One of the very first big changes I noticed during pregnancy was in the breast department. I wish I could say that in a more eloquent way, but plain and simple, your boobs get LARGE. If you are looking for really good … Continue reading
Falling off the fitness bandwagon I have had this conversation with a few different lady friends recently, and I know it’s something so many of us deal with, maybe on the daily. For me, personally, I am in this running/healthy … Continue reading
My training partners during college used to tease me because I was religious about replacing my running shoes. Every 4-5 months, no questions asked, even if the tread was still in tact, Katie would be getting new shoes. Ha. I think part of it stemmed from this fear of getting injured from running in old shoes, but if I’m honest, most of it was the allure of a fresh new pair of trainers.
Still to this day I love browsing our local running store when I’m bored ha. I’m not quite as fanatic as I used to be, mostly because we’re on a pretty tight budget, but I still rotate my shoes between 3-4 pairs, and try to replace them after I put sufficient mileage on them. Needless to say, I have tried nearly every running shoe on the market, and friends often ask my opinion on which shoes they should get. Which brings me to my next point: which running shoes really are best? Ask any expert, and they will tell you, it totally depends on your training, your foot contact with the ground (ie pronation vs supination vs neutral), and ultimately how the shoe feels. I like to rotate between 3 different types: an everyday heavier trainer, a lightweight trainer, and a super lightweight racing flat. I thought it might help to break it down by what I’m currently wearing. Maybe this will help next time you’re in the market for a new pair!
Currently wearing: Saucony Triumph ISO 2Purpose: every day, well-cushioned trainer. This has been a phenomenal shoe that I’ve worn primarily for walking, easy miles, long runs, and also running up and down the street w/ the baby monitor during nap time ha.
Currently wearing: Saucony Triumph ISO 1 Purpose: this is the same shoe as above, but an older model . Love!
Currently wearing: Nike Pegasus+29Purpose: again, every day trainer. This is a super old model, but newer-to-me shoe. I had a gift card to a running store and found these on the sale rack in my size, so snagged them for free! They are a little narrower than I prefer, and a little lighter and more responsive than the Triumph, so I’ll wear them for tempos on occasion, as well as easy miles.
Currently wearing: Saucony Kinvara 5Purpose: tempo, fast workout, lighter shoe with less stability. I wish I could get away with wearing this shoe for every run, because I love it that much. Just not enough cushion for everyday running in my opinion. Probably on my 7th pair of these! They don’t last as long as a more substantial shoe like the Triumph or Pegasus above, but they are so light, yet still supportive for longer runs. I replace these about every 200 miles.
Currently wearing: Pearl Izumi N0Purpose: uber lightweight, ideal racing flat. Straightforward with this one. This is a no frills racing flat with pretty much zero stability or cushion. I wear these in races from 1 mile to about 10k. For half marathons and longer, I’ll jump up to the Saucony Kinvara.
Similar shoe to this that I’ve tried and liked: Adidas adios boost
You guys told me I was going to be faster, that my fitness would come back, and I’d be even stronger than I was before I got pregnant. I didn’t believe you, nor did I listen. Everyone said there’s this thing called “mom power” and I just shook it off because, yea right I’m going to be sleep deprived and will I ever run again? Serious question. I just didn’t know. Being pregnant was really hard on me. I didn’t handle it well, and I know I’ve said that before, but I want to continue to say it in case someone’s reading this and they are not all roses while pregnant. I didn’t bond with Emerson until she arrived. I don’t know why, I just couldn’t. I couldn’t imagine my life any other way than with Jon and my two pups. Now, I wake up and I can’t wait to see what she is going to do that day. Having her has totally wrecked my world in the best way.
With that said, you can imagine my shock when I crossed the finish line of last week’s off-road XC 5k in second place and with a 30 second improvement on my lifetime best. My previous 5k cross country PR was 19:34 and I ran a 19:01 in Los Angeles at Griffith Park. I won’t say I executed the race perfectly, but I gave it my best, and I walked away happy. I still opened up with the first mile in 5:54….ha when will I learn? But when I started to fade at mile 2.5 and a girl passed me, I matched her pace and held her off. I’m proud of my effort, but more importantly, just so amazed at how my fitness has returned, even stronger than before. I hope I make Emerson proud. Being a mom to her is one of my greatest joys in this life. Looking forward to racing a few more 5ks this training cycle. Onward!
