Chick Chat: We All Have To Start Somewhere

Where did you begin? That’s the question that many of us have been asked when it comes to running (or weights, or a particular sport, etc.). It takes a great deal of effort and self-motivation to continually work on ourselves and it’s always interesting to hear what lights that fire within.

As the days and years go by, working out can disappear and return once again, depending on the state of your life, family, and mind. We all had very different answers when posed the question: “How did you start working out/running or (if you’re currently not) how do you plan to begin again?”

Scoot a Doot has been around for quite some time now but we realize that not everyone reading our blog knows all of our history. For those of you who have recently joined us, welcome! For those who have been around awhile but might have forgotten, we wanted to share our “starting out” stories with you. And get your story ready because we’d LOVE to hear from you!

Oh running. There was a time when I didn’t really enjoy running at all. I grew up in Alaska with parents who loved camping and hiking. They bred in me not only a love of nature, but also the need to be active. I played basketball, volleyball, ran track, skied, snowboarded, hiked, biked, and swam. Running just to run wasn’t really on my list of favorite things to do – I would mostly just use it as a means of training for basketball or volleyball or skiing. In fact, if you asked my mom, she’d tell you I probably did more whining about running than actual running for most of my life.

I don’t think I became a real runner until after I graduated from college. I played college basketball, but when that was over I became more sedentary than I had ever been in my entire life. It felt weird. I needed to do something to change it, but not having a two-hour practice to go to every night or teammates to hit the gym with made it hard. So I started running. Not too seriously, but I’d get a few miles in every day. Treadmillin’ it. Then, I signed up for a local five-miler that I’d done a number of times growing up. I felt so good with my finish that I went home and told my mom I wanted to run a half marathon. Of course she told me to go for it.

That was 2012. Now I’ve run three marathons, a handful of half marathons, and too many other races to count. My fitness has evolved, too. Instead of just running, I lift weights, I spin, and I’ve recently started CrossFit (for real, after five years of following the sport and not being able to make it happen). Running is still a part of my workout regimen, I’ve just found a better balance with it – and my body appreciates it. My fitness is always a work in progress, but running with always be foundational in that fitness.

A longtime runner, I never expected to take more than a year off the sport to start my family. But for a variety of reasons, that’s just how life unfolded and I stopped running during my first trimester.

I attempted to prepare to resume running during my maternity, walking regularly while pushing my son in his stroller. It worked well for us and I had grand plans to use our jogging stroller the moment he was six months old.

That milestone fell in the middle of a severe windstorm. Then came a two-foot snow storm. I was also insanely sleep-deprived with a husband who travels internationally, leaving me to parent solo while also working full time.

As time allowed, I ran a few miles here and there in the spring, but nothing stuck.

Once I was getting a good 7-8 hours of sleep a night, I finally resumed a somewhat regular running routine last month, about 18 months after I stopped running.

I started out running a half-mile and then walking for a minute or two for about 20 to 30 minutes. I repeated three times each week, bringing my son along in the jogger each Sunday. As the weeks passed I felt stronger, my walk breaks are shorter and my breathing improves. On weekdays, I run 2-3 miles and one weekend day is reserved for a slow, 3-5 mile jog with my son.

I haven’t worn a watch once because my pace doesn’t matter. I am running to run. My goal is for each run to surpass the previous workout.

I only run about 10 miles a week, mainly because that’s what I have time to take on. It may change – it may not. And that’s OK.

12 years ago my interest in exercise was minimal. I mean, it was a nice idea in theory but I wasn’t too interested in actually doing anything. And it showed. My bad habits were catching up to me and after I had my older son, I knew that I needed to do something to feel good about myself.

For the longest time I checked off the box next to “never run unless something is chasing me.” And it took me quite some time to work my way up to actually running. When my eldest son (12) was just over a year, I heard about a stroller workout class called Stroller Strides that was in a local park.

There’s a saying, “You have to crawl before you walk.” I feel like that was my fitness journey. I slowly started with Stroller Strides, pushing my kiddo in his Graco stroller and then eventually upgraded to a B.O.B. Revolution. I got more involved with Stroller Strides, loving being with other local moms and working out. A few years in, I became a certified instructor and began teaching the classes under the franchise owner.

