Tuesday, October 11, 2011

Viability/3rd Tri

Lots of milestones have passed lately. I am past the 24 week point. (Actually, I am now 29 weeks! I started this entry weeks ago and I'm just now getting around to finishing it. Typical me.) This may be the greatest milestone of all because if Leo were to be born now, his chance for survival is very good. I'm hoping he keeps on cooking until he is full term but it is a comfort to know that he would have a fighting chance if the worst happened at this point. Right now, I am only days away from the 27 week mark. 3rd tri! Eeeek! How did that happen? I have less than 100 days to go (75 now!). I can't believe how fast it has all gone. So far so good. No horrible symptoms or problems. I quit running around 20 weeks because the ultrasound tech said my cervix was short. 3 weeks later I went in for an appointment and asked the nurse midwife about it. She said it was not short at all and was in fact, quite long. Grrrr.... I'm glad but I missed 3 weeks of running. I tried to start back up but it doesn't seem worth it. I can only run walk which is fine, but I get a lot of pelvic pain and pressure and I'm sore enough that I have trouble walking the next day. Sigh....back to walking.

I am done with Darwin's big boy room and it turned out so cute! I painted some stripes on the wall which was quite the project. I was worried because I've worked with painters tape before with no success but I had since read up on techniques that help and I went in with a plan. It was a pain but they look amazing and were totally worth it. I've been very productive. In addition to getting Darwin's room done, I've transitioned the nursery over so that it is ready for Leo. I even got up in the attic, washed his clothes and hung them up in the closet and put his bouncer and swing together. We won't have to go up in the attic again until he's 6 months old!

Here's the view from the door of the room. As you can see, every thing is MLB. Darwin is obsessed with baseball.

Here is the view from the other corner of the room. The pic on the wall is actually one that Brian took at our minor league ball park. That is Darwin sitting on the blanket watching the game.

Here is the wall detail. This was the biggest project of the room. The stripes were hard work but so worth it. All MLB team pennants are included.

Darwin's personalized chair.

These were just regular white hooks that I got at Target. I decoupaged them with scrapbook paper to keep with the baseball theme.

This is just some inexpensive storage that we got at Target. It is so functional. Love it!

Lots of great storage in the closet as well. In fact, we were able to do all of his clothes inside the closet. We got to save floor space in the room by forgoing a dresser.

Here's a few shots of Leo's room also. Other than changing out the name decal on the wall, the nursery really hasn't changed but I always loved the theme so I don't feel bad about the hand-me-downs. We should all be so lucky to get such fabulous second hand stuff!

Here's a fabric close up so you can see the detail. If you couldn't already tell, I really love sock monkeys!

Another big thing I did was trade my Mini Cooper in for a better family car. It was a sad day. I loved that car. It was really getting crazy though because Darwin is still rear facing so I have to crawl in through the hatch to get him in his car seat. That is ridiculous enough when you are not pregnant. In the last few weeks it has been getting harder and harder. We went this past weekend and I ended up getting a Ford Focus with a big hatch back. It is still a small car but it has 4 doors and a big hatch that will easily fit the stroller or the wagon. The gas mileage isn't as good as the Mini but it is close.

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Here's Mini Biggs-I sure will miss him!

At this point, we are pretty much ready for Leo. His room is ready, the car is ready and Darwin transitioned over to his big boy room with no trouble at all. Now all I have to do is cook him up for another 3 months.

Here's a belly shot. So far I've gained 21 lbs. I only gained 28 lbs total with Darwin so it is kind of scary that I've already gained that much. I was 10 lbs lighter to start with so I keep trying to comfort myself with that fact. I do feel a little bigger than I did with Darwin but my fundal height measurement is only about a week ahead. With Darwin it was always right on so I'm not tons bigger anyway.

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24 Weeks

28 weeks

Monday, August 29, 2011

20 Weeks

Ok, so I haven't blogged in a long, long time. What else is new? Believe it or not, I am already past the half way mark in this pregnancy. It is absolutely flying. Our big ultrasound was last week and looks like I am baking up another boy. Yep, Darwin is going to have a little brother. His name is Leo. Leo is actually what I wanted to name Darwin but Brian vetoed me with the promise that I could use the name on any future male offspring. Luckily, it wasn't an empty promise. Brian has made good on this one and hasn't even complained. He gets to pick the middle name. Right now he is leaning toward Benson. This is the name of the neighborhood in Omaha where he grew up. I have to admit, I'm not crazy about it but I like that it has meaning for Brian and I'm not going to whine much since I got the first name that I wanted.

Everything on the anatomy scanned looked great and my quad screen numbers were good so all looks well with this little guy. I'm feeling pretty good. It has been a rough summer. It was actually 114 degrees here one day! Insane. It has been cooling off lately so I haven't been too miserable. Unfortunately, I have given up running for the remainder of this pregnancy. My cervix measured a little short on the ultrasound so I just don't feel comfortable chancing it anymore. I always said I would continue running as long as I was having a completely healthy pregnancy. Even though things look good, they aren't 100% ideal so I will back off. I've been walking everyday in our very hilly neighborhood and this really is a pretty good workout. Today I pushed Darwin for an hour long walk and I don't feel like a slacker in the least.

