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Thursday, February 9, 2012

Ways to Keep Kids Active During the Winter Months

Kids need exercise.  Even in the winter.  All of the media coverage of The Obesity Epidemic in our country could tell you that.  But in case you've missed it, our nation's kids are overweight.  They are spending too much time in front of the TV, the computer, and playing video games.  They are eating entirely too much junk food, and not nearly enough fruits and vegetables.  Yet, we are the adults. We purchase the junk food.  We purchase the video games.  We allow too much TV.   In a sense, then, it is our own fault that our children are overweight. 

With that being said, what are we to do, as parents, to keep your little ones healthy or reverse any bad habits we have already begun?  Well, the first thing we need to do is to encourage our families to eat healthy.  We need to stop stocking up on junk food and start filling our refrigerators with natural foods...try to think: plants.  There are, of course, the old standbys:  Apples, oranges, grapes, bananas, pears, raisins, etc.  But why not try something different, as well:  kiwi, pomegranate, mango. 

We are in control of what our children eat at home by virtue of the fact that we purchase the items in our cabinets.  If we don't want our children eating too many chips, or too much candy, we simply need to...Stop Buying It.  We also need to be good role models to our kids.  If we want them to choose healthy snacks, we need to eat healthy snacks.  We can't tell our children to eat a banana for a snack, for instance, while we are eating a candy bar.

In addition to healthy eating habits, our children need more exercise.  In the spring, summer, and fall, this is much easier to do.  But when the temperatures drop, how can we get our kids to be more active? 

In my family, we are not dealing with overweight children, but rather a case of Too Much Energy.  My daughter is 5 and has ALWAYS had a ton of energy.  The winter months are always the most difficult time of the year for us.  She has too much stored energy, which can lead to behavior and sleeping issues if we don't get her the exercise her body needs. Over the years, we have had to come up with many different ways to ensure she gets that exercise.  Of course, it was much easier to do when there was just her.  Now that we have the twins, as well, it is harder to fit in some of the different types of activities that we used to.  But, it is also more important that we burn up that extra energy so that 1. she is not driving us crazy while we are taking care of the boys, 2.  she doesn't wake the boys when they are napping, and 3.  so that she knows we still love and care for her very much and want her to get the things that she needs from us, too...not just the boys. 

With all of this in mind, I am going to outline several things you can do at home with your children to encourage them to move their bodies and get exercise in the winter, whether it is to keep them healthy or get out some energy.

Inside The House
  • Have a dance party.  In my house, we call it a Dance Party USA.  And it works like this:  I turn on the music and my daughter and I dance to it. It's simple.  And the best part is that nobody else can see my hideous dance moves, so I am free to be myself.  This is also an easy activity for my daughter to do by herself if I am busy cleaning or tending to my babies.  She loves to dance and she can literally do it for hours.  She throws in some "break-dancing" moves every now and then (which are quite challenging to replicate, by the way).  The only rule:  don't break anything.
  • Play hide-and-go-seek.  This traditional outdoor game takes on a new twist when you bring it inside.  Better yet, turn out the lights and give each family member a flashlight.  This is a great family game, but it works well when my daughter has a play date or her cousins are over, as well.  The kids love it and they are far less likely to argue...as long as there is adult supervision.  The kids are up, moving around the house, instead of glued to the tube.
  • Two words:  Hula Hoop.  This is a great indoor activity.  If you do not have a hula hoop yet.  Go.Get.One.  They are very inexpensive...under $5, I believe.  And they are fun!  You can try one, too!  We have a small one for our daughter, but I have used the larger one and it is a challenge, but it works your abdominal muscles for sure!
  • Jump Rope...yes, that's correct.  I did say "jump rope".  Find a spot somewhere in the house where you are okay with your child(ren) jump roping and let them have at it.  We have a basement, where I allow our daughter to jump until her heart is content (or at least pumping hard!).  And if you don't have a jump rope (or even if you do), you could just have a jumping contest.  See how long your child can jump without stopping...then have them beat their own last length of time.
  • You could also find a place in the house where you can put down a hopscotch board...using tape.  Simply make the boxes out of masking tape right on your floor.  Again, I use our basement floor for this, but you could put it in a hallway, on the kitchen floor, in your garage, etc.
  • Have your child do some yoga moves.  My daughter loves to roll out my yoga mat and do yoga.  She learned some of the moves in preschool and continues to practice them every now and then.
  • Do you have a treadmill/elliptical/stationary bike?  Adjust the settings and let your child get some use out of the equipment, too!  I have a treadmill in my basement and I allow my daughter to use it on a very slow (walking) pace.  But the rule is that I have to be there with her.  She is pretty good about following this rule.  I also attach the safety strap to her so that if something were to happen, the machine cuts off immediately.  When she wants to speed it up a little bit, I get on the treadmill with her and walk behind her.  She has walked at least a mile on the treadmill with me. 
  • I also have some free weights that she likes to use, too.  Now, don't get me wrong...she is not pumping serious iron here.  She really only lifts my 2.5 lb or 5 lb weights a couple of times...but it helps burn some of that energy she has.
  • I am not a big proponent of video games.  As I mentioned before, children are sitting in front of the TV, playing them for way too long.  However, I do have the Xbox Kinect.  And let me tell you, it can burn up some serious energy.  If you have the Kinect, or have the means to purchase one for your Xbox, it really can help get kids (and yourself) moving!  The only trouble with it is that we have had difficulties with the sensor recognizing our daughter.  But when it works well, she has a blast and moves her body like there's no tomorrow!
  • If you have stairs in your house, you can have your child walk up and down them as many times as they can before they get tired.  Make it fun...turn it into a game!
Outside

