The 6 week postpartum running update.

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.

First date night out! 5 day old baybay

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!

baby’s first visit to the track.

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!

6 weeks with this cute easter egg. 


She’s here! Part 2 of Emerson’s birth story.

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.

after the epidural. man i feel good.

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.

no pain…this is great!

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!  

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.”


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.


Part 2 will be the actual labor, how I managed it, and ultimately meeting my beautiful baby girl. Stay tuned!

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.


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.


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


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.



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.


Knoxville 10k.


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