I picked up other fitness classes along the way including Jazzercise (yes, really!) and yoga. Running had always been a challenge and I wasn’t sure I was equipped to handle it so I just continued getting my endorphin high from other forms of exercise. I continued working out through my second pregnancy and was back to Stroller Strides as soon as I was cleared by the doctor.

Running really began for me after my younger son was diagnosed with Autism. Rather than stress eating, I turned to the treadmill. I was inspired by watching Vic run her first full marathon in 2010 and I decided that this was finally going to be my outlet too.

Except every moment of running at the beginning was a struggle for me.

I hated it. HATED. IT. I wore the wrong shoes. I got blisters. I made stupid mistakes. I cried. I signed up for a mud run as my first ever race (read: MISTAKE).

2011 Mud Run

Somewhere along the way, I started hating it less. Dare I even say, I actually liked it? I saw results. I got faster (not fast, but faster). I leaned out more. I signed up for races with friends and met new friends along the way.

2011 Rothman 8k – Philadelphia

I started working out with a trainer to get stronger. I talked other people into running races with me. I never said no to trying something at least once.

And when I doubt myself I repeat “I can and I will” over and over until it becomes “I could and I did”.

For most of my life, I avoided running at all cost. When I was a kid, they told me running could kill me. Thanks to my asthma, I was encouraged NOT to be athletic or to try out for sports. I was always picked last for team games.

For most of my life, I hated running. I hated it because I couldn’t do it, and because it fed my low self-esteem as a kid. After my parents divorced, my dad became a pro body builder and I developed a respect and understanding for the importance of fitness. When I worked in elder care for many years, I learned a very important lesson. You’re only as old as you allow your body and mind to get. My biggest fear is becoming frail so I started taking yoga classes and loved it.

When my friends, the other Chicks, started running, I decided to see if my lungs would play nice and I started running too. Thankfully they do play nice, as long as I don’t try to run fast. Every time I get a new medal, I prove to that wheezing kid inside me that I am stronger. That I can do it. In those moments my motto rings true; I’m little, but fierce.

My first race, the Denver Color Run in 2013, and most Recent, the 2017 Yellowstone Half (and my cute husband)

Lately, I’ve been getting bored with running. I was even considering giving up running and focusing only on yoga. Mostly because I’m really bad at making time for training. But when I look at what’s been going on in my life since February, I feel like there isn’t any way I could have made different choices with my time. Life happens, and this year has been a year of BIG change for me. I’ve had to roll with it.

In the midst of that change, I’ve been spending more time in the mountains where I’m building my house. Coincidentally, it’s inspired my running again. I’ve decided to branch into trail running. I’m not sure if I’ll do a trail race; I may stick to road races, but I’m looking forward to training on the nearby trails. The area is also ideal for snowshoeing and cross country skiing. For the first time ever, I’m looking forward to winter and trying these new sports. My asthma, though much less severe than when I was a kid, is still aggravated by cold weather, but I’m hoping I can overcome that. You never know unless you try!

My new, neighbor, Taylor Mountain. Elevation 9134 ft. Taylor was my maiden name, it’s fate!

That’s how we started (or started again)! We’d love to hear how you began putting one foot in front of the other. Feel free to share in the comments below or, if you’re inspired to write a blog post, please tweet at us so we can read it!

2016 Was Tough… But So Are We

We’ve all had some beef (understatement) with the year known as 2016, but some really great things happened as well. So for this post, rather than focusing on the sad, we are doing our best to count our collective blessings and looking forward to what 2017 has in store (and maybe give 2016 a few parting shots, because how can we not?).

This year. Man. I thought it was bad when Alan Rickman died, and then again when Gene Wilder left, and even again when the election happened, but this week? Woof. I feel as though 2016 has just taken my heart and stomped it into tiny little pieces. Carrie Fisher was my first spirit animal and the only princess I ever cared about wanting to be.

