Tag Archives: running

Mama’s 10K

Last weekend I ran a 10K! That’s just over 6 miles. I wasn’t as prepared for it as I had hoped, but I still did it and I ran the whole time!

The first half I had my little cheerleader along with me for the ride {he did the riding – I did the pushing!}, then I dropped him off with his dad and ran the last loop solo.

It’s liberating to have completed the run and I’m looking forward to our family Turkey Trot 5K coming up on Thanksgiving. This is my least favorite time of year to run {the rainy season, that is} so I’m guessing I’ll probably scale back a bit and pick it back up in the spring. I’m planning on training for another half marathon next fall in Leavenworth. Always something to look forward to!

Mama’s 5K!

When I was about 4 weeks postpartum I signed up for a 5K at the end of September and a 10K at the end of October. Back in August when it was light out a bit later in the evening, somehow I thought I’d have enough time to train for said runs. Reality sank in quickly and I’ve been able to get only one run in each week – on the weekends!

While I’m still able to exercise during the week, I can’t take Hannah on a run with me yet {it’s recommended to wait until about 8 months to take an infant in a jogging stroller due to their neck strength and head control} and Stacey can’t watch Hannah yet, sooooo that means I can only go for a run when Alex can watch Hannah. That is rather limiting when it’s now getting dark so early in the evenings – I am not keen on running in the dark, so I get to run on the weekends.

In any case, I really pushed myself and showed up to my 5K two weekends ago. I felt very unprepared and wasn’t sure I would be able to run the whole thing.

My little cheerleader, Ben, joined me on the run and it helped me keep going. I wanted to show him how hard I was working for something that I really wanted – what a better example of perseverance? I ran the whole thing {thank goodness it was almost all flat!} in 33 minutes and it felt so great to have accomplished that feat.

Now on to training for that 10K coming up in 2.5 weeks…. that’s going to be the real challenge!!!!

Getting Back in Shape!

Oofta – it’s been a while since I’ve really, really exercised. Throughout my pregnancy I maintained my once per week Pilates lesson, but that was about the extent of my exercise. And even that was very limited and mainly spent stretching. Until close to the very end of my pregnancy I couldn’t really even walk more than a few blocks due to back pain. So! Now that I’m 5 weeks out from having a baby I felt ready to get back into exercising again.

I signed up for a 5k at the end of September and a 10k at the end of October to help motivate me and give me something to work toward/train for. I’ve got a ways to go before I’ll be ready for either. Hannah and I have been going for really wonderful long walks every day. And! I went for my first run last night, which was so, so nice! I surprised myself by running for just under 16 minutes without stopping {my “short loop” around our neighborhood}. Jackson made for an excellent cheerleader.

In addition, I signed up for Stroller Strides, an exercise class for mamas where you can bring your stroller-bound littles. There’s classes every morning of the week and so far Hannah and I have been twice. It’s a really tough workout, especially being only 5 weeks out from being pregnant, so it’ll help kick start me getting back in shape quickly!

So far I’m really enjoying Stroller Strides, both for the workout, but also for the community aspect. I’ve met lots of other mamas with babies really close to Hannah’s age and most of them have older toddlers, too. Maybe Ben will join us one day too!?

I have a ways to go before I’ll be able to say I’m back in shape but it is so so nice to be on my way there. I love the variety I’m getting with running + Stroller Strides + Pilates! I really missed exercising!

A Fall-ish Weekend at Home

This last weekend sure felt like fall and Alex and I were thrilled to have spent it at home. There is a definite crispness in the air. I brought back the down comforter for our bed since the evenings are getting really chilly.  Alex and I have both pulled out our puffy vests and I got myself a new cozy scarf for the occasion. The leaves are just starting to turn, so my fingers are crossed that the next few weeks will be filled with glorious autumn color.

