June Recap

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In the spirit of doing one post a month….here’s my June recap.

In it, I’ll be talking about Coulee Cactus Relay, Ladiesfest 8km race, the kickoff to Berlin Marathon training, and what’s ahead!

Coulee Cactus Crawl

This event is run every June here in Lethbridge.  In 2013, I stupidly signed up to run it solo.  It is 35 km of coulee trail running and I was NOT prepared.  You can read about it here.  I had originally planned on going to watch Provincial Track & Field this year, but with bad weather in Red Deer (where it was hosted) being predicted, I decided to stay in town.  An acquaintance had mentioned a week before that they needed a fifth relay member to their team.   I reached out to her on social media to see if I could fill the spot…with the small…small….stipulation that I had a very small person who would need to be taken care of while I ran my leg (Andy).  I felt find in asking this because this acquaintance is the daughter of someone I taught with the past years at WCHS.  I asked if she could check with her mom if she wanted to play “Grandma” that day and the answer was YES! I was in!

This WAS SO MUCH FUN!  I was on a team with Emily, her boyfriend, her brother, and a friend of theirs.  Emily’s mom was there to help with Andy as we went from the different relay transition stages.  I was leg 2 of the race, and it was a shorter segment (5.75 km) so when I set off on my portion I was right in the midst of runners.  People could run solo or on a team, so early on many runners are closer together.  Knowing I only had to do less than 6km of the race versus a full 35km was incredible.  While I don’t train on the trails in Lethbridge, I felt comfortable on my leg of the race because 1.) I had been on portions of it before 2.) It would only be around 5.75 km long 3.) I was an early leg in the relay so we would still be right in the thick of things and surrounded by other runners.

The race weather was beautiful-full sun but a cool breeze.  We saw Evan off for the start of the race and headed to the transition area.  As we started seeing runners coming in I did start to get nervous.  I wanted to make sure I delivered!  We didn’t have to wait too long before seeing heaven making his way on the ridge of the coulee.  I got the timing band from him and off I went.  Since I knew I only had less than 6 km to run, I knew I could really try and push it.  My splits were 8:03, 9:25, 9:15, for the first three miles and then the last 0.84 was 9:47.  That last section included the lovely “Puke Hill.”  As I came in to the transition area and passed the band off to Wes, I immediately heard Andy WAIL!  I found out here had been so good the whole time waiting for me, but it was just at that moment that he lost his mind.

We had so much fun watching all the runners and making our way to the different transition areas.  Andy was really good too!  When we finished, Andy was even sound asleep in his stroller.  We were definitely one of the earlier teams to finish, but weren’t really sure of our standings until awards.  We found out we placed 3rd in the mixed team division under 40!  Our time was 3 hours and 22 minutes.  We all earned a nice handmade medal.  And all while waiting for the awards, we were able to sit in the picnic area at the Elks Compound and have Theoretically Brewing beer and tacos from Taco Time.  I seriously went home and told Dan that this was one of the best days EVER….running, time with Andy, time with friends, sun, beer, and food.

Ladiesfest

This was the second time I’ve done this women’s only race, with the first time being last year while I was pregnant (Ran a 43:54).  So, I pretty much knew I would get a personal best (barring an all out disaster!)  I got pretty nervous at the start of the race simply because of the sheer numbers of women in this event.  I do a lot of races in town, and there are never this many women!  Turns out there were 730 women in this race today!  I knew who I wanted to stay near while racing, so I headed out strong going down Wendy’s Hill with my mind focused on just doing the best I could.

Miles 1 & 2 went really well, but mile 3 was a struggle.  It got better at the turnaround while we were heading back to Whoop Up, because then we ran past all the other women behind us.  I saw lots of people I knew, got high fives, and most importantly, some motivation!  I pushed up Whoop Up Drive and was able to move up a placement overall as we did the final climb up.  I finished in a time of 36:46, which was actually 2:30 minutes behind 1st overall and then 1:30 minutes behind 2nd and 3rd overall.  I placed 4th overall!  My splits were 5:59, 7:08, 7:27, 7:19, 8:52.  It was a great feeling finishing this high on the leaderboard all while being about 7.5 months postpartum.  I also walked away with a handmade mug for placing 1st in my age group (1/117).

Berlin Training

I really have been meaning to do a full post on this, as it’s a very big deal!  We are just a few short months from the Berlin Marathon in Germany!  Dan and I had our kickoff party at Runners Soul a few weeks ago and got to meet everyone in town who is travelling out there.  I believe there are 17 runners in the group.

There are weekly long runs on Saturday morning that we can take part in.  We had our first one last weekend.  At just 10 miles, it isn’t that long of a run.  But, we now have a new challenge to these runs-the stroller.  Since Dan and I want to do the long runs together, we need to bring Andy with us along for the ride.  Literally.  We each took turns pushing him for about 2 miles at a time before switching.  It was a great training run, as we ran the 10 miles in a time of 1:25.44 with an average pace of 8:34 per mile.  I am really hoping that all this stroller training pays off when race day comes, as it definitely makes it a tougher workout!

