Tips to help you fall in Love.....with Running

I have a wonderful guest for you guys today, Emily from Beauty and the Greek! I met her in Fort Wayne last month and she totally kicked that half's ass, but she also has a rockin' blog you should all check out. She's sharing some FAB tips for running that you won't want to miss :)

Hi everyone, my name is Emily, and I blog over at Beauty and the Greek.  I'm a twenty-four year old wife, ER nurse, and running newbie.  I mostly blog about my running journey, favorite products, recipes, and whatever else is going on in life.

I met Megan in September at the Fort4Fitness Half Marathon (which she ran pregnant like a fitness rockstar).  For those of you who haven't had the pleasure of meeting her, let me tell you how sweet she is.  She immediately greeted me so warmly and made me feel welcome into her circle of blogging friends.  (Homegirl also let me use her body glide that I had forgotten and saved my thighs from some serious chaff-age).

Anyways, I'm so honored that Megan would ask me to write a guest post for her blog.  She has a way of writing that makes me want to get off the couch to go workout and redecorate my house all at the same time. Since Megan is an awesome runner, and I'm trying to become an awesome runner, I thought I'd share some of my favorite tips for getting started and actually enjoying running.

First, a little about me.  I've never really been a runner.  I used to DREAD the days in gym class when I knew we had to run.  In high school and college, I would try to go out on a run and end up walking after a minute or two.  I was tired, nauseous, embarrassed, had a stitch in my side, and couldn't breathe.  How on Earth did people do this? People think THIS is fun?

Well, after 3-4 failed attempts at being a runner, years of boring elliptical workouts, and learning that biking hurt my "hoo-haa" too bad, I decided to give it another shot.  In January of this year, I decided that I was going to try it one more time.  Fast forward to today, I've done two half marathons, with one more coming up, and a full marathon in December.

Here is what I've learned that helped me not only get better at running, but fall in love with it as well.

1. Count your victories in minutes, not miles.

This may be the most important piece of advice that I have ever gotten.  I was SO stuck on running a mile without stopping, and I was getting discouraged.  I started making my goals 2 minutes of running, then I'd tack on another minute until I reached 10.  Soon I was running 20 minutes at a time and then 30.  The couch to 5k program didn't work for me, so just adding a minute on little by little was what I did.

2. Slow it down!

I used to laugh at the words "conversational pace." Um... I couldn't even gasp the words, "help me" let alone have a full conversation.  Start slow, and don't even give a second thought about what others think.  If you're not able to talk in 3-5 word sentences, you're going too fast.  Slow it down!

3. Find some music that motivates you.

I run with music whenever I'm running alone but do not when I'm running with others.  Music helps to distract you from discomfort and motivate you to keep going.  My favorite music comes from Bootie Jams.  The music is mostly top 40 with some 80's and other random stuff thrown in.  It is up beat and FREE!  They put out new music every month, and did I mention it's free?!

4. Give it 3 months.

This is another piece of advice that I've gotten that I believe to be so true.  As you run regularly, you change your physiology a little bit.  Each time you run, your body has a better idea of what is going on, and it gets easier.  It gets easier to take those first steps out the door, too.  In three months your mind and body will be more trained, and you'll be ready for my next step.

5. Sign up for a race and let it be known.

The Greek, me, and my dad at my first race, a 5k in July.
This is one of my favorite parts about running.  Not "racing" or the competition, but the fellowship that runners share at races.  Everyone has the same goal, which is to do their best, and no one really cares about how fast or slow you are.  You will get cheers, give cheers and enjoy the endorphins.  Signing up for a race also keeps you motivated knowing that you will put your hard work out there.  Extra points for telling a friends and family.  Chances are, they will help support you and maybe even come cheer you on.

6. Find a running buddy.

My aunt is my coach and running buddy.  This was taken after our first 16 miler.
This isn't essential, but certainly helps.  Finding someone to keep you accountable will really help in the beginning.  Make sure that your buddy is aware of your goals and keeps you positive.  Don't let them run too fast and get you discouraged.  A running buddy should push you instead of drag you.

