Wednesday, April 30, 2014

So Glad

I am so glad that I decided to stop running last week. Today I attempted a 3-mile walk and it was a slow one. The round ligament pain has been pretty bad on my walks lately. Then, my whole abdomen and back get tired and sore. And then I limp along at a slower walking pace (22:00 per mile) and push the stroller along. I probably look really pathetic. But that is why I am happy I am done with running for now. I would be dead on the side of the road if I tried.

I am praying that swimming will help with this problem, not only for relief during the swim, but also for a wider variety of activities such as walking. If I have to spend May, June, July, and half of August limping around on walks, I will probably give up. If I give up on walking, El will drive me crazy. She loves being outside. I will also go crazy, cuz I love being outside too.

But I'm already planning my comeback. One of my good friends is having a baby two months after I am. We ran our half marathon together and I think we will set some running goals together. It will be great to have a buddy in the same situation and whom I can be accountable to.

Until my glorious or not comeback, I will limp around pushing El in the stroller, cheering Drew on as he races through the summer.

Monday, April 28, 2014

A Sunday of Slightly Stressful Song

This weekend was supposed to be musically low-key. Supposed to be. And this isn't a complaining post. It's funny that nothing seemed to go right or easily for me.

I play the organ for Church. There is another organist and we switch off playing every two weeks. It makes it nice. I get to sit with my family, can go on vacation, don't have to have that stress each week. This week, the other organist called me and said she was very sick and wouldn't be able to play without having a coughing fit. We organists are here for each other. So I said I would play.

I realized after I said I would play that we had to leave for Church in 30 minutes if I wanted time to run through the songs before and play prelude. I hurried into my dress, threw a lunch together for El, and woke her up early from her nap (NOOOO!!!!). And off we went to Church. I looked up the songs I had to play. They were easy, familiar songs that wouldn't be challenging: "Praise to the Man," "I Stand All Amazed," "We Thank Thee, O God, for a Prophet," and "Joseph Smith's First Prayer." So that was good news. But when I started to play, I immediately realized that someone had changed the stops. And I hated pretty much every single one. Since I am a pianist who just took a seminar on playing the organ, this becomes a problem for me. I was annoyed and am pretty sure I know who it was of the other organists in the other wards. Then I felt flustered as I tried to find the most appropriate stops for each song and memorize which number it was so I wouldn't accidentally sound like a circus organ. Feeling flustered that the prelude was not awesome and neither were the songs with the congregation. Ahhh, life.

Then, the normal Primary pianist came up to me after sacrament meeting and asked if I could fill in for her in the third hour. I said yes and knew it wouldn't be a problem. It was funny that I was filling in last minute for everyone. I love playing in Primary. I was really sad when I got released, but it makes my Sundays a lot less hectic to not have to be playing all day. I came in and found out I got to play two new songs I had never played nor heard before. That, fortunately, went well and the kids all applauded for me.

After Church, we have choir practice. It is pretty much the worst time ever for choir. We go to Church at 1 pm, it lasts until 4, then choir from 4:15-5:15. It is awful. But since the director is my BFF Shannon, I go anyway. And then I remembered that she asked me to switch from soprano to alto in "Come Thou Fount of Every Blessing." And we are singing it in two weeks, acapella. Awesome. I learned the part but it is really tough to not have that piano with us when I'm not super confident.

Basically, this is a story about how I was very musical on a Sunday that was supposed to be relaxing and not terribly musical. I lived and music always makes for a good story, right?

Friday, April 25, 2014

Friday Randoms

Foam rolling is amazing. I already knew this, especially during my half marathon training, but I just had it reaffirmed. Drew said his ankle was bothering him, I kept telling him to roll his calves out. He didn't think it would help his ankle. Finally, I got it out while we were watching tv and rolled my own legs (just normal tightness from daily life). And then he grudgingly rolled his. When I asked him how it felt in the morning, he said he couldn't feel anything. So it worked, but he doesn't like to admit that I was right.

Most runners who have been running for any length of time sing the praises of foam rollers. If you are new to running, like we are, then it can be confusing. Why roll yourself out? It hurts. How do I do it? What kind should I get? We are by no means pros at running or foam rolling, but here are some resources to get you started.

Which one?

