Monday, December 24, 2012

Mondays in Love: Merry Christmas!!

Holy moly, it's been a month since I last posted to the ol' blog. A MONTH! I think this is a first in the history of JoannaRuns. The last month has been hectic and honestly, I needed a break from whatever I could find that I could temporarily throw overboard.

So, MERRY CHRISTMAS!! And so much else to love.

1. Happy dating anniversary to my love
Mr. Joanna and I started dating 11 years ago yesterday. It's hard to believe it's been that long. Time flies, we're having fun.

2. Hitting my goals
After the baby was born in April, I made the goal of returning to my Christmas 2010 weight by Christmas 2012. I am thrilled, beyond thrilled, to say that I not only met but exceeded this goal. In fact, I'm 9 lb. under that goal!! Only 5 lb. to go before I'm back to my pre-pregnancy weight. I'm feeling good. 

3. Christmas with little kids
Tell me this isn't pure magic. 

4. I'm on track to beat my highest mileage month since January
Not sure I need much more explanation here. Yay! 
(and, for the record, I traded into new shoes around 12/4)

5. I finally debuted my new Brooks winter jacket, and it's awesome

When I ran this morning it was 31 but felt like 20. It was glorious. And this jacket was perfect. It's fleecy on the inside, has thumb holes, a hood (which I didn't use), and pockets that are big enough for use. Love, love, love. 

Happy running everyone! I promise I'll start catching up on your posts soon!

Monday, November 26, 2012

Mondays in Love: Staycation!!

Pretty soon I will be making decisions and signing up for spring races. Before we get to those decisions, I'm enjoying running when I wanna and having some extra family time. It was a thankful Thanksgiving in that way. Rather than doing a traditional Thanksgiving, my brood and I really needed a break and some down time, so we planned a whole staycation and had an absolute blast.

We stayed at a hotel with a pool (HUGE hit with the kiddos), went to the Thanksgiving parade and saw everything from the Grinch to this:
Yes, a huge shopping cart. wth??

We went out to a fancy Thanksgiving dinner, played games, and went to the Arch. The baby woke up just in time to take in the sights. 

I topped the weekend off with a perfect 5 miles on Sunday, done with a smile on my face and early winter in the air. Life is good this holiday season!! Were you thankful for running this year? 

Monday, November 19, 2012

Mondays in Love: The Intersection

A few times in the past week I've been struck by how frequently running habits show up in my non-running life. From the funny to the quirky to the kind, I decided to share these moments that have made me smile.

  1. My hubby and I were standing in the kitchen talking when --BAM-- out of nowhere I drop back into a calf stretch without thinking anything of it. He stopped what he was saying, stifled a laugh, and mimicked exactly what I had done. Know what? It's kinda weird! 
  2. The pedestrian mall through the middle of the campus where I work used to be a city street, so the sidewalk is really wide. The other day while walking back to my office from a coffee break, I realized that I was walking dead center on this sidewalk. You know, gotta keep those ankles from getting strained, run on the crest of the pavement! But it didn't even make sense. I was wearing heels, and the center of the sidewalk was a seam in the concrete, which I kept getting a heel caught in. I moved myself to the side, walked another 10 steps and realized I'd merged back to the center. Aaagh! Silly runner!
  3. On Saturday night we went on a Christmas light walk that's organized by the park district. We had to park about a 5 minute walk from the park. So we parked, put the kids in their wagon (so cute!), and headed toward the park. As we were crossing a small road I thanked the police officer who was there to direct traffic. I realized while I was saying it that it's totally something I learned from doing road races. Always thank the people who are there to protect. 
How does running intersect your non-running life? Do you notice new, weird, or nice habits? 

Monday, November 12, 2012

Mondays on Notice: Sick, again

I am so tired of being sick. I don't remember ever being sick so frequently. Ever. I was so sick Friday night that I finally took myself to the ER to get re-hydrated and get the nausea stopped. Then I slept all day Saturday and did the bare minimum Sunday, by which time my older son was sick. He stayed home from school today and I worked but didn't feel great about life.

And so I put it on notice--sickness. Enough. 

But there's a silver lining. I did still run this morning, and with a friend, even. About 3.6 miles, slow and chatty in the cool (cold) morning. Since moving here two years ago I've done the vast majority of my running solo. I think it's about time for that to end. I think it's time to run with people again. This morning was fun.

I've been fantasizing about next year's races. Maybe the first training cycle can be my introduction back into group running.

Monday, November 5, 2012

October Recap

Hi guys. I know I've been really MIA lately. Things have been crazy, and the running has been inconsistent. I am in one of the worst dry spells ever in blogger history for content, and haven't wanted to post just for the sake of posting. But alas, October came and went, so I have a monthly recap (and a happy one!) to share. Yay!

Miles ran: 37.4, hell yeah!! My highest mileage month in 9 months! Also, it put me over 200 miles for the year.
# runs: 10
highest mileage week: 11.8 miles
favorite run: easily my 5 mile "long" run. It felt like a huge victory to break that 5 mile mark again!!
current goal: continue increasing the monthly mileage
current obsession: Christmas shopping. I LOVE Christmas shopping and I try hard to chip away at it over a period of a few months so it isn't too overwhelming all at once.
current need: pretty sure I need new running shoes. It's a good life! Also, work pants, which is just a sore and annoying point.
current excitement: I just got back from my annual academic conference. I always look forward to it. It inspires me and motivates me, and exhausts a bit in the process. But I have this buzz coming off it and heading back to the office tomorrow. And as excited as I have been about the trip, it's nice to be home too. I spent a lot of time away from these people in October.

current bane of my existence: nothing really share-able
current wish list: same as last month, month before that, and month before that--sleep.
current indulgence: I bought a few new pieces of work clothes last moth that felt like a nice indulgence. I tried to buy things that fit now but won't be too crazy big once I fully return to my pre-pregnancy size.

