Monday, October 28, 2013

Sometimes You Feel Like a Nut Sometimes You Don't

Sometimes you feel great in a race / run, and sometimes you just plain DON'T.

Two weeks ago I ran the Leavenworth Half Marathon and I felt AMAZING.  I pushed myself, saw splits on the Garmin I never expected, saw a total time a good 10 minutes faster than what I HOPED, and just plain felt great.

Yesterday (okay at this point it was last weekend!) I ran a half marathon and I felt HORRIBLE.  Okay horrible might be exaggerating a bit, plenty more could have been worse, but I did NOT feel good.  If I had been by myself I 100% would have stopped at 5 miles (if I even got that far).  That's how far my body felt like running.  And no wonder - since I struggle to fit in weekday runs at all and they are all only 3 miles - 5 miles is practically a "long run" for this body. 

Let's back up a bit.  Coming off of Leavenworth, I have Ragnar Vegas and the Seattle Half coming up - and I REALLY want to be in good shape for both of those.  I want to not let my team down at Ragnar and I would love to sub-2 at Seattle.  But I also really want to baby my hamstring.  If you've been following along for a year or so you know coming off of Ragnar Northwest Passage last year I came back too quick - wanting to get right back to training for Hood to Coast and an ultra I had planned (that never happened), and high hamstring tendonitis plagued me despite all kinds of treatment until pregnancy (and the related rest) cured it.  But I still feel it waiting in the wings sometimes, and I want to majorly baby it.

How you baby a baby.  And a hamstring.

ANYWAY that was a tangent off of a tangent.  So I rested the week after Leavenworth, but knew I needed to get right back to it.  When Lindsay and Robyn suggested a very small, very cheap half marathon in Robyn's neighborhood (hellloooo opportunity to play with her new kitten) I debated a little (I also didn't want to be away from Baby J that long since this was my first full week of work away from him and I was majorly missing him), but knew it was the best thing since there is no way I'd probably tough out a long run on my own.

So - I signed up for a race 2 days before and there we were on an incredibly foggy (i.e., no beautiful West Seattle views) day ready to run the Salty's Half Marathon.  Seeing the very small crowd I instantly started begging Robyn to try to win.

I couldn't find the exact clip I wanted but you better believed I referenced Katniss' promise to Prim.

And the freaking rockstar got THIRD PLACE OVERALL!!!!!!  Someday when I grow up I want to be as fast as Robyn.  Too bad that will never happen.

Meanwhile while Robyn got top 5 pretty sure Lindsay and I got bottom 5.  Not exactly sure how many people came in after me (I wasn't dead last) but it was NOT VERY MANY PEOPLE.  Nearly last place over here.  Woot woot!

 I totally stole this picture of the medal from Lindsay because I'm too lazy to take my own.  Mine looks slightly different.

There's not much else to say except it was pretty much a death march after the turn around.  It felt like we were never ever ever ever getting back together going to be done.  I walked some in mile 12, that's how bad it was.  I would have walked again even in mile 13 if this random girl hadn't come up behind me and start to pass me and I insisted on staying with her which made me push it for the last half mile, which I swear was the longest half mile of my life. 

Total Time: 2:12:05  (this is an average pace of EXACTLY 10:00 somehow)
Splits:  9:54, 9:29, 9:53, 9:36, 9:50, 10:34, 9:56, 11:05, 10:03, 10:07, 10:03, 10:13, 9:22, 9:12 (.22)
How's that for a positive split?!

A few last thoughts:
  • Robyn's kitty Jasper is the cutest kitty ever.  
  • We got little glass fish as our "medals". 
  • I was starving in the last 3 miles which added to my pain, so at the finish I scarfed down some stuff and then proceeded to feel sick for several hours afterwards.  
  • How could I ever run a marathon?  
  • Baby J is precious.  I need a part-time job (that pays the same) so I can hang out with Baby J way more.

And now ends the post of 10,000 tangents and no "race" pictures (major blogger fail!).  Sometimes you feel like a nut great running sometimes you don't.

Sunday, October 20, 2013

A Baby J 3 Month Update!

Well, we made it through the dreaded "4th trimester"!  Baby J is 3 months old!  Okay okay, I'm so far behind on posting this that he's actually more like almost 4 months old.... whoops.  So look for a 4 month update next week?  Ha... right.