We found suuuuper cheap tickets with Allegiant Air, and flew out of Memphis on a direct flight to LA. Our goal? See as much as we could of LA, in 3 days, with a 6 month old. Ha, we realized it was a huge endeavor. But we were ready.
First, let’s talk this direct flight to LA from Memphis. You guys! Honestly this was not a bad flight at all! People like to bash budget airlines, but all I’m saying is for what we paid for these flights, (like $350 round trip for two!), we could sit in the lavatory for all I care. But really, not bad, not bad at all.
We were nervous about how Emerson would act on the flight. She honestly did SO GREAT. Laughed, smiled, and even slept some. Proud mama.
Touched down in LAX, sang some Miley Cyrus, and went straight to get tacos at Mondo Taco near Venice Beach. We had less than 3 days in LA, so pretty much every spare minute was accounted for.
The one aspect of the trip we might do differently next time, and definitely would have done differently had we not had a baby with us, was take uber or public transportation rather than renting a car. Our rental car was the most expensive part of the whole trip, but ultimately, it proved to be worth it, as it gave us more freedom, and the ability to leave places whenever we pleased, especially if the baby started to get fussy. With that said, finding parking at Venice Beach on a Thursday night when there’s a concert is terrrrrible. Also, my phone died and Jon and I got separated amidst the masses. Lol you guys. Everyone was totally high and I eventually just asked a group of high school boys if I could use their phone to call my husband. They asked what his name was, to which I said, “Jon, why?” And they all started hysterically laughing. Lol, am I missing something here? They had eaten one too many hash brownies FO SHO… Anyways, we all got reconnected, and took a walk around muscle beach and did a lot of people watching. It was such a nice night, and Emerson was totally content just hanging out in the baby carrier.
It was starting to get late and actually really chilly out, so we hiked back to where Jon parked the car, and made our way across town to our airbnb in Highland Park. We chose this area because I had read it was an up-and-coming cool spot in the NorthEast section, with merging cultures and great local eateries. Also, our airbnb was super affordable and couldn’t have been better! Highly recommend this place . We crashed and all three slept so well, which was actually something I was worried about. After debating about sleep arrangements prior to the trip, we decided ultimately not to bring the pack-n-play. Even though Emerson starts off the night sleeping in her crib at home, she always ends up in our bed as I nurse her at night, so we just left the pack-n-play at home, and hoped for the best. It wasn’t ideal, but lugging that thing around seemed awful, and we didn’t want to pay extra to rent one in LA, so we took a chance and all three slept in a queen size bed. It worked. Wasn’t perfect, but wasn’t terrible either.
On Friday, we woke up, put on a few extra layers (hello zero humidity!), and walked about a mile to get coffee at this place. It was such a nice morning, and we took the long way home to take in all the scenery and HILLS.
We explored more of NorthEast LA, stopped in some cool little shops, showed Emerson the plethora of cacti and why she should always love succulents forever and ever, and had lunch at Amara, a healthy little delicious kitchen!
Because I was racing Saturday morning, we decided to keep the rest of Friday pretty low-key. We took naps in the hammock that was right outside on our private patio, and then had an early pizza dinner before turning in for the night. Ps: also reading this book, as you can see in the photo below. It’s been really great for my mental game!
Saturday, I raced a local 5k (more on that later, but I PR’d wahoo!), and we had such a great morning in Griffith Park! We tried to hike to the Hollywood sign, lolzz it was like 8 miles round trip so we said, “nah, we will hike to the summit.” Then half-way to the summit we changed our minds and turned around and decided to go get brunch instead. ha! Regardless, it was beautiful and awesome to see the city below.
