Rowan is 4 months old + I signed up for my first race

I have a 4 month old. That’s 1/3 of a year. In 212 months, she’ll be leaving for college. Surely someone has discovered how to make time stop by now. I loved my sleepy little newborn, but this 4 month old who smiles at me every morning, giggles at my funny faces, naps in my arms, and stops crying when I hold her is my favorite.

Rowan is slowly getting used to napping in her crib. I try it once each day and she now holds a 40 minute crib napping PR. I think the days of two hour naps are over, so maybe 40 minutes in her crib is actually pretty awesome.

I lost my credit card and threw my phone away all in the same day. Technically, Andrew threw my phone away, but I put it in the box I asked him to trash. Whatever, I just had a baby. That’s my excuse for everything. So I bought this phone case that holds my credit cards in the back so now I only have to keep up with one thing.

Rowan’s been great about being super content chillin’ in her swing while I walk around the kitchen or am on the treadmill. I planned to log an easy 30 minute run while she watched and then she fell asleep. Yes!! ASLEEP!! She hasn’t done that since she was a newborn. In the past she’d always wake up when I stopped running – I’m guessing because the noise changed. So I kept going until she woke up because ‘never wake a sleeping baby‘. Six miles and an hour later, she woke up. I guess I can’t complain but I really didn’t feel like running 6 miles that day. A treadmill is one expensive white noise machine.

Everyone says their kids are their motivation for working out. I totally get that now. But not in the sappy “I want to be a good example for them” way because let’s be honest, she has no idea what I’m doing. But her sleep motivates/forces me to keep running. I headed out for a run while Andrew watched her. I texted 3 miles in and told him I quit because I was just not feeling it. He responded letting me know she was asleep. Which means if I were to come home, our dogs would do their thing and wake her. DANGIT!! So I got in another 6 miler. I think it was actually 6.48 and no I did not finish it out to an even 6.50 because I was that over it!

So that was two unplanned 6-milers thanks to my sweet, sleepy baby. #motivation

I also hit my first double-digit run!! 10 whole miles. It was really tough mentally. I was super lonely because I’m so used to logging my long runs with my running group. But I did it and was pretty proud! I have a 5K coming up and I plan to do a half in the fall. That’s as far as I’ve gotten with planning out races. I’m taking my time and not getting ahead of myself.

I’ve been trying to unplug from my phone a bit more. Since Rowan naps in my arms I’m on the couch for several hours each day. I used to mindlessly play on my phone or watch a show on Netflix that turned really dumb by the third season. Seriously, I think everyone in Rosewood is ‘A’. But lately I’ve tried reading more. I know that’s not really productive but I feel like it powers my brain a bit more. I’ve read The Husband’s Secret and Three Wishes and I’m currently reading What Alice Forgot .

These last four months have gone by too fast and I know time will only go faster. I’m beginning to forget what life was like before her and that’s okay with me.

When did your baby start sleeping through the night?

How old was your baby when you ran you first post-partum race? 

 

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Mom moments + longest run + my first coffee

  1. Rowan is 3 1/2 months old.

She’s still sleeping like a rockstar. Most nights she wakes up for one feeding anywhere between 3-5am and then is up for the day around 6am. I love this schedule!! MOM MOMENT: One morning, Rowan thoughtfully woke at 5am for a feeding which allowed me time for a run outside before Andrew left for work. When I returned, she was STILL sleeping. Whose baby is this? I showered in our guest bathroom and dried off with kitchen towels because “never wake a sleeping baby”.

We couldn’t have asked for a better nighttime sleeper, but she’s a finicky napper. We’re not on a schedule and not trying to be on one. I know when she’s tired and that’s when she naps – however, it’s in my lap. Yes, we’ve tried it all. She prefers to snuggle and I don’t mind. We are working towards getting her to nap in here crib. MOM MOMENT: I had just showered and was still in a towel when I was trying to get her to nap in her crib (which is in our bedroom). It worked!! She fell asleep!! So in stealth mode, I escaped our room without waking her… still in a towel with absolutely no clothes in any other areas of or home except the quietness of our room where my baby was sleeping. Normally not a big deal, except in 30 minutes I had out-of-town family arriving. Fortunately and unfortunately, her crib nap lasted 25 minutes. But at least that’s a start.

