Reason 4,687 that I LOVE living in the city…

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Sunday morning farmer’s markets at Headhouse square.

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Walking to a fabulous fresh farmer’s market in gorgeous weather simply can’t be beat.

I had three purchases in mind: a dessert to bring to my Dad’s for dinner tonight, fruit for Z  (He loves plums, peaches, nectarines, pears), and a container of apple cider that I HAD to have Zach try.

Dessert:  Check

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The Most ridiculous sticky buns EVER. Zach approved.

Fruit:  Check

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Plums (one devoured by Z the moment we made the purchase), Peaches and Pears

Apple Cider: Check

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Verdict?  He loved it.  Duh.  He is my son.

Pit stop to the bread tray at the bakery?  CHECK.

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And then a brief jaunt through Washington Square Park, where he stayed in his stroller for .5 seconds before declaring “DAHHHN” and running here and there 🙂

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God damn, I love my city, I love my kid.

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Beep Beep.

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Here is how we have been entertaining ourselves lately (PS:  Don’t judge, stay-at-home-mommy-ing takes a level of creativity and geekiness):

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Playing “beep beep” or “Get on the bus (AKA a table flipped upside down while repeating beep beep over. and. over)

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Blocks.  Need I say more.  Actually, I will say more.  We aren’t talking building.  We are talking dumping out the box.  Again, Over. And. Over.

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Books!  Zach has always been really into books; in fact he sleeps with one (Brown Bear Brown Bear).  Swoon 🙂

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Classes and playtime at our favorite place, The NEST!

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Coloring and stickers.  Dollar store ROCKS.  My kiddo LOVES stickers and they can keep him entertained for at least ten minutes 🙂

IMG_20130927_193310_489Playing at the Park

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So, tell me:  how have YOU been entertaining your little ones (or yourself)?!

 

If you give your kid an Elmo

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…Then he probably is going to want a Grover (and Ernie, Bert, Big Bird, Cookie, etc.; some of which you’ve already bought).

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If you go to buy him a Grover at the toy store around the corner, chances are you will need your keys…

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And if you need your keys, the chances are your child has been playing with them…

And if your child has been playing with your keys, the chances are he probably lost them somewhere in the living room…

And if he probably lost them somewhere in the living room, chances are you need to look for them…

If you need to look for them, the chances are you will need to move the couch.

If you move the couch, the chances are you are going to find a million dust bunnies…

And if you find a million dust bunnies, the chances are you need to vacuum…

And if you need to vacuum, chances are you need to run downstairs to get it…

And if you run downstairs to get the vacuum, the chances are you will decide you need to switch the laundry…

And when you switch the laundry, the chances are you will need to change the lint filter…

And when you change the lint filter, the chances are you will be reminded by the dust bunnies that need to be vacuumed…

And when you go upstairs to vacuum, the chances are you will find at least ten long lost toys under the couch…

And when you find toys under the couch, the chances are you will need to put them away…

And when you put the toys aways, the changes are you will come across the Grover sticker…

That made your son demand a Grover doll 🙂

The end.

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Clearly based on:

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Oh, and ps: no Grover dolls were harmed in the making of this reenactment, and yes, he LOVED his Grover doll (Googoo Gall)

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Um, and yes, Grover followed us everywhere

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This is too funny…

Saweeeet Weekend!

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Hi everyone!  Happy Mon(moan)day.  I hope you had a fantastic weekend!  Ours was great!   Here’s what went down (in list and picture form)…

Seriously, check the hair out!

Seriously, check the hair out!

Friday:  After work, Ayaya (Aunt Sara) came over and we played with z followed by homemade shrimp Caesar salad.  Then I went to bed SUPER early (starting the weekend off right)! I love sleep.  Truly.

Saturday:  SOOO Busy!

1.  Zach’s first fashion show

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2. I taught a class

3.  Manning a festival for Nest

4. Husband met me “in town” when z got up from his nap and we walked around town in the gorgeous weather

5.  Yummy take out for dinner

Sunday:  FUN!

1.  6 mile run (husband took z to the park :))

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2. Beautiful baby shower for lovely friend

3. Grammy and Grandpa came

4.  Went to the park

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5.  Went out to dinner at Famous Fourth Street

Wahoooo!  I really had such a lovely weekend!

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Running News and Moms In Training

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Hellooooo! I hope everyone is enjoying their weekend!  What fabulous weather!  I will do a weekend recap post tomorrow because there were sooo many awesome things going on this weekend and I must share 😉  Anyway, I wanted to write a post on my latest “running news” and a cause near and dear to my heart.

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1.  Tackling the Beast!