What’s Next

Training for Berlin is the main focus this summer, and I am using my old Vancouver training plan.  It’s hard to find longer distance races during the summertime, but I did find two short races to do while I am home in Wisconsin.  Dan and I will be doing the Firecracker 4 on July 4th, which is a 4 mile race.  I am also doing the Storm the Bastille 5km event near the end of my trip, which is a night race in downtown Milwaukee.

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May Days

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Having a kid puts a damper on being up-to-date on my blog posts.  So, since I did three races in May (a trifecta!  5km, 10km and a half marathon) and haven’t written about any of them, I am going to do a post on all three.  This may become a new way of doing things…!?!

3rd Annual Lakeview Superhero Run 5km

I have actually done this race all three years and this was my fastest one yet!  This race is always a Wednesday evening, and the past two years it was hectic getting there because I would have been working during the day.  This year it was even worse because I was trying to deal with stuff at home with Andy before Dan came back from work and  then I had to rush over to the race start.  After parking I got to the start area with less than 10 minutes before the beginning of the race.  Close call.

The weather had been gross all day long and thankfully it cleared up in the evening.  While I would not have minded some rain while running, this is a 2km and 5km race geared towards children and I know they would have been miserable had it been raining.  The 5km runners started first, and the 2km would begin shortly after.  It’s a quick loop from Lakeview School down the green strip towards Bullys, then around the east end of Henderson Lake and back.  I don’t know my splits, because in the rush around the house before heading here I realized my watch wasn’t charged.  Rookie mistake.  But I do know that I finished in a time of 21:57!  I am super proud of this as last year I ran a 25:57(albeit I was 15 weeks pregnant or so) but back in 2016 I ran a 22:16…I beat that!  This sub 22 time that I ran was my goal for my July race in Wisconsin, so now my goal for that 5km will be to beat this time!

20th Anniversary of Woody’s RV World Half Marathon in Red Deer

Dan and I often go and do this race because his family lives in Red Deer.  This would be my 6th time running this half marathon. More notably this would be Dan’s first full marathon!

The weather was the best I’ve ever experienced for this race.  The race starts and finishes right near Dan’s old high school.  I had originally made a lofty goal of running a 1:40 for this race.  When I started, I had some trouble with my legs.  They just felt heavy.  I really thought that I would be able to shake that feeling after a mile or so, but the heaviness and tightness persisted.  I ended up getting pretty frustrated at the 10km mark, but after I hit 9 miles I had a second wind so to speak.  My last four miles were very consistent and back to where they should have been all along.  Here are my splits:

7:26, 7:45, 7:46, 7:48, 7:50, 8:12, 7:54, 7:45, 8:09, 7:51, 7:50, 7:52, 7:53

My final time was a 1:42.28.  So, not in the 1:40 range like I was hoping but still pretty good.  I hope to get down into that 1:40 range or lower by the Lethbridge Police Half this fall.

6th Annual Fort Mcleod Willow Creek Wilderness Walk & Run 10km

The weekend after Red Deer was this little trail race.  My friend Angela and I headed out to Fort Mcleod in the morning.  She would be doing the 5km while I ran the 10km.  While it was advertised as a “Wilderness Walk & Run” I guess I didn’t really take into consideration that this would be a trail race, and not on paved paths.  Surprise surprise!

I would say about 90% of the route was either on gravel, pebbles, mud, dirt, or grass.  I was the leader of the 10km for the first two or three miles, which was col, but very mentally challenging.  With no lead bicyclist, I was starting to lose focus and drive to stay at my normal 10km pace.  My feet just kept sinking into the stones and I felt my pace getting slower and slower.

One guy did pass me and he stayed ahead of me for the duration of the event.  But having him in front of me helped me push a little more and get back on track.  Given the terrain of the race (and my loss of focus) my splits were all over the place.  (6:43, 7:36, 7:53, 8:05, 7:57, 7:46)  I was happy to see myself get my last mile back down a bit.  In hindsight, I probably went out too fast and had I known what the terrain would be like maybe I would have been a little less ambitious to begin.  My final time was 47:48, which was good enough for 2nd overall and 1st place female.  I got a sweet handmade ceramic mug as my prize!

So that was May!  It is already the first weekend in June, and originally I thought I only had one event this month.  But yesterday I joined a relay team for a local trail race last minute.  So who knows what else I’ll decide to do last minute….

Star Wars Half Marathon Recap

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In my final post regarding the Star Wars Race Weekend, I will finally talk about the Half Marathon.  In case you aren’t familiar with the RunDisney race weekends, they have all sort of evolved to having a “Challenge” option.  With exception to Marathon Weekend in January, every other race weekend has an option to sign up for both the 10km on Saturday and the Half Marathon on Sunday. (Marathon Weekend goes one step further and has the Dopey Challenge where you do the 5km, 10km, half and full….I did this in 2014 and that was my driving force for fundraising in memory of my late father)

Dan and I were both signed up for the Dark Order Challenge, so in addition to the 10km we completed on Saturday we would be running in a half marathon on Sunday.  We went to bed at a reasonable time Saturday night and then participated in a Groundhog Day style moment Sunday moment where I got up at 2:30 am to pump and we got ready and headed to the transportation to race start.

I did want to make sure we got closer to the front of our corral than we were for the 10km, so that meant we weren’t going to waste time wandering slowly in the open areas.  We walked all the way to the back portion of the staging area to use the farthest porta potties and then went to the holding pen for Corral A.  They eventually moved Corral A into the starting gate and we were only a few rows back from the very front.  Nice!

