Saturday, June 29, 2013

Not-So-Cool Running

Leo is on his way home today! Little man was SO excite to see his dad. Since Leo left two weeks ago, E is basically a new baby; one that loves to talk to blankets with patterns on them, sit in his bumbo seat, and wants to sleep on his momma at night (woops…). Now that he’s home, I can head out for training runs way early in the morning again and not worry about the heat! Leo and E can enjoy their mornings together and Leo can actually sleep, now that he’s done with the army til next month.

Marathon Training Week 1

E and I put in a few medium distance runs, did what we could but didn’t stick to the training plan completely. My main concern was to get the long run in at the end of the week. As far as official “marathon training”, this week has been hit-and-miss. I love that summer is finally here! But, the heat and humidity make it difficult to run with a baby in the jogger. 80°F and humidity may be considered “cool weather” for some areas, but it’s WAY hot for me! I don’t mind sweating my brains out and being on the verge of heat exhaustion, but I’m not willing to take a chance with my precious running partner.

What I’m Listening To

Married, getting married, were married, or want to get married someday? I highly recommend this series by Voddie Baucham, Love and Marriage. Listening to this helped me SO much to better understand marriage roles, the value of marriage, and God’s design for marriage. Voddie is an intense pastor, but he speaks straight from Scripture and that’s exactly what I believe!

"'The Lord told me,' is no substitute for 'the Bible says.'" - Voddie Baucham

Running Recap:

M – 3 mile jogging stroller run.

T – 30-Day Shred L3 + 1 mile jogging stroller run. HOT and HUMID! A bit too hot to have Eli out very long.

W – 4 miles with jogger and Eli. Still hot and humid, but not as bad as Tuesday.

H – 2 miles with jogger and Eli. The run was feeling good and hoped to get in ~6 miles, but a thunderstorm looming on the horizon chased us home. Not worth chancing it when Eli is with me…

F – 8 mile long run in 1:04 (7:59/mile). A good friend watched Eli while I fit in a long run!

S – 3 mile run with E and the jogger

Total Mileage - 21 miles

How do you handle running in hot and humid weather?

Monday, June 24, 2013

Preemie Parenting: A Few Thoughts

My usual blog posts are usually a bit lighter than this, but I this has been on my heart. I’ve leaned towards writing about the lighter things in life, but it’s only fair that I’m transparent with anyone who reads this.  Am I always cheerful and thinking about running? Definitely not, just ask my husband! Maybe reading this will help someone through a tough situation or will give them some insight to help a new parent of a preemie. Keep in mind, our baby was not an extreme case of prematurity. I do not know what it's like to experience a long stay in the NICU; this is just my thoughts from our preemie baby experience.

Disclaimer: If any guys happen to read this, you may want to stop now. This post contains a bunch of baby and pregnancy details!

Today, a coworker shared a news article about the smallest preemie baby that was born and survived. I did my best not to tear up when listening to the news story and reading the article about a 10 oz. baby. It brought back a lot of emotions from having our preemie baby. E was born at 35 weeks gestation, which was actually a blessing after the earlier premature labor scare I had at 33.5 weeks. On the day of the premature labor scare, I was feeling “menstrual-like cramps” at work, but nothing too painful. Problem was they were 5 minutes apart. Leo and I stopped in at Labor & Delivery to get their input before we continued our nightly routine of going to the gym. The nurse checked my cervix and immediately called our doctor; it was 80% effaced and 2 cm dilated. In a whirlwind, they called the ambulance, put me on a magnesium sulfate drip, gave me a steroid shot, and sent us off to the nearest NICU.

After an overnight stay in the hospital and a ton of fluids, the contractions ceased. The cause was determined to be dehydration and a UTI (urinary tract infection). I was prescribed antibiotics, bed rest for a couple days, and sent home. By the time the weekend was over, I felt back to normal and returned to work. After that scare, I cut way back on working out. Running consisted of a jog and walk combo at the pace of a snail. Prenatal yoga was definitely my new best friend.

