4 Ways to Work Out Outside This Summer

“Sweet summertime”

Hello, summer! Weekends at the lake. More daylight. Going outside without a coat. Even though winter is my favorite season, there’s a lot I enjoy about the summer.

One of the downsides of summer, besides uncomfortable heat and bugs, is it’s really easy to slack off on workouts. Between vacations, R&R, and the opportunity to be outside, it’s a little tougher to spend time in the gym. But there are great ways to be outside and get your fitness on.

It gets hot but it’s great to run outside

Here are my four favorite ways to take your workout outside.

1. Running
Okay, obviously this was going to be on the list. Sure, sometimes it’s uncomfortably hot and, yes, I will be the first one to bitch about how hot it is (but I never complain about how cold it is so that makes it okay ha ha) – but there’s really no better way to enjoy a nice day than going for a run outside.

2. Walking
You don’t have to be a runner to reap the rewards of outdoor exercise. Walking is a great way to get your heart pumping, burn some calories, and soak in some Vitamin D. Bonus, it’s a much more social workout than running so get a crew and make a date of it.

3. Yoga
Within the past couple of years, Fargo has really gotten onboard with outdoor yoga. Nearly every week in the summer, there’s yoga in the park, rooftop yoga downtown, or other outdoor stretch-fests. If your city doesn’t offer group classes, go ahead on your own. Especially after a run, I love doing my stretches outside.

Yoga and paddleboarding – two of my summer faves

4. Paddleboarding
I’m lucky to have more than one family lake home within an hour of the city. My favorite water activity is paddleboarding. After a hot run, I’ll jump right in the lake, cool off, and keep the burn going on the paddleboard. Other mornings, I’ll wake up and cruise for an hour down the beaches. Just last year, I finally tried paddleboard yoga – it’s tough but fun! I’m definitely no expert but have enjoyed trying. If you’re new to it, here’s one of my blogs with 3 paddleboard yoga poses for beginners.

Do you also love to do any of these activities in the summer? What are your other favorite outdoor workouts? Comment or tweet me, @LindsayIRL. Share your summer workout pics on Twitter and Instagram too, and be sure to use hashtag #wellirl.

What to Expect – from Workouts – After You’ve Been Expecting

“Great expectations”

After what feels like a blink-or-you’ll-miss-it several weeks, I’ve started back at work. Overall, maternity leave was great. Don’t get me wrong, it was no vacation – it was much harder than my “day job” and much harder than I thought it would be. But it was also pretty great spending all that time with my son, getting to know him, letting him get to know me, and helping him adjust to his new world.

As someone who thrives on routine, I was excited to get back to work…and a little sad. I know virtually every parent has that bittersweet mix of emotions when going back to work, but I know it will be good for Abel to spend time with other people, learn new things from experts (first-time mom here so I’m no expert!), and get into more of a routine of his own.

While I definitely didn’t get back into the swing of working out during maternity leave as I maybe imagined or hoped I would, I did get back into it a little bit, to the tune of walking, EFXing and light running a few days a week. Now with going back to work and everything new that’s going to come with Abel, from adjusting his schedule to his next growth spurt to teething, I don’t see it getting any easier – but that doesn’t mean I’m not still going to try! And a big part of that is changing my expectations of myself and my workouts.

Workout or time with this face…easy choice!

I remember back in the day if I “only” did 30 minutes on the EFX or lifting, it seemed like a waste and I’d be hard on myself about it. Today, I managed to squeeze in a 20-minute run and felt glorious. So I’m happy to say that my expectations have already begun to shift a bit – though, I admit, sometimes I long for those days when I could knock out a 10k on a Monday night, get in leg day and an upper body lift, plus a little extra cardio, all before a Saturday long run.

Yes, I still crave the runner’s high and feeling of a good, long sweat sesh. But seeing my son smile and giggle, that’s something I really can’t get enough of. And something worth keeping workouts short – or skipping them altogether some days – so I don’t miss a second of his awesomeness.

Do you have any good, quick and effective workouts you love? Or tips for making short workouts really count? Please leave a comment or tweet me, @LindsayIRL.