Waiting around is kind of boring at any race, so at least at a Disney race they have announcers, video footage, and characters to help pass the time.  Again, I am not a Star Wars fan.  I am not against it, or hate it, I just don’t know anything about it.  What I learned while standing there watching different trailers for new movies and highlights from old movies is that 1.) Good guys have blue and green light sabres and 2.) bad guys have red light sabres.   Am I right?

Onto the race….

I knew this would be interesting because this would be the first Disney race challenge that I would try and ‘race’ back-to-back events.  I usually will race one of them, and take the other easy.  For instance, in 2015 I raced the Disneyland 10km and then for the half marathon I ran with Ali pacing her to a personal best.  Really, that’s the smart thing to do.  But I wanted to push.  Dan agreed to run along with me this race so at least I’d have him by my side.  Race started and off we went!

I knew the first miles of the course were technically just like the portion of the full marathon from after the monorail hotels.  But this would be different because at 5:30 am it would still be dark.  I was nervous it would be as boring as the previous days’ 10km, but both Dan and I were pleased the the first couple miles that were heavily tree-lined also had lots of lights, music, sound effects and photo stops on the side.  We weren’t stopping for any photos but it is still nice to see these up ahead and to look at them as you run by.

By the time we got to Animal Kingdom, we were getting warm.  The humidity was bothering me more today than Saturday, and I am not sure if it was more humid even or if it was just the fact that I knew I had more miles ahead of me than I did the day prior.  I tried not to think about it when we ran through Animal Kingdom, and I actually forgot about it briefly when Dan and I had some man draft behind us for about a mile who had the most annoying breathing pattern.  I kept trying to speed up to lose him but he kept creeping behind us and right between us.  GO AWAY!!!!  I eventually slowed a tad just to let this guy through because I was ready to lose my shit.  This was at about the time we were running through Pandora so I didn’t really get to take in all the scenery as I was just annoyed with this man. If anyone knows the man in the photo below between Dan and I, please let him know he should not sidle up to others. Thanks.

We made our way out of Animal Kingdom by way of Dinoland and hit an aid station.  Dan and I were so thirsty that we decided to powerwalk through the aid station to drink Powerade and dump water on ourselves.  Did I mention it was humid?  Shortly after this aid station we made a joint decision:  we would walk through every aid station and pound Powerade and dump water.  It would be needed for survival.  Ultimately, I am glad we did this even though I know our time was slower because of the walking.  But if we hadn’t, the final time may have been even worse because we would have been piles of crap.

Also as we left Animal Kingdom I did an unheard of thing for myself: I took my tanktop off and ran in my sports bra.  I may wear revealing bikinis on the beach, but when I work out or run or do yard work I do not like just being in a sports bra and shorts.  Just not my thing.  But again….the humidity was terrible.  Dan encouraged me to do this, as he had already taken his top off and felt better immediately after doing so.  I will admit it did feel great to get the top off.  I didn’t ditch the top, as it is one of my favorite LuluLemon tops, so I wrapped it around my water belt.

After making the decision to take it easy through the aid stations and shed my shirt, Dan and I both relaxed and had a lot of fun!  We still tried to keep up a good pace, but my legs were getting pretty tired, most likely due to the 10km from the previous day.  We were also getting hungry!  I think our early 5pm dinner the night before, the smaller breakfast that morning, and my pumping before the race all played into my hunger pains.  The Powerade provided some liquid calories and sugars to keep us ‘up’ and then when we got to the food station we both took two packs of the Sport Beans to eat.  We needed fuel bad!  Once we got to Hollywood Studios, however, I knew we could both muster the necessary energy needed in order to finish strong.

While we didn’t stop for any photo stops, we did get lots of great Photopass picutres taken of us.  During the food station I actually took some time to get my race bib off of my sweaty, wet tank top and put onto my water belt.  This was important because your race number IDs you for the photos!  Since my mom is an annual passmember she gets Photopass included and she could register our race bibs on her account.  So ‘free photos’ if you want to use that term loosely!

We finished the race with an official time of 1:50.35.  Dan’s time did not show up on RunDisney and I am thinking it is because he ruined the timing chip on his bib the night before.  After running the 10km, he took his shirt and wrung it out because it was soaked, completely crumpling his bib.  I pointed out he needed to use it the next day and the look on his face was so crushed.  Our splits were as follows (and for the record my watch recorded the distance to be 13.3 miles.  I glanced at my watch when it hit the 13.1 and the time was around 1:49.14)

I don’t know when the next RunDisney race weekend that we attend will be, but I know this won’t be the last!  We really did enjoy ourselves, from the well-planned out expo, to me running beyond my goal time in the 10km, to us running together as husband & wife in the half!  You don’t necessarily need to be a ‘fan’ of the race theme to have a great time at the race weekend!

Note: I have extra medals compared to Dan because I had registered for the Kessel Run Challenge in addition to the Dark Order Challenge.  This meant I did the Start Wars Virtual Half Marathon at home, earned that medal, PLUS the Kessel Run medal at the completion of this race.  RunDisney sure knows how to take my money….bling bling.

