One thing that is stressful to me is the uncertainty I have when considering the best way to start training for a half-marathon but still continue doing the small amount of strength training that I have recently incorporated into my workout routine.  The truth is, I'm not even sure what to do with the basic running and strength training I'm doing now, much less a good plan to do 1/2 marathon training.

So I've been researching, and I think I may be getting closer to a plan.  I am finding this site extremely helpful: marathonrookie.com.  I've considered a couple of different training options, but I think I am going to go with the one from this website, and I'm tweaking it just a bit so that our long runs take place on Friday.  This will put us having a rest day on Mondays, which I think could be good.

I also really like the site's page about weight training when training for a half.  I may do a few variations with the exercises, but I am definitely going to be using their page as a basis for my workouts.  The site recommends using relatively low weights, which is how I'll start.  I'm listing the exercise below for future reference:
  • Bench Press (2 x 12): You should perform two sets of twelve repetitions. Use weight that you can easily complete two sets of twelve repetitions without the assistance of a spotter. I am not saying to not use a spotter, rather that your spotter should not have to assist you in completing these two sets.
  • Dumbbell Curls (2 x 12): Use weight you can do two sets of twelve repetitions.
  • Lat Pulls (2 x 12): Use weight you can pull down and finish two sets of twelve repetitions.
  • Back Extensions (2 x 12): Do not use weight for this one. For marathon training, simply performing the exercise in enough.
  • Sit-Ups (2 x 15): Repetitions can really vary on this one depending on your choice and how easily you can do sit-ups. This can be a confidence booster if you can tone your abs. Just be smart and do what feels comfortable.
  • Crunches (2 x 15): Use your judgment here and let your body tell you whether to do more or less.
  • Leg Extensions (2 x 12): This is a great exercise and will help build your leg muscles and will help your knees feel stronger.
  • Leg Curls (2 x 12): This is a great way to strengthen those hamstrings which are very important for marathon runners.
  • Calf Raises (2 x 12): Strengthens the calves which you may find to be quite sore after those long runs.

I will probably end up doing planks and other types of ab work instead of crunches and sit-ups.  And if I have time, I might consider doing 3 sets of each exercise.

I plan to do these exercises on my off days from running, and I will probably take Saturday as a total rest day, so I think that may put me at doing strength 3 days a week, if I stay as consistent as possible.

I'm looking forward to trying out these new exercises and this new routine!
 
Wow.  I can't believe that my little boy turned four years old yesterday.

This has been a month of birthdays for us (me, Scuba, and Taylor, in that order).  It's hard to really grasp that fours years ago we were still in the hospital, preparing to bring our newborn out into the world and nestle him into our home. We pretty much had no idea what we were doing, and I don't mind saying that we were scared.  As the nurse was getting our last things in order, Bob went in the bathroom and threw up.  I mean, we were seriously scared in that moment.

Now, we got over it.  We started figuring out what we needed to do, because, well, we had no other choice.

I remember that since Taylor was such a big baby, they sent us home with this whole at-breast supplemental system and thus started the baby feeding craziness that plagued me for weeks and, in fact, months after we went home.  One of the early moments of feeding Taylor involved Bob and me both trying to synchronize our movements to get tubes and baby both working and feeding at the same time.  And this was happening at all hours of the night.

It feels like we were so young and green then.

But as I said to Bob the other day, I still don't really feel like I have a clue as to what I'm doing with this little guy, as he continues to grow and develop and push the boundaries.

The good news is, the one thing I do know, is that it's okay to not have it all figured out.  We will learn as we go.  And as long as we continue to be caring, try to see things from his perspective, and maintain our values (such as being kind, polite, empathetic, independent, creative, active, etc), we'll be just fine.
Taylor had a fabulous birthday.  We've been celebrating for awhile, and it has all been so special.  I think that it really has meant a lot to him this year.

I have also celebrated a few milestones that have served to give me encouragement and motivation to continue working towards my goals.

It was right around one year ago that I started running, which I did for many reasons.  I wanted to get in shape, to lose some of my baby weight, to feel more active and healthy, and I wanted to challenge myself to reach a goal I wasn't entirely sure I could achieve.  I was thinking about the 3.2 Run for Remembrance in April and of trying to run a 5K.

So for all of these reasons, I started running.

And now a year later, I've accomplished all of this and more than I ever thought I could.  Seeing some positive results (finally!) has really given me motivation, and it has made it so that I am enjoying everything I'm doing so much more.  

Now, Bob and I are looking to sign up for our first half-marathon.  I get so excited just thinking about it.  I certainly also feel a little scared and uncertain as to whether I'll be able to accomplish my goal, but I know that that is part of the process.  The uncertainty is what will help push me to train, and I will be proud of myself no matter what happens.

