Category Archives: Life

Balancing Tips for the Busy Mother Runner

As a member of Team Stonyfield, I was compensated for writing this post as part of my partnership with the brand. The thoughts and opinions expressed are all my own.

Balance.

Something we all try to strive for, right? I’ve been told I’m unbalanced. Muscularly, that is. But do I think that I have my life in balance?

Absolutely not.

In 2013, I used the word balance as my word of the year – what I would focus on all year long. What did I find? There is no such thing as balance. I think life is a constant state of tipping the scales in whatever direction is most important in that moment. It then readjusts in the other direction as needed.

Life is like...happyfitmama.com

Stonyfield wanted to know how I balance it all as I’m training for the Boston Marathon. I don’t, but here’s some tips on how to at least fake it.

1. Support - If Ron did not support my crazy running habits, none of this would work. He knows that running is what I love and what makes me happy (and most importantly, sane). In turn, he never gives me any grief about running a 20 mile race that begins in the middle of the day that practically eats up a whole Sunday of family time. It’s important to me so he makes it work. And he keeps the kids entertained so no one even realizes I’m gone.

Oh, mama just ran a race? I’m too busy digging in the sand to notice.

Post Zooma Cape Cod | happyfitmama.com

2. Schedule workouts – I’m a big fan of routine schedules. I think it stems from when my twins were born. I was all about the schedule. Nothing messed up the schedule. Thankfully, I like to workout in the morning. Ron likes after work. Perfect! When I go to yoga class, it’s in the evening after Ron comes home from the gym. Of course, I would love to go to yoga earlier, but I know his workout is just as important as mine.

3. Prioritize – My daily to-do list is usually a mile long. With my job as a part time Clinical Exercise Physiologist, managing a blog, my coaching clients and picking up more freelance writing projects, I feel like there’s always something to do that I haven’t done or that needs to be done ASAP. Rather than feeling overwhelmed, I prioritize from most important to least on my list. For the most part it works, but I can’t say I never feel overwhelmed.

 4. Simplify – I love to bake and make a lot of things homemade. But marathon training on top of everything else is leaving me exhausted. My meal planning for the week, in addition to food/snack prep, has been rather lackluster lately. We’ve been relying on freezer meals, eggs or a simple stir fry for dinner, Larabars, and more Stonyfield yogurt for snacks lately. We aren’t going hungry but we are still eating healthy.

Stonyfield yogurt | happyfitmama.com

5. Multitask – I stretch while I’m on the floor with my kids playing a game. I foam roll, do my core and PT exercises while watching TV at night. I clean the shower and stretch while taking a shower. What? I know I’m not the only one that does that!

6. Laugh – Seriously. Just laugh. I know I can’t do it all. But what can I do? I can laugh.

How do you find balance in your life?

One Big Headache

one big headache wallet  happyfitmama.com

“I can’t find my wallet!”

Those 5 words started what was the trip from hell. I have never had one trip be such a big headache.

Last Saturday, my father-in-law passed away in Michigan. We scrambled to get everything in order at home, with our jobs and not to mention packing for 4 people so we could fly back home. Monday morning we took off for Logan airport and a full day of travel. To get to Michigan, where both our parents live, it takes planes, trains and automobiles to get there. Well at least planes, buses and automobiles for this trip.

Our bus to Logan was later than usual because of the traffic outside of the city. What should have been an hour 15 minute ride was really 2 hrs 15 min. That left us with 45 min to get through security and to our gate. As we were checking our luggage, I realized one little obstacle.

I didn’t have my wallet.

That meant no license, no credit cards, no form of ID.

Oh f$@?!

The next 30 minutes were a flurry of phone calls to the bus service to see if my wallet was on the bus, making my case to the TSA supervisor to let me through security without a photo ID and basically crapping my pants for the mess I was in.

Thankfully the TSA supervisor was the nicest person I’ve ever meet. He let me go through with my check book and a prescription with my name on it (which I learned actually didn’t have my name on it when he went to check it). I had to have a full search of my carry on and a major pat down. I then was one of those crazy people sprinting through the airport to make it to the gate before the door closed. I made it to the gate just as Ron and the kids were boarding (they went ahead of me just in case I couldn’t get through security).