Black High Density Foam Rollers - Extra Firm - 6" x 36" Round 
This is the one we have, which came recommended by a good friend, and is available on here. I hear this high-density roller one is better than the standard one, which is low density. It makes sense because it is pretty hard, which is great for rolling out your sore muscles. There are also a lot of ones with grooves and ridges which make for a more intense massage. There are also hand held ones for more focused work and you could use in the car or at work and not look like a fool. I haven't used any other ones yet, but I am sure we will as we keep running.

Here is a great infographic showing how to use your foam roller. We have mostly just done legs, but I think I'll be using it on my back as this pregnancy progresses. For you pregnant people, here is a video with some suggestions for rolling your low back pain away.

I'm not really providing any information that is new. There is so much information online with suggestions for exercises. It really will help your muscles release better than simply stretching. And remember not to roll over your bones, just muscle! The foam roller is not, however, a cure-all for injuries. There is a difference between rolling an injury and rolling muscles soreness or tightness. Hopefully you will have good experience with the foam roller.

Happy foam rolling!

Wednesday, April 23, 2014

Upcoming Races in the Area

Even though I won't be running in any of these, here are some upcoming races in the area.

Oso Benefit Run
You may have heard about the mudslide in Oso, WA about a month ago. A nearby running club has organized a benefit run in Arlington on Saturday, April 26! There are options to walk or run 5k or 10k. I am pretty sure that we will be there!

First Call Running Club Half/Marathon/50k
My dear husband Drew has been training for his first half marathon, and this is the one! It is in Bothell and is on Saturday, May 10 and is quite inexpensive (you must be a member of the running club).

Inspiring Hope 5k/10k
This run in Mukilteo on May 10 is to celebrate cancer warriors.

Snohomish Women's Run
A women's race of half marathon and 10k distances. This route is very flat and beautiful! The race is on May 18.

Deception Pass Half
Deception Pass is beautiful, so why wouldn't you want to run here? The race is on Sunday, June 1.

Run Like the Wind Running Festival
It's not exactly local, but it looks like fun! The half marathon and 5k are on Saturday, June 7, and the full and 10k are on Sunday, June 8. You can also go on a tour of the Wild Horse Wind and Solar Power Facility in Ellensburg.

Tesoro March Point Run
We hear from our not-quite-family in Anacortes that this race is fun for the whole family, even those who don't run. It is on Saturday, June 28 and there are usually lots of prizes and foods for everyone. There is a kid run, 5k, and 10k.

Run of the Mill
This community race in Mill Creek on July 12 is a huge community celebration.

Ragnar Relay: Northwest Passage
This is part of the famous Ragnar series, so you will need 11 other runners to be on your team this July 18-19. You basically run from Canada through farmlands, onto Fidalgo Island, across Deception Pass, down the length of Widbey Island. Not you by yourself, but you and your buddies in three legs each. Someday I will run a Ragnar, but not this year.

I only listed a few races that sounded interesting to me or that are already on our family's race calendar. Of course, there are hundreds of races each month, which you can find listings for at Running in the USA, here. I don't often look at runs in Seattle because I hate going into the city. The Skagit Runners' Club maintains a great list of events in Skagit County, here. Visit the Mill Creek Running Club's Facebook page to connect with other runners, cyclists, swimmers, and triathletes.

Monday, April 21, 2014

Two Weeks of Workouts, April 7-April 20

45 minutes strength and core
2 mile run with the jogging stroller, 23:13 with average pace at 11:35 min/mile
2 mile walk to the park and back with friends

30 minutes yoga

45 minutes strength and core
2 mile walk

3 mile walk

2 mile walk

30 minutes strength and core
2 mile walk


3 mile walk

45 minutes strength and core

Walking around the mall


20 minutes pilates
Walking around the Tulip Festival

painting the bathroom


Maybe It's Time To Stop

My mom and MIL and SIL came to visit us last week. We had a lot of fun. I did not exercise well at all. This week, it is back to work.

I recently published a prenatal stroller workout and I have wanted to do it again since publishing it, but I feel like BLAH. Maybe that feeling will pass after I get back into a fitness routine in the next few days. Maybe it won't. However, I'm getting the feeling that my running days are almost numbered for this pregnancy and I will just be walking and speed walking during the workout.

