By now you know that I am not a fast runner.  I want to be faster, but I honestly just don’t think I’m meant to be fast.  I’m content trotting along at my 10 minute per mile pace.  I have no intention of ever trying to win a race, I just want to finish!

During the 5K on Sunday, I surprised myself when I was able to run the last mile in 9:19.  Today as I headed out for my run, I was going to do my whole usual routine of “taking it easy while pushing the stroller and trying not to die from the heat and humidity,” but then it dawned on me – I can do better than that.

I can run faster, but I have to push myself.  Speed isn’t just going to find itself in my legs one day.  I have to work harder to get faster.

My plan was to run 3 miles and to run them “fast” while pushing Zain in the stroller.  I decided to finally try out my Brooks Green Silence running shoes that I got a couple months ago around the time I got my Mizuno Prophecy running shoes.  I had planned to use them for track workouts (that I have yet to do) and short runs such as the one I ran today.

They even look awesome!

They felt so different from the Prophecy that I was starting to have regrets as I began running.  They don’t offer the same support.  However, once I started running, I slowly fell in love.  They felt great and light on my feet.  I think I could have still had this great “fast” run in my Prophecy shoes, but the change was nice.  I plan to keep the Brooks in rotation for maybe one short run a week (or if I ever make it to the track) since I don’t think I should use them for longer than 3-4 miles.

So just how fast did I go? Well, my first mile was very routine – a 10:01 pace.  I suppose I was still warming up because I couldn’t seem to make my legs move any fast.  My second mile was 9:26 – a definite improvement.  My third mile was 9:05…9:05!! That’s even faster than my fastest stroller mile record I just set on Sunday.  That’s faster than I run when I’m alone! I was in disbelief when I saw the time on my watch and waited until I uploaded my Garmin data to my computer to get excited just in case I didn’t read that correctly.  I ended up doing 3 miles in 28:31.  Just a couple months ago, I was running 12 minute miles with the stroller so this is a huge improvement.

I’ve read other running moms’ blogs who can run 6 minute miles while pushing double joggers and I am in absolute awe.  I can’t run a 6 minute mile alone! I’m fairly certain I’ll never be that fast.  I’m still not fast after one quick run, but I will make myself faster.  I just have to keep pushing myself while pushing the stroller!

Happy running!

P.S. I have something even more exciting to celebrate today – my 3 year wedding anniversary with the love of my life.  Since I know you’re reading this, love – happy anniversary and thank you for always being my biggest supporter! I couldn’t do all of this without you!

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Race Recap: Baltimore Women’s Classic 5K

Yesterday was a very exciting day because I ran my first 5K with Zain.  I’ve been running with him for close to a year and I was really looking forward to racing with him.  I didn’t have very high expectations for my finish time because I ran 12 miles on Saturday morning so I knew my legs would be tired on Sunday.  It turned out that my tired legs weren’t what slowed me down!

Zain was ready to go at the starting line with a little snack in case he needed some fuel on the road.

Ready to run!

Please note the awesome “another mother runner” shirt I got at the ZOOMA Half Marathon!

There was one major flaw with the race that affected my whole race experience: they started those of us with strollers behind the people who planned to walk the race.  So what were we supposed to do if we planned to run with our stroller? There were 3,000 participants and quite a few of them were walkers so that meant us running moms with strollers were stuck behind a wall of walkers when the race kicked off.  I know they say participants with strollers should start in the back for safety reasons, but there’s nothing safe about a running mom trying to navigate a jogging stroller through so many walkers or slower runners.

Already crossed the starting line and still not moving too fast!

Hubby teased me, “Janine, why are you moving so slowly?” Very funny, Mr. Jokester

This set the scene for a frustrating race experience.  Because there were so many participants, the crowd never really thinned out to make room to pass people.  They reminded us at the start to move to the right if you were amongst runners and decided to start walking and that you should pass people on their left hand side.  I stayed to the left the entire race to try to get in front of people walking or running slower than me.

I can run between a 9 and 10 minute mile with the stroller and it was hard for me to pass so many people.  I can’t imagine how frustrating it was for the amazing moms out there that can run 6-7 minute miles with their strollers.  They must have really struggled to get through the crowd!