  • Just putting on all the outdoor gear can be tiring for some children!  So have them get dressed and get them out there!
  • All of the old standbys that we used to do outside in the snow when we were kids are still just as fun!  Think:  make a snowman, make snow angels, snowball fights, make a snow fort, shovel!  I cannot believe how much my daughter likes to shovel!  Bonus for me, right?!
  • Make tracks in the snow.  See the differences between the tracks you make while walking, running, or marching. 
  • Go on a hunt for animal tracks.
  • Try snow shoeing.
  • Go cross-country skiing.  I purchased cheaper, little skis for my daughter when she was 3.  She loves putting them on and sliding around on the snow.  I got them at a Play It Again new/used sporting goods store.  Hers were new, but they did have used equipment, as well...including snow shoes.
  • Go ice skating (obviously think safety first if you are skating on a pond).  Find a rink that rents ice skates if you do not have them. 
  • Kick around a ball in the snow.  It's a lot harder to get it to move!
  • Play tag/chase your child(ren). 
  • When there's no snow, but it is still cold outside, bundle up and get out there for a walk anyway! 
  • Walk around the neighborhood.
  • Take your child(ren) for a run around the neighborhood...just make sure they are bundled up and all of their needs have been met before heading out (i.e. potty, hunger, thirst, etc.).
  • Go on a nature hike. 
  • Prepare a scavenger hunt and look for all of those items on your list.
  • Make food for the animals and bring it outside.  We covered pine cones with peanut butter and birdseed, then walked around outside until we found the perfect tree to hang them from.  Bonus:  go back to the tree each day to see how much of the food has been eaten.
  • Go to a park. 
  • Have running/skipping/hopping contests outside with all of the gear on.
  • Jump rope with all of the gear on.
  • Find a big hill and go sledding...walking back up the hill burns a TON of energy! 
    • No sled?  No problem!  Walk up the hill and run or roll down it!
Getting your kids the exercise they need in the winter months can be challenging, but it can be done.  Give some of my ideas a try!  And if you have some other suggestions, feel free to leave a comment and I can add them to the list!  I will also continue to update this post as I think of more activities, so check back!

Wednesday, January 25, 2012

Winter Running Tips

The key to being comfortable on your run in the colder temperatures is being, just like a boyscout (or girlscout), prepared.  If you have the correct gear on, running outside in the winter can be enjoyable (as I have explained in my last blog post, Winter...When I am Free to Just Run).

So what exactly does one need in order to be prepared for running outdoors in bitter temperatures?  Well, it all depends on the actual temperatures, plus the wind chill.  But no matter what the temperature is outside, you simply must use technical clothing that is made of fabric that wicks the sweat away from your body.  You do not want the sweat to sit against your skin at any time when you are running, but especially in the winter.  Cotton is a big no-no for runners.  It holds the sweat against your body, which can cause all sorts of problems for you...chafing is one of them.  In the winter, we worry more about hypothermia.  So, invest in some technical running clothing and you won't be sorry, whether you use it at the gym during the winter or outside.