I logged my longest post-partum run recently. NINE MILES! Our neighborhood is extremely flat so I ran to a hill that’s a 1/4 mile from top to bottom and climbed it 8 times. I held a 9:13 average pace for the run and felt really good about it.

I also destroyed my legs with a strength training workout while Rowan watched from the stroller. She loved having me jump around in front of her. I did a bunch of variations of lunges and squats with some pylometrics thrown in there. It hurt to walk for a couple of days which makes carrying a baby around tough.

I started drinking coffee again.  I haven’t had coffee in 14 MONTHS!! That’s an extremely long time for a person who had multiple cups of coffee daily for years! I cut it out before I got pregnant because I didn’t want to drink it while I was pregnant (just my personal choice) and I didn’t want to go through withdrawals and morning sickness at the same time. Although, I ended up not having morning sickness. After Rowan was born, I chose to hold off on drinking it because I was nervous it would affect her through nursing. I felt comfortable to give it a try so I made a 1/2 caff + 1/2 decaf cup. Then she needed me, and an hour later after microwaving it, I got to enjoy my first cup of coffee. MOM MOMENT: microwaved coffee.

It’s so stinkin’ hot outside and especially for Rowan in her car seat. Our car doesn’t have rear A/C so we bought a Noogle. It’s really pretty awesome!!! We’re still playing with placement but it’s been so helpful in quickly cooling down the back of the car. We also travel with our dogs sometimes so I know it’ll for sure come in handy for that.

These past few weeks I’ve watched my sleepy newborn turn into a wiggly baby that’s beginning to interact with the world and become her own person. As much as I want her to stay little forever, I love how she no longer seems as fragile and is becoming my little buddy.

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Three Months: Baby + Running Update

 

I’ve been a mom now for three months. Has it been the greatest life changing experience of all time? Life changing for sure. And some moments have been quite wonderful. If you haven’t read Rowan’s sweet birth story, you can here. That was the sugarcoated version I will tell her when she is older. I’ll spare her the details about how I was absolutely panicked and so drugged up from the epidural that I hardly remember her first few hours of her life. Maybe I’ll share that reality for when she is expecting a little one of her own.

I can share the sweetened highlights of these past three months, but how about just an update on what’s actually been going on with our new family of three.

C-Section Recovery: I was not prepared for this as I had only found out 16 hours before my water broke that Rowan was breech and I would likely need a c-section. I didn’t have time to do all the googling. When the epidural wore off and I was finally able to stand up, it felt like my insides were on fire and going to fall out. Like my abs had been ripped open and I was terrified to sneeze, cough, laugh, move, breath. Everything was painful. I relied on my leg strength so much because I had no core. Although it eventually got easier, it was a solid two weeks before the soreness wore off. And when you are nursing a newborn every two hours, there is a lot of sitting up and core movement. I was miserable.

Allergic Reaction: As they were prepping me for the c-section they asked if I was allergic to surgical tape. I said no. Apparently this was incorrect. I am severely allergic to surgical tape. And after 24 hours of this tape burning my skin, I finally realized something was wrong and it wasn’t my incision causing this horrific feeling. I will spare you gory details, but I’ll leave it at blisters and open wounds all on my stomach surrounding my incision. Now I have scars from this. No stretch marks, but scars from that stupid tape. Honestly, my skin hurt worse than the incision and surgery. I mean, imagine the worse blister on your foot after a marathon, but put that all over your stomach. Everything that touched it hurt and showering was brutal. I cringe just writing about it.

Nursing: We have been exclusively breastfeeding and I am beyond grateful this has worked for us. However, we had a very rough start. The first two weeks were absolutely painful and miserable. I cried almost every time she nursed. I dreaded the two hour mark when I had to feed again. We also battled with Rowan preferring one side for a few days so that side never got a break to heal. Around the 5/6 week mark, I realized I had an oversupply. Not a good thing! So then we had to work through that. Finally at two months, I felt like I knew what I was doing and it’s been decently easy since then.

