Thursday, February 13, 2014


I've been thinking about writing this post for a long time now, but I haven't really had the courage to put it in words. I'm a little reluctant to put my feelings and pretty personal thoughts out to the world. But an article by Laura Fleshman on Runner's World today got me thinking. Although her article was about being honest with body image, it also challenged me to take a risk and to write something a little more personal on the blog today. Her article motivated me to "keep it real" and to share something that has been affecting me quite a lot lately and to not be embarrassed by it.

I have anxiety. Life-hindering, mood changing anxiety. As a child I was always labeled "determined," "hard-working," and "over-achiever." I strived to be the best and often pushed myself too hard causing major emotional crashes. I'll never forget studying for an AP Calculus test my senior year of high school during my study hall when my principal came in and saw me in tears over my book. After a few minutes she dismissed me from study hall and told me to use my senior privileges to go home and shove my calculus book under my bed and to ignore it until tomorrow. I obviously ignored her and thought she was ridiculous. How could I just throw a book under my bed and ignore it when I had such a major exam coming up? I ended up doing fine on the exam, but I had to take the next day off of school because I ended up being so emotionally drained I couldn't function.

Similar issues occurred in college and I started to wonder if my stress and feelings of being overwhelmed were a little more. I started to feel so stressed that I began to have OCD-like tendencies. I would repeat lists over and over in my head and reorganize my desk at least three times a day. If my books were organized in the wrong way, I would have to stop what I was doing to rearrange them before I could continue what I was doing. I always felt I had anxiety, but I never felt that it would hinder my life.

Fast forward to two months after the twins were born. Being a mother of multiples (and a toddler!!) is stressful. I will never minimize that stress and make excuses for it. It's a huge adjustment. There are days when I wake up sweating because I am already having an anxiety attack about what the day will hold. It takes all of my power to force myself to get out of bed and to breathe knowing that I can handle the three kids that are all screaming for attention at the same time. Other times my anxiety makes me angry or sad and makes it challenging for me to sort through my emotions. Even more I would have irrational fears, like I would be home alone with the three kids and not be able to get out of the house if there was a fire. A good thought to have, but not one to fixate on all day long. For awhile I just assumed this is what it was like to adjust to having twins.

However, the birth of the twins made me analyze my own emotions and anxiety much deeper and realize I didn't just get overwhelmed when things were tough, I was constantly overwhelmed, which drove all of my behavior. Looking back as I grew up I am sure my driven and determined attitude was a result of my underlying anxiety driving me forward always trying to escape what made me anxious. My constant need to reorganize and straighten up everything in the house is without a doubt my body's way of coping. But this anxiety that dictates my life has to stop!

I have made a plan with my family and I refuse to let my anxiety determine my emotions and the kind of person I am. Instead of letting the fear dictate how my day goes, I choose strength and hope instead. I know that I will always have to overcome this and with any obstacle I am going to fail at times. But being honest with myself and putting it down in writing has helped me realize that I can do this. Anxiety doesn't have to be life-hindering and from now on it isn't.

Friday, January 31, 2014

January Goal Check-In

I know it's the end of January and everyone else has already written their 2014 year resolutions and goals. I've been wanting to post mine for awhile, but I've been holding back on sharing them. I'm not sure if it was I didn't think my goals were interesting enough or that I was afraid if I put them down for everyone to read I would feel like a failure if I came up short. After a lot of wavering back and forth, I realized that I needed to share my goals. I needed to feel the accountable and I felt that writing them on here would make them real. I needed to start believing in myself and take my goals seriously.

I knew from experience that too many goals would never be achievable. I also wanted to try to have well-rounded goals that focused on a variety of aspects of my life. I ended up choosing five goals and tried to brainstorm a few ways that I can work toward achieving the goals

Goals written in my new training journal. 

Goal #1: Work toward balance in my life.

Last year was a big adjustment for my family and me, in a good way! Bringing the twins into our family was an amazing and rewarding experience, but it has definitely had its challenges. Finding the balance between myself, my family and our responsibilities has been a big adjustment for all of us. This year, I am hoping to try to find a balance between all aspects of my life so that I can be stronger mother, wife and friend.

As of now, I feel that I have more times of failure than of success. I am hoping that I can continue to communicate with my family and friends to help me understand how I am feeling and to brainstorm solutions to the challenges we face. Lately, I have been relying a lot on my husband, N, to help me. He's my biggest supporter and is working to help me realize it's ok to feel the way I feel. That being overwhelmed is OK and that by working together we can work toward a more balanced life.