Star Wars 10km Recap

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When we planned our trip to Disney, I asked my husband if he wanted us to try and incorporate a race weekend into it. Since we both agreed that it would be fun to do a race weekend, (and more so since my mom would be there with us so she could watch Andy on race mornings) we went ahead and planned our trip around the Star Wars Half Marathon Weekend.

I am going out on a limb here and saying that this race weekend has some hardcore Star Wars fans. Sorry, but Dan and I aren’t. Well, Dan has seen all the movies and enjoys them. I will admit that I have only seen the third movie in the original instalment….yes, I suck. So with all that being said, our takeaways from the race weekend will be a little different than those of people who are hardcore Star Wars fans.

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We arrived to Disney on Thursday of race weekend. We headed over to the Expo at around 5pm that night. I am usually at Disney race expos right when they open at the morning, and the last time I went in the evening was Wine & Dine 2013. I need to give two huge thumbs up to what I view as positive changes at the Disney Expo. The official Run Disney merchandise is no longer in the main exhibition hall. They have it in a separate field house. The last few years the lines to get into the exhibition field house were CRAZY and it was all because of the official merchandise. Now, we weren’t at the Expo first thing so I am not sure how crazy the lines were in the morning. But Dan and I were able to casually walk in and look at merchandise without having to wait. I hope they keep it like this!

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Now onto race morning! RunDisney events are still very early and that poses a challenge in itself. My alarm went off at 2:30 am…gross. I had it this early so I could pump before we headed out. I woke Dan up at 3:20 am, and we were out the hotel door by 3:45 am. Getting on the provided transport to the start area was a breeze and we were dropped off shortly after 4.

This was the first RunDisney event I’ve done where we start at the Ticket & Transportation Center parking lot. A major pro in this start area is that you do not have an epic journey to the corrals like you do when it starts at EPCOT. There are also TONS of porta potties.  We made our way into the corral at what I thought was a decent enough time ahead of the start (30 minutes) but we were kind of stuck in the middle of the pack.  The corrals for the 10km are a bit frustrating because if you are a runner doing just the 10km, you don’t need a proof of time submitted.  You just submit an estimated pace per mile and your are assigned a corral that way.  So there are presumably some runners in the corral who should probably not be in corral A.  I made Dan hold my hand as I weaved our way up towards the from 1/3 of people.  I gave up trying to get closer to the front at that point.

Race started at 5:30 am.  Dan and I were both going to race it the best we could, and not necessarily stay together.  Had to do some careful zigzagging the first 400 metres or so to get around people who didn’t really properly self-seed themselves.  But then we were good.  Dan was ahead of me to start and I just tried to hold my own.  My goal going into this race was to run in the 45 minute range.  I set this goal back in January when I made running goals for the year.  I wasn’t really sure if this was too lofty of a goal being that I ran a 47:13 in mid March at Moonlight Run 10km. But I figured I would just push it and see what happened.

I will say this about the race; the first 5km was so boring.  Once we go away from the Ticket & Transportation Centre (which was by half a mile) we were just on a boring straight away of darkness.  There was really nothing to see and no entertainment around.  I then just had to focus on every female runner that was ahead of me and kept my mind thinking about catching each one.  This gave me something to think about while running, because otherwise there was absolutely nothing to see.

The humidity was bothering me a bit, but I made sure to grab water at the water stations and dump it over my head.  It wasn’t that ‘hot’ outside, but I was getting sweaty very easily so I knew I needed this water dumping to cool off and keep myself sane.  It wasn’t until mile 4 that we actually got to some scenery.  This is when we entered Disney’s Hollywood Studios.

At this point in a 10km I usually struggle a bit.  Normally I struggle because I may have pushed my first mile way too fast and I’m now suffering because of it.  While my first mile was fast at a 6:47, it wasn’t ridiculous and in the low 6:00 range.  I’ve done that many times before and then my legs are just beat by mile 4 and 5.  By the time I got to mile 4, my first four splits were 6:47, 7:03, 7:14, and 7:08.  I had actually picked up a bit in mile 4!

I had a lot of fun from mile 4 until the finish.  Since we were now inside the parks and hotel areas, there were lots of photographers.  As hot and sticky as I was, I still managed to smile and wave whenever I saw a photographer.  I was being competitive in the race but also trying to stay light hearted and have fun.  It was somewhere between mile 5 and 6 that I saw Dan.  I could tell the humidity was getting to him.  I caught up to him and hoped that it would keep pushing him and that we’d finish together.  Spoiler: we didn’t, as I did stay ahead of him during this race.  But during the half, we ran together and if we hadn’t I think he definitely would have finished before me (more on that in my next post).  I ran mile 5 and 6 in 7:14 and 7:25, respectively.

When I crossed the finish line, my official time was a 44:58!!!  HOLY SHIT! I not only achieved my goal but surpassed it!  The distance on my watch read 6.30 miles, which is common in a race like this due to crowds and weaving in extra distance.  I was so excited with my time and I hung past the finish line for a few seconds to wait for Dan to cross so I could tell him.