But, I digress. This post is supposed to be happy. And in the shit year that shall forever be remember as 2016, the one truly great thing that I can cling to was… getting engaged. And not just for the obvious reasons. Yes, it means that I get to marry the guy that makes my heart the happiest. But, it also resulted in such an outpouring of love and support from our friends and families. Knowing that we have so many people in our corner and on our side as we take the next steps in our lives is so comforting. In all of the (low-grade) stress that wedding planning can bring, at the end of the day, it’s wonderful to be reminded that so many people want to share our special day with us and to wish us well. The whole experience is a constant stream of reminders to be grateful for all of the incredible humans I have in my life.

So, 2016, as shit as you were, thanks a bunch for reminding me that even in the midst of loss and sadness, life goes on and it’s actually pretty great. Suck it, 2016. We’re better than you.

This year has been like an epic space battle in my head: The Optimistic Rebel versus The Tyrannical Cynic. I’ve been floating somewhere between join the rebellion and hide like the old hermit, just trying to emotionally survive until we can find a way to bring balance to the force that connects us all, that bind the galaxy together. Yes, I know my nerd is showing. I don’t even care.

All nerdy musings aside, so many voices were silenced this year; voices of progress and empathy and laughter and hope. We all feel the void. I’m so pissed about a lot of things that are happening in our world right now, and I feel helpless. But like the dandelion that sprouts from a crack in the sidewalk, there is a gift that this shit year has given to those who will receive it.

Thank you, 2016 for some perspective. As a liberal progressive living in California and working in public education, I’ve always recognized that there was more work to be done. I just didn’t realize how much more. 2016 was a year of privilege burdened by the inevitable aftershock of disbelief. Now it’s time to fight. Also, it’s time to unplug and spend more quality time getting to know my kids and my partner again. We go through these daily motions of waking, working, eating, sleeping, and in between, our faces glow from a screen. If 2016 taught me anything, it’s that social media are the donuts of the internet. It’s so good when I take my first bite, but afterward I just to throw up. Lastly, it’s more important than ever for me to do my part to protect our planet. It’s literally the one thing we have that we can’t live without.

So yeah, 2016, you need to GTFO. And fair warning 2017, you’d better watch yourself. I’m in the mood to kick a little ass.

2016 was a great year for me personally, which is weird to say. I kind of feel guilty that I had so much good happen to me in 2016. I went to Disney for the first time, turned 40, bought my dream car, got the best present in the world from my husband; a trip to Space Camp, and ran three half marathons. Some parts of 2016 were fabulous, and I wish I could do them a second time. Although, I do get to love my car and my husband every day. I’m blessed for sure.

I was also heartbroken by the loss of so many of my childhood idols and important voices we lost too young. I honestly can’t start thinking about it or I’ll cry. (The force is one with you, Carrie.) It just hurts way too much. I’m choosing to believe this is what’s happening:

And it’s a little known fact to my fellow Chicks that I’ve always been something of a political junkie. There wasn’t really a need to get riled up during the Obama years because, well, as a progressive liberal from one of the bluest counties in one of the states least affected by the Great Recession, I was in my bubble. And things looked fine in my bubble.  Buuuut, I’m also a fan of (or maybe ‘student of’ would be a better term) George Orwell. So for me, 2016 was full of head shaking and fist shaking and local activism. Like Cam, I will be channeling my inner Ellen Ripley and Princess Leia to fight for all that is good in this world under the name 1976_Patriotess. BRING IT, 2017.

You can likely guess what I loved most about 2016… Yep. Baby Joe.

My maternity leave ends in a few days and I’ve cherished my time bonding with my son, born 16 weeks ago. I can hardly believe how fast this time has flown and at times am beyond exhausted. But one gummy grin from my guy and all the challenges melt away.

I’ve been wanting to write about his birth (an unexpected c-section after 19 hours of labor), early days of motherhood, the challenges of breast-feeding and other life changes for this first time mom, but it just never happened.

I look forward to an incredible 2017, which will begin with a whirlwind 2 weeks solo parenting, pumping in the office and beginning of daycare. Any back to work advice you can offer me as I leave Joe in the hands of our beloved caregiver, would be greatly appreciated!

Here’s to a happy, healthy 2017!

From a personal standpoint, 2016 has been an incredible year for me. I’ve remained injury free, hit personal bests in many of my race distances (5 mile, 10k, 10 mile, and half marathon – WHOA), traveled with my husband, and more. But what really stands out to me as the highlight of my year is that we were finally able to purchase a home that we’ve worked extremely hard for the past 13 years.

