Baby is here! Part 1 of Emerson’s birth story.

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.”

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Laser Tag at 41 weeks. HA! Doing everything to keep my mind off going into labor . . .

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.

come on baby. pleasseee come out

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 eternal waiting game

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!

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A Year in Review and what to expect for 2016

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:

2015

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 🙂

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part of the problem with my hips was “hip drop” from a lack of glute med strength. thanks to my best friend/personal Physical therapist, Jeni, for filming and catching this imbalance!

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.

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couldn’t do any of this without this handsome guy.

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!

Katie

 

 

The good, the bad, the ugly parts of a pregnant runner

This is part 4 of 4 of my running/pregnancy/life catch up I’m doing on the blog.

Here is part 1 , here is part 2 , and here is part 3 in case you missed them!

The first few weeks of pregnancy were filled with angst as I tried to imagine the next loooong 9 months. At the time, it all seemed like it would take forever! When I related it to running, I thought it would be parallel to going through a 9 month injury, which I realize now is such a irrational assumption. I’ve said this before, but I grew up so much in 2015. Looking back, of course it’s all so clear, that this is what I needed in 2015. What I needed more than any training plan, PR, or smooth-sailing year was a year to grow and be stretched to my limit, which is ultimately what happened.

I got to week 28, and couldn’t believe it. The first and second trimesters flew by. But, let’s talk about the last 10 weeks of being pregnant. You guys, I felt insane! The waiting and unknowns drove me up a wall. I am so bad with not knowing when something is going to happen (ie. labor), so the 3rd trimester was such a huge test for me. Especially the last 4 weeks, I felt I was constantly having a talk with myself about my attitude. Ha. “Katie, you have a choice whether to be positive or negative today. Choose positivity despite the circumstance of feeling large, uncomfortable, uncertain of when baby will come, etc.”

My last “race” was on Thanksgiving day at a turkey trot in Boone, North Carolina. My family had an amazing time in the mountains together. I actually surprised myself during the 5k, considering I hadn’t run in a few weeks! I figured I’d probably just walk/run it, but when Jon and I started out, I felt good, and just tried to stay steady throughout the race. I got lots of great looks and “you go, girl!” when I crossed the finish line, ha! I finished in 26 minutes, only about 8 minutes slower than my PR! 😉 #keepingmehumble

After getting back from North Carolina, I decided to join a local gym, because I knew I would need the motivation those last 10 weeks. Honestly, this was one of the best decisions! They have a pool, lots of treadmills for walking when it’s too cold out, spin classes, and my personal favorite: strength training class. I never imagined I’d get so excited to lift weights, but it’s really the only exercise I found to not be too uncomfortable during the last trimester. As a result, I now feel super strong and know all those squats and lunges will only help when I return to running!    

I tried to fill my time as much as possible, so I wouldn’t be just sitting around waiting, and something I really enjoyed was pouring myself into other people’s running. I coach a handful of people, including my husband (lucky for him), so I did a lot of extra research on running/creating training plans/etc to keep my mind off things. I also picked up a few new runners, so it was super fun to get involved with their goals, and feel like I was making a difference in someone’s life. Jon and I would go on “runs” together, where he would run, and I’d either bike next to him, or we’d go to the park and I’d walk around with the dogs while he ran. (read: I’d walk around like a creeper taking goPro photos of him because what else do you do as an overzealous spouse? #crazypregnantrunner)