Happy November, runners! Here's to ongoing beautiful weather, inspiration, and health!

Monday, October 29, 2012

The blur that is my life

So, I know. Ok, I know. I've been a little MIA. I've always referred to October as academic napalm and this year is no exception. Things have been crazy. Fortunately I can see the light at the end of the tunnel and it is close. Also fortunate, I haven't had to forsake the run. In fact, last week I surpassed a handful of goals: made October my highest mileage month, finally hit a 5-mile "long" run, and cleared 200 miles for the year. But I felt like I plastered that excitement all over dailymile......and, that's about all the running content I've got around here. So instead, a photo dump and glimpse into my life. 

apple pie is the way to my hubby's heart

Ha! Found in the bathroom at a coffee shop near work.

Skyping with 2 of my 3 boys while I'm on the road for work

Chocolate covered pretzels. Only on a college campus.

Stay dry everyone! If you can't run outdoors or get to an indoor track safely, then it's time for some at-home cross-training. Be safe and live to run another day!!

Monday, October 15, 2012

Messages for Runners

This week you get a message I love and a message that clearly need to be put on notice. The first is from this month's Runner's World and really inspired me. The second, complete with its actual grammatical errors, is something I received at work. I can't make sense of either of these "handy tips" we got. Can you??

Monday, October 1, 2012

September Recap

I am feeling like I am finally back into a consistent enough swing of things to resume monthly recaps. My first monthly recap is modest, but ever so happy. Here goes.

Miles ran: 24.6
# workouts: 8
highest mileage week: 10 miles (woot! first double digit week in a loooong time!)
Favorite run: my first post-baby 5k! The second 5k of the month was also great, but nothing beats your first time :)

Current goal: increase mileage in October
Current obsession: kinda into Halloween decorating right now, mostly because my 4-year-old thinks it's the most exciting thing ever, and I can't resist egging him on.
Current need: a new sports bra
Current excitement: on the work front, I got a paper accepted to a journal I've long targeted. That felt good! On the home front, I'm continuing to very slowly lose weight. I'm definitely under my Christmas 2010 weight and still going strong.
Current bane of my existence: lack of sleep.
Current wish list: to wear a dress to work. I miss wearing dresses. Especially my tweed one.
Current indulgence: I recently purchased two winter weather running tops from REI online clearance. One of them in particular is just absurdly nice, especially for the $40 I paid for it. It has a hood, thumb holes, covered zippers, interior mp3 pocket, ventilation, thermal, etc. And I love the color (I got the cobalt). There will be pics once the weather gets cold enough, which won't be a while yet. I'm still in short sleeves.

What's your favorite piece of running gear? New or old, winter or summer? Simple or bells and whistles?

Happy October--my favorite running month of the year. Run strong and smile!!

Monday, September 24, 2012

Mondays on Notice: Sins of a Runner

Yesterday our little family was headed to a party about 2 hours from home. We were super excited to go--we would see friends and celebrate some wonderful things in their lives. We got about half way there and the warning lights on my dashboard lit up like Christmas lights. After some recon at an Auto Zone, we figured out that it had something to do with the cooling of the hybrid engine. All we could do was turn around and drive slowly home, out of fear of over-heating. As we drove along under the 70mph speed limit, I wanted to hang a sign on the back that said "sorry we're slow--we're having some car trouble and need repair!"

poor thing! But she got all fixed up today at the dealership--under warranty even!

Then I realized, this was the perfect metaphor for how I've felt as a runner these past few months.

I realized recently that when I talk to people about running, I've been introducing myself with an asterisk. I feel the need to tell people, "But I had a baby 5 months ago" or "I ran a marathon last year." This is my runner's sin: pride.

Since I got the all-clear to start running again after baby boy's birth, I've been slowly building back up. I've increased my distance, up to 4 miles. I've lowered my pace. I've slowly lost weight, though I still have a long way to go. I've made a lot of progress, and I'm so pleased with it and proud of myself.

Why can't I just be proud of where I am today? Why do I feel the need to let people know that I have and will be a better runner than what I am today? Yes, running has an element of pride in it, but now is a time to celebrate my progress and celebrate without reservation others' races and training and awesomeness. I've let this monster creep up and take root in me, and it needs to go.

Anyone else had this happen? What did you do about it?

Monday, September 17, 2012

Mondays on Notice: The Plague

People on fb might be tired of hearing about it, and somehow it's not even news here except it its ridiculous, never-ending magnitude: my household has had the plague.

It's true. For 10 long days we were ravaged by upset stomachs, fever, pink eye, and exhaustion. As proof of how bad things got, here's my normally very smiley, happy baby after he was well past the worst of it. (if you don't see a picture it's because I've removed it--I'm only planning to leave it up for a few days)
My heart breaks a little every time I see this picture. 

I'm about 90% now, but guess who has zero miles to show for the past week? I think this means that I need to start working on upping that long run mileage to balance things out for the month.

What say you? Make up miles for sick time, or ease up and let it go?

Wednesday, September 12, 2012

Running with the animals, or sick on my couch

It has been a rough couple'a days around our house. It all started with big brother coming home sick on Thursday, and finds us today with a healthy big brother, a baby brother and Mr. Joanna with fevers and pink eye, and me with a fever. My day consisted of feeling gross and consuming an unethical quantity of Powerade, and not much else.

Suddenly finding myself with some downtime, of all things I decided to read my son's National Geographic Kids. Bet you didn't know they made compression suits for horses, huh? Ha!

Is it just me, or does this make you want to run with the wind blowing your hair back? Hmm. Just me? Ok. Once I got over imagining myself in a full-body compression suit, I decided this was a, uh, more reasonable picture to aspire me to health and getting back on the road. :)

Here's hoping for feeling at least 80% in the morning. I'm optimistic. 