This week was also another milestone in the fact that last Monday afternoon, I made a pledge to myself that I would never (I know, "never say never") raise my voice at Taylor again.  Now I know that I may need to shout if there is a chance that bodily harm may occur, and I know that it is unlikely I will *never* raise my voice, but this whole promise to myself has already been incredibly rewarding.  I have managed to not raise my voice in the last week, and I have found that it has affected many other aspects of my parenting and just my overall being.  I am making a concerted effort to keep my voice lower than usual in general, and overall I am finding that I am more peaceful and am finding other ways of directing behavior that are alternatives to repeating "No, no, no!" over again.  I think Taylor's behavior has been improving, and I have been happier.  Bob and I are starting a class today called "Love and Logic," and I am hoping that it is going to give me some more tools for finding loving, logical ways to guide both of the boys' behaviors.  Yay!

Okay, and now I am off to fit in a quick run (two laps of up to the highway and back)
 
Quick review of our weekly menu.

So, I have been dealing with digestive discomfort for some time now.  At one point last week, I actually considered not eating as a way to avoid any discomfort.  That's when I thought, something's not right here!  So I have started questioning what it is that's giving me issues.  I know I need to meet with a doctor to discuss my concerns, but I'm pretty sure that anyone I would meet with would tell me to start by keeping a daily log of everything I'm eating and how I'm feeling on each day.  So I have started a simple pen-and-paper log of what I'm eating each day, including little notes as to whether I have any meetings that day (perhaps my discomfort is due to anxiety?), when I workout, and anything else that I notice along the way.

I have also been attempting to reduce some of my wheat consumption, since I know that wheat and gluten have been known to have adverse affects on the digestive system.  Maybe it's because I have a friend with Celiac's disease or because I have another friend who has been researching gluten intolerance, but I have just heard that a lot of people can have a wide range of bad reactions to gluten and wheat.

And I *know* that one shouldn't just diagnose oneself based off of a list off of the internet.  I know this!  But I'm also at a point where I can't take any more discomfort, and I have to do something.  I'm not going on some kind of crazy diet (lord knows I could never maintain something like that anyways), but I am trying not to eat pasta for every meal and trying to be more aware of the choices I'm making when eating.

I think that the daily log has been helping.  Just the act of writing it all down is helping me feel like I have a sense of control (which I know is just an illusion, but hey, it makes me feel better).  And I don't know why, but I've had less discomfort this week.  Yay!

So here's what we've been eating for our dinners (don't worry, I'm keeping the log just private for me!).

Sunday: Homemade chicken tikki masala, jasmine rice, naan
Monday: Fish (I made salmon and Bob made cod), mac-n-cheese, peas
Tuesday: Sauteed beef tenderloin, risotto, roasted asparagus
Wednesday: Baked, marinated chicken, julienne potatoes (cheesy!), roasted green beans
Thursday: Leftover chicken tikki masala, rice, naan
Friday: some kind of pizza, tbd
 
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It has been a super busy last several days.  All the fun started with an early birthday dinner/date night on Sunday.  The picture on the left is us right before Bob and I left for our evening out.  This was the best picture we took, because Taylor pretty much goes into an insane frenzy every time he sees a camera these days.  I don't get it -- he used to be so photogenic and would sit and say "Cheese!"  Not anymore!!

Our fabulous evening started at 622 North with a lovely glass of Shiraz and their cheese tray, which included baby swiss, colby, and something else I can't remember.  It also had French baguette, walnuts, and balsamic honey.  My favorite!  We then moved on to our favorite date night restaurant, Poor Billy's for crab legs and salad, followed by peanut butter pie at Macado's.  It was a decadent and tasty evening.

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Tuesday morning dawned bright and early, and I made Taylor a special heart-shaped french toast waffle, with a dollop of pink yogurt on top. It was a spur-of-the-moment decision to make this, and it was super easy.  He happened to love it, and has been asking for a special breakfast treat ever since!

Bob gifted me with some beautiful pearl earrings, in a box with a handmade bow he made especially for me.  It was ever so sweet and thoughtful, and I've been wearing my new earrings every day.

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Even though we had a sick little wee at home (Stephen was running a low-grade fever), we made the most of the day and had a lovely dinner that evening.  After the boys went down, Bob made a delicious dinner of sauteed beef tenderloin, risotto, and roasted asparagus.  Each dish was cooked perfectly!  Instead of cake, Bob picked up a tub of pomegranate and tart swirled fro yo, which truly was a special treat, since fro yo is my fav! 

So the last few days have been a whirlwind.  We've had my birthday and Valentine's Day, but we've also had Stephen fighting a cold and being home with a fever.  It has been tough seeing him feeling so miserable and not being able to do a whole lot about it.  But, he seems to be better, which is nice.  Today is the first day he has seemed like himself, and that has been refreshing.  The next couple of weeks are going to be pretty busy, too, so here's to hoping we all stay sane and remember to enjoy and value each precious moment of each precious day.