{selfie with my new plaid scarf!}

{selfie with my new plaid scarf!}

In keeping with the fall-theme, I have been making some of my favorite fall foods: pumpkin bread, pulled pork, chili and stuffed squash.

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{slow-cooker pulled pork is one of my all-time favorites!}

{slow-cooker pulled pork is one of my all-time favorites!}

{we decided to become Seahawks fans this year, so last night we hung out on the couch with full bowls of chili}

{we decided to become Seahawks fans this year, so last night we hung out on the couch with full bowls of chili}

During our relaxing weekend I had two jaunts through the arboretum – one was my first “fun run” since my half marathon last weekend, and the other was a really nice walk with my cousin, Chris, and his family.

{super adorable and unbelievably happy little family!}

{super adorable and unbelievably happy little family!}

{baby Henry is going on 6 months already!}

{baby Henry is going on 6 months already!}

{fun to do a side-by-side comparison of my first 5-mile training run two months ago against Saturday's 5-mile run. During my actual training, my 5-mile run was one of the hardest to complete. Once I pushed past it, it was smooth sailing}

{fun to do a side-by-side comparison of my first 5-mile training run two months ago against Saturday’s 5-mile run. During my actual training, my 5-mile run was one of the hardest to complete. Once I pushed past it, it was smooth sailing}

The last several weeks have been big decision weeks for our house. Alex and I are currently undergoing a major home decor renovation and in about a month from now we will be starting our bathroom remodel. Here are a couple of sneak peeks – more to come in early-October:

{Jackson claimed the new pillows on the sofa}

{Jackson claimed the new pillows on the sofa in the living room}

{Major reveal! New dining room rug and chandelier, as well as all new tabletop stuff: napkins, rings, place mats and candles}

{Major reveal! New dining room rug and chandelier, as well as all new tabletop stuff: napkins, rings, place mats and candles}

{tile decisions... stay tuned to see the finished product in November!}

{tile decisions… stay tuned to see the finished product in November!}

{my homemade spider repellent! here in Seattle we have freaking gigantic spiders and I don't care for them in my house. I think I've seen almost 10 in the last 2 weeks, so I'm done with that. here's hoping this repellent will keep the creepy crawlies creepy crawling outside!}

{my homemade spider repellent! here in Seattle we have freaking gigantic spiders and I don’t care for them in my house. I think I’ve seen almost 10 in the last 2 weeks, so I’m done with that. here’s hoping this repellent will keep the creepy crawlies creepy crawling outside!}

Life has finally settled down for us, and all is well. It was really nice to catch up on small projects around our house over the weekend and we’re looking forward to a relaxing, low-key fall and winter.

Half Marathon: Complete!

After months of preparation I can finally say I completed my first half marathon! The big “race” was yesterday and it went really well. My goal was to finish the race and that’s exactly what I did.

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I ran the half marathon with my friend Ryan. He and I ran the first mile together, then he pushed ahead, as his pace was much faster than mine.

The weather was pretty much perfect for running. It was in the mid-50s and overcast for a while, which made it really comfortable for the athletes.

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The run was out in the country, really in the middle of nowhere. It was on side streets and partially on a highway, then the finish was through the woods around a lake. There was a lot of variety, to say the least. It was a very small event with only around 50 people competing, so that meant it was pretty lonely out on the course. Thankfully I had my own personal cheering section, as Alex, Mary and my mom were there hootin’ and hollerin’ and cheering for all of the runners.

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My training really, really paid off, as did Ryan’s expert physical therapy help. The most challenging part of my training, though, was starting to increase my distance. I spent the better part of the spring and early summer running a few 2-3 mile runs each week, then once I started building on that and pushing to a 4, 5 or 6 mile run each week I faced the biggest challenges {every week I did one training run and increased it by a mile from the previous week}. It was during these initial long runs that I realized how tight my IT band and hip flexors were, so thankfully Ryan gave me some stretches that worked wonders on my legs.