Monday, September 10, 2012

Mondays in Love: PROGRESS!!

This Monday, I give you this wonderful, happy, joyful bit of an update:
(for those of you newer to my blog, I was pregnant last fall and had a baby in early April)

August was my highest mileage month since freaking JANUARY!! (yes, that's purple just because I'm that excited!) Yes, it was a measly 28.5 miles, but it was a glorious, I-found-time-somehow 28.5 mile love fest. It is a steady building back up from only walking a few miles in April and May. It was a huge step up from July.  And I'm on track to increase that number again this month. 

AND, I collected my first post-baby hardware this weekend! On Saturday I ran another local 5k, where I took 3rd place female 30-34 (I know--who gives out medals for that at a 5k? These people, I suppose) and I won a door prize for a $10 gift certificate to a coffee shop near my work that is supposed to be ah-mazing. But my favorite part? I improved on last weekend's 5k time by about 40 seconds. I think that's the part that was the sweetest. Even if I did almost get beat (seriously) by a 10ish year old. What? Leave me alone. She was fast. 
Show of hands--how many of you have this race shirt? I loved that race!

Monday, September 3, 2012

Mondays in Love: First 5k in the books!

The time had come, the time had come, post-baby 5k, it was time to run! 

Except.....not. On Wednesday I went to check packet pick-up information for my Friday evening 5k and realized that my registration had gotten totally botched. I'd registered through a Groupon and hadn't read the fine print that said I'd needed to register online by a certain date. So to run, I was going to have to drive to the edge of the earth, pay the full price registration, and chance whether the race was actually going to happen with Isaac moving in. So, I bagged it.

Enter a local charity 5k to save the day! And even better, it was in the park near my house, I could register race day, and it benefited a great cause. So Saturday morning I literally ran down the street to get registered before the start. I got there, registered as quickly as I could....then realized I was an hour early. Oops! I stretched, paced, sat for an hour before lining up.

I was nervous. Yes folks, nervous about a 5k. I knew I could do the distance, but it was a moment of truth. Could I sustain a pace? Could I come in under my goal time of 30 minutes (which I'd kept to myself)? Was I going to get passed by 8-year-olds eating peanut butter crackers? .....and.....GO!

Mile 1: Getting started, I felt like I didn't have a lot of power in my legs. But maybe half a mile in I loosened up and got into the swing of things. I did a pace check about .4 miles in and realized I was going way too fast. I decided to just run by feel and check pace at the mile splits. So I settled in.

Mile 2: Fortunately for me I know the park so well that I could anticipate the hills and knew when to push it and when to hold back. At no point did this run feel easy, so anticipating the course was a huge help.

Mile 3: I knew my pace had slowed down some and I was feeling tired. The thought crossed my mind that I could walk a bit, but I quickly squashed the thought. I knew every step of the way to the finish line--I've run it a million times. So I envisioned the course ahead and put my head down.

Finish: I came across the finish in 28:28--well below my 30 minute goal. I was, as I've been many times, humbled and thankful to run so substantially slower than a did I year ago. The bottom line is that I've got my first post-baby race in the books! It can only get easier and faster from here.

I picked up my goodie bag and walked back up the street to my boys. This is the stuff Saturday mornings are made for. Love.the.race. <3

Wednesday, August 15, 2012

JoannaRuns: Out Of Office

So, I missed my regular Monday post. Why? Because I was out having an awesome long weekend with my bff, who was visiting with her bf from back east. It came to a close way too quickly!  I'm pretty sure I gained 45 pounds from all the yummy food we ate. She got to meet my baby boy and hang out with my older kid, who she's met several times before (including last year during our vacation, here). And we did all the StL touristy stuff, most of which I'd actually never done, like going up in the arch and touring the Anheuser Busch plant. I love living somewhere that gets tourists!  

leaning against the arch

inside the Basilica, which is nothing short of jaw-dropping

Her bf and I went for two runs during their visit. I loved getting to show off my park to someone from out of town, and it was great having someone to run with. I'm pretty sure he could have blown off my barn doors on pace, but he didn't say anything. :) 

On the training front, at this point I'm confident I can handle the distance of my upcoming 5k. Woot! This is a seriously great thing, because since registering for the race we've scheduled the babe's baptism for that weekend, meaning a lot of my family will be in town and probably will come downtown with us that evening to spectate and eat yummy food. No DNF'ing with the whole fam in attendance! My pace isn't improving as much as I'd like, but I'm also not putting in a ton of miles. I think I might get in a third run this week though. Maybe--just maybe. There will be dailymile celebrating if I do. Oh yes.

Monday, August 6, 2012

Mondays in Love: Olympic Fever!

Like many of you, I have Olympic fever! I smiled all over my face when a friend of a friend on fb said that after watching some track events, she signed up for her first road race in 9 years. Love it!! I love what the Olympics can inspire in each of us. For instance, this commercial resonated with me:

Ok, so maybe I'm dramatizing, but I kinda feel like this kid right now when I run. And the message encourages me, and reminds me that my fastest race times all happened after I had my first kid.

Then, Runner's World. I've read my September issue cover-to-cover and would have pitched it in the recycling already, but I'm loving having the "Runs For Glory" section to give me some context on the runners and expectations for each event. RW had Shalane Flanagan slated for the bronze. It was painful watching the race this morning, but I couldn't have been prouder of how she finished--with nothing in the tank. She gave it her all, and when she needed a hand, Kara was right there at the finish to walk with her. No medal, but they did us proud.

Monday, July 30, 2012

Mondays in Love: Humbled, Thankful

I have some great news: my Garmin is back in working order! It seems I had a two-fold problem: the device's software was way out of date and the wall-charger had become non-reliable. The software issue meant it was never entering power save mode, and the wall charger issue meant that once it turned off, I could no longer charge it. Thank goodness for Garmin customer service, which I am so impressed with!