By the time we walked through the post race area and got on the bus back to the hotel, unofficial results were coming in on the RunDisney result page.  While I was hoping for an age group award, what I came to find out was that I was one of the top 10 female finishers.  I did not see that coming!  After all was said and done, I was the 10th female finisher in the race, out of 6005 women!  Keep in mind, a lot of people do RunDisney races for different reasons.  Many people are doing them as their first race, and because of the required race pace many people will walk.  But regardless, I was ecstatic!  I did get my age group award I was hoping for, placing 2nd out of 940 in the 30-34 female division.  RunDisney will mail the awards in the next coming weeks so I look forward to receiving it.  The icing on the cake for this race was that Dan and I were back to our hotel by before 7 am and Andy and my mom had not woken up yet!  Time to wake them up and start our Saturday!

Andy’s 1st Vacation

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Call us crazy, but the first vacation we took our son on was to Walt Disney World. And if you want to call us crazy, just keep it to yourself. You see, I know that Andy won’t remember anything from this trip. After all, Andy turned 6 months the day we left on the vacation. But Walt Disney World is a place I feel very comfortable in travelling to. This blog started as one about “Walt Disney, Running and my Dad.” Those three things all tied together for this “first vacation” as we we brought Andy, who was named after my late father, to Disney World…Dan and I ran in the Star Wars First Order 10km & Half Marathon Challenge…and on the day we left it was 14 years since my father passed away. So to go to Disney with baby Andy and run a 10km and half marathon one day after another while surrounded by the memories of the trips my family made together in the past makes sense!

Is traveling to Disney World with a 6 month old for everyone? Probably not. Like I said above, I have been to Disney a lot. I could take the time to count the individual trips but I believe I am now over 20. I am familiar with the resort enough that I figured it would help ease the stress of travelling with an infant.

And trust me…it did.

The first airplane ride was going to be a challenge no matter wheee we were going. I booked the tickets before Andy was born, and in my head I figured a red eye would be ok because “he would sleep.” Well. He maybe would have slept better if Dan and I hadn’t tried to stick to our “plan” so much. We assumed that having him in the Ergo chest carrier would be just fine while we flew. But really, he got too warm and was PISSED. He did better the second portion of the trip after our connection because we just swaddled him in his blanket and laid him across us. So rule #1-don’t stick to what you think will work best, because ultimately the baby will tell you what does!

One thing I was anxious about in the general travelling issues with this trip was travelling with breast milk. I was bringing about 2L of frozen milk in a soft sided carrier (Dan’s personal item for onboard) and then a few bottles of fresh milk. We had no issues going through security and customs. So easy!

Pumping while flying is a different story. I had originally wanted to keep my fresh supply the same as normal, but after the terrible red eye flight I was so tired and worn out. I had thought I would pump in the Priority Pass lounge in Toronto but I forgot to pack my ID card and couldn’t remember my log in information on the app. So I pumped in some sketchy corner of the airport. Instead of worrying about pumping at the airport in those conditions, I should have just breastfed. I’m not 100% confident in my breastfeeding abilities, which is why I stray away from it, and I don’t like not knowing how much he intakes during a session. But doing this on the flight did help calm him down and also made it easier than dealing with pump parts. If you are a breastfeeding mama who does give the baby a bottle with expressed milk, I strongly encourage bringing frozen milk on a trip because once we arrive to our resort I stored the milk in the fridge. The frozen milk was thawed slowly and used within two days. This gave me time to build back my fresh supply from pumping. It also allowed us to be relaxed on the trip and not have our plans dictated by a pumping schedule.

Going to the Disney parks with Andy was definitely different than any of my previous trips where I’d gone with family or friends. I knew that we’d have to definitely do it in pieces with an afternoon break. As the trip progressed we really did listen to Andy on when it was time to go home. For instance, our second Magic Kingdom day we had a Splash Mountain fastpass after lunch. Andy was getting tired, and if we did the fastpass we would probably be adding on another hour to our day before getting to hotel. While Andy did fall asleep in the stroller or chest carrier on this trip his naps in those positions weren’t of high quality. Getting him back to the hotel for a proper nap was key. It also allowed us to enjoy the evening more. What worked for us-we’d get back to the hotel for his nap. I would pump and dan would get him settled. Dan would take a nap too and I’d go to the pool. We could usually count on 2 hours of a nap for him in the pack and play, so he’d be ready to go for a short evening at EPCOT then!

Andy did a handful of rides: at Magic Kingdom he did People Mover, Dumbo, Small World (ate a bottle during 3/4 of it), Peter Pans Flight (asleep in chest carrier the whole time), Voyage of the Little Mermaid and saw Mickey Mouse at Town Square Theatre (unimpressed but good). At EPCOT he did Nemo (just wanted to stand up the whole time), saw fish at Living Seas (was wide eyed), Gran Fiesta Tour Boat Ride in Mexico (loved it and did great) and Frozen in Norway….whoops, sorry Andy for scarring you for life! He was getting tired during our fastpass time but I strapped him to my chest and we road anyway. What the picture doesn’t show is that he is wailing so loud as we go down that little hill. It was too loud and too much for him. He screamed as Elsa sang “LET IT GO!”

At Hollywood Studios the only thing he did was get pictures with Minnie & Mickey. And at Animal Kingdom he road Kilimanjaro Safaris and went on the Pangani Forest Trail. Andy is happiest in the morning so we made sure to do the safaris first thing. I was nervous since it’s a 20 minute ride, but I had him in the chest carrier looking out and when he started to fuss we distracted him by giving him solid food (those dissolvable crackers for babies). Worked so well! One of the moms in my Mommy Connections class suggested those so I’m glad we bought them before the trip.

