Race to the pint ~ 5k recap

This past weekend, we ran the 2nd annual Cape Cod Beer Race to the Pint as a family. The weather report was not ideal! It was chilly with a strong chance of rain. Thankfully, the rain held off, but it was still pretty raw. We all bundled up and headed to the race.

Just as the last 5k we ran together, both boys were running with me. None of us had been consistent in training and we weren’t too sure what to expect. While the boys were a little frustrated with each other at the beginning of the race, they settled down when we came up with a plan.

We ran one minute and walked one minute and the youngest was able to go ahead with one mile left. Once we had settled on the plan, they eased up and were more fun to run with. They became chatty and ultimately enjoyed the experience.

With each race, they learn a little bit more about pacing and training. What once seemed easy to do without much training is no longer a walk in the park. Moving forward, we will train a bit more and see how it goes!

How to support friends and family trying to make healthier choices

Going through my own journey and helping many others work on their own journey, I’ve learned a few things about how to support people and not derail them. Many times people feel judged or even sabotaged by people who they are closest to. I don’t believe anyone does this on purpose and maybe just need a few ideas on how to word things during this time 😊

Don’t judge! Just don’t do it. The choices of another person are not your own. Maybe you enjoyed running and she enjoys yoga or strength training – great! You are different people. One of my favorite phrases I heard last year is “don’t should all over others”. LOVED it! Most people should on others because they think they are helping and sharing information. Unless you are the coach, listen and support. It’s really that simple.

Don’t be weird about food. Don’t add judgment to your friend’s choice. It can be as simple as offering food in a weird way. “Am I allowed to offer you cake” for example, leaves your friend with no good answer. Yes, elicits judgement and so does no in that scenario. Simply offer as you normally would and she will make her decision. When she does, remember it’s not you so no judgement. (I hope this goes without saying, but NEVER say “I thought you were trying to lose weight”)

Suggest different activities. Maybe you miss the social time with your co-worker over cake in the office kitchen. Now that she avoids it, you miss chatting. Try suggesting a walk around the office or eating lunch together. More often than not, it’s not the food itself but the time together. The same is true for getting drinks after work. Again you can go for a walk or try an activity together.

Most importantly- LISTEN! Change is never easy and always brings up emotions we don’t expect. Be there for your friend and/or family member and they will be there for you. It really is that simple 😊

What would you add or take out? What’s the best way someone helped you make healthy changes?

Playing with new toys at the gym

OK, new to me and for some it’s more of a revisit. I was thinking if I hated everything running before and learned that it was about adjusting my approach, that could be true elsewhere. It also helps that my hip was getting a little cranky on the treadmill and it seemed prudent to broaden my cardio horizons.

It began with the stair master, an oldie but a goodie. I’ve been eying it for a while and one day I had a short amount of time before teaching and decided why not. As the sweat was pouring, I realized I should do this more often. I find it a little tedious and am usually a little bored after 15-20 minutes, but I love the work!

Then there was the elliptical. I hate this machine more than anything. I have never felt so uncoordinated as I did on the elliptical. Most people think as a dancer I should be good at these things. Not even close! I decided it was time to face my fear and give it a go.

After a few minutes, I started to get the hang of it and I actually liked it. My hips felt good and again I was sweating away. I figured out how to switch from using the handles to not. I still set my music before getting on and am playing with maintaining a consistent speed. I must say I like being able to set my speed by feel. I go faster when it feels good and sometimes slow by accident (when I’m distracted). Overall, I’m liking it and have found starting on the elliptical and going to the stair master has been a nice way to mix it up.

I did try the stationary bike briefly. A friend recommended the air bike and I do need to try it. I wasn’t a huge fan of the stationary bike. To be fair, I tried it at the end of a workout – not ideal. I also need to play with the seat. I have really short legs and I don’t think I adjusted it effectively. I will get back to this machine because I think it was my approach not the machine and I’m curious about the air bike 🙂

Finally, I did the rowing machine. This used to be one of my favorites and I got away from it as I was running more. There are only so many hours in the day and when you’re getting cardio outside it’s easy to forget about things like the rowing machine. Turns out I still like it and will be adding it to my routine.

With trying so many machines, the duration has varied and that’s ok because my current goal is simply maintaining cardio endurance. There’s another stair-like machine (clearly the technical term) that I’m curious to try. I’ll let you know how it goes!

What cardio machines scare you? Which cardio machine is your favorite?

P.S. I’ve been broadening my strength training horizons too 😉

4 years of running ~ 1388 miles, sometimes tedious with a sprinkle of fun

To be honest, I was quite surprised when Facebook showed me an old blog post celebrating my running anniversary. I had completely forgotten! In a way, this sums up my last year of running.

Many times it was tedious and frankly lack luster. My running motivation was pretty much gone. I exercise a lot outside of running and decided to honor it. I cut back on running and made sure I was in shape enough to participate in races.

Slowly, my running desire is coming back. The weather is improving and I’m enjoying getting in miles with friends when I can. My hips have been getting cranky on the treadmill so I’m focusing my cardio elsewhere.

Before I started running, I was envious of people who could just run. They decided to simply run a 5k. This seemed impossible to me. I couldn’t run a mile. I put in a lot of hard work and eventually got there myself.  

