Baby Cork: Week 34

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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)

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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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Baby Cork: Week 33

Today’s date: March 15, 2017

How far along: 33 weeks (49 days to go).

How big is baby: A small Chihuahua!!! Speaking of Chihuahuah’s – meet Daisy. She thought it was a good idea to stand on the baby while we waited at the vet.

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Best moment this week: We were able to see baby girl on an ultrasound!! She was turned around with her hands covering her face, but we saw her little nose. Andrew says it looks like mine. The doctor measured her and said she was weighing about 4 pounds. We also celebrated my birthday with a road trip to Austin, TX and had an extra-long weekend.

How I’ve felt in my workouts: I don’t have much motivation for strength training. I just feel so weak and it really drains my energy. I can manage going for a walk, but I’ve really been slacking in the gym. I have kept my walks up this week and am still on my workout streak of at least 30 minutes of daily activity.

Cravings Food: I just haven’t had much of an appetite. Some days I have to make a conscious effort to snack and have meals. It certainly wasn’t like that before I was pregnant. I am guessing it’s because my stomach is all smooshed and just can’t hold as much food at one time. I am still loving my frozen strawberries and could eat them all day, every day. So maybe that is a craving….

Favorite meals this week: Our first stop in Austin was at Biscuits + Groovy for some vegan biscuits & gravy. I haven’t had something like that in probably close to 10 years. They were so good!!!

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Buys for baby: Andrew bought baby girl her first Patagonia jacket. He is so excited about it, which makes me love him even more.

Weight Gain: 21 pounds. I swear I feel like I’ve gained more than this.

Prayer Requests: For God to continue to grow me into the mother baby girl needs.

 

Week 33 Workouts

Wednesday

50 minute lunch break walk

Thursday

3.1 mile walk

Friday

2.9 mile walk for my 29th birthday (Andrew joined me because it was my birthday)

Saturday

4.8 mile walk with the Waco Striders

Sunday

30 minute hike in Cameron Park trails

Monday

3 mile walk + lower body strength

Tuesday

3 mile walk

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Boston Bound: Amber (@amber26.2)

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Let’s meet Amber! She’ll be running the 2017 Boston Marathon for the first time. She has an inspiring running story that took her from a 5:05 marathon to a 3:16. Say hello to Amber… And just wait until you hear about what happened at the finish line of her Boston Qualifying race.

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Hi! My name is Amber and I am currently living in San Diego California, but I am originally from Lake Havasu City, Arizona. I am 25 years young and am a fourth grade teacher. My running pals include my two pups, Nike and Elsa, and my husband and best friend, Aaron.

Amber, how many marathons have you run?
I have run 9 full marathons, countless half marathons, and a few 15ks, 10ks, and 5ks. I had never run in a race before running my first marathon, now that I look back I wonder what on earth was I thinking?!

Tell us about the race where you qualified for Boston.

My Boston Qualifying race was lucky number seven! It was Revel Mt. Charleston in Las Vegas, Nevada. My finishing time was 03:16:52. Previously I had run ( in order beginning with my first in November of 2013) 05:05:55, 04:13:00, 04:10:05, 04:02:00, 03:52:00, and 03:58:03. On race day I was aiming for under 03:45, knowing that the course was fast. I am not sure what got into me, but I decided to go for the elusive BQ. Thinking that if I fell short it was okay, since that wasn’t my “A goal” for that race. Around mile 5 I caught up with Kindal (@runningwithstrength. Read her Boston Bound post here.) and we instantly started talking. Let me tell you to, this girl is FAST. Never in my wildest dreams did I think I would run with her, let alone side by her side for almost 15 miles. I remember her saying, ” you’re going to Boston“, and in that moment I knew I could not let her down. By mile 21 she was pulling away, but I stuck it out and made sure to keep her ponytail in sight until the finish. I finished a little less than a minute behind her and she gave me the biggest, most rewarding hug! I was in shock. I had just run a marathon in three hours and sixteen minutes.