There I go….move people, let me through, pleeeeaaase!

My pace was never consistent – it was a steady pattern of speed up to pass someone, slow down stuck behind another slow person, then speed up again, and that continued throughout the entire race.  I happy to say I was able to safely pass runner/walkers throughout the race without plowing anyone down or hitting them; I was a little afraid of that during the race whenever someone would jump right in front of the stroller!

I did have a bit of a run in with the curb while trying to pass someone toward the end of the race.  I said “on your left” so I could pass her about 6 times, loud enough that she should have heard me but I guess her music was too loud.  I had enough space to go around her, but because she still did not notice me, she moved in front of me at the last second and I had to swerve.  I wasn’t going very fast, but I still bumped the curb.  It was incredibly frustrating.

I’m not a fast runner (with or without the stroller!), but I had a really hard time with how much I was slowed down in this race because of the way they had us line up at the start.  My first mile was 11:00 (I couldn’t even start running for the first minute or so past the starting line), second was 9:51 and third was 9:19; my chip time was 31:27.  I think it would have been more fair for those with jogging strollers who planned to run to be able to start with their pace group or at the very least in front of the walkers.  I do plan on contacting the race organizers to suggest that for next year.

Almost there!

Oh hi, there hubby!

So happy the madness is almost over!

About to cross the finish line

Even though it sounds like I’m mostly complaining here, I did really enjoy the race.  Zain was fascinated by the experience and I loved having him with me to run.  Having the stroller was also a nice convenience because I never needed to stop at the water stops since I had my water right in front of me.  That also gave me an opportunity to go around a big chunk of people at the stops.

The race course through Federal Hill in Baltimore was really fun.  We only encountered 2 big hills and I will admit I had a lot of fun passing people going uphill while pushing the stroller.  It made me feel stronger :) .  Unfortunately, I didn’t really get a chance to take in the sights; I was so focused on passing people and not running over one of the many potholes that Baltimore has to offer that I didn’t get to look around much.

Hopefully our next 5K experience will be a little bit better!

I think Zain had fun!

Running buddies!

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Staying motivated…

Motivation: where are you?

I have days where I just don’t feel like running.  This is a bit of a problem because I have a marathon to train for and those miles aren’t going to run themselves.  My occasional lack of motivation stems from many factors – general fatigue (remember, my son doesn’t sleep through the night so neither do I), the weather (it’s hard to want go for a run when it’s hot and like a 1,000% humidity outside), aches and pains (that I worry will turn into a legit injury), or boredom (not with running, but with running the same route again).

So what to do? What to do? How do I keep myself going when I don’t feel like running?

That’s me right there

The simplest solution: put on my running clothes as soon as I wake up.  If I’m dressed the part, I have a better chance of actually going for a run.  This is also a practical choice because with a toddler running around, I don’t have time for multiple wardrobe changes in the morning.

So I’m dressed, now what? During the week, I bring Zain along for most of my runs.  Generally, the only reasons I don’t bring him are bad weather or if he’s sick (in those cases, I get up earlier and hubby hangs out with him while I run).  I feed him breakfast before our run which means plenty of time for me to stand around and think about how I’m so tired and don’t feel like going for a run.  I have to tell that inner naysayer to hush and keep going through the motions until we’re out the door.

I get Zain situated in the stroller and make sure we both have water, in addition to my keys, cell phone, etc.  Then we walk to the corner where I usually start running.  What happens when I get to the corner and I still don’t feel like running? I tell myself to just start nice and slow and try to make it to a mile and if I still don’t feel like running at that point, I will stop and walk.

I haven’t stopped yet.

Once I get going, sometimes it takes me at least half a mile to warm up, especially when I’m pushing the stroller, but once I’m going, I’m going.  I don’t need to stop.  My body has done this and it can do this again today.

I know I’m making myself sound like a slacker.  The scenario I’m describing does not occur on a daily basis, I promise! It happens maybe once a week or once every other week.  It’s a mental obstacle that I can overcome with my physical abilities.  I feel like I can’t run, but I can run.