A case of Fuse

Hand weights

A Baeba Baby food maker

A case of Chia sports bars

The BOB stroller

These are ALL things that I bought and SWORE I would use but haven’t done a great job at doing so.  AKA not at all.  I am DETERMINED to change the last.  So, after the RnR Half, I vowed to use the jogger at least once a week.  It is FAR to expensive to sit in the car as a “mall stroller” and far to good a training tool (imagine the strength I would gain pushing an extra 40 pounds!) to not use.  So, this week, I followed through on that promise. IT was ROUGH!  The four miles felt like 14 but the positive aspects that came along with a jogging stroller run were totally worth it:

Amazing scenery

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A happy baby boy (plied with snacks,of course)

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A stop to look at the duckies (Geese)

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And of course, the strength built pushing this baby (and the cardio that comes along with singing and talking to him with running)

photo 2I did 4 miles in about 40 minutes (including breaks for water and duck admiring).  Anyway, if you want a good workout, get a jogging stroller and a 22 pound toddler 😉

2.  I recently joined a newly formed group called Moms IN Training, a subgroup of Team in Training (a well known running charity for Leukemia), which is devoted to raising money for children with blood Cancers.  Here is a description of our group:

Moms have a special bond that should be celebrated.  LLS’s new program MIT recruits moms who are passionate about fighting blood cancers and saving lives.  MIT will get you ready to run or walk an 8k (5 miles) to help raise money to fight cancer.

As a (relatively) new mom myself, causes such as these are close to my heart.  I am excited to use my passion for running to do something positive.  

MY PERSONAL FUNDRAISING GOAL IS 500.00 BY NOVEMBER 16TH AND I KNOW WE CAN DO IT!  The race we are working toward is the Rothman 8K on November 16th.

PLEASE CONSIDER DONATING VIA MY PERSONAL FUNDRAISING PAGE:

http://pages.teamintraining.org/epa/rthmn8k13/jessdownes

Thank you SO much ahead of time. We all unfortunately know or will know someone who is or has been affected by this terrible disease.

I ran the Rothman 8k last November as my first race post-baby and this year it will take on a new special meaning.

3.  Goals:

A.  As I stated above, get outside once a week with the jogging stroller.  I feel like this will help my training immensely.

B.  Train smarter (only junk miles when I need to unplug, make each mile count)

C.  For the Rothman 8k my time last year was a 44:41, 8:59 pace.  I KNOW I can bust that.  I ran the half at an 8:45b pace and would REALLY like to run this 8k at an 8:30 pace…I know, lofty goal, so my goal is to break 42:00

D.  With C being said, I NEED to do speed training, no ifs ands or BUTTS!

E.  Abs.  That’s it. I need to work my abs, you know, to “chase sports bras ;)”

OK, so tell me, tell me ANYTHING!

What are your weekend plans?!

What are your goals fitness or other?!

Have you ever run for charity?!

 

 

RnR Half Recap Mile By Mile

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I did it!  Wooooot!  And I had a BIG PR!  What an amazing (weekend and) morning! So, let me recap mile by mile because some of my thoughts, frankly, were hilarious….

Best way to prep for a race:  coffee in the 13.1 mug while reading an amazingly sweet card from an amazing friend

Best way to prep for a race: coffee in the 13.1 mug while reading an amazingly sweet card from an amazing friend

MIle 1- I cannot believe I got here on time

Husband dropped me off at the start and, because of my own fault, was super late (I decided to pump last minute to avoid any boob issues).  I think he dropped me off at 7:54. The race began at 8.  I initially felt like I needed to use the portas but immediately decided against it as I bolted from the car to the start while the anthem was being sung. Good feeling.  Not.  Anyway, I was debating for a  LONG time wether to run in a long sleeve shirt or a tank with a throwaway.  Husband let me use one of his sweatshirts to toss and it was BY FAR the right choice.  I feel bad though because I got rid of it at around .5 miles and I totally could’ve gone without.

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Thanks, Marathonfoto!

Mile 2- I LOVE my Peanie and Hubs!

They were going to meet me around City Hall and then later around Falls Bridge when I KNEW I would need it. They looked so cute and made an awesome sign!  PS:  Peanie is my little nickname for Z.  I always called him peanut since he is a little peanut, and it has been shortened to Peanie (I know, sounds weird but whatever, like Husband said, he is 17 months, wtfc).  So anyway, I was feeling REALLY good.  And of course, like always, I went out too fast.  Positive splits for the win.  Not.  LOL.  Anyway, digestively things were going really well and I was psyched for the race.  Last night went like all (successful races go: PIZZA; someone even joined in the action:

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Seeing my little man and husband was a nice pick me up.  They were RIGHT where they said they would be!