My belly has really blossomed since week 8. No denying I am pregnant now!

Monday, July 4, 2011

12 Weeks

Not a lot to report today. I have hit the 12 week mark and we finally spilled the beans to both sets of parents. I'm still running 30 miles per week but it is getting tougher. I'm not sure if it is because I am pregnant or because it is so hot. I have to run before dawn or at sunset and it is still pretty warm. I do use the treadmill from time to time but I get so bored. I also know that within weeks that will be my only option so I'm trying to avoid it for as long as possible. I'm still running pretty well. I have a hard time warming up so my first 2 miles are very slow if I run in the morning. I'm fine if I run in the afternoon. Again, I'm not sure if that is pregnancy related or if my Achilles are just done after all that marathon training. They were bothering me before I was pregnant.

Symptoms wise, I feel pretty good. I've been tired but managed to avoid morning sickness. I have had a head cold that could do without but all in all, I've felt fine. I've been able to hear the baby's heartbeat with my doppler so that has been the best development in the last few weeks.

I'm still not really showing but I've gotten bigger for sure. I hate this stage. The fat but not pregnant (looking) stage.

Friday, June 17, 2011

1st Appt

Monday was my first appt. Brian took the morning off (I work a compressed schedule so I'm always off on Monday) so he could come along. The day ended up being a series of bad events starting when we tried to leave. We load Darwin up in Brian's car (the bigger, family car) and it won't start. We were right on schedule so we didn't have time to break out the jumper cables or anything like that. With no other choice, we load up into my car which is a Mini Cooper. Seriously, with 3 of us in there, it is basically no better than a clown car but at least it is running. We drop Darwin off and head to the Dr. The u/s goes great. Baby measures right on and everything looks perfect. My Dr. had 4 deliveries that morning so she was running behind and we ended up being in the office forever. By the time we got home, Brian needed to leave immediately so he took my car to work. I had to stay home with no car but it was only for a few hours and I was by myself so I didn't figure any big emergency would come up. Brian ends up having to stay late at work and didn't leave until almost 5. Daycare closes at 6 but it is only about a 20 minute commute so he should have had plenty of time. When he was getting ready to take our exit, he got rear ended! He was fine and my car actually wasn't damaged badly but it was rush hour and he was having to wait for the police to show up. With no functioning car at home, I can't even go pick Darwin up from daycare. As you can imagine, I was freaking out for a few minutes. Brian got on the phone and worked everything out. A co-worker of his that lives in our neighborhood and takes her son to the same daycare was able to pick him up for us. Brian got everything taken care of and it all worked out. Turns out that his car just needed a battery so we got that fixed and now we just need to get my Mini fixed. It was a stressful day to say the least, but in the end, Brian was fine, Darwin wasn't in the car when the accident happened and we got to see PeaPod on u/s. And finally, a pic for your viewing pleasure:

Sunday, June 5, 2011

Double Whammy

About this time each year, runners start to wonder what is wrong with them. I'm probably one of the worst. The temperature goes up and my running suffers. Even though I know the heat is having an effect, it gets so much harder to run that I can't help but wonder if something is wrong with me. Am I getting sick? Have I not been training enough? Before the summer of 2007, I only ran sporadically so I never realized how much the heat could really get you. I started running year around in July of 2006. Since I was just getting started, I felt the heat but I didn't realize how much harder it made running. I just assumed that I was out of shape and that is why it was hard. When the fall and winter came around, I got a lot faster. Sure, a lot of it was training but I certainly got a boost from the cooler temps. After training consistently for 10 months straight, I was starting to get faster than I ever thought I would be. I was feeling pretty good about myself and then June rolled around. I suddenly had to cut 8 mile runs to 6 miles and forget about long runs. Yikes! For the first time in months I was struggling through runs only to find my pace was horrible. More experienced runners assured me that this happens every year and that I would probably have trouble all summer long but it would get better. The good news was that when fall rolled around, I would be rewarded for all that warm weather training with a new zeal for running and even faster times. They were right. Since then, I've gone through this cycle every year and even though I know what is going on, I can't help but wonder every year, if my running will ever be the same.

Well, it is that time of year again and, as usual, I'm hurting from the heat. Add 8 weeks of pregnancy to that and I'm suffering two fold. I also have to be careful as we've already had some days up close to 100 degrees (99 yesterday!). While running is perfectly safe during pregnancy, any kind of exertion in that sort of heat isn't. To combat this, I've been getting up before dawn to get my runs in. Normally, this really wouldn't be a big deal, but, being in my first trimester, I'm soooo tired. The alternative is to run on the treadmill. I really don't like the treadmill so I avoid it as much as possible. I work too early in the morning to run before work so I'm already stuck on the treadmill at least 3 days a week. Eventually, we'll probably have weather so hot that there is no time of day that it will be safe so right now, these early morning runs are my only option.