I encountered pretty much this exact situation during one of my runs this past week.  The reason for the lack of motivation that particular day was without a doubt the heat and humidity.  I struggled through every minute of my run, feeling like I could not breathe because the air was so thick.  I kept telling myself to make it just another half a mile and I eventually made it to 4 miles.  It was grueling, but I was proud of myself for sticking it out.  I felt better for the rest of the day because I ran.  I have to remind myself sometimes that I will be glad later that I pushed myself now.

As I’ve mentioned a few times already, the weather has really zapped my motivation lately.  I rarely felt this way in the Spring when it was a comfortable 65 degrees.  I just have to tough it out though and I know I can look forward to cooler temps in the Fall for the marathon.  I do have the option of waking up earlier to run alone before it warms up in the mornings, but I’m The Running Mom! I like having Zain’s company for my weekday runs since I generally don’t take him on my long runs.  Lucky for him, he’s nice and cool in the stroller with his sunshade and refreshing breeze I’m creating for him as we run :) .

So whether you’re running for a particular weight loss goal…

Running off the weight

…distance goal…

Maybe you just want the bumper sticker

…speed goal…

Track workout!

…to burn off those treats you ate last night…

Those calories aren’t going to burn themselves

…or maybe you’re running away from something ?

Couldn’t resist including this picture!

Keep going and don’t give up.  You can do it.  You will do it.  And you have to do it because I said so.  Now get off the computer, and get running!

Happy running and happy Friday!

What do you do to stay motivated on days when you don’t feel like running?

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This is why I have to run 12 miles on a Saturday morning

To say this weekend was busy is a bit of an understatement.  We had plans the entire weekend, but we had a great time doing everything we did!

Saturday morning, my alarm was set to go off at 5am so I could go on my long run.  Without fail, Z has a horrible night of sleep whenever I have a long run or race in the morning.  I had to get him back to sleep at 4:30am, knowing I was supposed to be getting out of bed in half an hour.  I debated just staying awake at that point, but then I heard it start pouring rain along with some thunder and lightning.  I decided to get in a tad more sleep and reset my alarm for 5:30.  One press of the snooze button later plus getting myself put together and I was out the door a few minutes after 6.

It was very humid, but still a beautiful morning.  I hoped to run at least 10 miles, but really wanted to go for 12.  It wasn’t pretty, but I made it to 12.  Aside from the first mile, I kept my pace under 10 minutes/mile with an average of 9:48.  My total time was 1:57:38 which beats by previous best 12 mile time of 1:59:59 by nearly 2.5 minutes.  Progress! Not much, but every little bit counts.  And with this run, I have now run over 300 miles so far this year (technically, I’ve run a little more since that is the count since I got my Garmin a couple months ago).  Click on the dailymile badge to see all of my training.

Running Training Log
As soon as I got home, I had to hurry up and shower so I could head to my second sewing class.  Sidenote – I decided to take sewing classes because I have a really nice sewing machine and don’t know how to use it.  Class was a lot of fun and a great learning experience.  I made this super cute pillow!

Just don’t look too closely at my beginner’s sewing mistakes :)

After class, I had to rush home to put Z down for a nap.  Try as he does, my hubby cannot get Z to sleep.  After I got him down, I had about 2.5 hours to make some desserts for a family dinner we were going to.  I made some yummy treats – mini madeleines (one of my favorite desserts!), chocolate chunk oatmeal cookies and chocolate chunk brownies.

The line-up

The madeleines were my favorite.  Each one is like a little bite of buttery cake.  You can find the recipe I used here and the mini madeleine pan I used here.

Every single one of these little bites of heaven disappeared at dinner!



The chocolate chunk oatmeal cookies were a huge hit at dinner because they’re a chocolate cookie loaded with 70% cacao chocolate chunks – rich and delicious! I found this recipe in a cookbook called Cupcakes, Cookies & Coffee Cakes, but the exact same recipe can be found here.


The brownies were great too; who doesn’t love a good fudgy brownie?


For Father’s Day on Sunday, I repeated some part of Saturday’s treat line up for our family party – the madeleines and the chocolate chunk oatmeal cookies and added in some peanut butter cup brownies along with my homemade peanut butter cups.  My dad loves peanut butter and peanut butter cups are probably his favorite candy so I tried my hand at making homemade ones.  I made them covered in dark chocolate, milk chocolate and blue white chocolate (needed a little bit of fun color!).  I also made white chocolate cups filled with dark chocolate and reverse peanut butter cups with peanut butter on the outside and chocolate on the inside.

