Monday, January 25, 2016

Runner's Rambles: Pregnancy and Body Image-- This is real life.

Oh boy. This is one of those things that is rough to share with others. I'm sidelined from running again temporarily due to severe sciatica. Walking, sitting, laying, anything and everything hurts right now, so I've had some time to just think, or overthink rather. Many people, if not all, struggle with body image at least at some point in their lives. I am one of those people. So, let's start from the top.

When I was a teenager, I remember the taunting about being fat. I believed those words because after all, I wore a size 7, and I weighed in at 130 lbs and 5' 5" tall. Um, so that may be hard to picture, but I wasn't fat, I just didn't know that I wasn't fat. I have a small chest, and I'm ok with that, but I was teased about that too. I also have big hips, but I didn't get a whole lot of teasing about that. That is however the feature that I believe people are referring to when they constantly tell me, "but you don't look like a runner." As an adult, I usually weigh in somewhere around 150 lbs, but for the most part, I am generally concerned with the way my body PERFORMS and of course, let's be real, I do still care how I look. I don't put AS MUCH stock in how much I weigh. Usually.

Now I'm pregnant. This is ROUGH. I am fully aware that I am growing a human being, and while I think that part is pretty awesome, it's hard to deal for me personally. I actually lost weight at first because I was sick. Many people know that the first phase is bloating. I have been and still am super bloated. Sooo bloated, and I wasn't a big fan of that stage. It was hard because I felt huge all the time, but I knew that I had lost weight despite the fact that I looked like I had gained weight. It was hard. I am still in that phase where I look chubby instead of pregnant. I'm in that stage where my regular pants don't fit, but I don't need maternity pants because I don't have a "bump." It's a weird place physically and mentally for me. Gaining weight has never been a goal of mine. Losing or maintaining. That's where I'm used to being, and gaining weight is not something I have ever been comfortable with.

The fact that I am bothered by this is bad for two reasons. First, I know that I'm pregnant, and I should just accept the fact that my body is changing because even if other people don't know that I am pregnant, it doesn't change the fact that I am. Also, I know that I am going to get bigger. Much, MUCH bigger. I haven't even started really showing yet, and I am going to get bigger, and I will have to deal with that. There is also a chance that my body will change in ways that I can't even imagine yet. What I am freaking out about, and I know I can't do anything about it, is the way my stomach will stretch. Not just stretch marks that I know so many mothers are proud of, but also the fact that I have surgical scars on my stomach already. I'm not sure what will happen to those scars as my stomach stretches out. I am pretty freaked out about the whole scar thing. I mean, I'm just being real here.

I've already been told by some people that just because I didn't cherish every second of first trimester puking my guts out, that I obviously don't love my child, and that I probably don't deserve to be a mother compared to many other women out there. No joke, Go read a pregnancy forum somewhere on the internet. You will see some crazy stuff. I mean, the thing about social media is that people put up perfect snapshots of their lives, and basically all you see on social media is that pregnancy is amazing and wonderful and every second is beautiful, and that women should love every aspect of their changing body in order to be a good person, a good mother, and a good woman. Well, I guess I'm not any of those things because this has been a rough journey so far that is far from over. And my body will be changed forever, so it truly is far from over. Mostly I worry that I will never get back to running long distances like I'd like to. I know that not just my body will be changing, but so will my whole life. I know that it is possible, and I want to be that person. I am so afraid that I won't be that person though. I'm not sure why, but I feel scared that I won't find a way to make the time. I am a much better person when I run, so I hope that I have the resolve to meet the long terms goals I have for myself of  making my mental and physical health a priority while also being there for my child, but only time will tell if I can balance it all.

Thursday, January 21, 2016

Pregnant Lady Running...kind of: First Trimester Recap

I ran a little bit just short runs here and there after the KC half this fall, but then I found out I was pregnant. That in and of itself did not stop me from running. I ran a handful of times with Lucy between finding out and hitting 6ish weeks. I was very tired, so running just wasn't the priority for my free time. Then I got siiiiiiiiiiiiiick. Getting out of bed was hard, and I was puking... a lot. A lot.

