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Running, Travel, Food & Everything In Between
Disney Saint Lucia Color Me Rad 5K

I’m Taking the #100happydays Challenge

I have decided to join in and do the 100 happy days challenge.   If you’re not familiar with it, it is a photo challenge started by a 27 year old man living in Switzerland who was not feeling very “happy”.  He set out on this challenge to get himself to enjoy life and see it for it’s beauty.  You can read more about it here, because his website is incredibly simple.  At the end of the challenge you can get an awesome little book printed with your 100 days of memories.  The foundation that was started along with the challenge is to help support people with disabilities.  These people are also the ones who put together your memory book, instead of a mass producer.

I’m sure over the past 8 months you have seen someone  start posting pictures with the hashtag #100happydays and over time it eventually stopped.  That’s because according to the website 71% of people who start the challenge cannot complete it.  It sounds kind of crazy because it’s simply posting 1 picture a day, and well, how much time are you on your social media through out the day?  But I get it, you get busy and forget.  Well that’s kind of the point.  To not forget all the amazing things in your life on a day to day basis.

I’m not doing this because I’m unhappy and need to make myself see how great my life is.  I already know that and am quite happy with the life my family leads.  I’m doing it for fun!  And to get myself more committed to my social media, without taking time away from my family.

I started my challenge yesterday and you can follow along on my Instagram, Twitter, or Facebook feed until November 26.  That puts me 3 days before my due date, so those last weeks may be hard since my first daughter was 2 weeks early.

If you want to sign up for the challenge, you can at the 100 happy days website.

Enjoy Your Adventure,

Samantha

Making It A Habit

How do you make something a habit?  Apparently, you do it for 21 days straight and you only have to devote 15 minutes of your day.

When I was working full time I had the privilege of participating in a lot of leadership training since I was in management.  I learned a lot of valuable information and ways to approach situations, but one thing that stuck with me was about making habits.

Have you ever started something new; i.e.. a diet, healthy eating, exercising, writing in a journal; and it didn’t last more than a week?  Truly, you can’t put an exact number of days on when something will become a habit, but you do need to get past that “giving up” stage.  Once past that, the behavior tends to become something you more positively think about completing.  Then again, is anything really a habit?  At any point in time life can throw you a curve ball and then  you suddenly have an excuse not to do it.

What’s my  habit I’m trying to form?

I struggle with getting up early.  I’m such a night owl and just can’t make myself go to sleep early.  For about a year now I’ve been saying I’m going to get up early to go for my runs, but it never happens.  I have realized that as my pregnancy progresses, the only way I’m going to get my runs in is if I go early before it’s 95 degrees with 75% humidity.

I have a few friends who I inspired to start running recently.  They have decided to start running at 5:30am before it gets hot and so they don’t have to push their littles in a stroller.  So tomorrow starts my 5am wake up calls.  21 days right?  Let’s see about that!

Are you a morning runner?  What’s your motivation to get up so early?

Enjoy Your Adventure,

Samantha

Pregnancy & Exercise Update-Halfway There

I’m officially halfway through the pregnancy now. Woohoo!!!  I’ll be 20 weeks this Saturday.

I was having a pretty rough time this pregnancy compared to last.  I had this horrible nausea and reflux that started around 8 weeks and progressively got worse.  It got so bad that I had to sleep sitting almost upright. Really  not fun.  Then suddenly around 18.5 weeks it just went away.  I’m so glad it did because it was getting hard to do things, and I definitely didn’t want to work out.   I even took a couple weeks off of running.

I could fill you in on every little pregnancy detail, but there’s not much to tell.  Our baby is developing and so far so good.  I’ve decided to update you all on my progress with exercise through this pregnancy.  First, I have to say I am thankful that all my family and friends have supported my decision to workout and run through my pregnancy.  My husband gets a little nervous sometimes, but that’s to be expected.  So many people don’t have that support and it can make it tough.  Every so often I’ll have someone ask me about certain things being safe to do, but no negativity like I’m going to hurt my baby.  I did a lot of research on it before I decided to keep going and I see a different doctor or midwife for every visit, so I always talk to them about it.  Each one will tell me something a little different, but in essence it’s always “listen to your body”.

I’ve been doing less running since I felt so horrible, and the heat and constant rain storms have not helped either.  I definitely feel better when I go out now, so I’m going to ramp back up to running 3 days a week.  I’m also still doing my stroller fitness class.  Lucky for me, our class is a pretty good work out, is helping to tone me up, and is a lot of fun with the other moms there.