Lake Superior Sunset | happyfitmama.com

You’d think we’d be able to settle into our seats and enjoy the ride to Chicago by then. Oh no. We first had to beg passengers around us to switch seats with us so our 4 year olds didn’t have to sit by themselves. One guy graciously moved. But no one else did. The first flight attendant I asked to help, wouldn’t. Thankfully another did help and we were finally able to settle in.

It seemed like the bad luck streak was over when we finally landed in Duluth, MN. I realized that I did not lose my wallet but had left it at home on the desk in front of the computer. My wonderful neighbor found it for me and was sending my licesnse out ASAP so I’d at least have a way to get home. However, as Ron got the rental car, I waited for our luggage (which included the kids car seats). And I waited. And waited. Till finally the baggage carousel stopped.

Our luggage was nowhere in sight.

It turns out our luggage never left Chicago with us. We had to borrow car seats from the airline and they promised our luggage would be delivered to us the next morning via an airport courier.

So we began our 2 hour drive to Michigan with nothing but the clothes on our backs. Oh and Miss A’s bunny slippers that she packed in her backpack. At least she had those.

So the perfect ending to this story would be that our luggage was delivered Tuesday morning with no hassle. But wait. There’s more!

Tuesday morning I received a phone call from the airport courier saying that he didn’t think he’d be able to deliver because it was snowing and “blowing really bad.” If that was the case, I’d completely understand. It was snowing. And it was windy. BUT we only got 5 inches of snow during the whole day (and Duluth only got 2 inches). This isn’t some place that doesn’t get snow or bad weather. In fact it happens ALL the time. It’s a normal, everyday occurrence.

I explained the situation that we did need our luggage because my FIL’s funeral was at 2 pm that afternoon. Long story short, the courier did NOT deliver our luggage on Tuesday as promised. We had to wear the same clothes that we had worn on the plane (washed of course) to the funeral.

In addition to being in a panic about all our stuff, my running clothes were in the luggage. My plan for getting in some miles Tuesday weren’t happening. I asked on my Facebook page what would you do in the situation – hope your luggage arrives soon or buy new gear? Sounds like a no brainer right – go shopping!! Unfortunately, we were in a small town with very, very limited selection. Meaning I couldn’t find my beloved Saucony shoes!

The next morning (Wednesday) the airport courier FINALLY delivered our luggage. I wanted to punch him in the throat when he said “Don’t you hate when the airline loses your luggage?” Really?

99 laps | happyfitmama.com

I was never so happy to see my clothes. More specifically, my running clothes and shoes! However, it was only 3 degrees outside with a real feel of -10. I needed to run but I didn’t have enough clothes for that type of weather. I could have gone to a gym to run on a treadmill for $8/day. Frugal me decided to run on an indoor walking track. I really don’t mind tracks. At least tracks that are regular size. For this one, it took 11 laps for 1 mile. I had 9 miles to do. Oh yes, that meant 99 laps of pure fun weaving in and out of the senior citizens and helping a little old lady set up a bike. It was so fun, I went back the next day for 5 more miles! With a temp of -14 and real feel of -27, I just couldn’t run outside. During every single lap that I ran on that track, I had to remind myself of two things – “If I don’t mind, it doesn’t matter” and “I’m building mental toughness!”

By now mental toughness should be as strong as nails!

By Friday, it had warmed up to 10 degrees (woohoo heat wave!) so I got to run outside with the lovely hills, a brutal wind and snow packed roads. Thankfully my dad had a pair of Yak Tracks that I could borrow. I wanted 11 but called it at 9 miles because I was dead tired.

Michigan Winter Running | happyfitmama.com

I’d love to tell you that the bad luck ended and our return flight when off seamlessly. It did for the most part except for having to beg people to move two more times to allow us to sit with our kids. And then there was the mad dash through O’Hare hoping to make our flight (we were the last people on board). And Ron finding that his shoes were gone from the suitcase.

