Tuesday, December 30, 2014

Thanksgiving in Ireland

As Christmas is over and it is almost 2015 already, I thought it was time to talk about my Thanksgiving! If you follow me on IG, you probably saw that we spent out Thanksgiving in Ireland. We visited Dublin, Lifford, Galway, Dingle, Killarney, and Middleton. It was a whirlwind trip where we squeezed a ton into a short amount of time, but we had an absolutely amazing trip.

Thursday, December 18, 2014

Things I'm Loving Lately

So I've kind of been a terrible blogger. I'm not really typing much these days and I'm not really reading many blogs these days either. Work got extremely busy, chasing a toddler around is increasingly difficult, and there are plenty of other excuses. In light of a deep and thoughtful post, I'll just write about a few of my favorite things these days.

Oiselle Lux Layer Side Zip Top
It is no secret that I run for Oiselle. One of my favorite items from last winter, that they also have available for this winter is the Lux Layer Side Zip Top. It is thinner for days when it isn't so cold and perfect for layering on days when it is cold. It isn't a super tight fit so it is flatter to the figure. It doesn't ride up while you're running either. The wider neck and zipper option allow for my neck to breathe (not cutting off circulation which is a plus). I have it in 2 colors and might get even more. If  you don't already own this top, I highly recommend you put it on your Xmas list or Treat Yo Self to it. I just bought one for my cousin for Xmas and I convinced my friend Amanda to buy one too. It will be worth it, I promise!

Serial Podcast
Today is the last episode of this Podcast. I became addicted to it late in the game. I'm sad that the podcast is over, as I still have so many questions. I've never been one to use Reddit, but I find myself headed down that rabbit hole to find more information about the case and potential theories. I don't want to release any spoilers so I'm not going to say anything else about it. There will be a season 2 that won't be anything like season 1. Don't worry Sarah Koenig, I'll be listening in.

Gilmore Girls
Yeah, I know I'm SUPER late to this train, but I never watched this show when it was on. Why? Because I'm insane, apparently. I'm having so much fun binge watching this show! Who will Rory end up with? Who will Lorlei end up with? I've made it this long without reading any spoilers so I'm excited to see where the story takes me. I'm already to Season 3 and have loved every minute. I think this is one I'll be watching with Patsy in the future.

The Pioneer Woman
She has a show on Food Network that I'm completely obsessed with. I've convinced my mother in law and my husband's aunt to start watching her show and they are hooked as well. Simple, delicious recipes that aren't tricking us into eating healthy. Real butter, homemade ranch dressing, and lots of skillets. I'm getting hungry just thinking about it!

Dunkin Donuts Egg and Cheese Wake-up Wrap
On the weekends I'm usually pretty busy running errands, grocery shopping, Christmas shopping, going to the bank, etc. I'm usually gone for most of the day on Saturday and/or Sunday. To go with my coffee, I'm usually looking for something quick and simple that won't be 500 calories and sit like a rock in my stomach. I know this is super lame, but I heard Angi Taylor on 103.5 in the morning talking about how she has one of these for breakfast and I figured I'd give it a try. For only 150 calories, this is actually pretty filling and will hold me off for a little while. I mean, I know this is definitely not "clean eating." The American cheese is a little gross (yet also melty and delightful) and it is the full egg (yolk and all), but if you're looking for a clean eating blog or healthy living blog, you've come to the wrong place. This weekend if you're out running errands and you need something on the go, I recommend this wrap. Oh, and the $0.99 price tag doesn't hurt either. This is not an ad for DD. I have not be compensated in any way for this text. All views and opinions are my own.

What are some of your favorites? Any shows on Netflix I should add to my list?

Monday, December 8, 2014

ZOMG Meeting Ppl IRL!

It is crazy to think sometimes how social media and blogging have changed the way we communicate with other people. Through blogging, I have met so many wonderful people. It is so nice to meet someone in person, to find out they are the same online as they are in real life.