A Different Kind of Run Streak at the Fargo Marathon

“We’re going streaking”

The Fargo Marathon has again come and gone, and for the first time in 12 years, I was not at the start line of the full or half marathon.

Team Sam rides again

It was kind of a sad day for me, as running and this race in particular have been a big part of my life for more than a decade. I loved seeing all my friends’ pics on social media, even if they did make me a little jealous! But I know taking it slow as I get back into running is the best thing for me. And I know I’ll get back to it when my little is bigger.

On a positive note, I did keep my Fargo Marathon run streak alive by running the 5k with my friend, Christine and pushing her daughter, Sam. That’s 12 years strong participating in the event. It felt great to be part of it again and complete my first race since Abel’s arrival nine weeks ago.

Did you take part in the Fargo Marathon this year? Anyone out there run their first race recently? Let me know how it went in the comments or tweet me, @LindsayIRL.

That Awesome Feeling of Getting Back to Running

“And I’m back in the game”

Last week was pretty great. In addition to another week with my baby boy, it was highlighted by something I’ve been looking forward to since I was 32 weeks pregnant with him. I finally went running!

I dressed for the mild, sunny weather, laced up my sneaks, and brought Burton with me on my maiden running voyage since my last miles six weeks before Abel was born. Taking the advice of several people, I started slow, just two five-minute runs in between walking intervals. I took the pace slow, too, running between a 9:30 and 10 minute mile pace.

One mile, people. F yeah.

Oh it felt so good to get back at it. It’s funny, I never thought running one mile and not peeing my pants (a very common side effect for postpartum runners) would be such an accomplishment but it was.

With that all-important first run in the books, I have some bigger goals in sight now; first, to run/walk the Fargo Marathon 5k. The plan is to do it with my friend and fellow Ainsley’s Angels runner, Christine, pushing her daughter, Sam. I’m so excited to take part in the Fargo Marathon in some way, as it’s a race I’ve done for more than a decade straight. We’ll see how things go as I start to increase distance but then my next goal is the GoFar Woman half marathon in August. Hopefully I can be a pacer, too, as I’ve enjoyed pacing the event the past two years.

It will be awhile before I can bring Abel with me on a run but that’s something I’m also looking forward to. In the meantime, he’ll just get to enjoy the positive side effects to me being back running – better mood equals better mom.

What’s the longest hiatus you’ve taken from running or your workout of choice? What advice would you offer someone just getting back into it? Please leave a comment or tweet me, @LindsayIRL.

How Labor is Like Running a Marathon

“It always seems impossible until it’s done”

It’s April and, for the first time in years, I’m not in the midst of training for a marathon – which coincidentally means I’m not blogging about marathon training. Weird.

It just doesn’t feel right to not be blogging about marathon running this time of year. Since I like to blog about recent experiences and I recently experienced having a baby, combined with me having marathons on my mind, I started thinking about the similarities of running a marathon and going through labor.

Not ready to run yet but we’ll get there

Here are seven ways labor is like running a marathon.

1. Prep Work
Unless you’re that one random person who runs a marathon without training (which I don’t advise and do not support) runners put in several weeks of preparation, logging tons of miles, dealing with some level of aches and pains, and ideally eating well and getting more sleep. Labor is similar.

While the big event is the highlight, no one has a baby without the months of prep that is pregnancy. For some, this means some level of aches and pains but hopefully is more focused on eating well and getting more sleep.

2. You Must Buy Stuff
From specific shoes to moisture-wicking clothes to supplements, training for a marathon requires specific gear to help get in your best shape for race day. Labor is similar.

There’s a lot of stuff one needs to make it through the months leading up to labor and grow a healthy baby. For me, that included maternity pants, prenatal vitamins, and bigger workout leggings, and that’s just the tip of the iceberg.

3. All the Feels
When you line up at the start of the marathon, there’s a mix of excitement and nerves. This continues through the first few miles and brings additional feelings – some may feel overwhelmed by how much work there still is to go among other things. By the time you get into the later miles, exhaustion and pain may produce frustration and the typical, “Why did I decide to do this,” feeling. Finally, crossing the finish line – joy! Labor is similar.

