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Abiding Monday: Pressing On Even When It Hurts

by Dawn on October 19, 2009
category: Abiding Monday,Healthy Mom,Inspiration

momcrowd_abidingmonday2_300x215[1]My husband was out of town this weekend for work.  I like to stay busy (sometimes to a fault) to help pass the time.  Saturday started out nicely with a 5k.  It was a great race and I beat my best time!  Since it was cold and rainy, I gave the kids a bath to warm them up afterward, and even baked cookies.  By 4:30, we were packed and ready to go to a cookout that has long been on our calendar.

And it was then I realized I was done.  I should have seen it coming, but the second we arrived, I knew I was only going to be chasing my kids around – and I was in no mood to do so.  Suffice it to say, I was a tense, exhausted, tantrumy-kid-toting mommy who had zero ability to enjoy the company of her friends.  Excellent.

On my way home, in between bouts of my daughter’s screaming, I realized I had just shown my friends a lot of what I like to keep hidden about myself: my snappy responses when people asked me questions, my increased levels of sarcasm, my patented stressouts that I can’t hide to save my life.  Have you ever wished you could be as cool as a cucumber in front of others only to fail miserably?

Are you still with me?  Hang in there – I do have a point.  This morning I was scheduled to lead Sunday school with the same group of people.  I was dreading it.  I wanted to just hide under my covers and come out only when six months or so had passed.  To top it off, my daughter (the same charmer from last night), decided to pitch another fit as soon as it was time to leave for church.  I crashed to my knees and started bawling – I just couldn’t handle anything else.  I wanted to stay home.  I wanted to avoid my responsibilities.  I wanted to be left alone.  I didn’t want to fail again.

My husband (who was home by this point), gently reminded me that I needed to go, and I would be fine – that God would give me the strength I was so lacking.  Before I could roll my eyes, he said, “I know it’s a cliche, but it’s the truth!”  So even though I didn’t want to, I climbed in the car and cried my way to church (accompanied by my daughter’s continued tantrumy nonsense).

Coffee in hand, I faced my Sunday school class – and quietly told them some of the stress, embarrassment, and humbling I was going through.  They didn’t give me pat answers – they just supported me.  I started with a confessional prayer and pressed on into the lesson, even though I didn’t want to in the slightest.  And God was there – taking my control-freak consequences and turning my anguish into joy.  The lesson went fine, the discussion great.  Afterward, I said, “Church did its job today – I came here feeling like crap, and I’m leaving feeling spiritually renewed!”  I honestly had much lower expectations for God, my friends, and myself.  Hopefully I won’t make that mistake again.

It seems all too fitting to share the following verses with you:

“I don’t mean to say that I have already achieved these things or that I have already reached perfection!  But I keep working toward that day when I will finally be all that Christ Jesus saved me for and wants me to be.  No, dear brothers and sisters, I am still not all I should be, but I am focusing all my energies on this one thing: Forgetting the past and looking forward to what lies ahead, I strain to reach the end of the race and receive the prize for which God, through Christ Jesus, is calling us up to heaven.” 

Philippians 3: 12-14 (NLT, emphasis mine)

Lord, thank you for wanting us to be more than what we are right now.  Thank you for your presence that gently pushes us forward when we dig our heels in our own acts of stubbornness and pride.  Thank you for running the race before us and with us.  Please help us persevere when we feel like giving up.  Amen.

What is stressing you out today?  Can you use a push from Jesus to keep going?

TMC Contributors in Training for the Rock & Roll San Antonio Marathon & Half-Marathon!

by Dawn on August 21, 2009
category: Healthy Mom

a-and-dawn-runningAmanda and I are stoked to share with our readers that we have been preparing diligently for a big day:  November 15!  About two months ago, I was invited by a friend (a fellow mom of two toddlers) to do the Rock & Roll San Antonio Half Marathon.  I immediately pounced on the idea because I used to live in San Antonio and have been itching to go back.  I talked with my hubby about it and we decided to make it a family vacation this fall.

By mid-May, I was pretty overweight.  I hadn’t been running with any consistency for some time, and I was feeling utterly gross.  Slowly, I started running a bit more, two or three times a week.  By the end of June, I was making time for my treadmill runs four days a week.  The half-marathon trip to San Antonio was exactly the motivation I needed.

In the meantime, I decided to invite more friends to join us.  After about a week of discussion, I was so excited to get two more dear college friends on board.  We all have formed a very tight-knit accountability and encouragement team in pursuing this goal.  I have been running frequently to improve my endurance, strength, and speed, and my pals (who are beginners) have been training their bodies to be ready for the start of “official” training.