Similar to the first trimester, the third was another test of strength other than physical. I really see myself as a positive person, but within my own head, I was constantly battling demons that were telling me “You’ll be pregnant forever. This is never going to end.” I know that sounds insane! But the truth is, when you become pretty much immobile, can’t sleep, and everything makes you tired, it’s so hard to imagine something so good and miraculous (like a beautiful baby!) will come out of all of this. I’ve said this before, but I want my blog to be an honest place where I share unfiltered thoughts, and if I’m being honest, pregnancy is not something I was able to embrace gracefully. I am sooo excited to bring baby into this world and be a mom. I know it will be the hardest and greatest job of my life, but I’m not afraid of that for some reason. I just don’t want to be pregnant anymore. Lol. Everyone says you forget about how hard pregnancy was the minute you see your child, and I truly hope that’s the case, because I’ve always wanted more than one child, and I love kids! I’ve talked to some women who fully understand and even have experienced the same type of pregnancy I have, and then I’ve heard stories from other women who absolutely LOVED being pregnant. I so wish that was me. But, once again, if I’m honest, I didn’t love being pregnant. It’s hard stuff, you guys!

As I wrap up this series, I hope I’ve shared the good, the bad, and the ugly of the last 9 months. It has truly been an incredible journey that I can look back on and say, “I am not the same person I was in April of 2015.” And I mean that in the best possible way. I am mentally AND physically stronger, more patient, less anxious, and ultimately just a little bit more grown up.

Now, let’s have this beautiful baby! Check back soon to find out the gender (it is a surprise!), the birth story, and my running plans for 2016.

This is part 4 of 4 of my running/pregnancy/life catch up I’m doing on the blog.

Here is part 1 , here is part 2 , and here is part 3 in case you missed them!

Wait, I’m pregnant?!

This is part 2 of 4 of my running/pregnancy/life catch up I’m doing on the blog.

Here is part 1 if you missed it!

Two lines. Seeing them on the pee stick was like having an out-of-body experience. I sat in the bathroom and cried for a long time. We called my mom and told her and my stepdad the news. It wasn’t anything like I had always imagined it would go, with balloons and a cute card saying “Congratulations, Grandma!”. Through tears I just muttered the words: “I’m pregnant.” Why did I feel so scared?

I took this the night I found out. I really wanted to be excited, but I mostly was just so scared.

When we started telling people the news a few months later, friends would ask if I took a bunch of tests to make sure, and honestly I didn’t even think about that. I just took 1? Taking multiple tests is a thing? I had no idea what I was doing (still don’t. does anyone?). I just knew I was pregnant and scared.

We posted this on Instagram when we announced the news at 12 weeks. lol.

The next 8 weeks, also known as the first trimester, are a bit of a blur when I look back. I was really sad. I cried a lot. I didn’t know how to handle the news. I realized deep down that this would be a blessing and all the things I knew I was supposed to say, but I constantly asked myself, “Why do I feel so empty? I am being given one of the greatest gifts in life, one so many women dream of, and something I’ve always wanted, yet I feel like my life is suddenly changing and selfishly I’m not ready for that.”

Because I know you’re wondering, and because I was very open about this prior to getting pregnant, no I was not on the pill. In fact, ironically there is a draft post that I never published on why I went off the pill and how it was one of the best decisions personally and athletically for me. I still stand by that. So, technically, I should have been prepared for what could happen. Duh. It was a decision my husband and I made together, and we still stand by our decision, except he handled the news of having a baby wayyyy better than I did. It literally took him 48 hours and then he was all, “THIS IS AWESOME I’M GONNA BE A DAD!” Perhaps I thought I was immune to Mother Nature. Regardless, it truly took the entire first trimester for me to feel connected to baby.

Honestly, my husband is the best there is. 5 weeks pregnant here. Already hitting up the fried chicken wing joints for dinner 😀

My running changed pretty much overnight. I wanted concrete answers to how training should go during the next 35 weeks. I poured over blogs and books and talked to people I knew who ran while they were pregnant. Everyone just said, “You’ll know what to do.” WHAT THE HECK DOES THAT MEAN? Tell me exactly what to do! Do I wear a heart rate monitor? Do I still train hard? So many unknowns. With the future of having a baby and how to be a mom being so unclear, I desperately wanted answers and something I could control. Releasing the death grip on having a set-in-stone plan for running was difficult. This would become a recurring theme throughout my entire pregnancy. I’ve learned so much.