When labor starts, there’s a mix of emotions, most of them happy. Once things progress and it gets more painful, that changes – I for one had the “Why did we decide to do this,” feeling during some particularly painful and close together contractions. But when our son arrived – joy!

4. Flying By
When you cross the start line and begin a marathon, it sets in that you have a long way to go and there’s hours of hard work ahead. But strangely enough, it goes by so fast and it’s over before you know it. Labor is similar.

Now I can’t speak to this as well. The actual labor portion of my experience was only about five hours. Many parents-to-be go through hard labor for 10, 20, even 40-plus hours – that’s right, two full days. But I have to imagine their feelings are similar in that, yes, it may seem like forever but before you know it, it’s over.

5. Never Again…Well…
The first time I ran a marathon, I swore I’d never do one again. Yes, this was around mile 22 or so when I wanted to die and the finish line still seemed so far away. To be honest, nearly every time I’ve run or trained for a marathon, I have proclaimed that this will be my last one. Spoiler alert: It never is. Labor is similar.

When my contractions started, it didn’t take long for them to start coming fast and furious. I can’t remember if I said it out loud or just to myself, but I decided right then and there this baby would be an only child. No way in hell I was going through this again. Fast forward to today, I of course would go through it again.

6. The Pain Continues
Even for the most badass runners, some pain and discomfort is likely during a marathon. And once you finish the race, the pain doesn’t end. It’s not uncommon to have soreness and pain for days after the marathon. Labor is similar.

There’s plenty of pain and discomfort during labor, and plenty more that comes for days, even weeks after. Let’s just leave it at that.

This – the ultimate victory

7. The Reward is Incredible
There’s no feeling like finishing a marathon. Whether your first or tenth, whether you hit your goal or not, it’s an accomplishment that goes beyond the actual race day; weeks, even months of discipline and work all for that incredible feeling. Labor is similar.

Making it to the baby finish line is an indescribable feeling. Not only is it a relief after all the work, you get the ultimate prize – not even the coolest finisher’s medal can compete with meeting your baby!

Speaking of marathons, Abel turns one month old on Monday April 16 – Boston Marathon day. We’ll be celebrating on Patriots Day by watching the marathon and BoSox game. I’m so excited for – and super jealous of – all the runners in this year’s Boston Marathon. Good luck and enjoy the run! It’s the absolute best.

If you have something to add to this post or any other thoughts on it, please leave a comment or tweet me, @LindsayIRL.

From Wellness to Motherhood

“Some moms lift more than just their kids”

Wow. I’ve been incredibly MIA from the blog lately. Usually this time of year is filled with stories about marathon training, posts about all the food I’m eating, and a blurb about the struggle of trying to lift while running so much (why do I always assume this is the year I’ll be able to still lift hard and heavy while training for a marathon?). As much as I love the blog and my commitment to sharing new stories each week, the past few weeks have seen my focus shift to a much bigger priority.

The moment life changed forever…and I’d never sleep again

Nearly two weeks early and weighing in at just six pounds and one ounce, baby boy Paulson joined our family on March 16. We named him Abel and he has brought to us a wonderful mix of love, exhaustion, happiness, and frustration. Long nights and plenty of tough days have combined with sweet snuggles and so much love for this tiny human I didn’t know I was capable of.

With my days preoccupied, my nights no longer devoted to sleep, my diet being more restrictive than when I was pregnant, and my body needing some time to rest and heal, general wellness – working out, mindful “me” time, and eating to perform – have fallen to the bottom of the priority list. But even when I get the all-clear from my doc to get back to workouts, I wonder how I’m going to fit it all in, especially when I go back to work.

People always tell you having a baby changes everything and you have no idea what you’re in for and you’ll no longer have time for things you did before. It’s true. I mean, it has taken me the entire morning to write this one little blog post! Life – both in general and in wellness – is never going to be the way it used to be so my new challenge will be figuring out how to do it all. That, and running my first postpartum mile after nearly three months of not running, yikes.

Moms and dads, how do you fit it fitness along with everything else? Any tips for a brand-new mom? Comment on this post or tweet me, @LindsayIRL.