Training starts next week!  We are using a 12-week schedule for beginners; it is the same schedule I followed last year.  Amanda recently led us to another training calendar by Hal Higdon, and I think I might seek to strike a balance between what I have done and what he suggests.

I am feeling energized, enthusiastic, and happy about the whole thing.  Between now and November 15, I will be running 4 times a week at varying distances, and I couldn’t be happier to have an exercise goal and routine back in place.  And to do it with friends is that much sweeter.

Amanda here

When Dawn mentioned that she was coming to my hometown to do a Half Marathon I thought, why not run a half marathon too? About 3 years ago I trained up to 11 miles for a Half Marathon, but pulled my calf muscle 2 weeks before the race. Now 2 kids later and ready to get rid of my post-pregnancy weight I was on board to run again. Then I was researching for this post on running I came across a training schedule for a FULL marathon and I thought, “I can do this!” So I signed up to run 26.2 miles on Nov. 15th. You can read the full explanation of how I decided to run the full marathon here, but here are a few reasons.

  • I have always wanted to run a marathon and why not now? I want to stop saying “Someday I will do…” Someday is NOW.
  • I am turning 30 in a few months and thought it would neat to run a marathon for my 30th birthday.
  • I have no reason not to run one now. I am not planning on getting pregnant any time soon. My husband can help with the kids and all my friends are either running or will be there to cheer me on that day.
  • I can do it!

I am following Hal Higdon’s Full Marathon Training Schedule Novice 1. This past weekend I ran 12 miles. I was supposed to 10, but I decided to run with a group that was running 12. So far in 6 1/2 weeks I have ran a total of 100 miles.

When I get out on the road to run a few miles I do my best to enjoy the time away from my kids. It is peaceful and a joy to listen to music. When I get in a slump I remind myself to enjoy running and it never fails to work.

Check out our Running page for more information on running your first 5K and other runner inspiration.

Have you ever run? What work out brings you joy? What music gets you through a run?

Summertime With My Kids: A Status Update

by Dawn on July 9, 2009
category: Fun time & Toys,Inspiration

dsc01396It’s hard to believe it was close to two months ago that  I posted some resolutions I had for myself this summer.  I was determined to value the time with my kids and not get caught up in feeling bored/trapped/stir-crazy.  We are already at the half-way point here.  I thought I’d let you know how it’s been going. 

  1. Theme weeks have continued to be a source of inspiration and activities for the kids and me this summer.  We kicked things off with cars, then moved onto balloons, followed by rain, then bugs, and dsc01718music.  Music is such a fun topic, I’ve extended it for another week, and we still have a lot more we could do with it.  We’ve painted, made crafts with stickers, listened to funky songs, watched pertinent videos, and talked extensively about each theme.  My kids love reading new, special library books, too.  Here’s how I’ve been doing it:  about a week in advance, I search my library’s online database for children’s books in that subject area and put them on hold.  The librarians then do all the work for me!  They gather the books I’ve held and email me when they come in.  All I have to do is go in and pick them up.  This is great for me, since my kids are under 4 years old.  (If your kids are older, you can help your kids practice their library skills and find those themed books themselves.)  I read one new library book a day, which is very exciting for my kids.  We spend a lot of time reading and re-reading our special-themed books.  Themes coming up:  the sun, airplanes, fish, and colors.
  2. I’ve been stretching myself and taking my kids to the library and storytimes by myself (I’m usually much more lazy and prefer only to do these things with my hubby).  I guess there’s no time like the dsc01814present to suck it up!  The kids really like outings of any kind, too.  That makes it worth it. 
  3. Playgroup is going strong.  This week, I hosted playgroup, and I had 10 adults and 16 kids hanging out in our backyard!  It was crazy, but really fun.  (Note to self: pick up all the dog poop BEFORE guests arrive.  There’s really nothing more humiliating than saving that one for the end of the to-do list.)
  4. I’ve been making sure I’m getting “me time” at least once a week.  Sometimes this just means watching “The Bachelorette” by myself, a little guilty pleasure.  I told my husband at the beginning of the summer that it would be easier to maintain a positive attitude if I knew I had a mommy break built into each week.  He was totally on board with that idea.  Sometimes I slip out for errands by myself, or treat myself to a solo-movie date.  (Did anyone else enjoy The Proposal like I did??)  Last week I ran a 5K; this week I am going to a friend’s house to watch her make jewelry.  Me-time is non-negotiable.