Between the raw skin on my stomach and pain from breastfeeding, I basically spent two weeks unclothed in my house. The beauty of motherhood…

Sleep: We are blessed. Praise the Lord we have a baby that is a good sleeper. From day one, she has slept in her bassinet with no problems. We lay her down, and she goes to sleep. Even now she can put herself to sleep. At first I had to wake her every 3 hours to feed because she was so little and not gaining weight quickly enough, but by 5 weeks she was able to sleep 4 hours, then a few weeks later 5-6, and now we can get 9 hour stretches pretty regularly.

Napping: Rowan was a napping champion at the beginning. I thought I hit the jackpot. I could put her in her swing and she would nap away. I would even have to wake her to feed. I got so much done. I could clean the house, make dinner, lay on the couch and try to nap myself, really anything I wanted. That all changed at two months. Now Rowan prefers insists on napping in my arms or in the front carrier snuggled up next to me. I am not complaining. I love snuggling with her and house chores can wait. But it can get tiresome. She also isn’t the greatest napper anymore so we deal with an overtired baby every few days.

Milestones: I hate milestones. I hate getting those emails that say, “your baby is 8 weeks old, they should be smiling at you.” Well my baby didn’t smile at me. Then I had a huge crying meltdown because it had to be my fault she wasn’t smiling. I hadn’t bought her one of those expensive activity mats. So I walked through Target, crying, to buy an activity mat. My husband talked some sense into me. I returned the mat and three days later Rowan smiled… at Andrew. That is one example of how having a baby makes you irrational. Just like every pregnancy is different, so is every baby. And I have to remember that she is premature and adjust for that.

Diapers: We’re cloth diapering and it’s awesome! I have spent less than $400 and have enough diapers and supplies to get me to her potty training years. If you’re considering going the cloth route, do it! It’s intimidating and there isa learning curve but it’s so easy and cheap once you get the hang of it. Check out fluffloveuniversity.com for an overwhelming amount of information.

Weightloss: I gained 25 pounds during pregnancy and lost them all by my 5 week appointment when I was released for exercise. It was easy and I didn’t have to do anything to lose them. I assumed when I started running and exercising more weight would just pour off my body. I gained 10-15 pounds while I was trying to get pregnant so I do feel like I have more weight to lose. Since I started running 9 weeks ago, I have lost 0 pounds. So I am putting my scale away, continuing to exercise, continuing to eat nourishing foods for my health and for Rowan since she eats what I eat. I grew a human and most days don’t care about my weight. But some days I do care and try not to. I can’t believe I was ever self-concious when I was at my smallest.

Running: My first run was May 13th. I ran one mile without stopping then walked and ran the next two for three miles total. It was hard but manageable. Every run since then I have been able to run without walking. I run about 3-4 days/week. Most are on the treadmill since I am not running with Rowan in her stroller yet. I have been able to log 4-7 miles outside on Saturday mornings, but the rest have been either been easy runs or speed work on the treadmill. I use the term “speed work” loosely as it’s not like I am doing sprints. I am just running a little quicker than a comfortable pace for short distances. It has helped the time on the treadmill go by much faster and since I have a short amount of time until Rowan wakes up, I have to get in the most effective workout. I don’t have any goals but I do get discouraged at times. Mentally I feel like my old self, but my body can’t keep up.

Other workouts: I have been doing light core work to help reengage the muscles that were cut apart. With a c-section, the literally make a vertical incision to separate your abs. I also do some strength training 2-3 times/week with handweights. On our stroller walks, I will do some walking lunges and squats. Rowan loves to sit in her stroller and watch me jump around.