Getting Back to – New – Normal Workouts

“When things can’t go back to normal, create a new normal”

March has arrived. It’s my favorite month and always has been. It’s the best time to go snowboarding. The weather is still chilly but nice enough to run or walk outside. The days are starting to get longer. And, of course, it’s the month of my favorite holiday: 311 day.

This year, March is extra-special because p-nut (aka Baby) is expected to make his or her arrival around the 28th. After months of, what I would call a pretty easy and uneventful pregnancy, I’m beyond excited to meet our little one. This excitement of course is mixed with nerves, fear of painful recovery, and the dreaded exhaustion – still, can’t wait for it all.

One of the reasons I love March – can’t wait to get back to snowboarding

One of the things I’m also excited to get back to is a normal fitness routine. Don’t worry, I know with a baby consuming most of my life, it will be a “new” normal. But still, normal in terms of non-pregnancy workouts.

Anyone who says you can work out all throughout pregnancy, right up to your due date, is right. I know mamas-to-be who have, myself included (technically I’m about three weeks til my due date but planning to keep going right up until it’s time to push). However, I will admit one thing: it’s hard. Especially in the early and late months, it’s really, sometimes REALLY hard. The fatigue, lack of energy, sometimes downright sick feelings take their toll.

And then there’s the bump itself. Last week I shared that the hardest part of my workouts these days is putting on my shoes and I was serious; like 95% of days that’s the biggest challenging separating me from a sweat sesh and just saying screw it, putting on sweats, and curling up on the couch with Burton and a bowl of mini wheats. But aside from getting in the way of certain exercises, making it harder to pick up and put down weights, and of course, the shoe situation, bringing the bump and extra weight along on every workout definitely takes its toll. I just can’t do the same things I’ve been able to before.

So one of the reasons I’m looking forward to postpartum exercise is the chance to, hopefully, start to feel like myself in the gym and outside again. And don’t even get me started on how pumped I am to start doing all my favorite activities again, snowboarding (next year) and running (ASAP). After having to stop running after week 32, I can’t wait to get outside, even just for a half mile run then to walk. And best of all, I’ll get to continue bringing p-nut along for those workouts. Hopefully the stroller is a little easier than in my belly?

Workout moms, any advice for getting back into fitness after a baby? How about dads, how did you have to adjust your routine after the new little one in your life? Comment below or tweet me @LindsayIRL.

Finding a Way for Wellness

“And now I’ll do what’s best for me”

Last week, something kind of crazy happened. Something that hasn’t happened in, I can’t even remember how long. The kind of thing I don’t allow to happen because I’m a super-disciplined, high-achieving, schedule-driven nut.

I didn’t post a new blog last Sunday.

Eeekkk, it’s true?! Yes, after weeks, months, even years of faithful weekly posting on Sundays, I didn’t post a new blog last Sunday.

One advantage of a big belly – a good spot for a baby

At first I chalked it up to one of two things. First, I mainly write about working out, running, and lifting, with the occasional inspiring wellness or healthy food-related post peppered in. At 36 weeks pregnant now, working out has become tougher for me, which makes it more challenging to write. When I say tougher, I mean it literally; my belly literally makes it tougher to do anything, from picking up weights to putting on my shoes for my workout – you read that right, my biggest challenge these days isn’t lacking energy or feeling strong, it’s putting on my damn shoes.

Quick pause – I love my giant belly. I love hauling it around. I love that it gets in my way. I love that it makes putting on pants and socks an event and challenge of Olympic proportions.

As far as healthy eating, I’m still doing pretty well there – but it’s now baby-focused eating vs. eating to run of lift. And in terms of general wellness, again, everything is so baby-centric, it’s tough to find a recent experience or something general to write about.

Got my mind on someone else these days, too

If not writer’s block, the second thought I had is my priorities are changing. The weekend was busy with baby showers, baby laundry, basically a lot of things baby.

But then I realized it’s not even that. It’s something we all deal with, all the time. Something I haven’t had to deal with much in the past several years but something that’s going to change dramatically: my routine.