7. Keep a journal.

Make sure you write down how much you ran and your time.  I love to look back and see my progress.   Writing down other details like what you ate, where you ran, and the weather can also help you look for trends and figure out what works best for you.  I use the Daily Mile, and I'm always looking for new friends (beautygreekblog).

8. Realize that you will have good days and bad days.

This is something that I'm still struggling with.  Just because you exceeded your goal yesterday does not mean that it is the new norm.  You will have days where you feel like you're flying and days where it is a struggle to put one foot in front of the other.  You have to trust yourself and know that just because you're in a funk that week, you will continue to get stronger.

9. Find what motivates you.

For me, reading blogs motivates me.  Reading about running and hearing of other's experiences helps me get my booty out the door.  Whether it be a picture, a song, a website, etc., keep it handy, and use that when you need a boost.  

10. Reward yourself!

Parking my butt on the couch and eating Subway is my favorite reward.
Anyone that knows me personally knows that I have a tradition of getting a tuna sub after runs 10 miles and longer.  Last weekend, on my 18 miler, I swear I could see that sub rising from the horizon.  I was running to it.  You don't have to reward yourself with food.  You can reward yourself with a new running top, a bubble bath, a new song on iTunes.  These are all things that I've used to help me meet my goals.

I know that none of this is groundbreaking information, but this is what I wish I had known when I first started.  I'm hoping that this helps some of you who are interested in getting started.  Thanks again to the wonderful Skinny Meg for hosting me.

What would you add to the list?


Cardio and Abs in 40 minutes {W.O.W #26}

Welcome back to Workout Wednesday!
You know the drill, grab a button and link up for the parrrrrrty!

Shout out to Karen from Kama Fitness for the serious plank series!

Thank you to Elle Noel for linking up, this girl can kick some ass in the gym, be sure to stop by and check out her workouts.

Cardio is so much easier when it's broken up, plus getting your heart rate up and down works better than having a steady heart rate for a longer period of time.
Shorter more effective workouts!

I mean, look how awesome my abs are looking :)

Cardio and AB workout in 40 minutes
 {time @ speed}
5 @ 5.0
1 @ 7.0
 - ABS - Crazy Crunch 1 minute
2 @ 5.5
1 @ 7.2
 - ABS - Squat Twist 2 minutes
2 @ 5.5
1 @ 7.5
- ABS - Lunge Twist 2 minutes
2 @ 5.5
1 @ 7.2
1 @ 7.8
- ABS - Lunge Twist 2 minutes
1 @ 6.0
1 @ 6.5
1 @ 7.0
1 @ 7.5
- ABS - Side Crunch 2 minutes
2 @ 5.5
1 @ 8.0
- ABS - Side Crunch 2 minutes
3 @ 8.5 : 30 second sprints
2 @ 5.0
1 @ 3.0

Here's a fast video demoing the ab moves.


Working Vs. Staying Home

I went back to work 9 months ago after ‘staying home’ for 4 years. I put that in quotes because I did go to school full time for most of that time, except right after I gave birth. My schedule was flexible and I was home for most of the day with the kiddo.

I’m not here to debate which is right because really either one is perfectly fine. People who stay home obviously feel that’s the best, those of us that work would probably say differently. These are just my thoughts after transitioning between the two for the last year.

Before I had children I never ever wanted to stay home, I also never wanted to be a teacher, in fact it was up in the air if I ever wanted children. One day I just decided it was time to see how cute our kids would be :) It really takes a certain type of woman to stay home AND DO IT WELL. I sucked at it, I was forever trying to find reasons to leave the house, shopping being my number one go to on a regular weekday. Being that we lived a little ways outside of the city, I put, oh around 80k miles on my car in less than 3 years.

The older Madison got the more I realized that teaching your kid stuff was NOT EASY. With her there was no, oh let’s sit down and learn our letters. I’m sure I was doing it wrong, I am not patient, but it was frustrating and not fun for any of us. Thank God for preschool! She was behind all of her friends that went to daycare every day, her speech was slow to develop, and I felt like a terrible parent.  Preschool changed all that, she learned to work in groups, she learned to listen to people besides her parents, she learned to take turns, and she learned her letters, numbers, weekdays, months, songs, prayers, etc.