Dogs: Our dogs are great with Rowan. They have shown no agression towards her. Our boxer acts like a big sister and our chihuahua couldn’t care less. However, they have driven me absolutely insane. I mean almost to the point of tears. It’s all my fault. I spoiled them rotten. They were my babies before I had a baby. I know I can’t expect them to change overnight, but they have made having a baby so much more challenging. Aside from the barking that Rowan can no longer sleep through, they basically walk around our house searching for things to get into – trash cans, laundry, diapers, everything. No they are not rebelling. They just have more opporunities to do what they always did now that I am home all the time. I do love them, but gosh they make it hard.

All in all, it’s been an amazingly challenging three months. We’ve had our highs and lows but it’s a huge adjustment. Maybe other moms go through this, but the adrenaline of being a new mom has started to wear off. At first everything was new and now I’m adjusting to this being my life now. I don’t FEEL like I just had a baby and I don’t be FEEL like I did before I had a baby. I’m learning what this new me ‘feels’ like.

 

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Rowan’s Birth Story

Happy due date, baby girl. I felt it appropriate to share about your birthday on the day you were supposed to be born. As scary as it was to have you arrive nearly a month early, these past 26 days have been wonderful having you here.

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My sweet Rowan Grey, here is the story of how you entered the world.

Thursday, April 6th, your daddy and I went to our 36 week appointment. We heard your heartbeat and the doctor confirmed on the ultrasound you were still feet down with your head snuggled up against my rib. He told us that at our next appointment we would have to decide if we wanted to do a Version where the doctor would try and turn you or if we wanted to schedule a c-section. I wasn’t at peace with either of these options, but knew a healthy baby was far more important than any of my desires. We were less at peace with a doctor trying to force you to turn so we decided we’d schedule a c-section at our next appointment if you didn’t turn on your own.

That afternoon I took your four-legged sister, Molly, on a walk and just prayed and talked to you. I prayed that you would turn and that we wouldn’t have to make the decision to have a c-section. I prayed God would show me what I needed to do to help you turn. As I walked I realized you may be breech for a reason. Maybe that was the safest position for you. The more I walked the more at peace I was with how you may join the world and knew a c-section may be our only option. I then felt sad that I would be choosing your birthday for you with a scheduled delivery. I wanted so much for you to surprise us with your arrival. I prayed that you would come before the scheduled date so you could at least choose your own birthday.

That evening, your daddy and I finished up some chores and before bed he coincidently and conveniently packed his hospital bag. I had asked him for a few weeks to pack, just in case, and that night he finally chose to. We briefly slept and at 11:55 p.m. my water broke.

Baby girl, I was so scared. I knew what was happening and what it meant, but it just wasn’t time. You weren’t due for another four weeks. Your daddy and I sat there shaking as I called the hospital, fully knowing they would tell me to come in. I knew this time would come. I prayed just hours before that you would surprise us with your arrival. I didn’t expect my prayers to be answered so soon. The whole time I kept thinking about how little you must be.

We arrived at the hospital and quickly found ourselves in a room with nurses all around us. I was hooked up to monitors and just laid there listening to your heartbeat and trying so hard to feel your moves. I was terrified something would happen to you. Nurses and doctors kept asking me questions and I kept replying ‘I don’t know, I still have 4 more weeks’. They prepared us for the possibility of you being rushed to the NICU or at least a lengthy stay in the nursery after delivery. This is not how I wanted your little life to begin. The nurses told me that babies will either come out pink or white and we wanted a pink baby. So I prayed for a pink baby.

I was wheeled into the delivery room and they brought your daddy in right before they began the c-section. Thinking of you and your sweet face kept me calm. All I wanted was to hear your little cries. At 2:29 a.m. on April 7th, you were born. I didn’t hear you cry. I kept asking if you were ‘white’, and a sweet nurse leaned close and asked if I was expecting a ‘black’ baby. No, just a ‘pink’ one. And then I heard you cry. It was labored, but you were crying. Your daddy kept rushing back and forth to check on us both. I am sure he was so overwhelmed with joy and shock. They helped your little lungs and then gave you to your daddy. He was the first to hold you. He is the first man that will ever hold you and love you.

You were finally placed in my arms and my whole world changed. I became a mommy in an instant. What a sweet surprise you were.

