30 Something Father Figure ~ All I Want for Christmas is to Exercise

Christmas Eve is already upon us and another week has gone by – time to fill everyone in on my astounding progress with getting in shape!  Queue the sad trombone…This whole journey is about how difficult it is as a working father to find time to work out regularly.  If it were easy, I’d have nothing to write about!

Peterson Farm

Here’s my day in a nutshell: wake up to my alarm, willing to donate my year’s salary in order to sleep later. Set a land-speed record driving to the train station.  Read, catch up on work emails, and doze off on the train to Boston. Consult architects and engineers on all kinds of interesting projects. Walk quickly/jog/sprint to the train station, depending on how little time I’ve left myself.

With a 35 lb laptop bag, this may actually qualify as a workout…Walk into a quiet, peaceful house sh*t storm and relieve my wife from an exhausting day balancing her work, housework, and taking care of three boys and a dog. Hold the baby while riding the older boys to finish dinner and pick up their room and get into bed. Don’t get me wrong, we have fun too – reading books, wrestling – but by 9 pm I could pass out quicker than any one of my kids.

It’s ok, you can put away the tiny violin; I love my life, I just wish that there were more than 24 hours in a day, or that I only needed 4 hours of sleep– not the 6 that I get normally! Speaking of that, I finally made progress on my goal to go to bed earlier. Everyone who knows me well knows that I stay up really late most nights. This week I was in bed before 11 three nights in a row! Not coincidentally, it was the nights after I had exercised during the day.

Clarke MTB

Saturday I went for a mountain bike ride, this time exploring some less technical, but more hilly trails.  I got a great workout and also popped my tire with a thorn.  It’s ok, I fixed it and am ready to go again this week.  Sunday and Tuesday I did more lunges. I just keep visualizing the end of a ski day when I want to get the most out of the ticket I financed bought, but my legs feel like dead weights. Monday my usual racquetball partner couldn’t play, but I spoke to another friend who wants to start playing soon. Then I heard from someone who had read this blog, who is also looking to get back into shape.

Amazing what social networking can do… I found someone else on the Cape who wants to play racquetball, so starting in the new year I’m hoping to have at least two days of racquetball per week, plus 1-2 mountain bike rides. I might get really ambitious and check out a local training facility with one of my friends. I’ll share more details on that once I look into it.

So far, it’s all about not giving up. I’m not giving up on finding time to work out. I’m not giving up on finding other people to work out with– something I think is key for me. I’m as motivated as ever to get back to being an athlete. I just need to be creative with my schedule (thanks in large part to my wife supporting more time away from the family) and stay committed to myself.

Merry Christmas everyone!

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Our Visit to Edaville USA!

On a holiday related note, we made it to Edaville USA on Sunday night. Thankfully it had rained earlier, so we only had to deal with a few sprinkles! I LOVED what they have done with Edaville since our last visit. The boys had a great time, and they were so excited to see the new rides!

There were so many more lights than I remember last time. We had a great view of the displays from high atop the Ferris Wheel. My 4-year-old adrenaline junkie couldn’t wait to hit the Ferris Wheel and spinning rides. My much more conservative 6 year-old stuck to the train ride and the airplane ride (I think I traumatized him by convincing him to go on Thunder Mountain when we went to Disney World last month!).

Edaville View from Ferris Wheel

Collin Carousel Edaville

They had two trains running at night, which was great because it meant that we didn’t have to stand in line waiting at all. They added more light displays, and we also got a sneak peek of Dino World (it looks very cool!). Before leaving, we headed inside to check out the rides there. I love that they added some rides for really young children up near the ball pit.

James in Car Edaville

Edaville also added bumper cars downstairs–we opted not to wait in line, since it was the end of the night for us! We had a really great visit, and the boys were so happy to see all of the holiday lights and rides. I am so happy that it’s a tradition from my own childhood that I will get to share with them!

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So Excited to be a Rock n’ Roll Blog Ambassador for 2015!