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Like what?! I knew I could do it one day, I just didn’t know that was the day. The conditions were perfect and I raced smart. Having Kindal by my side helped me to push through. I can’t thank her enough. That is why the running community is so amazing. We are all out there supporting one another and rooting for each other. I remember running the last few miles and reminding myself to soak up this moment and take it all in. I kept telling myself “this is your moment, you earned this“. My parents were waiting at the finish line, my mom had just run her very first half marathon and my dad had come for a huge surprise I wouldn’t find out about until Aaron finished his marathon. While waiting for Aaron to finish (my boyfriend at the time), I just kept thinking that that day could not get any better…. until it did. Aaron finished, dropped down on one knee and proposed. This was absolutely magical and indescribable. This really was the best day of my life so far.

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Currently I am training for Boston 2017 and to return to Mt. Charleston in hopes of a BQ for 2018.

 

Compare a typical week of running when you first started out to now. 
I can remember my first run as clear as day. It was April of 2013 and I had the day off of work so I decided to go work out (something I didn’t do much then).

There was a beautiful 4 mile loop and I thought I’d walk it and get some fresh air. I walked part and decided to try and jog. I kept going and made it 2 whole miles. I had never run that far in my life. I had showed horses growing up and was active, but running never appealed to me. After that first day I made it a goal to make it around the entire loop. Once I mastered that I wanted to see how much farther I could run. It escalated from there. Before I knew it I had signed up for my first race… a full marathon. To be honest, I didn’t realize a full marathon was 26.2 miles, I just thought it looked like a fun local race. Boy was I in for a surprise. I worked my tail off but was running a 10:30/mile pace on a “fast day”.
I ran that first marathon with terrible shin splints and no idea how to fuel properly. I made every first-timer mistake in the book, but I FINISHED. That’s all that mattered that day.

Today I train and race much smarter. I strength train 3-4 days a week and run 5-6 days a week, with one weekly long run. I have added in speed training and strength training to make sure that my body can withstand the demands of running fast for 26.2 miles. I also try and do yoga when I have the time. It really helps to loosen up my muscles and joints.

What was your experience at your very first marathon like compared to your Boston Qualifying race.
My first marathon was so so so different from my Boston qualifying race. Since my first marathon was also my first race ever I had NO idea what to expect. I made all of the rookie mistakes. It was tough, but I finished! There was a point when I had no idea if I’d even make it. During my qualifying race I felt strong, and during the last few miles I was ecstatic knowing that unless I passed out or something I had it! Crossing that finish line was a huge victory and one that I was so proud of. I didn’t doubt myself in that race and there wasn’t a point during the race that I thought I couldn’t do it. I sometimes think back to that first race and it reminds me that if I can finish that, as undertrained and inexperienced as I was, I can finish anything.

At what point in your running journey did you think, “I want to qualify for the Boston Marathon!”
I realized I wanted to qualify after my first marathon while looking at races online, but I thought it was just some really far off dream that probably wasn’t feasible for me. As I became stronger and faster it became something within reach, and eventually I decided to go for it.

What was the most important thing you did to help you qualify for the Boston Marathon?
I was persistent. Even though every run and race wasn’t the best, I still believed it was possible. A few months before I qualified I ran the Phoenix marathon in hopes of getting close, but I was sick and it was hot. It just wasn’t my day and I felt defeated. I came to Mt Charleston sort of mad and looking for revenge, knowing that my training runs had shown I could do it.

Any advice for someone who wants to qualify for the Boston Marathon?
Just don’t give up. Keep at it. Your day will come and when it does soak it up and celebrate! Always believe in yourself and trust your training. Put in the miles and the speed will come! Imagine yourself on the course you plan to run your qualifying time on and visualize the clock reading the time you need! Chase down that unicorn!

Do you have any goals for the 2017 Boston Marathon?
My biggest goal is to have fun and really experience the race. I want to hear the crowds and remember the atmosphere.

 

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Fit & Faithful SALE — Everything must go!!

I am making room for baby so everything in the shop must go!!

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I began this tiny little shirt-selling hobby of mine about three years ago. It’s been such an experience and I have loved seeing the message of Christ come to life in the running community. I have met so many amazing people along the way.

With weeks away from welcoming a newborn into our lives, I’ve been told they are a huge time commitment. The Fit & Faithful shop is closing. Maybe not forever, but at least for now until I become adjusted to life as a new mom and the lack of sleep.

So shop the sale here!! Snag a top for you and a friend (they’re the perfect gift for your running buddy) !! No styles or sizes will be restocked so this is it. 

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On my birthday, I give stuff away

It’s my birthday!

Yay for me and yay for you – because I am hosting a giveaway of any top + a headband from the Fit & Faithful shop.