So between 6 weeks and 10 weeks, I walked about two to three times a week, but running was off the table completely for me during that time. And when I walked, I could only make it about half a mile before I felt like I wanted to throw up or die. It sucked. I was miserable, and sad, and I didn't feel at all like myself. I also felt like a bit of a failure already. I told a few family and friends during this time, and I got some comments about me not running. Let me tell you, it's easy to judge someone else when you aren't the one throwing up in any sink, toilet, or trashcan you can find. And it made me feel like even more of a failure.

I've never been fast or some amazing runner. I have never claimed to be either. But I do love running, and I will talk about it with almost anyone who will listen. I have a running tattoo. Many people who know me are still shocked that I even got a tattoo in the first place, but I have a visible running tattoo. That tattoo led to an interesting comment from my OB at my first appointment. She told me not to run. Now, she did not say I was high risk, and she did not say there were any worries with the baby, and she didn't ask if I had just run a half marathon less than a month, and only about 10 days before the time period that was likely the conception of this child. She did however tell me not to run because I shouldn't break a sweat because it would, "boil the baby," Her words... seriously. I didn't change doctors after that because her other advice seems fine, but I am just ignoring her don't "boil the baby" remark. I am making sure to regulate my body temperature while I am running though, which is important.

At around 10 weeks I started running again, but very slowly. I am running exclusively on the treadmill for now because I don't want to drive to the trails to run in the cold and snow, and my neighborhood isn't the safest place for running the streets right now. If it were just me, then sure, but it's not now. There are no sidewalks, there are plenty of hills and curves, and people FLY through our neighborhood as if the speed limit isn't 15... which it is. So for now, I have made the choice to stick to the treadmill. I started with run-walk one day when I was feeling ok, and each day I run a little more and walk a little less, but I will take walk breaks whenever I feel like I need to, and I won't be ashamed one bit! I am excited to attend a Running Through Pregnancy Clinic at the end of January at a local running store. For now, I am taking it easy, but I am trying to run-walk at least once a week, but more often when I can and feel up to it. I know there are women who run marathons during pregnancy, and good for them, but that's not going to be me. Not even close, and I am becoming ok with where I am right now with running and not running during pregnancy.

Sunday, January 3, 2016

Racing Recap: Wadell and Reed Kansas City Marathon (Shhhh! They have a half marathon too.)

Better late than never? Maybe not, but I'm going to go ahead and write this review anyway. Let me just start by letting you know that I hate this race, and I plan to never run it again. I have run the half marathon twice since I started running. This was the half marathon that I signed up for that catapulted me into running when I had yet to take a single step at the time of my registration. So you'd think it would hold a fond place in my heart. It doesn't. The first time, I didn't know much better, but still there were some things I didn't like then, and I still don't like them now. Plus, there were things I had forgotten, and now I remember, and this race sucks.

One of my first and biggest pet peeves is the shirt. I HATE when races don't have a separate shirt for the half and marathon participants. I know that there are plenty of races that don't, but there are also plenty that do. I didn't like it the very first time I ran this race, and after finishing a marathon myself, I really don't like it. I don't want people thinking I ran a marathon that I did not run. I know the work that goes into a marathon and unfortunately the pain when the work doesn't go in ahead of time. Here's the thing that puts me over the edge about the Wadell and Reed Marathon shirt; it doesn't even MENTION the half marathon. IT JUST SAYS MARATHON!!! I DIDN'T RUN THAT MARATHON, and now I have not one, but TWO FREAKING MARATHON SHIRTS!!! Can you tell it drives me absolutely crazy?!!! At least mention the half on the stupid shirt if you're only going to have one. They have a 5k as well... do those people get a shirt that says marathon on it? Seriously, the majority of your participants who are paying money to run this race are running the half. Get with the freaking program!!!!

Ok.... give me a minute to calm down.... and I will move on.

I'll give props for a few things now to try to not make this a total crap fest of a review. First, this is a small race in a relatively small city. So the lines at the porta-potties aren't terribly long either pre-race or during. That's always nice. Secondly, the medal the first year I ran it is the worst medal I own. I have received nicer medals at 10k's. I don't want or expect them at a 10k, but I have received one or two before. Medals have admittedly gone a little crazy lately, but I still enjoy a nice medal. I display them in my home, and they help motivate me at times when I don't feel like I am capable. Being able to have that physical reminder is something I personally enjoy. The medal for the 2015 race was EXTREMELY nice. It had color, a nice ribbon, was weighty, and looks nice all round. Kudos on that much. Lastly, the best view during the whole race in my opinion is Liberty Memorial, which most runners end up passing right around sunrise.