All was well for a while, minus the fact that we had a “blizzard ordeal” that I will never forget! Leo and I learned many lessons in that blizzard; the main one being, don’t get stranded in a blizzard with a preggo lady. They aren’t much help when it comes to hiking in the snow, pushing cars, or shoveling. Thank God I didn’t go into labor again while stranded!

Fast-forward to March 2nd, we were visiting my parents who live one hour north of our home. We were having a leisurely weekend; went for another snail-paced run with Leo. He was training for an army competition at the end of the month, so he ruck marched with a weighted pack on at the same speed as my “run”. Afterwards, we ate some food, sat around and talked, and then headed to town to visit more family. The contractions came back that afternoon, so I started chugging water like a crazy fool. Though, if they were dehydration-induced, it was a bit late to start chugging water. I made it through visiting family, supper (and a DQ mini-blizzard!), and we started watching “The Green Lantern.” Soon after, we decided it was time to go home. The contractions were getting worse than ever before and they were at 5 minutes apart again. We rushed home and I laid down for a while trying to stop the contractions. No success… so into Labor & Delivery we went.

The nurse checked my “situation” to find that I was 7-8 cm dilated and she could feel baby’s head. They couldn’t send me in the ambulance to the NICU hospital because of the extreme dilation, so we had to take our chances and possibly airlift baby after the birth. Leo was a great help through all of this and never left my side, though I about ripped his hand off during some contractions. Husbands should NOT try to make jokes while their wife is in labor! I stayed in a relatively good mood throughout the whole ordeal. The nastiest thing I said to Leo was, “I really want to punch you in the face right now!” Don’t worry, I didn’t. It just felt really good to say something semi-aggressive. Six hours later, it was time to push. Believe it or not, I thought pushing was a good experience; it sure beats laying there riding out the contractions. After 30 minutes of pushing, our baby arrived! We hadn’t found out the gender during the pregnancy so I was very intent on finding out “what it was” immediately after baby shot out. And, I insisted on naming him immediately… I’m a bit impatient. And that’s how E came to be!

E arrived!
God blessed this little man with great health; he was born tiny but was able to breathe on his own! He was so healthy that we were able to keep him with us in our room instead of taking a helicopter ride to the NICU. E was 4 lbs. 14.5 oz. and only 17 inches long. He was so little and precious; and he had pretty stylish sideburns! We fell in love with him right away.

Our little miracle baby gained weight at a rate that shocked the doctors and he didn’t require any extra care than an average newborn. Well, besides the fact that I fed him every 2 to 3 hours for a good while (and sometimes even now). E is very good at eating; hence, his now chunky cheeks!

The Unexpected Preemie Postpartum Emotions

Having a baby is an adrenaline rush! I was on Cloud 9 in the hospital, still on the “I just had a baby” high. Then we had to go home and take care of this little bugger on our own. And in came the unwelcome criticism and speculation from many people. I usually try to stay level-headed, but postpartum sent my emotions spinning like a top. After having E so early, I found that they were slightly different than some “normal” pregnancy emotions. I felt analyzed; like people were judging me as a mom, trying to figure out what I did to make my baby arrive prematurely and so small.