We celebrated my birthday in mid June with a fun 5k downtown and a nice dinner at one of my favorite restaurants. Jon planned the whole thing. It was such a treat, and getting to tell my good friend Julia the news was great. She’s been such a huge support and a phenomenal friend over the last 8 months.

cheers to 25.

the Gibson Guitar 5k with Julia

As I approached the 12 week mark, I began to feel like the fog was being lifted. I did a happy dance when I made it a few days without crying. People asked me if I ever had morning sickness or extreme fatigue during the first trimester. I didn’t. A little nausea and food aversions, but nothing too terrible, honestly. I think it would have broken me had I experienced the physical pains on top of the mental. God is great like that.

I did eventually figure out a rough “plan” for running, one that worked for me. Because Memphis is insanely hot during the summer, I wore a heart rate monitor for the majority of my runs in the beginning. My coach still sent me weekly “plans”, but they were not set in stone, and I eventually became okay with that. Here’s my training log from a typical week!

6/8/2015 Mon. 6 min easy, 12 min threshold, 6 min easy AM swim. 1000 warm up, 9×100 progressively getting faster, 6×100 with fins. very hard to get out of bed, but i was glad i did it.
6/9/2015 Tues. 10-14 x 90 sec. @ 5k effort with 2 min. recovery this went great!! to avoid overheating, i did the workout inside on the treadmill. 1 mile warm up. 12 repeats. started at 6:30 pace and worked my way down, last 3 were 5:50. Heart rate never hit 170! feeling good.
6/10/2015 Wed. cross train strength trained and biked a bit.
6/11/2015 Thurs. 6 min easy, 12 min threshold, 6 min easy this was my “test” run for saturday. i wanted to see what my heart rate could handle, so i started at 6:30 pace for the middle portion. eventually had to slow down pretty significantly to get my heart rate back down. saturday will be a nice little “trot” ha.
6/12/2015 Fri. 14-18 x 10 sec. @ 400m effort with 2 min. recovery did 6 min easy, 7 min at threshold, 6 min easy.
6/13/2015 Sat. cross train or complete day off Gibson 5k. just paced my friend Julia. 7 min pace. She didn’t race as well as she wanted to, but i felt great. it was really hot.
6/14/2015 Sun. 30 minutes easy nice and easy recovery run with friends!

The main thing was staying hydrated and making sure I could laugh during a workout. Initially, I was very focused on my heart rate and not going over 175 (my lactate threshold), but eventually I realized the laugh/smile/talk test was better, and let me be a little less rigid, without having to constantly check my watch or wait for it to beep to tell me my heart rate was too high. That’s how I gauged the intensity and when to back off. I also trained with a talented high school xc team during June and part of July, which really helped with motivation, and feeling like I wasn’t totally losing all my fitness. Those girls gave me more than they realized during those 6 weeks. I began to find a groove as I approached the second trimester, started feeling happy and confident that I could maybe do this motherhood thing after all!

This is part 2 of 4 of my running/pregnancy/life catch up I’m doing on the blog.

Here is part 1 if you missed it!

 

 

Oops, it’s been since March

I honestly don’t know what happened. Oh yea, I got pregnant. Let’s try that again. I got pregnant! (can you tell it was a bit of a shock and a little bit hard to swallow at first? More on that later…We’re having a BABY! It still blows my mind that I will be in charge of a tiny human soon.) But, that’s not really an excuse for my absence during April and May. April and May were actually pretty decent months running wise. How do you catch back up when you haven’t blogged in nearly a year? My husband keeps telling me he’s waiting to see a post in his inbox, so I promised him I’d catch up the blogging world. These past 9 months have been a whirlwind. I really love reading blogs, so it puzzles me why I’ve had such a hard time writing. I think about this space often, but I suppose I felt like I lost my identity as a runner when I got pregnant. I know that feeling isn’t logical, because pregnancy isn’t a disease, and I won’t be pregnant forever (despite feeling that way at 37 weeks currently). Nonetheless, I really became dormant fairly quickly. It might be because with pregnancy, your running truly can change overnight. I had no idea of this. One day I ran 7 miles, and the next I decided that would be the last run. Of course, I was wrong. Some running days truly feel like a fairytale, while others are miserable, just picking up my feet, trying not to feel like my uterus is falling out of my body. #dramatic