So, the number one thing you need for winter running, is some kind of technical clothing.  Beyond that basic tip, the actual temp outside will determine what you will need in order to stay comfortable.  One of the best things you can do in the winter is layer your clothing.  The colder it is, obviously the more layers you need.  But layering is important, because when you first start your run, your body is going to feel very cold.  But, as you run and your body heats up, you will not need as much clothing on, so you can shed a layer and either carry it with you (wrapping it around your waist) or leave it and remember to come back and grab it after your run (hopefully). 

Some runners that are used to what their bodies need for each temperature range might go outside with only what they will need once their body is warmed up.  Other runners like to be warmer to begin with and shed a layer as they go.  It is up to you, but if you are a beginning runner, I recommend using the layers approach, since your goal is to convince yourself that you can do it...no matter what the temp is.

Here is a rundown of how I usually dress for running outside in the winter.

If the temps are in the lower 40s to upper 30s, I like to wear just a long-sleeved top, a pair of shorts, and a light pair of pants over the shorts.  Wearing the shorts under the pants is a personal preference.  I do not own any technical underwear, so I would feel uncomfortable wearing the pants without the shorts that have the built-in underwear.  You may wish to wear a light pair of gloves and something to cover your ears if it is in the lower 40s to upper 30s.  I find that my body gets hot pretty quickly and I do not like the feeling of the gloves on my hands at that point, so I just grin and bear it for the first mile or so.  As far as the gloves go, you can really just wear a pair of those $.99 gloves that you can get at Wal-Mart or somewhere like that.  They will do the trick at this temp range.  At this temp range, I do not wear a winter running hat, but you may wish to.  I might wear a technical baseball cap, though.  For my feet, I just use my regular running socks (again, they are made of a technical fabric...no cotton!!).  Cotton on your feet will cause blisters...so don't do it!!!

When the temps are in the mid to lower 30s, I will usually wear my shorts, a heavier pair of pants, a long-sleeved top, and a light running coat (right now I wear my Brooks Nightlife Jacket).  I like to wear my running hat, as well, at this temperature range...especially in the lower 30s.  If it is in the 30s, I definitely wear my mittens.  Since my hands are always so cold, I have found that mittens work best for me.  I have to have my fingers all touching each other or else my hands cannot keep warm.  On my feet, I start wearing my heavier Balega winter running socks.  They are warmer than my other socks, for sure.  In this temperature range, I also try not to stop for long if I am running with a group of people.

In the 20 degree range, I wear my shorts and heavier pants.  On top, I do one of two combinations.  I will either wear a long-sleeved top and my winter running jacket, or I will wear a long-sleeved top, a fleece jacket, and my Brooks Nightlife Jacket.  I also wear my hat, my mittens, and my heavyweight winter running socks.  At this temperature range, I also put Aquaphor on my lips to prevent chapping.

When it is below 20 degrees, I typically wear a face mask.  I have one that goes up over your head, so there is a hat, too.  But I also throw another hat on top of that.  Below 20 degrees is also a good time to protect the little bit of skin left that is exposed to the elements.  I like to use my Aquaphor here.  At this temperature range, as gross as it seems and feels, I put it not just on my lips, but above my lips, around my nose, and on my cheeks.  It acts as a barrier for your skin from the elements.  I find it to be particularly important around my nose, as I tend to have leakage there when I run in colder temps. 

For any temp below 20 degrees, I typically add a second layer under my heavy fleece running pants, usually another pair of lightweight running pants or my Hot Chillys base layer tights.  At this point, I do not put shorts on as well.  I then put on one of the two previously discussed top layer scenarios from the 20 degree range.  If the temps are in the single digits, I might add an extra long-sleeved shirt or wear my heavy ski jacket over two long-sleeved shirts.  At this temperature range, I figure that it doesn't matter what I look like...at least I am out there doing it.  And at this range, it also doesn't matter how fast or slow I run, so if my ski jacket slows me down, so be it.  On my feet, I have doubled-up on my socks...wearing a lightweight pair under my heavyweight pair.  It worked fine for me, but you do have to be careful about blisters with doubling the socks.