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We were and still are so incredibly lucky that you were born perfectly healthy. No visits to the NICU. No stay in the nursery. You remained in my arms the whole time we were in the hospital. You passed every check and test with no problems and each time we thanked God for our healthy baby.

You made April 7th the sweetest day of the year instead of a dark reminder of our loss. On April 7, 2016, we had a miscarriage. On April 7, 2017, you made us a mommy and daddy.

We love you, sweet baby girl.

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Photography – sarahephoto.com

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Since the 2016 Boston Marathon

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With the 2017 Boston Marathon just days away, I have been reflecting on this past year – and oh what a year it has been. In March 2016, right before my Boston race, we decided to start trying for a family. I assumed if we got pregnant right away then I would either not know until after the race or I would still be able to run it with no problems as I was already trained. I guess I just had a strong case of baby fever. On April 13, 2016 – I sat in a doctor’s office in tears not understanding what was going on with my body. I was having a miscarriage. This is the last thing I ever expected to happen to us, and after finding out how common it is I am surprised it never crossed my mind. You can read more about that here

The following day, we boarded a plane and headed to Boston for my first time running the Boston Marathon. It was finally a dream come true. I had spent the past two to three years trying to qualify to get in and then training for the race. I was also excited for it to come and go because I knew I needed a break mentally, and physically, and it was the perfect time to take a step back and have a baby. The Boston Marathon was the final thing on my ‘pre-baby bucket list’ and I was ready to check it off. You can read about my story to Boston here. It wasn’t easy for me to qualify.

Boston Marathon

We had the most amazing vacation in Boston. Looking back, I feel a little guilty for having such a fun time after we had just learned about our loss, but honestly we left the doctor with hope that we can get pregnant and it just wasn’t the right time. Plus, I didn’t actually know I was pregnant until it was all over. I never had the initial excitement of taking a test and the days of knowing I was pregnant. I only found out we had a Chemical Pregnancy (early miscarriage) because of what my body was going through and I knew something wasn’t right. It wasn’t until months later and we still weren’t pregnant that I started to really feel sadness. So being in Boston was much-needed time away and I had the best time touring a new city with Andrew. We walked 15-18 miles each day (yes, before the race) just exploring everything! It really is one of my favorite vacations with him. You can read about our trip here, here, and here.

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The race was amazing! I just ran. I had no goals and my body was still recovering a little from everything that had happened. It was peaceful and amazing. I clearly remember certain spots on the course and my favorite was the final 4 miles as I was getting closer to the finish line and knew I’d get to see Andrew. It truly is an unforgettable and indescribable experience! You can read the race recap here.

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I came home with excitement about what the future held – although it took us quite a bit of time to get pregnant again. It was a hard few months that felt like forever. I gained some weight and cut back on running to try to get my body ‘in sync’ to have a baby. Without going into too much detail, my cycle was basically completely out-of-whack or non-existent. It had been this way for years. It was a really frustrating phase with a few trips to the doctor. On August 16, 2016, I was again sitting in a doctor’s office crying not understanding why my body ‘wasn’t working’ and looking for answers on how to fix it. I found out 10 days later I was actually pregnant at that appointment. God has a funny way of things falling into place and teaching us patience. You can read our announcement here.

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And for the past 8 months I have been pregnant and we just celebrated the birth of our baby Rowan on April 7th. What a sweet early surprise we had. You can read all my weekly pregnancy updates here as well as posts about things I have learned in pregnancy. I ran through a majority of my pregnancy. Well, more like a run/walk but stopped around 28 weeks. I had never felt more hardcore in any of my workouts than when I ran with a big belly. There is something about running while you’re pregnant that makes you feel totally awesome!!

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When Boston 2018 rolls around next year, I will have a one-year old and probably no where close the shape I was in when I first qualified. I do have goals to make it back there one day and I do have goals in my post-partum journey back to running. I don’t want to get too ahead of myself and stating planning as I have no idea what life will be like with a newborn – but I am so excited to begin this new journey as a runner mom.