While the majority of the trip was a complete mess, it was marvelous to spend time with family. Although, I told Ron that we are NOT going on a plane anytime soon. My deodorant needs a break from having to work overtime!

Has your luggage ever been lost?

What’s the smallest track you’ve ever run on?

A Day in the Life

Quad stretch | happyfitmama.com

It’s been a very long time since I did A Day in the Life post. I’m super nosy interested in how other people spend their days – the schedules, the activities, and the boring day to day stuff. Even mundane tasks are interesting to me. My previous Day in the Life posts have showed a typical day as my job as Mama and my other as a Clinical Exercise Physiologist. Today I’m showing you the Mama side just because I can share more pictures and details. The other one involves too much HIPPA and red tape!

Wake up! 4:xx

I wake up 5 minutes before my alarm goes off, quietly tip toe downstairs, where I do my usual morning routine and get dressed for a run. I opt for the treadmill rather than outside. The warm temps from Monday may have left the roads a skating rink.

Do a dynamic warm up and use The Stick on my calves before beginning my workout. 2 miles w/u, 3 miles @ 1/2 marathon pace (8:10, 8:00, 7:53), 2 miles c/d. Do my glute exercises and stretch as Ron heads out the door to work and the kids finish up breakfast. Yes my kids are already up and eating breakfast.

My kids motto – the early bird gets the worm. Wonder where they get that from?

day in the life treadmill run  happyfitmama.com

Help the kids clean up their breakfast dishes before I take a quick shower. Get dressed and immediately strip the sheets off everyone’s bed. Start a load of laundry.

FINALLY, I prep and eat my breakfast while checking social media and email. I could eat steel cut oats every single morning for breakfast. And I practically do.

day in the life breakfast  happyfitmama.com

Clean up breakfast dishes and then clean some more. Bathrooms, unload/load dishwasher, sweep, vacuum, dust and start another load of laundry.

Why is there always so much laundry?!

Another reason having twins is awesome? Built in playmates! It allows time for me to actually get something done most days. The kids play together fairly nicely with me only having to referee a handful of times. It’s a good day!

Around mid morning we hop in the car to run a couple of errands to the grocery store and the car wash. The car wash is always entertaining. Especially when the dryers turn on. Cover your ears!!!

day in the life carwash | happyfitmama.com

Back home, it’s time for lunch. The kids have a Purple Power Smoothie and almond butter toast while I have leftover salmon, roasted butternut squash and massaged kale. I think I had the better meal.

Salmon Butternut Squash Kale | happyfitmama.com

After lunch clean up, the kids want to play outside. It’s a warmer than it has been and the sun is shining. We all get dressed in our gear and head out for a bit. I think I’m becoming a wuss because I’m freezing within 10 minutes. I go back inside to fold more laundry and start dinner in the crockpot while the kids play on the patio for a little bit longer.

The kids come in and we immediately get ready for my Sports Chiropractor appointment. It always feels good to get realigned and have manual therapy on my calf/Achilles.

sports chiropractor  happyfitmama.com

We get back home, read a few books and then kids want to play outside again. This time I send them out alone while I cut up fresh veggies and prep for dinner.

The kids come back in after playing for about 30 minutes. They want hot cocoa to warm up (as always) as I finish dinner.

We start eating dinner and Ron soon comes home from work and the gym to join us. I think we’ve had different variations of Crockpot Two Bean Veggie Chili at least once a week since winter began. I could live off it.

Crockpot Two Bean Veggie Chili | happyfitmama.com

After dinner, it’s a flurry of dinner clean up, folding more laundry and getting the kids in bed. I then am able to sit down to type up this post. Afterwards, it’s to the living room with Ron where I’ll do more of my glute/core/PT exercises/The Stick/Foam Roll while watching TV before crashing into bed by 9 p.m.

THE END!

Join in the fun and be nosy! Katie is hosting A Day in the Life link up. I’m also linking up with WIAW.