After my legs loosened up I got through my 7 mile training run and then the rest of the training really became pretty smooth, with the hardest part simply being the time it took to run each week. During my half marathon, I ran the whole event, except for a quick stretch stop around mile 8. My recovery was quick and uneventful, and I’m feeling great today!

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We finished!

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My time was 2 hours and 16 minutes, which makes my pace right around 10-10.5 minutes. This was certainly faster than my training time. I came in at 25th place, and 4th in my age, and Ryan finished in 17th place, and 2nd for his age.

I’m really glad I pushed myself to complete a half marathon. It was great to have something to work towards and accomplish!

Summer is Here!

Summer has arrived in Seattle! The transition from our beautiful, amazing spring to summer took place over the last week or so and it seems like the new season is here to stay. The highs all weekend were in the mid-80s, which is considered very warm {and a little unusual} for Seattle. I have a feeling we are in store for a long, hot summer here! I’m certainly ok with that but need to be better about planning no-cook dinners and preparing lighter evening meals, as we don’t have air conditioning {what happened to our mild, wet climate!?}. Oh, and I need to stock up on ice cream ingredients!

Alex and I had a nice week followed by a restful, but productive, weekend.

{I kicked off the weekend on Friday afternoon with a run around Green Lake with my friend Ali, followed by a pit stop at Mary's house to pick up this gorgeous bouquet of the last of her peonies}

{I kicked off the weekend on Friday afternoon with a run around Green Lake with my friend Ali, followed by a pit stop at Mary’s house to pick up this gorgeous bouquet of the last of her peonies}

{thank goodness I changed out our bedding last week and exchanged it with our lighter summer quilt - the timing couldn't have been better! we have been roasting this week.}

{thank goodness I changed out our bedding last week and exchanged it with our lighter summer quilt – the timing couldn’t have been better! we have been roasting this week.}

{this is Jackson's "come on, let me sleep, mom" look}

{this is Jackson’s “come on, let me sleep, mom” look}

{and this is him not caring that he's not allowed on the bed...}

{and this is him not caring that he’s not allowed on the bed…}

{Henry cat loves the change in bedding, but mostly, he loves the addition of the fan in our room!}

{Henry cat loves the change in bedding, but mostly, he loves the addition of the fan in our room!}

{summer is DEFINITELY here - it ended up being 84 on Saturday and 88 on Sunday and it's 84 right now on Monday}

{summer is DEFINITELY here – it ended up being 84 on Saturday and 88 on Sunday and it’s 84 right now on Monday}

{our Saturday afternoon plans of going paddle boarding were shut down by the wind, so we went with Ryan and Mary to Westward, an absolutely adorable water-side restaurant on Lake Union for a drink}

{our Saturday afternoon plans of going paddle boarding were shut down by the wind, so we went with Ryan and Mary to Westward, an absolutely adorable water-side restaurant on Lake Union for a drink}

{we enjoyed an evening out at a fundraiser on Friday night, followed by an unexpected stop at a restaurant for dinner, then Saturday we spent the evening grilling out at Mary and Ryan's}

{we enjoyed an evening out at a fundraiser on Friday night, followed by an unexpected stop at a restaurant for dinner, then Saturday we spent the evening grilling out at Mary and Ryan’s}

{We had a very active weekend. Our pilates instructor, Diane, came over for our pilates lesson on Saturday morning. I am loving my FitBit - I walked more than 24,000 steps (!) on Sunday, which included a nice run along Lake Washington. Alex went for an awesome 20 or 30 mile bike ride on his new bike.}

{We had a very active weekend. Our pilates instructor, Diane, came over for our pilates lesson on Saturday morning. I am loving my FitBit – I walked more than 24,000 steps (!) on Sunday, which included a nice run along Lake Washington. Alex went for an awesome 20 or 30 mile bike ride on his new bike.}