Good luck to all of you 2017 Boston Marathoners. May your feet be quick and your minds be focused on having fun and enjoying the experience!!

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As much as I enjoyed my Boston experience, nothing beats the experience of becoming a mommy.

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Baby Cork: Week 36

Today’s date: April 5, 2017

How far along: 36 weeks (28 days to go). If baby girl is just 4 days early, this is her birth month!!

How big is baby: Baby girl is getting close to 6 pounds and is about as long as a head of romaine lettuce.

Best moment this week: Andrew had to work all day Saturday so I had the house to myself. This probably shouldn’t have been my best moment for the week, but I got soooo much done!!! I was in full-on spring cleaning/nesting mode. It was nice to just turn on some music and check things off my to-do list.

How I’ve felt in my workouts: I feel like pregnancy just got hard all of a sudden. I have been so fortunate to have an incredibly easy 8 months and I contribute a lot of that to staying active. This past week though has been kind of rough. I am not complaining because I am so grateful for 1) being able to get pregnant, and 2) having a healthy and normal pregnancy – but I have been a bit more uncomfortable. With that said, I have been much more lenient in my workouts and skipped my long walks if I felt my body needed the rest. I only skipped 3 days of walking in the month of March!!

Cravings Food: It’s watermelon season!! I LOVED watermelon at the beginning of my pregnancy and now we have come full circle.

Favorite meals this week: Homemade white bean & broccoli pizza. I made this delicious white bean spread to be the ‘sauce’ on our pizza. I am not a huge marinara fan. The bean mixture is: navy beans + garlic + Italian spices + water. Toss in a food processor and let the magic happen. The second time I made the pizza, I added some spinach to the bean mix for some added fiber. The beans don’t have much of a ‘beany’ flavor like black beans, so it really just creates a nice and creamy sauce and takes on the flavor of the garlic and spices. I sautéed some broccoli and mushrooms, topped the pizza, and then baked it all.

Buys for baby: We bought the Owlet Smart Sock which monitors heart rate and oxygen levels while baby sleeps. I know this is unnecessary, but I also know it will help me have just a tiny bit more peace of mind. I have also started making a Montessori mobile set. I went the DIY route and it has really taught me a lesson in patience. I learned about this mobile series here.

Weight Gain: I was up about 23 pounds at my last appointment (2 weeks ago). I will find out my weight gain at our 36 week appointment tomorrow.

Prayer Requests: Baby girl has been hanging out with her feet down and we really need her to turn before she decides to arrive.

 

Week 36 Workouts

Wednesday

50 minute walk

Thursday

50 minute walk

Friday

Rest

Saturday

60 minute walk

Sunday

Rest

Monday

40 minute walk + lower body strength

Tuesday

50 minute walk

 

I didn’t take any picture this week so here’s a flashback to what I was doing around this time last year….

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Baby Cork: Week 35

Today’s date: March 29, 2017

How far along: 35 weeks (35 days to go)

How big is baby: A Honeydew melon.

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Best moment this week: Andrew ran Baylor University’s annual Bearathon half-marathon. He finished with a shiny new PR with a crazy impressive finish time of 1:24:20. I have run this race every year for the past 6 years. I thought I might feel sad that I wasn’t lining up on the start line, but honestly, I really didn’t care. I would give up every single start line for this little growing girl. I have the rest of my life to run. It was a fun morning cheering on Andrew and then celebrating with the Waco Striders after a big race!

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How I’ve felt in my workouts: Working out has become a chore. I feel like pregnancy really hit me this week. I have been so fortunate to have such an easy pregnancy. I have had no complaints and very minimal discomfort or inconveniences. But all of a sudden, my feet hurt, it’s getting harder to maneuver around, and I am just so tired. It makes me excited though because it means we are getting closer to meeting our sweet baby.

Cravings Food: I swear my belly grew all of a sudden and I just have no room for food. Eating has also become a chore. I wouldn’t say I am having aversions like I did in the first trimester but just not a lot sounds very appealing. I have been enjoying honeydew melon and am looking forward to watermelon season.