Another strategy I am trying is to choose a monthly word or phrase that speaks to how I am feeling at that time. Whenever I have moments of self-doubt I am trying to remind myself of what I have chosen so that I am try and remain positive. January's word is "believe." I've been trying to remember this throughout the rough times and I posted it on my treadmill to remind me while I'm working out.

My little reminder while I run. 

Goal #2: Consistent healthy lifestyle.

Every year I strive to be healthier, but I always seem to fall into the same habits. This year I am determined to be more consistent with my exercise and diet. As a mother, I want to make sure that I am being a strong role model for my children so that they can begin the steps to their own healthy lifestyle.

So far I have been doing pretty well. I am working on following my training schedule consistently and to be better at meal planning. I'm not perfect, but I feel like I've learned some skills about portion control and healthier options. I hope to continue to be better about planning in advance and to find meals that our whole family can enjoy.

Goal #3 Complete 26.2.

I've always wanted to run a marathon, but I've always felt that it is out of my reach. After running multiple half marathons in 2011, I realized that with proper training and dedication I could run a marathon. I would love to go in and have an amazing finishing time my first marathon, but I am hoping to finish it strong and healthy.

The only step that I've done toward this goal is to sign up for a marathon in October and to start researching different plans for my training plan. I know that I will need to begin training in June so I am hoping that I can finalize everything soon so that I know in advance what my commitment will look like.

Goal #4 Finish half marathon in 2:15.

After having the twins I thought that I would have a harder time coming back to running than I did. Being healthy and active prior to and for as much of the pregnancy as I could definitely helped my recovery period. As a result, I wanted to push myself to achieve a PR in the half this year. I did well on my first two half marathons considering I had never really run before I started training. I also knew I could do better. I didn't pay attention to nutrition and I didn't follow my training plan as well as I could.

I have been doing very well on my training and have stuck to my plan. I have researched nutrition ideas and I began keeping a journal of my runs and workouts so that I can look for trends in what worked and what didn't. It has been incredibly helpful to have a designated place for all of my workouts so that I can find the information I need quickly. It's also such a bright and inspiring journal, how can I not want to use it? If you're looking for a new one consider Erin Condren Design. I chose the notebook and added the extra calendar pages below. I have had multiple life planners and notebooks from them and I have never been let down!

Goal #5 Run 1,000 miles for the year.

I stumbled across the blog "Matters of Course" by Running Hutch that hosts a "Run This Year" Challenge. I saw a lot of people making the commitment to run 2014 miles this year. I was intrigued but I knew that I would never be able to run that many miles, especially because I had a strict training schedule for my races this year. After looking further into it, I noticed that I could make my own goal and still join the "Run This Year" community. I decided on 1,000 because I knew it would be a challenge, but could also be achieved.

As of today I have finished January with 45.75 miles. I know that I still have a long way to go to achieve my goal, but I'm pretty impressed that I was able to maintain as much consistency as I was. I am looking forward to seeing how many miles I add in the next few months!

A pretty decent start, but I know that I have many more miles to go!

I am going to do my best to keep up with at least a monthly update on how my goals are going and to write a quick post on my word of the month and why I chose it. I'm working on narrowing down February, but I only have a few days! I'll share it once I make a final decision.

Monday, November 25, 2013

Energy Bit Review

#poweredbybits ... I'm sure you've seen the hashtag on Twitter. Maybe even used the hashtag yourself. Or you've never heard it before. But today I am proud to say that I am #poweredbybits.

Energybits are a natural form of energy and a great alternative to gels and energy supplements for fueling before, during and after exercise. They are made from 100% spirulina algae and include tons of other nutrients. For more information check out their website (Energybits) or connect online by following on Twitter and Facebook.

I learned a lot about myself and nutrition while training for my previous two half marathons and I made a list of areas to improve on after the twins were born. I really struggled with choosing the right nutrition to increase my performance to avoid stomach issues and just feeling BLEH throughout and after a run. Since I had some  lots of extra time while on hospital bed rest with the twins, I started to do some research about natural methods of fueling while running. I had always hated the taste of gels and I wanted to try to incorporate less sugar and more natural options while running. I wanted to find a fuel that I could use throughout running that decreased my worry about stomach issues. Throughout my search I kept noticing the hashtag #poweredbybits used by a lot of my running friends so I figured it was worth checking out.

I'm so glad that I did! I instantly loved that bits are all natural and organically grown. I also love that they can be used as a snack and are real food. Instead of using supplements I am using natural food to help increase my performance. I can even take them around that mid-afternoon lull when I am losing steam quick after being up with all 3 kids at 5 A.M.. They are convenient and don't take up much space if you want to pack them as a snack when you are on the go. The only downside, I am still not used to the "green" smell so I do pinch my nose when I take them.... I always pinch my nose when I take cough syrup so I guess it's all relative?

