Tag Archives: exercise

Run, Kate, Run

JP Morgan Race 3

I’ve always dreamed of one of those people who likes running. Who is good at running. Who says, Oh, I’m just going for a run offhandedly, like it’s no big thang.

The truth is, I’m not. And frankly, it’s not a high enough priority for me to actually take the time and energy needed to work on it….which is probably why I’m not the person I described in the first paragraph. Duh.

Despite running not being my jam, I exercise somewhat regularly (some weeks are better than others!), I’m strong and I’m proud of myself for fitting in what I do. A few months ago someone in my office invited my colleagues and I to join our company’s team at the JP Morgan Chase Corporate Challenge. It’s a 3.5 mile race in downtown Boston on a summer evening — a beautiful route from the public gardens to Fenway Park. Even though there was a negative, doubting voice in my head that said, “Bah! You’re not a runner”, I signed up.

And then I ran it.

My first race.

With 12,000 of my closest friends.

My goal was to finish with 10 minute miles or less (no speed demon here; but what I lack in speed I make up for in determination). By sticking with a younger, slightly speedier friend, I was able to run farther and faster than I ever had before!


I may never be a runner, or brag about my mileage or my speed, but I went out and did it. And it felt good.

She Says… Track and Field

Owen ran in his first “race” this weekend.


We live right near the Boston marathon route and people have started to fill the sidewalks on the weekends doing supported runs to train for it. Though I’m not really a runner myself (despite wanting to be), I love seeing the runners prepping for the big race and get chills just thinking about it (especially given what happened last year). So on our way to his race, Owen’s face was all aglow watching the runners and chatting about when he will run the  marathon.

Truth be told Owen’s first race was really a happy accident. We were joining some friends at a fundraiser/fair over the weekend, and unbeknownst to us the event was a Fun Run for kids. Indoor, thankfully, since the temps here are still hovering around 30 degrees. When we arrived, his age group had already run, but they let him get a number and run with a few other little stragglers in between heats of big kid runners.


Owen was elated.

He stood, toes on the line. Body wiggling with excitement. He eyed up the competition, a huge smile on his face. He knew where the finish line was and he was determined to be the first one there. The guy managing the race said to him “This is your lane. Don’t cross it!”. Owen had never run a race before, so had no idea what that meant. He ended up running the entire race with his legs straddling the line, like he was wearing a big diaper, because he thought he wasn’t supposed to step on the line.

Didn’t matter. He smoked ’em.


He beamed with pride as he got his ribbon. Then he asked me if he could do it again, with bigger kids next time. He certainly has the competitive spirit (ahem, but not so much the grace of a good loser yet)!

Dude is FAST and Benjamin and I have often joked about taking him running. I probably could — I’m pretty slow, so it might even out. When the weather gets warmer I’m thinking the track may be the perfect equalizer. We could all run at different paces for different distances but be together. Anyone out there do this with their kids? When did you start? How far/fast can 3 year olds run, on average? He seems to really love it, and Lord knows we could use another outlet for his physical energy.


After playing every game at the fair, we celebrated his “big win” (and perhaps more importantly his recent great attitude and wonderful sleeping habits!) with ice cream.

Everyone’s favorite reason for running, no?



She Says… Art vs. Science

Dear little one,

We are 24 weeks along in this somewhere-around-40-week-long incubation period (though since Owen only stayed put for 38, we’re thinking you may do the same). Although I was pretty tired in the first trimester and pretty sick for the month or two after that, you’ve made this INCREDIBLY easy on me so far. So easy that I fear that once you come out I will have to pay the price for having it so easy now. Let’s just stick with you being a piece of cake, eh?

I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again… I feel SO PREGNANT. I look consistently about 5 weeks “larger” than I did with Owen. Thankfully, so far at least, I’ve gained significantly less weight. So we’re doing pretty well in that department. I’m finding it harder to exercise this time around (no time! no time!), but I’m working on fitting in walks and quick strength training whenever I can do it. Better than nothing, but certainly not the “gym 4 times a week” regimen I was used to when I was pregnant with Owen. Still surprises me how much weight I gained while pregnant with him given how I was exercising.