While it may seem a bit narcissistic (aren’t all blogs a little, though?), I’m going to attempt to recap the months of April + May in this post, and then I’ll follow up with the first trimester. YAY, ALL ABOUT ME! I promise (SCOUTS HONOR) I will not leave you high and dry, and I’ll also follow up with second and third trimester posts. I know if anything, I’ll appreciate reading them down the road. Honestly, it’s probably best I waited this long to recap, because like I said, I was quite literally ALL.OVER.THE.PLACE in my brain (actually, I still am) during this pregnancy, so looking at everything from a birds-eye-view rather than in the moment will make me seem less like a hormonal psycho. #forrealz pregnancy is no joke. I’ve cried and laughed in the same sentence way too many times the last 8 months. Here we go.

April

I had just PR’d in the 5k after months of rehab and cross training from my IT band issue. I don’t know how. I still don’t know how I did that on such low mileage, except that cross training really does work. You guys, I can swim now! Here’s what my training looked like during April.

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Jeni was training for her first triathlon, so we swam a ton together.

4/13/2015 Mon 6 min easy, 6-10 minutes @ threshold (about 6:45 pace), 6 minutes easy. No joke. That’s it. I would supplement with swimming in the AM.
4/14/2015 Tue 8-10×1:30 @ 5k with 1:00 min walk recovery
4/15/2015 Wed cross train (either swimming or biking)
4/16/2015 Thu same as monday (6 min easy, 6-10 min moderate, 6 min easy)
4/17/2015 Fri 8-10x:30 sec @ 800m with 1:00 min walk recovery
4/18/2015 Sat cross train or complete day off
4/19/2015 Sun 30 min very easy on trails

During April, despite my low mileage, I started to string together some great workouts, and my confidence was coming back. Knowing I was in good shape after running a 18:35 5k at the end of March, I was ready to tackle some more races, and see if I could snag some more PRs. I mean, If I can do well on 20 miles a week and stay injury free, heck I am one happy girl! I emailed the coach at University of Memphis to see if I could jump into the 3k at their upcoming invitational.IMG_5297

May

The word for May was consistency. I told myself to just stay consistent and keep rehabbing the IT band to make sure that nasty injury doesn’t come back. It worked. I raced in the 3k at U of M like I had hoped, and even though it was my first 3k ever (automatic PR 😉 ), if it had been a full 2 miles, I would have PRd by 20 seconds! Despite not feeling great during the race (had no idea I was pregnant at the time, but that explains why I needed to puke up my lunch the entire 7.5 laps, woof), I ran the 3k in 10:37, and snagged 7th place in a division 1 college meet! It was a really great day, and it was so fun to have some great friends there cheering for me.

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How ironic. Celebrating after my 3k while carrying a friend’s baby. Had no idea I was 5 weeks pregnant.

The next, and final “race” I would run in 2015 would be the Knoxville, TN Expo 10k over Memorial Day weekend. Every year, we go to East TN during this weekend to visit friends, and I look forward to this race. Even though I felt terrible during the 3k a few weeks prior, I knew I was fit, and I was looking to go under 40 minutes this year. I did this same race in 2014, and knew it would be HARD. Hills in East TN are no joke. I was ready to have a great day and work the hills, though. Well, what happened? I felt terrible again! I went out with the lead pack of females at around 6:15 pace, and totally bonked. I was really disappointed. Why did I feel so terrible? Was I dehydrated? Did the hills get the best of me? It was after this race + sleeping literally all weekend + drinking all the water I could get my hands on that I realized maybe something was up. I took a pregnancy test on Memorial Day when we got home. Everything changed so fast.