Currently, I'm running between 30 and 35 miles per week. Some days are better than others but for the most part, I feel pretty good. I feel strongly that I should stay active during pregnancy and running is my favorite activity so it is worth it to find a way to keep at it through these hot months. Because I had just finished marathon training right before this pregnancy, I came into it in really good shape. I'm 10 lbs lighter than I was at the beginning of my pregnancy with Darwin and I wasn't big then. I was also just recently running 65 miles per week where I was probably doing more like 40 or so before Darwin. With him, I was able to run at least 15 miles per week up until week 32. After that, I did run/walking nearly everyday right up to week 36. After that, I put lots of long walks in until I delivered at 39 weeks and 1 day. I had bad hip/pelvis pain at the end of that pregnancy and it continued to plague me for months after I delivered. Ultimately, that is why I had to stop running at 36 weeks. I'm worried that it will happen sooner this time around but I'm running strong now so I just have to be happy with that.

Here's a shot of me at 8 weeks. While I feel thicker, I certainly have no bump yet so we'll consider this a before shot.

Sunday, May 15, 2011

Well That Changes Everything!

Ok so big change of plans as far as running goes. Turns out, I'm pregnant. Yes you read that right. I'll be 6 weeks pregnant as of tomorrow. Yes, it was unexpected but we were planning on trying in January so nothing really changes, we just fast forward all of our plans. If you are trying to do the math, yes, that means I was pregnant while I ran Lincoln. Just barely pregnant, but pregnant. Since we weren't planning for this, I didn't even remember when my LMP was. I didn't even realize I was late. Last week, I started thinking about when I should expect old AF. I racked my brain but couldn't think of when I started last. I knew it was either the 1st or 2nd week of April but, even after staring at a calender and thinking about all the events I'd been to in April, I just couldn't remember. I did remember having ovulation pain (this started happening after Darwin was born) but I also couldn't remember when that was. I didn't get too concerned until I realized that I had been here at home when I'd had the ovulation pain but the Lincoln Marathon was two weeks ago (three now, I've been working on this post for a week). That meant it had been longer than 2 weeks since I ovulated. When I realized this, I figured I was mistaken. I've gotten several side eyes from people when I tell them I can feel myself ovulate. Maybe it really was just the gas pain they suggested it was. Thing is though, I had a huge ovarian cyst that was very painful when I was pregnant with Darwin. This pain is in the same spot and feels very similar. Also, it happens around day 14 of my cycle so, I think it really is ovulation pain. Finally, it hit me that I needed to just take a pregnancy test. Brian was working a weekend shift so I loaded up Darwin and headed to Walgreens. He was out of infant motrin anyway. I grabbed a cheap store brand test and headed home. It dawned on me that it was the middle of the morning and I had already had about 32 oz of water. This would be diluted, far from first of the morning, urine. I gave it a shot anyway, I mean there was no way I was pregnant, right? Well, I could actually see a faint line. I know, they say a line is a line but this was so faint that I couldn't really trust my own eyes. Now I was starting to freak out though. Was it possible I was pregnant? I loaded Darwin back up and went to another pharmacy to get a better quality test. No way I would show my face in the same one and buy yet another pregnancy test. Too Juno. Besides, it is embarrassing enough buying one in the first place. Even though I am an adult and married, it just seems like such a weird violation of my privacy having to basically tell a stranger that I might be knocked up. Anyway,when I got home, I took it and it turned unmistakably positive immediately. I was standing in the bathroom while Darwin sat on the floor tearing up some junk mail. I was shaking. I couldn't believe it. I didn't even know how far along I was. I snapped a picture of the test with my cell phone and sent it in a text message to Brian. I didn't know what else to do. There was no way I could wait until he got home. I didn't trust my voice to call him. It was my only choice. He immediately texted back "What?!".

After a few days, the shock wore off for both of us. At least that initial, whole body shaking can't catch your breath, shock. I finally remembered when my LMP was and figured out that I was 4 weeks and 6 days pregnant and my due date would be January 15th. The Houston Marathon, which is being held in conjunction with the Olympic Marathon Trials, is the same day. Brian had already signed up for the race. He was waiting to hear if he got in. Talk about bad timing. Oh well, worst case scenario, we're out $125. Not a big deal in the long run. My running plans will obviously change. Again, not a huge deal. I'm so glad I was able to get a great marathon in before this pregnancy because with two small kiddos, there's just no way I could find the time to train. Not for a few years anyway. So, we are slowly adjusting to the idea of having another baby. I am a control freak and at first, I vacillated between annoyance that this didn't happen on my terms and being grateful for the surprise. Not getting to do a few of the running events I had planned actually made me tear up a little. Hormones. In the end, I've certainly settled on grateful. In the grand scheme of things, it isn't a big deal that I don't get to finish out the Grand Prix series, do another marathon this fall or run my XC 10K. Also, the clock was ticking. I'll be 35 next year and, while many women have perfectly uneventful pregnancies at that age and beyond, my risks do increase as my age goes up. Might as well take advantage of my "youth" while I can, LOL! Money wise we are good and even my leave at work looks like I'll be able to swing 12 weeks off after this LO gets here. It is still early and, due to my history of miscarriage, we are cautiously optimistic. I doubt we'll tell anyone IRL until at least the 2nd trimester. Maybe even longer unless my belly starts giving me away. There are a couple of you that read this blog that know me IRL and are Facebook friends. Please, keep this quiet for now if you don't mind.