This makes me sad. I want to run. I had fun last summer running regularly and would love to do it again this year. There is always next year. Pushing a double jogger (UGGHHHH! I'm tired already.).

So many mommy bloggers have written posts about comparing themselves to others moms on Instagram, Pinterest, and blogs. Lately, I'm struggling with comparing myself to other mommy runners and those runners who are currently pregnant. It seems to be a badge of honor to run as far as you can into your pregnancy. ***Oh, you only made it 22 weeks? Well, I ran up to 28 weeks. I ran up to 35 weeks. I ran the day I delivered my baby!*** Sheesh. I think I'm done running. I am exhausted the rest of the day, my lady parts get sore, and it isn't fun to run if I'm just running to say I did it.

I will have to take time off of running until after baby boy comes in August. I don't want to injure myself, my baby, or risk an early delivery. Even if I can't run, that doesn't mean I am out of shape. I can still walk, swim, do strength exercises, practice pilates or yoga. I can still eat healthy foods. I can still have the healthiest pregnancy I can and be safe and smart about it. And after I deliver my baby and spend time recovering, I can running and be an even stronger runner than I was before.

Even though I won't be running until October, I'll still update the blog with upcoming races in my area and interesting running articles or thoughts I have. Until then, this might just be a general blog about fitness and music.

Basically, I just want to tell you pregnant runners out there that there is no shame in not running through your entire pregnancy. It is easy to feel shame about not being "as tough" as others, whether that is getting an epidural or not running anymore. Stop it. Do your best, not anyone else's best.

Wednesday, April 16, 2014

Happiness and Singing


"A child who sings is a happy child." This quote is from a talk by Enrique R. Falabella about making our homes "the place that can become a piece of heaven here on earth." One way to make our homes into a piece of heaven is by singing with our children. Of course, he is talking about teaching them songs that teach of Christ, but it also includes non-religious songs. "A child who sings is a happy child." It doesn't matter what you sing, there is so much joy in singing with your heart.

I love singing with El. I'm pretty sure she loves it too. Sometimes I can't tell if she is singing or babbling when she plays by herself. And does it really matter? It makes her happy and it makes me happy. We sing songs about rabbits, flowers, rain, Jesus, cars, rivers, people...pretty much anything there is a song for.

Our speech itself is musical, with all the inflections and pitches we include to give meaning. Words matter more when they have been touched by music.

How many times have you sung in the car as loud as you could? And something was happening in your heart---happiness.

When was the last time you were an opera singer in the shower? Happy happy times!

Why do certain songs have meaning to us? Why do we, as humans, love love songs, use song to celebrate birthdays, mourn loved ones with song, and connect to others with song? Music has some deep resonance in our souls. We are made to be alive with music.

A song about singing that I love goes:

A song is a wonderful kind of thing,
  1. So lift up your voice and sing!
    Just start a glad song, let it float, let it ring,
    And lift up your voice and sing!
We shall make music to brighten the day;
Music will help us to lighten the way.
Lift up your voice! Lift up your voice!
Lift up your voice and sing!

Go out a sing a little bit today! Let your voice float and ring! Remember that a person who sings is a happy person.

Monday, April 14, 2014

Handel's "Messiah" Performance, Mormon Tabernacle Choir

I am really excited about an upcoming broadcast. Usually, I'm OK excited about religious broadcasts, and being LDS, it seems there are a lot of them. But for some reason, I always make time for music broadcasts. Probably because I love music and I love the Mormon Tabernacle Choir and Orchestra at Temple Square!

On Good Friday and Saturday, the Choir and Orchestra will perform Handel's Messiah. Although usually thought of during Christmastime, the oratorio was originally composed for Easter. You can watch it live at 7:30 p.m. Mountain/6:30 p.m. Pacific through streaming at If you miss the live stream, you can watch it later on demand at the choir's website or on youtube. You won't want to miss an amazing and moving musical masterpiece sung by a talented, blow-you-away choir.

Here's a great article about Handel and the Messiah, if you want to learn more!

Here is an article about the libretto (text of the composition) and its Easter themes.

Let me know if you watch or listen to this great musical event!

