My real life cardio

Thought I’d share a few of my own treadmill work outs with you today. Do you get discouraged when people post the details of their workouts? It’s hard not to compare running paces, miles run, weights lifted. When you’re starting out, or starting over, or just someone that endurance, speed, and strength don’t come as naturally to – it’s easy to think less of your own achievements.

I’ve been planning on signing up a for a 5k this summer, and think I’m ready but committing makes me nervous.  (I did one back in July and it felt ok, but I admit I didn’t feel physically ready.) I tend to stay away from set training plans these days because I might stick to them, even if my body tells me I shouldn’t. So this is my current 5k training plan – get out for a ‘move’ 2-3 times a week. Do what feels good, as long as it feels good, then stop. On race day, do the same.

Running doesn’t feel bad, but I still feel different. I’m petrified to experience symptoms of prolapse that I haven’t experienced in months, but I’m also not going to let that stop me from doing something that I’ve loved my entire life. I know that reducing impact is huge in keeping myself healthy. One way I reduce impact on the treadmill is to increase the incline and lower my pace. I walked up a steep ‘hill’ for a while, then I ran at a 13 minute mile pace up a slightly less steep hill for a mile and a half, and then I walked some more. My brag, is that I felt awesome. My lungs hurt before my body, and that for me is a great feeling.

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On another day, my workout was very similar, alternating between walking up a very steep hill and running slowly up a lesser steep hill. I’m not sure if I’ll post my running workouts or not as I go forward. They aren’t scientific, they aren’t designed to help anyone else hit their own goals. But, they are real.

My other cardio workout of the same week was a two-a-day shovel session….

What are your thoughts on seeing what other peoples real workouts look like? Helpful or harmful? I honestly haven’t been interested because I’ve made huge progress in not comparing myself to others – but I have gotten ideas from other people that I then incorporate into my own workouts.

We also took Maura to a track meet this past weekend. She was in her glory to say the least. It makes me so happy that I’m able to share my love of running with her – there were more than enough months that I really felt I’d never have this opportunity.

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Syrup Time!


img_3246One of the first things we noticed when we moved into our home was the abundance of maple trees filling up the woods in our back yard. I went out this summer (while the leaves were still on the trees), and marked several of the bigger maples as potentials for tapping – They had to be wider than 12 inches in diameter, and also easily accessible for me to retrieve the buckets frequently. We have somewhat of a trail, that goes up a hill in our backyard. I drew a super detailed map of the trees in relation to the trail, I tied neon tape around their trunks, numbered them, and took notes in as much detail as my map.Maple map and notes.jpg

If you can’t see my notes well, I wrote down what type of maple I thought the tree was, the approximate diameter, and occasionally noted creepy animals potentially living nearby (those trees got crossed off my list!) Being complete newbies, so this year we chose to tap only 3 trees to see how things go. We chose trees 1-3, as they were the closest to the trail/bottom of the hill.

Ideally we should have tapped last week, but Greg was out of town – and I wasn’t sure how Maura and I would do getting the sap collected each day. Now having done it, it wouldn’t have been a problem… but we didn’t know. So, we missed some good days. You want to tap when the day time temperatures are above freezing, but night time temps are below freezing. The changes in temperate create pressure changes that push the sap out. We tapped on Saturday evening, and collected for the first time Monday morning. Here’s our first collection:

Maple collection 1

We collected around 7am. Maura hiked up to get the buckets with me. She loved peeking under the lids to see how much we got. As you can see, the trees varied greatly on how much we got in that time period! Tree #3 is by far the best producer so far.

After we brought the sap down, we strained it into buckets in a freezer. Sap can go bad and needs to be kept at a cool temperature until it’s boiled down to make syrup. Once poured, we had to take buckets back up.

Maple collection 1(2)

There is something really peaceful about getting outside in the morning. Especially when your view looks like this…


We ended up with 4 gallons from the first day – which will boil down to ooooh a measly 12 ounces of syrup! Hopefully future days will bring as much or more! I’ll keep you posted.

This and That

You may have noticed I disappeared a bit last week… As much as I like posting the workouts, I’m finding the actual posting to be a bit too time consuming – so for the sake of life balance, I took a little step back. I want to keep posting, but I don’t want the work out posts to take away from the time I have to put towards other quality posts, or my own work out sessions! I also don’t want to take away the photos (the more time consuming aspect as of now) because I want clear, easy to follow content for the beginners.  SO, I will post work outs, but less regularly.

