Last week I signed up for my first ultra, a 50k in Ohio. The was following Kimberly, who had just signed up, and I’m so excited! Running an ultra has always been on my bucket list and doing it with Kimberly just makes it the best. So June 3 you will find us at the Another Dam 50k. The course is some trails, some road and very flat. It’s not too technical or hilly, which is perfect for our first ultra and also perfect for the terrain we’ll both be training on. I asked Kimberly what training plan she was going to use and I think we’re both going to be basing our training on this one. It’s 16 weeks long, so right now I’m just keeping my running consistent. Most days I do 5-6 miles and then I try to do one run a week that’s a little more, although lately it’s only 7 or so. I’m so excited!!
January 1 I started my second round of Whole30 (eating plan that eschews sugar, carbs, and dairy). I first did Whole30 back in May. It was really hard at the beginning and I wanted to sell my children for crackers, chips, and sugar, but then it got easier and I started to get in the routine and I really loved it. When I finished I was so happy with it. Here are some of the reflections I had:
D31: I made it through and I’m so glad I did it. It’s been really eye-opening and habit-changing for me. My goals going in to this were to change WHAT I was eating and WHY I was eating. I think both of these were accomplished, although probably moreso the WHAT than the WHY. Some reflections:
1) Centering my meals on veggies is really not that hard and the meals are still really delicious. Bonus: I feel better after eating them, both because they’re not as heavy and because I know I ate something more nutritious.
2) After these 30 days I feel more empowered to make choices, especially for snacks, that aren’t centered around crackers.
3) I (hopefully) have broken the habit of getting a snack for myself whenever I get one for the kids.
4) I lost 8 pounds, which is awesome, especially since normally I really struggle to lose any weight while I’m nursing. I’m back at the weight I was pre-Molly, which feels good as her first birthday approaches.
5) More importantly, I feel way more comfortable in my body. I feel leaner and lighter. My energy is more consistent throughout the day. I’m not bloated. My clothes fit better.
6) Peanut butter probably isn’t the best choice for me as it tends to make my stomach feel off and gives me gas. And I think that’s my emotional-eat food in the absence of sugar or carbs. I’m having such a hard time quitting it! Almond butter is good, but it’s no peanut butter.
I could probably keep going but in summary: I’m so glad I did this. I’m planning on keeping going with this (a second round, if you will), to really ingrain these new habits in myself. I might “cheat” here and there, but overall want to remain close to this eating plan. I’m also hoping to break my peanut butter addiction.
I kept it up for awhile and then slowly let old habits creep back in. I was marathon training, so carbs were necessary! Deserved! Then it was the holidays so cookies and snacks and everything else. By the end of November I was already feeling blah and I knew it was because my carb and sugar intake had increased a lot. But I didn’t change anything in December. So January 1 I decided to do my second round of Whole30. It was less because of January 1 and more because it was a good opportunity – special occasions were all past and it was a good window of time for me to try it again. I also have a trip coming up later this month that I knew I wanted to look and feel my best for.
Technically I’m not really doing Whole30 since I’m eating beans and tofu and sometimes quinoa. I’m doing a vegetarian version (and beans, tofu, and quinoa are good proteins for me). But I am cutting out sugar and carbs, especially processed ones, and dairy. I’m centering my meals on veggies and fruit and protein.
I’m currently on day 5 and it’s been easier this round. The cravings haven’t been as bad, although some of the crankiness is still there. But I’m already feeling better – less bloated, more energetic, empowered to make healthier eating choices. (If you want to follow I post on @snacksmierau on instagram.)
I’ll post about this again at the end, with reflections from a round 2.
Sidenote: to me this is not a diet or a detox. It’s creating healthier eating patterns and habits in myself. I know I have a habit of making carbs and sugar the staple of my diet and I’d rather veggies, fruit, and protein were the foundation (and from experience I know I feel better when this is the case).
Have you ever done Whole30? What was your experience?
My aunt made this soup for me the last time I visited and it was delicious – a perfect fall or winter soup, loaded with veggies, warm and comforting and thick. I made it New Years Day and am happy to have leftovers for the rest of the week!
Aunt Penny’s Cabbage Soup
Saute the carrots, celery, garlic, and cabbage until soft, about 5 minutes. Add the rest of the ingredients and bring to a boil. Simmer 20-30 minutes until rice or quinoa is cooked. Add more water or broth if needed. Season with salt and pepper. Serves 8.
I started 2017 with 7 miles. I took a couple days off at the end of 2016 for a tight groin muscle, but wanted to start 2017 running. I’m glad I did. The morning was cold and dark and quiet and I had the streets and lingering Christmas lights all to myself.
I don’t know how many miles I ran in 2016. I started logging miles, took a break, logged some more, then forgot again. I ran 2 marathons and PRed both, which was unexpected and so exciting. I learned to run in the cold and actually enjoy it. I logged miles with friends and plenty alone. I ran circles around the pond and up and down the main streets. I got faster, slower, faster again. I found more of myself in the steady drum of my feet, cleared my head, worked out emotions, rehashed conversations, made mental notes, prayed, cried, and recited scraps of poetry. I created mantras and then never spoke them. I wondered what would be next, worried about what would be next, pushed after what was next. I wore out shoes and recharged my Garmin, I chafed and blistered and lost a toenail (maybe forever). I grew leaner, stronger. I remembered what I loved in running, in myself.
I’ve been pregnant or nursing for some, if not most, of every year since 2011. This will be my first year back just me and I’m really excited to see what I can do, what else will wake up inside of me. Some thoughts:
- This 50K in June with Kimberly. It’s really cheap and doing an ultra (or more) has been a goal of mine since 2010. Starting with a 50K would be a great way to test the waters and really doable from a training perspective.