As I play on different cardio machines, I realize how much running has helped. They aren’t as intimidating as they once were.

Of course, there was a lot of good too! We ran the 10k trilogy and that was amazing! The atmosphere at each race is electric and it’s a great sense of accomplishment to finish all three. Not to mention the courses are beautiful 🙂

The boys were more involved in running and look forward to running 5ks with us. We are planning to run as a family at the end of April. It can be a challenge scheduling races around their busy activity schedule, but it works.

It’s not a bad lesson for them to cheer us on once in a while as we spend much of our time cheering them on. Not to mention the lesson of perseverance and working towards fitness goals as adults. They’ve both noticed how their sports season affects their race. For example, one noticed he runs better during soccer season as his conditioning is on point versus a season with less running.

While it wasn’t the most glamorous year of running, like many runs themselves, it got done. I’m looking forward to this year of running and seeing what it brings 🙂

Planning = Staying on budget

Planning ahead not only keeps healthy options in the house, but keeps you on budget. When you plan and write a list, you should have an idea of what you’re spending. You can look at the list and maybe find places to save.

A great way to make this easier is to use online shopping. You don’t have to do it all the time, but it’s a great resource. You can put in your list and see exactly how much you are spending. This also eliminates any impulse buys 😉. Is it perfect? Nope, but it is helpful for many people. They also save your list making it easy the next time you order.

Personally, I go to several stores when I’m shopping; but not everyone has that availability. I have found planning the freezer crockpot dinners has me using BJs more often. I’m buying in bulk and using it all quickly.

I’m also using more frozen vegetables in the crockpot prep (you don’t have to prep to use them, they can just be thrown into the crockpot). Frozen vegetables are a great way to save money and eat healthy!

There is also the aspect of knowing you have the food and dinner is ready. I don’t know about you, but we HATE throwing out food. There’s hardly a time we will go out to eat if dinner is planned. This doesn’t mean we never eat out, it’s simply part of the plan.

Do you find planning ahead easy? What is the hardest part?

You can check out my meal planning post (with printouts) here

Finding your pace


I think one of the hardest parts of starting a new fitness program is finding the right pace. More often than not we sprint out of the gate and wind up gassed and resentful of the exercise.

When I’m teaching class, I can always spot a new student over doing it. Sometimes this person leaves during class and sometimes they stick it out looking increasingly frustrated. Often when I see this, I give my running example to class.

Before I began running, I’d randomly hop on the treadmill and just start increasing the speed. After a minute, I’d think “I’m faster than this” and start increasing speed. Very quickly I was gassed and hated running. It was stupid, I wasn’t good at it and clearly, I wasn’t meant to run.

OR, my approach was totally defeatist! When I decided to truly give running a chance; I did a lot of research and decided to start with intervals. I walked for 2 minutes and ran for 1. In the beginning my run was too fast, but I was determined so I slowed down the run on the next interval and surprise – found a speed I could maintain. Who knew?

Over time, I learned how to find my pace. This doesn’t mean I didn’t get faster. My pace has certainly changed over time. I’ve been faster and slower, but I learned how to adjust and find where I need to be.

How does this relate to strength training? Almost the exact same way! It’s important to pick up a weight or choose an exercise that challenges you to start, but makes it hard on your last rep. If your first rep feels really hard, your tenth will be impossible and odds are you won’t like it. 

Whenever you enter a class or workout, look at the options and pick the right one for you. There is a lot of trial and error that goes into it and that’s ok. The idea is to not give up and find your personal sweet spot. It will make exercise that much more enjoyable because, yes – it should be mostly enjoyable!

Do you struggle with finding your pace? What helps get you on track?

Why I race!

Surprise, it’s not to win 😉

I like goals

I do well with external motivation and races provide it in spades. You have to keep up some form of training. This becomes internal motivation as you go, but it is having a deadline and set distance that gets you started. There is also the group of people lining up with you at the start. Sometimes this gets you going a little too fast, but it often shows you what you’re capable of!

Sense of community

As you know, I love running with my husband, kids and friends; but we also see friends before and after running. As we’ve been doing it for a while, we now see many familiar faces and have made new friends along the way. At my pace, there’s always other people around and you build relationships along the course.

Accomplishment

There is nothing like crossing a finish line! Hopefully there are people cheering, and a nice big clock showing your time. This always fuels that last kick as you come across the finish. Knowing that line (and clock) are waiting for you really keeps you going. It doesn’t matter if it’s a small race or a big one, the finish still represents the end of a goal.

Celebration

Let’s be honest, a post race beer is extra delicious; but it doesn’t always happen. Many times we have obligations or the race is super early in the day. There is still plenty of celebrating at the finish line. There are high fives and lots of congratulating. Everyone crossing the finish has met a goal. For some it may not be the time they were hoping for, but crossing the finish is still something to celebrate!

Honestly, it’s fun!! I love everything about it. Sometimes I get a little cranky about it and then I get to the race and am re-energized immediately! If you’ve always wanted to try a race, go for it (with your doctors permission) and remember to soak in the whole experience 😊

Have you participated in a race?  What’s your favorite part?