We originally were going to go here for brunch, because I had heard some really great things about it, but after seeing the wait was like 2 hours, we made a game time decision to go find sushi instead. Because Los Angeles=coastal city=the sushi has gotta be good, amiright. We were not disappointed ONE BIT when we walked into Sushi by H and looked at the menu. Explosion of deliciousness in our mouths. Hands down the best and most affordable sushi we’ve ever had. If you’re in LA, GO HERE. If you haven’t caught on yet, our trip was pretty much centered around food lol. After our bellies were full of sushi, we went back to the airbnb, took a nap, read in the hammock some more, then got ready for our best food endeavor yet. C’mon, did you think we were going to forget about In-N-Out Burger? Our entire dinner was $7 ha!
Because I am a bottomless pit and gluttonous soul, especially while breastfeeding and after I race, I walked to get ice cream after our In-N-Out experience LOL. I am not sorry one bit. Ice cream from this place was NOT A BAD DECISION whatsoever. So so good. Jon opted for beer instead. But howwww?
We then packed our bags and got ready for our 4:30 am wake-up call the next morning. Boo. But, wow! What an awesome 3 days. We truly packed so much into the trip, especially with our little munchkin. She did great. Besides screaming the majority of the flight home (cue eye roll….so sorry to the other passengers, yikes), we were really so proud of her and how she just went with the flow the whole trip. I think the flight home was probably just too much. Poor thing. She did finally fall asleep as we taxi’d to the gate lol.
And that’s a wrap! Whew, what a whirlwind of a trip, but so so awesome. We vowed when we had Emerson that we wouldn’t stop living, and we would continue to go on trips, and do as much as we feasibly could while raising our daughter. We hope she grows up with an adventurous spirit as a result 🙂 Until next time, LA!
I had (what I believe was) an unusually easy recovery from labor. Within 2 days, I was taking short walks around the neighborhood with E in the baby carrier, and within a week, I extended the walks to about 40 minutes. I felt immensely grateful and honestly, very surprised. You hear the stories about women being in bed for at least a week, unable to walk or really do anything on their own. Perhaps it was the rush of adrenaline from the hormones, but I felt pretty amazing, both physically and emotionally very quickly post birth. Those of you who kept up with my pregnancy journey can understand how much of a relief this was. Pregnancy was hard for me. I was allll over the place emotionally, so to FINALLY feel normal and like myself again, even just a few days postpartum, was the biggest breath of fresh air.
I promised I’d share my recovery plan week-by-week, so let’s get down to it.
Like I said, I was up moving around and going on short walks within a couple days. I remember being wheeled out of the hospital 24 hours after giving birth and thinking, “I really don’t need this wheelchair.” I didn’t say anything to the nurse or patient transporter just because protocol is protocol, but I honestly could have walked to the car by myself. Also, in full disclosure, I did have a second-degree tear, and a few stitches, but I never actually felt anything painful in that regard after birth. Tears really are not as bas as people make them out to be or what you think they might be. Like I said, I never felt it. I would describe the discomfort postpartum more as just, well, discomfort.
I gauged my activity levels the first week by the amount of lochia my body produced. One day I went for a 45 minute walk, and I knew it was too much when I was bleeding heavier than normal afterward. Again, not painful, just crampy, and I knew I needed to back off a little bit. During pregnancy, you become pretty self aware of when you’ve overdone it, and postpartum is very similar in that regard. You are the best determiner for your activity level. Your body will let you know, I promise.
My goal going into what I called “Week 0” in my training log was simply to start with short walks (20-30 minutes), and to also begin a core and pelvic “re”-strengthening program. I never really understood before I gave birth what people meant by “your core and pelvic area are totally wrecked after you have a baby,” but trust me, I found out veryyyy quickly what they meant. Lol. Basically, you have all this weight in the front of your body that steadily increases over 9 months, and then all of a sudden the majority of it disappears, so you’re left with most likely a tilted pelvis, rotated sacrum, and nonexistent abdominal muscles. Woof. Trying to run with all that jacked up is a terrible idea. Don’t do it. Don’t think you’re “different” and can just power through it. I maintained a pretty intense strength-training regimen up until the day I delivered Emerson, and I was STILL jacked up in the pelvic/core region. So, if there’s anything I can stress in this post, it’s to tackle that area first and foremost. And, be very careful at the same time.
