Bye Bye GPS Watch and Apps (at least for a while)!

After an exhausting weekend (sadly with no running), I had a FABULOUS run yesterday. I wish I could say that the weekend was exhausting for any other reason than having a sick 10 month-old and 4 year-old. Collin had been coughing for a few days and missed school on Friday, but it was William who did us in on Saturday morning.

garmin

The poor baby woke up on Saturday morning having a hard time breathing and barking like a seal—yep, croup! :-( Off to the pediatrician we went, home after a steroid injection and a loaner nebulizer. Thankfully, he is snotty, but on the mend. My much-needed run got me out of the house yesterday for a dose of vitamin D and some beautiful beach views that always perk me up.

I went sans GPS watch or iPhone running app, and I’m committed to running that way for a while. Things have been kind of stressful around here lately, and the last thing I want my runs to do is have me stressed about paces or workout intervals. I have decided to map out the routes in advance (so I know how many miles I’m getting for 10-miler training) and that’s the only thing I’ll be tracking.

I have done this before and I can’t tell you how liberating it is to run without tracking ANY statistics! I love technology, but it’s addictive, invasive, and near impossible to get away from. For a while, my runs are going to be 100% unplugged, and you know what? I am SO looking forward to it! :-) It will be a new kind of challenge. I’m sure I will be curious about paces and where I’m at fitness wise, but I think the mental relaxation will be so worth it!

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Active Life Compression Calf Sleeves Review and Giveaway


Active Life Calf Sleeve The following post is sponsored by The Active Life. You can read a copy of the Disclosure policy for 30 Something Mother Runner HERE I was so excited to find a pair of calf sleeves that work well, but are more cost-effective than some of the other brands out there. I truly believe that you shouldn’t have to pay an arm and a leg (pun intended!) to take advantage of the benefits of compression. The Active Life compression calf sleeves are great not only for runners, but for anyone who spends a lot of time on their feet. There are many benefits to using compression–it can be helpful in preventing shin splints in new runners and reducing swelling on long runs. Compression is also great for recovery. After a long run, throw on a pair of compression sleeves or socks and take a nap! :-) I have wear-tested the Active Life compression calf sleeves and find them to be comparable to the other major players in the market. What I think sets them apart is the more affordable price point (right now they are $17.97 on Amazon!) and their 100% satisfaction guarantee–you don’t see that much anymore! If you ever want a refund or replacement, Active Life will grant you one–with no expiration date. Active Life Calf Sleeve GuaranteeActive Life Calf Sleeve Guarantee If you have been considering taking the plunge and trying out compression, I think these would be a great option. They currently come in black in sizes M-L and L-XL. I used the M-L and found the fit to be perfect. They were just the right pressure for me–tight, but not too tight. To make sure you get the right size, you can refer to the chart below: Active Life Calf Sleeves Sizing Chart   I like to wear my calf sleeves for middle distance runs and recovery (compression socks on long runs and cold days). Do you wear compression– for runs or recovery? Make sure to check out the Active Life on Facebook!
a Rafflecopter giveaway

30 Something Mother Runner was compensated for this review. All writing and opinions are 100% my own. 

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30 Something Father Figure ~ Finally Skiing!

I’ve been absent from the blog for a few weeks, but it’s not for lack of activity to report! I finally kicked my ski season into higher gear with back-to-back trips on Sunday and Monday. Skiing is tops on my list of “things worth using a vacation day for.” It’s also worth two day trips in a row from Cape Cod (including one to New Hampshire), and it’s worth the amount of money the resorts rob from you these days.

Game Face Mt. Sunapee

Game Face!

On Sunday I took a trip to NH with a friend of mine. He works the night shift, so if you want to know what dedication to the sport is: he worked until 7 am Sunday, we drove north and skied until 4 pm (with a lunch break for a few Bloody Marys), I drove us back and he went to work that night at 11. He also has no children, so I can call him with little notice and chances are good I’ll have someone to go with.

Monday was a slightly different kind of trip. The whole family hit the slopes for a special event that my wife was invited to at Wachusett Mountain. It was a gorgeous day at Wachusett, and the ownership provided a great experience.  It was truly awesome getting both of my older boys on skis.

Boys Wachusett Mountain

Almost Ready to Get After It!

This was the first time for my 4-year-old, and my 6-year-old hadn’t been for almost 2 years! They were enthusiastic about the skills they learned during their lessons, and I couldn’t wait to head out with them myself.

I love teaching kids how to ski. It can be one of the most frustrating sports to learn, especially if you’re a perfectionist (or a toddler/young child)! Once I’m on skis, I feel like I have a new level of patience that doesn’t exist in any other situation. I try to keep it simple, because you don’t want to over-think things in the beginning – not to mention we’re talking 4 and 6 year olds here… and the most important part of the lesson is to have fun.