{as a "thank you for putting up with us" gift, my dad got Alex and me three glassybabies. a glassy baby is a glass votive holder that is hand blown in our neighborhood. they are really iconic in Seattle, but particularly around my neighborhood. it was fun to pick out three colors and now proudly display them, along with the original one I already had. thanks dad!}

{as a “thank you for putting up with us” gift, my dad got Alex and me three glassybabies. a glassybaby is a glass votive holder that is hand blown in our neighborhood. they are really iconic in Seattle, but particularly around my neighborhood. they make great gifts! it was fun to pick out three colors and now proudly display them, along with the original one I already had. thanks dad!}

{the big project for sunday was staining the back patio table and the fence. it's our first time staining the table and it looks brand new! alex sanded it down and applied some stain and voila!}

{the big project for sunday was staining the back patio table and the fence. it’s our first time staining the table and it looks brand new! alex sanded it down and applied some stain and voila!}

{aside from the lack of grass, I'd still say our backyard looks pretty okay!}

{aside from the lack of grass, I’d still say our backyard looks pretty okay!}

{this crazy pants is loving his kiddie pool!}

{this crazy pants is loving his kiddie pool!}

{trying to stay cool!}

{trying to stay cool!}

{that's all for now!}

{that’s all for now!}

Fitness Training

Since Alex and I are going to be spending most of our summer home in Seattle, or at least in the Pacific Northwest, we are both “in training” for a summer fitness achievement. Staying active and being in shape is really important to both of us. It is definitely a motivator to have something to work towards, but in reality, I think we would both still remain active either way.

Alex Biking

Alex is currently training for a bike ride from Seattle to Vancouver. It’s about 180 miles and he will ride over two days. Alex’s friend Nigel is also training for this same ride, so the two of them frequently ride home from work together or they’ll go out for longer rides on the weekend. The ride is in mid-July and he has been training for this for around 6 weeks or so.

May is Bike to Work month which has been a great excuse for Alex to get into a bike commuting schedule. His office is 19 miles away by bike and it’s a really nice distance to keep him in shape and to break up his longer rides with.

While Alex is training for a bike ride I am currently training for a half marathon. My race isn’t until mid-September, so I’ve got a little while longer than Alex does, but this week I am going to start focusing on my distances a little more than I have over the last few weeks.

Last weekend my running buddy and I had a really nice run down along Lake Washington. The road is closed to cars on Sundays in the spring and summer so it’s filled with bikes and runners. Jackson is a great running partner, though he still has a few things to learn. He will join me on 2-3 short runs each week, but as I ease into runs longer than 4 miles once a week, he’ll have to stay home.

{taking a quick dip in the lake after our run}

{taking a quick dip in the lake after our run}

As a balance to this cardio it is becoming apparent that we really need to do yoga or Pilates. I won a gift certificate to a Pilates studio nearby, which I tested out last week and it felt great to get a good stretch!

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I just signed up for ClassPass, which is basically a limited membership to most of the studios in Seattle – you can go to 3 classes per studio each month, but the total number of classes you can take is unlimited. The point of it is to get you to try out a bunch of new studios. I had seen a bunch of advertising on Facebook, but then a girl I work with spoke so highly of it last week I decided to give it a shot. Below is a screenshot of what it looks like to sign up for a class – you basically take a look at all of the studios in the Seattle area and pick a time and class and location that works best for you. SOLD!

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Stay tuned for progress on how our training and rides/races go… We both use the app “Strava” to track our rides/runs, so that’s a great place to keep tabs on us and cheer us on 😉

Here’s What’s Happening in our House this Week

It’s a busy week in the Allen household! We’ve got a lot going on during the days and evenings this week. I am in the process of coordinating our dog sitter for Europe and hiring an Italian tutor, as well as booking some lodging for our Europe trip and two summer trips in Eastern Washington. Other than the travel planning this week we’re hoping to go night skiing one day, both of us have some social obligations and I have a work function. Last week we started our Monday, Wednesday and Friday runs and so far they are going really well. I’m keeping up with Pilates and Alex has gotten back to the gym after kicking his flu bug into the past.