During the Chicago Marathon weekend, I got the chance to meet two people that I've only spoken with on Twitter or through blog comments. When meeting them in person for the first time, it was like we already knew so much about each other. Danielle @ Oh Breathe, Just Breathe and I were pregnant at the same time, delivered a few months apart from each other but she lives in Maine and I live in Illinois. When I heard she was running the Chicago Marathon, we had to meet up to at least say hi… which we did! Danielle is no newbie to the marathon distance and she was an absolute rockstar during the Chicago race (and qualified for Boston)! To see adorable photos of her little toddler, Henry, and hear about her training in Maine, check out her blog.

Michelle @ Crazy Running Legs has 3 kids and was pregnant with her third as I was pregnant with Patsy. We delivered our babies a few months apart and she is a fellow working and breastfeeding mom. I was so glad when I discovered her blog because I could relate to so many things she discussed. (I always love when I come across a new blog like that. It doesn't happen very often.) When I heard she was coming to Chicago with her family for the marathon, I was excited to meet her and her brood in person. I was hoping for Patsy to meet her little guy, but the timing didn't work out that way… BUT we did still get to meet up and have lunch together the day after the marathon. She was so easy to talk to and very genuine. If you haven’t checked out her blog yet, you should!

Maggie @ Mag Mile Runner is probably one of my oldest and closest friends from the internet. I don’t know if I've ever explained the story of how we met but it is kind of a funny one. I happened upon her blog once I started to research into the world of running blogs. I found out she was local and was part of the same running club. We kept missing each other at group runs so we questioned whether the other person actually existed. Haha. When we finally met in person, we already knew so much about each other and instantly became friends. Before having Patsy, we had a fun little rivalry at local races as we were in the same age group. Life has changed a bit since then but we still try to make time to hang out or go out to lunch in the city. (And we still need to grab those donut milkshakes!) You can see more about what Maggie’s up to on her blog.

She’s also the moderator of the Chicago Running Blogger website. The organization and collaboration on the site has brought me together to meet so many other great running bloggers in the area! We've had so many fun events together and everyone was so supportive.

These are just a few of the people I've met through blogging over the years. There are still so many wonderful people that I've met that I hope to talk about at a later date! Have you met some wonderful people on the internet? Have you met some people that seemed like the exact opposite of their "internet persona"? 

Monday, November 10, 2014

Running and Breastfeeding

It really is no secret that I've been breastfeeding Patsy. As it has been a huge part of my life over the past year, it has been something I've mentioned once or twice here on the old blog. I've been asked by a few folks on how I've been able to manage breastfeeding while also running. Things have been interesting so I thought I would share some tips for what has worked well for me.

1) Timing. When I used to leave for a run, I would just go any time I felt like it. Depending on the length and duration of a run, that isn't quite as simple while breastfeeding. In those early weeks/months when Patsy was nursing one every 1.5-2 hours, I would get dressed for a run long before I needed to actually go. I would get the stroller prepared and get any water or food ready before as well. Does baby need a diaper change or an outfit change, depending on the weather? Get that done too while you’re at it! Then, I would sit down, feed Patsy for as long as she wanted to. 30 minutes? 45 minutes? I wasn't going to stop the feeding so however long she needed was what I did. Then, RIGHT after she was done, I was able to stretch, put her in the stroller and head out right away. For long runs that may last over an hour or so, getting everything ready beforehand led to a happy baby and happy mother runner. If you plan on going to a group run with friends, I recommend getting there early and feeding your baby right before the run. You want to make sure you have an optimal amount of time out on the run!

2) Hydrating. When pregnant, breastfeeding, or just living your everyday life, drinking lots of water on a daily basis is essential. Staying properly hydrated can help boost your supply (seriously though!). When exercising of any kind, it is important to be sure to replenish those fluids, more than if you weren't exercising. I always take water on my runs now. With the jogging stroller, it is easy enough to toss a bottle on the canopy to have on the go.