Finally the sun has started to melt the crazy amounts of snow we got over this long, long winter, and I am seeing little reminders of what the warmer weather feels like. We’ll be strolling around town without jackets in a matter of weeks! Hallelujah! Still, it feels like it’s taking forever to get here and I’m so tired of wearing gloves and parkas. Also, we’re quickly approaching the “I can’t zip my coat” stage, so spring better come soon. Or else you and I are going to be 1) homebound to stay warm, or 2) wearing one of Daddy’s coats or a burlap sack, which is not a fashion statement I’d like to make, if possible.

I am so excited to know you are a boy, and to know your name. Daddy and I try it on for size after Owen has gone to bed or when we’re talking and it’s just the two of us. I love to say it, and to write it down. I’m fairly certain I’m going to let it slip to someone else by accident, since I’m getting used to saying it out loud, but we’re doing our best to keep it a secret. Our little secret. I hope you will love it too. I haven’t even met you yet, but I feel like it suits you.

I’ve noticed something that is remarkably different being pregnant with you. When I was pregnant the first time, I was consumed by the science of pregnancy. How those teeny tiny cells turn into a person. What was growing during each week and how your tiny body was forming. While I’m no less in awe of that process this time around, I am struck by how much less I am focusing on the science and how much more I am focusing on the art. Feeling you kick and roll and poke and arch inside me feels less medical and more magical. I’m barely reading the “what’s going on this week” emails and more just enjoying the simplicity and joy of keeping  you safely tucked away from the world. I’m thinking about the music and the voices and the sounds that you’re hearing. I’m noticing our daily routines and patterns and when you’re awake and when you’re asleep. I’m savoring every minute in a different way than I did with Owen. I don’t know how to describe it except to say that I am peacefully enjoying this time with you.

Growing you has been one of the greatest joys of my life so far. You are a masterpiece already.

I have one little request… can you calm down in there a little bit? It’s only week 24 and you are already so much stronger and more active than your brother. I really didn’t think that was possible. I fear for my internal organs as you get bigger.

All the love in the world… and then some,

She Says… Tour de France — Almost!

I know I’ve been writing a lot recently about things that have gotten easier with Owen as he gets older. Another one to add to the list? Going for bike rides.

I mean REAL bike rides. Like wearing-spandex-riding-for-over-an-hour-going-upwards-of-12-mph kinds of bike rides. The kind of rides Benjamin and I used to do a whole lot more before my pregnant belly got in the way. Before we had a little person who didn’t tolerate gallavanting around town in a trailer very well.

When we first got the trailer, Owen hated it. A few months ago we made some progress and he began to enjoy short rides. Over the weekend we crossed a new threshold — not only did he tolerate the ride, but he LOVED it.


He beamed and shouted that we were going “super fast”. He listened to music on the best toy we’ve ever bought (which has made car rides, plane rides, train rides, and now bike rides, bearable). He snacked on pretzels and craisins. He screamed in frustration a few times when he dropped his sippy cup, but was happy again as soon as we retrieved it.

Benjamin had the pleasure of pulling the [heavy] trailer, a handicap that put the two of us essentially on the same skill level on our bikes (except for going uphill… I had the upper hand then). I would speed ahead and then loop back and meet up with Benjamin and Owen. Owen would say “See Mommy!” and I’d leapfrog ahead of them, waving and smiling at him as I passed.


He squealed in happiness when we arrived at our destination, an AWESOME playground we had never been to before. It had such fun equipment and was empty on a Sunday morning (since it was a school), so Benjamin and I played right along with Owen and challenged each other to continue our workout with things like monkey bars and sets of push-ups. Owen even tried to do push-ups “just like Mommy” and quickly said, “I can’t DO it!”.


That beats trying to squeeze in a workout dvd at naptime any day!

She Says… Belated Daddy’s Day

Father’s Day was ages ago. I know. But still, it was a really nice day. And when I walked out the door this morning at 6:40am to catch the train to work and breathed in the 1,000,000% humidity and felt my hair go frizzy in about 2 seconds flat, I was aching for the cool breeze and gorgeous weather of just a few short days ago. So I’m going to share pictures of it with you now, in an effort to remind myself that THAT is the norm for this time of year (in Boston, my sincerest apologies to those of you who live in a climate where this is normal), not THIS.

I don’t usually complain about the weather (because 1. it doesn’t do any good and 2. it will change tomorrow anyway), but I am NOT GOOD at being hot. The summer I was pregnant with Owen and my feet were so swollen I could barely wear flip flops, I vowed that if it was within my control I would NEVER have another late summer baby. Ugh. I melt like a popsicle. Give me snow anyday and I am a happy girl.