After a few runs, my 6-year-old was cruising down the trail by himself. I couldn’t have been more proud [*tear]. My 4-year-old did well too, and we ended by flying down the trail together while he held on to my ski poles for support.

Now that the ski season is entering its second to last month in the Northeast, skiing is all I have on my mind. I need to orchestrate as many trips as possible, working with the following handicaps: 3 children under 7, living 200 miles from the closest decent resort, finishing a kitchen renovation, not having much in the way of discretionary income, and having a busy work schedule.

Father and Son Wachusett Mountain

Fatherhood for the Win

Good thing I have a supportive wife, who knows that I am at my best/happiest when I’m skiing! I’m sure she’ll be fine if I plan a St. Patrick’s Day ski trip next week, as I haven’t taken an actual overnight trip all season. Thankfully my parents are back from their warm weather vacation, because now they can take care of our dog and help with the kids while I get my turns in.

It’s possible they may even come on a trip with us later in the month – that way my wife and I can take some runs together instead of trading off to take care of the baby!

I hope everyone in the northern states enjoys the tease of spring this week, because it’s probably gonna snow again! Actually I will say that it felt fantastic walking around Boston yesterday, it was almost tropical. I’m not ready for spring yet though, so at least that makes one person out of 14.5 million in New England!

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Family Fun at Wachusett Mountain!

We packed up the boys and headed to Wachusett Mountain on Monday for the first time! I had been to Wachusett as a teenager, but this was the first visit as a parent. My husband and I were so pumped to get the boys on skis again, and we arrived to a picture-perfect ski day.

Wachusett Family Ski Day

We’re Here!

The skies were as blue as they could be and the temperature was in the 30s (it felt mild compared to what we have gotten used to this winter!). I love skiing during the week–who wants to deal with weekend crowds?? We breezed into the parking lot and headed in to get the boys signed up for their lessons and rentals.

Wachusett Kids Ski Lessons

James’s Lesson

After heading up to the Spruce Room to connect with Wachusett management and other bloggers/media including Annie, Lollie, Robin and Tamara; we headed next door to get my two older boys rentals and connect them with their ski instructors.

My four year-old participated in Polar Kids and absolutely LOVED it! Wachusett does such a great job getting kids to love skiing and learning to ski. He really enjoyed his instructors–here are the boys talking about their skiing experience:

The Polar Kids skied for a while in the morning, had a snack break, and then headed out again before breaking at lunch time. This is what happens when your child plays hard at Polar Kids (classic from Collin, who will sleep anywhere)! :-)

Asleep in Wachusett Lodget

Passed out in the Spruce Room!

Wachusett Polar Kids

Getting ready to hit the slopes!

Riding the Magic Carpet

Riding the Magic Carpet

My six year-old also loved his lesson. The instructors were great, and both boys had a blast applying their newly learned skills on the mountain in the afternoon! After lunch and learning more about Wachusett Mountain and all they have to offer, we headed back out to the slopes. The weather really was unbelievably nice!

At 3 p.m. everyone met up at the Bullock Lodge for cider donuts from Red Apple Farm. James and I were waylaid making it down an intermediate trail (it took a lot longer than expected!), so we missed the meeting, but we picked up some donuts and fudge for the road home.

30 Something Mother Runner at Wachusett

First time on skis in 8 years

Red Apple Farm Cider Donuts and Fudge

The donuts were AMAZING, as was the cookie dough fudge I tried! I have such a soft spot for family-owned farms, and Red Apple Farm is no exception! We will definitely be heading there to do some apple picking next fall!

We had an all around fantastic time skiing at Wachusett–it’s a great mountain to head to for the day with (or without!) the family. It’s a short drive from the Boston metro area, so grab the kids and play hooky to ski on a week day. Instead of bemoaning all of the snow still on the ground, go play in it! It’s been a phenomenal year for snow conditions here in New England– take advantage of it before it melts. :-)

To learn more about Wachusett’s learn to ski packages, click HERE. There is something for everyone, regardless of age!

3o Something Mother Runner received a free lift ticket and lunch at Wachusett Mountain. All opinions and writing are 100% my own. 

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First Ski Trip of the Season with the Boys!

This morning we are headed to Wachusett Mountain for our first family ski trip of the season. I haven’t skied in years (since before James was born!), so it will be the first time in a while for me–I’m hoping my legs cooperate! I’m also excited because I will get to meet up with some of my Boston Parent Blogger friends. It’s always fun to hang with these lovely ladies in real life! :-)

Surf Drive Winter

Things are looking up in the weather department here on Cape Cod. I actually ran outside again on Saturday. The wind was 20 mph along the water, so instead of running all the way along the beach, I made a route adjustment. I foolishly didn’t wear my running mittens (thinking it was in the upper 20s and relatively balmy!). When I hit the water, my hands and ears got a reality check!