Check out my Instagram to enter. You know the drill, tag a friend…

 

Instagram is not affiliated with this giveaway. Winner announced Tuesday, March 14, 2017 on @fitandfaithfulfitness profile on instagram. Winner may choose any top that is available in the online shop. Not all sizes and styles are available. They can also choose either headband.

 

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Baby Cork: Week 32

Today’s date: March 8, 2017

How far along: 32 weeks (56 days to go).

How big is baby: 16.7 inches & 3.8 pounds. Baby girl is the size of Bok Choy. Here’s one of our favorite Peanut Butter Bok Choy recipes.

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Best moment this week: We went to our first nursing and birthing class. Andrew was the only dad that attended the nursing class so he earned some extra brownie points with me. But then he lost them the next day when he was texting during the birthing class. { insert eyeroll emoji }. The classes were so informative and really boosted my confidence that I CAN do this!!! I mean I know I have to, but I feel much more prepared for what’s ahead.

How I’ve felt in my workouts: I’ve felt pretty unmotivated, but have stayed committed to my 30 minutes of exercise/day. In past weeks, I have typically gotten in 45 minutes to an hour each day, but this week I resorted to a few 30 minute walks. But I did have a super hardcore walk at the Waco Striders run – almost 5 miles in pouring rain.

Cravings Food: I have really been digging oranges. Can that be a craving?

Favorite meals this week: We made Minimalist Baker’s Sweet Potato & Kale nachos again. Then used some of the beans and sweet potato leftovers for tacos the next night!

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Minimalist Baker – Kale Chip Nachos

Buys for baby: Nothing this week, but our shower is coming up!! It’s been so fun registering for things, even if no one actually buys it for us. I get all sappy when I think about our baby shower and the sweet friends that I have. I didn’t have a wedding shower because I didn’t really have girl friends when I got married. I am so grateful for the women God has placed in my life.

Weight Gain: 20 pounds, at least. I get weighed again tomorrow so we will see how that changes. I swear I got way bigger this past week!

Prayer Requests: For energy and patience in the final 8 weeks-ish of pregnancy.

 

Week 32 Workouts

Wednesday

10 minutes elliptical + 20 minutes treadmill walk + 20 minutes lower body strength

Thursday

30 minute walk up a huge hill

Friday

40 minute walk

Saturday

4.7 mile hilly walk with the Waco Striders

Sunday

40 minute walk + lower body strength

Monday

50 minute walk

Tuesday

40 minute walk + lower body strength

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In case you missed it, check out my post on Overcoming Worry in Pregnancy. It’s not really a how-to guide on getting rid of worry, but I did find some perspective, and a book, that helped tremendously. I also shared Jennifer’s story to Boston for the Boston Bound series.

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Find my Pregnancy Favorites here!

 

P.S. It’s my birthday on Friday and I may totally have a giveaway!! 

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Boston Bound: Jennifer (@jbirdruns)

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Hi Jennifer, thank you for sharing your Boston Bound story on my blog today. First, let’s meet you!

Jennifer, 28, Marin County/San Francisco.  It is such a hilly area, which is great for training, but sometimes I just want to run somewhere flat lol!!  I am lucky because I am 2 miles from a gorgeous state park, and my boyfriend’s place is about 4 miles from the Golden Gate bridge, so I have some pretty beautiful places to run.  I also have the cutest dog that ever existed (not that I’m biased).

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Tell us about your running background. How many marathons have you run?

I started running mostly in college to be healthy & escape from my roommate.  Although I struggled with an eating disorder and obsessive exercise in college, running was always my happy place and somehow separate from the obsessive over-exercising.  Eventually, my love for running was what finally made me want to fuel my body the right way.  I decided I wanted to try a half marathon in 2014 after my best friend did it, and I was living so close to San Francisco – where the Nike Women’s Half Marathon was held.  I wanted that Tiffany & Co necklace!  Once I had crossed the finish line, I was hooked, but unconvinced my body could hold up for 26.2 training.  Still, I wanted to try.  I signed up for the San Francisco half marathon in 2015, but couldn’t run the full thing due to runner’s knee.  I was crushed, but not ready to give up.  So I got stronger, got help for the runner’s knee and signed up for the California International Marathon.  I ended up with IT band syndrome shortly after, and that was how I found Active Release Therapy.  It has been a huge key in keeping me running.

