January 26, 2014

Cold Weather Running Tips

That darn Polar Vortex is here again. I have never been more thankful for my treadmill than I was this morning. It was 18 degrees and snowing...not my favorite conditions for a long run, especially on the icy hills of Pittsburgh. For those of you who are running outside (you crazy fools!), here are some tips to make sure you are staying safe.

  • Make sure you wear the proper clothing. Your outfit should vent - do not run in cotton! It is no fun to be cold AND wet while running. 
  • Layer up - but don't wear too many layers. I've always been told the rule of thumb is to dress like it's 20 degrees warmer than it really is. You want to be warm, but you don't want to sweat a lot and catch a chill. Make sure your outer layer is windproof. Also make sure your outer layers are bright and reflective.

Photo from my instagram

  • Wear a hat! Heat escapes from your head and you need to retain as much heat as possible when it's negative degrees out. Don't forget your gloves or mittens either - heat also escapes from your hands and feet.
  • Make sure your shoes have traction. This is especially important when the roads are slick.
  • Protect your eyes. I don't know about you, but the cold and wind really bugs my eyes and makes them water. I recommend investing in a good pair of athletic sunglasses. This is also helpful when the sun is reflecting off of the snow.
  • Don't forget fluids! Fluids are just as important when its cold as they are when it is hot out. Cold air dries out your skin and can have a dehydrating effect. 
  • As always: carry your ID or cell phone, run with a buddy if possible, and let someone know your route.
Since winter running also means running in the dark, check out these tips too.

Stay warm everyone!

January 18, 2014

New Year, Same Goals

I've written about goals in the past: fitness goals, educational goals, blogging goals, and New Year’s resolutions. Since it’s January, I figured there is no better time to talk about some of my goals for 2014. As I was thinking about it this morning, I realized that my goals haven’t really changed from last year. A lot of them are long-term goals that are continuing into 2014. The good thing is that I can look back and see the process from where I was in January of 2013. I feel like I’m one step closer on my journey to accomplish all of my goals. Here are some of the goals & milestones I’m working on this year:

Career: I once had a mentor who told me you should never do the same thing for more than two years. I've been in the same role at my company since February 2011. We are quickly approaching the three year mark, but I’m cutting myself some slack since during that three year period, I transferred to our Pittsburgh office (which was definitely a change!). I've been talking to my boss about where I want to focus on my career and I’m hoping that I can make some changes in 2014. It’s time for a new project, a new challenge, and a new opportunity.

Education: I just started semester 4 of 6 in the MBA program at Duquesne University. I’m on track to graduate this December and my goal is to finish strong. “Christmas Break” (can you call it that if you still have to work 5 days a week?) could not have come at a better time. I was feeling a bit burnt out at the end of last semester, but felt refreshed when classes started last week. One of my goals for education this year is to find a better balance of school work, work, and a personal life…I really struggled with this one last year, so send me some helpful hints!

Health: I am a pretty healthy person in general, but there are definitely some areas I can work on. Eating healthy is the biggest area where there is room for improvement. My goals for 2014 are to shop healthier, cook more, and stop snacking as much in the evening (or maybe just to snack healthier in the evening), and drink more water. I started using MyFitnessPal.com to log everything I’m eating. It's awesome because I can access my log from the computer, my phone, and my iPad to keep track during the day. It has definitely been eye opening these last two weeks!

Fitness: Continuing on from eating healthy is the fitness goal. Moving to Pittsburgh and starting grad school put a huge damper on my running in 2013. This year, I've already signed up for a 10K and a half marathon in the Spring. Knowing what my work/school schedule looks like, I had to set a realistic plan of running three days a week. It’s tough reminding myself that I’m training not to PR these races, but to keep myself in shape slowly build back up to where I was at in 2012.

A couple that sweats together........eats lots of FroYo together

Those are just a few of the big ones for this year. I’m pretty excited to see what all this year brings. 

What are your goals for 2014?

January 10, 2014

Merry Christmas & Happy New Year!

…says the slacker…over 2 weeks late! I don’t know about you, but I can’t believe we are already two weeks into 2014. I am just now getting around to hanging up my new calendars. The Christmas season is always hectic and relaxing at the same time. I don’t really know how to explain the feeling, but I came back to work this week with an, “I need a vacation from my vacation” attitude.

Here are some of the highlights from our Christmas & New Year’s celebrations:

On Christmas Eve, we go to 4:00 mass and then head down to my Grandma’s to celebrate with my dad’s side of the family. I’ve probably forgotten someone, but at last count there are 31 of us (not counting the 3 babies on the way J) that cram into my grandma’s basement for present time. I always get prime real estate in the middle of the floor.

On Christmas Eve night, we go back to my parent’s house and exchange gifts between the 8 of us and then we open our stockings on Christmas morning. 

We had Christmas with my mom’s side of the family on Christmas day. My mom cooked Christmas dinner this year…and it was delicious.

The weekend after Christmas, Justin and I headed down to Pigeon Forge for Christmas with his family. His aunt & uncle rented a cabin for us all to stay at…I want to live there. We had 2 hot tubs, a pool table, and a 12 seat theater. We relaxed, exchanged gifts, played lots of pool, and even adventured into downtown Gatlinburg for one day to go to the Moonshine distillery.

By the time New Year’s Eve rolled around, we were excited to stay home and ring in the New Year while relaxing on the couch!

Other “Christmas Break” highlights:  

A baby shower for Levi, who is going to be the most spoiled little boy of all time!

A couple of birthday parties for some other very spoiled person that I know…

and quality time with my favorite Southern Indiana ladies (which I forgot to document!)

I told you I needed a vacation after my vacation!

Tell me about your Christmas traditions?
 Did you start any new ones this year?