Run Mom Run Happy

My thoughts on being a mom, runner, wannabe health nut, and everything else.

Why Did I Just Eat That? Healthy Eating is Hard!

As the holiday season approaches, I remind myself daily to make healthy food choices.  It hasn’t been easy, and I honestly have not been doing a very good job.  In fact, before writing this, I was gobbling down autumn themed m&ms.  Those delicious little bits of candy coated chocolate are my nemesis, and I’ve been eating way too many lately.  (But, there is a pumpkin flavor!  AND white chocolate candy corn m&ms. How can I say no?!)  Sigh, the upcoming holidays make my struggle with healthy eating even more difficult.  I really do enjoy lots of healthy food….I just also enjoy lots of unhealthy food too!


I don’t follow a specific diet, and I really don’t believe in denying myself any type of food.  I have found that when I try to say I can’t eat something, I just really, really want it more.  So I go with everything in moderation.  Unfortunately, at this time of the year, the goodies are everywhere and moderation is hard to keep.

My goals for this plethora of treats are to keep servings to a minimum and continue to eat as healthy as possible throughout the week.

AND to keep extra treats out of our house. As any parent knows, this can be extremely difficult.  At holiday gatherings, we often get sent home with extra desserts, cookies, and candy “for the kids.”  Now, my kids may get some of it, but often times it ends up in me!  I need to learn to refuse these offerings.  My children can maybe take an extra one or two pieces with them (even though they will also have more than enough sugar throughout the season.)  I often feel guilty refusing extra food, but I’ll need to learn to be firm.

As for my over indulgence today, I think I’ll run a few miles tonight.  Even though I’ve already exercised and it’s not a running day.  I know this will not make up for the  (many, many, many) m&ms I’ve eaten, but it’ll help with the calorie load and REMIND me how much exercise it takes to work off mindless eating.  Why couldn’t I have chosen an apple, banana, or carrots? (Because they don’t have chocolate inside, duh.)

Hmm…maybe since I’ve decided to add a run in tonight, I can have a few more pieces.  I mean, they are so small right?  And the green m&m is really giving me the eye from the side of the bag.  It is basically begging for me to keep eating.

Sigh, creating healthy eating habits and sticking to them is really, really  hard!

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When did this become fun? Am I really a runner now?

I am not sure exactly when running actually became fun.  I just know that after completing two 10k races and the Warrior Dash, going out to run was not only no longer a chore, it was something I looked forward to.  Researching races online had became a new hobby, and as 2013 started, I had a full schedule of events for the year.

To get started, I ran the same St. Patrick’s Day race, Get Green, I had the year before.  My time was over five minutes faster!  Next up were two obstacle course races, the Spartan Sprint and a Tough Mudder.  (I think both these runs deserve their own post.  If you’ve ever considered signing up, do it!)  After a few more short distances running-only races, I had my first half marathon.

My first half was the Rock ‘n’ Roll in Chicago.  The run was HUGE.  The spectators on the sidelines were amazing, the bands were great, and the course was mostly flat.  The downside?  It was in the middle of July during a heatwave!  Even with the start time being 6:30 am, it was still really, really warm.  I made a lot of mistakes in this run.  For one, I had never been to a specialty store to get fitted for shoes; I’d been wearing ones I had grabbed on sale that had “running” in their description.  In the weeks prior to the run, I had been battling hip pain that I chose to ignore and push through.  The night before the run, I went out and made poor food choices and drank alcohol.  I way, way over-hydrated on course…the list goes on.  I was hoping for a 2 hour time, and I ended up with 2:15.  Not terrible considering all the bad choices I made, but I was still disappointed.  I went home feeling like I failed.

The training schedule I had followed said to the take the week following the half off from running.  The first day was easy, the second day I started to get antsy, and by day three I was a irritable grump.  Given my hip pain, I decided to finally buy specialty shoes and, on day four, I ignored my plan and went out for a run again.  I instantly felt better, my mood improved, and while I was still upset with my performance, I had a ‘eureka’ moment.  I was a real runner.  Prior to this, even after it became enjoyable, I always felt like I was still trying to become one.  It didn’t matter that I didn’t reach my time goal, or that I didn’t run full marathons, or that I wasn’t fast, or any other silly reason that made me feel unworthy before.  On that short recovery run, I embraced what had become a new passion! (I also realized that paying a little extra money for special running shoes was completely worth it.  Hip pain was soon gone.)

I ran my second half two months later.  I followed a new training plan with increased weekly mileage, broke in my new shoes, and participated in a couple local runs beforehand.  I ate well the night before, minimized my water breaks on course, and despite a complete energy drop between miles 11 and 12, reached my time goal with a finishing time of 1:59:43.  It felt really, really good.

Which brings us to today.  I am currently working on developing my new goals and planning next year’s run schedule.  I’ve also started a local chapter of the national running club Moms RUN This Town.  I’d love to have a group to travel to events with and train together (or talk about training together, when I run, I can’t usually chit-chat.  Too busy singing and dancing.)  I’m not sure what all I will do next year, whether it will include a full marathon or a Spartan Trifecta, but I do know that I am really looking forward to it.


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Starting to run – it was not love in the beginning.

My first blog post!  I’m Maggie, a happily married mom of three awesome kids, a runner, and a wannabe health nut.  (Wannabe because as hard as I try, my eating habits are often everything BUT healthy!)  I started this blog to share my thoughts on running, on my attempts to curb my love of wings, ice cream, and wine, my experiences as a mom, and anything else I decide to write about!

I’ll begin with the story of how I started running.

When I started running in 2011, I never expected to become a “real” runner.  I began the Couch to 5k program with the goal of completing one 5k…and then probably never running again.  I had tried running when I was younger, and I never enjoyed it.  And, this time was no different.  I did not enjoy it.  It was hard to find a breathing rhythm, and I seemed to always have side stitches.  

My first 5k was a local St. Patrick’s Day race and the weather was beautiful.  A lot of the participants were completely decked out in themed clothing, the small festival was just getting started, and the atmosphere was full of excitement.  My actual run didn’t go very well, I couldn’t run the entire 3.1 miles and ended up taking walking breaks.  My finishing time of around 33 minutes wasn’t what I had hoped for, but I left the run with a very surprising feeling – a desire to sign up for more runs!  

My next event was the Run For Your Lives Zombie Run 5k.  My husband, a few friends, and I started out as zombies and then went through the course.  Again, my time left much to be desired and my ‘life’ flags were gone very early on….BUT I had a ton of fun.  I knew I wanted to do more of this!Image

I went home and signed up for a longer distance 10k event and began looking at more obstacle course races.  Although I still had to force myself to do many of my training runs, it was no longer the chore it was in the beginning.  Running and I weren’t a team yet, but my negative feelings were starting to wane…


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