In addition to being so convenient, I have noticed an increase in my mental focus when running/training, as well as my actual physical performance. I have been using bits prior to all of my training runs for the past three weeks and I have noticed that I don't hit the "wall" as frequently. I am not a very experienced runner so much of my training isn't only working on my fitness, it's reminding myself that it's ok to push myself and conversely, it's ok to struggle. I find that I am more confident when running because I don't feel as hungry and fatigued during my runs. I don't feel like I'm dreading the end of the run because I feel strong enough to finish and push a little harder when I am more tired. And I know the bits are helping me increase my fitness level because I'm already back to my pre-baby run/walk/run interval only 4 weeks into my training. I can't wait to see how much faster I can get before my half in February!

I think the biggest determining factor in choosing to use Energybits while running was their awesome customer service. If I send a question via Twitter, I am amazed at the quick and informative response that I receive. Additionally, I received a hand-written response on my invoice when I got my first package. I definitely love the attention to their customers!

I could really go on and on about how great Energybits have been for my own training and I encourage you to try them! I am now looking forward to incorporating them mid run and after running. More updates to follow...

Looking for some suggestions...

Have you used Energybits before, during or after running? Did you find a drastic change in your performance? How many and how often do you use the bits while running longer runs? 

Sunday, November 17, 2013

It's Official!

I still have to write up my training journal from this week, but I figured I'd do a quick post on my big news.

Running a marathon has always been something that I thought was unachievable. So much so, that running a half marathon was on my bucket list. 13.1 seemed (and is) and incredible challenge for me. Now that I have grown as a runner, I'm ready to challenge myself in a new way. For the past year I've been watching all my run friends accomplish new PRs and new races, many of them the marathon. Feeling inspired I am throwing my hat in the ring... Next October I will run my first marathon!

Am I crazy or brave????

Tuesday, November 12, 2013

Disney Glass Slipper Challenge Week 2

 I know I'm a day or two off since I started week 3 today, but as part of my training I need to be better at reflecting on my training. So here it goes... 


Tuesday: 45 minute run/walk/run workout
     Today's workout was definitely challenging. I was struggling with the 2:1 run/walk ratio at 15 minutes. Knowing that I wanted to increase my stamina, I continued to push myself through. I'm glad I did because I felt so much better at the end of the workout. However, the next day I woke up with the start of a cold, so I think I found the source of my fatigue the night before! 

Thursday: 30 minute run/walk/run workout
     I had planned to do a 45 minute run/walk/run workout, but I wasn't feeling 100 percent yet. I was able to maintain the 2:1 run/walk ration for the entire workout, but at the end I felt some calf tightness. I've never had calf pain while running so I made sure I stretched a little more carefully on that side and threw on my compression sleeves. I wanted to make sure that I wasn't overdoing my workout so early in my training. 

Saturday: Long run 4 miles
      Since my daughter has swim class on Saturdays, I need to get my long runs in super early in the morning. I run by myself so I didn't think it was safe to go running at 5:00 by myself. This left me with a 4 mile treadmill run. I know that most people think 4 miles on the treadmill is nothing, but I struggle with longer than 3 miles on the treadmill. I get so bored! Luckily, I was able to catch up on my guilty pleasure shows and the time didn't seem that bad. I was able to maintain 1:1 ratio the entire run and was able to keep my pace between 12:30 - 13:00 min miles, my goal long run pace. 

      I am continuing to work on finding the right pre and post run fuel. My runs aren't long enough for working on nutrition during running. I know in the next few weeks though I will need to start experimenting on long runs to see what works best for me. This week I did find that I can't eat my breakfast after a half hour before my workout. I definitely did not feel well at the end of the run and I know it isn't because I exerted myself too hard, considering I was doing an easy pace on purpose. In the future I'm definitely going to have to wake up earlier to make sure that I have a little time to digest and find the perfect pre-run meal, definitely something I'll need for my early wake-up at Disney. 

Next week (technically this week) I am hoping to increase my running intervals and maintain that for thirty minutes. From then on I will continue to increase my workout duration and intervals, hopefully arriving at a 4:1 or 5:1 ratio. I'm also looking at working in cross training and strength training on non-run days. However, I'm trying to slowly build into my routine as I know I am coming from no exercise since February of last year and minimal exercise since the twins were born.  Although I'm looking to reach a certain time goal, I am also trying to be realistic with my fitness level and avoiding injury. 