If you go to Disney and want to do the rides, using Baby Swap/Rider Switch is a must. I knew it existed, but did not really understand how to best utilize it. A friend and her husband explained it to me a few days before leaving and it was well worth using! You could also plan fastpasses a bit better if you wanted to try to do more rides and do rider switch, but we just stuck with our original plans. The key component is that rider switch is good for up to three guests. If you have a fastpass, your whole party & Baby go to fastpass area to check in. (They need to see you actually have a baby!!!). The ones who want to ride first go through. Since Dan and I would ride together first we scanned our fastpasses. Grandma waited with Andy. We receive a ticket (like the old paper fastpasses) to use at any time during the day. We always had Grandma ride it right away after we were done, but you could leave the attraction and go back to it later if you’d like. The awesome thing is that 1.) either Dan or I could ride again with my mom when she went and the other person stayed with Andy 2) my mom did not need a fastpass booked for this ride. Just return to fastpass queue with rider switch and they let you through. This could be extremely beneficial in trying to get difficult fastpass rides like Flight of Passage. You can basically use rider switch/baby swap on any ride in Disney that your baby would not be able to ride with you. If you have more rider switch questions, feel free to message me and I can try to help or direct you to someone who can explain better.

Dining with Andy went pretty well. We had one reservation a day. Some meals he slept. Some meals he was awake. Some meals he lost him mind. Just have food for baby and a sense of humour if you are bringing to meals at Disney. And really, having a baby crying at a dining reservation in Disney is the best place for it to happen! There are toddlers having tantrums and grumpy adults all around…a cute 6 month old with tears isn’t too bad. One thing we did change part way into our trip was our final dinner time. We had a 7:45 pm reservation, but Andy had been falling asleep at night by 7:30-8:30 pm. Changed it to 5:15 pm. Smartest move ever.

I could talk more about this trip, and I will in two other posts. Those posts will be recaps on the 10km and half marathon. But to end this post, taking Andy to Disney at 6 months worked for our family. Having my mom down there with us in a connecting room was a HUGE part to why the trip was a success and generally went smoothly. If it was just Dan and I down there with him I am not sure we would have enjoyed it as much. I know not everyone has that luxury to have a grandparent travel with them on vacation to help (she watched him in the mornings we did the races and on Sunday night when we went out) and we won’t have her on other family vacations. But for our first trip it helped tons! It was awesome seeing my mom spend time with Andy and getting him to giggle and smile. The pictures we have from this trip will be something we cherish.

10 Mile Road Race Recap 2018

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While the 10 Mile Road Race was held on Saturday, April 7th, it actually felt like Saturday, January 2893821th.  This winter has SUCKED. SUCKED!!!  Seriously, our son was born October 19th and he’s been cold ever since.  Our trip to Disney World can’t come soon enough!  But, back to the race.

Yes, it was cold.  In the morning I checked the temperature and it was 7 degrees Fahrenheit.  Ha ha ha.  But, there was no wind.  There was sun.  And there was no new snowfall.  All those things could have gone the other way and it would have been just awful.  So since our bodies have just gotten used to this perpetual winter, race morning actually didn’t feel too bad.

The cold winter was definitely the reason the participant numbers were down.  At least, that’s my assumption.  All winter has been snowy, cold and ugly so unless you’re a nut job like me….you probably haven’t been running much.  This race is actually called the 10/4 Road Race…there is a 10 mile distance and a 4 mile distance.  Last year when I was pregnant, I did the 4 mile distance because I had not announced my pregnancy yet.  I figured doing the shorter distance would trick people, I don’t know.  Last year, there were 155 participants in the 4 mile distance.  This year there were only 89.  And in the 10 mile distance, there were only 38 runners this year compared to last year’s 92.  With a much smaller field, it was hard to stay fired up during the race (especially once we got spread out in the river bottom).

I had set a goal to run a sub 1 hour 20 minute race.  This equates to an 8 minute/mile pace, which is essentially my ‘goal’ marathon pace (or at least it was when I qualified for Vancouver in 2015).  I also figured this was reasonable given my previous attempts at this race, but also a little ambitious keeping in mind I would be 5.5 months postpartum.

I had done the 10 mile distance at this race three other times.  My race times were:

1:23.14 in 2013

1:14.49 in 2014

1:12.59 in 2016

The race is out and back from Lethbridge College.  You follow Scenic Drive and head north.  Once you get to Lynx Trail by the pedestrian crossing you head down to the river bottom.  You follow the trail adjacent to the river and wind over to the bridge.  You hit the turnaround before crossing Indian Battle Road.

The racers get spread out pretty quickly, and this year it felt even more spread out with so few runners.  By the time we were heading down Lynx I could barely make out the two females who were ahead of me.  When you get into the river bottom, all the winding messes with your head and you can’t see anyone in front of you.  That is where my splits started to slow and get above 8 minutes.  The turnaround itself helped boost my morale because I was able to see how close I actually was to the ladies in front of me (and the ones behind).  I knew I needed to push.