Stay tuned! I’ve already got a reminder on my calendar to publish the first trimester post. No getting around it.

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Knoxville 10k.

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Post race meal. Hadn’t eaten meat in years! All of a sudden craving #allthebacon

How I came back from an Injury Stronger and the recipe I’m loving lately

Being forced to the sideline with an injury is never easy, but when you have your first race “back” after significantly lower mileage and intensity for 4 months, and the race is only 51 seconds off your PR, you share what you did for those 4 months. Because, in the future, friends may find themselves injured, too, and may need some guidance for “what to do”.  Catch my drift? So, save this post for when you’re injured and need a kick in the pants, because let’s be real, finding the motivation to cross-train/stay in shape while on the injured reserve list is just plain HARD.

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Biggest piece of advice:  find a group/workout buddy. This was the inarguably the best thing I could have done. You don’t have to be alone in your injury! You have friends! It just may take some searching 😉 I obviously couldn’t train with my normal running buds during my injury, but I COULD find a local swimming and biking group! Most cities have US masters swim teams and biking clubs with weekly meet-ups. Find a contact on their website (or heck, just show up like I did) and tell them you’re a newbie. They’ll love your tenacity and dedi     
cation to learning something new and being the best you can be at “their” sport.

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My Cross-training schedule during my injury. This doesn’t include strength training/PT appointments (**Also, I was able to run, but not much. I basically ran until it hurt, all the while trying to figure out what ACTUALLY was wrong. This took about 4 months. As you will see, I built up quite the cardio base. It did not hurt at all to bike and swim, so I did those a TON):

MON AM: 1.5 hours of getting my arss handed to me at the pool with the u.s. masters swim group

MON PM: hot yoga or a short/easy run

 

TUES AM: spin class at the gym

TUES PM: restorative yoga

 

WED AM: 1.5 hour swim…so freaking hard but love every minute of it

WED PM: 2 hour bike ride with a local club (usually by Wednesday night I can hardly walk after that much swimming and biking in one day)

 

THUR AM: rest/sleep in (thank the Lord)

THUR PM: light/easy run

 

FRIDAY AM: another morning, another u.s. masters group swim. 1.5 hours.

FRIDAY PM: kick my feet up and relax! It’s Friday!!

 

SAT: long-ish run (nice and easy for about 45 min to an hour)

 

SUN: either rest day or afternoon bike ride

Also, wanted to share something I’m loving lately.

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Let’s talk about salads-in-a-jar. Obsessed. I make them all on Sunday and have a bunch in the fridge to grab during busy week days!

Mason-Jar Salad: How To

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Makes 2 salads

Ingredients:

1 carrot, thinly sliced or shredded

1 cup quinoa, cooked

1 sweet potato, roasted

2 handfuls of the lettuce of your choice

Maple-Tahini Dressing

2 garlic cloves, minced

1 tsp coarse salt

¾ cup tahini paste

2 tablespoon lemon juice

¼ cup warm water

2 tsp chopped parsley

Instructions:

  1. For the dressing, combine all ingredients into food processor and blend until desired consistency. Depending on your preference, you may add more water or lemon juice to thin it out.
  1. Cook the quinoa according to the package instructions. Let cool completely.
  2. Cube the sweet potatoes, toss in olive oil and salt + pepper. Roast the sweet potatoes at 375 degrees Fahrenheit for 25-30 minutes. Let cool completely.
  1. Once ingredients are prepped and cooled, layer the salad in the jar.

Carrots

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Maple-Tahini Dressing

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Quinoa and Sweet potato

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Lettuce

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  1. Store in refrigerator until ready to eat!