I’m such a structured, routine-based person. Part of that is this blog. Sunday is always blogging day. Looking ahead at being a working mom, I have a feeling Sunday, and weekends in general, are going to be all about family time, not long workouts and blogging time. That means I have to dedicate a different time in my week to the blog or be okay with not posting every week like clockwork. I’m a morning person, maybe I’ll get up a little earlier on a certain day of the week. Who knows, but I’ll figure it out. Just as I’ll figure out how to fit fitness into my life when there’s a little one that needs me first.

It’s like that saying goes, if it’s important, you’ll find a way. If not, you’ll find an excuse. Writing is important for me, actually, in a lot of the ways fitness is important to me. While it may not be the same as it was before, it’ll still remain part of life.

What’s a recent disruption to your wellness routine you’ve dealt with lately? How did you make the adjustment to get back on track? Comment below or tweet me @LindsayIRL.

Feeling the Olympic Spirit

“Train with purpose”

After a long wait, it’s finally here again – the Winter Olympics. I love the Olympics. Unlike most, I enjoy watching the Winter games equally as much as I enjoy the Summer edition. Downhill skiing, figure skating, hockey, and my personal favorite, snowboarding. It’s all so great.

I’ve wrote a few Olympics-themed blogs in the past, none that top the lists of favorites as much as when I interviewed Carrie Tollefson two years ago prior to the Summer Olympics. If you haven’t read that one yet, enjoy it now – Carrie’s awesome, funny, and keeps it real.

As a non-professional athlete, there’s something about the Olympics that usually puts me in a great mood to up my workouts. During the Summer games, running events make me want to focus on my form and speed, swimming events get me jacked to jump in the pool and do laps, while the gymnasts remind me how much I love lifting and being strong.

Not quite an Olympic team but a different dream team

This year, watching the Winter games, it’s not quite the same. I’m feeling in about as un-Olympic shape as possible. With just about six weeks to go until my due date (yay!), I’m very…large. Good large, of course. And the good news is I’m still fairly comfortable and working out regularly. Just last week I was even able to participate in a team cycling event for charity, and did pretty well.

Overall, I’ve had to adjust the intensity and types of workouts, and I’m definitely working out for different reasons now. Still kind of training – just for a new purpose.

One more note about the Olympics; my large-ness has resulted in many of my lounging tees being too snug for comfort so I’ve resorted to wearing my husband’s. As I’m sitting here watching the biathlon, I realized I’m wearing his Mike Eruzione Team USA tee – looks like I’m riding the Olympic feeling all over the place.

Do the Olympics inspire the athlete in you to come out harder? What’s your favorite event to watch or the one that gets you pumped the most? Post a comment or tweet me @LindsayIRL. Share your Olympic-worthy workouts on Instagram or Twitter with the hasthtag #wellirl.

Why I Love Running

“You make my heart beat faster”

Last week, I came to a tough and literally painful realization. At 32 weeks pregnant, I laced up my running shoes and hit the treadmill for the last time until Baby P aka p-nut arrives. I’ve reached the point where I’m feeling pain during and, especially, after my run and after talking with a few mother runner friends, decided it would be best to take a break until I’m cleared and ready to go post-baby.

Am I bummed? Of course. Am I feeling sorry for myself? Hell no. I’m 34 years old and having a comfortable, uncomplicated pregnancy. Life is pretty fantastic.

But as I’ve been missing running, I’ve been realizing why it’s something I love so much. Because Valentine’s Day is just around the corner and running is known to get the blood pumping and heart beating, here are the five reasons there’s so much to love about running.

Running with friends – one of the biggest things I’ll miss the next few months

1. It’s a Feel-Good
There are few things that match how good it feels to finish a run, whether a big race, hard training run, or short one after a long day of work.

With 10 marathons, more than a dozen half marathons, and who knows how many miles under my belt, I’ve had plenty of days where I haven’t wanted to run or I’ve had a terrible run. Yet, there’s still something about a good run – the mix of peace, strength, and a job well-done.

2. It’s Stress Relief
Everyone has stress in their life and different ways to relieve it. Running is one of my biggest stress relievers.

Luckily, working out in general – a mix of walking, other cardio, and lifting, seems to be doing the trick, along with mindfulness, writing, and a few other strategies have been helping me supplement as my running has tapered.