Or a handheld works nicely too
Nice and sweaty after a summer time run

3) Fueling. Being a breastfeeding mom, I eat a lot. Being a runner, I eat a lot. Being a breastfeeding mother runner, I EAT A LOT. Making sure your body is properly fueled is very important. Losing those last few pregnancy pounds are something I've just decided to not worry about. My body is different now and it may never be the same. A few pounds is not something I’m going to stress about (although sometimes this is easier said than done). Continuing to breastfeed was more important to me than losing 4-7 pounds. I continue to eat what I want while trying to keep things balanced. Dieting or restricting is not something you want to do while breastfeeding and running.

We love us some Picky Bars (Patsy approved)

Running while breastfeeding (not at the same time though) can sometimes be a challenge, but it is definitely worth it. A few other moms are doing it too, but they are a bit more elite than me. Check out these posts from The Local Elite and NYC Running Mama.

Do you have any other tips for running and breastfeeding?

Friday, October 31, 2014

Happy Halloween!

Happy Halloween from the crew at Running Kellometers! My little Minnie Mouse had a ton of fun at my work Halloween party, despite the serious face. Hope you all have a wonderful and fun holiday!

Tuesday, October 14, 2014

Chicago Marathon Spectating Report

As I'm not yet ready to take the plunge and run another marathon (first experience recap here), I'm having quite a fun time spectating this glorious event. I'm not new to spectating this event. As my cousin ran it a few years ago, I spotted her a few times along the way and had a blast cheering. In more recent years as I've become more involved in the local running community, I love going out to see my friends out there complete their goal(s)! (Report from spectating the 2012 event)

This year was no different! I headed to the expo on Friday and got the chance to meet Olympian Nick Symmonds. If you don't follow Nick on social media, you should. He's pretty active and always thankful to fans (he was the first one to "like" my pic on IG after I posted it). I got a signed copy of his new book and I'm excited to read it. He was someone who moved from the giant Nike train to Brooks. As an ambassador for Oiselle and seeing some of our own athletes move from more giant sponsors, I'm interested to read about Nick's perspective and experience. Thanks for the photo opp!
Patsy was mostly interested in some free samples

I also got the chance to meet fellow Mommy Blogger Danielle at the expo, who came in from Maine for the event!  Spoiler alert--she BQed! Go say hi and tell her congrats when you get a chance!

Don't mind the blurs. We were excited.

Now, onto the main event! I went downtown with Patsy, parked at our usual spot, and walked to my favorite spectating spot. Mile 17.
I wanted to have a special cheer zone for all of my fellow Oiselle teammates running the race. I wasn't extremely clear with the EXACT location so I think I ended up missing some folks. Now I know for next time! Cindi met me and we had a blast cheering on our teammates and friends. Kim also came all the way from Wisconsin with her husband and daughter to cheer on friends as well.

The Oiselle cheering crew at mile 17, cowbells included

One cowbell wasn't enough for Patsy. She needed more.

My favorite little spectator

Patsy was SUCH a trooper and loved having fun cheering on everyone! She was pooped afterwards and slept most of the afternoon. I missed the post-race party because it started much later than I thought and we were ready to head home.

Thanks for the inspiration runners! That Chicago Marathon medal is still something that I want to have some day. We'll see you again next year, on the sidelines, at mile 17!

Wednesday, October 1, 2014

Super Spartan Race Recap

Last year when I was pregnant with Patsy, I was contacted and asked if I was interested in free entry to the Spartan. Looking at the course and the intensity, I didn't feel it was the right race for me at the time, but I was interested in the future. Earlier this year I followed up with my contact and he offered free race entry to me and a friend. Meghan won the entry and this past weekend we tackled the Super Spartan together.