Sharing my glass-is-half-full approach to the summer with you has really kept me accountable.  I have some rough days, of course, but in general, this summer has been very sweet.  I am grateful for my children, my husband, and this opportunity to hang out with them so much.  And the time is flying by!

How are you holding up this summer?

8 Tips For Runners Starting from Scratch

by Amanda on July 5, 2009
category: Healthy Mom,Inspiration

womenrunningHave you thought about running as a way to workout? As a way to lose that postpartum muffin top? If you want to run, you can do it! It is just a matter of wanting to do it and carving out the time in your schedule. Even if you have never ran a day in your life – you CAN run! You just need to be sure that you don’t have joint problems or any other condition where running would make your condition worse.

Myself, McKenna, Dawn and a few other friends are gearing up to run a Half Marathon in San Antonio, TX in November. My friend, Natalie, asked me what she needed to know before she started running. I pointed her to a few of our older posts here on The Mom Crowd.

McKenna ran a 5K (3.1 miles) first and she then encouraged Dawn to run her first 5K. Then Dawn took it to the next level and ran a half marathon (13.1 miles).  Here is how she prepared her for her first half marathon and her results.

I ran a 5K with McKenna the week I found out I was pregnant with my second baby. I also had the opportunity to interview my friend Kristin who lost 90 POUNDS from running. Kristin ran a half marathon last year and is planning on running another one with her husband in November.  You can check out the video below.

Here are 8 tips if you are brand new to running.

1. Know the lingo and set a goal.
In McKenna’s first 5K post she recommends to find a Fun Run in your area and register for the race. Because the race fees are usually non-refundable, you are more likely to do the race.

Here are the types of most races:
5K = 3.1 miles
10K = 6.2 miles
10 Mile Race
Half Marathon = 13.1 miles
Marathon = 26.2 miles

2. Have a good pair of running shoes.
Your feet and your joints will thank you! Saving your body is worth the price of a new pair of shoes. An article for beginners on RunnersWorld.com says, “Cross-trainers, aerobics shoes, and other athletic foot–wear don’t have enough cushioning to handle running’s impact–nor does the pair of running shoes you wore two years ago. Buy new running shoes, or you risk getting injured.”

3. Stretch, Stretch, Stretch before and after your run.
Set a stretching routine that you can follow every day. Don’t ever skip stretching, unless you want to pull a muscle. Additionally, stretching after you run will help with soreness. I really dislike stretching after I run, because I just want to be done. So I only do three stretches when I am done: touch my toes, stretch my quads and my calves. For me, these are the 3 areas that I will most likely be sore later. Here is great post with stretching suggestions! (Thanks TimeOutMom.)

4. Start small and build up your strength and endurance.
You can start running in intervals while running and walking. Go for 30 minutes by doing a 1:4. This means that you run for 1 minute, then walk for 4 minutes. You do that same pattern 6 times until you have completed 30 minutes. Then the next week you can do 2:3. Running for 2 minutes and walking 3 for 30 minutes. You keep up this pattern until you can run 30 minutes straight.

If you decide that you want to start running without any walking, then you can start with a short distance. Only do a quarter of a mile until that quarter of mile gets easy. Then, do a half mile until a half mile gets easy. And so forth. Eventually doing 3 miles will be easy!

5. Take rest days.
You need rest days! Sometimes we want to come out of the gate fast and workout every day, but your body needs recovery days. While you should maintain a minimum of 3 runs a week, you also shouldn’t run every single day. MarathonRookie.com says:

You should not run every day. Your body needs to rest between runs so it can recover from one run to the next, getting stronger between each run. Nutrition and eating the right foods at the right time also play a vital role in recovery. Take recovery days equally as serious as your running days.

6. Have accountability and support.
Doing a race with friends will help you stay accountable. You can cheer each other on during the training weeks. Text your friend and see if they ran that day. You also need the support of a spouse or friend to help you watch the kids when you go on runs. You can also join a training or running group.

7. Run for a cause.
Need some inspiration to run? Run for a cause. If you run a half marathon or a full marathon you can sign up with an organization and help raise money to support their cause. Angie ran a marathon and raised 4,536 for the Leukemia & Lymphoma Society in honor of her father. She claims that she is not a runner. If you need some inspiration for running read her Gonna Run a Marathon Blog.

8.  Brag!
There is nothing wrong with getting on your blog, Facebook, Twitter or texting a friend to tell people that you ran that day! Knowing that I will get to update my Facebook status and Tweet my run gets me out of bed. (If you do tweet about running you can use the hashtag #momsrunning.) My friend, Dawn, also set up a blog just for the 4 of us running together to cheer each other on.

