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! :-)

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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5 Holiday Stress Busters to Help You Relax

5 Holiday Stress Busters

I don’t know if it’s because Thanksgiving was a little later this year, or because it’s just been a tough fall here in the Morrison household, but I feel like I’m totally behind the eight ball when it comes to holiday prep. I am by no means a Maratha Stewart when it comes to my holiday decorating and gift giving, but I at least like to try.

It’s December 11, and the only thing I have done so far to prepare for Christmas is to put some decorations on the mantle and put up the tree. Side note: the tree was in a stand for one week before we finally got around to decorating it! That’s the way we’ve been rolling here as of late.

I am trying to gently remind myself that with three small children, things are not going to be perfect, but sometimes I wish I could just snap my fingers and make it happen! Lately, it’s been enough to get the crap picked up off the floor, so that the cleaning woman can at least vacuum!

Ok, sob story over. Even though I feel woefully unprepared this holiday season, I am going to work hard not to stress over it. Here are five holiday stress busters to help you feel more relaxed—I’m sure you know what at least one of them will be! :-)

  • Go for a run! Sometimes you just need to get out of the situation and clear your head. I ALWAYS feel better after a run. I come back feeling like I can handle what life throws at me, so this is my number one method for busting stress!
  • Call a friend and grab a coffee, hot chocolate, or even a glass of wine! Talking it out always helps you feel better, and you will probably find that many of your friends are on the same page!
  • Do some online shopping. The retail therapy can be for you, or you can feel better about checking people off your Christmas list. With Amazon Prime, at least you know your gifts will make it there before Christmas! :-)
  • Participate in a community service event/project or make a donation to a holiday charity like Toys for Tots. The holidays are a perfect time to make a difference in someone’s life, who might be having a hard time. Grab that coffee and go to the store to pick out a toy for a needy child or serve a meal at a soup kitchen. I can 100% guarantee it will put you in the holiday spirit and put things in perspective for you!
  • Get a manicure, pedicure, or some other kind of pampering—you deserve it! As moms (and Dads!), we wear so many different hats, and it’s exhausting! Sometimes you just need to take a step back and recharge.

balancing

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Holiday Cheer ~ Visit the Edaville USA Festival of Lights!

Edaville USA Festival of Lights

Some of my favorite Christmas memories as a child are of visiting the Edaville USA Festival of Lights. I still love Christmas lights just as much, so I am super excited to take the boys there this year. It will be William’s first visit! Not only do you get to see A LOT of Christmas lights at Edaville, you can also take a train ride around the property that the kids always love. There are lots of rides that are great for little ones, and you can also meet Santa! For more details, see the following information from Edaville USA:

Christmas Festival of Lights Nov. 28-30, Dec. 1-Jan. 1 Edaville’s Christmas Festival of Lights is arguably the most-loved festival of its kind, having earned generations of loyal fans. Passengers relax comfortably in warm and dry coaches while riding through a spectacular holiday setting featuring an explosion of lights. Kids of all ages will enjoy an array of vintage amusement rides and a visit with Santa in one of our indoor play areas. Stay for a delicious full meal or enjoy seasonal treats while roaming our sprawling and beautifully decorated grounds featuring thousands of Christmas displays. Trains typically run on an hourly schedule beginning one hour after opening and the last train is at 8pm. Celebrate the Holidays at Edaville’s Christmas Festival of Lights Now-Jan. 1 http://www.edaville.com/

30 Something Mother Runner will receive tickets to the Festival of Lights in exchange for sharing this information with you. All opinions and writing are 100% my own (except as noted). 

necetgm

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New Guest Post Feature ~ 30 Something Father Figure!

I am super excited that my hubs is back for another guest post (this time it’s going to be a series!!). 

Allow me to introduce myself: I’m a 30 something father– working dad, former athlete. Normally I wouldn’t have put the “former” in there, but that’s the current reality I’m trying to deal with. I guess that’s one of the big reasons for my guest appearance on this blog. My wife is extremely supportive of my effort to get back into shape, and writing here on a regular basis is one way to keep me accountable!

Clarke Mountain Biking

Sports were a daily part of my life from sometime in early grade school, through college, and into my late 20s; it was part of my identity. Soccer was my main sport, but I also played basketball, lacrosse, tennis, racquetball, softball (albeit beer league), at various levels throughout the years. Skiing is my biggest passion in life, and I spent a year doing it after college. I’ll never be able to live up to that – 65 days on the mountain!