I’m a Rock n’ Blog Ambassador!

First off, I am SUPER EXCITED to be a Rock n’ Blog Ambassador for 2015. As a Rock n’ Blog Ambassador, I will get to share all sorts of cool information with you about Rock n’ Roll races, including sweet discounts! I am already planning the stops for my 2015 Tour Pass! You can check out all of the other ambassadors (what AWESOME company) HERE.

I Want YOUR Opinion! 

I started this blog back in 2011 to connect with other mother (and father!) runners. I love sharing information that can help you along in your running and parenting journey, and I would LOVE to know more of what you would like to see in 2015. I would really appreciate it if you could fill out the brief survey below to help me provide better content for you in 2015! There are 4 questions–just scroll down. :-) Thanks again for your help!

Create your free online surveys with SurveyMonkey , the world’s leading questionnaire tool.

 

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Motivational Monday ~ 10 Running Bloggers You Should Follow!

Motivational Monday

For this Motivational Monday, I’m going to get sappy for a minute. Just bear with me! I am so happy to have you as part of my little mother runner tribe! When I first started this blog, I had no idea that it would still be around 3 years later! Through blogging, I have connected with a lot of other wonderful mother (and non-mother) runners, many of whom are also running bloggers. I wanted to share some of their blogs with you and encourage you to check them out, if you haven’t already! Here they are (in no particular order).

  1. Living the Dream– How can you not love Nancy? She’s literally one of the sweetest runners I have met. She blogs about life as mother runner at Living the Dream. Nancy is also a fellow Cape Cod runner and ZOOMA Cape Cod Ambassador. Her blog provides a lot of inspiration, and she keeps it real! :-)
  2. Weight Off My Shoulders– I’ve met Dani on several occasions (as a ZOOMA Cape Cod Ambassador), and she’s a fabulous inspiration for those looking to get fit and transform their lives through running and other fitness activities. She is a Weight Watchers team leader and has lost 80 pounds and kept it off! Talk about motivating! You can check her out at Weight Off My Shoulders. She also has a great Instagram profile (with many from the 52 races she has completed this year!).
  3. Happy Fit Mama– Angela is also a fellow ZOOMA Cape Cod Ambassador. She is a mother runner to twins and an ACSM Certified Clinical Exercise Specialist and RRCA Running Coach. Angela just got back from a trip to Hawaii, during which she mentored a runner for her first marathon, courtesy of Saucony’s 26 Strong program. How cool?!?!
  4. Organic Runner Mom– Sandra is a mother runner who hails from New Hampshire, where she is part of her husband’s family business – Pete and Gerry’s eggs (organic, and I LOVE them!). She is a former collegiate rower (at Colby), who discovered a love of running during her aerobic training. She provides great gear reviews, in addition to tasty recipes!
  5.  NYC Running Mama– Michele is a mother runner to 2 boys and a West Point grad and Army veteran– not to mention a kicka$$ runner! I love following along on her journey to manage high level training and motherhood. Michele also offers running coaching.
  6. Keeping Mommy Sane– Her name is also Jessica, therefore she must be cool too. In all honesty, she is! She is a mother runner who works to balance a full-time job with her running. She blogs about all different aspects of parenthood, work life balance, travel, and everything in between. She is also super fun to hang out with–love her bubbly personality! :-)
  7. Running Escapades– Amy is a forty-something mother runner I also met through the ZOOMA race series. She is an avid racer, and I love her most recent post on 2014 Race Awards. When she’s not running in New Hampshire, or at the many races she runs, you can find her in the classroom teaching high school English. Her husband is also a fantastic race supporter (also a runner). I have had the pleasure of hanging with them both at ZOOMA Cape Cod!
  8. For the Love of Running– Michelle is a forty-something mother runner who burns up the roads in Southern Rhode Island. A regular age group award winner and Boston Marathoner (she qualified again at the Philadelphia marathon in November). Michelle is also a running coach and avid supporter of youth running. She is also a mom to 3 boys! :-)
  9. Sweat Once a Day– I have followed Emily’s blog for several years. Being from New England, I truly appreciate sarcasm. Emily manages to tell her race recaps and training updates with a hefty dose of witty sarcasm, and I often find myself laughing out loud while reading. She is a fantastic distance runner (now competing in ultras). She is a Vermonter who now lives on the West Coast in Oregon.
  10. Miss Zippy– Amanda is a running coach and mother runner from the Mid-Atlantic. She started competing in endurance sports in 1998, and she has completed a ton or races including 12 marathons and an Ironman! Amanda is a huge supporter of natural running, and she is a GREAT source of advice if you find yourself wanting to move in this direction. I also love her gear reviews!
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Year of Running 2014 (thanks Miss Zippy!)