With the Garmin back, I've finally been able to do a pace check. The results? Humbling.
that says 10:23 average pace over 2.19 miles, if you can't read it. Sometimes I swear blogger decreases my photo quality somehow.

Going back through my training log, this is the fastest I've run since December 8th, when I was about 5 months pregnant, and I ran only a few seconds slower in mid-January, at 6.5 months pregnant. It's humbling to know that I was still (much) faster at 5 months pregnant than I am now. It's humbling to be winded after 2 miles. It's humbling to expend such effort to run 1.5 minutes/mile slower than I did a year ago. 

And I'm thankful. Mostly, that my Garmin works again and I don't have to replace it. Score! But thankful too that getting disciplined and setting a schedule that allows me to run seems to be working. I got in two runs last week and am on track to do it again this week.  

Losing the weight, finding the time, and actually running post-baby are hard. But one of the things I love about running (and, truthfully, about my profession) is honing the discipline that it takes to improve. My upcoming 5k is starting to feel like a great venue to start setting goals again, one week at a time. 

Monday, July 23, 2012

Mondays in Love: First race!!

I have big, BIG news:
I've signed up for my first race post-baby!!

On August 31 I will be running the Torchlight 5k. Not only is this my FIRST RACE BACK (just in case my enthusiasm wasn't obvious already), but they will have food trucks at the finish of this early evening race. Know what that means? I can bring my whole family and they can dig in and enjoy while momma's out running her booty off. That's a win for everyone as far as I'm concerned!

You may remember that I discussed the possibility of doing a 4th of July 4-miler. What I'd forgotten was that we'd previously purchased tickets for Six Flags and a Cards game for that same day. Also, it was 104 degrees out. So....that race really didn't happen. No biggie. I can't run 4 miles yet anyway.

Ok ok, so back to the good part--my upcoming race (eeee!! So happy I can't stand it!). I have about 6 weeks until race day. That's long enough to shoot for a better goal than "finish alive." I ran 1.85 miles on Saturday without stopping, so I know I can do the distance with a bit more training. But, with 6 weeks, I also have a little opportunity to work on starting to get my pace back in check. Current pace: slow. Goal pace: less slow. Ha, sorry--with my Garmin still busted (more on that later), that's about all I know for pace right now.

The big question right now, how am I going to find the time to run more frequently? 'Cause right now I'm at about once a week, on Saturdays. I've decided to pick one day a week that I can consistently be in bed ridiculously early, letting me get up and run in the morning before work. It's not much for someone who ran a marathon 14 months ago, but it still means doubling my weekly mileage, and I'm gonna take that for now.

Monday, July 9, 2012

Mondays in Love: Winning

Wait..that's not right. Runners don't have tiger stripes. So why am I winning? 

WIN: The heat wave has broken. I could have gone running midday today! The rest of the week is supposed to be lovely, especially for July. Some days we have highs in the 80s!!

WIN: Last time I weighed myself, I was back to my Christmas 2010 weight!! This was my first goal in weight loss post-baby and it makes me so happy. I can now wear most of my pants. The "4th trimester" is over. So far, 16 down, 14 to go. Next goal: another 4 pounds.

WIN: Yoga. I'll explain: So, I've had a really hard time finding minutes in the day to sneak in a run, and I'm neither apologizing nor feeling bad about it. And baby is still too young for a jogging stroller, so I can't run during the day with him. But yoga? Yoga I can do at home during the day while baby is sleeping (I'm still home two days a week). And holy cow but I need it. I remember this from after Big Brother was born, too. In the last week or so, suddenly I'm realizing how crazy stiff I am. My knees hurt. My calves and hams are stiff. My back is creaky. So yoga? Hells yeah. Bring it.

HOPEFUL/POTENTIAL/FINGERS CROSSED WIN: Baby brother is to the age that he should start sleeping through the night any time now. When that happens, it will become much easier to get a good night's sleep and hopefully get in more of those morning runs. I can't wait!!

Monday, July 2, 2012

Mondays on Notice: More Gear Questions

After being at home for 2 months on maternity leave and being home now 2 days per week (I'm back to work part-time through the end of this month), I've made HUGE progress on getting my house organized. You know, simple things that adults should be on top of, like getting all the birth-related medical bills and corresponding insurance statements organized, paid, and filed. Getting the house cleaned a bit more frequently than before. Well, among my culling of items to organize or pitch, I've collected an impressive pile of old running shoes.

no, not actually.

I kept them hoping to donate them to one of those shoe programs it seems like I'm forever reading about. The Whole Foods here was collecting them for a while, but when I went to donate mine their collection had ended. This seems to be the story of me and running shoes. What do you do with yours?? Help! I don't want to pitch them, but they've gotta go.

Monday, June 25, 2012

Mondays in Love AND On Notice

I've got a two-fer for you today--Mondays in Love and Mondays on Notice.

Mondays in Love: Anniversary Edition
It's been a lot of things:
It's been 7 years, 3 states, 1 PhD, 2 houses, and 2 babies. 
It's been his support of me through fundraising, watching kids, and cheering me on through 
3 marathons, 6 half-marathons, and thousands of miles.
It's been me and my hubby creating a crazy, chaotic life that we love. <3

Mondays on Notice: Running Gear
I have not one, but two pieces of running gear I need to put on Notice today. I'm hoping someone can give me some insight on the first. 
That's right, my Garmin has died again. And this time, I can't get it to turn back on. WTH?!? I only got my Garmin two years ago and this one is already a manufacturer replacement for the first, which stopped recording maps. With this one, I could never get it to stop trying to find satellites, and I think it just finally killed the battery beyond what I can charge. Or not. I don't know. I'm going to call Garmin Support tomorrow, but does anyone have ideas of what I could do? I REALLY don't want to have to replace it.