It's hard to believe how big Baby J has gotten!  It's appears that monster babies are both born and made.  Nature vs. nurture you see.  :-)  Because although Baby J was only 6 lbs 13 ounces when he was born, he's now over 15 pounds!  I'm excited to go to the doctor for his 4 month appointment and get his official stats.  I'm NOT excited for his shots. 

Look how big he's gotten!

Karla - we still LOVE your blanket you made us!

Everything is so so so so so SO MUCH BETTER.  Like a ridiculous amount better than before.  It's crazy to think back on how different it is now.  Sleeping - not so much - but that's for a different paragraph!  Everything else is SO MUCH BETTER! 

Baby J smiles at us ALL THE TIME.  He rarely cries, except when he's hungry (and he can go from 0 to GIVE ME FOOD NOW I'M STARVING in about 15 seconds so it's very important to be very ready to feed him IMMEDIATELY!) and when he's tired and starting to get fussy.

I just feel so lucky that he's just so freaking smiley all the time - I don't feel like all babies must smile this much?  We are blessed.  He's just so adorable and he smiles at you like he loves you SO MUCH and it just makes you so happy.  Making him smile is my #1 priority.  Which is why the dishes are never done and the laundry piles up.  :-)

SMILEY!  And just look at that belly!  
He still LOVES bath time and now thankfully rarely cries when we take him out. 

He still doesn't LOVE tummy time but now he *sometimes* tolerates it for a minute or two.  He does kind of have a flat head on one side from when he was a newborn and majorly favored laying on one side of his head.  I don't think it helps that his head his ginormous and in the 90th percentile, especially compared to his 50th percentile weight.  It really has me worried he'll need to wear a helmet someday.

But his head control is getting a lot better!  He is not even remotely close to rolling over which has me a bit worried as well, he's definitely not a prodigy in that department.  But I guess since he was 3 weeks early he needs an extra 3 weeks to do everything?

Can you tell we had a photo shoot one day?  This was during the monsoon so the lighting was poor and therefore the pictures aren't as crisp as I'd like, but we had some fun with costume changes and background changes!  Baby J was a good sport.  :-)

He still for the most part doesn't really like his pacifier, which is frustrating.  He is like his Mom and Dad I guess, in that when he's hungry he's STARVING and no fake look-a-like will do.  Those Biggest Loser people who tell you to chew Extra gum instead of eating real food are full of crap by the way.  :-)

He IS starting to hold on to stuff and grab at stuff though - which I noticed for the first time with his wubbanub pacifier thing, on a rare day when he liked it!

He also sometimes kind of holds on to the elephant and frog that hang from his playmat now, instead of just swatting at them!  He is also tracking toys with his eyes - he's been tracking us for a long time but never really focused on toys before.

He's also found his hand / finger is fun to suck on all-the-time now, not just when he's hungry. 

We're on a decent schedule - nothing rigid or really timed but we do eat-play-sleep cycles during the day of about 3-4 hours.  I try to force him to eat a lot during the eat segments, but I don't know if he's just not really eating as much as I think he is or it's because of his monster baby tendencies, but we're still not doing that well at night.

So let's talk sleeping.  I feel like I should do an entire post about this but here's the Cliff Notes version: Sleeping has gotten worse, if anything.  The last time I posted I mentioned how Baby J had given us one 6 hour stretch and one 7 hour stretch and I was feeling encouraged by these occurrences.  Now we're back to being lucky to get 4-4.5 hour stretches (more often it's 3-3.5 hour stretches), and we haven't really gotten anything longer than that in a LONG TIME.  He's up at least 2 times a night on work days (when I get up at 5-6am anyway and therefore he gets up too) - but technically 3 times a night if he's sleeping until 8am like on weekends.  It's EXHAUSTING.

He's also starting to really struggle to fall back to sleep after the 2nd time he wakes up.  He'll be asleep in our arms but as soon as we lay him down in his crib he's awake.  Repeat a thousand times or until you're so tired and frustrated that you negotiate with the terrorist and put him in his swing.  This happens nearly every-other-night.  And at the rate we're going he's going to outgrow that swing in the next month and THEN what will we do?!?!?!? 

 Again - can you believe how big he's gotten?

So as always, sleep advice is GREATLY appreciated.  I swear I've read every book out there and I swear I'm doing *most* of what they say - eat-play-sleep schedules, white noise, good naps during the day, trying to feed him plenty during the day, trying to see if he'll go back to sleep without eating (he NEVER does - he's a monster baby after all), a nightly routine, etc.  We have stopped swaddling since it scares me he will suddenly learn to roll over while swaddled even though he doesn't seem to be close to doing that.  Yes, I'm crazy.

