The sun has finally returned, so I decided to be a pleasant, semi-normal person again. I figured I’d do the things pleasant, semi-normal people do. For example, share. Let’s start with last week’s workouts (and who knows, maybe I’ll work up to sharing something you actually want. Or need. Or like. #nopromises).
Raining + training | Last week’s workouts
Monday: Class with the Mama Beasts – I’ve had to give myself some serious Monday morning pep talks the past few weeks. The gloomy weather hasn’t helped. I’m gladwe made it to all three classes this week, though… mostly because the alternative was being cooped up in the house. Where there is chocolate. And no other adults between 8 AM – 6 PM.
Tuesday: Tone it Up workout + 2.5 mile loop around the Sugar Bowl and Castle Island
Thursday: 3 mile walk in varying degrees of rain (sprinkling… drizzling… full on raining… and down pouring) to the post office (where we got to chat with a nun from the neighborhood, so that was a bonus) and the library (which was closed… and I am a dingbat for not checking the schedule ahead of time) and to the store for Zantac (the glamour of my GI-challenged life never ceases to amaze). And some much needed yoga.
Friday: Class (it seemed like an especially tough one), lots of stretching and foam rolling.
Saturday: Marine Corps Honor Run 5k and a 1.5 mile walk – I feel like kind of a boob saying this, but I’m pretty proud of how it went. Running with the double stroller is no joke. But Grace and baby Nick provide a good distraction. And there’s room for snacks in the handlebar pouch thing, so… there are definite advantages. I checked with our pediatrician first (obvi), but with its flat course and my current turtle pace, this race provided the perfect opportunity to run with both babes. I’ve run the Marine Corps Honor Run before and it’s always a pretty moving event. It’s an honor to be able to run it, for sure.
Sunday: Rest day
Despite all the rain, this felt like my strongest week of workouts in ages.
I’m slowly emerging from that postpartum fog (mostly I’ve come to accept that I will live like some sort of medieval peasant, getting 4 hours of sleep at night and subsisting solely on Grace’s table scraps until a miraculous 10 free minutes appear and I manage to consume the equivalent of breakfast, lunch, lunch 2, lunch 3 and dinner all at one).
And I’m so appreciative of this body I have. That matters as much (likely more) than any workout I finish.
On that cheeseball note, let’s go (responsibly) enjoy some sunshine.
You know you’ve been listening to more Prince than usual when your two-year-old starts singing “Purple Rain” to her Fisher Price farm animals. It’s making mealternately very happy and a bit depressed.
Materials used: Golden fluid acrylics (Dioxazine Purple), Handmade Modern acrylic paint (lavender, violet), Winsor + Newton professional watercolor (ivory black)
I think I’ve always loved Prince’s music. And while “Purple Rain” is sort of an obvious song to single out, it’s been an important part of nearly every race I’ve started (and finished). Long, short and everything in between.
Being a bit of a sponge person, I used to get way too wrapped up in the starting line energy (and all the weird vibes that come from other people being nervous, excited, and/or trying out new Gu. Or stretches. Or Spandex). In the corral before my first marathon, a woman told me she was going to run despite not training (like, at all) and I think I pulled every worry muscle in my body just listening to her.
I’d start each race all wrapped up in everything going on around me, inevitably running too fast, and nearly expiring by mile two.
I knew early on that I needed a strategy. (For the record: I don’t mean that in a competitive or high performing way… I mostly mean that in a “figure out how to keep running without dying” kind of way.) I must’ve had my iPod set to shuffle during a run (or maybe I intentionally picked “Purple Rain,” but I don’t think so), but as soon as I heard “I didn’t mean to cause you any sorrow,” I knew Prince would join me for the rest of my races.
“Purple Rain” is just slow enough to keep my heart rate low and pace on target. And when all 8 minutes and 24 seconds have passed, I’m approaching my first mile and first third of a 5k. And if I could do math, I’d tell you how much of a 10k or marathon would be left. But I can’t (do math, that is). Like so much of Prince’s music, the song is somehow uplifting, confusing, bittersweet, sad, and weird all at once. In other words, it’s the perfect soundtrack to all the things that might pop into my head on any given run.
Oh, and don’t get me started on the music itself. If I wasn’t positive I’d be an even worse musician than I am a runner, “Purple Rain” would have convinced me to take up guitar lessons.
While I’m saddened that so many talented people have left the Earth lately, I’m grateful we can still take them along on our runs, our races, our walks, our adventures, our drives and our day-to-days.
I recently found myself scrolling through the entirety of the Internet (it’s an uppercase word… until June 1…) for a good granola bar recipe and scanning the contents of our pantry, hoping the stars ingredients would align.
It was 10:30 on Sunday night, and I had no business being awake, let alone attempting to make granola bars… but sometimes we get peer pressured into these things (i.e. I did it for the Mama Beasts Spring Challenge points…). And in this case, the pressure paid off.