Anyway. Happier thoughts.

Last Sunday we decided, as a Father’s Day present, we would whip out the bike trailer. Do you remember when we got it last year? We envisioned family bike rides and combining exercise with time outside for Owen and afternoons picnicking around town.

And then we realized that Owen HATED it. We tried a number of things to get him to like it last year, but I think the reality is that he was just so little. And the helmet caused him a lot of discomfort on his tiny head. So we took it for a spin a few times, but never really got into a groove of weekly bike rides.

Fast forward to this year. Owen is bigger. He LOVES wearing his bike helmet, and he loves doing anything that Mommy and Daddy do. So that part was easy. He fits in the seat much better and can do things like handle his own snacks and drinks while he’s riding. He understood the concept of going somewhere, so we decided to ride to a nearby restaurant for Father’s Day brunch.

It was quite lovely! Owen stayed put, except for asking to “see Mommy” several times throughout the ride, which was actually good exercise for me as I would sprint up alongside him when there were no cars coming. Benjamin pulls the trailer and I bring up the rear when we ride, since we’re both a little nervous about cars being able to see the trailer on the road. The only downside is that while Benjamin is getting an incredible strength workout, I’m usually in the back shouting “FASTER, DADDY! FASTER!”, because he is slowed WAY down by the heavy load he is pulling. It’s not really a workout for me to keep up.

I won’t say that Owen LOVED it, but he certainly tolerated it. And he’s been talking about it ever since, so I think he had more fun than he let on at the time. I think at this point all we need to do is practice (like doing short rides every weekend so he can get used to it)…

…and keep riding to fun places where Owen can get his fill of bacon.



She Says… Jessica Simpson Stole My Pose

Jessica Simpson posed naked in all her pregnant glory for the cover of Elle Magazine…

… just like I did a few weeks before Owen was born.

Photo credit: Katie Ring Images

Ok, let’s be honest here. Mine wasn’t going to make the cover of a fashion magazine. But still, seeing her photo this morning and reading her comments about how strong and empowered she felt reminded me of how amazing I felt when my big, pregnant, naked belly photo was taken. That pregnant belly is an awe-inspiring thing. Suddenly, nearly 40 pounds heavier than my normal self, I felt more beautiful than I ever had before.

And, shockingly (when you think about how gosh darn BIG it was), that belly is pretty much gone now. Not all the way, mind you. Hey, nobody’s perfect. But close enough.

Our bodies are astonishingly resilient.

The ease with which my body recovered (and I would argue even became stronger and healthier) post-baby makes me so excited about the opportunity to do it again someday.

SOMEDAY, PEOPLE. Don’t get ahead of yourselves.

She Says… Dang

Dang, running is hard.

Well, I should say running is hard FOR ME.

I have never been a runner. In middle school I was a chubby kid who could barely run “the mile”. Exercise-induced asthma didn’t help, but honestly I think that was just because I was out of shape (although perhaps we know where Owen gets his asthmatic tendencies!). A few years ago, when I got into biking and made the conscious decision to spend more time at the gym, I began to try running again. Little by little I worked my way up to running 3-4 miles at a time. Slowly, mind you, but it was something. I stopped running when I was in the throes of trying to make a baby and grasping at straws trying to figure out what was causing my anovulation. Then when I finally got preggo I ventured back onto the treadmill (in the air conditioned gym!) for some easy runs in my first trimester. By around 18 or 20 weeks my belly was so darn big that running became a liability (and felt like a water balloon bouncing around in front of me), and I distinctly remember the day that Benjamin forbade me to run anymore until little Owen was born.

I haven’t run since then.

Except if you count, like, running to the car because it has just started to rain and I don’t have an umbrella.

So I’m not really sure what possessed me to go for a run today. But run I did.

See, it finally cooled off a bit today. It stormed all morning and then the sun came out, and the cool breeze was just calling my name. I was about to sequester myself in the basement for a little cardio action on my elliptical, but I was NOT feeling it. I also needed to walk Schnitzel for the day, so the lightbulb went off and I figured I could kill 2 birds with 1 stone.

More like kill myself and Schnitzel with 1 run.