Now it is time to get out there and run! :)

More Articles About Running
Ultimate Guide to Becoming a Runner
Training For Your First Half Marathon
Six Simple Rules for Safe Runs
RunningMoms.com
Train Before Your 5K Goal

Do you like to run? Have you thought about running? Have you ever completed a Half or Full Marathon? What advice would you give someone just starting to run?

- photo courtesy of justin_a_glass

Half-Marathon: How I Prepared for 13.1 Miles

by Dawn on November 7, 2008
category: Health and Fitness,Healthy Mom,Husbands and Dads,Inspiration

running-2.JPGTomorrow, I am hitting the pavement for a leisurely 13.1 mile run.  :)  Wow.  You can’t see me, but I am totally turning into the fetal position as I write this.  I am nervous!

We’ve talked before on The Mom Crowd about running races.  AmandaMcKenna, and I have all run 5Ks this year, and it was a great experience for each of us.  Over the summer, I realized that I prefer slower distance running over trying to beat my time in shorter races.  So when I read about a half-marathon that starts and runs through the area right around my neighborhood, I knew I had to give it a shot.

My first step was to look for a training schedule for beginners, to see if it was something I could feasibly accomplish.  I found this through my local Fleet Feet, and I was excited to learn that the largest sacrifice would be in carving out 2 hours or so each weekend to do the long run (and longer towards the end).  The weekly short runs were already the same amount of time I was taking during the week to run for exercise anyway.

Next, I needed to ask my husband for his support in this endeavor.  Since our children are so young, I knew I’d need him to watch the kids for many extra chunks of time.  I knew the training would also keep us from family time, somewhat, so I wanted to be sure that was okay with him.

After he gave me the thumbs-up (what a guy!), I thought about it for a few more weeks (I had room in our calendar to do this).  I didn’t just decide overnight that this was my goal; I spent lots of weeks stewing over it.  I liked running the other races I’d done earlier in the year.  Ultimately, I knew it was exactly what I needed to do for myself this fall.  We have a treadmill and lots of local greenways for running, so I knew I’d be able to incorporate the runs into our family’s schedule without too much stress.

I had good running shoes, the appropriate attire, a fantastic, ever-changing running playlist on my iPod, and the desire to make it happen.  There wasn’t much else to do but get going on the training.  At first, I decided to keep quiet about it, but after a couple of weeks, I knew I needed to share my goal with as many people as possible.  I created a special page on my personal blog to get the ball rolling and keep a little journal of my highs & lows.  I also kept a written log of each run on a clipboard.  In addition (because I am a list checker-offer), I made little signs of each week’s training so I could “X” them off after completion.  It’s these little things that served as fun rewards for me.

Throughout the past 3 months, I have experienced injuries and illness, though not related to my training.  I dealt with debilitating neck pain for about two weeks, which forced me out of running for awhile.  I read that it was best not to run while ill, but to get back in it when you’re ready.  So that’s what I did.  And my body quickly got back on track, even with a missed run here or there.

Once I hit the 10-mile mark, I got cocky.  I started thinking I was unstoppable, and lessened my commitment level.  I even tried to get away with skipping short runs in general and just running on Saturdays.  (You don’t need to tell me what an idiot I am – believe me, I figured it out just fine on my own! :) )

Despite all of my highs and lows, successes and mistakes, I think I am ready to take on the big 13.1 tomorrow.  There is more I could read online or in magazines to prepare, but I don’t want to psych myself out with too much info.  I know I’m a little out of my league, but that’s okay.  My goal is to make it across the finish line in 3 hours.

Last week, I asked my husband if I was a moron for thinking I could or should do this back in August.  He said I wasn’t.  He reminded me that this was the right choice for me because:

  • I wanted to do it.
  • it gave me tons of self-confidence.
  • it was good for me, physically, spiritually, and emotionally.

I share this with you because you might need a new outlet for stress or a new hobby.  Maybe you’re struggling with your weight and you need to feel like a rock star a few times a week.  That’s how I feel when I finish – most of the time, anyway.  Maybe you just want to have bragging rights – to say, “Yes, I ran a half-marathon.”  These are all the reasons I decided to give it a try.  Let me encourage you by saying, GO FOR IT.  You never know unless you try.  And to quote my friend Jan, who did this last year: “If I can do it, anyone can.”

I’ll be back next Friday with the full story.  Keep me in your thoughts & prayers this weekend!  Thanks!

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