|2/2/2016||Tues||baby is born! Emerson Ruth Taylor, 5:20am; 7lb 4oz|
|2/4/2016||Thurs||15 min very easy slow walk with Emerson in stroller|
|2/5/2016||Friday||20 min easy walk with Emerson in stroller|
|2/6/2016||Sat||25 minute easy walk (1 mile loop) with Emerson in baby carrier. feeling better each day!|
|2/7/2016||Sun||began core/pelvic floor stabilization exercises. kegels–5×5 seconds each lying on back. pelvic tilts on back–3×10 reps holding 10 seconds each rep. sahrmann ab #1–5 reps on each leg. 40 min walk at the park with Emerson in the baby carrier. walked to and from church too. prob overdid it today with the walking.|
Here are the pelvic/core exercises I focused on. I built my plan based on a variety of recommendations and sources, including Alysia Montano’s postpartum plan, to a physical therapist friend of mine, to even pinterest. I did these daily for the first 3 weeks postpartum, and then moved to every other day, adding in more difficult moves once these got easy. I am currently 8 weeks postpartum and still doing them every other day (you may find you need to keep doing them daily even up to 6 weeks or longer. Figure out what you need.) Whatever you do, DO NOT NEGLECT THIS. Your body and running will thank you immensely!
Pelvic Tilts against a wall (10-20 total. holding for 5 seconds each)
Pelvic tilts on all fours–similar to cat cow in yoga (begin with 10, gradually build to 30 total, holding for 5 seconds each)
Sahrmann #1 (this is best explained on this link
I remember my first postpartum Kegel. I could barely hold it for 5 seconds! Then, it got easier and easier, until one day I did probably 50 reps, and realized I was probably ready to graduate to something more challenging.
All in all, the first week was primarily about 1. Bringing our baybay home, and understanding how to raise a newborn/taking in all the newness of a sweet little one. And 2. Starting to begin the recovery process for my body. Nothing crazy, just a little commitment each day (probably 1 hour total with walking and strength training). Honestly not bad, and with how much an infant sleeps, you’ll find it easy to fit it in, I think.
I finished up this week feeling excited, surprised (at how great I felt), and ready to increase my walking and other activities the next week! Stay tuned!
For fear of totally inundating you with a vomit of words on the screen, I’ll give a quick update, then focus on how I’ve managed to return to running and training amidst the millions of hours of breastfeeding, pumping, diaper changing, and on some miraculous days, getting my own life together and taking a shower! WOOF.
6 weeks. It’s the time in a newborn’s life when they “wake up.” All of a sudden this tiny little thing has LUNGS! They discover their hands and feet, and they even start to socially smile.
6 weeks. This is the week I went back to work, and Jon began his manny duties (he coined this term, not me). I will be honest and say it was a pretty rough transition in our house. Jon was incredibly helpful the first 6 weeks of Emerson’s life, but nothing quite prepares you to be a solo parent while the other whisks off to work. At the end of the day, I come home from my job all energized and happy to see them, and he is utterly exhausted. It’s all such a learning process. One thing I do know: he really is the best dad, and I can’t imagine a better person to be there for our daughter at this stage in her life.
6 weeks. By this point, I’ve been running for 4 weeks. I was so surprised when my midwife cleared me to begin exercising (“with caution”) at 2 weeks postpartum. While I was incredibly fortunate to have an easy labor and delivery, I know that I couldn’t have recovered so quickly had I not had a plan in place. At just 2 days postpartum, I was ready to do short walks and begin core and pelvic exercises. Prior to giving birth, I put together a recovery plan, and because it worked so well for me, I want to share!
Over the next few posts, I’m going to do a week-by-week breakdown of what I did recovery-wise that helped me bounce back so quickly. By the time this post goes live, I’ll be nearly 2 months postpartum, and up to about 30 miles/week with one speed workout + one long run. Overall, I feel good.