Sunday, November 3, 2013

Disney Glass Slipper Challenge Week 1

Last spring Disney announced the Dumbo Double Dare Challenge at Disneyland. It was the first of what would become new additions to the runDisney lineup. Basically the Dumbo Double Dare is the 10K on Saturday and the half marathon on Sunday. This race was scheduled for the end of summer 2013, so I knew that it would not be an option for me with the twins expected to be born mid to late summer. I was bummed until shortly after the Glass Slipper Challenge was announced for the Princess Half weekend in February. The Glass Slipper Challenge is the Princess version of the Dumbo Double Dare. Even though I was unsure if I would be able to commit to the race, I knew I had to sign up. Given the popularity of the new Disney races, I did not want to miss out on the inaugural experience, especially the chance to earn 3 medals.

Fast forward to this past week and the first week of my training. I chose to train and run the challenge using Jeff Galloway's walk/run/walk method. I used this same method for my first and second half and was able to accomplish both feeling strong and uninjured. This means that I have two days throughout the week of running where I build up my stamina and determine my appropriate walk/run ratio. The weekend long run is run significantly slower to build my endurance.

Since I was unable to exercise throughout my last pregnancy, I have had a lot of time to think about my goals and to research fueling, nutrition and training. Before beginning my training I had the number 2:15 in my head for my goal. Knowing that I would have to work my butt off, I was reluctant to say the goal out loud and to realistically find it achievable. Yet, the more I looked at what I wanted to achieve, I knew I wanted to push myself. I had done a lot of research about proper nutrition and training techniques to improve performance. I didn't want to sell myself short, so I decided to jump all in. What good is a goal if it doesn't force you out of your comfort zone and make you examine yourself? Right?? As part of reaching my goal, I am using this blog to summarize my workouts and to review my progress as a method of staying on top of reaching my goals.


Tuesday: 30 minute run/walk/run workout
     Finding time to train is hard, so most of my weekday workouts will most likely be at night on the treadmill. I chose to workout after all 3 kids were asleep and to use a 2:1 run/walk ratio. It was a little disappointing for me to use such a "slow" pace from what I was doing prior to becoming pregnant, but I kept reminding myself that I needed to build up my endurance and ability again. As tough as it was to get back in the routine, I am glad that I chose the pace I did. I felt tired afterwards, but I didn't feel as if I pushed myself too much.
   Today I also kept track of my food using a food journal. In the past, I have had issues with proper nutrition. I often over-fuel and end up with GI issues or I feel sluggish. To reach my goal, I know that I need to be more aware of what I am eating and when I am eating it. One major benefit to my pre-workout routine was the use of Energybits. I'm not sure how many of you have tried them, but I have seen so much buzz about them on Twitter, that I knew they were worth a try. They definitely gave me the extra boost that I needed while running. I am going to continue incorporating them into my weekly training and after another week of training, I hope to do a full review on the blog. Stay tuned!

Thursday: 30 minute run/walk/run workout
      Today I did another night workout on the treadmill. I stuck to the 2:1 run/walk ratio, but I found it to be easier and I think it had a lot to do with choosing the right time frame and pre-run fuel. Instead of eating dinner around 5:30ish with my daughter, I had a turkey sandwich as an after school snack at 4:00. By just moving my dinner back an hour and a half, I felt like I still had energy from the meal, but didn't have the sluggish feeling of just eating. This allowed me to use my Energybits as my only fuel prior to running. I definitely felt a difference in my mental focus and my endurance throughout the workout.
     I also experimented with post-workout nutrition this week. I found that I liked baby carrots with hummus, glass of Nuun, and a glass of skim milk post-workout. Instead of waking up famished the next morning as I usually do with a night workout, I felt hungry but not like I hadn't eaten in days.
Major win!

Saturday: "Long run" 3 miles
      When I hear long run, I always think of longer distances, but knowing that I needed to establish a base of consistent miles, 3 miles was enough for me. Prior to my run, I looked up the training paces and race paces to help me achieve my goal of 2:15. By determining the ideal training pace for long running, I was able to focus on my pace throughout my 3 mile run instead of pushing myself too hard and losing the benefit of the "long run." In past training, I didn't use this strategy appropriately and I definitely felt it when I was in the middle of my training schedules. I had overworked myself. My goals for long runs throughout this training is to keep a close eye on pre and post run nutrition and appropriate pacing. These are two areas that I struggled with when training for my past two half marathons.
      The weather was perfect for a run on Saturday. It was mid 50's and was a clear day. I was so excited to be running outside and actually enjoyed a long run. Watching my pace and forcing myself to examine how fast and slow I ran really made me aware of my abilities as a runner. I am definitely looking forward to longer runs to analyze.