The course sucks. I forgot how much the course sucks. It's much hillier than I remember, and there are few spectators in the grand scheme of things. I enjoy races that aren't full of spectators, don't get me wrong, but I want some good scenery if that's the case. The Delaware Marathon Festival for example isn't packed full of spectators. They are few and far between, but the course is still gorgeous despite its MANY hills. Don't get me wrong. I love Kansas City. It is the city I consider my city, and running past all the World Series Champions signs and the blue fountains was something I will cherish, but my beloved Royals will not win the World Series every year.

Post race is ok. I hear they have BBQ now. I didn't actually see any, but I did see an extremely long line of people whom I presume were waiting for the BBQ. Their slogan is something like, "Come for the race. Stay for the BBQ." Let me tell you, when you're freezing cold after running, the heat sheet they give you is not enough to make me wait around for a little sandwich. I don't care how good the BBQ is.

When it's all said and done, I would likely do this race again even though I don't like much about it at all IF it were at least convenient for me. It's not. I live outside St. Louis. I can have a pick of half marathons in my area without having to drive all the way across the state of Missouri. This is not a destination race, my friends. If it's close by, and you really want to do it, then by all means. But I will also say that there are other choices for half marathons in the KC area in both the Fall and Spring.

Sunday, September 13, 2015

Summer Racing Recap

I have been so busy with running and life that I have not been blogging lately. I am working, running, and going to graduate school, and being in a new classroom brings lots of outside of the workplace prep-work that has kept me seriously busy. This is going to be an all-in-one race recap. I would love to devote a whole post to each race, but I will have to settle for putting them all together.

O'Fallon Firecracker Run

I signed up for this race last minute on the afternoon of July 3rd. I got up early despite having a house full of my husband's hungover college friends being sound asleep in every guestroom and on each couch and air mattress we owned. I unfortunately had to walk 2 miles to the start, and thus more unfortunately I had to walk 2 miles back afterward. I didn't run as well as I had hoped at that race because I started off too far back in the crowd, so I had to do the sardine run for the first mile or so.

The Firecracker Run had a sweet home plate finish at
T.R. Hughes Field, home of the Rascals.

I brought all those bums who slept in some donuts.
Plus, I figured I earned some DD.

Hope for Haiti 5k

I ran the Hope for Haiti 5k with my Anything For 10 Sister, Grace. This race was her birthday present from me. It was an out and back course on the Katy Trail with a small loop at the end. We just took it easy and had fun running with each other and talking. It wasn't our best 5k time, but we did something healthy and fun together, and that's what matters.

I wore my VFR Run Happy Hour shirt with a giant beer stein
to the Hope for Haiti 5k... this race is organized by a Baptist Church. #WINNING

Beer and Bagel MO

This race was my favorite for multiple reasons. First of all, I have worked the Beer and Bagel in PA. In fact, the hubs was Sasquatch for the B&B PA last year. I finally got to run the B&B instead of helping with the running of the B&B. I got to see my old boss, Mike, and catch up with him a little bit. This was my first trail/off road race. Boy was it challenging!! It rained and stormed right up until the race started after a delay, so the course was completely soaked, MUDDY, and washed out. But it was FUN. Another great part of this race was doing it with the hubs and some of our friends, Reiner who I've blogged about running with before, Leslie, and Kevin. We got to eat and drink and hang out in the sun that so kindly came out after the race was over. I will be doing this race again for sure.

Socks Post Beer & Bagel

The Oakglenn Winery in Hermann, MO was a beautiful
backdrop for the B&B run and post-race party!

Trails for Tails 10K

I decided to run TFT for 2 reasons. 1) My life would not be the same without my newest running partner, Lucy Girl, who we adopted from a rescue. 2) I have done ZERO long runs in preparation for the KC Half. THIS was my long run. Yeahhhhh, I know I've done this before. Running unprepared is no fun, but I've been running pretty frequently even though I am running short distances. I will likely run just a little further next week, so maybe it will all be ok. I loved giving money to a cause I care about while getting in a "long" run. I had a hitch in my race due to digestive issues, otherwise I was on track to PR by quite a bit.