What to expect in the future:

  • More of my life! Not because it’s all that interesting, but because a lot of what I do is aimed at keeping myself and family healthy, and also trying to set Maura up to lead a healthy lifestyle. Preparing Maura to lead a healthful life is huge to me! And hopefully, sharing some of the things we do together will inspire other parents as well.
  • Workout adaptations and progressions. A huge part of why I have been able to stay motivated in my workouts, is that I am able to alter workouts to fit my specific needs. If something is too hard, I know how to alter it to be appropriate for myself. If I hate an exercise, I know what exercises I could replace it with to enjoy my workout. Without knowing that information – I’d be more likely to quit or skip a workout, or risk injury by doing it.

Instead of writing and posting workouts last week, I gave the pathetically mangy dog a haircut…


Got in two treadmill workouts, shoveled my driveway, made a snowman, visited the ScienCenter in Ithaca.

Went to the Strong Museum of Play in Rochester…

Tapped our maple trees…

Went to church, and spent time with family all in addition to our usual fun!



Week 7

If you’ve stuck with me for the past 6 weeks – It’s a good time to check in and see what progress you’ve made.  This workout should feel familiar – it’s week 1, day 1. Do it as if it’s new – then compare to the first time you completed it. Did you use heavier weights this time? Did you chose harder variations? Were you less sore this time around?

Here it is: (written as it was originally, with the photos added in)

Do 3 sets of 10 repetitions for all exercises. If something feels like too much, stick is 2 sets and make it a goal to eventually accomplish 3.

For a quicker paced work out, alternate between 2-3 exercises. Example: 10 squats, 10 good mornings, 10 squats… etc.


Body weight Squats

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Good Mornings – With knees slightly bent, hinge at the hips keeping back flat. If this is a new exercise, let your body learn the motion without added weight this week.

Goodmornings progression

Inclined Push-ups – Place hands on an elevated surface to reduce the load of a standard push up. Examples: A wall, table, bench. If form is good, progress to the floor. Postpartum moms*** watch your belly for any ‘doming’ or ‘coning’ these are signs of diastatis recti, you’ll need to increase the incline until you’re healed.

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Bent over Row- With staggered feet, lean forward (can use knee or bench for support), with weight in hand of back leg- bring elbow up and weight to ribs.

Bent Over Row Progression

Overhead Tricep Extensions – keep elbows still above your head as you extend and bend your arms. Can be done one arm at a time, or together. *Exercises that lift overhead can cause pelvic floor pressure- if you feel anything off this can be done seated.

Standing Tricep Extension Progression

Glute Bridges- Laying on your back, knees bent, feet on floor- raise your hips until your torso is flat. If you’re feeling it more in your hamstrings try digging in with your heals. Keep hip bones even.

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Clam Shells- Laying on side with knees bent, with heals together and elevated several inches from the ground- lift upper knee, return down.

Clamshell Progression

Ab Marches (or ‘Up, up, down, downs)- Laying on back, knees bent, feet down- alternate lifting your knees bringing your shin parallel to the ground. The next level is to lift one knee (up), then the other (up), return the first down, then the other down. As with the push ups watch for any doming! Also, if you are holding breath, or arching your back it’s too difficult.

Up Up Down Down Series 2

2×10 Knee Squeezes 5 seconds- (not shown) – Sit on a hard surface and squeeze a pillow or ball between your knees. Hold for 5 seconds, rest 5 seconds repeat.

Happy Valentine’s Day (and Week 6, workout 3)

Happy Valentine’s Day! Did you do anything special? Maura and I made Dada a mug with

My Valentine.

our beautiful faces on it to keep at work and baked him heart shaped cookies. Greg gave me flowers and a digital photo frame with a photo of Maura from every week of her life already on it! It’s like watching her grow up in a minute over and over, I love it!

Speaking of her growing up… Since we had permission to ditch the brace, we moved her into her “Big Girl Bed” and she is SO proud. I heard her first thing on the monitor this morning saying ‘In big girl bed, in big girl bed…” while patting her blankets. Nap time has been a bit tougher (not that it’s ever been easy), but she keeps insisting she needs her little people plastic swing set in bed with her to ‘help sleep’. It does NOT help her sleep at all. Night time however has been great! She fell out a few times, the rail I previously bought didn’t fit and I haven’t gotten a new one. Last night I told her before bed that if she fell out, she could just climb back in. She agreed to try and I wasn’t called into her room at all, so maybe she did? Or she’s getting the hang of staying in one place at night.