When I was nearing the end of my pregnancy and coming up with this plan, I remember trying to find some sort of similar guide for how to come back safely to running, and what you need to do to ensure you are doing what’s best for you, your body, and your baby. Unfortunately, a lot of women leave the doctor’s office after their postpartum checkup, and are told they can exercise again, but that’s about it. What is safe and reasonable is usually left out of the conversation. Additionally, while there are some very broad resources out there, I couldn’t find anyone’s personal journey, which is what I find to be most valuable. I’m looking forward to sharing what worked for me, and hope you’ll follow along!
Birth stories are so personal and intimate; I thought maybe I shouldn’t share about the day Emerson arrived. But, I also know both the benefit of writing my thoughts as well as having them documented somewhere. I’d like to say I think our daughter might want to read about the day she came into the world when she’s older. Maybe not?
If you didn’t catch part 1, the basic gist is I planned and hoped for a natural birth, and well, it didn’t happen. And long story short, I am totally okay with that. Like I said in the first post, I have a beautiful baby girl, and like everyone promised me when I was making my birth plan before she arrived, in the end, that’s all you truly care about. The plan can fall by the waist side as long as she’s healthy and happy. And, it’s so true 🙂
So, let’s get back to the story. If you remember, I was given Cytotec, which is a drug used to induce labor. It’s a tiny pill they insert into your cervix. It doesn’t work for all women, but for some, it can put you into full blown labor, and FAST. The midwife warned me I may go from 0 to 100 within a few minutes. I didn’t know what that meant, but I quickly found out.
No joke, within 5 minutes of my water breaking at 10pm, I was having strong contractions just 1 minute a part from each other. I remember one second I was joking around with Beth (my best friend) and Jon (my husband), and then the next, they were still talking and I was doubled over in the bathroom, unable to talk or really do anything. “Ohhhh, so THIS is labor.” Wow. There was no warm up period at all.
I moved from the bathroom back to the room, and I put my headphones in while I got on my knees and hovered over an exercise ball. I couldn’t handle hearing outside conversations happening, so I turned up my music super loud so I didn’t have to listen to them talk ha. What was the music of choice? Pandora 90’s hits. Ironically I made this station just a few days before we went into the hospital. Jon and I were driving and we all of a sudden had the urge to listen to some good 90’s music. So, as things were getting more and more intense, Christina Aguilera was telling me she was a genie in a bottle. Or something like that.
The contractions continued, and I began to feel out of control. I knew induction drugs could do this, and I didn’t have any prior labor to compare it to, but I felt like I was just hanging on, almost like I was being thrown against a wall by a huge wave. There was no sense of time, but as soon as I’d be trashed from one contraction, another one would come within just a few seconds. The nurse came in at one point and told me the fetal monitors weren’t picking up the baby’s heartbeat because I was leaning over the ball and they kept falling down. We tried to get them to stay on (they are strapped to your belly with velcro) by holding them with my hand, but it still wasn’t picking anything up, and this made the nurse concerned. It made me pissed, because it meant I had to change positions, and I didn’t feel like I could stand up. All I wanted to do was lay on top of the exercise ball.
I eventually stood up, because the nurse said I’d have to get into the hospital bed if the monitors kept falling off, so I just basically leaned on Jon and Beth (read: collapsed on them as I tried to stand, still reeling from the pain which was getting even more intense). I tried to remember all the techniques we talked about in Lamaze class like relaxing, breathing, and having someone press on my back, but honestly, in that moment, I was approaching it like I do in a race; I tensed up and just pressed on. I didn’t breathe into it. My shoulders were tense, my legs were tense, I couldn’t relax. I should probably work on that for running, because that really can’t be good.
The damn monitors kept falling off. WHY WON’T THESE THINGS STAY ON.
The nurse came back in and told me I had to get in the bed so the monitors could pick up the baby. I don’t know why this upset me so much. I knew the baby was fine. I also knew trying to labor while lying on my back in the bed would be so painful. I didn’t want to lay down. But I had no choice. Once in the bed, I started having back labor. Oh dear Lord.