Photo from our ski day on Saturday!

Photo from our ski day on Saturday!

We had an awesome weekend! We started the weekend off with a ski day on Saturday. Jackson got to rage in the snow for about an hour before he went to take a nap in the car while Alex and I made a few runs.

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Jackson sure loves to run around in the snow! It’s so fun to watch him just bolt back and forth with the biggest smile we’ve ever seen plastered across his face.

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It was a gorgeous day on the mountain! We explored new territory, got to see Mount Rainier and enjoyed each other’s company.

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On Sunday we had plans to go to the Millers to watch the Super Bowl so we got some errands out of the way in the morning. We had a great time cheering on our home team on Sunday with the Millers and the Buffingtons. It has been a lot of fun to see how spirited Seattle is with a winning team.

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This gigantic furry ball of energy has a big, big change coming up. He has no idea. After discussing his frequent bursts of energy that are so wild they make him vomit, our veterinarian advised us that it’s time to get Jackson neutered. We had held off on neutering him because we keep hearing that new research is showing that by waiting until a large breed male is fully-grown it can reduce the risk of some cancers. Our breeder recommended neutering him at 18 months and we were going to compromise on a year, but it looks like it’ll be just a few days shy of 11 months for Jackson.

Vet visit!

Vet visit!

Since last week’s vet visit we have been really working with him on calming down and encouraging calm behavior. We’ve brought out his special mat which seems to really help him mellow out. We have also been confining him to the bathroom again for the last week or so. He just has too much destructive energy and testosterone raging through his body right now to really know what to do with himself! We know he’s a good dog, but we’re both excited for him to be able to take it easy once he gets neutered.

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This Week’s Happenings

Not a whole lot is going on right now – well, not enough to warrant its own blog post, anyway. In any case, I’ve compiled what’s been happening lately over in our neck of the woods.

Saturdays at the dog park

Saturdays at the dog park

Today Jackson turned 10 months! He weighs about 70 pounds. He definitely has some growing to do still – I noticed today that his head needs to catch up with the rest of his body. As a 10 month old his favorite things include: digging in the backyard, going for walks… lots of walks, playing with other dogs, terrorizing Henry, chasing Henry around the house, and generally doing what we don’t want him to do. In all fairness, Jackson really is a good dog. He’s adorably sweet and he has certainly found his place in our house – usually on top of our feet wherever we’re standing.

Jackson has grown to love playing fetch.

Jackson has grown to love playing fetch.

We began Monday, Wednesday, Friday runs with Jackson this week. Lately we have been realizing that we just can’t tire our little big pup out enough. We are hoping that running will do the trick. Monday marked our first official “family run” and we ran about 3 miles. We had run with Jackson in the past but it was more of a run-walk, whereas this was a solid 3-mile run. Much to our surprise, Jackson did awesome! This makes me so excited for summer.

Alex's new running shoes :)

Alex’s new running shoes 🙂

Our big trip to Europe is quickly approaching and we are FAR from ready to go! We booked our hotels in Spain and Switzerland last week but still need to get England and Amsterdam locked down, as well as our flight back to the US. Another thing that is on our to do list is figure out what we’re doing with Jackson. I am in the process of “interviewing” dog sitters for Jackson. I am certain we’ll find a good family who will be able to watch him while we’re gone, but it isn’t easy to find a home for him to stay at for nearly 30 days. Henry has a fabulous cat sitter already, so he’s taken care of.

This is what Jackson looks like after a 3-mile run.

This is what Jackson looks like after a 3-mile run.