Let me cut to the chase. I did just under 3 miles (according to Google pedometer) in about 35 minutes. That’s not too shabby considering a) it’s hot out, b) I was wrestling with Schnitzel and had to stop to let him pee/poop a few times, c) I MUCH prefer running in air conditioning on a treadmill than running outside and d) I haven’t run since early 2010. I just kept thinking about this quote I saw on Pinterest recently:

No matter how slow you go, you are still lapping everybody on the couch.

So true, no? So I’m not worrying about how long it took me. And I’m not even worrying about how far I went. I’m just glad I got off my ass when the urge struck, and did it.

That said, there are some things I should do differently next time:

1. Bring iPod. Duh. How could I forget that? Funny thing is, I didn’t even notice until at least the end of mile 1. There was something kind of nice about listening to my feet hit the pavement… until I got totally bored.

2. DON’T bring Schnitzel. As much as I love the dog, and I love the idea of going running with my pup beside me, he makes things a LOT more complicated. I don’t know how Kara does it with a dog AND a stroller! He trotted alongside me for the most part, which was awesome, but he also stopped to pee and sniff a few times, thus yanking my arm backwards and causing me to lose my balance (what? the dog weighs only 30 lbs less than I do!).

3. Bring water. Another duh. But I figured with the dog leash and the inevitable poop bag (see #4) that I had enough to carry. Also, I get annoyed with carrying things while I’m running. Needless to say, Schnitzel and I were both pretty parched when we got home.

4. If bringing Schnitzel, plan run where there will be trash cans. Schnitzel pooped about 8 minutes into the run. Not close enough to go home to throw away the poop bag, and yet so, so far away from the end of the run. So I ran holding a produce bag full of dog shit. For over 2 miles. Once I got irritated with the swinging poop messing with my rhythm, I palmed the poop (checking the bag first for holes. ‘Cause that’s nasty.). Yep, that was me, running down the street clutching a warm bag of doggie doo doo.

Any other tips for a newbie runner who really, really WANTS to like running?

Which do you think is easier, running with a dog or a stroller? Our new bike trailer converts to a jogging stroller and I’m interested in seeing how I do with that. But I need to make sure I am actually going to continue this whole running thing to make sure it’s worth the investment for the conversion kit.

Lastly, anyone out there want to buy me a treadmill so I don’t have to carry dog shit on my runs?

She Says… Back in the Saddle

I used to ride my bike a lot. Last year I wrote about how it was one of the very few things I missed while I was pregnant. Benjamin and I have even done a few centruy rides together (100 miles in one day), including one in the White Mountains in New Hampshire… which is no joke for someone who’s not big on hills! Last weekend, after having not ridden my bike for nearly 2 years (since I stopped biking slightly before I got pregnant in an effort to slow down and help the babymaking process, and haven’t gotten on the bike since, mostly because we didn’t have a seat for Owen), I got back in the saddle again.

I’ll admit, I was pretty nervous. It took me a little while to get the hang of riding with clipless (aka clip-in… the name is deceiving) pedals, and I’m not always the most coordinated person in terms of balance. I may be relatively strong, but I’m a big dork when it comes to staying upright on the bike.

But I couldn’t resist. The sunny roads were calling my name. And Owen got one of these for his birthday:

So last weekend we took our first ride as a family.

It was awesome.

You know, for the first 5 minutes.

Then we heard a little whining. And I peeked in to see Owen’s helmet down over his eyes, and his poor little head was cocked to the side because the helmet was so heavy. And he was leaning over to one side so far that he was almost horizontal. We had the chest straps pulled as tightly as they would go, but he just wasn’t supported right. We stopped and readjusted.

Then he wailed when I put him back in.

Aha! I thought. I’ll just prop him up and he’ll be all comfy back there. So we tried this:

You can see by the look on his face what he thought of that. And after about 10 minutes of riding the pillows had fallen and he was slumped over again. Humph.

We tried a few other things (like moving him to the outside seat, even though the directions say that if you only have one child to put them in the center), but every time we stopped the bike, he fussed. So we made the first ride very, very short. Not exactly the glorious family bike ride we were hoping for, but I’m sure it’s just something he has to get used to.

Have you used one of these? Any tips for making it more comfortable for a little guy? Also, are there helmets out there that fit tiny heads better than the one we got? I won’t let him ride without a helmet, but the helmet seemed to be causing the most discomfort.