I couldn’t feel my fingers after a few minutes, so I decided to make a right and head up through town. As soon as I got out of the wind, my hands warmed up and before I knew it, I was  breaking a sweat. What a glorious feeling! :-) I was very thankful for my Saucony Ride 7 sneakers with Gore-Tex. They are totally waterproof, and they kept my feet nice and dry through all of the puddles and slush! It was so great to feel the sun shining down on me, even if it was only in the 20s!

In fact, we are set to have a stretch of sunny days– thank God! It’s amazing what a difference some vitamin D makes. Above is a pic from a run last week that really shows how beautiful Surf Drive beach is– even in the cold and snowy winter. No matter the season, my beach running route never ceases to amaze me with its stunning beauty.

Now that we have an extra hour of light at the end of the day, I’m looking forward to more outside runs!

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Swift-n-Snug Running Belt Review and Giveaway

This following post is sponsored by Swift-n-Snug. Please visit my Disclosure page for more details. 

Swift-n-snug running belt review

If you’re like me, you hate having to carry things in your hands while running! I’m a hands-free kind of girl, and things like the Swift-n-Snug running belt help me stay that way. I recently discovered this running belt that happens to come with a built in LED light.

Not only can you carry items on the run, but it can help you stay safe and visible in early morning or evening runs. That’s been especially important here in New England with the mounds of snow and high drifts we have along the roads! The Swift-n-Snug belt is fully adjustable (the one-size belt fits a waist up to 44 inches).

The storage pocket is generous, as I was able to stow my iPhone 6, in addition to a gel and my keys! The LED lights run along the top and bottom of the zipper, and there are 3 different settings. You can have a solid light, fast blinking light, and a slower blinking light. Just hit the button once for solid, twice for fast, three times for slow, and one more time to turn it off.

It was very simple to use right out of the box–no assembly necessary! If you need to replace the batteries, it takes CR2032 batteries (2 are already inserted in the belt, so it’s ready to use as soon as you receive it). Obviously I wore the belt for running, but you could use it for walking, hiking, cycling, or just about any other sport! Here’s a quick demo of how it works:

If you would like to purchase your own Swift-n-Snug belt, you can purchase it on Amazon for $23.99, but Swift-n-Snug is allowing me to pass along a $5 discount, making the belt $18.99. Just click HERE to purchase the belt at the discounted price. I am also giving away one belt to a lucky reader! Just follow the instructions in the Rafflecopter widget below:

Snug-n-swift belt in package

Swift-n-snug running belt

a Rafflecopter giveaway

I received compensation in exchange for writing this review. All writing and opinions are 100% my own. 

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My Absolute Favorite Stress Buster


Let’s face it, there’s definitely a good amount of stress in the daily life of a parent. You reminisce about the days you used to grab your keys and head out the door. Now it takes about 45 minutes to an hour longer, and you leave with about three times as much stuff!

Just as you’re about to lock up, someone poops themselves, needs to use the bathroom, lost their mittens in sub zero weather, needs a snack, or [insert any other need you could possibly think of, and even those you can’t!]. It’s pretty much inevitable and definitely stressful– particularly when you actually have to be somewhere on time!

RESCUE Pastilles Tin

There are times in the day where you feel like you either need a cattle prod or a bullhorn, or maybe both! :-) Although life with kids can be stressful, it’s instantly gratifying and that’s what keeps us smiling. I LOVE my job as a mother, but I have definitely found the need for healthy ways to beat stress.

For me, running is what helps me keep the stress under control–it’s definitely my #1 stress buster. When it gets bad, I like to lace up and head out for a good, hard predator run— I imagine myself being chased by the stress and I bust my butt to outrun it! :-) When I’m done running, flushed and sweaty and totally spent, it’s the BEST feeling in the world.

RESCUE pastilles close up

I feel like I can take on whatever life throws at me for the rest of the day and all is good! I recently had the opportunity to test out a natural/homeopathic product to help relieve stress- RESCUE. The name says it all! :-) You can find RESCUE at your local CVS, Walgreen’s or Whole Foods, and it comes in three formulations: Pastilles, Sleep Liquid Melts, and Pearls (average retail value $9.99). At my CVS they were located near the sleep aids.  I’m looking forward to busting some stress with these tasty little bad boys!

You can click HERE for a buy one get one free RESCUE coupon, so you can try it out for yourself!

What’s your favorite way to manage the stress in your life? 

RESCUE-Pastilles

 

I was selected for this opportunity as a member of Clever Girls and the content and opinions expressed here are all my own.

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Healthy Frozen Desserts

I LOVE ice cream, but I know I usually eat quite a bit more than the 1/2 cup serving– really, who eats just a half cup of ice cream?! How can you stop? 😉 Since I have a love of sweet frozen treats, I started exploring Pinterest for healthy frozen desserts to satisfy my cravings.