Saturday, May 7, 2011

Lincoln Marathon Race Report

Training for any marathon is stressful, at least for me anyway. There are lots of people these days that do several marathons per year but this is not my running philosophy. I'm obviously not anti-marathon but there is no doubt that it is tough on your body, so to me, it doesn't make sense to do more than 1 or 2 per year. Also, it takes a long time to prepare for a marathon. When you consider all the time spent and the fact that I've only got a couple of chances per year to do this, that's a lot of eggs in one basket so to speak. For Lincoln, this feeling was intensified by the fact that I had a child and hadn't done a marathon for over two and a half years. I also had a lot of mommy guilt because of the time I spent training. When my mileage was the highest, there were some days that I left home before Darwin woke up and got home after he was already asleep. Of course, I felt guilty because of time lost with my son but I also felt bad that Brian had to take up the parenting slack while I was running. He never complained and was more than happy to make sure I got my training in, but still. Throughout this training, I really felt a lot of anxiety. Given all the aforementioned worries, you can imagine the stress that ensued when I considered the fact that the race might not go well. Not that I thought the race would go badly. My training suggested that I was ready but marathons are tricky. The weather is a huge factor and you can't control that. Also, nutrition is always difficult and can be disastrous if you make a mistake. There is also the fact that sometimes, for no known reason, you just don't have it on race day. For the first time in my running existence, I started to wonder it it was worth it. Not if running wasn't worth it, but if putting 65 mile weeks in might not be worth it. The marathon is only one distance. I could still be a runner and do all the shorter distances. Maybe this was more my style now that I was a mom. Your life changes when you become a parent and maybe this was one of the changes I needed to make to be happy and keep my sanity. Anyways, I tell you all of this so you can understand all the baggage I brought to Lincoln. It really was overwhelming.

We left home on Thursday before the race, stopped in Northwest Arkansas for the night and then drove to Omaha, where Brian's parents live, on Friday. Darwin was a great traveler. I was so grateful as I didn't need any added stress. I started checking the forecast religiously (for real, like every couple of hours) and was pleased to see that it was going to be cold. The low was supposed to be in the 30s with a high in the upper 50s. For the race, we could expect temps to be in the 40s. To me, that is perfection. The only thing I saw that made me nervous was the wind. They were predicting 20mph wind from the NNW which would be the direction I was headed for the last 10k of the race. Not good. Fortunately, the number kept getting lower and lower as the day got closer but the direction of the wind never changed. We went to the expo to pick up our packets on Saturday and Brian drove me through the parts of the course that weren't on running trails. As we headed to our lodge (we stayed in a state park) for the night, the reality settled in. No matter how well you are prepared for a marathon, it will hurt. It will get difficult and you will have to push through physical pain and be mentally tough. All I could think is "why do I do this to myself?". I was so nervous.

On race day we got up at 4am. The race was at 7 and we had a little bit of a drive. I was jittery. Brian's parents came to watch Darwin and we headed for Lincoln. We parked and headed for the stadium. I couldn't believe how cold it was! Great for running, but not great for standing around beforehand. We checked our bags and got ready to warm up. Brian was running the half so he needed to run more than I did before the start. I only wanted to do a half mile. Also, he would be running a faster pace than I would so he needed to start further up in the corral than I did. He told me good luck and gave me a hug and we said our goodbyes before we warmed up. The half mile felt pretty terrible but I was determined not to let it get to me. I could only manage 9 minute pace which is weird because I haven't run 9 minute pace since I was about 8 months pregnant. I was hoping to do at least 7:39 pace for the race so you can imagine my concern. At this point, the race was only about 10 minutes away and I really needed to hit the bathroom again. No way I could do 26.2 miles without emptying my bladder one more time. The line for the bathroom was too long though. I considered heading downstairs to the locker room but my watch said 6:56 and I really needed to be lining up. About that time I saw 2 girls crouch behind a bush and I headed over to join them. Not pretty, but I had to do what I had to do. Now it was time to get serious. I took my long sleeved shirt off and lined up. Next thing I know, the gun went off and the race started. I was about a minute back in the corral and it took what seemed like forever to cross the start line.