Running back up Lynx is never fun.  Usually, I do quite well on this hill in this very race.  But I am still not back to where I was at before Andy, so I still need to get some more hill training in.  I did not walk at all up the hill, but I definitely was going slow!  Once I got to the top of the hill my vantage point of the runners directly ahead of me was much better than when we were in the river bottom.  I could see there were some runners I could hopefully catch, and maybe even move up in the female placing!

I actually caught up to one of my grade 10 students on the hill.  He was walking some segments of it, and when I caught him on Scenic I started giving him a hard time (he’s a kid I know I could without hurting his ego).  I said “You know, I was pregnant 6 months ago….are you going to let me pass you?”  He laughed and that was enough to get him moving again.  We ran the last two miles together and honestly it helped push me a ton!  I like to think that I helped push him too!  Yes, he did beat me down the final stretch (he runs 400m and 800m in track and once we had only 800m left I told him he had to just gun it) but running with him in the last bit helped me pass a few other runners and also brought me into 2nd position for women!  I finished the race 10th overall out of 38.  I was 2nd out of 16 females and then 2nd in my age group of 30-39 year olds (only 5 of us in the division).  My (rounded) splits were as follows:

7:24 (starting off a little too excited), 7:58, 7:44, 7:44, 8:02, 8:05, 9:18 (up Lynx!), 8:35, 8:10, 7:42 (nice final mile!)

Did I break 1 hour 20 minutes?  No….but I got damn close! My final time was 1:20.39.  Given the cold conditions, I’ll take it!  Also, a shoutout to my husband who ran his third 10 Mile Road Race.  He finished 5th overall with a time of 1:15.44.  And as much as he claims he doesn’t care about “the bling” he appeared actually upset that he didn’t place in his age group during awards (The top three finishers were all males in 30-39).  So he got 4th in his tough age group!

As long as I am in town, I will always do this event!  It is a well organized race and I get to see lots of people I know at it.  Hopefully next year we have a better winter and this race is actually a Spring event!

Moonlight Run 10km 2018

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The annual Moonlight Run in Lethbridge was held on St. Patrick’s Day—March 17th, 2018.  This would be my 7th time participating in the event, having done 5 previous 10km distances and one 6km distance.  I have talked about this race at length in the past few years, so I won’t be going into as much detail about the event itself, but I do want to touch on the things that made it ‘unique’ this year…specifically 1) the weather 2) my postpartum race experience.

I’ll be doing a general recap of the race first, and then at the end I will touch on some specific things that came up as being a postpartum runner.  So if you don’t care about one of those things, skip to where you want to read and ignore the other!

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To put it frankly, this winter has been ugly.  We got our first snowfall on the night of October 1st, and I remember this because this was the day of my birthday and baby shower.   Just when you think winter is over, another dumping of snow comes….more ice, melting, snow, ice melting, grass, snow, snow..,..it hasn’t let up.  It has been nasty and cold.  And in the last week or more we got some bad drifting.  Well, everything started melting….and the river valley was so ugly that the organizers for Moonlight Run had to make some adjustments to the course route (more on that in a bit).  I went down the day before the race to check on one of the main paths….and the picture above shows the straightaway between Helen Schuler Nature Centre and Tollestrup.  When I took the photo Friday afternoon, I considered this to be great conditions…I knew what I had looked like at Marathon Club the week before!  By race night, it was even better.  Sure there was still spots with thick chunks of ice and a puddle here and there, but considering what our winter had been like, this was heaven.

Given the weather, I am not sure how many people really thought they would be setting personal bests at Moonlight.  Training this winter has been tough.  But, Dan and I both went into the race knowing we wanted to give it our best.  Dan has actually been legitimately training, running three times a week.  And I wanted to see what I could power out as my first big race since having Andy.  However, we obviously weren’t taking ourselves too seriously as we went to Sister’s Pub at 7pm the night of the race to share a beer….race started at 8 pm….

I knew I wanted to just try and power as much as I could during the race to really see what my body could handle at this point being 5 months postpartum.  Dan wanted to see if all his training really has made a difference.  When the race started, we both positioned our selves very near the front of the pack so we could have our space once the horn sounded.  Dan was immediately in front of me and it stayed that way the whole race (this would be the first race Dan beat his non-pregnant wife…him beating me while I was pregnant doesn’t count!)  The first mile of Moonlight is always great as we get to pass the bagpipe troupe and the Japanese drummers.  And it’s a fast mile as you are flying down 3rd ave to the river bottom, lovingly called the Wendy’s Hill (Wendy’s is at the top).  You can see in my splits later how fast that first mile went!

With the course adjustments due to the frozen and wet river bottom, we turned south on Indian Battle Road and headed on the asphalt to the water treatment plant.  We turned around there heading back on the same road, and once we got to the base of the hill we continued on Indian Battle Road to Helen Schuler Nature Centre, down the path to Highway 3, past the smell of the sewage plant, and turned around at Tollestrup.  This route was AWESOME as with the weather and conditions, if we had been on the normal route we would have encountered some very dangerous icy spots. With headlamps, road lights, volunteer flashlights and the bright moonlit sky I felt very safe and not concerned about falling and hurting myself.  Another change was that all the runners, both 6km and 10km, went back up the same hill to get to 3rd ave.  In previous years the 10km runners would head up on the adjacent trail (I found this part very mentally challenging).