Peanut butter cups!

So there you have it – all the sugary, buttery, delicious reasons why a 12 mile run is necessary on a Saturday morning.  It gives me the freedom to have slightly less guilt when enjoying the goodies I baked.  I know hubby very much enjoyed all the treats I made too which is why he kicked off Father’s Day with a long run himself :) .

After our busy weekend, I mixed up some yummy drinks for me and hubby.  Check out the awesome glass from the set given to us by my husband’s cousins (who are also our very dear friends)!

Mojito time! Our favorite summertime drink

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His and Hers…and Hers

His and hers running shoes? When running shoes are this awesome, then yes!

Ever since I got my Mizuno Wave Prophecy running shoes, hubby has been itching to get a pair as well. I don’t blame him – they’re pretty awesome looking shoes, plus he knows I think they’re a dream in to run in.  We went to our favorite local running store a couple weeks ago for him to try on a pair.  He loved them, but decided to get a different pair of Mizunos at the recommendation of the salesman.  While he loves that pair of Mizunos, he couldn’t seem to get the Prophecy shoes out of his head.  He would need a second pair of shoes to rotate anyway so he had his opportunity to get the Prophecy shoes.

The amazing Mizuno Wave Prophecy running shoes

They arrived today and he took them out for a spin.  It was love at first step.  He had a fantastic run and his pace was even a little better than usual – I swear those shoes make you faster!

Off he goes!

I posted last month about my Picky Feet and how it has taken me so long to find the right shoes.  I love my Mizuno Wave Prophecy running shoes.  I love them so much I ended up getting a second pair since I need to rotate and I just couldn’t go back to my other shoes after my feet got a taste of the Prophecy! Thank goodness for Road Runner Sports VIP discount!

Hers and hers and his


Next time hubby and I race together, we’ll match :) .

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A sweet weekend

This weekend we celebrated the high school graduation of my sweet twin cousins.  For such sweet people, they needed sweet treats! For their graduation party, I made some graduation cap cake pops.  If you remember my Easter post about cake pops, you know I like making fun new types of cake pops for different occasions.  The graduation party was the perfect chance to make some graduation cap cake pops in my cousins’ school colors!

The base of the cap is filled with a red velvet cake ball and coated in white chocolate…yummy! The button on top is a red mini M&M and the tassel is a red stripe from an Airhead Sour Belt.

While I was in the cake pop mode, I made some extra cake pops for hubby to take to work.  I’ve sent them in with him before and his coworkers go crazy for them.  Sneaky hubby sealed the box of cake pops shut so he wouldn’t be bombarded when he walked into work and he could give them out in an orderly fashion!

These ones are extra special.  They are a red velvet cake ball coated in white chocolate then coated in dark chocolate:

It was a busy and sweet weekend! I did manage to get in a 10 mile run yesterday morning.  It wasn’t the greatest run, thanks to the heat and humidity plus my general exhaustion.  The important thing is that I did it! I pushed through even when I wanted to stop and I made it through the miles.

Happy running and happy baking! :)

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Race Recap: ZOOMA Annapolis Half Marathon

Sunday, June 5, 2011, I ran the ZOOMA Half Marathon in Annapolis, MD.  It was my third half marathon and I had high hopes of setting a new PR.  The race was only 3 weeks after the MD Half Marathon so I was feeling well-prepared for the distance.  However, I did not feel all that prepared for the course because I was unfamiliar with the area so I didn’t know what I was in for and I was in for a tough race!

For the MD Half Marathon, we had a huge advantage because it started in our neighborhood.  We didn’t have to wake up super early to head somewhere far away for the race.  Getting everything prepared to head to a race can be a stressful task and even more so when there’s little one involved.  Z was sleeping so peacefully when I had to wake him.  Thankfully, he wasn’t too mad at me for getting him up so early.

Does it get any cuter than this?