year_of_running_2014

I recently read Miss Zippy’s Year of 2014 running post, and I loved the idea so much, I joined the link up! Here’s how my 2014 year of running went down:

  • Best race experience? ZOOMA Cape Cod was my best race experience this year for a number of reasons. First, it was my first half marathon back after William’s birth. Second, I ran with two of my favorite running bloggers: Nancy and Dani. Running a race with friends is such an enjoyable experience, and I definitely recommend it if you haven’t done so yet. Lastly, the race is in my beautiful hometown and follows some of my favorite running routes.
  • Best run? My best run (although not the easiest!) was my first run after giving birth (4 weeks postpartum). Anyone who has had to take an extended break from running knows exactly what I’m talking about!
  • Best new piece of gear?  I have a tie in this category. It has taken me quite a long time to find a pair of shoes I’m 100% totally in love with, and I think I finally found them. Note to ASICS: Please keep making the GEL-Pursue! These shoes are so comfortable, and they are a perfect accompaniment to my orthotics. My feet haven’t felt this good for as long as I can remember. The other item would be my GORE Running Wear Active Lady Jacket. In my opinion, it’s the perfect jacket for fall wind and rain, without the weight. The hood is great and stays put. I know it’s going to have a long shelf life in my running wardrobe!
  • Best piece of running advice you received? Cliché, but totally worth repeating: Listen to your body. Giving birth is a physically and mentally exhausting experience that you need to recover from. Your body will guide you in your return to running. As long as you listen to your body, you will have a successful return to running.
  • Most inspirational runner? Kayla Montgomery. She is one tough chick!
  • If you could sum up your year in a couple of words, what would they be? A continuing journey…
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Colds in Infants and Toddlers – What Can You Do?

The opinions in this article are my own. I do not work for, or with, any brand mentioned in this article, nor do I have any official relationship with them.  I have a relationship with GigaSavvy, for whom I create original editorial content.

One of the most frustrating things about being the parent of an infant or toddler (and any age for that matter!) is seeing them sick and not knowing what to do for them. It’s hard when they can’t communicate with you and explain exactly what it is that’s bothering them. Since we have entered the winter season, colds are sure to pop up in your family (if they haven’t already!). We have already been through several in our family now that the older kids are in school.

Treating colds in babies

My 7-month old recently had his first cold, and I felt so bad seeing him congested and frustrated because he couldn’t breathe through his nose. While you can’t cure a cold, there are some things you can do to help your children feel more comfortable and manage their symptoms because healthy children make happy children!

  • Offer your child fluids as needed to prevent dehydration. If your baby is nursing, allow him/her to nurse as often as needed–breast milk also has immunological benefits for baby.
  • To help get rid of the extra mucus that can result from a cold, use a bulb syringe or my personal favorite, the NoseFrida to suction your infant or toddler’s nose. Be sure to clean the nasal aspirator after usage to prevent the spread of germs.
  • You can use saline nose drops to help thin nasal mucus and make it easier to get out with a suctioning device.
  • Use a humidifier (we have this one) in your child’s room to help keep the air moisten. Colds often strike in the colder months, when the heat is on inside and the air is drier. Moistening the air can help nasal congestion. Just make sure you change the water daily to prevent mold from growing in the humidifier.
  • Encourage your child to rest as much as possible!
  • Use a natural vapor rub (3 months and older), instead of the ones that can contain petroleum and parabens. Apply the rub to your child’s chest, neck, and back.

