines of Post-Baby? You didn’t just have a baby!!  But after letting his words sink in for a bit, I began to see more and more truth to what he said.  True, the husbands are not the ones who just carried and delivered a child.  BUT, they DO have a new baby in their lives – and in some ways, I think the spouse’s return to running post-baby may sometimes be tougher.

                            The woman has to deal with the physical limitations of having just given birth, but the spouse may have to deal with his/her own set of challenges that comes with being the spouse of a postpartum woman.  I think it can be challenging for the spouse to juggle fitting in physical fitness while still being supportive at home (especially working a full-time job).

                            From my experience at home, I was given the full support of my husband to return to running very soon after both boys were born.  I had very easy L&D and was given clearance to run when I felt ready.  It wasn’t because I had a race on the calendar, but rather, because I loved running (and missed running w/o carrying around a watermelon!), wanted some semblance of control over my body back, and selfishly needed enjoyed a bit of time away from the stress of a newborn (esp when it was my first!).

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                              Helpful Distraction

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                              Yesterday’s workout – last hard run before Saturday’s 10k:

                              • 1 mile warmup: 8:41 pace
                              • 5k tempo: 6:40 pace (20:43)
                              • 1/2 mile cooldown: 8:17 pace

                              I wanted to do a 5k today to practice running on tired legs to replicate what the second half of the 10k on Saturday will feel like.  My legs were definitely tired – they were starting to burn and feel extremely heavy by the second mile, but I managed negative splits (6:51, 6:42, 6:30) and never felt like I was all-out pushing it until the very end of the 5k.  Yesterday’s tempo and Tuesday’s speed workouts were HUGE confidence boosters for me.

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                              In case you don’t follow me on Instagram or Twitter, I shared a photo of this AWESOME new app (Countdown+ Lite)  that I found out about from Jocelyn! Totally loving it!!

                              Now I just need to get some better pictures to correspond to each race rather than just self portraits =)

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                              When we bought this home last year, it was brand new – no one had ever lived in it before.  I loved it because it was all one color and would be really easy to paint.  My plan was to have the whole house painted before we moved in (or shortly after).  But between being really pregnant, having a new baby, time just getting away from us and not having the money to pay for painting (and all the accompanying upgrades we want), very few rooms have been finished (oldest son’s bedroom, our bedroom, and playroom are the three finished rooms in the house).

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                                Mustela Review + Giveaway

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                                Mustela is the #1 Baby Care and Stretch Marks Brand in Europe and just began selling their line of products, including the 9 Months and Bebe lines, in Duane Reade stores across the United States. 

                                Mustela focuses on selecting only the most natural ingredients to use in their products – any questionable ones such as parabens, alcohol or oils are excluded since they can be harmful to both babies and the expectant moms.

                                Mustela® prides itself as being the skincare expert for babies and mothers-to-be. For this reason, Mustela® offers effective, easy-to-use products of the highest quality, designed to meet the specific needs of newborns, babies, children and expectant and new mothers.  Mustela is the leading cosmetic brand in the European pharmaceutical market for baby products.  In France, Mustela products are present in 90% of all pharmacies and used in more than 50% of maternity units for the care of newborn.

                                I was familiar with several Mustela products, but hadn’t actually tried any until my second son was born two months ago.

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                                  I’m Scared to Run

                                  I’ve been virtually pain-free for almost a whole week.  I say virtually because there are still moments when I overextend myself and feel a small twinge of pain in my lower back/buttocks area due to Posterior Pelvic Pain.

                                  The last 4+ weeks have been a roller coaster of emotions for me:

                                  – During the first week, I just wanted to wake up and not be in pain.  I didn’t think it would be a long-term injury so I figured a few days off from running was probably not the worst thing for my body.

                                  – By the second week, I was frustrated that the pain was still there – and still SO strong.  I no longer thought about running – I just wanted the pain to go away so I could walk normally and take care of my son.

                                  – The third week came and I started to see/feel major improvement.  I was limping less and able to do most things again!  My spirits were higher than they had been in a while because I was hopeful that running was just around the corner.

                                  – The fourth week was a letdown.  Although I felt better, there were still periods of pain and so running was still out of question.  I passed a major milestone:  This was the longest I had EVER gone without a single run (since starting long distance running in 2002).

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                                    A Child’s Ability To Empathize

                                    Loving the Bungee Bouncer!

                                    Thank you to everyone for your positive comments, advice, and support on Wednesday’s post.  I’m happy to report that yesterday was a better day. I was more mobile and not in excruciating pain.  Today is even better.  I also have an ortho appointment for first thing Saturday morning (two hours after we land).  Fingers are crossed!

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                                    As of 5pm Wednesday evening, our “vacation” to Stowe Mountain Resort hadn’t gone as planned.

                                    The pregnancy pain that I talked about on Wednesday forced me (and my son) to stay in the hotel room most of the day.  I was able to move around a little more than Tuesday, but was concerned with my ability to keep up with my speedy 18 month year old and/or hold him when he decided he was tired of walking.  There’s only so much coloring and reading that an 18 month old could do in a hotel room before he starts to go stir crazy.

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                                      Best. Decision. Ever.

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                                      When my husband and I began our house hunting, we were focused on Central Jersey.  We wanted a big house with lots of land.  After 12+ years of living away from home, I was willing to sacrifice proximity to my family to have the house of my dreams.

                                      Last spring, my mom’s wonderfully generous cousins offered up their 2-BR apartment for us to save some money.  It was too good to pass up.  The best part was that the apartment was right next door to my mom’s home.

                                      After just a few short weeks, settling on Staten Island became a possibility.  After another few weeks, Staten Island became our only choice.  We saw how wonderful it was to be so close to family.  We saw how amazing it was for AJ to be surrounded by cousins, aunts, uncles, and grandparents.  We now were willing to sacrifice the two things that initially were the most important to us in order to be a short drive from family.

                                      Fast forward to today.  We actually found the home (with the property) that we had planned on buying in Jersey IN Staten Island.  And the best part?  My parents and youngest sister are a 20-25 minute car ride away.  And my older sister and her husband and daughter are a 2 minute drive.

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                                        Happy Bump Day! (25 weeks)

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                                        Happy Hump Bump Day!

                                        My life has been a whirlwind since my last update THREE weeks ago!  We are finally all moved into our new/first home.  By “all moved in” I mean that everything we own is under one roof – but we still have a long way to go before we are completely settled.   Thankfully, I have about 3 1/2 or so months until Pumpkin makes his/her arrival, so plenty of time to take it slow and get it all done.

                                        The 22 week fetal anatomy appointment went great!  Pumpkin is healthy and on track for size.  The technician was able to get a TON of awesome pictures of Pumpkin – he/she was super cooperative during the ultrasound (much more than my son EVER was during these!).

                                        Running – I’ve really enjoyed running the last few weeks.  I cut back on the number of days/frequency of runs last week (didn’t really run at all!!) because I was so busy with packing, cleaning, and moving.  It felt good to rest my body for an extended period of time.  My pace has definitely slowed down a bit – Most of my runs are now between 8:40-8:50 pace and if I try to get to anything below 8:15 or so, I feel exhausted and out of breath almost immediately. The pace really doesn’t bother me – I don’t wear my Garmin because I don’t want to dwell on the slower pace – I’m more focused on total time/distance running these days.   I’m scheduled to run the NYRR Mini 10k this weekend in Central Park.  I’m psyched to be running again in the Park and even more, am excited for the post-race brunch with some of my favorite NYC bloggers!!

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