Going back to work was my inevitable decision after finishing my degree, college isn’t cheap. On one hand I was eager for a new challenge, to be around adults, to learn new things. On the other I was scared I would miss out on so much. I wouldn’t be able to volunteer for her class stuff or take her to the arboretum on a Wednesday morning just because it was gorgeous out. I’ve been fortunate enough to have a very flexible boss who is totally fine with me taking off a few hours to be with her for a special occasion.

I’m not going to lie; I’m actually a little relieved that I won’t be staying home with Aiden. I think the stress of taking care of a baby all day everyday took some of the joy out of it for me when Madison was a baby, maybe just because she was a difficult baby? While we did have some good moments for sure, I won’t say that I felt great about my situation. Plus I think Oliver taking on more this time around will be good for him, it’s only fair that he take a lot of the night feeding given that he doesn’t have to be at work until noon? Haha. Poor guy.  He had the luxury of leaving every morning last time; it will be interesting to switch roles.

Money obviously plays a role, our life is much easier with both of us working and saving. Could we do it on one? Maybe, but it would mean no extras, no preschool, no vacations. We enjoy our lives and it takes two of us to make it happen.
I’m sure it won’t be that black or white when the time comes, but I’m hoping that I’ve learned a thing or two from the first one :) Have any of you gone back to work after staying home?


20 Week Bumpdate: Baby has a NAME!

It's official, Aiden is MiniSkinny's name :) Now you can stop suggesting names MOM. Kthanks. Funny story about this name; I've loved the name Aiden since Sex and the City, but Oliver watched that episode where he cheated on Carrie and he has a 'thing' about hating people who cheat. So when we were pregnant with Madison and trying to pick out a boy name we COULD NOT decide on a boy name, thankfully we had a girl.  Now, 4 years later I bring it up and he agrees immediately, forgetting completely his past dislike for the name. We couldn't agree on a girl name this time around, so I knew we were having a boy!

Here's a list of some of my must have items for the first half of my pregnancy.
  • a tiny blanket for my car so I can car nap the first 14 weeks
  • I popped pretty quick so maternity clothes by 10 weeks, but a bella band to keep them up nice and snug
  • Zofran for the bad days
  • Miralax for sure
  • Advocare Probiotic and OmegaPlex to help things along
  • Pretzels 
  • Bras in a bigger size, do not keep stuffing yourself in clothes that don't fit, it sucks.

Aiden is very active, I really don't remember Madison kicking quite this much. He's kicked me so hard I've jumped several times. Madison's felt him kick too, she's just so sweet all the time and kissing my belly :)

Oliver's still training for his first half, so we did 11 miles this weekend.

Running is getting hard, it's more my hips and back that really start hurting. I can't run without my support belt, you should see me waddle for the rest of the day, ugh. I'm trying to keep up my mileage for another month and then after the Dallas Half I think I will cut back to 7 or 8 on the weekends.

These maternity capri's from For Two Fitness are so freaking comfy, I've already ordered another pair. They are full panel, but can be folded down so I can use them after I give birth too. I've tried some from Gap and Old Navy and they are no where near as comfortable.

Twilight Sparkle and I spent the afternoon getting pedi's and grocery shopping. She's just so cute when she asks to go, I'm a sucker, what can I say :)


Photo Dump Friday

It's Friday and I'm feeling frisky which makes it hard to concentrate on spreadsheets. Taking a tiny break to bring you a random photo dump.


We need a bigger car, but I would SO drive this hot pink beauty. Pretty sure there's nothing I could 'trade' Oliver to get him to be OK with that.

This pillow is freaking AMAZING. Honestly worth every penny, last time I bought a Snoogle, this kicks that pillows ass. Several people in the house have begged to be let in 'the circle' , get your own this baby is ALL MINE! From Bump Nest.

Twilight Sparkle is getting pretty good at taking pictures, this is me at 8:30 every night.

I need to stay away from Lolly Wolly Doodle.

This I love.

I'm assuming this is Madison's. The games on my phone are out of control, I have to delete them daily.

 Sending inappropriate pictures to my coworkers.

 Sending cute baby boy stuff to my Mom. Spending too much money on Etsy for cute baby boy.

My baby girl.

Constantly amazed by how awesome my kid is, so polite, but so like me :) Who knew I could parent??