Friday, April 11, 2014

Prenatal Stroller Triangle Pyramid Workout

There are a lot of great prenatal workouts out there. I will do a blog post soon about what I've been doing. There are a lot of great stroller workouts, too. There aren't a lot of prenatal and stroller workouts. For moms of that are pregnant and have a child running around outside their belly, these are great resources. I have noticed, however, that a lot of the stroller workouts incorporate walking (of course) and body weight exercises. This is great! IF your child who is strapped into the stroller stays content in a stationary stroller.

My child is not happy if the stroller stops moving. So, I've created a very simple cardio workout to keep that stroller moving and give mom some interval training.

*This is not a workout for toning, just cardio exercise. You'll have to do toning exercises another time. Or if your child is OK with it, throw in 20 walking lunges between each set.

**I am not a health professional, just a mom who is interested and who has read a lot. Check out the American Congress of Obstetricians and Gynecologists (ACOG) for more information and their recommendations for exercise during pregnancy. For this workout, just be sure you don't exert yourself too much, this isn't the time to push yourself beyond your current capacities.

  • Start out with a warm up, whether that's wrestling your kid into their jacket, walking, or a few squats.
  • In the running portions, be sure to gauge your ability. If you were a runner before pregnancy, go ahead and run. 
  • If you were not running before, speed walk---there are plenty of benefits to elevating your heart rate this way.
  • I would not recommend jogging without a jogging stroller. If you have a standard stroller, umbrella stroller, or something else not specifically for jogging, speed walk. Your toddler will thank you for not making them into a scrambled egg. And if you are using a jogging stroller, be sure to lock the front wheel!
  • Take a water bottle. It is so important to stay hydrated during pregnancy.

Good luck and happy workouts!

Wednesday, April 9, 2014

Swimming Lessons in Our Future

I feel like I'm entering a parenthood right of passage... Enrolling my child in swimming lessons! Since we just got a new car, we will be heading to the pool this afternoon before dad gets home from work (!!!) and signing up for a parent/tot "swim" class.

I know that these baby swim classes are usually just splashing and singing, maybe with a little bit of floating on backs or going under water thrown in. I also know that there are a lot of options for baby swim classes where they learn more life-saving skills, such as Waterbabies. These look like great programs and I wish we could afford it right now. But we can't, so I am going to shoot for familiarity with water. I am certain we will cover things like, "don't get in water without an adult" and "don't run on the pool deck". I don't want El to be afraid of water and I think that going to the pool weekly and seeing how fun water is will really help her. Right now, she hates laying down in the tub to get her hair rinsed. She is getting better at it, but we still have a ways to go.

And a fun thing about a parent/tot swim class is that I get to swim too! Although I am considerable less cute in my swim suit than El is. Which gets me to a soapbox upon which I will not stay long. Pretty much everyone looks horrible in a swimsuit because they are the most unflattering garment invented. Thin women in bikinis could lose their bottoms when they waterski and they rate constantly readjusting their tops. Normal people have cellulite or bulges too. Overweight women or women not confident in their appearance too often sit out on the side of the pool in their clothes because they are embarrassed. I understand that. I don't want to parade around in my almost nakeds either, but I don't want to miss out on life. And it is too bad that our society puts so much emphasis on looking a certain way in order to participate in certain activities. This is not so much a problem for men, think of all the fat men in speedos you see at the beach. My goal as a mother is to show my children that my body is beautiful and a gift and I should take care of it as best I can and enjoy its capabilities, even if it isn't "perfect". End soapbox rant. Rest assured, I will rocking my plumpy and pregnant body in a swimsuit for the swimming lessons.

And another fun part about these swimming lessons will be combining music and physical activity---the two things this blog is about. I will keep you updated about our fun times at the pool!

Advice for helping my children learn water safety?

How do you feel about swimsuits?

Monday, April 7, 2014

Teacher Prep Period

El is taking her nap (please, sleep for three hours!) right now and I have been prepping for my first cello lesson in several years with a student who is completely new to the cello.

My last student I taught was in his elementary school orchestra, so had had some introduction to the cello. He was very distracted though and not very musically inclined. He kept telling me that he was going to quit cello and play lacrosse. A) don't tell your teacher that. B) after a while where you don't practice at all, it seems to be better to just quit.

I do think this new student will be a little easier to teach for a few reasons.