Mile 3- So glad I saw my Aunt!  Where are my Mom and Dad?!

My Aunt met me around 6th and Market.  Super cute sign (the motherrunner one).  It was soooo nice to see her.  MY M+D were supposed to be with her and  I didn’t see them!  I felt sad and thought they didn’t come.  Turns out they were on the other side of the street. I ALWAYS run on the right (makes it tough for when water and Gatorade are on the left, but if it ain’t broke, dont fix it!).

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Cool signs; the one on the right is a personal joke between me, husb and peanut 🙂

5K Split= 26:49

MIle 4- Ugh this is a going to be a LONG haul

So, it was great seeing my family at the race but it was so early in the process that I was really worried about my motivation waning over the rest of the miles.  Admittedly, I did start to worry that I had indeed gone out to fast and wouldn’t be able to sustain the pace.I was running some 7:30s!

Mile 5- OK, just one “loop” to go.  

BZ (Before Zach), I used to train constantly on “the loop” from Eakins Oval, around the boathouses, across the Falls Bridge and then back down to the Art Museum.  It seemed long then and I had not done that loop in a LONG time.  So, I felt a bit anxious and beat down.  My legs were starting to feel the speed, especially my groin. BUT, I LOVE the loop so I tried to go into it positively, to enjoy the scenery and the beauty of this part of the city.

MIle 6- Pass the girls in the sports bras.

So, here is a little secret about me:  I have ALWAYS wanted to be able to run in just a sports bra.  And yea, I could, but I mean REALLY able to run, like six-pack able.  I am not.  But during this mile, I was beginning to fade, so I played a little game with myself:  pass the girls in sports bras.  Hahha. I know.  Nerd alert, but it made me pick up the pace and occupied my mind!  Don’t judge.

10K split= 53:34

Mile 7- I NEED to see my Peanie. I’m fading

I was REALLY fading during this mile.. I knew that seeing my little guy would give me some needed energy I just needed to get to him!    My legs (groin and hammies) were really bothering me and I wanted to stop SO badly to stretch but didn’t think I would start back up if I did.  I threw a few shot bloks in my mouth and braced myself to see Z and hubs.  It was awesome when I did, but then that darn hill leading up to the Falls Bridge greeting me with a slap in the face butt.

MIle 8- MUST stop to stretch. WIll I regret this?!

On the Falls Bridge, I just HAD to stop and pull our my hammies and squat for the groin. HAD. TO.  I only stopped for about 30 seconds but it felt incredible and was a GREAT decision.  I restarted with a fresh attitude and what felt like new legs!

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Mile 9- NO regrets. Leave it all out there.

That’s it.

MIle 10- You TRAINED for this!

I had to remind myself this many times.  I specifically reminded myself several times for the few 12-milers that I had.  You HAVE to trust the training.

10 mile split= 1:27:01

Mile 11- Can I break a 1:55?!

I honestly don’t usually try to set a goal until late in the race when I see how I am feeling.  I am a racer who goes out quickly, puts it ALL out there and then tends to struggle (happily though) at the end.  I would rather know that I had some short beginning miles and have some extra time to play with when I am gassed, then start slow and try to make up time later in the race.

Mile 12- I am NEVER doing a marathon

I had told the Husband after watching Spirit of the Marathon that I would probably want to run a marathon at some point in my life.  Possibly after baby # 2.  Hahhaha boy did I regret that sentiment during this mile. I could NOT imagine doing those 12 miles AGAIN!  I was also REALLY starting to regret”over running” the first mile.  It is a mistake I ALWAYS make.  I get overzealous and weave….a lot. IN this case I wove about ,25 of a mile!  ARGH!  The whole race I was .25 miles ahead of the actual race course (at 2 miles my Garmin said 2.25, etc.).  I was getting tiyuuuuuuurd and could’ve used a .25 mile reprieve!

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Mile 13- Who put that hill there?!

What a mindf$%k that last .1 of a mile was!  Not only had I already run 13.1 😉 but they had all of the race photographers on an overhang at mile 13 so you use all of your energy cheering and thinking the finish like is right there….and then there is a hill.  Now I am sure on any other day this would seem like a mole hill, but today, at mile 13, it was a MOUNTAIN!  Argh!  What a tough one!  My legs felt like there were sandbags attached to them and I felt like I was walking!  Hahha what a way to end a race!  But, I left it all out there and today was EPIC.

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Final Race Stats:

Screen Shot 2013-09-15 at 2.06.02 PMAs you see from my Garmin above, I over ran and my actual 13.1 time was 1:52:20 (I checked my watch out of curiosity).