See y'all Monday. 



Cottage Cheese Workout W.O.W #25

Welcome back to Workout Wednesday!
You know the drill, grab a button and link up for the parrrrrrty!

This. All this.
I mean I've been known to bust out some moves on the treadmill, but this girls got it down!
We should all be having this much fun while sweating.

Big shout out to Melissa for running her first half!! Way to kick some ass :) I will always remember my first half, probably more than the first time I gave birth. You know, less drugged up while running, haha.

Ashlee rocked her 5k and shaved 2 minutes off her time, woo hoo!!! The more you do it the easier it gets!

Today workout is for your hammy's, pretty sure everyone woman out there needs to work the backs of her thighs.

I know y'all been missing my videos :)


Ongoing Motivation

I think one of the reasons I’ve stayed so consistent with my fitness is that I use it for all areas of my life, not just to lose weight. I use it to feel focused, when I was in school and I had a big project/presentation/test nothing helped me prepare like a good long run. It cleared my head and focused my thoughts.

When I was stressed I would take it to the gym and I ALWAYS felt better afterwards. I could be stressed about money, school, finding a job, a screaming toddler. Sweating never failed me.

One of the hardest things I’ve gone through was the 20 months of infertility I experienced trying to conceive my second child. I’ve talked about my story here  if you want to read more in detail about it. 

The first few months I was sure it would take no time at all to get pregnant, why would I think any differently? I conceived Madison the second month and I was so much healthier now!

Unfortunately those two things did not correlate for me. I remember on 4th of Julywhen my period came and I had a complete meltdown, I was shitty to Oliver and we had a huge fight. The next day I realized that I needed help conceiving and I just wasn’t going to be able to live like this every month. I turned to fitness. I focused on getting healthy, that’s when I started lifting more weights and trying new things. It improved my mood and got me {and my family!} through those tough months.

You cannot just focus on losing weight at the gym; you need to see how it helps improve on other areas of your life. Running has given me so much more; it’s brought camaraderie within friends and is a great way for Oliver and I to spend some time together on the weekends. That’s where my continued motivation lies.
I'm glad I've had this realization because I'm sure not getting any thinner right now ;) I do it for my baby and my health, well also so I don't go hormonal on anyone! 
What keeps you heading back for more?



19 Week Bumpdate

19 weeks:
Feeling great my energy is high and I ‘sometimes’ forget I’m pregnant. I’ve had a couple low days, just feeling blah and chubby. I can usually fix that with a lunch break shopping trip for a new outfit to make myself feel pretty. There is a huge destination maternity not far from my work, I like how they have a mix of high end and low end items.
Their high end sweaters were 40% off the clearance price, loved this black and white one from A Pea in the Pod.

I also super fluffy heart love their leggings {better than Old Navy!}, I prefer the over the belly fit on my pants.
Saturday I only had time for a quick workout before Madison’s soccer game, so I did 6 miles around the neighborhood. I had to buy a support belt, at first it was hard to get it comfortable, but now I can’t run without it.

I enjoyed the cooler weather while sipping a Starbucks and watching my baby play.

 After the game we ran home to change so we could meet our friends at the pumpkin patch. I’m obsessed with Naartjie Kids and they keep sending me coupons, I love how they mix and match their clothing. Super comfy and cute!

This pumpkin patch is called Yesterland Farm and it is so much fun for the kids, all the rides are for their size. It was a perfect Fall day!

My girls Andrea and Amber, who is due about a month after me!

Sunday we slept in and after dropping Madison off with Papa to go to church Oliver and I headed to the lake for a 10 mile run. Whew, it’s a weird thing for my runs to just keep getting harder and harder. I’m slow as molasses now, but I just keep chugging along! The sailboats were out in the lake, the wind was cool, but the sun was warm. Pretty much perfect running weather!  This sweater is from Abundant Heart and ohmygosh it’s so freaking soft. Love love love love.

We picked up the cutie, had lunch with my parents, and did a little grocery shopping on the way home.

 Madison’s Kiwi Crate came in so we put together the glow worm and the jelly fish; I really liked this month’s box!

The rest of the day was spent relaxing with a spattering of cleaning. 

Happy Monday!


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