We were running a little behind schedule, but my hubby assured me we’d get there on time.  I made it to the starting line with a few minutes to spare before the race started.  I was nervous.  Hubby wasn’t running the race with me and I missed his company already.  I lined myself up between the 9 and 10 minute per mile pace groups.  Before I knew it, the runners in the starting corral were given the go ahead and we were off! As we headed away from the Navy-Marine Corps Memorial Stadium, I heard hubby call my name and saw he and Z had come around to watch us as we came close to the first mile marker.

Oh, hey guys!

The course was pretty much one long out and back – my least favorite kind of course because it’s repetitive.  Thankfully, it was mostly a nice scenic course.  We ran down Main Street in Annapolis just before mile 3.  As we approach the water, it started pouring rain.  Thankfully, it only lasted for about 5 minutes – just long enough to get us soaked!

I had read that one of the hardest parts of the race was the bridge over the Severn River.  Because I wasn’t familiar with the area, after we crossed over one bridge, I thought to myself, “Was that the bridge they were talking about? Pssh, that was nothing!” Unfortunately, that wasn’t the bridge.  The actual Severn River bridge was a killer.  And the best part was – they made us run over it twice! I managed to snap a picture of it as I approached it on the way back.  I swear it’s steeper than it looks!

Do we seriously have to run over that thing again?!

Because I was running alone for this race, I was able to speed up my pace a bit.  My average pace was 9:49 per mile.  My goal throughout the race was to keep my pace under 10 minutes which I mostly was able to do, with the exception of mile 10 and mile 13 which were 10:03 and 10:05 respectively.  The last 3 miles of the race felt like they were longer than the first 10 miles.  I completely ran out of steam.  My legs were dead and it took every ounce of will power in me not to stop and walk.  I knew I wanted to beat my MD Half Marathon time of 2:15:38 and that meant I had to keep trucking.  I also kept thinking about Z and how I couldn’t wait to see him so the faster my legs moved, the quicker I’d get to him!

There was a decent amount of spectator support along the way.  Surprisingly not as much as the MD Half Marathon though, which went through more rural areas.  One thing spectators love to tell the runners is that “it’s all downhill from here.”  Let me tell you, they are LYING! Sure, there might be a slight downhill after you pass them, but I guarantee, you’ll be headed back uphill right after that.  I know they mean well, but it’s such a tease! The course was very hilly so we heard that line a lot along the way, but I knew better than to believe it :) .  Which brings me to my next point –  there was a hill in the last little bit of the course leading to the finish line.  Why do race directors love to force us uphill when we’ve got nothing left in us? It’s so mean, but it seems like that’s the norm since I’ve encountered it in most races.

I trudged up that last hill; the only thing keeping me going was knowing that I’d see hubby and Z waiting for me at the finish line.  I usually get one last surge of energy to sprint to the finish at the end of a race, but I didn’t have that in me until I saw hubby and Z cheering me on about 50 feet before the finish line.

Seeing hubby and Z was the only thing that could put a smile on my face at that point!

As I crossed the finish line and the announcer said my name, I felt such a sense of accomplishment.  I set out to create a new PR and I did it.  I finished in 2:08:33! I knocked 7 minutes off my half marathon time from 3 weeks ago.  Now, I have my sights set on a 2 hour finish.

Look at me – I flew across the finish line!

After making my way through the finisher’s shoot and collecting my finisher’s necklace, I found hubby and Z.  Z was so excited to see me and after I picked him up, he wouldn’t let me put him down.  He must have been afraid I’d run away again :) .

He missed me

He pointed all around and told me about the cool stuff he did while I raced

We checked out all the tables that were set up and I had the pleasure of meeting the author of a book that I’ve really been wanting to read.  The book is called Run Like a Mother by Dimity McDowell and Sarah Bowen Shea and Dimity was at the race! I had a chance to chat with her a bit about the importance of running as a mom and she signed a book for me.  I’m glad I hadn’t bought it yet because now I have a my very own autographed copy!

Me and Zain with Dimity McDowell!

I’m so happy I ran the ZOOMA Half Marathon.  It was a tough race but I worked hard and accomplished my goal.  The best part is my finisher’s necklace is a “Z” so it can also stand for Zain – my perfect little running partner!

“Z” finisher’s necklace that says “Run.Celebrate.Laugh.”

I did it!

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