Second, it took me a mere embarrassing two years to completely clear this spot of floor once we moved in. And once I got everything picked up and put away, I still had one stubborn pile pile of Runner's Worlds. Am I the only person who doesn't get every page of them read and ends up with a pile? At what point do you commit an afternoon to reading through them or just pitching them? 

Run strong my friends! 

Monday, June 18, 2012

Mondays on Notice: Found Not Guilty

Blogger admission of truth: when I read (or write) posts about being too busy to run/train/exercise, I almost always (almost!) think the same thing--excuses. So it is with great hesitation (seriously, it's taken me all day to feel ok about this post) that I'm about to say this:
I have just been too exhausted to find the early hours to run more than about twice a week. 

Since this time last night, here's what my day has looked like:
  • From 10-11pm I fed the baby, washed baby things and dishes, straightened up the bedroom, packed baby things for daycare today, and went to bed. 
  • Woke up at 2am to feed the baby, take Big Brother to the bathroom.
  • Woke up at 4:30 to soothe the baby and coax him back to sleep, then eventually feed him
  • Woke up at 6:30 to soothe & feed baby
  • 7-7:45, breakfast and being a mommy to my two boys, getting everyone out of the house
  • 7:45-9:15, cleaning up the kitchen, packing up all my stuff, iron pants, shower, dress, out the door (how in the WORLD does it take so long?!?)
  • 9:30-5:30, work, stopping 3 times to, um...prepare baby food (sorry dudes!) and once to run home and back because I forgot lids for the bottles
  • 5:30-8, dinner, playing with Big Brother, and his bedtime
  • evening, paying bills, writing blog post, and, believe it or not, working--I'm up against a deadline
  • rinse and repeat, except tomorrow I have a work meeting that starts at 7:30am. 
As Kdot says, you can't work, have a little tiny baby, and keep up a serious hobby. Pick two of the three. That's the limit. 

Babies generally start sleeping through the night around 3 months. Some start a little earlier, some take well over a year. But until baby is on a somewhat predictable schedule, it's very hard for parents to be on a very predictable schedule. And we're exhausted. Exhausted. 

When I take a hard look at myself and ask if I'm making excuses, I have to find myself Not Guilty. I was a lot harder on myself when Big Brother was little tiny, and I learned the hard way not to be. So this is me saying heck yeah for starting back, however slowly. Saying heck yeah for fun runs, slow runs, and sleeping when I can. This is me putting guilt On Notice. 

Monday, June 11, 2012

Mondays in Love: Wisdom

This morning I filed Run #3 in the Run & Done folder and I loved it for so many reasons. Like my last run, I did a 3:1 run/walk. It's hard! It makes me really appreciative. 

Reason #1: It's humbling to remember how hard it is to start from scratch or close to it. I think when I'm really fit, it's easy to forget how hard this is for beginners. It's good to be reminded of that from time to time. I was out 11 weeks. It will help me be a better Running Big (get it, like Bigs in sororities and frats?) later on. 

Reason #2: I haven't felt like I was going to die. After Big Brother was born I thought I was going to kick it on my first few runs back. I 100% attribute the change to running wisdom. This time around I know how important it is to ease back into things and gradually build up. I know what I need to stretch to keep from hurting myself. I know how to manage hydration better. And this time around I know that the fitness will return, and in relative terms, pretty quickly. 

Reason #3: I barely beat the sticky sick weather and the rain today and got my run in during some lovely morning weather. I LOVE when I do that. Joanna 1, Summer 0. 

Reason #4: I saw a billboard advertising a 4 mile race on the 4th of July. Since I haven't felt like I was going to die, I'm considering making this my  first race back. What do you think? Is this reasonable? It won't be a PR--I'm not ready for that--but I think I can get up to that distance. Right? I'm at about 2.5 run/walk right now. 

In other news, my office move is...going. There is stuff EVERYWHERE. My new bookshelves didn't come with the hardware to install the shelves, so while I wait for Facilities to send them to me, all my stuff is still in the shrink-wrapped rolly cart that they used to move my stuff. And the giant cart is taking up the space I need for my appliances, reading chair, and coffee table. It's a hot mess. But it's a hot mess I'm still pretty thrilled to have. 

Thursday, June 7, 2012

The Weekly Check-In: Progress!

Today's weekly check-in is the second installment of getting the blog caught up to life here in the real world. On the weight loss/getting back to speed front, there's mostly good news and a little wrist slapping going on.

The good news is that I'm down another 2lb! This puts me exactly halfway between Fit and Baby and only 1lb over my intermediate goal of reaching my Christmas 2010 weight. Woohoo! I think I can mostly chalk this up to being insanely busy these past two weeks and being constantly on the go. Oh, and I'm back to running. :)

The wrist slapping is that right after I started journaling my food the circus came to town for The Kiddo's birthday party (which was great fun!) and I promptly fell off the journaling wagon. Time to get back on my horse.

I've been thinking lately about the challenges I have to weight loss and the opportunities I have. The biggest among my challenges are simply time and energy. Baby Brother is still a little small for a jogging stroller, so I need to run when Mr. Joanna is home and can watch him. Early morning hours are unlikely because I am so completely sleep deprived (although I did an early AM run today!!). Evening hours haven't worked out yet, but I'm thinking with a little concerted effort, I might be able to make this an opportunity. Sometimes.

Time constraints have been a huge challenge here these past two weeks. The utter insanity around here lately is from a few things. First, remember how we sold our house and moved two years ago? Well, to make a long story short, the sale didn't go through. We've been scrambling to get it cleaned up so new people will love it and buy it. For real this time. On this front, I think the crazy part is over--whew!

Also, I've been back to work part-time while being home with the baby full-time. I've had some regular work projects going on, but by far the craziest part of work is that one colleague and I are moving to another department and are consequently moving our offices...tomorrow. This is highly unusual in higher education, and is usually the result of fairly dramatic circumstances, as was the case here. This is the end product of the madness that I mentioned had been going on at work some time ago. I'm so, SO thankful it's over, and will be happy to return to a calmer work life. The move is a really positive change for us.