My goal for the day was to break 3:20 which required 7:39 pace. The marathon actually provided a mile by mile break down of the race including how much time you could expect to lose or gain based upon the elevation profile. I used a base pace of 7:35 and came up with a mile by mile custom pace band. Brian thought it was a bad idea but I liked it because it allowed for more time on the uphills and took advantage of the downhills instead of just giving me one set pace to try to keep the whole race. Also, I like to use the first 2 miles as warm up so I put those in at a slower pace and had some of the middle miles at 7:30 to make up for it. If I was able to run the exact numbers I had on the band, it would get me to mile 26 in 3:17 and change. That meant that I had a little bit of cushion should I lose time somewhere along the way. Anyway, it was just a paper band so I could rip it off and throw it away if things weren't going my way.

The first few miles were uneventful. I went out at 8:02 pace which was planned for 8:00. No biggie. The next mile was planned at 7:45 and came in at 7:43 so I was right on pace as planned and ready to actually start racing. There was a little bit of a climb in the 3rd mile so I had planned for 7:40 but ended up running 7:35. For mile 4 I had planned 7:35 and did 7:33. Mile 5 was a 7:35 as planned. Here I took some Gu and hit a water stop. The water stops were great and featured cups with lids and straws. This made all the difference in the world. I could get as much water as I needed without splashing it in my face or choking on it. It was great. Mile 6 had the first real downhill. I wanted to run a 7:28 and came in at 7:27. Mile 7 came in at 7:25 and was planned for 7:35. I think the mile marker might have been a little off. Mile 8 was 7:35 as planned. Mile 9 was the first of the significant climbs. I did it in 7:40 as planned. Mile 10 was downhill and came in 2 seconds faster than the planned 7:28. I took my 2nd Gu. I felt ok I guess. Not great but certainly not bad. I hadn't done a marathon in so long that I wasn't sure how to judge it. It was now time to get into a groove and make up for my warm up miles. I planned to do 7:30 pace from mile 11 through mile 18. Mile 11 came in at a disappointing 7:38. I shook it off and clocked a 7:16 for mile 12. According to my Garmin, I ran them both at the same pace but mile 11 was long and mile 12 was short. Mile 13 came in at 7:24. At this point, the half marathoners turned into the stadium to finish. The field narrowed severely as the vast majority of runners were doing the half. I headed on feeling lonely but pretty strong. There were several volunteers that were on the trail yelling words of encouragement. Mile 14 was a 7:32. Mile 15 was 7:37. I took another Gu. Nutrition wise, I felt good. My stomach wasn't queasy and I didn't feel lightheaded or anything. I was a little worried that I wasn't keeping my 7:30s but soldiered on. Mile 16 came in at 7:28. Mile 17 was 7:32 and mile 18 was 7:34. I could have pushed for 7:30s but it just didn't seem wise. 7:30 felt like too great of an effort but I felt comfortable a few seconds slower. Mile 19 was the biggest climb of the race. I planned for a 7:40 and ran a 7:41. Mile 20 was planned for 7:40 and I did it in 7:45. The turn around came in the middle of this mile and was near a lake. The wind was very strong as soon as I changed direction and I was a little worried but I put my head down, pulled my arms in close and tried to be as slim as possible to increase my efficiency. I started passing lots of people. I hoped that turning out of the park and getting away from the lake would lessen the wind. I just needed to get back up the hill. I took my final Gu and prepared myself for the last 10k. I knew it would be a challenge with the wind but I was determined to do the best I could. Mile 21 was planned at 7:35 but came in at 7:41. Mile 22 was a 7:34 and was planned for 7:30. Mile 23 came in at 7:46. I can't remember what it was suppose to be but it was definitely slower than planned. I had about 5K to go and I was tired but not completely spent. I wasn't sure if a sub 3:20 was still possible or not. I hadn't given up but I was too tired to force myself back down to pace. I didn't feel terrible though and I was pretty sure that I would PR in the very least. I also felt good enough that I was confident I wouldn't completely fade at the end. Only once before did I run every single step of a marathon without walking and I knew that I would be able to do it now. I also thought about the weather. The wind sucked but it wasn't impossible to run in. The temperatures were as good as I could hope for so I just started saying to myself "if not today, then when?". Mile 24 was planned for 7:35 and came in at 7:45. Mile 25 was also planned for 7:35 and came in at 7:48. I now had 1.2 miles to go. I switched my Garmin from pace to total time. It showed 3:10 and change...a lot of change. It was actually closer to 3:11. That gave me 9 minutes and a few seconds to get the finish. I felt ok and knew I could do better than 8 minute pace. That left me a little over a minute to do the last 2 tenths. I wasn't sure how long it would take me. I couldn't do the math but I knew it would be close. I locked onto a runner in front of me and tried to stay with him. I drew a lot of energy from him and was able to do a 7:34 which was faster than the 7:40 I had planned. I turned into the stadium and checked my watch again. I wasn't sure how far away the finish line was and I hoped it would be close. I watched my total time click from 3:18 something to 3:19. Thankfully, as soon as I turned into the stadium, the finish was right there. I ended in 3:19:16. I did it!