I should know better than to mess with baking recipes (unlike cooking, there’s some actual science and measuring involved) and you know I’d never be so bold as to question my queen Martha… but um… I messed with a Martha recipe (this one for peanut-butter granola bars — you’ll see I made a few changes, but used her recipe as a guide). Mostly because I needed to work with what I had. And because Martha seemed to have forgotten to include chocolate chips. She’s got a lot going on.
I’ve made these granola bars twice now (proof that they don’t take a lot of effort or time or thought, all things I seem to be perpetually lacking).
I’m always looking for filling, mostly-healthy snacks and these turned out to be both. And they don’t taste like an old shoe (always a plus). That’s a terrible way of telling you they’re delicious. They’re delicious.
Homemade peanut butter, cranberry + dark chocolate granola bars
gluten free, makes approximately 12 bars
1/2 cup gluten free rolled oats
1/2 cup unsweetened dried cranberries
1/2 cup sliced raw almonds
1/2 cup nut butter
1/4 cup dark chocolate chips
1/4 cup palm sugar
3 tablespoons vegetable oil
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 egg white
Pinch of sea salt (I use Maldon flakes)
Prep work: Preheat the oven to 300 degrees F. Line an 8 x 8 pan with parchment or freezer paper, leaving a bit of overhang.
In a large bowl, mix oats, cranberries, almonds and dark chocolate.
In a small sauce pan over low heat, mix nut butter, oil, and palm sugar until sugar dissolves. Remove pan from heat and mix in egg white.
Combine wet and dry ingredients and pour into prepared pan, pressing mixture evenly with a spatula.
Top with a sprinkle of sea salt.
Bake for 30 minutes, allow to cool in pan (approximately 10 minutes).
Remove baked granola (technically, they’re not bars… yet) from the pan, using the parchment or freezer paper and freeze overnight on a cookie sheet.
Cut bars to desired size, store refrigerated.
Recipe notes: You could include just about any nuts and dried fruit. I don’t recommend skipping the chocolate. (Because, really, why?) You could throw caution to the wind and cut them after cooling, but I found freezing the bars really helped keep them from crumbling. Martha’s recipe calls for light brown sugar, which you could use if you don’t have palm sugar on hand. Similarly, you could substitute (1:1) coconut oil for vegetable oil. The Maldon is definitely optional, but I have such a thing for salty/sweet. I used 70% cocoa chocolate chips and Bob’s Red Mill gluten free rolled oats, but again, use what you have.
That’s basically my life’s motto at the moment… use what you have. Or, like, order it from Amazon Prime. Just kidding. Kind of.
Attempting to read an actual book (one that is not about “positive parenting” or “thriving toddlers” or “making your dog promise to live forever”) …I’m currently on page 13 and consider that a huge victory
True Life: If I don’t write it down, it doesn’t get done. And sometimes even if I write it down, it doesn’t get done (can’t win ’em all). And sometimes I write down things I’ve already done, just for the satisfaction of crossing something off. Whatever. Here’s a free printable.
I use a weekly planner (the Get to Work Book — love it) to keep track of appointments, writing and art projects and general “to dos,” and Co-Schedule for an editorial calendar, but I prefer something simple when it comes to my weekly plan. After a little design trial and error, I came up with this pretty number, and thought I’d share it. Feel free to download and print and plan all kinds of things.
I stick with a Monday start partly to pretend I’m a sophisticated non-American (just kidding… kind of) but mostly because I like carving out time on Sundays to plan for the week ahead. If you’d prefer a file with a Sunday start, reach out or leave a comment below and I’m sure I can help you out.
You might use this weekly planning printable for
A gratitude diary
1-2 must dos (or want to dos) per day
I laminated mine using a 3M self-sealing pouch (you can find them on Amazon in packages of 10 for less than $10, or in the office supply aisle at Target) and use a fine tip dry erase marker, rather than printing a new page every week (I feel like I am forever living dangerously… in the low ink zone).
Time to go write something down. And maybe, eventually do that something.
What is it about spring that makes me want to be a runner again?
That year I ran two marathons (the Walt Disney World Marathon and the NYC marathon <– click though for recaps, if you’d like to read about very mediocre running, but above average emotional expression) seems like ancient history, but give me a new pair of kicks and a 60 degree day and you’d think I was heading for the starting line (more likely: I’m heading to Target because I forgot to buy hand soap… but remembered to buy chocolate chips…).
Regardless, I’m looking forward to several spring races (the Marine Corps Honor Run in Southie and the Corrib 5k in West Roxbury for starts) and sort of feel my running mojo coming back. Whatever that means. If you’re getting back outside to train, I’ve got a great giveaway below that might make your (running) life a little better.
Last week’s workouts
Monday: Mama Beasts — I’m always a little giddy when the deck of cards comes out (and I’m impressed at how many ways Antoinette puts those cards to use!).
Tuesday: Mama Beasts spring challenge workout (at home) and a long walk with the little people. Grace went on a two week nap strike (and attempted to eat a crayon while I changed Nick’s diaper), so escaping getting out of the house felt very necessary. It’s amazing what a little fresh air (and ocean views) can do.