As a preparation for part of our Europe trip Alex and I decided we’d like to learn to speak a bit of Italian. We will be in parts of Italy where tourists aren’t common and we’ll be attending an Italian wedding so we thought it would be nice to have a few words in our back pocket. We have been using a website called Duo Lingo for a few months and have started to build a small vocabulary but we’re realizing that we really need to step it up in order to be able to have very basic conversations and communicate a little bit in Italian in just a few short months. We are planning on hiring an Italian tutor with the hopes that she will be able to bring us up to speed. I think we’ll start with one session a week and then when we get closer we might increase to two. We’ll see!

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Alex got new glasses!

Alex got new glasses!

Our weekend was pretty low-key. Alex and I got the rare opportunity of having a lunch date on Friday! It was awesome – I met him at his office and we walked up the street to Homegrown, an AMAZING sandwich shop, to grab a bite to eat.

Lunch date at Homegrown in South Lake Union
Lunch date at Homegrown in South Lake Union

Friday night Alex went out with some friends and I stayed in with a spasming abdomen. Saturday we met Ali, Tyler and baby Vivian {and Glory, their dog} at the dog park and had brunch with them afterwards. We did some errands and came home to get a few things done around the house before going out for dinner at Naam Thai and a glass of wine at Bottlehouse. We had originally planned on skiing on Sunday but Alex just wasn’t feeling well enough so we stayed home.

We just adore this girl! How is she 13 months already!?

We just adore this girl! How is she 13 months old already!?

The weather was really nice on Sunday so we took Jackson for a long walk through the Washington Park Arboretum. We spent the rest of the day relaxing and getting stuff done around the house.

Hanging out at the arboretum on Sunday.

Hanging out at the arboretum on Sunday.

We’ve got some good stuff on the menu this week. The lasagna we had for dinner on Sunday was so so good and I can’t wait for pork carnitas tonight. They have been cooking in my crock pot all day and I can’t even pick up the pork without it falling apart. The rest of the week has mushroom ravioli, gnocchi with sausage and peppers and mushroom risotto… lots of mushrooms and pasta this week!

New Year… New Exercise Goals!

It just so happens that Alex and I both got new jobs that have opened the doors to new exercise goals and routines around the start of the new year. It looks like our new fitness track will coincide with everyone else’s new years resolutions! Neither one of us has any specific goals with our fitness plan other than leading a healthy life that includes regular, consistent exercise and a well-balanced diet.

Both Alex and I were probably in the best shape we have ever been in over the summer, with him training for his 200-mile bike ride and me running all the time. Unfortunately, our busy schedules and lack of follow-through resulted in us “falling off the bandwagon” a bit this fall and winter. We have gotten a slow start to ski season, so we don’t even have that as a regular form of exercise either. It’s great that we both have come up with independent plans that should work for both of us to get back into a regular routine.

Alex's "Race Day"

Alex’s “Race Day”

Alex joined a gym near his new office and has been loving his new exercise routine. One of the benefits his company provides is a reimbursement for exercise equipment, so he stocked up on some new gym clothes and got a yoga mat to kick start his new habit. Alex has been going to the gym 2-3 mornings per week to start his day by lifting weights and doing cardio. He is also planning on starting yoga next week!

For at least a year, if not three years, Alex has been talking about wanting to do yoga or be better at stretching regularly. It is incredible that he is finally making that happen! I can’t wait to see how well he likes it.

One of the new running outfits I got over the summer.

One of the new running outfits I got over the summer.

Once the sun decides to rise before 8:00 a.m. I plan on getting back into running a few days per week. I am so excited to have Jackson as my running buddy now that he’s basically fully grown. It’s perfect timing, too, because he is starting to get to the point where our 3-mile morning walks don’t tire him out anymore!

I just started Pilates instruction this week and I plan on taking my Pilates class from Mary once a week. I might even mix in some mat workouts at home if I’m feeling particularly motivated. I am also planning on adding a couple days of weights at home to my fitness routine. 

It’s been nice to ease into our new fitness routines slowly so that we don’t get over amped and drop them right away. I think that we are both really motivated right now and are using our change in jobs to jump start a new healthy lifestyle in the new year!