Here’s a snapshot of the negative emotions I felt and still feel from time-to-time:
  • Guilt.This has been the big one for me. I felt like it was my fault E arrived early and that I somehow “ruined him.” People were very direct with their questions and asked if my running caused the early birth. I spent a lot of time trying to figure out what I did wrong; did I eat something wrong, not drink enough water, was I too active, am I too high-strung? My mind was basically a tornado of “Why’s”. I was asked repeatedly, “Are there any long-term health concerns???” Well, nothing the doctor had told me about! The more people asked, the worse I felt.
  • Disappointment. I felt disappointed that I wasn’t able to carry my baby to full-term. Disappointed in myself, in my own body, and this experience that didn’t go as I expected it to. One prize comment I received was, “Well, at least you didn’t have to carry the baby through the last couple months. Those were miserable.” My sassy side wanted to yell at her, but I held back fortunately. I would have GLADLY carried my baby through full-term regardless of how “uncomfortable” they are. Did they forget I run marathons because I enjoy pushing my body through the pain? Childbirth is like a marathon in many ways. And besides, that little baby is my son; I would die for him!
  • Frustration. I was frustrated with comments and people subtly cutting at me (whether on purpose or not). To look on the bright side, the birth went really well. I wanted to have E without any pain meds and at least that part went as planned. Afterwards, I felt pretty well, despite just having a baby. When I called into work to say my maternity leave was officially beginning, the first comment I got was “Just wait til you have a full-sized baby.” Ooh… ouch.
  • Un-readiness. (Yes, that is a made-up word.) Mentally, I thought I had another month to try to grasp the idea of me being a mom. Then again, are you ever ready as a first-time parent? Physically, I was still a rather small pregnant lady. I was waiting for the huge bulging belly before it was time to give birth!
Aside from the initial negative emotions and the wild roller coaster this experience has been, I am thankful for so much in my life. So much good has come out of this:

  • E. I never realized how much I could love until this baby was born. He has been such a life-changer, but he brings so much joy to Leo and me. I'm SO in love with this little boy!
  • Leo. My husband is amazing. He has supported me 100% of the time and never once blamed me for E arriving early. He’s an awesome dad and is always willing to help out.
  • My family. They have been very supportive and so excited for the arrival of our little guy. When I got home from the preterm hospital stay, my mom came over to stay with me for a while and made a bunch of frozen meals. After E arrived, she stayed with me then, too. My brothers love E so much and Leo’s family loves him, too!
  • My true friends. Our friends have been there the entire time; always ready and willing to help us out. They even watch E for us now and then so Leo and I can go on a date!
Even in the hard times, God surrounds you with the perfect support group to help you through. Now, I couldask the famous question, “Why does God make some babies prematurely and some not live? Why would He want my baby to arrive so fragile and small?” But, really, I don’t need to ask. God knows best, always. Even when situations are less-than-ideal, God is working it out for His will and for our own good. I’m naturally a high-strung, type-A kinda person, but He is teaching me daily to TRUST and LET GO of my own will. There’s still much progress to be made, but each day I’m doing the best I can to surrender and accept the fact that I will never be perfect. Life won’t always go as I have it planned, but God’s plan always turns out better than mine.
Every good and perfect gift is from above, coming down from the Father of the heavenly lights, who does not change like shifting shadows. James 1:17

If you made it through that entire, lengthy post, I hope you will have a new perspective on preemie babies and parents. Maybe you are the parent of a preemie similar to mine, or you had an extremely premature baby, or maybe you know someone who has one. Personally, I want to be more compassionate, supportive, and helpful to anyone who is going through something like this or any struggle in life. What’s the point of cutting others down?

Source: 10 Things Not to Say to a Preemie Parent

Sunday, June 23, 2013

Wait, Another 5k?

Six more days until Leo returns from his army annual training! Two weeks isn't that long, but E and I miss him very much. We've been holding down the fort pretty well so far; mowing the lawn, watering the garden, cleaning the house a tiny bit, and hanging out with friends.

I ended up running another 5k on Saturday, despite my earlier post where I stated that I "hate them". I still do hate them, but I must keep running them for some reason.It may be the excitement of racing that drew me to this one. Maybe not racing against other runners, but racing against your own personal record.  It was also the cause that this 5k was raising funds for. A young lady in town planned this 5k to raise funds for Love146, an organization whose mission is to end child trafficking and exploitation. God put this cause on her heart and she followed His lead. The 5k ended up being a great success and they easily passed the fundraising goal she had set! Most 5k's seem to be for a "good cause", but I felt that there was something special about this girl and the action she took to glorify God and protect His children.