And of course – Workout #3. Enjoy!

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Week 6, Workout 2

Workout #2! Hope your week is getting off to a good start!

Format notes: I spread the workout over several images instead of one. I liked how workout #1 looked, but had trouble fitting in everything I wanted for workout #2.

I’m figuring out more PicMonkey features, but it’s still not my favorite. Other than enhancing photos- I’m not sure it’s that much better than plain old PowerPoint… but people seem to love it so I must be missing something!

Workout #3 will be up by Thursday!

Week Six, Workout 2, part 1

Week 6, workout 2, part 2

Week 6, Workout 2, part 3

Week 6, workout 2, part 4

Facing Surgery

If you’re a newer follower, or unfamiliar with Maura’s journey with Hip Dysplasia, here are a few links to fill you in.

This catches you up to last year, when progress stopped and all appointments started to blur together with the same news.

As you know, we met with a new orthopedic surgeon, Dr. Cook, on Monday at the University of Rochester Medical Center. I am happy to report that the new doctor is terrific, and he is now ‘our’ ortho. I have canceled all future appointments with our previous doctor and I’m never looking back. As I said last time, I left several appointments in tears and confused about what was going on with Maura’s hips, despite asking numerous questions. I can say that I left our meeting with Dr Cook sad, but informed and hopeful for Maura’s future. Although there are still unknowns, as there always seems to be with this diagnosis, I know what the plan is going forward – which makes me feel so much more comfortable than I’ve felt in the past year, despite the fact that we are most likely facing a rather large surgery within the next year.

The goal of Maura’s first procedure (the closed reduction), was to fit her femur head tightly into her hip socket and wait for her socket to grow around the femur head. A child’s socket grows in reaction to contact with the femur head. If the femur head is lose, as Maura’s once was, the socket doesn’t know where to grow and therefore doesn’t curve down around the femur allowing it eventually to dislocate. Maura’s had been dislocated for a while before we received a diagnosis. Once her hip was in the socket, the purpose of the cast is to hold the bones in place while they grew. Her hip socket formed enough to hold her femur in place with full range of motion. In 90% of children, getting the femur in the socket it all it takes for the body to do the rest. Unfortunately, Maura is one of the 10% … we don’t know why, but Maura’s hip stopped curving around the femur. Instead of a tea cup shape, we’ve got a saucer. Based on the lack of progress this past year, Dr Cook sees very little chance that it will suddenly change course for us to avoid surgery – although we are going to wait until May for one last xray just in case.

The procedure he wants to do is called a Dega Osteotomy. An osteotomy is essentially a re-shaping of bone. I think this website explains the procedure the clearest.

The good news, is Dr Cook does not like to use Spica casts unless absolutely necessary. He doesn’t think she would require a cast afterwards! This eases my mind tremendously, although I know either a brace or abduction pillow/wheelchair would still be needed. I have been worrying about how I would manage to lug around an almost 3 year old in a body cast when a 9 month old was hard enough!

Dr. Cook prefers doing the osteotomy between the age of 2 and 3. Bones grow rapidly in babies and slow as we age. At age 4, the growth potential declines. Getting the surgery done before age 3 lets us use the bones growth potential to heal faster and grow on its own with the help of the surgical changes. The more growing on it’s own that the hip does, the more natural the socket ends up – and the less chance of problems down the road.

I’ve had a couple people ask if the surgery is really necessary. Yes, it is. Maura is not currently in pain. But as her hip sits, it’s not able to take the repeated stress that a healthy hip can. She would most likely begin to experience hip pain and arthritis in her later teens or 20s and need a hip replacement shortly after, and again later in life. Without this surgery, we’d be denying her the choice to become an athlete, we’d be taking away quality of life at a time she should be having fun with her friends, dating, traveling, job searching, etc. If her hip doesn’t correct itself in the next year, it is not going to correct itself. It’s hard to think about putting a toddler through extensive surgery, but it’s harder to think that by not doing this for her, her quality of life would be severely effected. As obesity and many health issues are on the rise, my goal is to raise Maura with the highest chance of living a long and healthy life. Unfortunately, this surgery is part of what we need to do to keep her healthy and happy long term.


Looking back at this smiling face through our journey, makes the future look a little brighter.