My new running partner, Lucy! Check out how she makes
her ears all aerodynamic when she runs! Too cute!

Lucy was pretty sleepy after one of her increase runs!
No worries! She slowly builds mileage!

Thirsty girl! Lucy loves going for runs!!

One of my favorite things from all these races was the shirts!! I am happy that 3 of the 4 gave out actual t-shirts. I might be the only person who likes getting t-shirts instead of tech shirts, but I love being able to wear my race shirts around. And I rarely wear tech shirts from races even when I run because I hate having a ton of screen printing all over a shirt that is supposed to be breathable and moisture wicking for running. And the one tech shirt I did get...slash will get because it is getting mailed to me... is AWESOME.

Tuesday, June 30, 2015

Runner's Rambles: That's Life

There's been so much going on in my life lately. I have been getting settled into my new home, becoming a legal resident of the state of Missouri again, landing a new job, gearing up for grad school, driving all the way across the state and then some to go home to see family pretty much every weekend because it is hard to say no when you technically can go home and there are all kinds of things going on, and running in between all those things.

State of Training Address: I have made very very slow, but steady progress. Progress is really what it is all about though, and I am beginning to feel like my right foot may really be on the mend from the Turf Toe Debacle of Summer 2k15. I hurt it not long after we got to Missouri, and the healing process has also been very very slow, but steady so it seems. I'm sure all the hill running hasn't been the best for it, but I live on a hill. What can I do? Well, I could technically run on my treadmill, but what fun is that? I am thankful that the in-laws gave us their old treadmill, but I am going to do my best to stay off of it until the winter. I did go through about a week long spell where I would run on it in the middle of the day, but the scenery in my basement got old fast. I am glad to have my race bling and bibs finally displayed though! The two upcoming items on my training agenda are a 5k to spark the start of my true training for the Kansas City Half Marathon and adding speed work to my training schedule. I will attempt to keep the blog updated more frequently, but they always say life never gets easier!

Words of Wisdom: On my run tonight, a middle aged woman leaned out the passenger side of her best friend's ride trying to holler at me. (See what I did there? Some of you will get it.) But in all seriousness, this actually happened. I am not sure if she was actually sincerely trying to cheer me on, or if she was the world's biggest jerk, but I am going to pretend she was truly trying to cheer me on. You see, the part that makes this tricky is that she referred to me as "Big Girl." She yelled, "You get it, Big Girl!" Now, she may have very well meant that as a compliment, but being as I currently weigh far more than I ever have in my whole life, and my new Missouri license honest to God, right hand to Heaven makes me look like Momma June's sister, it took all I had to plaster the biggest smile on my face and wave a giant wave as she drove off. I wanted to scream. I wanted to cry a little. I was annoyed. If I can offer any advice, it would be to just leave runners alone. Even if you think you are cheering someone on, they may not know what you are saying or if you are sincere, and you could do more damage than good. If you want to cheer on runners, then make a sign and go watch a race.

This is only a SMALL portion of a giant lily garden that I found
on my run tonight. This beats my basement any day!

Thursday, May 7, 2015

Runniversary: 4 Years Running Strong

This week in my personal history is one of the best, most life changing weeks of my life. This is the week of my runniversary, and the week of my handsome husband putting a ring on my finger and promised to keep me forever. I have to say that I love him more than I love running, but I am still pretty pumped about my runniversary. On May 9th, 2011, I went out on my first intentional run, and I have accomplished so much in the four years since then.

I completed  my first half, the Wadell and Reed Kansas City Half Marathon, in October 2011, and this week I signed up to run the same race a second time. I can't wait to return to my first half, only the second race I ever ran, and I am going to work hard over the next 5 months to hopefully set a new half PR for myself.