I got back on my hands and knees while in the bed. I started crying, leaning over Jon and remember saying softly to him, “I think I’m almost done. I’m trying so hard, but I don’t think I can go much longer. I know we talked about this, and you’re supposed to say to me that I can do it, but I’m telling you I can’t. And I’m okay with that. I’m okay with getting pain medicine.” I believe it had been 5 hours since my water broke.
The nurse came back in, the fetal monitors were picking up the baby a little better (still not great because I was still moving around quite a bit while in the bed), but I told her I’d like to get some stadol, a pain med that is essentially a drug that makes you sleepy and “takes the edge off” is what I had read on a few blogs. HA! Yea, it may have been 3 am, but I did not get sleepy, nor did it take the edge off.
About an hour later (I think . . .again, no sense of time during all of this. Just pain.), I said we needed to bring out the big guns. Let’s go for the epi. “I’m okay with doing it.” I said to my husband again. He told me he was proud of me, and that it would all be okay. Because I wasn’t hooked up to an IV (I just had a hep-lock), I had to get some fluids in me before they’d give me the epidural. The fluid bag needed to be empty, which takes about 30 minutes. At that point, even though I could see the light because the epidural was coming soon, I was still in so much pain. Trying to breathe, but watching the fluid bag get less and less was like watching the minute hand on a clock. Brutal. Time was moving so slowly.
The epidural finally came, and I told the nurse anesthetist that I loved him, and it must be fun having a job where you get to make people in pain happy again. He was weirded out, but I didn’t mind. He also told me during one of the contractions (because they were still going, and I was still being thrashed about), that I “need to cut that out. There will be no moaning or groaning.” At that point my love for him turned to anger. HAVE YOU EVER HAD A BABY? YEA, JUST STOP TALKING AND STICK THAT NEEDLE IN MY BACK. ha, I didn’t say that, but seriously, who has the nerve to tell someone experiencing the pain of child birth that they need to hush? SMH, MEN.
Pretty much as soon as the epidural was given, I felt some relief. It was amazing that with each contraction, the pain became less and less. Amazing. Truly amazing. Do I still want a natural child birth at some point in my life? If we have more kids, yes, I do. But, I’ve never been more thankful for modern medicine.
The midwife came back in to check on me an hour after the epidural, and I had dilated to a 10! I couldn’t believe it. I guess that was all I needed. Just needed to relax, and the epidural provided that. I was immensely grateful.
Time to meet this baby! The midwife set the room up for the baby to arrive, and it was time to push. 30 minutes later, at 5:20 am, Emerson Ruth Taylor arrived. It truly was the greatest moment.
7 pounds, 4 ounces, 20 inches long. Tons of hair. We are still so overjoyed and can’t believe it. Welcome to the world, E!
I’m breaking up the birth story into two parts rather than trying to cram it all into one. This is part 1, where I tell the details of my birth goals, and what actually happened leading up to it.
From the moment we found out we were pregnant, I decided I would do everything in my power to have a natural birth. “Natural Birth” means different things to different people. For me, the phrase embodies going into labor on my own, laboring for a while at home, heading to the hospital when things start getting intense, and pushing a baby out without medical interventions like pain medicine or induction drugs. That was my plan. I read the books, Jon and I went to 6 weeks of Lamaze classes, I tried to stay as healthy as possible throughout my pregnancy, etc. Basically, I set myself up for success, or tried to anyway.
As my due date inched closer, I became extremely antsy. WHY ISN’T BABY HERE YET?! Like the majority of first-time moms, my due date came and went with zero signs of an impending labor. Honestly, I am sure my anxiety and impatience had something to do with the baby not descending. I just couldn’t relax! There was no dilation of my cervix, and pretty much no effacement when I went to my appointment at 40 weeks. I started to become anxious about knowing when baby would arrive. I remember saying, “If someone could just tell me how many more days it’s going to be, then I’ll be fine! It’s the unknown that is driving me insane.”