In my mind I had a great plan laid out of how to train for this race. I was going to do lots of burpees, lift weights, lots of trail workouts, and become a badass before race day. Well, life kind of happened and I didn't do nearly as many burpees as I probably should and holding and lifting Patsy was the only weight training that I did. I was thankful that Meghan’s training sounded similar to mine so we were heading into this thing in the same place.
Meghan and I, pre-race

Logistics for the race were pretty straight forward. Parking was easy to get to. A path to the start was clearly marked, despite the fact that we were climbing through the forest. We got to the race with plenty of time to spare and we were able to scope out the festival beforehand. Part of the course wound out and around back by the finish so we got to see some of the elites work through the obstacles. My friend Kate had a start time 2 hours earlier than us and we happen to catch her going through one of the obstacles. Glad I got to see her in action as she is quite the badass and finished the race in less than 2 hours. I kind of went into this with an “ignorance is bliss” mentality as I didn't want to scare myself by looking too much into some of these obstacles. Meghan had sent me some tips earlier in the week and that was about it. In retrospect, maybe this wasn't the best plan.

After stretching, buying some gear, checking our bags and getting hydrated, we headed to the start line. As some great foreshadowing, we had to climb a giant wall before even getting to the start. There were tons of people in tight quarters so it was interesting to say the least. I won’t go through each and every obstacle (as I definitely lost count early on), but some were harder than others and some were more terrifying than others. There were lots of walls to climb over, lots of waist-deep mud holes to wade through and lots of steep cliffs to walk down and walk up. Some of the obstacles appeared less challenging than they were. (I LOVED the monkey bars as a kid and was always awesome at it. Turns out if you don’t do the monkey bars for 20 years, you should expect to be less awesome at it.) What time Meghan and I lost on the obstacles, I feel like we made up for it on the run. Whenever there was a flat surface where you could run, we did.

Lots of barbed wire to climb over and mud to slosh through

The scariest obstacle for me--that view from the top on a cable as other people are shaking the net as they climb too

The only obstacle I flat-out skipped.

I will say that I’m proud of myself for trying all but one of the obstacles. I might not have been great at all of them and some took me longer than they probably should have, but I did my very best. And now I know what to expect for next time. Yes, you read that right. There is going to be a next time.

The course itself was beautiful with all of the leaves changing color, the spring water falling over pebbles and rocks, the flowers growing in pockets off of a steep cliff… The Spartan race is on the pricier side but I really do feel like you get what you pay for. There are a TON of volunteers to cheer, motivate, pour water, and police the different obstacles. Every inch of the course was VERY CLEARLY marked. I can’t emphasize this enough. We were going through winding trails in the middle of the forest and there was a clear pathway marked with Spartan plastic tape. It really did make things easier when you didn't have to think about where to go during the race.
These mamas are SPARTANS!

Another great thing I’ll say about the race is the sense of community that Meghan and I felt during the event. Some of the obstacles were hard but we had help. As one example, there was a rope ladder that we had to climb over. I went first and thought it was much scarier at the top than I thought it would be. Megan followed after me and shouted down from the top “What do I do next?” and I tried my best to explain but the guy next to her, also at the top, coached her on what to do. I cheered for her “Come on Meghan, you can do it!” Others heard her name and cheered for Meghan too. It was exhilarating to complete these obstacles by helping each other out. I never felt alone during the race and I never felt like there was something that I couldn't do. I know some people do this on their own, but I think this was much more fun with a partner. Thanks Meghan for signing up and sticking with me during the entire race!

In summary, if you’re looking for a race that will test your limits and challenge you in ways you haven’t been challenged before, I highly recommend the Spartan race. I’m very happy I did it and I plan to do it again! As I’m still hobbling around, sore and bruised, you’d think that I would be done with the Spartan. Buuuuuut the competitor in me would like another try to tackle this beast. Maybe not the Spartan Super though, perhaps the Spartan Sprint is more my speed. If you have any questions about the race itself, the logistics, or anything else, please let me know in the comments below. If there is interest, perhaps I can put together a "Do's and Don'ts" list for obstacle course racing and the Spartan specifically.

Thanks to the people at Spartan for offering me free race entry. Thanks to Oiselle for sending us t-shirts and sweatshirts to destroy during the race. Until next time...