3. It’s Scalable
There’s a saying that it doesn’t matter how fast or how far you go. I’ve never found this to be truer than in my second and third trimesters.

When I was training for Chicago Marathon, it was rare I’d run fewer than four miles for a training run. Typically I was running six to eight miles on weekdays, then whatever my long run happened to be. My typical running pace was about an 8-min/mile, give or take based on weather.

The past few months, I’ve been running three, two, even one mile at a time, with pace closer to a 9-min/mile. And you know what? I still feel great about those miles. I guess it’s true, it really doesn’t matter how fast or far you go, as long as you go.

Burton prefers to run, not ride – soon, buddy

4. It’s For Everyone
Just as it doesn’t matter how fast or far you go, it doesn’t matter if you’re a beginner or an expert; you’re carrying a few extra pounds or super-fit. Running is something anyone can do.

5. It’s Fun
I legitimately find running to be a fun way to spend my time. To some people, this is crazy. Others totally get it. And, while I’ll never claim that I don’t have those bad days, the ones that suck or the ones I just don’t want to run, at the end of the day, I truly enjoy it.

Whether it’s a solo run, a run with friends, or, my personal favorite, a run with Burton, running is fun.

What workout do you want to show a little love for this Valentine’s Day? Comment or tweet me, @LindsayIRL. Share pics and moments of you lovin your workout on Twitter and Instagram with hashtag #wellirl.

What Happens When There’s a Shift in Routine

“It’s good to be regular”

I have what one might refer to as Type A personality. In the Myers Briggs personality test, I’m a hard J vs. a P. When looking at my Strengths Finder, Discipline is among my top themes.

What does all this mean? I’m an organizer, a planner, and someone who enjoys structure and routine. I was thinking about this when I recently realized something. This is the first time in several years I’m not in the early stages of my training program for a spring marathon.

These days I just run for fun – and still with dogs

I admit, it has been weird to have Friday nights open for eating whatever I want, to sleep in and not go through my Saturday morning long run regimen, and to have my weeknights more freed up to choose other forms of cardio.

But it has also been somewhat welcome – perhaps because I’m now focused on eating for someone else, enjoying my sleep more, and, some days, only have the energy to go for a 30-minute walk.

I think the Type A, J, and Discipline in me would be really struggling with this new routine if not for the baby on the way. But for now, I’ve managed to take it in stride, even enjoy it – though I admit, I can’t wait until I’m ready to get back to normal running and maybe even a race training program later this year.

Do you enjoy the routine and structure that comes from training for a race? Why or why not? Comment or tweet me @lindsayIRL. I’d love to see how training is going for anyone who’s currently preparing for a spring race so please share your training moments on Instagram or Twitter with the hasthtag #wellirl.

Starting the New Year in February

“I’ve decided my 2018 will start Feb 1…January is a free trial month”

If you’re like me, you’ve seen that quote show up on Facebook several times the past few weeks. It got me thinking about New Year’s Resolutions and other blank slate goals that always come with the beginning of the year.

I’ve never been shy about my dislike of New Year’s Resolutions. When it comes to health and fitness ones specifically, my anti-NYR status is even stronger, for several reasons, one of them being January is a terrible time to launch a healthy eating and exercise plan.

Look familiar?

Overall, I also don’t like the concept because it puts so much pressure on January. Few people last more than two to three weeks on their resolutions and January ends up being looked at as a failure month. The quote above puts a little bit of a humor spin on it but it’s basically the same message – January sucks, we suck, it all sucks. May as well give up and get back to my reality.

However, what I do like about the quote above is it’s honest message. Yep, January doesn’t always work out to be the month people hope for when they make a NYR. But why does that have to mean giving up entirely? February sounds like a perfectly good month to pick back up on those healthy habits.

If you struggled to stick with your goals in January, take some time – and an honest look – to figure out why. Then, make a plan to get back on track. February will be here soon sounds like a great opportunity to be ready to own it with a new outlook and fresh plan of attack.

Those of you who made Resolutions, will you be starting your New Year in February? Or has January gone well? Comment or tweet me, @LindsayIRL. Share your goals for the year on Twitter and Instagram with hashtag #wellirl.

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