As for the race itself, it went really well! A friend held E while I was running, which means I ran WITHOUT a jogger! Don't get me wrong, I love running with my little man. But, running feels so much easier and more "free" when I'm not pushing a jogger along with me. Every once in a while, I like to run solo. For the 3.1 miles, I ran a 22:22:16 at about 7:12/mile. I was happy with that, though I definitely need to do more speed work. Short races are a great way to spice up the marathon training schedule, so I do one 10k before the marathon in October. To focus more on speed work, I'm thinking of setting a goal to run a 5k or 10k at 7:00/mile pace. Maybe I can meet that goal by September's 10k... or maybe I'll lose my passion for speed training again :) We'll see. I'm not ready to 100% commit to that goal yet!

So one more thing; our family has been going through a lot of changes as of late and 2 Corinthians 1:3-4 has been on my heart. Change is scary and I'm not good at handling change, but I know God is working on my character! I struggle with leaving my comfort zone, but I know it is the right thing to do when I leave my comfort zone to follow God's will for my family.  I'll write more about this at a later date!

Praise be to the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of compassion and the God of all comfort, who comforts us in all our troubles, so that we can comfort those in any trouble with the comfort we ourselves receive from God. 2 Corinthians 1:3-4

Running Recap:

M- 2 mile run with jogger + 30-Day Shred L2

T- Crossfit + 6 mile jogging stroller run with TRF River Runners.

W- Easy jog with stroller.

H- Crossfit. No jogger running in a storm!

F- AM jumping jacks, planks + 2 mile PM run with jogger.

S- Freedom Run 5k . 22:22 finish time (7:12/mile).

Thursday, June 20, 2013

Marathon Training, Mom-Style

I just finished a draft of my training plan for the Blue Ox Marathon in October! This plan is just a loose guide to follow because I’m really not sure how it’s going to go being a new mom, breastfeeding, and occasionally training with the jogging stroller! Some women told me that you can’t run marathons while breastfeeding because it ruins your supply, but that’s just another old wives’ tale. Maybe it’s true for some, but definitely not everyone. E’s nurse said if your body is used to strenuous exercise, it won’t affect your milk supply. Just stay hydrated! There is a great article about this topic in the “This Runner’s Trials” blog called “The Breastfeeding Runner”.

The mileage each week doesn't need to be exact and I've left Wednesdays open as "optional" run days. I LOVE running 6 days a week, but it's not so easy to do that anymore! Key workouts will be run in the early morning before E and Leo wake up. By the end of the day, I feel like my body loses all of its steam! For the other runs, running in the evening with or without the jogger will be just fine. I just need to stay motivated and make sure they get done!

A running mom's best friend!
For cross-training, I can do a workout DVD or a crossfit-style workout which take ~20 minutes. I’ve never been a very dedicated cross-training person, so I’m going to give it a bit more effort for this marathon!

Looking for more running, sport, and nutrition information? Here are my favorite sport-related podcasts:
Blue Ox Training Plan

How do you determine what training plan you use? 
What podcasts do you listen to?

Saturday, June 15, 2013

Why I Hate 5K's

I hate 5k's because they are fast! It had been four years since the last time I ran a 5k and now I remember why. In a marathon, I kick for the last stretch of the race, but the entire 5k race is a "kick". Clearly someone needs to do a little more speed training... :s My cousin and I started the race together and E was my trusty jogging stroller partner, so I can't say it wasn't a fun time! The weather today was be-a-utiful and it was a great day for a run. We didn't stick around for results, but E and I finished in ~24:23 (7:51/mile) according to my Garmin. I've never raced with a jogging stroller (or a baby) before, so I didn't really have a goal time in mind. E slept for the whole run and it was wonderful.

Today's 5k was fun, but there is something completely lovable about the marathon distance. Maybe it's the fact that you have 3+ hours to think about life, eat random energy sources, and possibly suffer from G.I. distress. Though, I will say I do enjoy the shorter races now and then! Especially with a baby in the stroller. After the race, E and I grabbed some coffee and headed over to visit my great grandma in the nursing home. E was out like a light once we got back to my parent's house. He ran so hard this morning!

Leo is away at a 2-week training and we already miss him... E and I are going to make the best of it and soon dad will be home again. We made sure to celebrate his first Father's Day a bit early!
Random of the day: These are delicious!

Running Recap

M- Still sick! Tried to run, but my lungs didn't cooperate.