It’s always a bit daunting to make such a big life change and my family and I are very much creatures of habit. While moving to the next town over might not seem like a big deal to some, it was huge for us. I’m happy that my children have settled into their new school district and that I’ve been able to make connections with new friends (and some old ones that live here, too!). Additionally, since we’re not far from our old stomping ground, we haven’t left anyone behind!

The 2017 calendar is already filling up with social engagements like parties, weddings, races, and more and I’m looking forward to being with friends and family. I hope it is gentle and kind with all of us, because we could really use a healing year. You’ve gotta have faith. 

What has brought you joy in 2016? What are you looking forward to in 2017? 

2016 Top Posts

On Monday we shared the gifts we gave each other for the holidays. Today we’re sharing the gifts you’ve given us over the past year by highlighting what really spoke to you as readers! (Besides giveaway posts because let’s be real, you guys REALLY like those!)

Let’s get this party started!

Mer hit the dusty trail for the Run the Vineyards 5 miler and subsequently, it lands as the 5th most read post on our list!

Vic shared her struggles with overextending while pregnant and it struck a chord with many of our readers.

Kyle took on the ridiculousness of the BMI scale and refused to be defined by it.

Vic’s life had many changes in 2016. Many difficult and many blessings. We can all agree that 2016 has been a helluva year.

Jenn shared her running skirt with pocket waistband tutorial and many readers planned to break out their sewing machines to make their own! It comes in at number one on our most read list for posts of 2016. We want to see your finish products!

Thank you for spending yet another year with Scoot a Doot. As we approach our 4th year of blogging, we are grateful for both the people who have stuck with us since the beginning and those whom we’ve met more recently!

Secret Ho Ho Hos – 2016 Edition

It’s that time again! A time for giving and caring and sharing!

This was our 4th Secret Santa exchange and as always, it was so much fun to see what we got one another. Our parameters were staying within a $20 limit and picking something that we think the recipient will love. We used a website to match us so we would be extra surprised (and some of us didn’t include a gift message so we’re still figuring it out!)

If you need to grab a last minute gift, maybe one of these will inspire you.

I got Kyle, and I chose a hand-thrown mug and lid for her, along with a few of my favorite teas. I struggled with choosing a mug, there were two that I thought she would like. One had a woman turning into a bird in hues of blue and aqua, and the other had lovely music notes and staff. I know her love of music and signing, so I ultimately went with the mug with notes.

Then she messaged me to say that the lid arrived ok, but that the mug had not. 🙁 Sooooo, I’m off to the Celestial Seasonings Factory Gift Shop, and I really hope they have another one with music notes. At least she’ll have some nice peppermint tea to keep her warm while she waits!

Knowing our newest mama chick hasn’t been doing a ton of running lately, but has been playing with her cute kiddo, I wanted to get her a gift that a new mom would appreciate. I reached out to another friend who has also recently had a baby and asked what her favorite mom swag was. As an athlete herself who is trying to get back in the swing of running and working out, her answer was no surprise. She recommended a nursing sports bra – which she touted as not only comfortable, but also easy to use and wear. I knew that while Vic hasn’t been putting the miles in lately, maybe something like this would help that transition when the time comes!

Third time’s the charm! Once again, I was paired with the fabulous Cam. I laughed out loud when I saw my match because I was Cam’s Secret Santa the first two years of the exchange. I hope I nailed it those first two years, but I wanted to do something different without repeating themes or ideas.

Knowing that Cam loves to bake, I got her two themed baking items.

I splurged on ninja cookie cutters since Cam’s Ragnar team is centered around ninjas! These things are adorable!

Cam’s second gift is also to be used in the kitchen, but apparently won’t be delivered until after Christmas. (Thanks for misleading me on that one, Amazon) so I don’t want to say what it is here. I’d rather Cam be surprised when it arrives. Let me just say – it’s out of this world! And I know Cam will enjoy the force it brings to her recipes!