For the record, if the temps are in the single digits, I do not prefer to be outside.  I will go out for a group run in this cold, but if it is a midweek solo run, I will usually resort to my dreadmill. Yes, even I can be a winter wimp!  ;)

You should know that I do not use running tights, so I cannot comment on them at this point.  The pants I run in are all made by Under Armour.  My heavyweight ones are made of fleece...one pair of which has an outer layer made of a thicker, more densely woven fabric on top of the fleece.

Lastly, I always use my BodyGlide, even in the winter.  If you are not familiar with this product, it is a solid skin protectant that you put on your body, wherever you need to, in order to prevent chafing.  It is kind of like a deoderant and vaseline all rolled into one product.  You can get it at sporting goods stores.
If you haven't ventured outside to run in the winter just yet, I hope you give it a try.  And perhaps some of my tips will help you make it more enjoyable for yourself!  Just remember that if you are prepared, you, too, can enjoy running in the winter!

Feel free to leave any questions you may have for me in the comments section below.

Sunday, January 15, 2012

Winter...When I Am Free to Just Run


 
I ran with my Teammates yesterday...bright and early...in the freezing cold.  It was about 19 degrees out and the windchill made it bitter.  Yet, it surprisingly felt good.

I actually enjoy running in the winter.  Not the whole getting-up-out-of-my-warm-bed-to-freeze-my-feet-on-the-floor part.  Definitely NOT that.  But what I do enjoy about wintertime running is that my body doesn't get overheated like it does in the summertime.  True, it can be difficult to know how many layers to wear.  And it can feel wicked, standing in the cold as I wait for my Teammates for those very few minutes before we embark on our run.  Sometimes, even the first few miles are utterly Dreadful.  But once I get in that sweet spot, the place where heaven and hell collide, it's really not all that bad.  It feels refreshing, really.

Right after a light snowfall, before anyone else has trampled through the snow is one of my favorite times to run in the winter.  I like leaving my footprints behind, telling the world, yes, someone has been here...running...in the cold...and the snow.  It is a source of pride for me, but it is also calming to run in the still of that moment.  I love the scenery of the snow-laden branches on the trees.  It is actually one of the best times to run in solitude.  The world is so peaceful and beautiful.  And my breath, freezing as it comes out of my mouth, reminds me that even though I am starting to get warm, it is very cold out, indeed.

I also enjoy running as a snow is just beginning to fall.  As the flakes float through the air, I still try to catch them in my mouth like I did when I was 8 years old.  I like watching the flakes hit the ground so quietly.  It makes me think of how ironic it is...such a quiet kind of weather, that can make such a loud mess. 

Probably the only part of running in the winter that I don't like is how my fingers and toes feel.  I have long been a "cold" person, but especially my fingers and toes.  Over the years, I have tried many kinds of running gloves and mittens, along with disposable hand warmers.  I have finally found a pair of mittens that works for me...as long as I don't stand around in the cold too long before or after my run.  Of course, this all depends on the temperature.  If it is about 20 degrees or higher, I have found that I can wear my running mittens alone.  If it is on the colder end, I must start running immediately, otherwise it won't work and my fingers will be uncomfortable for a long time...possibly my entire run.  When it is below about 20 degrees, I use a light pair of gloves under my mittens and remove them, if necessary, during the run.  As for my toes, well, I currently wear a heavier pair of my balega socks, but that is not always enough.  I still need to figure out the best solution for my toes...I am thinking of trying smartwool next...

In the summertime, I struggle with hydration issues since I sweat...a...lot!  So I have to feel the bouncing and listen to the sloshing of the heavy bottles of replacement fluids I must carry with me on my run.  But, in the winter, I am free...to just run.

Friday, January 13, 2012

Sanity Breaks

Both today and yesterday I ran 4 miles on the treadmill.  I am gaining my confidence back and feeling more like my old self, just a whole heap slower.  My joints are still achy and I also noticed that my C-section area has been bothering me.  I wonder how long that will last.  This is definitely a long, slow challenge to come back to running, but I am finally feeling like my current goals are achievable and I am even considering what races to sign up for this year.  I am nervous about committing to something yet, though, because I have only just begun to run consistently.  I am one of those people who likes to have a goal to focus on to keep the momentum going.  It gives me a purpose for this "torture" I put my body through.  wink wink

Waiting for the boys to both take a nap at the same time so that I can run, though, can get frustrating.  They are still sick and we went back to the pediatrician again today.  He wants to try a different medication for them.  But with them being sick and irritable, they haven't really been on the same schedule much in the past few days.  It can be overwhelming listening to both of them cry all day long, so I really cherish my running time even more right now.  And I rely on their nap times for my running "sanity breaks".  For me, this is anxiety-producing, though, when they just aren't napping well.  Luckily, I got my sanity breaks 2 days in a row!!  Wooohoooo!!!