Aside from competitive sports, I’ve always had active hobbies – kayaking, hiking, biking, lifting (you’d never guess that one by looking at me, but I was spotted in the local meat market, aka Bally’s fitness, on a regular basis for a while in my mid 20s). As the commercial says, “life comes at you fast.” I fell in love and married a talented and beautiful woman, got a real job, bought a place, and had my first kid at 26.

We added our second son 2 years later, and then (oops!) a 3rd son 7 months ago. Being a father is my favorite part of my life now. I still think of myself as a young dad, even though I just had a kid at 32. Sometimes my wife jokes that she has 4 boys – it’s not always far from the truth. Before having kids, I always knew that I’d be an active dad –playing soccer in the yard, hoops in the driveway until dark, coaching town teams, etc.

pinnacle ski jump

That’s all well and good, but it’s not like that from day one. Kids are babies first, so the only exercise I got with them in the early days was walking them to sleep for about 2 hours a night. Suddenly I had become something I never thought possible – a working dad who’s no longer in the shape I was in as a sophomore in high school. The first step towards recovery though, is realizing that you have a problem.

I still believed that I was an athlete. I went skiing, although 10 days on the slopes was more realistic. I played softball in a beer league, which was fun, but wasn’t doing much in terms of keeping me in the shape I wanted to be in. I took up mountain biking a few years ago, which I LOVE. It’s a great way to replace skiing in the off-season, or on Cape Cod, where I moved recently (not a ton of ski mountains out here on the Atlantic).

I never lost my thin frame, which everyone promised me would happen once I turned 30. I became the most popular feature on the local playground, where I’d start a game of tag with my son, and within minutes I’d have 10 kids chasing me all over the climbing structures… it’s all fun and games until you pull a muscle in your side while vaulting over a playground fence running away from a 1st grader.

That brings us to the present day– I can’t find the time to mountain bike as much as I want to (even less now with darkness falling at 4 pm). I haven’t found an indoor soccer league to join yet, I hate running almost as much as I hate early mornings, so don’t waste your time suggesting that. Oh, and as every single person who sees me out and about with 3 kids points out, I “have my hands full.”  The time for excuses is over now though. I need to get back to being an athlete.

It will most likely make me feel amazing mentally, and maybe I’ll finally go to bed earlier once I’m exercising regularly (except for the nights when I’m writing a blog post). I played racquetball with a friend last night, and if I can keep that routine up it will be a good start. So stay tuned, as I fulfill my promise to myself to find a way to get in shape, and maybe all the working parents out there can find some motivation to do the same!

You can find Clarke on the train to Boston, the bike trails on Cape Cod, or on Instagram

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Where to Find Great Deals on Running Gear for Christmas

Deals on running gear

The holidays are actually a great time for picking up running gear at great prices! There have been such great deals on running gear lately, that I have found it hard to resist the temptation click and shop! I thought that I would put together a list of a few of the sites where I have found some spectacular steals on winter running gear.

Places to find deals on running gear:

  • Running Warehouse— running warehouse is a great place to find discounted running gear and shoes. As a bonus, they also offer free two-day shipping and free returns! They also offer a 90 day no sweat return policy. Around the holidays they will also do special daily deals.
  • ASICS America— ASICS America has been doing a Bestivus sale every day that has offered deals like 50% off running tights, up to 60% off cold weather running gear, and 50% off their Thermopolis half zips.
  • Your local running store (LRS)— Don’t forget to shop small this holiday season too. Many times you can score some fantastic deals at your local running shop. They often have special shopping nights, discounts, and twelve days of Christmas deals.
  • Amazon— While I do prefer to shop local when possible, sometimes I just can’t find something here on Cape Cod. In that case, I pop onto Amazon. They have special lightning sales for all of their different departments, and they have been providing very deep discounts on certain running and sporting gear. If you have Prime, you also get FREE 2-day shipping. I like to order not only for myself, but use the FREE 2-day shipping to send gifts to people on my Christmas list! :-)
  • Holabird Sports— Holabird offers deal days on Mondays, Wednesdays, and Fridays, and you can get up to 70% off during these sales! They also have everyday specials. You will find all of the major running brands here, so check them out!
  • Road Runner Sports- Road Runner Sports also has a lot of great deals on shoes, gear, nutrition products, etc. Take $15 off your order of $75 or more with code CX14S501. 11/1-12/31.

Where do you find great deals on your running gear? Do you stock up on running gear during holiday sales?

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