I refuse to straight-up cry it out, at least this young, but am open to gentler approaches.  Or perhaps he's just still too young to do much for now?  It wouldn't be such a big deal if I could sleep a bit later but I have to be AT work by 7:30am at the latest.

But besides the sleeping issue - everything is great!

Monday, October 14, 2013

Pretzels, Brats, & Beer, Oh My! (A Leavenworth Half Marathon Race Recap)


I don't have a lot to say about this race besides that.  At 3 months post-partum I not only finished this half marathon, but I felt like I ROCKED IT.  I'm not bragging, in fact my time is 18-ish minutes off my PR time.  That's a lot.  But compared to what I expected, I dominated.  And compared to how bad I was prepared to feel - I felt GREAT!  Every race should feel like that.

This race was straight-up amazing.  I LOVE Leavenworth (you already know about this, I've posted about Leavenworth practically more than I've posted about Cooper and Baby J... okay maybe not really!  But maybe the same number of times as I've posted about swimming?!?!).

The views were amazing, I felt GREAT, and I had a philosophical journey while running that made me so appreciative of my life.  Yep, we're going there.

Seriously - check out the views from the course:

There were snow-capped mountains, gorgeous rivers, blue skies, best-friend-horses, people wearing Gumby costumes, a beer station (just the smell made me want to throw up!), cute little bridges that felt like they were about the break under our weight, etc.  What more could you want in a race?

Anyway, to the race recap.

The race swag.  Average.

It's cool that the medal is a bottle opener but it is seriously the exact same medal from 2011 except with a different color.  Also, since I didn't register early enough I had to go to the "leftovers" shirt table and all that was left was X-Large or Small / X-Small.  Turns out XL is the right size because WHY DO THEY MAKE THE WOMENS SHIRTS SO SMALL???  I seriously hate women's race shirts.  I'd rather have the men's fit.  But I digress.
It was a chilly morning and I was majorly wishing I'd brought a parka or at least a fleece to stay warm in before the race.  IDIOT!  But pretty soon we were off and running and I had taken off my long sleeve by mile 5.

Jordanne and I ran together at an easy-pace and talked the whole time through mile 5.  Then we walked up the steep steep hill, took off our long-sleeve, and put on our music.  We stayed together through mile 8-ish, together for a bit, then she pulled ahead for awhile, then I did, then her again, then I did.  At mile 8 I decided to just go hard and see what happened, and I felt great!

Too bad the last mile is the hardest mile of the whole race - on trail with rocks to look out for that was loose sand at times and constant rolling up and down.  

But then I was sprinting to the finish!

Total Time: 2:02:28 (Average Pace: 9:23)

Splits: 10:00, 9:25, 9:24, 9:32, 9:33, 10:55 (the walking up the hill mile!), 9:12, 9:08, 9:03, 9:09, 9:00, 8:43, 9:02

Talk about a negative split, baby!

The course itself was pretty flat except for the steep hill I walked at mile 5 and two out-and-backs that were both gradual downhill out and gradual uphill back.  The rolling hills in the last mile were very short but were more like mountain bike hills so they were just really annoying.  

 Total elevation gain of 397 feet.

We're done!

Anyway, about that philosophical revelation of mine.  While I was running the last 5 miles or so, I just kept thinking about how I felt like ME for the first time in a long time.  I had gone through this long tunnel - through pregnancy (which I don't consider very fun, no offense to all of you who think it's the grandest experience on earth), through childbirth (ouch ouch ouch), breastfeeding woes (double ouch), not sleeping (well, I'm still not sleeping, but that's okay), and the crying, oh the crying.  But most of that is behind me now!  And here I am with this wonderful family - this great husband who I love more and more as I see how Baby J adores him, and of course, this perfect smiley Baby J (who cries much much MUCH less than he used to - and smiles a TON, which just melts your heart).

And not only all of this, but I was also out RUNNING, in the SUNSHINE no less, running hard and feeling good, and actually kind of competing (with myself anyway) and pushing myself hard, and I just felt like ME.  The new me anyway.  The new me that is a MOM.  And none of this probably makes sense, but it was glorious.

Too bad Baby J was not impressed!