So here goes with something I never thought I’d do, but I’m going to post my progress pictures.

These pictures are when I started the stroller fitness class in January.  I had been running for over a year, but when I would try to do workouts at home, they got increasingly more difficult with a toddler running around to watch.  I was so glad to hear these classes were starting up at a gym my husband had gone to since I knew they were good trainers and I would be able to bring my daughter with me.  I just decided I wanted to work on toning my body up finally and searching for my abs, but running just isn’t going to cut it for that.

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These are pictures from 8 weeks after starting the class.  I was apparently 2 weeks pregnant at this time.

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As you can see, I was finally starting to see my abs, but now that will be one of my goals post baby.

The only 2 things that I was told not to do are full sit ups and double leg lifts.  You don’t want to strain all of your abdominal muscles and especially your lower abdominals to prevent diastasis recti, which is the separation of your abdominal muscles.  In a matter of 2 months I weighed exactly the same, which is why I no longer go by the scale, but had dropped 2 pants sizes.  I went from a juniors 9 back into some size 5’s I hadn’t fit into since well before I got married in 2007!

About 2 weeks after those pictures, I discovered I was pregnant.  I didn’t have my first doctor’s appointment until a  month later, but I asked about exercising and was told it was fine.  I did a lot of researching on the internet and everything I found was positive about the benefits of exercise while pregnant.  The only thing that I really need to watch is getting overheated, so I just stopped pushing myself to the next level.  That also meant my sub 2 hour half marathon goal for August would now be another goal post baby.

I love my classes because we vary up our exercises constantly which is great for muscle development.  You can’t just use the same 3 or 4 muscle groups and expect great results.  We do all kinds of work from different style pushups, weights, resistance bands, planks, wall balls, and even burpees.  Yes, I can still do them, they’re just slower than before.  I was doing 1 leg burpees around 12 weeks.  So here is what I look like at 19 weeks pregnant, which is when I took these photos.

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My halfway pregnant belly is only slightly bigger than when I started.  Yikes!  And for some reason I never did a back picture before, but decided to do one now.  My shoulders and back are starting to become the most toned, which will be great for my back in the next 20 weeks.  I don’t know why my flash wouldn’t go off for this picture, so it’s a little darker.

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Do you love that runner’s tank top tan I’ve got going on?

I told my trainer that I will probably be in better shape after I give birth.  The other great thing about working out through pregnancy is how awesomely easy it normally makes labor and delivery.  I totally believe this because I kept up walking 12 miles a week until almost 7 months last time and my delivery took 20 minutes and 6 pushes.  Don’t hate me.

I’m hoping everything continues to go well with the pregnancy and plan to continue both working out and running until delivery.  I know those 6 weeks after delivery are going to be the hardest for me know since working out is such  an everyday part of my life.

Did you continue your work outs during pregnancy? How did they go?

Enjoy Your Adventure,

Samantha

My PCOS & How I Got Pregnant Without Medication

I’ve had an extremely busy past couple months.  From starting out as a Travel Agent, to all my running escapades, and yes, getting pregnant!  If you remember from last time, in order to get pregnant I had to take a diabetes medication Metformin in order to get pregnant due to my PCOS.  You can read about it here.

So how did I get pregnant this time without any help?

Exercise.  Just good old exercise.

If you don’t feel like reading my other post, I’ll give you a quick snap shot of PCOS.  It stands for Polycystic Ovarian Syndrome and almost 1 in 10 women have it.  You have a hormone imbalance of androgen, which is a male sex hormone, and an insulin resistance.  If you didn’t know, insulin is also a hormone.  And yes, you end up with a bunch of tiny cysts on your ovaries because they never quite “ripen” and release an egg.  For how prevalent it is, they don’t know much about it.  They believe it is hereditary, but don’t know if too much androgen causes the insulin resistance or if the insulin resistance causes you to produce too much androgen.   These hormone imbalances cause several things to happen with your body.  Along with side effects that include acne, excessive body hair, and infertility, you tend to gain weight easier and have a harder time losing weight than the average person.

So when I was diagnosed with PCOS while trying to get pregnant with my first child, my doctor gave me the best treatment plan instead of pushing medications.  He told me I had to do 30 minutes of cardio exercise everyday and that was my treatment and not an option!  While I took him seriously, I was also working 12+ hour days.  I tried fitting in the exercise by starting to run/walk and cycling, but I didn’t do it every day.  I took the Metformin, which is a diabetes medication, to help along the process since we had been actively trying to get pregnant for a while.  And so we got pregnant.