I cried a little as I crossed the line. Breaking 3:20 was my lifetime goal and I had done it. The second I crossed the line I felt like I'd been beaten with a baseball bat. I wasn't tired as much as I was horribly sore and beat up. I hobbled off the field and started looking for the bag check area. It was crowded and confusing. I just wanted to get my bag and find Brian. I wanted to be in bed. I felt awful but I was very happy. Luckily, I saw Brian and Darwin waiting for me on the field. We got my bag and got out of there. It couldn't have been too soon. After a shower and then later an ice bath, I felt a lot better. I took the next day off and then ran 2 miles on Tuesday. I've run everyday since then and I'm feeling pretty good. I even did a 10 miler today so I'm more than on the road to recovery.

Here we are after the race.

I am so glad that the race went well. Not just for the fast time but to silence all the doubt and guilt I brought to the start line. This race changed everything for me. For the first time since I started running, I'm not burned out after marathon training. I'm ready to keep training. Looking forward to it actually. I even plan to do another marathon this year in either the fall or winter. I'm going to scale back my mileage for the next few months and focus on speed work and shorter distances. I haven't settled on a particular marathon yet but once I've decided, I'll plan for a similar 12 week plan since this one worked out so well.

The icing on the cake-I won my age group!

Wednesday, March 30, 2011

It Has Been Too Long

I have lapsed again and haven't blogged in forever. This time I have a good excuse! I have been running so much that I haven't had time. I mean that. So what have I been up to...where to begin...

I've had three big PRs since I last blogged. One of them came in February at the Run The Line Half Marathon (RTL). It was long overdue and I was starting to get a complex about it. Half marathon was my worst PR and I was really sick of having to tell people a time from back in 2007 that is incongruent with the rest of my PRs. I had hoped to break it in Memphis and should have been able to but I crashed and burned which happens to the best of us. At RTL I was feeling confident as I had just done a 15K at 6:59 pace. I figured if I had a good day I could probably pull off 7:08-7:10 pace. I took off at that pace and held it until mile 8 or so. Our weather here had been very cold, for Arkansas anyway, and this particular day in Texarkana was warm. It was sunny and got up into the 70s. The week before, a race nearly got canceled due to a big snow and the temps for it were in the 30s. Needless to say, my body was not ready for race day effort in 70 degree weather. Also, the last half of the course is hilly and the wind had the audacity to be blowing right in my face the whole time! I certainly faded a little in the last few miles but was able to hang on to a 7:15 pace and I broke 1:35! This means I PRed by more than 5 minutes. It was not my best race but I'm still pretty happy with it.

In March, I tried out my speed at a 2 miler. I'm training for the Lincoln Marathon right now so I certainly haven't been doing anything that would prepare me for a 2 mile race. My PR pace was slower than the pace I ran at the Valentines Day 5K so, even without speed work, I figured I could easily pull off a PR. I needed to beat 13:01 and I came in at 12:32! Not bad.

In April I ran the Capital City Classic 10K. This is the race that I ran 6 months after Darwin was born and had a time that was several seconds slower than I ran while I was 12 weeks pregnant with him. I pretty much hate 10K and I find that course particularly challenging. It is fast and flat which would normally be considered a good thing but it is so flat that you can see forever and ever. Mentally, this just wears on me. I find it hard to stay focused and I give up. This year was no exception. I did not have a great race. I faded in the last 2 miles and got out kicked at the end but, I still managed a 41:44 which was a 27 second PR. Given the fact that I am not working on short fast races, I have to be at least a little proud of this.

Marathon training has been chugging right along and I'm actually in the last week of my taper for Lincoln. My mileage topped out at 65 and I'm fine with that. One thing I did wrong in preparing for Chicago was to force myself to do all the weekly mileage, even when I was absolutely worn down. I did not do that to myself this time around. If I was dead at mile 12 of a 15 miler then it became a 12 miler. My tempo runs were successful and I did a good 22 miler just a few weeks ago. I also did a 16 mile race pace run that was very promising. For a race like a marathon, I set multiple goals because there are too many factors you must consider. Weather is one of the big ones. Also, sometimes you just don't have it on race day for whatever reason. My "pie in the sky" goal will be to break 3:20. My "challenging but realistic" goal will be a 3:25. And finally, the "I won't be too pissed" goal would be to break 3:30. I ran Chicago 2008 in 3:22 and that was with temps in the mid to upper 80s. Most of the time, I feel like I'm in better shape now but there are times when I'm just not sure. I keep hoping that Brian will reassure me, but he hasn't. He is very realistic about these things so if he isn't confident in it, there must be a reason.