And finally, some pics from yesterday’s Expo:

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I thought Running was Good for you?

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Helloooooooo!  How YOU doin’?  (Guilty pleasure= Wendy Willams show, speaking of guilty pleasures, Truthday Tuesday will return THIS evening!)  ANYWAY, I had a random thought about my recent bout(s) with mastitis and was thinking maybe part of the issue, and there are many, that contribute to my frequent infections, could be due to a suppressed immune system from running. Some of  my other suppositions are:

-not getting a enough sleep (haven’t slept through the night really in 17 months.

-Sleeping on my belly (causes constriction)

-Exercising with two sports bras (again causes constriction)

-Doing too much, getting run down

-Stress

But regarding the idea of it being caused by a suppressed immune system due to my training sessions (these bouts seem to occur at the end of any intense training schedule ; running the half on Sunday; a post coming on that later) just popped into my head and I wan’t to research it.  You know, old school style, the internet 😉  Dr. Google is your friend 🙂  Haha seriously though. I did a little search and here is what I found:

TWEAK YOUR TRAINING
Long, slow runs (90 minutes or more) use slow-twitch muscle fibers, which feed on simple sugars, the same fuel as the immune system, says Michael Ross, M.D., medical director of The Performance Lab in Cherry Hill, New Jersey. “It sets up a resource battle between the exercising muscles and the immune system, with the immune system losing out,” he says. While you probably don’t want to give up all your long runs, you can scale back on mileage by replacing a medium-distance day with a high-intensity interval training (HIIT): Instead of a slower run over 1.5 hours, for example, do a series of eight intervals where you’re running at 80 to 85 percent of your max for four or five minutes, with two minutes of recovery in between. Also, avoid increasing both intensity and volume at the same time, says Dr. Ross, a sports physician. After upping your mileage, give yourself a two-week buffer before adding a tempo workout. A good prerace taper also helps your immune system recover.

MANAGE STRESS
The body recognizes vigorous exercise as a stress factor: Hard workout or bad day at the office, it all looks the same to your internal fight-or-flight response. Add to that the mental angst that often goes along with race preparation, and it’s no wonder runners are prone to colds. All the more reason to work on your mental balance, says exercise kinesiologist Andrew Johnston. “Studies show that meditating for 20 minutes a day can lower stress,” says Johnston, the founder of Triumph Training in Atlanta. “But you can break that up over the course of a day.” The easiest way to start is to focus on one breath: Inhale slowly through your nose, pause, exhale slowly. Aim for 10 breaths, gradually adding time over several days. On your rest days, try going for an evening stroll, taking a tai chi class, or doing yoga. “These kinds of restorative activities are a good complement to an aggressive training schedule,” he says.

SLEEP IN
Adequate rest is not only crucial for your performance, but for your overall well-being, says Lewis G. Maharam, M.D., medical director for the Rock ‘n’ Roll Marathon series and author of Running Doc’s Guide to Healthy Running. After strenuous workouts, sleep plays a critical role in restoring the body, he says. And research shows that repeated lack of sleep (six hours or less per night) lowers your immunity protection by up to 50 percent. In fact, a study of German athletes found that risk of upper-respiratory infections was highest in those who reported sleep deprivation and stress. If you’re having trouble getting to sleep—or staying asleep—in the days leading up to your race, you may need to back off your training. Insomnia can be a symptom of overtraining. Still can’t snooze? Make sure you’re going to bed and waking up at the same time every day, try jotting down any worries before turning in, and start winding down 30 minutes before bedtime.

EAT WELL
Eating right matters most when endurance athletes reach the peak of their training. To ensure you’re taking in ample nutrients and dietary fiber, Andrew Weil, M.D., founder and director of the Arizona Center for Integrative Medicine, says to include plenty of anti-inflammatory, antioxidant-rich food sources in your daily meals and snacks. This includes fruits, vegetables, whole grains, beans and legumes, seafood, healthy fats (nuts, seeds, avocados, olive and canola oil), whole soy foods, cooked Asian mushrooms, herbs and spices, and tea, as well as red wine and dark chocolate (both in moderation). During a hard run, adds Dr. Ross, drink a carbohydrate beverage. And in the first hour after a workout or race, he suggests drinking a recovery beverage that has carbohydrates and protein. Carbohydrates slow the release of stress hormones; protein stimulates white blood cell counts, which shield against upper-respiratory problems.

Fascinating!  But I thought running was supposed to be good for you!!!  Just kidding, what that article means is that YOU HAVE TO TAKE CARE OF YOURSELF WHEN RUNNING or it could literally make you sick.  Anyway I just thought this was interesting.

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