I don't have pictures for this post so you get a gratuitous pic of Baby Brother with my Dad. <3

Monday, June 4, 2012

Mondays in Love: My Maiden Voyage!!

Ohmygoodness, I have SO much to catch y'all up on after taking last week off from blogs while the circus* was in town for the kiddo's birthday. Some of it you're gonna have to wait for the Weekly Check-In to catch up on. But the most exciting piece, right here, right now:


I did a 3 mile run/walk with my neighbor on Saturday. You know what? It put a HUGE smile on my face. Was it slow? Yes. Were my legs sore the next day? Yes. Did the effort level feel like I should be moving way faster? Yes. And I loved it. I am BACK! I can't wait to hit the roads again. 

My next time out I'm planning to do regular run/walk intervals and pick up the pace a little bit during the run intervals from what I did on Saturday. I am 100% OK with the fact that it's going to take a while to get back into top racing form. I'm just thrilled to start the journey! 

* circus (n): the congregation of my entire family at one time. That's 4 kids ages 4 and under, my husband and me, my brother and his wife, my parents and my MIL. 

Wednesday, May 23, 2012

The Weekly Check-in: Running the Numbers

Welcome to the second edition of The Weekly Check-in, where you can catch all things related to my journey to weight loss and getting back on the road post-partum. I learned a lot this week.

To get started, I logged into, which I hadn't done in a very long time, and reset my current weight, goal weight (-18lb), current exercise level (walking 5mi/week), and a target date for my slimmer physique. For anyone trying to lose weight, I highly recommend sparkpeople. It's free and gives you all the tools you need for the task at hand. Right away, the site told me how many calories per day I should be eating to lose 1 lb per week. And immediately I learned lesson #1 of 3 about why I lost zero pounds in the past week.

Lesson #1: It is really difficult to lose weight while I am both breastfeeding and not yet cleared for exercise. 
This came as something of a surprise because I've always heard that bf'ing helps melt the pounds away. The problem? BF'ing women are advised to eat a minimum of 1800 calories per day. However, according to sparkpeople, I should be eating 1440-1690 calories per day in order to lose about 1 lb per week. When I increase the number by 300 calories (what you burn by BF'ing), that brings me to 1740-1990. Adjust the lower number to a minimum of 1800, and I have a range of 1800-1990 calories per day that I can consume. In short, I'm trying to hit a smaller than usual target (a 190 calorie range rather than a 250 range), and I'm right at the minimum number of calories I should be eating to bf, but at the maximum to lose weight. 
Lesson #2: I eat too many carbs
Ok, so this isn't really a surprise. While I've cut way back on the ice cream consumption since giving birth, I still eat too many sweets and carbs. However, it was fairly easy to modify, which brings me to lesson #3,

Lesson #3: The Hawthorne Effect
Hawthorne Effect: "a form of reactivity whereby subjects improve or modify an aspect of their behavior being experimentally measured simply in response to the fact that they know they are being studied..." (Yes, I'm an academic who just cited Wikipedia. Shameful!)

Even on Day 1, I changed what I was eating because I knew I was keeping track of it. Also, I could see immediately, just from entering what I ate for breakfast, that there wouldn't be room for many indulgences. I swear by keeping a food journal for exactly this reason!

I am embarking on Week 2 better armed with a knowledge of what I need to be doing and a reality check that it will simply be slow until I can increase my activity level (t-8 days, hopefully!). Here's hoping for even modest results in the coming week! 

Monday, May 21, 2012

Mondays in Love: The Smile

Baby Brother has been smiling for about 3 weeks, but we only just caught it on camera. To steal a quote from a friend, if this doesn't make you smile you might be dead inside. 

I never post face pictures of my older son, and I won't post pictures of Baby Brother either for long. But while he's still changing so much I will post them occasionally. Especially when they make me smile like this.

Tuesday, May 15, 2012

The Road Ahead

I had a dream last night that I was running. Outdoors, in gorgeous weather, free. Even in the dream I was surprised that it felt so easy, because I knew that I've been in recovery mode. Here in reality I am still some time off from running so free and easy. The road ahead is a bit longer. This is the first in what is to become a weekly post about my progress toward recovery, weight loss, and getting back on the road.

Weight Loss: I'm not going to fixate on this too much until I get the all-clear to return to exercising, but I decided yesterday that I am going to start tracking what I eat again. No excuse not to eat healthy, right?!? I'm willing to bet I will be shocked at how badly I'm eating once I really start writing it down (more on this next week!). Of the ~30lb. I gained during the pregnancy, I've lost ~12. How can I possibly not have lost more than 12lb?? On the positive side, I'm only 4lb. over my Christmas 2010 weight, which is my initial weight loss goal. Also, I have 2 pairs of pants I can successfully button and zip! 

Exercise: Our weather has been gorgeous and I have been getting out frequently to walk in the park. I've tried to take my Garmin a few times, but the first time I tried the satellite signal was too weak. The second time I forgot it, and yesterday my Garmin FAIL happened again. I used mapmyrun and figured out that I've been walking about 1.5 miles at a time. I have some miles posted again!! 

Work: My maternity leave has technically ended, but since faculty are on 9-month contracts ending mid-May, I'm very thankfully able to stay home a little while longer. I'm back to at least staying on top of work-related email and putting out the raging fires, but for all intents and purposes, I'm still home with baby. 

Baby's Milestones: He started smiling about 2 weeks ago and the smiles have gotten more frequent. They just light up the room! He's also doing well holding up his head and chest during tummy time and he is becoming ever so slightly more responsive to us and things going on around him. 

Countdown to O-Run-thirty: Hopefully in 16 more days!!