  • He has taken a few years of piano lessons so already reads music. I started piano lessons when I was 6 and pretty much learned to read music alongside reading printed words. I don't remember learning to read music and it was difficult for me to help my previous student.
  • He is a little more focused on music and the arts. I don't think he's very interested in playing sports, just in watching the Mariners and Seahawks.
  • His parents will help him. They are a musical and performing arts family. I think there will be more pressure to practice and advance in the cello.
  • I am not trying to write a master's thesis or go to school so can spend more time prepping for lessons.
Some things about teaching this student will be difficult.
  • Having a clingy child. This will hopefully be resolved by having lessons and his house, where his teenage sisters can dote on El.
  • Finding a good cello method book. He doesn't have one from orchestra, which is what I used to go along with. This may actually be a good thing. Recommendations are appreciated! So far, I've just told his mom to buy Suzuki Cello Book 1. I'd like a method book and maybe a scale book. I think we've got a trip to the music store in our future.
  • Teaching in general is difficult. But it's a good difficult.
But overall, I am excited. I've been reviewing "Action Studies" for beginning cellists and they are great reminders for me about sitting in a good position, arms positions, and the bow hold. Action Studies are boring and kind of cheesy, but now that I'm looking at them from a teacher's perspective, they make a lot of sense.

Are you a music teacher? Do you have any tips for teaching?

Any cello teachers with a recommendation on a method book?

To you athletes, did/do you practice drills for your technique?

Week of Workouts: March 31-April 6

Run/row workout---.28 mile row, 1.6 run (+some to make it an even 2 miles), 35 minutes

Rest because I was up all night with the child and then very busy

3 mile walk
30 minutes yoga strength

45 minutes strength and core
3.5 mile walk

20 minutes pilates, focus on the booty
2 mile walk



Overall, not a horrible week, but not a great week. On the days I didn't sleep in and then was incredibly busy, I had some great workouts.

Friday, April 4, 2014

Looking Back on a Week of Working Out

After Monday's excellent run/row workout, I was excited about a great week where I would run one or even two more times during the week.

Basically, I'm really hoping to squeeze a run in before we go car shopping tomorrow morning, because I haven't run since.

I felt great after Monday, a little sore from rowing, but nothing horrible. And I never did feel horrible. I decided I need to row more often because it really is a great workout. But on my walk on Wednesday, I started feeling that tightness in your belly that doesn't go away until you stop walking---not a contraction, but round ligament pain.

I was a serious walker while pregnant with El. I walked 3 miles each morning, and then 2 or 3 more in the evening with Drew. After talking with my OB, I realized I was experiencing the round ligament pain and there was something I could do about it. Around 28 weeks I bought a Gabriella Maternity Belt and the pain stopped on my walks and hikes for the rest of my pregnancy.

So I was sort of sad that on both Wednesday and Thursday, I experienced serious round ligament pain on my walks. I did not want to try to run and fight that pain, or have to stop all the time, or try to stretch it out. Today on my walk with El, I broke out the old support belt and I had absolutely no problems with pain. I am only 20 weeks, and that's the depressing thing. Things sure are happening sooner the second time around than the first.

However, I'm hopeful that with the maternity belt, I will be able to keep on doing short runs without experiencing the ligament pain.

And I've been thinking, I am really pleased with my fitness level. I know I stopped running by the end of my first trimester, and here I am, running two miles here and there, planning on running in the future at 20 weeks! Good news for me and my earlier running fitness!

Wednesday, April 2, 2014

What Do You Do When You Can't Sleep At Night?

El was up half the night between Monday and Tuesday with gas and a fever. Poor girl. I did not sleep either because I was trying to comfort her. Woe is me.

What do you do when you are up in the night? It depends on why. If I can't sleep for no reason, I might read a book or magazine. If I am nursing a child, I'll browse Pinterest. If I am having a pregnant starvation freak out, I'll go get a bowl of cereal. If someone in the room is snoring, I'll either try to tell them to stop in ways ranging from polite to angry, or I'll stomp off to the couch. If I'm comforting my sick child, I usually wish I were sleeping and get a little angry and sit and stew but feel bad because I should be more comforting,

But that night, I rewrote words to songs. It made being up all night almost pleasant. Almost. But not as pleasant as the two-hour nap I took in the afternoon.

So maybe next time you are awake, try making up new words to songs. It is way better than counting sheep.