What are YOUR tips for helping babies and toddlers fight colds? 

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30 Something Father Figure ~ Week 1 Update

The 30 something father figure is back for week number two! It wasn’t a terrible week in terms of my goal to exercise, but it wasn’t without its challenges and disappointments; but that’s why I’m writing here. I want to be accountable, and I hope that some of you reading this can relate and maybe find some motivation for your own goals.

Beebe Woods Trees Sepia

The past weekend on Cape Cod was pretty mild for December. After taking my 6 year old to lacrosse practice on Saturday, I zipped up the street with my mountain bike to hit the trails at Beebe Woods. It’s a great resource to have, with about 400 acres of wooded trails less than 2 miles from my house. Most know it for it’s walking trails and the Punch Bowl – a freshwater pond with a rope swing. If you take the time to explore the smaller trails though, you’d be amazed at what it has to offer – including technical mountain biking.

On Sunday I had high hopes of going for another ride. I guess the road to getting in shape is paved with good intentions. The Patriots game was at 1:00, not ideal for serious fans who also enjoy the fleeting daylight of winter weekends. Although the Patriots had the game in hand early enough to bail on it, I gave my wife the opportunity to catch the last of the day’s light for a run by the beach. After all, she is the 30 something mother runner!

Clarke Mountain Biking

By the time she got home, I knew I wouldn’t have time to mountain bike without fear of running into the nocturnal locals of Beebe Woods – the coyotes and skunks. Not wanting to be a failure for the day, I did as many lunges as I could without pulling a hamstring or falling down. Afterwards, I asked myself why it’s so hard not to stick with that simple exercise on a regular basis – in less than 20 minutes you can get an amazing workout for your legs, especially the muscles for skiing. Maybe I can challenge another friend (remotely) to keep up with those exercises, and the loser buys beers the next time we go out (God knows when that will be!).

I had another fun night of racquetball on Monday, so it looks like I’m locked in for at least once a week of chasing the blue ball. It’s a lot of fun, and you only need one other person. I’m really not one for solo exercise – I like team sports, or at least activity with someone else – whether it’s skiing, mountain biking, or going to the gym. Maybe it’s the only-child in me, but I’m 100 times more likely to get out and exercise if I have someone else to do it with.

Check back next week to find out how I juggled work, kids, house renovations, and getting my a$$ back into shape!

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Joovy Caboose VaryLight Review

I was so excited to finally get the Joovy Caboose VaryLight to check out–I only wish we had it last month for our trip to Disney World. It would have been the perfect stroller for our family. I have a 7-month old, a 4 year-old, and a 6 year-old. Obviously the 7 month old is still in a stroller, but my 4-year-old still gets tired after walking a longer distance or towards the end of the day. Enter the Joovy Caboose VaryLight.

Joovy Caboose Varylight Review

 

 

The Joovy Caboose VaryLight is a tandem stroller (stand-on) that can convert from a short frame– easy to maneuver to a long frame– when the kids need a little more room. It’s such a flexible stroller that can fit pretty much any situation. For example, the Caboose VaryLight can take 2 car seats (with the optional car seat adapter), one car seat with a sitting or standing child, or one child sitting in the front and one child sitting or standing in the back!

Joovy Caboose Varylight

Since I am using it with the two younger boys, William rides in the front seat and Collin sits or stands in the back. He usually sits, because he loves the padded seat! :-) The Caboose VaryLight comes in charcoal, purpleness, and black, and with a graphite frame in blueberry, red, black and charcoal. I was so happy when I opened the box and discovered ours was the Purpleness color. I majorly HEART anything that is purple, and this color is a beautiful, rich plum color (it’s hard to convey in some of these pics!).