Obviously, the gift I chose for my Secret Santa was motivated by our upcoming Ragnar adventure.  I wanted Meri to have everything she needs for her night run in Pennsylvania this June.  I found her a stylish purple headlamp and matching blinky light to guide her way through Amish country.  This Ragnar has been a long time coming and I can’t wait to share it with her!  Happy Happy Holidays, my sweet friend!

I was paired with Jenn! She and I obviously have some good brain share going on because I sent her a mug as well, knowing that she enjoys drinking her tea. We originally met through our love of books and reading so when I saw this “banned books” mug, I knew that she would appreciate it. Jenn is a non-conformist and she doesn’t follow the rules when it comes to writing. I fully expect to see an update of this mug with a book that she’s authored listed (and we’ll read it anyway because we do what we want).

I also sent her this sweet yoga top that I’ve been eyeing for awhile, just waiting for the perfect time to send to her (this was it!) and a little Whisper sign from My Favorite Sign Company, a small business with whom I work closely. Jenn’s dogs are her world and I knew that she’d be nodding her head with this message.

We hope your holidays are merry and bright. If you’d like to check out our past exchanges, click on the years below.

2013, 2014, 2015

What are your favorite gifts to give? Get? We’d love to hear about what you’re looking forward to this holiday season!

Chick Chat: It’s Fall Y’all!

Did somebody say FALL? Sign us up – we are totally embracing the cozy nights on the couch, the crisp leaves, and the apple picking. We all agree, Fall gets an A+!

As such, we decided to play a little fill in the blank game, and would love for YOU to play too. You ready?

Fall in my area means_______________.

The one fall tradition I never skip is______________.

The best Halloween candy is____________. But I’m not a fan of__________.

kylename1

Fall in my area apparently means apple-picking, but in the four years that I’ve lived in Virginia, I still haven’t gotten out to an orchard. Ha. So I guess what I mean to say is that Fall in my area actually means Football. Every Sunday. And Thursday Night. And Friday Night. And Saturday. And Monday Night? Jeez. When I put it that way it sounds like all I do is watch football. Which isn’t necessarily wrong.

Taken on a 2013 hike in VT on the Appalachian Trail

Taken on a 2013 hike in VT on the Appalachian Trail

The one Fall tradition I never skip? Sorry, not sorry: Pumpkin Spice Latte. Or Americano. But I get at least one every year. Usually just one. But I always have to check that box in the annual welcoming of pumpkin flavor back into my life.

The BEST Halloween candy are Reese’s cups. There was a heavy barter system and black market candy trade in my house when we were kids to see who could get their hands on the most Reese’s. Pretty much any of the chocolate candy is near the top of my list. I’m not, however, a big fan of licorice-flavored anything, though. Keep that vile junk away from me. No. Thank. You.

vicname1

Fall in my area means weekly trips to the farm stand for freshly picked apples (and seasonal trips to my in-laws’ farm to pick apples and make pies and cider! It’s also time for stunning, vibrant foliage. I seriously can’t get enough of it! 

The one fall tradition I never skip is seeking out stunning foliage and making fresh veggies from local farmers. Unfortunately I also can’t skip raking leaves as I have a huge yards with lots of trees. Ah well. 

The best Halloween candy are Reese’s PB cups (pumpkins) and Kit Kats. But I’m not a fan of Snickers, candy corn or any sort of black licorice. Ick.

camname1

Fall in my area means pretty much the same as Spring.  California doesn’t believe in seasons.  Erratic temperatures in the morning that lure you into a false hope that today might be the day you get to wear a jacket.  By mid afternoon, you’re cursing the very existence of jackets as the temperatures reach the 90’s.  I really love jackets.  I hate that California makes me hate them.

The one fall tradition I never skip is apple picking in Oak Glen.  Also, trick or treating!  We love Halloween!  We try to get to Disneyland during the fall, I think the Halloween decor is even better than Christmas!

camfallyall

The best Halloween candy is Kit Kat and Twix. But I’m not a fan of anything shaped like eyeballs.
jennname1
Fall in my area means yellow aspens and corn mazes (which I avoid like the Red Death). Although I love to write scary stories, I hate reading them, and I certainly refuse to pretend to be in one (cue corn maze). Pardox personified? So much yes. But it also means Halloween, a.k.a the BEST holiday ever. If I’m honest, costuming is the real reason I learned to sew. If only we wore costumes everyday, the world would be a much more interesting and fun place.
Picture courtesy of Jenn's friend, @espyphoto

Crystal Mill near Aspen. Picture courtesy of Jenn’s friend, Jen. @espyphoto

The one fall tradition I never skip is pumpkin scones. Mmmmmmmm. I’m not really a fan of the pumpkin spice thing, but mix it with white flour and sugar, and I’m there. By the way, does anyone have a healthy pumpkin scone recipe??