After having my daughter, I decided that I would continue to work on eating healthy and working out consistently.  Not only does the PCOS cause small issues, but it also puts me at a higher risk for long term health issues like diabetes, heart disease, high blood pressure, high cholesterol, strokes, and uterine cancer.

No brainer there. I don’t want to have to deal with any of that as I get older.

If  you’re reading this and have PCOS, I’m going to be perfectly honest and tell you it’s hard to get it under control and you need to be seriously committed.  My friends and family think I exercise and run all the time, but quite frankly, that’s what I have to do for my health.  I’ve met quite a few women with PCOS and for some reason it doesn’t seem like their doctors are truly pushing them to exercise.  I’ve learned A LOT about how healthy eating and exercise truly affect the body, especially of a female since our bodies are quite different from males.

Now this is what I was doing to get pregnant on my own because yes, you can get PCOS under control with dedication.  I run 3-4 times a week and do cross training workouts with a group 2-3 days a week.  And when I say I run, I mean more than you’re probably thinking.  I run 3-4 miles at least and do a long run on the weekend of 6+ miles.  The month before I got pregnant, 3 week’s my long runs were half marathons of 13.1 miles and 1 week’s was 18.9 miles during a Ragnar Relay.  My cross training workouts are 45 minutes to an hour long and I would take 1 day a week as a rest day where I didn’t do anything.

So there you have it.  Now you all know why I workout so much.

I finally started enjoying it, so that has tremendously helped.  I am still working out and running while pregnant and plan to as long as I can.  I love my one midwife I saw today.  She’s so honest about all that crazy stuff you read about heart rate and working out and encourages me to keep doing everything I have been until my body says stop.   While I have been slacking on the runs these past 5 weeks because of nausea and fatigue, I’ve continued going to my cross training class and will be starting my long runs again this weekend.  I’ve got to get back on it because I have a back to back 10K and  half marathon in 2 months when I’m 6 months pregnant!

Oh by the ways, I ran a half marathon at 7 weeks in a pretty decent time considering the heat, a trail 10K at 8 weeks, a 5K at 9 weeks, a 10K at 10 weeks, and a 5K/obstacle course at 11 weeks.  I guess I deserved to relax for a few weeks!

If you have PCOS, I encourage you to do research and get out there and exercise.  And if you don’t, I still encourage you to learn more about how your body uses foods and how exercise affects the functions of your body.  You will probably be amazed.

Enjoy Your Adventure,

Samantha

FTC Disclosure:  This is not intended as medical advice, as this is my personal experience.  Please speak to your medical professional with any health concerns you have.

PCOS and Dealing With Acne

As many women with PCOS (Polycystic Ovarian Syndrome) know, acne is one of the many “symptoms” of having PCOS.  Thanks of course to the crazy hormone imbalance.

I’ve dealt with acne and horrible skin ever since I hit puberty 20 or so years ago.  Sometimes it was worse than others, but it was always there.  Over the years I tried everything from Noxzema, to Clean & Clear, to ProActiv, to Dermalogica and more.  I had been to a dermatologist when I was a teen and then again as an adult. I was prescribed medications and still no luck.

Then came the light bulb moment from my husband of all people.  He told me to stop using all that “crap” on my face.  Seriously, that’s what it all is.

About six months ago, I stopped using all commercial facial cleaners and exfoliators on my skin and haven’t looked back.

What do I use now?

Water!

Yep, just plain old water.  I rinse my face morning and night with warm water and pat dry.  If I’m feeling like I need a good exfoliation, I’ll mix a little baking soda with water to make a paste.  It’s the perfect exfoliator and not harsh on the skin, and then I put some coconut oil on as a moisturizer.

While I’m no scientist, I’m pretty sure I know what’s going on.  All those cleaners are way to harsh for skin.  They strip all the oils off your face and leave it dry as a sheet of paper.  So what’s your skin to do?  Produce twice as much oil to make up for being dry.

While we want to get rid of that oil, our skin needs some of that oil to retain moisture.  Once I went soap free on my face, it took about a month for the oils to regulate production on my face.  After that, It looked much better.  That wonderful time of the month for us ladies still brings about some breakouts, but in no way like they used to be.  My face also stopped looking like an oil slick half way through the day.

The next time you pick up that face wash, think about what those chemicals are doing to your skin.

While I had planned on doing a before/after pic, sadly, I have misplaced my memory stick and now must go on a search to uncover it! Yikes!!

Enjoy Your Adventure,

Samantha

FTC Disclosure:  This is my own experience and not medical advice.  Please consult your doctor for any medical concerns.

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