Since Benjamin and I still needed to get our biking fix, and he happened to have a day off of his busy work schedule, we decided to take yesterday off and still have Owen go to daycare. IT WAS AMAZING. We walked Owen (and Schnitzel) to daycare in the morning, and then went out for a long, baby-free bike ride. Man, that felt good. And for those who care, I had nothing to be nervous about. It’s like riding a bike. It all came back to me as soon as my feet hit those pedals.

After our ride we went to Dunkin’ Donuts for coffees (hot for him, iced for me), and did some shopping that we’ve been putting off. We finally found bar stools for our kitchen island! We’ve been standing there since we moved in nearly 2 months ago. We went out to a lovely lunch and even had a glass of wine. Then we did a Trader Joe’s run for all of our favorite things, including super cheap wine (!!!), and headed home. It was a relaxing, wonderful day. And I was doubly relaxed because we weren’t paying a babysitter for every minute (which is something that makes me kind of stressed out on the rare occasion we do a “date night”). All in all, a perfect way to spend the day.

She Says… What Are You Pushing?

In addition to eating things all day long (per yesterday’s post), Owen’s new favorite activity is PUSHING things. His little legs were made for walking, and when he can’t find the finger or legs of an unsuspecting person to grab on to and take off running, he pushes random objects across the floor. He’s like a little bulldozer recently. Folding chairs, toys, laundry baskets, empty cardboard boxes, etc.

The other day I caught him doing this.


He did it for at least 15 minutes. That’s precisely 7.3 laps from our new front hall to the kitchen to the dining room and back around to the front hall.

Still going…

Not a bad workout for either one of us, really.

She Says… Busy Little Bee

Owen has been a mover and a shaker since the day he was born. Heck, since before he was born. I remember being rocked from side to side as he rolled and tumbled in my stomach in those last few weeks. He dominated tummy time even as a tiny babe, and the movement milestones haven’t stopped since. When he gets ahold of your finger or hand or leg (or leg hair, in Benjamin’s case), he will pull up to a stand and barrel forwards, head first, so quickly you don’t have much choice but to go right along with him. The second his butt touches the ground, he’s back up. Crawling, scooting, using his patented one-knee-one-foot scramble to get across the room as quickly as possible.

Nothing is safe.


Even before he has finished his bottle these days, he wants to get down from my lap. He smacks the table and dances around, taking sips of his bottle in between. He clamors up the couch cushions and smacks the wall, pulls at curtains and throws himself backwards onto pillows. He can climb up on top of anything.

His favorite thing to play with right now, despite my firm “no” and moving him away from it (and it away from him)? The dog bowl. Oh, shiny silver bowl covered in doggie slime. He sneaks around and speeds across the kitchen to get even just one tiny finger in that water and splash around. He knows he’s not supposed to do it. Before he touches it he even turns around to look at me and smiles. Mischievous little imp. Then, despite my protests, he laughs and does it anyway. … It’s a good thing he’s so darn cute. I move the dog bowl up onto the counter so often that the poor dog is going to be dehydrated!

Yesterday at daycare the teach said to me, “Phew, he is one of the BUSIEST babies I have ever seen. And I’ve seen a lot of babies”. Hmmm. I guess I always thought he was just a one year old. But perhaps I have been blessed with a particularly active and curious and daring and fearless one year old.

Another mom I know mentioned that she hasn’t even babyproofed her kitchen cabinets yet, and she has a 13 month old. Ha! As soon as Owen could move across the floor he was opening and closing drawers and doors and slamming his fingers in them. Busy is right.Thank goodness our new house has baby proofing on all cabinets, drawers, doors and stairs.We need every one!

And since we’re in full on teething mode here at the This Place is Now a Home home (4 teeth pushing through at the moment… it’s not a wonder he’s been on and off Ibuprofen for the last few weeks!), my busy boy puts everything he can reach in his mouth. Especially things he’s not supposed to eat. Like nightlights. And shoes. And laundry. And dog toys. It is a full time job just keeping up with him and making sure he’s not eating something he shouldn’t be (despite my best efforts at baby proofing!). Phew, I’m exhausted.

Do you have a busy baby? Sometimes I wonder what it would be like to have a baby who would tolerate (even enjoy?) sitting with me a reading a book, or playing quietly in one place for a few minutes at a time, rather than a little explorer. But I must say, having little Christopher Columbus certainly keeps me on my toes (and has definitely helped me lose the last of my baby weight, and then some!).