Joovy Caboose Varylight 5-point harness

Joovy Caboose Varylight side

Right out of the box, it was easy to assemble. All I had to do was attach the wheels and the snack tray. When I tried to adjust the VaryLight from the short to the long frame, I had a little trouble. This was easily remedied with a quick call to the Joovy customer service line. One of the reasons (there are many!) that I love Joovy so much is that you can always call the customer service number and speak to an actual person from the start!

Seriously– you don’t even go through a telephone prompt. My call was answered with “Hi, this is Dan from Joovy, how can I help you?” Dan solved my problem in a grand total of 5 seconds! It’s so refreshing to speak to a person from the get go, especially when you are a little challenged with assembly, like I am!

Joovy Caboose Varylight bench seat

Joovy Caboose Varylight Snack Tray

 

We have been using this stroller every afternoon to go pick up my first grader. It’s perfect for the baby and my “end of the day” tired 4-year old. He loves it, and specifically requests the “purple stroller!” I love that it fits both kids, and it’s super easy to fold with one hand. We used to have the Joovy Ergo Caboose, and this updated Joovy Caboose VaryLight is so much lighter– a HUGE bonus for me, since I have to be able to easily hoist things into the minivan on a daily basis! I am giving the Joovy Caboose VaryLight an enthusiastic two thumbs up! :-) It’s enjoying its place next to our Joovy Zoom 360!

30 Something Mother Runner received a Joovy Caboose VaryLight stroller for the purpose of this review. All opinions and writing are 100% my own. 

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Motivational Monday ~ Kayla Montgomery

Motivational Monday

Some of you may have heard of Kayla Montgomery, but if not, you are in for a treat this Motivational Monday. Kayla is a nineteen year-old college freshman who just finished her first season of cross-country at the collegiate level. What makes Kayla’s story so motivational is that she was diagnosed with multiple sclerosis (MS) during her freshman year of high school. Her MS is treated with medication, but she continues to experience its effects, which include the loss of feeling in her legs after intense physical exertion (like distance running). She literally collapses into the arms of one of the coaching staff at the end of the race.

Despite the effects of her MS, she performed at an exceptional level in high school. She competed in the North Carolina Class 4A state cross-country championship, which she won. Montgomery also participated in the 2013 Footlocker South regional 5K (17:22). When it came time to look at colleges, there was quite a bit of interest–starting in her junior year. However, when most schools found out about her MS, they decided not to move forward.

One school, Lipscomb University, discussed her case internally and decided that they would love to have Kayla run for the school. She has done very well running at the collegiate level. At her debut cross-country meet, she ran 17:34.8 (18th out of 293).

Warm conditions exacerbate the loss of feeling in her legs (it causes her body temperature to rise more quickly, resulting in an earlier onset of numbness). Despite the loss of feeling in her legs, she completes intense workouts with the team–often needing to be caught after collapsing at the end of the workout. I think Kayla Montgomery is such a wonderful inspiration and source of motivation. Although the physical effects of running are tremendous, she continues to train and race with her team and her heart.

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Favorite Things Friday ~ Oiselle Scantron Tank

This year, as part of our ZOOMA Ambassador program, we received special racing singlets. I fell in love with it as soon as I opened the package. I loved the texture, color, graphics, everything.

Oiselle Scantron Tank

After looking a little closer, I discovered that it was a Oiselle Scantron tank. Everyone probably assumes, as a running blogger, I’ve tried every brand of running gear out there- but I had yet to try out a Oiselle item!

If this tank is any indication of the rest of their clothing, I think I might be in love. :-) I have worn the tank several times now, and I can attest that it’s very breathable, AND it stays in place.

The length is perfect. I have a little bit of a longer torso, and I cannot stand when shirts ride up. At this point in my life, I have no desire to be flashing my lack of abs! Since I love the tank so much, I started poking around on the Oiselle website to see what I wanted to try next. I’ve heard great things about the roga shorts from a number of different runners, so those might be my next pick! I think that the Win Long Sleeve Top also looks fab! :-)

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