- My tenth marathon. Not sure if I’ll go big (something like Chicago or Cleveland or Indianapolis or Grand Rapids) or small and scenic, like Presque Isle.
- PR the half marathon. My current half marathon PR is from May of 2010, so I’d like to go after a new one.
- Keep running for fun and for me. It’s easy for me to sometimes get lost in the “should” of running – I’m training for a race or to keep weight off – but when it comes down to it I run because I love it and because it makes me more me.
I’d love to do some strength training and yoga in there, too, but I’m not certain enough that I’ll really do it to make it an official goal. But maybe!
Kimberly and I met way back in 2011, when we were both pregnant with our boys and I ambushed her on a Fort Wayne street corner wearing the exact same maternity dress. Stalker much? I knew her (I followed her blog) but she didn’t know me before then. We started becoming friends – I’m not even sure how exactly? I think it grew pretty organically and now she is one of my best friends! We’ve roadtripped to Chicago/Wisconsin for a race and to Ohio for a Mother Runner party. We’ve run together, raced together, done a terrible mud run together, and sent many texts and voxes commiserating lack of sleep, overactive or sick children, and so much more. We’ve gone together to the Santa Train in Fort Wayne the past three years and met up at parks and picnicked out of the back of our vans in hopes that our children will play and let us talk just a little. She is sassy and funny, determined and brave, and the most generous person I know. She sets audacious goals and chases them down relentlessly, from running PRs to personal development to job changes. She’s a runner, a mom to 2 boys, a writer, a wife, a youth director, a personal trainer, a workout instructor, a friend, a sister, a weight loss hero (over 100+ because she’s badass), a marathoner, and so much more. I just can’t say how much I adore her and admire her and love her!
I’ve never been a huge winter runner. I didn’t enjoy how cold it was and I hated feeling like I might fall at any moment. I was perfectly happy to move to the treadmill in the winter and skip going outside. But Dave has long encouraged me to give winter running a chance. We both know that being outside – cold or hot – is good for our overall mood for the day. With his encouragement and some running friends who also go out in the cold, I’ve only been on the treadmill once this winter and that was only because we had moved the treadmill out to the mudroom and I wanted to test the new setup.
But there were a few key items that have made going out possible – and enjoyable.
yaktrax: These have made a huge difference! A friend of ours gave these to Dave but they fit my shoes, too, and they’re a total gamechanger. They’re completely comfortable but give me 100% confidence on the snow and ice. I can run completely normal without having to watch where I step/being nervous about falling/sliding around. They are so awesome and well worth the cost.
buff: I like the buff around my neck for some extra warmth (particularly on subzero windchill days) but especially hooked from the top of my head down and around my chin. I can pull it up if my mouth or nose get cold, but they generally stay pretty warm from my breath. However, my chin still gets cold and this helps. I’ve also used the buff as an ear warmer. And if you do put it over your face, it’s easy to rotate it as you run when it gets damp and frozen over your mouth.
bandana: I have three bandanas that we bought for cheap at Walmart. I tend to have a lot of snot when I run at any time, but especially in the winter. These are great for blowing my nose while I run and are so much easier and sturdier than fumbling with tissues.
I also wear a headlamp around my waist to help me see and be seen. I carry pepper spray when I run alone in the dark. And I layer layer layer. This morning it was 9 and felt like -1, so I wore two pairs of socks, a pair of capri leggings, full-length leggings (these are the only pair I own and I love them), 2 long sleeve tech shirts, a fleece zip up, 2 pairs of knit gloves (although I ditched one pair fairly quickly into the run), a buff, and a fleece hat.
And while I have really loved getting outside and enjoyed some really beautiful quiet mornings in the snow, I will say the one drawback of winter running is how long it takes to get ready! IT TAKES SO LONG TO GET DRESSED! We’ll see how cold it gets this winter and if there’s a threshold to how cold it can be for me to still run!
Do you run in the winter? How cold is too cold for you?
This is the Advent pocket calendar I grew up with:
My aunt and my mom would fill it with little gifts in each pocket and we opened one a day – candy, coins, bracelets, little toys, etc. It was one of my favorite things. Last year my mom offered me the calendar and I was SO excited to do this with Leo and Katie and Molly. I decided to do a mix of gifts and activities – partly because finding 25 small gifts that a 17 month old all the way to a 5 year old would like felt really daunting (and honestly I don’t always have a gift for Molly right now because she’s little). Here’s what I came up with.
- nativity sticker sets
- snowmen window clings
- paint Christmas pictures (we printed out a whole bunch of Christmas scene pages from various websites)
- The Beginner’s Bible and The Biggest Story (thanks, Black Friday super sale Christianbooks.com!)
- Christmas socks
- Christmas coloring books
- take a glow stick bath
- ride the Santa train
- little books about sharing/good attitude/etc. (hey, Christianbooks.com)
- having our friend over for pie
- Christmas stickers
- book and Christmas story dvds (again, Christianbooks.com…)
- watch a Christmas movie together
- decorate Christmas cookies
- take cookies to grandma and grandpa
- write letters to Santa (we actually don’t really do Santa but the library has a mailbox and I thought Leo would enjoy making a list and putting it in the box)
- Christmas art stencils
- make gingerbread houses
- Christmas light walk downtown
- read nativity story
We’re about a week in and the kids have been LOVING it. They are so excited to open the pocket each morning. I put little slips of paper in them – if it’s a gift I put them under the tree before the kids get up so they open the pocket and have a note telling them to go find a present under the tree. Ideally I would have had smaller gifts that could fit in the pocket, but I just didn’t find much in that arena (and Molly still puts small things in her mouth). I’ve tried to keep it pretty simple so that it’s exciting and fun for them, but doesn’t require more effort/time/money than Dave and I can realistically give. I’m really looking forward to doing this every year!