Favorite meals this week: Our food was pretty boring this week. We were so busy and tired that I haven’t really felt like cooking. We have been enjoying a stir fry with rice noodles quite often.

Buys for baby: Nothing this week as we are still going through and putting things away from our showers. We got so many essential and cute things and are so fortunate to have a community who has helped get us started on the right foot with this baby girl.

Weight Gain: I am up about 23 pounds.

Prayer Requests: Energy and patience. I can tell I am starting to slow down.

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Week 35 Workouts

Wednesday

50 minute walk

Thursday

40 minute walk

Friday

45 minute walk

Saturday

30 minute walk

Sunday

40 minute walk

Monday

Rest day

Tuesday

40 minute walk

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Baby Cork: Week 34

Today’s date: March 22, 2017

How far along: 34 weeks (42 days to go).

How big is baby: 4.7 pounds, 17.7 inches. A cantaloupe.

Best moment this week: We had so many great moments this week!! We were showered with love by friends and family this weekend at our baby shower. I have never felt more celebrated and supported. I never had a wedding shower so this was so special to me. Almost all of our shower guests were in our Waco Striders Running Club and it just makes me so excited our baby girl will grow up in that community. We are so fortunate to have so many friends!

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Andrew ran his first trail race, and placed first overall!

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How I’ve felt in my workouts: I can make it through my long walks, but that’s about all the motivation I have. I was already pretty tired going into our busy weekend from poor sleep and now I am just completely exhausted. It was so much fun though so well worth it.

Food/Cravings: At the baby shower, we played a game where Andrew answered questions and then I had to guess his answers. One of my questions was about my pregnancy cravings. I said strawberries and he said pancakes. I think they are probably both right. I eat my frozen strawberries almost every night and some blueberry pancakes every Sunday after church.

Favorite meals this week: A vegan cookie cake at my baby shower. This isn’t a meal, but when you’re pregnant anything goes. That cookie cake is just so dang good.

Buys for baby: A little swaddle blanket at the Magnolia Spring at the Silos event from the vendor Little Unicorn. I knew we had our shower coming up, but I just adored this little vegetable blanket and couldn’t pass it up.

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We got so many wonderful gifts at our shower. Some extra special gifts were a rocking chair my mom rocked me in when I was born and also a handmade quilt from my mother-in-law.

Weight Gain: I was sitting at 21 pounds gained two weeks ago, but we’ll find out tomorrow at our check-up appointment what I am currently weighing. I don’t feel heavier so we will see. It’s crazy to think I have gained 21 pounds but other than in the very beginning it’s just slowly packed on that I’ve hardly noticed the gain.

Prayer Requests: Patience in these last 6-ish weeks. Also that God will use this time to draw Andrew and I closer and to prepare us to become parents. As excited as we are for this next adventure, we have no idea what to expect…

 

Week 34 Workouts

Wednesday

40 minute walk

Thursday

50 minute walk

Friday

45 minute morning walk with Andrew + lower body strength

Saturday

40 minute morning walk with my mom

Sunday

50 minute morning walk with my mom and Andrew

Monday

45 minute lunch break walk

Tuesday

No walking – Upper body strength

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Boston Bound: Jessica (@sugarruns)

This week we are meeting Jessica (@sugarruns) as she prepares for her first appearance at the 2017 Boston Marathon. Jessica is a runner who started off with the half-marathon distance for years before she doubled that and took on a marathon. She’s been on fire ever since!! I hope you enjoy reading her story and following her journey to Boston.

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Hi Jessica, tell us about yourself.

My name is Jessica Rinehart. I’m 31 years old and live in Long Beach, CA. I’m an insurance broker (full time job) and a run coach and blogger on the side. I started my blog to document my training for my first marathon in 2014 and fell so in love with the running community I met through Instagram and locally through my run clubs. I loved sharing my passion for running and decided to get RRCA certified in July 2016 so I could help others reach their running goals.

When did you start running and how many marathons have you run?