T- 6 mile jogger run with E and the TRF River Runners.

W- Feeling sore and tired still; rest day.

H- 4.33 very early AM run + XT.

F- Traveling to up north to my parent's farm!

S- Local 5k race. 24:23 finish time (7:51/mile) with E and the jogger.

Do you have any plans for Father's Day?
Any unique breakfast or other recipes to recommend?

Friday, June 14, 2013

Ten Running Questions

This survey is from, an awesome new blog that I ran across this week. Feel free to fill it out yourself and repost with a link back to!

#1. Would you rather bike 100 miles or run 100 miles? Definitely run 100 miles. Ultra marathons are SO intriguing! It’s on my bucket list to run one of these someday. They have some crazy hard 100-mile trail runs on the North Shore! And I’m definitely not the world’s best biker…

#2. Wear TOO many clothes and then have to carry them because it’s too hot or wear TOO little clothes and endure a little coldness? Wear too little and endure the cold. I can’t stand overheating on a run; your body warms itself up just fine! Now if I underdress on a run colder than -10°F, then I’ll change my answer.

#3. Would you rather run without your GPS or without your Music? Run without music. I don’t usually run with my iPod anyways, unless I need a little extra motivation to get out the door.

#4. Would you rather run socially or run competitively? Both! I love to visit with and meet new people but I also LOVE to race.

#5. Would you rather start a race in the front or in the back? I like to start in the back and make myself start slower than my body wants to go. I try to run conservatively for the first half marathon and then kick it with whatever I have left for the remainder of the race!

#6. Would you rather run a race to raise money for a charity or in remembrance of someone? I would rather run to raise money for a local person or charity.
Racing with my favorite running partner!

#7. Would you rather have an awful race experience and PR or have the time of your life and NOT PR? I’d rather have the time of my life! Running is supposed to be a good time; so the PR wouldn’t be worth it if it was an awful experience.

#8. Would you rather run on the right side of the road during a race or the left? Smack dab in the middle of the road.That is, when it's a desolate road where I won't be hit by a vehicle... Or, in a perfect world, I would be running on a trail somewhere in the woods.

#9. Would you rather shower and take a nap after a long run/race or shower and be productive? It sounds nice to take a shower and a nap after a long run or race; that’s a very nice though. Realistically, it’s not an option because a little certain someone wants to eat right after I get in from each run! And there is always plenty to get done around home. It’s just a plus that I CAN get a run or a race in!

#10. Run with your significant other or your friends? My husband IS my best friend and my significant other. I enjoy running with everyone, if they truly want to be out running. If someone is going to groan and grumble the whole time, I would rather not run with them then!

Do you have any running endeavors planned for the weekend?

Saturday, June 8, 2013

Running Recap: 6/3-6/8

Well, it's been a rough week of Leo and I being sick. We're both on the recovery right now and I'm feeling pretty good today. Thank God E didn't catch anything from us these time! Work is feeling more routine again, but I do miss my little man and have pictures of him and Leo at my desk to fill the void a little. Each morning and after work, I try to enjoy each moment that I get with Leo and E. Time goes way too fast and our little man is now sucking on his hand and smiling like a pro! I can't believe he is 3 MONTHS OLD already.

On the running front, I've been trying out my new shoes this week that I got for a Mother's Day/birthday/anniversary gift and I'm loving them! They are called the "Innov-8 Bare-X Lite 150" and I'm trying them really on a whim. I've always wanted to try some more minimalist-style shoes, so here was my chance. My brother told me about and I found them for $65.00 (including shipping), so I figured they were worth a shot. They are said to be "an almost perfect combination of just enough cushioning to protect the foot, while still being very light and flexible" and I have to agree. I've been running in them since Wednesday and am loving them so far! Here's a shoe review done by Running Times. I hope I can run the Blue Ox Marathon in these shoes!
Inov-8 Bare-X Lite 150

{Weekly Workouts}

M - 3 mile AM run. Feeling very tired and worn down from the weekend.

T - Rest day... Sick!