Thursday, January 12, 2012

Updates

I just added a review of my Ergobaby carrier to the Twin Gear page.  I am also in the process of writing a page about breastfeeding twins, for those who are interested in how it works...it should be up in the next day or two, so stop back.

Wednesday, January 11, 2012

Making Progress

Well, I never did do any weight lifting on Monday.  It was a very busy day with my sick boys.  I started to really worry about them and ended up scheduling an appointment with the pediatrician.  The appointment was yesterday and I had to go solo...uuugh!  It is quite a challenge to bring the twins to the doctor's by myself while they are so little, but we always do manage somehow!  In any case, I loaded the boys up into the car and made it there just in time. 

The doc checked them both over very thoroughly and decided that Chub-Chub would be fine with a little bit of an antibiotic.  He figured the illness had gone on too long and wanted to see if we could clear it up.  Miracle Man sounded way more congested to him, though and he couldn't tell if his lungs were a little rattly or not.  So, he sent us off to the hospital for an x-ray of Miracle Man's lungs--just.in.case. 

Luckily, his lungs looked clear and we were sent on our merry way to go pick up the prescriptions for both boys.  The doc had already called in all the scripts to the pharmacy for me so that I wouldn't have to wait around with the two sick babies.  Unfortunately and fortunately, (and I had not realized this) the boys hadn't had a prescription filled yet at our pharmacy.  When I got there, they needed all of the boys' information to process and had obviously not yet filled the prescriptions for me.  Oh man!  I ended up waiting for nearly 45 minutes.

By the time I finally made it home, it had been at least a 4 hour extravaganza and I was exhausted!  I also think I might be coming down with a touch of something and boy, I was wiped out.  At that point, I just gave up on the idea of running or working out for the day. 

So later on, when Prince Charming got home and asked me if I was going to go for a run, I was like, Are You Kidding Me?  I started whining about how I don't feel well and how tired I was and how I had to make dinner and all sorts of excuses.  Prince Charming offered to make the dinner and then he kept telling me I should just go do it.  And I continued to whine.  But the more he pressed me, and the more I thought about it, I finally figured I could at least go down in the basement and walk a mile or so on the treadmill...just do...something

Little Miss wanted to come downstairs with me and I figured it would be good for her to get on the treadmill for a walk, too.  And besides, it never hurts for her to see her momma exercising, being a good role model.  Well, within minutes of getting down there and getting all set, I actually started to feel more energized. 

Little Miss went on the treadmill first, while I lifted some of my free weights and did a bit of jump rope...and by a bit, I really mean just one minute.  I definitely could've done more, but I didn't want to get too tired before I made it onto the treadmill.  And on top of that, I wasn't sure how sore my calves would be today if I did more.  And since today is my birthday, I definitely didn't want to be all out of sorts and achy.

When my darling daughter was finished with her turn on the treadmill, I jumped on, ready to go!  I was revved up!  I got on and did 4 miles!  Wooohoooo!  And the best part is that I saw progress in my running...and I felt like it was HUGE progress!  I wasn't huffing and puffing as badly during the first two miles.  And I definitely didn't want to quit by mile 3.  In fact, I felt so great that I actually increased my speed!!  By the time I was finished, I was very proud of myself.  I ran 4 miles, faster than I had on Sunday!  Yipppeeeeee! 

Today, my joints are a bit sore and achy, but I feel like I could run at least 2 or 3 miles.  I'd like to run soon and shower soon so that I am ready for my birthday festivities by the early afternoon and I am trying to work in the run on the treadmill around the boys' napping schedule.  But so far, they just don't want to nap at the same time today...for now, I guess I will just do the laundry...and wait. 

Monday, January 9, 2012

Updates on Twin Gear and Running Gear

I just added a few reviews to Gear I Run With and Twin Gear.  Check them out!