Recipe Inspired by Topwithcinnamon.com

Answers to my IT band issue: FINALLY

In case you missed my honest and borderline over-sharing post on where I am with my IT band, basically, I’ve been dealing with IT band syndrome since October. Not.fun.

I felt I had tried everything, and in the words of Lauren Fleshman, The IT band has hit rock bottom.

Here’s a rundown of what I’ve done thus far:

  • Completely rested for 4 weeks
  • Rehabbed with hip/core Physical therapy exercises
  • Tried ART therapy
  • Tried Graston Technique
  • Got a Cortisone injection
  • Spent Hundreds of dollars on massages
  • Took Ibuprofen like it was my job (despite my aversion to NSAIDS)
  • Read Dozens of articles on how to fix it
  • Foam rolled like it’s my job

Do you get my point? Are you still reading? I have exhausted myself!

After all this, including my post a few weeks ago on “surrendering”, and accepting where I am right now, albeit still somewhat injured and just as confused as the doctors about my issue that doesn’t seem to line up with the typical IT band description most have, I believe I am FINALLY seeing a light at the end of the tunnel.

You see, my IT band has been so tricky. This entire time, it has never hurt while walking, it has never hurt while going down stairs, I never feel it on the bike, never feel it swimming, nothing hurts except when I am running, and I do not start feeling it until I’m 45 minutes into my run. It never hurts POST run! With that said, I’ve still been able to train at a lower intensity level.  I do need to make something clear: RUNNING THROUGH AN INJURY IS DUMB. We all know that. Don’t do it. I rested for a month, and resting, in this case, was not making it better. There have been other injuries I’ve had that resting was the most appropriate treatment plan.This was not the case with my IT band.

Moving on.

So, after telling these symptoms to all the professionals, one would assume eventually we’d figure out it has GOT to be my running form, right?! Well, it took 4 months and my dear friend Jeni, who isn’t even a physical therapist (yet! She’s almost finished with school 🙂 ) to hit the nail on the head.

A few days ago, I asked Jeni to film me running on the treadmill. She recently began analyzing running form, and while still in the learning phase, we both felt it would be good practice for her, and heck, maybe we’d learn something about my injury. Although I had already been filmed and analyzed a few times back in the fall, it wasn’t until this go around that we believe we finally learned the issue.  You see, before all this, my form looked “pretty good” according to the physical therapists and gait analyzers.

I want to show you the screen shots of the video to see if you find what Jeni found:

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Do you see it? Did you notice my “cross-over” gait on the second photo?

I could bore you with the latest medical journals saying people with cross-over gait are much more likely to experience IT band problems than those who don’t, but take it for what it’s worth. It exponentially increases your chance for IT band problems. Boom.

As we were figuring all this out, I was practically freaking out in my head.

No, literally. I was freaking out. DOES THIS MEAN I CAN FIX IT? TELL ME WHAT TO DOOOO!!!

So, what IS next?

I talked to my physical therapist I’ve been working with, showed him the film, and yep, he saw what Jeni saw, too. And agreed, this could definitely be the culprit.

Well, apparently fixing it is quite simple

A conscious effort to run “wider” rather than “narrow”, while being careful not to overdo it as you are stressing new areas of the body.

And obviously continuing with #allthegluteexercises , specifically, hip hikes:

Hip hikes for the win.

To say I’m excited and hopeful is an understatement. To say I’m sold would be a lie. I’m taking all this with a grain of salt. Maybe this isn’t the answer, and maybe I still am dealing with this in 3 months from now, but I sure as hell hope not.

Here’s to a celebration.

My husband left me a note on our bathroom mirror yesterday that said this:

“WELCOME BACK!”

I think we all can agree spouses of runners/endurance athletes should all be given a hug and a martini. They rock.

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Snow Day Survival: Day 2

Because we are all getting a little cabin feverish over here . . . So I actually ended up going into work yesterday, and the photo above is how I felt about it. This morning I woke up and my … Continue reading