The best Halloween candy is caramel apples. And mini Baby Ruths. And maybe Reese’s Peanut Butter pumpkins. And Smarties. Can I just say all the candy? But I’m not a fan of candy corn. Gross.

mername1

Fall in my area means a crazy amount of things to do. And I truly want to do all of the things! In our family in particular it means lots of Cub Scout and Boy Scout meetings/fundraisers/Halloween parties. It means fall racing (and hopefully PRs!) for me. I love the colorful leaves and the cooler temps. I can borrow Cam’s jackets!

The one fall tradition I never skip is something that signifies fall to my family in particular. We have a tin man made out of cans that Jay and I got as a wedding gift. The boys absolutely love our tin man and it wouldn’t be fall without it on our front steps!

The best Halloween candy is Reese’s Peanut Butter Cups. I will gladly take those off anyone’s hands. But I’m not a fan of licorice (Twizzlers doesn’t count, btw).

Okay, now it’s YOUR turn. We want to hear what makes you swoon when it comes to Fall!

Recipe box: Peanut Butter Energy Bites

I’m all about the protein lately.

Cottage cheese, edamame, peanut butter and piles of grilled fish. I’m sure the bean in my belly has something to do with it.

So when I was in full nesting mode last week, I started whipping goodies up in the kitchen. Banana bread, roasted potatoes, baked chicken, pasta fagiole.

Then a peanut butter-looking concoction popped up in one of my social media feeds. I realized I had all the ingredients and set to work to make PEANUT BUTTER ENERGY BITES!

All lined up in a row.

Ready to try this super easy recipe? Here is what you will need:

  • 2/3 cup creamy peanut butter
  • 1 cup old-fashioned oats
  • 1 1/2  Tbsp. honey
  • 1/4 cup mini dark chocolate chips
  • 1/4 cup chia seeds (I used ground chia)

Mix all ingredients together in a bowl. Cover, let chill in fridge for 30(ish) minutes.

Grab a handful of oats and a few chocolate chips and scatter them on a clean cutting board. Roll the chilled mixture into bite-sized balls, then roll over the cutting board for another layer of oats and chips.  My batch made 20 teaspoon-sized bites.

Store the completed energy bites in an airtight container in your fridge. ENJOY!

Even my brutally honest husband liked these. I’ll be making them more often for sure.

What’s your go-to protein snack?

 

Ragnar is returning to PA

The scoot chicks love a good Ragnar Relay. You know we do.

Cam, our resident Ragnar expert has tackled numerous relay races around the country. The rest of us simply dreamed of the day we could manage a 12-person, 200-mile relay.

Meri was beyond jazzed to take on the challenge, but her plans and potential teams repeatedly fell through.

Me? I didn’t want to travel far for the race. When my dream Ragnar was discontinued a few years back, promptly ending my interest in participating in a relay….until today.

What changed, you ask? The return of the Pennsylvania Ragnar Relay in June 2017.

You see, this race begins in my hometown of Lancaster, PA. The first leg kicks off in front of my elementary school. It loops through downtown Lancaster, past my former employer and my childhood church, through the park where I attended day camp as a child and attended many an elementary school field trip.

It winds through rural Lancaster County, past Amish farms and through rolling hills of my hometown before heading north, ultimately ending in Mt. Pocono, PA, not far from Hickory Run State Park, one of my favorite PA state parks.

If ever there was a Ragnar made for me, this is it. Sure, I’ll need to figure out what to do with my infant son, how to fund my entry fee and how to coordinate to make this happen, but I know one thing for sure. I will be there as part of team Scootadoot. Who is with me?

Have you run a Ragnar? Which ones and what advice would you offer to a novice like me?