Then we headed off to Oktoberfest and had a BLAST in the sunshine.  Polkas, brats, pretzels, and beer - what more could you want?

And although JMan totally didn't want to wear this shirt - we got a TON of compliments.  He was so annoyed because every time someone told us they loved our shirts he was like "they're just reinforcing this kind of behavior!"

And that's a wrap.  I still LOVE Leavenworth.  Now it's time to focus on training for Ragnar and the Seattle Half!

Thursday, October 10, 2013

7 Summits Adventure Race

The good people at 7 Summits Adventure Race (7SAR) randomly contacted me last week and asked if I wanted to run their race this weekend.  I had NEVER heard of this race which was surprising since I'm often all over crazy adventures like this.  Which is why I figured maybe YOU hadn't heard of this race either and should!

The more I read about this race, the more intrigued I was.  It certainly does sound like an adventure.  The website could be more informative, but from what I've gathered it's either a 7 mile or a 3 mile obstacle course style race - with 20+ obstacles inspired by the 7 continents, and summiting the highest peak on each continent.  If you do the 3 mile race I think you only get to go through obstacles from 3 continents. 


The obstacles have weird funny names so you can't always tell what you'll be doing, but judging from their Facebook page pictures, there's definitely mud, wading through scary "South America" muddy ponds, barbed wire crawls, and a freaking ZIP LINE people.  How fun would that be???


The more I read about it, the more I REALLY wanted JMan and I to do it.  It seemed another opportunity to "feel like me again", and have an adventure together, which if I'd given you the chance to read my half-written half marathon report, you'd know what I was talking about! Ha. :-)  But after trying to find a babysitter to no avail, I gave up on that dream, and tried to convince some friends to do it with me.  Turns out everyone and their mom is either a) pregnant, b) already doing a race that weekend, or c) busy.  Turns out I should probably give people more than 5 days notice. 

 Photo: Here's another sneak peek at an obstacle you can expect to see this Saturday at #7SARSeattle! Here we are testing the Vacas Suckas water crossing in the South American portion of the course.

It doesn't help that although the race says "Seattle", it turns out it's actually in "McCleary", which I'd never even heard of and had to google.  Turns out it's actually EIGHT-ONE (yes, 81) freaking miles south of Seattle.  Anyway, so I'm not going to do the race, sadly.  But just in case you somehow can do it (it's THIS Saturday!), use this $70 off code (FB70) for the 7 mile race and $35 off discount code (FB35) for the 3 mile raceGo register here!  And please please PLEASE tell me everything and how much fun that zip line was. You can bet I plan on doing this race next year!

And yes, I promise someday to finish the 10 blog posts I have started, including the half marathon report, Baby J's 3 month update, his finished nursery, the books I've read lately, etc. etc. ETC.! 

Friday, October 4, 2013

So, I'm Running a Half Marathon This Weekend

Hmmm.  My half marathon that seemed so far off in the distance is suddenly upon us.  Am I ready?  DOUBTFUL!  Very very very very very doubtful.  But am I proud of how far I've come since Baby J was born?  Yes.

Can you believe how big he's gotten???

6 weeks ago or so I ran my first 5 miles post-baby and was ecstatic.  It took about 51 minutes.  Last night I ran 5 miles in 46:34.  That might not seem like a big difference to you, but that's almost a 1 minute per mile difference!  I'm proud of that progress.

 I'm also proud of the 3 month photoshoot I did with Baby J the other day.

I am very nervous about the race though.  Although I've put in the long runs, including an 11 miler, a 10 miler, an 8 miler, and two 7 milers, I've been majorly lacking in the weekday runs, which are rarely more than 3 miles, leaving my body mostly comfortable running... wait for it... 3 miles.  But I did run 70 miles in September, definitely the highest month so far this year by about 20 miles.  So we shall see! 

Um, thanks Baby J, that reminds me, I should probably start hydrating with Nuun?  
All I've had so far today is coffee....

I'd be lying if I wasn't super secretly hoping to run the half in less than 2:20, and lying even more if I wasn't super secretly hoping that number to be closer to 2:10.  Not so secret thoughts anymore, eh?!?!  But I seriously could also care less if that number is closer to 3 hours or if I walk half of the race.  I JUST WANT TO FINISH.  Seriously.  I have no expectations and just want to not die, and to have a semi-fun time (how much fun can you really have when you're running 13.1 miles?!).  So, here goes nothing!

Happy weekend everyone!