All in all, this was a relatively good training week for me. I am looking forward to adding some more time to my weekday workouts and extra mileage in the upcoming weeks. Until next time.... (hopefully for week 2, as I still continue to blame the twins on my lack of blogging skills....)

Thursday, August 22, 2013

One Month Update

The twins are one month today! I cannot believe that it has already been a month. I didn't do the best of keeping on top of documenting my daughter's milestones so I am trying to do better this time. I promise all of my posts won't be about the twins and my daughter! Once I can get back to exercising, I hope to start blogging about running and using the blog to keep me on track with training, as well as share some daily insight to my life. 

The Twins One Month: 

   Unfortunately I was unable to keep breastfeeding the twins for a variety of reasons. Since I was able to nurse my daughter until she was 10 months and had an enjoyable experience, it was a challenge for me to accept that I was unable to do it for the twins. However, it has proven to be the best choice for our family and I am seeing the babies grow and thrive so it has eased my mind. On the downside we go through a lot of bottles!

Our nightly bottles ready to go. 
Our sink the morning after. 

 As of now we are trying to keep the twins on the same eating schedule, but they aren't always cooperative. Olivia is hungry after 2 - 2 1/2 hours and Jackson goes about 2 1/2 - 3 hours. My husband and I were trying to keep them on the same schedule and waking or stretching the other baby to keep them together. After many stressful feedings, I realized today that this philosophy wasn't working for us. I understand the concept or making everything easier and I'm sure when they are older it will be worth it to have them eat together. At this point, I need to make sure I'm meeting the needs of each baby individually. From the beginning I wanted to make sure that I treated them as individuals and not just "the twins." I realized by forcing them to conform to my schedule I wasn't recognizing each child's needs. After deciding this today, I found today to be less stressful and more enjoyable. I wasn't anxious about feeding times because I was taking cues from them. 

  Our sleep varies each night, but on average we get 2 1/2 - 3 hour stretches in between feedings. Compared to my daughter who nursed every 2 hours for the first 3 months, I am already getting at least an hour more in between each feeding. During the day, Olivia is more awake. She tends to take a few longer "naps," but sleeps pretty consistently throughout the night. Jackson needs a few more reminders about day and night. He's getting there though! With my daughter she never napped on her own and was more often held. The fortunate part of having twins is that we don't always have enough hands to hold them all. We have been relying on our swings and our infant napper. Both have been pretty successful. If neither of those are working, we resort to the car! I am looking forward to longer stretches at night, but I am just thankful that we are getting some sleep. 

    There haven't been any huge milestones this month. Basically everything the twins do is a huge milestone. I am looking forward to watching them start to smile and become more alert in the next few months. This month we did get our first pictures taken of the twins and their big sister together. I guess this counts as a milestone since my daughter didn't have pictures taken formally until 6 months! I know I'm biased, but they make a cute family  huh? 

Big Sister
     Big sister is starting to get comfortable with her siblings. At first she liked the twins from afar and only liked to talk about them. She's beginning to play with them and is actually asking to hold them. Though holding the two of them is a little scary to her as you can see above! She has her moments of jealously, but we are trying to do our best to give her special time and to include her in as much of her siblings day as we can. I know as they get older and begin to interact more, she may become less cautious around them. 

     I think I could write an entire separate blog entry to just skim how I'm feeling. It's been quite an adjustment and I am trying to take it day-by-day as some are more overwhelming as others. I can't wait until my 6 week appointment and I am cleared to exercise. I can definitely tell when I need a good run or workout and it's killing me that I can't! I feel ready to workout, but I know I need to wait until my doctor's ok. With all the complications I had during pregnancy, I'm not taking any chances! Even though I don't have my usual way to relieve my stress and anxiety, I am very thankful to have the support my husband, family and friends. We are so fortunate to have had so many visitors this past month and extra hands helping out. I would never have survived the first month if we hadn't have had so much support.

 Since the majority of this post is all my thoughts, I thought I'd share with you some lessons that hubs has learned form having twins. It's humorous, honest, and a great representation of the first month.

1. You can never have enough dish soap
2. They spit up more on my clothes than they do their own
3. I have a new found appreciation for families with multiples. If you are a parent of multiples I want to tell you how amazing you are.
4. I have completely forgotten what day of the week it is.
5. I have to buy diapers almost every time I leave the house.
6. Apparently, I do not have enough hands to hold and feed both children, yet.
7. Taking a shower and brushing my teeth can be completed in under 2 minutes.
8. Naps for parents apparently were never part of the "twin" deal.
9. I can't remember the last time I sat down and ate a meal uninterrupted.
10. I wouldn't change any of it for the world.