Don't mind me as I enjoy a beer in my finisher tee

Tuesday, September 2, 2014

Fleet Feet Shakeout Run aka I Met Lauren Fleshman

As some of you may know, I have quite an admiration for Lauren Fleshman. We both run for Oiselle, and we became first time moms within a few months of each other. I was very jealous of my fellow Oiselle Ambassadors that they got to spend a week with her at bird camp earlier this summer. When Lauren announced that she would be coming to the wonderful city of Chicago for the Mag Mile Half Marathon, I just knew I had to meet her! As the race was on Sunday over Labor Day weekend, we had plans to go to Michigan. I adjusted our plans so we were able to meet up at Fleet Feet Chicago (South Loop) for a fun run/shakeout run along the lakefront path.

We got downtown on Saturday morning pretty easily and the South Loop store is in a really cute area. I brought Patsy and the jogging stroller with me and we were ready to go! Patsy made lots of friends while waiting for the run to start. I ran into Erica and some of the Oiselle Flock too.
Pre-run shot at the Fleet Feet South Loop store. Source

We headed out from the store to the lakefront path and did some stretching exercises and warm ups. Patsy decided that she didn't want to do the stretches and warm ups so I held her during most of them. (Eh, a moms gotta do what a moms gotta do.)
Can you spot me in the back with Patsy? Source

When it was time for the run to start, I started in the back and chose the 3 mile option. It was nice to see some new faces and the fasties on their way back.

Starting off in the back with another stroller mom. Source
Can you spot Erica?

After the run, on the walk back to the store, I spotted LF and took the time to say hi, introduce myself, and chat her up a bit. She recognized me and thought we had met before. I told her how I run for Oiselle and we were pregnant at the same time. I told her about that time I posted, with my big ole pregnant belly, in a "Lauren Fleshman is my Homeboy" shirt. She remembered that. Haha. We got the chance to talk about our babies, child birth and nursing, and other various topics. She is so down to earth and was amazingly easy to talk to. I'm so thankful that I got the chance to meet her and I hope we get to hang out again someday! Patsy slept for most of the run, which was awesome. She woke up right when we got back to the store, perfect timing to take some photos with LF!
Patsy and I with THE Lauren Fleshman!

Lauren then asked if she could hold Patsy. Obviously I said yes, she picked her up, and kissed her on the cheek. It was so cute and made me love LF even more (as if that were possible). I'm so glad that Patsy got the chance to meet such a wonderful and empowering female athlete (and someone who's poster is hanging up on her wall). I'm looking forward to following LF's career as a family in the years to come. :)

I had an absolute blast spending my Saturday morning in the city. It was totally worth delaying the trip to Michigan for the experience. I hope LF makes it back to Chicago again soon!

Friday, August 15, 2014

Country Choice Oatmeal Review

As a breastfeeding mom and runner, I eat a lot of oatmeal. It has been proven that oatmeal can help aid in milk production. I've gotten into the habit of eating it every single morning for breakfast, during the week before I leave for work or before I leave for the long run. When the folks at Country Choice reached out to offer me some samples of oatmeal, I couldn't help but say YES! When I'm making oatmeal, I usually go with the regular old fashioned oats and add my own stuff.

All The Oatmealz!
However when I was sent lots of options from Country Choice, I figured I would give the instant steel cut oats packets a try. Apple spice and maple were the two flavors and they are both delicious! I really like that steel cut oats are a nice break from my usual old fashioned oats. They cook up great in the microwave but make sure you follow the instructions and use a deep bowl. (Speaking from experience, this can lead to a messy microwave...)

Perfect for pre-race fuel or breakfast while breastfeeding. 

I had never heard of this brand before but I definitely enjoyed my free samples! The next time I see them in the store, I will definitely make a purchase. 

Full Disclosure: I was sent these packages of oatmeal for free but I was not compensated in any other way for this review. All thoughts and opinions are my own.