An Adventure on The Planet of Poopy

Chub-Chub and Miracle Man are still pretty sick, which is expected considering they have this RSV thing.  So when Miracle Man woke up to eat around 6 am today and he felt like he was burning hot to me, I knew I needed to take his temperature. Up the butt.  Because that is what the pediatrician recommends.  Ultimately, when I took his temperature, it wasn't high enough to call the doc and now his body has cooled a bit, so he's fine.  But it was the whole experience of the temp-taking that is the subject of this post.  Because taking Miracle Man's temp was an all-out disgusting mess Adventure on the Planet of Poopy

I was still a bit sleepy when Prince Charming brought the thermometer to me (because he doesn't like doing it).  And instead of getting my lazy butt out of bed and doing this whole thing on the changing table in the boys' room, I decided...in my infinite wisdom...to take his temp on my bed.  I figured it wouldn't be too big of a deal, since I have one of those bed pads like what they put on your bed in the hospital...to ummmm...protect...the...bed.  Apparently they only work well if you put the entire baby on the pad.  Hmmm...note to self! 

Well, when I took off his diaper, it was just wet...and so I went ahead with The Plan.  Of course, with an old-fashioned thermometer you have to wait 3 minutes...which is a VERY long time to be risking it on My Bed

Sure enough, about 2 minutes into the thermometer up the butt thing, the little guy let loose.  Naturally, I hadn't noticed it right away.  In fact, it wasn't until I felt some warm wetness on my hand that I finally looked down and saw gobs of yellow poop all over the mattress pad.  All over his pajamas.  All over my hand.  All over my sheets.  Oh yeah, and all over my hand!  Yuck, yuck, and triple Yuck!

Oh the joys of being a parent!  :)

Another Day, Another Mile

So, I did get up and go for a run with my Team In Training friends yesterday.  We ran for 4 miles.  That was my first 4 miler since getting pregnant with my twins. 

I did a little bit of pumping just before heading out the door to make sure Prince Charming would be able to calm the boys before I got back if they woke up.  But it wasn't a full feeding for them, since I had just fed them.

Getting out of the house by myself two days in a row was, let's just say...AWESOME!!  After four months of non-stop craziness and being the sole caregiver, I guess I really needed to just be a "normal" human being for a while. 

The running part was pretty hard.  This was my third day in a row of running...a fete I had not yet accomplished up until this point.  And on top of it being the third day in a row, it was also the 4 miles that made it quite challenging.  I have always found that the first mile or two is tough...no matter how great of shape I am in.  So, naturally, yesterday's first two were hard.  Of course, there is the huffing and puffing that are Ridiculous.  But then, I also have the pain in my knees, my ankles, and my hips to contend with...all of which come from excess weight, the pregnancy's extra weight, and not exercising in forever.  Of all of the miles, I guess the third wasn't as bad as the others, but the 4th mile was pretty rough.  Luckily, the other people running with me are in a similar situation (not in the best shape), and so we were all feeling the challenge!  It helps so much to have other people suffer through it right along beside you!  Misery loves company!

But the worst of all of the pain I am currently experiencing on this journey back to fitness, is the pain I have in my pubic bone.  I hope I won't be cited for improper language on here for saying that.  The thing is that I would like other moms to know what it is like to come back to running and fitness after having a baby (or two).  And this pain is very real.  It is there all.day.long...whether I am walking, running, or laying down.  And now that I am starting to be able to increase my mileage, it seems to be a bit more painful.  Uuuuggh!  I just want my body back!

I have a body pillow that I sleep with at night for the hip pain and discomfort when my knees are touching as I lay on my side.  But that exacerbates the pain I have in my pubic bone right now.  It feels like the bone is going to split apart and break in two!  At the end of my pregnancy, I had started having this same pain from the weight of the boys on my body, but I guess I just figured it would go away once they were born.  I guess not.  I am thinking of heading to my Chiropractor for an adjustment.  I wonder if he could crack my hips in just the right way to put everything all back to normal.  Yes, my Chiropractor is a magician, too.  :)

Other than the aches and pains in my joints and bones, though, today I feel alright.  I don't have a ton of muscle soreness...a few tweaks here and there, but that's about it.  I am planning on taking today off from running, but possibly doing a little weight-lifting with the free weights I have at home...we shall see how I feel and how the boys are doing as the day progresses.  I wrote a separate post on the boys today...it's a funny one...check it out. :)


Sunday, January 8, 2012

And Just Like That

Late last night, a friend from my TNT running group sent me a message asking me if I wanted to join a few of my teammates for a run this morning.  He wanted to make sure there would be other Teammates at the group run because most of our Team is away this weekend for various races...mostly in Florida doing the Disney Half, Marathon, or Goofy Challenge, or running as a team in the Ragnar Relay from Miami to Key West. 