I started running about 8 years ago and primarily focused on half marathons. The distance was manageable for my life and the marathon distance scared me. I was pretty decent at halfs, finishing my first in 1:45 with no real knowledge of pacing or anything like that. I never really got out of that finish time range with halfs because I was mostly doing it to stay in shape and have fun.

I was 29 and had “Run a Marathon” on my bucket list to try to do before I turned 30. I signed up for Big Sur because it gave me enough time to train and was 2 weeks before my 30th birthday. I definitely made the mistake there because while Big Sur is a breathtaking course, its without a doubt one of the most challenging with the hills and headwinds. I learned that I was anemic during my training – I was exhausted all the time and eventually felt like I couldn’t keep going on with my training because I had such a hard time getting oxygen to my muscles. Once I went to the doctor and found out, iron supplements improved my running tremendously.

I ran 6 marathons in 18 months. I started with Big Sur in April 2014 and just recently finished Chicago in October 2016. Big Sur was a surprisingly good finish of 3:48. I then ran Portland Marathon 6 months later with a 3:37 (so close). Just 7 weeks later I raced CIM and qualified with a huge PR of 3:25. So, I qualified 8 months after running my first marathon. 

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Compare a typical week of running when you first started out to now. 

When I first started running it was about 4 days/week for about 2-3 hours/week. I used a training plan I found online and never knew my paces and only estimated miles based on Map My Run. 

Now I train 6-7 days/week for about 7-8 hours/week. This doesn’t include all of the additional things I do outside of running miles to take care of my body (chiropractic work, massages 1 x/week, foam rolling, strength training, cross training, stretching, etc.). I’d say I spend about 10-11 hours/week training. It’s so hard, but the joy I get from running and succeeding at my goals because of this time commitment is much more rewarding.

Compare your experience at your very first marathon to your Boston Qualifying race.

In my first training cycle, I went up to 22 miles. I don’t know many recreational runners who run a 26+ mile run during their training. So, you go into the race thinking, “I’ve never actually run 26.2 miles.” Fear creeped in a lot during the race. I waited to hit the wall and when it came (at mile 22), I felt like quitting. Finishing that first race is like no other though. I teared up seeing the finish and knowing what my body just accomplished. It’s very emotional. I wasn’t worried about time – I was overjoyed with what you’ve done.

The Boston Qualifying race experience was similar to my first marathon. I will never get that experience again. I turned the corner to see the CIM finish line and teared up seeing the clock well below what I needed it to be. Nothing will ever compare to that. I’m an emotional runner.

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At what point did you think, “I want to qualify for the Boston Marathon!”?

When I went into Big Sur, my goal was to finish under 4:00, which I thought was lofty given the course and I had no idea what I was doing. When I came in at 3:48, I thought, “Give me a good course, and I will qualify. I just need to cut 13-14 minutes off my time” It was an immediate obsession after that.

What do you think helped you qualify for the Boston Marathon?

Consistency and diligence. I had a huge goal and nothing was going to stand in my way. Dedication is key. Qualifying for Boston is hard. I’m glad I made the sacrifices I did to get there and don’t regret any of it.

Any advice for someone who wants to qualify for the Boston Marathon?

Don’t give up. It is so easy to get discouraged with the marathon. You spend months training and it doesn’t pay off sometimes on race day. Maybe reassess your goals. After qualifying for Boston, I ran 2 more marathons with the same finish time. I thought – “well, maybe that’s as good as I’ll ever be. I’m just a 3:25 marathoner.” I finally changed up my nutrition and started seeing a chiropractor weekly and hit my goal of a 3:20 at Chicago. Don’t give up on your dreams, but maybe try to figure out what you could be doing differently to get better if you feel stuck.

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Do you have any goals for the 2017 Boston Marathon?

Yes! I’d love to run a 3:15 at Boston, but more importantly, my goal is to have a strong race.

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I hope you reach your goal, Jessica, and have the best experience in Boston. Although your CIM finish will be hard to beat. Thank you for sharing in your victories and what it took to make it to that Boston starting line.

 

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