Healthy Frozen Desserts

The good news is that there are quite a few delicious recipes that contain only fruit or just a few other ingredients. You can indulge in something sweet, while getting in your daily fruit servings. That’s a definite win in my busy mom book! :-)

2 Ingredient Pineapple Whip— If you have been to Disney World and love the famous Dole Whip, you’ve got to try this healthier version. As a bonus, it’s made with coconut milk, so it’s dairy-free!

2 Ingredient Strawberry Banana Ice Cream— I really only like the banana flavor when it’s paired with another fruit, chocolate, or peanut butter. This recipe gives you a super yummy strawberry banana combo and allows you to get your fruit servings in at the same time! I can only imagine how refreshing this would be.

Chocolate Banana Ice Cream— In my book, you can never go wrong with chocolate and banana. This recipe consists of only banana and a little chocolate powder (skip the chocolate powder if you just want the banana flavor).

Stonyfield Frozen Yogurt Pearls— These perfectly portion-controlled sweet treats are made of frozen yogurt that is covered with an edible “skin” made of organic fruit. My favorite flavor is coconut-chocolate, but they also come in peach-vanilla, strawberry-vanilla, and strawberry-chocolate. I  love that the box is 100% renewable, made of sugar cane!

I am a Stonyfield Yo-Getter and received samples of the Stonyfield Frozen Yogurt Pearls. All opinions and writing are 100% my own–my boys and I love ’em!

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More Snow Monday

Aaaand we have more SNOW. Ack!!!!! I am beginning to wonder if we will ever see the ground again before summer time. Now that we are officially in March and daylight savings is right around the corner, I think Mother Nature needs to start moving the mercury in the right direction! I’m looking for some relieve from the SAD I wrote about last week!

Holly near the frozen ocean

Credit: Clarke Morrison

 

The latest snowfall took me by surprise, since I have all but given up listening to the forecast. I am still in a running rut, getting in 2 or 3 runs a week, but definitely not where I want to be. I know we are knee-deep in a kitchen reno, thigh-deep in snow, and dealing with a ten-month-old who’s about to start walking.

It just seems like it’s been so hard to fit running in lately– my in-laws are out of town for 3 weeks and my mother left for a month in San Diego…but I’m not beating myself up too much. :-) I just wish I was back to running 4-5 times a week. I am missing the stress-relief and the endorphins!

Sorry that this is kind of a Debbie Downer post, it’s just where I’m at right now…In other news, our kitchen reno is finally nearing completion. Last Friday we got the sink hooked up and the dishwasher working (hallelujah!). I don’t think I have ever been so happy to see a working dishwasher! :-) This week the gas cooktop will be hooked up, and I can’t wait!

Happy March everyone–here’s to hoping for a small break from winter weather!

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3 Reasons You Should Add Hills to Your Training

3 Reasons to Add Hills to Your Workouts

If you live anywhere except the Midwest, you probably encounter hills on your average daily run (at least small rollers!). Most of us are not too fond of the hills, especially during races. But, what if I told you those same hills could actually make you a faster runner? There are several reasons that hills can make you speedier. Read on to find out!

THE PHYSICS OF HILLS AND SPEED

Running uphill requires greater force than running on level ground or downhill (you encounter much more resistance going up hill). More force= more strength and speed. Think back to the last time you ran up a decent hill–you had to pick up your legs and charge it. Your whole body probably felt like it was getting a good workout, because it was!

HILLS CAN HELP YOUR STRIDE

Running uphill can actually help your running form because it makes you lift your knees up higher. It’s a great way to work on achieving optimal stride length. When your run downhill, you have a faster turnover–this will definitely help make you more efficient in your next race!

RUNNING HILLS HELPS BUILD UP YOUR RUNNING CAPACITY

Let’s face it–running uphill is hard! It’s this same hard effort that helps you build up your aerobic capacity. Regularly running hills helps your body use oxygen more efficiently, so it takes less oxygen for a hard effort. You get the drift– running hard starts to “feel” easier. This will come in handy at the finish of your next race or long run!

HOW TO ADD HILLS TO YOUR TRAINING PLAN

Aside from choosing a route with hills, there are a few other ways you can add them to your training regimen. One workout (which is great for breaking up the monotony of the treadmill!) is to do a pyramid workout. Each interval (few minutes), raise the incline one notch, hit a peak, and then go back down.

While this will help with the uphill portion, you can’t really go downhill on a treadmill–great news if you have knee problems! :-) Another way to incorporate hills is to run a few warm up miles and then find a good hill to use for repeats. Run up the hill and then jog back down. Start with one or two repetitions and build up each week. Ideally the hill will have a 10-15% grade– you don’t want it to be too steep!

Do you incorporate hills into your workout schedule? What’s your favorite hill workout? 

 

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