 
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LaGuardia's Hall of Flags, representing the flags of the many countries of their students.
I got back late Friday evening from an ePortfolio and First Year Experiences symposium, held at LaGuardia Community College in Queens, New York and including participants from over 15 colleges and institutions across New York.  It was such an invigorating experience!  It is so rewarding to be surrounded by so many people who care deeply about teaching and learning and who truly put the student first in education.  I plan to post a more detailed reflection about my experiences later this week.
Overall, I really had a blast on the trip.  I've gotten to a point where it really is hard to leave my little pee wees.  

I asked Bob last night, how is possible to love someone so much when they can sometimes drive you so freakin' crazy?!  I suppose this question could be applied to all of the males in my life, but I was specifically thinking about my little boys when I posed that question last night.

Seriously, they are sometimes quite frustrating, pretty much always exhausting, and yet I love them fiercely.

Yesterday it was so bitter cold and windy, and Taylor was feeling a little under the weather, so we stayed inside all day.  As Bob put it, there wasn't anything on our main floor that the boys didn't have their hands on yesterday.  They pretty much took everything out and we put everything back.  The main floor and both of their rooms were in various stages of chaos yesterday, and that's sort of how I felt myself at times.

So it was sort of a long day yesterday, since we were basically just climbing the walls all day, but I enjoyed loving on my little ones.  I played lots of games with Taylor and loved on Stephen.  Bob also took Stevie to the grocery store and then he (Stephen) took a long nap, so that at least had him occupied for a good part of the day.

With all of this going on, how was all of my exercising, you may wonder?

Well, I did not end up having a chance to work out last Tuesday.  I just had too much work to to do to prepare for our trip.  So I made sure to get in a workout on Wednesday and Thursday.  Friday was spent presenting and traveling, and Saturday was a total recovery day.  I am on the fence as to whether or not I'll make it to the gym today.  Bob and I would need to take turns going to the gym and watching the boys, and after a night with a little boy getting up at 2 a.m. and then again at 6 a.m., I'm not sure either of us is feeling all too energetic.  Bob is currently trying to catch a little more rest, and the later the day gets, the less likely, I think, that we will make it into the gym.  We'll see...  If we don't go today, I know we'll get in a good workout tomorrow!  Below is a list of what I did on Wed. and Thurs. of this past week:

Wednesday: worked out in the hotel gym
 -- 25 minutes on the treadmill at a 6.0 and higher pace
 -- 15 reps of bicep curls with 10 lbs. (3 sets)
 -- 15 reps of lunges with 10 lbs. (3 sets)
 -- a handful more of random arm strength exercises
 -- 20 push-ups
 -- 25 regular crunches
 -- 25 bicycle crunches
 -- 15 seconds plank (3 sets)

Thursday: worked out in the morning in the gym hotel
 -- 20 minutes on the treadmill
 -- 15 reps of bicep curls with 10 lbs. (3 sets)
 -- 15 reps of lunges with 10 lbs. (3 sets)
 
So I got in another workout today, but I'm no sure if it counts for this past week or for this upcoming week!  I suppose I should go Sunday to Saturday, which means that I just go in my first workout of the week.  Woohoo!

I did a nice, hard pace on the treadmill for 20 minutes.  I started at 5.8 and gradually worked up to a 7.  I was at a 6.6 or higher for at least 10 minutes, which had me sweating hard.  Also was at an incline of 1 for most of the time, but when I bumped it up to 7, I also pushed my incline to 2.

Then I did the following weight exercises:
 -- leg extensions: 40 lbs., 15 reps, 3 sets
 -- deadlifts: 50 lbs., 15 reps, 3 sets (the last set I added an upright row)
 -- bicep curls: 10 lbs., 15 reps, 3 sets
 -- planks: 15 seconds, 3 sets
 -- 20 push-ups
 -- 20 regular crunches
 -- 20 bicycle crunches
 
Here's what my exercise has looked like this week:

Monday:  20 mins. on treadmill, 20 push-ups, 15 sec. plank
Tuesday: nothing
Wednesday:20 minutes weights in the a.m., 35 minutes weights in the p.m. -- 10 minutes stairmaster 
 -- 15 reps leg extensions, don't remember weight (3 sets)
 -- 20 lunges with 6 lb. weights
 -- 20 bicep curls
 -- 15 reps upright rows (3 sets)
 -- 15 seconds holding plank (3 sets)
Thursday: 35 minute run (3.1 or so miles)
 -- 20 push-ups
 -- 25 regular crunches, 25 bicycle crunches
Friday: 25 minutes of weights, 1 hour Zumba (yay!)
 -- 10 minutes stairmaster
 -- 20 lunges holding 10 lb. weights in each hand
 -- 15 reps bicep curls with 10 lb. weights (2 sets)
 -- 15 reps alternating arm raises (2 sets)
 -- 15 reps lat pull downs with 40 lbs. (3 sets)