As I trained for the CIM, I started to dare to believe I could Boston qualify.  I didn’t tell many people, but figured I might as well give it a shot.  When the day came, I was terrified, but just focused on my plan and ticking each task of the morning off my list.  Get dressed, eat, stretch, get on the bus, etc.  It helped keep me from freaking out over what I was about to do.  During the race, I worked very hard to focus on completing each mile.  I didn’t want to think about my overall race and mentally fatigue myself before I got to the miles ahead.  The last 6.2 miles were the most excruciating run I’ve ever had.  I have never wanted to stop moving more in my life.  I was worried I had lost it all in that final section of the race.  When I turned the corner and saw the clock, I couldn’t believe my eyes.  My parents & boyfriend were there and two friends had surprised me.  My dad asked me if we could go to Boston now.  Telling him, “YES!” was the best feeling.

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

When I first started out running, I really didn’t track mileage.  Before I signed up for the half marathon lottery, I remember I tried running 8 miles and was shocked I could do it.  In that first half marathon cycle, I started out with 25-30 miles a week and built up to 40 miles a week.  In my first marathon cycle, I peaked at 50 miles a week.   I used to think more is always better, but I have learned you have to do all the little things to stay healthy as you build mileage.  Only running won’t get you where you need to go to run a marathon.  Lifting weights, nutrition and mobility/stretching are also necessary.

You qualified for Boston at your very first marathon, which is so awesome!! Tell us about that.

It was pretty special.  That being said, I didn’t know qualifying at your first marathon was not super common until the morning of the race.  I’m glad that was the case because otherwise I might have been too scared to try.  I know a lot of people say not to have goals for your first marathon except to finish.  I think that is great advice, except also don’t be afraid to go for what you want.  If you are training and running times that translate to a BQ, and you want that goal and the pressure that comes with it, go for it!

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

I think I started seriously thinking I wanted to qualify after the first week of marathon training.  My dad had wanted to plan a family trip to Boston anyway, and here I was training for this marathon, and the Boston Marathon seemed like the penultimate race.  I learned that you had to run about 2.5 minutes faster than the qualifying time (which was 3:35 for me).  I decided I would train for my marathon with the goal of a 3:30, but didn’t tell many people.

Anything you did that helped you qualify for the Boston Marathon? 

I think the biggest help was running with a pacer and getting a pace band.  As it was my first marathon, it was very helpful to have a pacer to run with.  I also picked a course that is advantageous to Boston Qualifying – although that was sort of by accident.  It is a good proximity to where I live and the timing was right for getting over my injuries.  I did get lucky that it is a fast course.

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

Don’t be afraid to try.  The worst that happens is you don’t pull it off.  At the end of the day, you will have still run a marathon.  That is amazing, and don’t let anything take away from that.  At the Chicago 2016 marathon, I had a pretty rough race, and missed qualifying for Boston 2018 with a 3:37.  But I didn’t let that take away from my work and race.  I signed up for another marathon a month later and qualified with a 3:30:51.

Do you have any goals for the 2017 Boston Marathon?

I would like to run another qualifying time.  Even though I am already qualified for Boston 2018, I would still like to run another qualifying time when I’m in Boston.  I also want to enjoy the experience.  I know that it is a challenging course, and the weather is very unpredictable.  After my experience in Chicago where the race did not go at all how I planned, I know that sometimes you just have to adjust your expectations.  Still, there is nothing wrong with trying!  A PR in Boston is almost too much to hope for, but why not hope?  Just as I learned with my first marathon, you never know what you might accomplish if you just try.

Anything else you want to share that would be beneficial to us runners out there?

When I first started marathon training, I ran on the treadmill a lot.  I just felt more comfortable that way.  I get lost easily, I run early in the morning when it is dark, and running outside just seemed daunting to me.  I did commit to doing my long runs outside, but that was pretty much it.  I had plenty of people tell me that I would never get fit enough treadmill running.  But I think you have to do what works for you.  Maybe its not the best way to do it, but sometimes I think you have to let go of perfect, and just do what you can.

Also, don’t be afraid to be protective of your training time.  If training makes you happy, don’t let anyone make you feel bad for waking up at 5:00am on a Saturday to get your long run done.

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You can follow along with Jennifer’s running adventure on her blog and instagram.