I raised money for ALS research with help from some very generous friends and family members in conjunction with training for my first marathon. I ran the Philadelphia Marathon with my Anything for 10 sister, Grace, in my grandma's memory in 2013. I had said after running the KC Half the first
time that I wanted to run a marathon before I turned 26. It was the runner's high talking at the time, but when my amazingly strong and independent grandma lost the ability to walk, talk, and eat before she passed away on my 25th birthday, I looked at my sister at her funeral and I said, "You know we are running a marathon before I turn 26, right?" She smiled and said, "Yes." And although it wasn't pretty, I finished that marathon. I spent the MANY training miles logged thinking about and talking to my grandma. Running was a way for me to grieve and heal. Did my grandma love running? No. But she was the absolute picture of strength and grace, which is something all marathoners need as a beacon.  I wrote "Anything for 10" and "For Grandma" on my race bib, and as I was about to cross the finish line, the announcer asked me what it meant, and then announced to the crowd that I was running in my grandma's memory one week before the one year anniversary of her passing. As the tears started flowing when the announcer spoke to the crowd, I thought I might not make it the last couple steps, but Mayor Michael Nutter grabbed me and pulled me across the finish into an embrace saying, "She's proud. Good job. Congratulations."

I ran three half marathons in two states in 45 days in the Spring of 2014, and I earned membership in the national running club, Half Fanatics, and I earned a Road Apple Award that same year. I set my current half PR at the first half in that Spring series, and afterward I got my first and only tattoo. It is a running tattoo on my wrist so that I can see it when I am out on the road, and it signifies love, life, run. It means that I need to remember to do those three things regularly, and that I need to run in order to love and live life fully. Running helps me to appreciate life and all that I am able to experience in life. I have met many amazing people in the running community since I started running, and I am thankful for each of them, and when I see my tattoo I often think of them as well.

I am a fortunate and blessed human being, and running reminds me to be grateful. Here's to many more years of crazy goals, meeting new people, connecting with family and friends, and logging lots of miles.

Monday, May 4, 2015

True Chronicles of a Bad Luck Runner 2.0

I've done a post by the same name in the past, but it seems that it is time for another installment. I may be one of the most unlucky runners out there, and quite possibly being fairly clumsy and a bit crazy may have something to do with that as well. You see, I might be the only person to get bursitis in my ELBOW from running. Now I suppose I should tell you the story because it will make more sense, but seriously, I just want it gone.

I have trauma induced septic olecranon bursitis. Pretty straightforward really. Bursitis in my elbow from a trauma (falling like an idiot) that is infected... I'm not entirely sure how the infection happened since I have no open wounds or anything, but nonetheless, I am on some aggressive antibiotics and anti-inflammatory pain medications. And it's a good thing I didn't tell the nurses and doctors the full back story on the whole thing because they already thought I was an idiot for waiting 10 days after the initial fall to go to the doctor. To be fair, I went to the doctor when it really flared up and became didn't hurt all that bad until 10 days after the fall... thus my waiting 10 days. Geez, people.

There's the culprit!
So how did it happen? Well, you see... First you have to understand... gahhh. I am dumb. That's basically what you need to understand. I am a lot of fun though! My husband is so lucky that he gets to live with me really. I decided to do some hill climber sprints. If you don't know what a hill climber is, then do a quick Google search. And a hill climber sprint is just where you use something to put your hands on so that you can move across the floor as you do the hill climbers. I just happened to try doing this in our tiny temporary living apartment using a hot pad on our essentially concrete floors. Yes, that's right; I'm an idiot. Matt looked at me, and said, "Don't do that." Without missing a beat, I ran across the length of the apartment, and fell over onto my elbow when I got to the end and realized I couldn't stop, and I was about to hit the wall. Oh, the look on his face as he stood over me as I half writhed on the floor in pain and half laughed. Priceless really.

Run when you can, walk if you must,
crawl when you have to;
just never give up. -Dean K.
I am not really supposed to be running until the pain and swelling subside. It's been 4 days of torture. I am supposed to be doing some pre-training training. Yes, I am training to train. I have some big goals for myself this summer and fall, so I need to start getting ready for that fall race goal now. Only I can't run, so I have been bummed. I decided to go for a walk on Sunday and I went out again tonight. If I can't run, then I will walk. There are some people who don't have the good fortune to be able to do that! And even worse, there are people who are able to do so and choose not to! I have big goals, yes, but life is really about the little things. I have been reminded of that lately. I often spend time thinking of or talking to my grandma when I run, and I have always been a bit of frantic person. I can remember my grandma frequently telling me just to calm down. "Don't make such a fuss." "It's fine," she'd say. She was a wise woman.

Don't make such a fuss. Life's about the small things.

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