I was hesitant to join them for a run at first because I am only up to running 3 miles.  But after expressing that concern, he explained to me that the group's plan was to run only 3 miles anyway.  Hmmmmm.....well, ok...BUT I am much ssssssllllllloooooooooowwwwweeeerrrr than I used to be and probably won't be able to keep up with you guys, I worried.  What pace are you planning on running, I asked.  Well, lo and behold they were running right around the pace that I was able to maintain on my dreadmill the day before!  Hmmmmm...Hmmmm....Hmm....And what time are you planning on going because I have baby boys to nurse every few hours??!!?  Oh, you're going to go right around when they have just finished eating and will be sleeping again????  Well, if you have to twist my arm...ok.

And just like that, I rejoined the Team this morning for a run! 

It was so.Incredibly.EXCITING!  To be back, to run outside, to talk with other runners, to talk with other ADULTS, to not be listening to two babies crying, to complete another run, to leave the house!  What a thrilling morning!  How Freeing!

Before I left the house, I fed the boys and then pumped as much as I could so that Prince Charming would have milk to feed the boys in case I wasn't back in time.  Fortunately, I also have a store of frozen milk from when Miracle Man was in the hospital.  They wouldn't let him eat anything for a few days while he was recovering from the surgery, so I had to pump in order to maintain the supply and not become engorged.  I came home with a huge bin of bottles, so there is never a concern if we need it for anything.

The run was a very slow three miler, but that was completely fine with me because I am still having a lot of joint pain from getting back into the running.  It was great to have a distraction from the pain in the company of the other runners. 

We arranged to meet again tomorrow for another run...most likely 4 miles.  I am a little hesitant to run that distance because I do not want to increase my mileage too much too soon and risk being injured after I just started back up again.  We will see...It will depend on how my body feels tomorrow.

Friday, January 6, 2012

Running and Twin Gear Reviews

I just added a couple of pages for Gear I Run With and Twin Gear!  I am giving my opinions about all of the different kinds of gear I have purchased and used for running and for the twins.  On the Gear I Run With page, I have listed my shoes and socks so far, but I will be adding all sorts of gear that I train with on a regular basis, so check back for more reviews! 

On the Twin Gear page, you will see that at this point, I have only reviewed the strollers we have purchased, but I will be adding other gear to that page as time goes on, as well.  Stop back on by for more reviews on twin-related gear at a later date!

Starting All Over Again

When I was pregnant with my daughter, I ran throughout the whole pregnancy until I was told to stop.  With the twins, though, my doctor told me that I wasn't allowed to do any activity at all, other than walking.  So, the Goofy Challenge in Disney last January, was really the only running I did in 2011, with the exception of the few miles I did in December to try to start running again. 

Recovering from the deliveries (both kinds, of course), especially the emergency C-Section, took a long time.  In fact, I still feel like I am recovering.  Besides that, the weight of the babies put a lot of stress on my body, for sure. 

It has taken a long time to get to the point where I have felt that my body was ready to run again.  In fact, it was at least 6 weeks before I even went for a real walk.  And, realistically, I do not have a ton of extra time on my hands with the twins, Little Miss, two cats, keeping up our home, and all of the doctor's appointments, as well as the hospital visits and surgery over the past few months. 

In any case, I am a runner.  And running is my passion.  It is my exercise.  It is my escape.  It's when I think and process.  It is my fun.  It is also how I can manage to stay sane, so now that we have the twins, more than ever, I need it.  And I miss being part of my Team

So, I have begun running again.  But.it.is.Hard.  It is always hard to start back up after a long absence, but after this whole past year of no running or exercise, it is really Hard. 

Last week, I finally managed to push through 3 miles a few times.  It wasn't pretty, and it wasn't quick.  But I did it.  So, this past Sunday, Prince Charming finally set up my treadmill for me in our new basement. I am hoping that I will be able to run regularly, even if it is just for a few miles, while the boys take their naps (assuming they nap at the same time). 