As part of the “natural birth” plan, we worked with a midwife throughout my pregnancy, which means you can imagine my shock when she said she really didn’t want me going past 41 weeks if I don’t go into labor on my own. (Normally midwives are much more lenient with waiting on babies to come on their own) “Wait, how will I have a natural birth, then?” became my thought process. I know that sounds selfish, but I truly had been envisioning this process for 9 months, so there was a little disappointment. I knew if I had to be induced, the dream of bringing a baby into the world without drugs would be nearly impossible. Most people I had talked to said laboring while on Pitocin or Cytotec (two drugs used to induce labor), is pure hell. So, as I inched closer to 41 weeks, I had to begin thinking about what an induction would mean, and whether my goals of a natural birth needed to change a bit. I was surprisingly okay with changing my plan. Besides, isn’t that what you hear all the time? Have a birth plan, but be flexible. The time had come for flexibility, and perhaps I was just so ready to get the baby out of me, that the drugs and possibility of needing an epidural really didn’t sound all that bad.
It was a Sunday, and I was 41 weeks pregnant. To be frank, I was not in a good mental state. Just sooo ready to not be pregnant and to meet this baby. I’ve never felt so impatient in my life. My husband and I were on a long walk to a local coffee shop when we had a conversation about inducing the following day. We both decided in the end, it would be best, and we would trust the midwife’s discretion on getting the baby out soon for both his/her health and mine, which would mean possibly foregoing my plan of a natural birth. I was really at peace about it. I had accepted that our plans don’t always go the way we want them to, and that is OKAY. The health of the baby is the most important thing. We would go to our prenatal appt the next day, and if there was availability at the hospital, we’d induce that day.
The plan to induce the following day came to fruition, and we headed to the hospital around 11 am Monday morning. I had heard horror stories about hospitals not letting you eat once you’re in the labor and delivery room, so we made sure to get some high-quality food in my system while driving downtown ha 😀
By the time I was checked in and all the paperwork was complete, it was 2pm on Monday. I met with the midwife, who suggested I try a manual dilation before we jump to using Cytotec. The less synthetic drug intervention the better. So we opted for a dilation technique called Laminaria, which actually consists of using sticks of seaweed that expand inside your cervix to dilate it. And that’s all I’m going to say about that. Yes, I was a little weirded out. So we tried the seaweed, with no guarantee it would work. And it didn’t. I was still just 1 cm after they took them out 6 hours later at 8pm. I honestly wasn’t disappointed. I had decided today was all about going with the flow, and I knew it was going to be a long labor, so I just relaxed and trusted the midwife. I was finally on the way to meeting this baby!
The next step? Cytotec. If you’ve never heard of it, google it. It’s a beast of a drug. It’s a tiny pill they insert into your cervix, and once it dissolves, there’s no turning back. Woof. It can make labor contractions down right brutal for some, and for others, like the Laminaria, it may not even work. 2 hours after taking the Cytotec, at 10pm, my water broke, and no more than 5 minutes after that, contractions came on in full force.
IT’S LABOR TIME.
Part 2 will be the actual labor, how I managed it, and ultimately meeting my beautiful baby girl. Stay tuned!
While my blog was pretty dormant in 2015 I still think “a year in review” is fun to write and read. One yearly recap I particularly loved reading was Tina’s. I appreciated that even though I get her posts in my inbox each week, the end-of-year recap still seemed like fresh news! Hopefully I can portray that same feeling with this post.
Without a doubt, I can say I grew more personally and even athletically in 2015 than ever before. Technically, even though I ran less than I have in previous years, the amount I gained in wisdom from various experiences will prepare me for the year ahead more than any workout could.
A year ago, on New Years Day 2015, I posted this to IG:
At the time, of course, I had no clue what “unexpected challenges” would mean! In short, 2015 was a phenomenal year, but not for the typical reasons you might think. Compared to 2014, where I was on top of the world, 2015 left me humbled and hungry. In 2014, I got married, excelled in running by PRing in every distance, and felt somewhat invincible.
This year, though, I learned so much, and sometimes that’s what we need most. Let’s dive a little deeper into the specifics:
The challenges that made me stronger:
Injury: At the beginning of 2015, I was coming off being sidelined from my IT band, but I cross-trained sooo much during that time, and truly reaped the rewards of that! After just a few weeks back running, I ran two PRs back to back in the 5k and the 3k. Cross training really does work!