It feels surreal to be a week away from running a marathon. The whole time I was pregnant, I missed being in that kind of shape. Once Darwin was born and I had a hard time getting back into running, I really thought I might never get here again. A year ago, I was still only able to run about 20 miles per week. No matter what happens in Lincoln, I am happy to be a runner again. One thing I have learned on this journey is that being a marathoner is no longer everything to me. The training takes too many hours away from my family and now that I'm older and I've had a child, it beats me up more than it use to. I really think I could run shorter distances and be happy. In fact, the next big race I'm going to focus on is a XC 10K in October. I've run it twice before and I love the course and the XC festival atmosphere. Once Lincoln is over, I'll be cutting back my mileage and running some short stuff over the summer.

I'm both nervous and excited for Lincoln. Part of me is terrified actually and a little freaked out that it is only a week away. Another part of me wants it to just get here already. I have done the training and now I want to show what I can do. Wish me luck!

Saturday, February 12, 2011

I Won!

So Saturday was the Valentine's Day 5K. I haven't been doing speed work but I've recently done some races and I've done a lot of good tempo runs. My PR is 19:42 and I certainly didn't expect to run that but thought I might be able to do 6:30 pace. The course had a lot of ice left on it after a recent snow storm. It was warm Friday and Saturday so most of it had melted off but you certainly had to be careful. I went out slow as there was a considerable amount of snow and ice in the first half mile. Once we got to clear trail it was down to me and 2 college girls. We ran to the first mile marker together just a little slower than 6:30. I left them at that point and was all alone from there on. It got tough at the end but I was able to do a 20:09. Not too bad and it was exactly 6:30 pace like I was hoping. The race is held on a narrow wooded trail. In order to alleviate congestion, the women ran first and then the men. It was great to finish first in front of such a crowd! Brian came in 4th place in the men's race so we easily won the married couples division.

Darwin checks out my hardware at the awards ceremony.

This is only the third race I've ever won and it is the first race I've won since having Darwin. I will say that victory is sweeter when you get to carry your child with you to pick up your award. I really feel like I have it all now. I am a mom to a wonderful son and my running is pretty much where it was before I got pregnant. Life is good!

Grand Prix wise I picked up first place points and I'm now on the top of the leader board. That is somewhat misleading because the second place girl has only done two races and I've done three. Only 10 of the 20 races count toward your score so sometimes it takes the whole season for the leader board to shake out and accurately show who should really be on top. It is still very cool to see my name in the lead position.

Monday, February 7, 2011


For the first time in 2 years I got to run the River Trail 15K. This is a race that Brian and I started directing in 2009. We took it over from another club. They didn't feel like they could continue to put it on and we loved it so we took it over as a fund raiser for the Grand Prix series. Brian and I do the behind the scenes, ahead of time work together but only one of us needs to actually direct the race on race day. The first year we did it, I was 6 weeks pregnant so it made sense that I stay behind while Brian ran. Same for last year only this time it was because I had a 3 month old and wasn't ready to race 9.3 miles. This year, it was my turn. After the track run, I felt that I could run a strong race. I did 8.6 miles that day just under 7 minute pace. Since the 15K was only .7 miles longer and it didn't have grueling mental aspect of going around and around the same track, I decided to try to break 7 minute pace once again.

Leading up to race day, we got hit with snow. The night before the race it was still snowing and we weren't sure what would happen on race day. We postponed the race from 9am until 12pm. At 10am the course looked pretty bad. I thought we would have to cancel. Luckily, the temps kept rising, the sun came out and some volunteers shoveled off bridges for us. The course ended up being almost perfect and the weather was beautiful.

I went out just a little slower than 7 minute pace and used the first few miles to gain speed. It was tough, as a race should be, but I was able to keep it up. I finished in 1:05:01 which was 6:59 pace. It was exactly what I was shooting for. I ended up third place overall for the second time this year. This is my best start to a Grand Prix series ever. It is also a 4 minute PR. I am very happy with my running right now. Next race up is the Valentines Day 5K next week. I have only been doing tempo runs and not speed work so I'm not sure what I can do. I think I'll go out at 6:30 pace and see what happens. My 5K PR is 19:42 and I certainly don't expect to run that. I ran a 20:38 on the track in December so I'd like to do better than that. Brian and I get to compete in the couples division so we are hoping for a win! Last time we ran it as a couple I was pregnant but we still won easily.

Here I am as I head for the finish line.

Wednesday, January 26, 2011

I Am Officially Back!