My goal is to try to be up to 5 miles by the end of January so that I can return to my beloved Team.  We meet only one day a week, so I think this is a realistic goal.  And besides, it will be my guaranteed, few hours per week for Me.  Of course, it means losing out on a few extra hours of sleep (and, no, the boys are not yet sleeping through the night).  But I am willing to sacrifice a few hours of sleep to get back to where I belong.

I was fortunate enough to be able to run on Tuesday of this week,  but the boys only gave me time to accomplish 2 miles in the morning.  Then, they granted me another 2 miles a few hours later.  But with them being sick, they are my priority, so the past two days I wasn't able to run at all, but today...

Today, I ran 3 miles.  I had all I could do to complete those three miles!  Not having been able to run much in the past week made it soooooo incredibly challenging!  But I repeated my mantra of the day, "Don't give up.  Don't give up.  Don't give up," in my head over and over.  That was how I got through the pain.  Well, that and a little music! 

After the 3 miles, I got off the treadmill.  I was very frustrated that it was so incredibly hard to run those three miles, so after a short rest period, I went back on for one mile of sprint work.  I am determined to get up to those 5 miles by the end of the month!

Thursday, January 5, 2012

Two Sleeping Babies

For my very first blog post, I thought I would just start out with what is on my mind right at this particular moment...my two, peacefully sleeping babies.  It is because they are finally settled down and napping that I have been able to start this blog.  And for that, I am very thankful.  But the other reason why I am so happy that my two babies are sleeping is because they are both sick.  When my daughter was a baby, it was always a challenge to make it through each illness unscathed.  And that was with just ONE baby.  With two, it is sooooo much more difficult to maintain my sanity...for several reasons...

For one thing, you have the part of you that is just so anxious to please them and make them comfortable.  I feel bad for the little guys.  They are just SO uncomfortable (the poor boys just can't stop crying) and I want to help them so badly.  They are having trouble sleeping, eating, and to some degree, breathing because they are incredibly congested.  And their coughs---holy moly!  They.sound.AWFUL!

The pediatrician thinks they may have a touch of the RSV thing...which can be pretty bad for an infant to get.  So, I worry, of course, that they will get sicker and sicker and possibly end up having a trip to the hospital.  And that would be the worry of any parent with an infant who has come down with this virus.  But then, I also have my little Miracle Man to worry about....see the post about Chub-Chub and Miracle Man to fully understand my concerns.  But with this RSV, antibiotics won't do anything and the pediatrician wants me to watch them carefully to make sure they aren't turning blue.  Yikes!!  There's another test toward my sanity.

This RSV thing is particularly a bit frustrating to me.  Since October, the pediatrician was trying to arrange for my little guys to receive a vaccination called Synagis.  It is meant to be used on infants to prevent RSV because it is more dangerous for them to get the virus than it would be for an older child or an adult.  Apparently, it is an extremely expensive vaccine that health insurance companies will only approve for babies with specific health concerns.  It is supposed to be given in a shot form monthly from the fall through the spring.  Our pediatrician wanted both of the boys to receive the vaccine because they were preemies and because their sister is a school-aged child who is bringing home all sorts of germs.  So far, though, the insurance has only agreed to cover Miracle Man.  And since it took so long for that to happen, unfortunately, he and Chub-Chub ended up contracting this virus only days before Miracle Man received his first dose of the vaccine.  Shame on the insurance company for dragging their heals for so long that he now has this!  And there isn't a thing I can do about it.  For now, it is a wait-and-see approach and hope for the best! 

It's funny how we sometimes have ideas in our heads about how things are "going to go".  Yesterday, for instance, I was under the false impression that I would take care of the boys AND do housework, possibly even run on my treadmill for 20 or 30 minutes while they napped.  Ha!  With one sick baby, that would have been hard enough, but with two, for-get-it!  Now, it's not that I couldn't do these things because they weren't on the same schedule...because they were.  They were just on the crying all day at the same time schedule! 

After yesterday's trials and tribulations, I decided that for today, I simply wouldn't have ANY goals.  I would just give in and camp-out in my bedroom with the boys.  I have everything I could possibly need right here with me and I am just taking care of them in between their naps.  I feel so much less stressed today!  Of course, I am not accomplishing any housework or getting any exercise, but at least I am not nearly as twitterpated!

So, while they are awake, I am doing everything I can to combat this illness and keep them comfortable, all while trying to keep me sane!  And while they are *BOTH* sleeping (yay!), I am taking some much-deserved "Me" time...starting out my blog.

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