Monday, May 7, 2012

Mondays in Love: The Blur

The past few weeks my days have blurred together and passed so quickly. I won't have the all-clear to return to running for a few weeks yet (fingers crossed for an R2R June 1!). But from time to time I pluck some thoughts from my brain that are mile markers of where I'm at on this crazy road.

I drive past the track and hear it calling me to come back, come back. 

I look longingly at my piles and drawers of clothing that I love and cannot wear yet, and I can't wait to shed more weight/inches. 

I read race recaps and smile thinking about getting back to racing, even short distances, though I'm not impatient about it in any way. I know it will take time. 

I take the baby for walks and feel good about life and the world. 

I look at my babies and wonder if either of them will ever want to run with me, or will ever become a runner themselves. 

I wonder if they'll grow up and think my girly habits are silly or endearing. 

Sometimes I wake up in the early early hours, before sunrise or at sunrise, and I think about what the park looks like at that hour and what it feels like to be out, an easy run or a blistering fast one. And I miss it. But patiently. 

I watch Baby Brother slowly grow. At four weeks old he can hold his head up for short periods of time. When you think about it, it's amazing that children take multiple years to get from birth to dressing themselves, and I'm reminded that it will take time to get myself back to full speed too, and that that's ok. 

I don't care what any doctor or nurse tells you, giving birth is harder than running a marathon. I'm reminded of this every time I read a race recap from Boston, Flying Pig, Illinois, and the other races y'all have been busy with these last few weeks. 

Mostly, I think that my life is beautiful, and I'm so incredibly thankful that I know to appreciate it for what it is right now. 

Monday, April 23, 2012

Mondays in Love: Recovery, Baby Love

I'm going to come out and say what no one ever says: child birth is violent. Beautiful and violent. Recovery is easier when the delivery goes more smoothly, yes, but it's hard no matter what. There are the immediate physical issues to get through and the longer-term road to weight loss. This past week I have been thankful for progress made along my path to recovery and getting to spend lots of time cuddling my amazing baby boy.

Being a runner has served me well. Being in the habit of running 3-4 times per week has translated into getting outside for walks as often as the weather allows. I've walked as many of my errands in the past week as was possible--to our corner grocery store, to the post office, bank, and to lunch. We also took a short family walk this weekend. Each walk has been about 1 mile or less and I have felt great about each one. I haven't been keeping track of distance but plan to start. It's what I'm capable of right now and I'm claiming it!

Finally, congrats to Marla, who won the Baby Pool! 

Friday, April 20, 2012

Wordless Whatever Day It Is

I know a lot of you do Wordless Wednesdays and this would be well suited to that. Well, my days are all basically one big blur at the moment so I'm gonna do a mostly-wordless-whatever-day-this-is! I have a 10-day old--I get to pretend it's whatever day I want! :)

Without further intro, a few pics from my maternity photo shoot from a few weeks ago. All photos were taken by Love & Life Photography.

Friday, April 13, 2012

Introducing Baby!

On Monday evening I was trying to talk myself into writing an upbeat post about how I was nearly a week past my due date and there was no baby, but that was ok, when really I was getting a little bit down about it. But before I got a chance to write the post, my water broke. A mere 4.5 hours later, we welcomed this incredible, beautiful, 9lb. 6oz. miracle into our lives.

Baby and I are both doing well and adjusting to being home. More coming soon!!

Tuesday, April 3, 2012

Crazy things really pregnant women do

Or at least, I do.

#1: Wear my mother's muumuu from the early 1970s
This thing is so unreasonably comfortable, I don't even care that it's so hideous it's almost chic again.

Aside from the fact that it's giant pink and yellow roses on black polyester, this dress actually holds a lot of sentimental value for me--it's a long, complicated story and y'all might think I was crazy if I shared it anyway. And PS, I have no idea how my Mom ever wore this. She's 5-6 inches shorter than I am, and even 9 months pregnant, it's still floor length on me. And no, I did not wear this outside of my house. The horror!

#2: Buy a steamer vacuum
Our house is all hard wood floors, so as my neighbor said, "What in the world do you think you're going to steam clean?" We have area rugs! Including an ivory one in the living room that does not come clean enough with a standard vacuum. And I can use it in the foyer, steps, couches, etc. What? So maybe, yes, I had the carpets in our old house professionally cleaned right before The Kiddo was born. And yes, maybe I over-did by mopping a few weeks ago and hurt my back. And maybe at 9 months pregnant I purchased a steamer vac. 

#3: Seriously consider using a ladder and power tools
I haven't posted pictures of the nursery yet because the curtain isn't up yet (there are blinds, not to fear). Hanging it requires installing curtain hooks, which involves at least a step ladder and a drill. I mentioned my plans to do this today when a friend called to check up on the baby status and she swiftly informed me how great she is with power tools, that her afternoon tomorrow is wide open, and that I should sit the hell back down on the couch. I'm really bad at sitting still--we know this. But alas, I sat back down. No cause for alarm. Or a 437th text message from my Mom. 

As this post implies, my due date has come and gone and still we wait for Baby Brother. I have to admit that I'm getting a little impatient, but I know he will come soon enough. Thank you all SO much for your lovely comments of encouragement and well wishes! Maybe tomorrow?

Monday, April 2, 2012

Mondays in Love: A March Recap

I know, I'm wearing the Mondays in Love theme a little thin by claiming a March Recap. But truthfully, I'm so unbelievably happy to have a March recap, that I'm going to claim it as a legit LOVE post.

**Disclaimer** I am writing this on Sunday night and setting it to auto-post. At this point there is no update on Baby Brother. Stay tuned and if you're the praying sort, please keep me/us in your prayers for a safe and speedy birth!! I'm officially due on Tuesday. 