Finally, I had a real come back race. After the Memphis Half Marathon, my training really seemed to pick up but I've felt that way before only to get completely humbled by some race. Sunday was the first race of the Grand Prix season, the Hour Track Run. I blogged about this one last year. It was the first post baby race I attempted. For this one, you run around a track for an hour. The object is to go as far as you can in the allotted time. Mentally, it is pretty grueling. Running fast for an hour is hard regardless but just going around in circles over and over again makes it even tougher. This is the 4th time I've done this race. The first time was 2007. I had just gotten back into racing and it was my first attempt at the Grand Prix. I was a new member of the Little Rock Roadrunners Club but had only met a handful of the members. That year I ran 7.6 miles which was 7:54 pace. I thought I was pretty cool because I broke 8 minute pace and I was 7th overall. The next year I did it again. I was coming off my first season of the Grand Prix. I had placed 3rd overall which was completely unexpected. I thought I was hot stuff and was ready to really tear this race up. My goal was 7:10 pace. I was almost able to do it but faded pretty hard in the last few minutes and ended up with 7:15 pace which came out to 8.27 miles. Pretty big improvement from the year before. It was good for 4th place. I was mad because I got passed in the last couple of laps. Lame. Anyway, I skipped this race in 2009. I was kind of burned out and had miscarried the month before. In 2010, I had a 3 month old. The week before the race, I wasn't even sure if I could run for an hour straight. I went for a run in the neighborhood and did 6 miles just under 60 minutes. It was the longest run I'd done post pregnancy and I knew I could do the race. It was tough but I gutted it out and did 7.2 miles which was 8:19 pace and 12th overall. It was my worst showing ever but I was pretty proud of myself.

As I approached the race this year, I wasn't sure what pace I should shoot for. A week ago, I pulled up my 2008 training log and looked at the weeks leading up to the track run. They were not that impressive. My current training runs were faster and I was doing more mileage. With this in mind, I decided to go for 7:10 pace again. This time I was sure I could hang on. Secretly I wanted to run 7:00 pace. In my dreams I wanted to break 7:00 pace. As usual, the weather for this race sucked. It was 40 degrees and raining. I ran a warm up mile but I really just got cold and wet. When the race started, I went out on pace but had a little trouble because the track was rutty and the ruts were filled with water from all the rain. It took a couple of laps to get use to the terrain. I settled into the pace and went through the first mile in exactly 7:10. The next couple miles were a little faster at 7:04 and 7:03. I started to feel a little tired in the next mile and my stomach was a bit upset. Not good. I wasn't sure if I'd be able to hang on but I wasn't giving up. I did mile 4 in 7:02. The 1st and 2nd place women were already too far ahead to catch and no one was anywhere close to catching me for 3rd. I thought for a minute about slowing down and bringing it in easy. About that time a friend of mine lapped me. Without even thinking about it, I sped up a little. I was able to stay a few feet behind him and I started feeling a lot better. Mile 5 came in 6:53 and mile 6 was 7:00. Now I knew I only had a little over 2 miles to go. That didn't seem so hard. Mile 7 was 6:55. At this point, I start to realize that I could possibly finish this thing sub 7:00. I was pretty tired but I thought I could do it. I got through mile 8 in 6:51. Now there were only 4 minutes left. I was able to do 6 more tenths of a mile for 8.6 miles total which came out to 6:58 pace. I was so happy. The best part is that I was able to actually speed up. I hate fading in a race,even if the overall time is good.

Here I am after the rain stopped. Still soaked wet though.

I am really excited about the season now. This was an honest PR-not just a post pregnancy PR. Next race up is the River Trail 15K. The last time I did it was 2008 and I had just gotten over bronchitis. I did it in 1:09:00. That is my PR and it is 7:25 pace. I've only got to go .8 miles further than I did for the track run so I'm thinking I can shoot for a similar pace and should be able to turn in another big PR. Marathon training starts the day after the 15K!

Friday, January 14, 2011

15 Months

Have you ever done anything every single day for 15 months? Other than the obvious things like breathing, eating, walking, etc... I really can't think of anything. Even with running I take at least one day off per week. When you are nursing a baby, you don't get a day off. For me, nursing was a fabulous experience and I really never wished for a day off but now that it has come to a close, it is crazy to think that I did it every single day, many times each day.

About a week ago, I sat down to nurse Darwin like I always do right before bed time. Instead of turning toward me to nurse, he grabbed the paci out of my hand, shoved it in his mouth and promptly fell asleep. He then proceeded to sleep straight through the night so well, that I didn't wake him the next morning to nurse the way I usually do. The next night, I gave him his paci and put him down in the crib. He fell straight to sleep. Once I realized this was a trend, I got very sad. I was glad that he decided to wean himself but I wish I had realized that our last nursing session would be the last. The next couple of days I got pretty engorged. All the websites I found said to either pump a little bit or let your baby nurse a little. I had already packed the pump away in the attic and letting Darwin nurse seemed like a bad idea. What if he decided he didn't want to quit? Finally, after 3 days of no nursing, he woke up in the middle of the night. When I picked him up, he fell right to sleep in my arms. I dream fed him one last time and thought back over the last 15 months. I got to say a tearful good bye to our nursing relationship. It was a sweet few moments that I'm so glad I got to have with him. Not only did it allow me to say good bye to this time in our lives, but it really got rid of the engorgement.

When I was pregnant I thought about all the amazing memories I would make once my baby was here. I never imagined that one of the greatest experiences would be nursing. Breastfeeding had a profound affect on me and I'm so glad that I chose to do it.