Thursday: Push-up playdate with my sister-in-law, Colleen– we earned a point for our MB team for every push-up we completed in an hour. I’m still working on being able to do regular push-ups on my toes (hello, two children… and a temporary goodbye to core/back strength), but got 163 good form push-ups done on my knees. I rounded out the day with a gentle flow from OneOEight yoga.
Friday: Mama Beasts (followed by an adorable egg hunt for the little ones!)
Saturday: Mileage day for the MB challenge — a morning walk and an afternoon trip to the track for a total of 5 miles.
I recently received a dual pocket run belt from SLS3 and have used it on several outdoor runs and walks, and loaned it to Nick for a rowing workout. I’ve used other running belts in the past, and this one is far more comfortable (it doesn’t bounce around and has a wide, fully adjustable belt) and it can hold an iPhone 6+ (and comparably giant phones), keys, IDs, gels, snacks, and heavens knows what else. I look forward to continuing to use it for spring runs and races and am thrilled to host a giveaway today.
The giveaway is open for a week, and a random winner will be chosen and contacted by SLS3. Please enter by using the Rafflecopter widget below.
Thursday: Make-up class with the Mama Beasts — 12 Days of Christmas! I’m really glad I made it to this class, as I missed this workout when Antoinette ran it in December, just after Nick was born. I had to scale back some of the running (indoor laps instead of outdoor) half-way through… I pretended I needed to be close to the babes, but in reality, my lungs and legs were burning). Merry Christmas, body!
Friday: Class with the Mama Beasts, BeFit Toned Abs and Arms — class three days in a row was no joke, but I really liked the abs/arms workout from earlier in the week, so I snuck that in, too.
Sunday: Yoga (Mellow Me Out… again, and a yin yoga class)
In addition to making it to class four times both weeks (there was an extra class held both weeks), I managed to sneak in a few short at-home workouts, too. I’m really enjoying BeFit’s 30 Day Workout Calendar, which corresponds to this YouTube playlist. The program is free to access — I definitely recommend checking it out.
Each workout is short, but intense (check out this intro video to learn more) — perfect for fitting in between appointments, during nap time, or whenever your schedule allows. You could work through the 30 day calendar as it is laid out, or pick and choose, as I have been doing. This program is both really well organized and manageable (especially when you consider how little time you need to carve out) — and the variety of workouts has kept me feeling engaged and motivated.
As a Sweat Pink Ambassador, I was given the chance to review BeFit’s 30 Day Fat Burn program and received a generous gift of BeFit nutritional products from the company.
Because I’m breastfeeding Nick, I am not taking any supplements (just a prenatal vitamin and my good ol’ Floridix for anemia), but I’ve heard great things about the products we received from my fellow ambassadors and look forward to trying them in the future. I’m especially excited to try the pre-workout formula, as well as a few of the whey protein recipes that BeFit has shared on Instagram. If you’d like to win your own gift set from BeFit, please see details below.
I think I skipped a week. I think no one cares. Let’s move on.
Last week was the final week of the Mama Beasts’ winter challenge and I’m sort of disappointed that it’s over. I think I’m going to start giving myself imaginary points for workouts, non-Cheeze-Its dinners and routine “me” time. Points are weirdly motivating.
They also distract (sort of) from the actual work — the past few weeks flew by and I’m left with some pretty solid good habits. Like eating breakfast. And staying tuned in during workouts at home. And being a bit more mindful of my tendency to snack when stressed.
Last week’s workouts | 003
Monday: The Name Game – Class was canceled due to snow, so we were given a “name game” workout to complete at home. Each letter of the alphabet had a corresponding number and exercise (for example, E = 50 squats). There were extra points awarded for completing your first, middle and last name… I got through E-L-I and considered whether or not I could legally change my name to Eli Smith… or something even a letter or two shorter than my ridiculously long name. When it was all said and done (I broke it up over the course of the day and it took me until almost 10 PM to finish), I completed:
25 power burpees
90 second wall sit
50 biceps curls
100 high knees
90 second high plank
90 second low plank
300 mountain climbers
50 plank jacks
50 triceps extensions
900 swear words
You could easily come up with your own “name game” workout and use random (or not so random) words instead of names. I’m definitely holding onto this one for future use.
Tuesday: Plyo pyramid (another at-home workout)
Wednesday: Class with Mama Beasts
Thursday: Yoga (Happy Hips + Hearts flow from OneOEight.tv), “Booty Burner Pyramid” from a past MB challenge
Friday: Class with Mama Beasts; Class (and the challenge) ended with a Beep Test (it has a bunch of other names — more details here thanks to the Internet). This was my first time running a beep test and admittedly, had no idea what was going on… so I am looking forward to redeeming myself at the next opportunity. Also, I downloaded a beep test app and fully intend to train under the cover of darkness in our driveway. Or whatever.
Saturday + Sunday: Rest (I think I was still sore from the name game).