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Overcoming Worry in Pregnancy

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My mom would say, “you’ll understand one day when you have kids of your own.” She was referring to the worry that comes with being a parent. I’ve anticipated this. I’ve known that with every tragedy involving a child I hear on the news, I will breathe a sigh of relief that it wasn’t my child. I will worry bringing her home from the hospital, on her first day of kindergarten, about the decisions she makes in junior high, when she gets her driver’s license, and when I drop her off at college to become an adult. I know all of these things are coming and have accepted it as part of being a parent, knowing the love and joy far outweighs the worry.

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But what I didn’t know was the moment that second line on the pregnancy test showed I was in fact pregnant, it would all begin. Maybe it’s because we experienced a loss with our first pregnancy so I felt my worry was justified. If I could only make it past the first trimester, the worry would go away and I would get to enjoy several months of being pregnant. Then it was the 20 week ultrasound that I was fixated on, and only if I could get past that, I would be okay. But I would feel much more assured of our baby’s health once I was in the third trimester. As I write this blog, in my third trimester, I realize there is only one thing that can overpower and conquer this worry – my trust in God.

I could write pages and pages of all the things I worried about. Every single one of them was out of my control. They were scenarios I would play out in my mind of something terrible happening. And they were all lies. Philippians 4:8 tells us “whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable—if anything is excellent or praiseworthy—think about such things.” Whatever is true. Nothing I was worried about was true, yet it was all I could think about.

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I didn’t want to finish my pregnancy consumed by anxiety and fear. But what sacred me more was these feelings only magnifying once our little girl arrived. I began praying that God would use these final weeks of pregnancy to change me. To equip me with the tools I needed to cast my worries onto Him and accept His promised peace.

I began reading the book Calm My Anxious Heart by Linda Dillow. I want to share some quotes that helped put my worry into perspective:

  • “Worry is like a rocking chair; it will give you something to do but it won’t get you anywhere.”
  • “All our fret and worry are caused by calculating without God.”
  • “When we worry, we’re saying ‘God can’t.'”

I think my worry came from a place of feeling out of control – and out of control with something so precious to me. Reading further in Calm My Anxious Heart, I felt convicted of my worry and anxiety. Although I was saying I trusted God, my thoughts proved otherwise. Anxiety is a sin. Matthew 6:25 says “do not worry” and Matthew 6:27 poses the question “who of you by worrying can add a single hour to his life?“. And the answer to this question is that worry accomplishes nothing.

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I know worry has become the norm, but do we really have to live this way? Does it really have to be part of pregnancy, parenting, and just life in general. When we worry, aren’t we saying “I don’t trust God”? We may not admit that, but that’s exactly what we are saying.

Throughout my study of this book and reflections on how I spent the first 30 plus weeks of my pregnancy in worry and in fear, there are a few things that have helped me focus my thoughts on God and cast my fears onto Him.

  • I began to tell myself truths. When worry would creep in about the health of my pregnancy and baby, I would tell myself things that are true instead of focusing on the ‘what ifs’. The truth is, I felt my baby move this morning. The truth is, we heard the heartbeat at our last appointment. The truth is, nothing has happened that would cause me to think [insert bad thing] will happen. The truth is, God is in control and I am not.
  • I reminded myself that if something terrible happened, worrying about it now won’t make it any better or easier to deal with. It will still be heartbreaking so I may as well enjoy life while it is good, because that bad thing may never come.
  • I recognized what I was doing. I recognized I was making up horrible stories and that these thoughts were not coming from God. I was doing it to myself and I had the power to choose to stop and to focus my mind on God’s word and His promises.
  • I told God my fears. I told him exactly what I was afraid of and worried about (although he already knows). I acknowledged them as fears, told God, and told myself He held them know.
  • I made a choice to not worry. I told myself I wouldn’t worry. This didn’t always work, but I tried. I said the words, “I choose to trust and not to worry.”
  • I prayed. God, replace my fears with your peace.

I still have moments of anxiety, sleepless nights, and emotional meltdowns (although that may be hormone related) – but I feel more prepared to deal with these times. I know worry will never go away. Not in the kind of world we live in today. But I pray that over time, God can teach me how to place my trust in Him and live a life of less worry. Perhaps pregnancy is meant for just that – to prepare you emotionally and spiritually for the little life that has been entrusted into your care.

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