Miles ran/walked: 23 (although I didn't count all of my walking around the neighborhood--if it was less than a mile or so I didn't count it)

# workouts: 8

Favorite run: Undoubtedly my 3.1 mile run/walk on the 15th. It was my last pregnant run and I 100% enjoyed it! I love that I could run at 37 weeks pregnant. That seriously makes me so, so happy! 

Current obsession: I will give you one guess. When is this baby going to show up?!? We are ready! 

Pregnancy Update
# weeks: 39.5/40 (basically 9 months)

Weight gained: ~28 lb. 

How this has affected running, life, etc.: At this point the pregnancy has more or less affected everything about life. It has meant a halt to running and on most days even walking requires that I stop every now and then for a Braxton-Hicks (not real) contraction or other related aches and pains. It has meant that work has finally slowed down (I'm officially on leave beginning Tuesday or tomorrow if Baby Brother decides to come a day early). It has meant lunches with girlfriends celebrating the upcoming birth. 

It has meant savoring these last days before The Kiddo becomes a big brother, and making these days as fun for him as we can. This has meant extra Kiddo-Mommy baking time and trips to the Science Center and Zoo. That has been wonderful. 

I want to be honest about what this is like--the good and bad. It's uncomfortable, yes--I have heartburn. I'm crazy hormonal. I wake up at least 3x/night to pee. I have to sleep sort of propped up for the first part of the night to keep the heartburn in check. I have the land speed record of maple syrup. I'm eating like 85% carbs (at least that's what it seems like) because most of the time real food is not appetizing. Even my maternity pants are kinda uncomfortable, so I'm mostly just rotating between my 4 warm-ish weather maternity dresses and doing laundry more often. Yes, these things are true. 

But when the doctor asked if I wanted to be induced, the answer was "absolutely not." And not just because I don't want unnecessary meds, but because I am absolutely savoring this. There is no magic in the world like this. The wonder, the curiosity, and the absolutely surreal reality that our lives will so dramatically change so quickly, and so soon. It's not like anything else in the world. 

Monday, March 26, 2012

Mondays in Love: The Marathon

First, what you all want to know--I'm still pregnant. Not sure for how much longer though! Don't forget to enter last week's Baby Pool.

I know The Marathon sounds like a strange thing for someone 9 months pregnant to claim love for. In all honesty, I'm seeing all the spring time runners out and about and while they make me smile, I have a little jealousy, too. So why am I loving on the marathon so much right now? Because strangely, it has some parallels to late-stage pregnancy.

Today my friend Kayla and I hung out for a while. I love this girl. She's awesome and has been there for me so many times throughout this pregnancy.

Today she came to take a walk down to Panera with me. It's maybe 0.4-0.5 miles each way. While we were texting about getting together she said that if we got down there and I decided I couldn't walk back she could come home and get a car. This inspired me to wear my race tag necklace. I wear two tags--one with my marathon PR (Cleveland) and one with my half-marathon PR (Martian). I love these tags.

I told Kayla that I'd finished 3 marathons, so I could for sure make it home from Panera. She pointed out that I hadn't finished 3 marathons with a baby just a mere few inches from breathing outside air. True, true. But I get a lot of confidence and a lot of strength from knowing, knowing that no matter how uncomfortable I may be right now, walking half a mile is still nothing compared to facing those last 6 miles of a marathon once the wheels have fallen off. I love that I can know this with absolute certainty. Thank you, marathon.

My next Monday in Love might be a tribute to a new baby!! It could happen any day now. Stay tuned everyone!

Wednesday, March 21, 2012

38 Weeks: The countdown is ON!

Baby is due in less than two weeks! Can you believe it?? I could have him at any time. I think I'm ready. The last of the things I'd ordered arrived. The car seat is installed. The stroller and pack & play are ready. The clothes are washed and organized. I did a maternity photo session a few days ago (will share when I can!). We toured the labor & delivery floor of the hospital last week and now know where to go and park and check in and all that goodness. I just need to pack a hospital bag--that's it!

The countdown is ON!

So what does this mean for running for this gigantically pregnant runner? Last Thursday (at 37 weeks) I had a wonderful run/walk in the park. I was thrilled that baby was positioned so I could do this. Then Saturday I decided to try my 4 mile route and slowly run some if possible. And that was when I knew it was time to call it on running until after baby. If I'd had a phone I would have called Mr. Joanna to come get me. That's right folks, the running has come to a stop until I get medical clearance to R2R (to steal Red's phrase) after baby comes. I've also imposed a 5k limit on myself for walking, and, I'm not sure there will be many more walks. Most of the time even walking is pretty uncomfortable at this point.

But let me be clear: I'm totally OK with this. I am cherishing these last days of my pregnancy and the sweetness of wondering who this little boy is who I'll meet so soon. The discomfort comes with the territory and I love these last days of waiting and wondering. And it has to be said, I'm beyond happy that I was able to run through 37 weeks. I'll always be proud of that.

@ 38 weeks

So who wants to play a little game? What do you say we open a Baby Brother Pool 2012?? To enter, just leave a comment with your guess (day and time) on when Baby Brother will arrive. I'm due April 3. We'll play Price is Right rules. Winner gets a shout out and eternal bragging rights (because let's be honest, ain't no way I'm going to make it to the Post Office post-baby). Ha!

Monday, March 19, 2012

Mondays in Love: SPRING!!

Yep, still pregnant. Whooooole post on that planned. Stay tuned.

Today's regularly scheduled programming: SPRING!

Last week sometime it occurred to me that while spring is in full bloom here, it may not be yet in areas north that are colder, or areas south that don't get four seasons. Let me share ours! I have been loving all the color in the park and in the neighborhood during my walk/runs, and the drop-dead gorgeous weather that's come with it. I've been sleeping with the window open and opening windows during the day as much as possible. Heavenly!

I love walking under these trees!

And this one I think is about the most perfect spring tree I've ever seen:

Has spring sprung where you live? Are you loving it as much as I am on your runs??