3k PR and 7th place in a division 1 college track meet. What a great day!
Pregnancy: I’ve talked a lot about this already, so I won’t go into detail, but in short, I’ve learned patience and the beauty of slowing down, both physically and mentally. I’ve also learned to dream really big, which I’ll go into later.
New aspects of my training I implemented:
Cross Training: I really can’t express how much cross training helped me in 2015. I joined a masters swim group, met up with a local bike club on occasions, went to spin classes, and borrowed my friend’s elliptigo at various times during the year. I’ve tried to cross train at least once per week, and especially during pregnancy, as I’ve stopped running, I’ve cross-trained even more! I am confident it will pay off when I begin running again soon.
Strength Training: I didn’t start taking strength training seriously until I had my IT band issues. Isn’t that how it always works? Once injured, I religiously did a 15 minute hip routine every day for 6 weeks, and voila, my IT band got better! Magic. Since then, I’ve kept up a general strength routine, and really have enjoyed the classes at my gym. I should not be left to my own devices when it comes to strength training. I like having someone to tell me exactly what to do! I hit up the classes 2-3 times per week, and supplement with some hip strength on those same days, since I know that’s a problem area for me. Periodic Physical Therapy Appointments: I found a great physical therapist in the area, who has been phenomenal in helping me solve any imbalances, and prevent injuries before they occur. He specializes in gait analyses and works with endurance athletes. I have even gone to him during my pregnancy, too, to see how I’m doing with mobility/strength/flexibility, and what I need to work on. This just keeps things in check! I’ll go after I have the baby, too, to get another evaluation, as my body is going to be quite a wreck 🙂
Massage/Trigger Point Therapy/Yoga: Massages can get expensive, so I’ve learned to improvise a little. In a perfect world, I’d love to get a massage every week, but financially, that just isn’t realistic for us right now, and that’s okay! You can do a lot of self-massage through foam rollers, the R8, trigger point balls, etc! I probably get a professional massage every 6-8 weeks, and try to go to a restorative/foam rolling yoga class every couple weeks. I do massage work at home on my own a few days a week. I can be more diligent about this in 2016.
What’s on tap for 2016:
By the time this post goes live, it’s possible I’ll have brought a tiny human into this world! Whoah.
So, with a brand new baby, navigating going back to work full time, and trying to lead a balanced life, what am I thinking for 2016 in terms of running?
My first and primary goal is to be present for my family. This mindset has taken a while to come to fruition, but I am confident that if my faith and my family are balanced, then running will fall into place how it should. Does that sound too vague or does it lack ambition? It may sound vague, but I truly am so motivated. I am excited to get back to training. I’ve poured over race websites carefully trying to decide which races I’m going to complete, what shoes I’m going to wear, and what mileage I’m going to run. Yes, it’s as neurotic as it sounds! It wasn’t until recently, though, that I realized the insanity of all this planning, and said to myself, “Katie, all of this is going to be so new. Enjoy being a new mom, and run hard. Don’t overcomplicate it. Don’t overplan it. Let your coach do that.” It’s a shift in the previous mindset I had that I felt I needed to prove something or be someone with my postpartum running. I have nothing to prove, nothing to lose, and everything to gain (except maybe baby weight lol). I truly have no expectations for my postpartum journey other than to be the best I can be–the best wife, the best mom, the best runner that I CAN BE. I will run hard and be smart with my return, and I can’t wait for you guys to follow along. It’s going to be a fun and crazy ride.
With that said, here are my running plans and goals for 2016:
-Rock’n’Roll Chicago 1/2 Marathon (July 17th, 6 months postpartum)
-build confidence over longer distances (long tempos, 10k-1/2 marathon races, aerobic threshold paced runs)
-be patient with my body as it makes it’s return to training
-no specific time goals. I believe with proper training, patience, hard work, and fun, the improvements and PRs will come.
-continue to race without a watch; both PRs I set in 2015 were “watchless”, and I am such a huge advocate for concentrating on effort over pace during a race.
-And finally, be a good example to my child by showing him/her what it means to work hard and go after your dreams, no matter how big.
Thanks for following along on this journey!