W - 25 minute AM run. Easy pace, still sick and it’s hard to breath… Running is great for loosening up the lung gunk!

H - 37 minute AM run. Trying out the new shoes! Still worn out, but getting better. PM set of 100 jumping jacks – 50 abs – 10 pushups.

F - AM set 100 jumping jacks – front + side planks – 20 pushups. 4.2 mile PM run with E in the jogger.

S - 10k run with E in the jogger AND Leo joined us!

What's your favorite running or non-running shoe? 

Any upcoming races or exciting life events coming up?

Wednesday, June 5, 2013

National Running Day: Why Do You Run?

First of all, Happy National Running Day!

My Top 5 Reasons for Running

  1. Spend time in prayer and reflection with God.
  2. To make me a better wife and mom; it gives me more patience and energy!
  3. I love the training and competition.
  4. Have fun and enjoy the simple act of running.
  5. Stay in shape, stay healthy, and relieve stress.

Why do you run?!

Running has been quite a journey. I’ve been running my whole life, not-knowingly, playing in the pasture as a kid and during “conditioning” sessions for tennis and hockey. In 2009, I entered my first 5k on a whim because it was in my hometown and my brother was running it. 3.1 miles sounded absolutely insane to me, but I had to try! After a few more 5k’s, a 10k, and one 8-mile relay leg, I thought it was time to run a marathon.

It seems strange and I still wonder why, but God put it on my heart to run a marathon one day. That same evening that I was contemplating registration, a friend from college called and said he was looking for a way to fund-raise for his friend who was recently diagnosed with Leukemia. We decided to jump at this fundraising opportunity; shirts and bracelets were made and sold, funds were raised, and many supporters registered for the 5k/10k. My brother ran the half and I ran the full. Maybe starting with a trail marathon wasn't the best, but I lived! Overall, it was a successful fundraising effort, but in a situation like that, it seems like you can never do enough to help someone who is in such a hard spot.

At the finish of my first marathon in Sept. 2010
So, since then, I’ve ran a few more 10k’s and a total of 5 marathons, to-date. Running has been a great way to stay sane while working an office job and to meet new people. We even have a Tuesday night running group in town now! Running while pregnant was very helpful in dealing with major hormone changes, energy levels, and just general body image. And it definitely helped with labor, delivery, and postpartum recovery!

Running isn’t my life, but it’s made life even better. I’m a Christian woman, wife, and mom first; I just happen to love running! My goal is to bless others with running by encouraging and inspiring them. Even though it’s just a hobby, I want to glorify God with the gift of running and not just keep this awesome sport, activity, whatever it is, to myself. Whether you eat or drink or whatever you do; do it all for the glory of God. 1 Corinthians 10:31

Why do YOU run? Or, maybe, why do you not run?

Monday, June 3, 2013

Running Recap: 5/27-6/1

This was my first week back at work. It went well, but I definitely missed my little man! I’m feeling really tired, trying to get my brain into computer-work-mode, then mommy-work-mode when I get home. E has been up a few times at night still, which is frustrating, but then again, I’m so happy for every second with him. Thank God for coffee! That's all I can say.

I was a bridesmaid in a good friend's wedding this weekend and Leo, E, and I are all tired and getting sick. Man, bridesmaid dresses are not always breastfeeding-friendly! E's evening cluster feed definitely made the evening hectic, though it was so fun to have him there to meet my old college friends.

While at work, I listen to a sport and nutrition podcast from Ben Greenfield Fitness and studies show that cognitive performance is boosted by working out in the morning and eating breakfast before going to work. (or not working out and fasting for the morning) Looks like I will be implementing one of these tactics in the following weeks!>

{Weekly Workouts}

M - 3 mile run with E and Megan. 30-day shred dvd L1.

T - Running group. 5miles with jogger & E.

W - 100 jumping jacks, 50 sit-ups, 10 push-ups. Too tired to workout!

H - 3 mile jogger run with E and Leo. Still in a tired rut :s

F - 5 mile early AM run. Rehearsal Dinner.

S - Wedding time!

How do you stay energized through the day?