While I did not stop to walk at all on the hill up, it was tougher than years’ past.  Obviously because I have just been getting back into hill work!  I made it up with help from the cheers of friends I passed who were spectating, and I pushed the final stretch back to the finish.  My best Moonlight Run 10km time is from 2015 (the year I qualified for Boston) and I ran a 43:47.  This year I finished with a 47:13.  I had not advertised to friends or family what my goal time for this race was, but I had written it down (along with my other goal times for races this year).  I had written a goal of 46-48 minutes for Moonlight.  So, falling right in the middle of that range is perfect and I am proud!  I am also extremely proud of my husband Dan, who did in fact run a personal best 10km with a time of 44:40.  Yes, he beat his wife….but I still have the best 10km time between the two of us (41:30 from 2015).

We were able to stick around for awards, as our friends were watching Andy while we attended the event.  Both Dan & I received age group awards.  Dan earned 2nd in the 30-34 male age group, where he placed 2/24.  He was 23/189 for men and 25/377 overall.  I snagged 3rd in the 30-34 female age group, placing 3/28.  I was 11/188 for women and 45/377 overall.  The pictures below show us before the race, the start/finish area, and us after the race together and with our friends Bob & Christine.

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So that was the race.  I felt pretty good during it, and after as we waited for awards I kept moving about so I didn’t tighten up.  I felt like it was a success and my body had held up.   Now, onto the postpartum issues.  So if you don’t care about this, stop reading now.

This isn’t actually a ‘gross’ issue that occurred, and it wasn’t something I really wasn’t preparing for.  Hopefully is there are other postpartum runners out there this can help them.  We left the race at around 10:15 pm and went to pickup Andy.  When we got home around 11pm, I sat down to pump (I am an exclusive pumper by choice).  I pumped for close to 30 minutes and got 275 ml—this is more than one regular sized Medela bottle.  Well, I had earned a post race beer by now so I went to grab one and go take a shower.  I immediately started having blurred vision and couldn’t really see clear out of my peripherals.  Ok, I must still be hyped from the race.  Got my contacts out, washed my face and jump in the hot shower.  When I was done with the shower my vision was still fucked.  I was feeling dizzy.  I went to the kitchen to get some food thinking maybe I din’t eat enough.  Strawberries….maybe my blood sugar was low?  I ate a couple handfuls and that seemed to help the vision.  But my head was starting to hurt.  I started pounding water.  I think it was too little too late.

While I had paid attention  to really hydrating myself during the daytime, I stopped my water intake about 2 hours prior to race start because to be honest, I was nervous about having to go to the bathroom while running.  And after the race, sure I had a bit of water (about as much as I would normally have after a race) but I didn’t take into account one major new issue—-I am now a milk truck.

The evening pumping session where I did not consume water did me in.  I was dehydrated.  And it hit hard.  I went to bed quickly and had water bedside.  When I got up with Andy in the middle of the night my headache was verging on migraine.  I drank more water and pumped again.  By morning, I needed Dan to get up with Andy at 7 while I slept another two hours.  My head was in so much pain.

I eventually got it under control by noon.  But, I learned one major lesson—I need to be drinking tons of water not only before the race, but after and ESPECIALLY during my next couple pumping sessions post race.  I had had the headache issue occur when I was running while pregnant, because I just simply wasn’t drinking enough water to adequately hydrate my body that was working overtime.  Even though I am no longer pregnant, my hormones are still in overdrive since I pumping about 6 times a day to feed our child.  And while I do pay attention to my water intake during a normal day, race days are different.

I am glad that this ‘problem’ occurred this race though.  It was better for me to realize the potential issues during a local 10km than have it happen during a destination race.  When we go to Disney World in a month and run the Star Wars 10km & half marathon I need to be taking in tons of water, not only because of the reasons I have now realized but because it’s going to be humid as hell down there.  To feel miserable one morning post race in my own bed is one thing…I don’t want to feel miserable post race while on vacation!  So, any breastfeeding or pumping momma’s out there who do any strenuous exercise…please make sure you hydrate more than you normal would if you do something beyond your normal daily activity.  If you are going to feed your baby close to after a big workout or race, have a water bottle handy and rehydrate yourself as your feed your little one….you start to become immune to realizing how much liquid you’re expelling from your body every time you feed or pump….and it’s important to rehydrate yourself so you don’t ‘go to the darkside’.

 

January

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Well. You thought I sucked at blogging while pregnant…it’s even worse now that Andy has arrived! It’s not even just not having free continuous moments to sit and type, it’s actually more of “what do I blog about?”

When I started this blog in 2013, it was about running, Disney and my dad. I was raising money for American Heart Assoication and Heart & Stroke Fiundation in memory of my dad, and preparing for my big race in January 2014-The RunDisney Dopey Challenge.

Fast forward five years since starting this blog and now my husband and I have a 3.5 month old. So does that mean I need to turn this into a mommy blog? Thing is, I don’t know what to write about or share, or even if anyone wants to listen to my input on “mom stuff.” When I was pregnant, I was very happy I didn’t get much, of any, unsolicited advice. So I am not sure if anyone really wants to hear my “advice” on motherhood. But really, I know I had trouble with my first blog posts back in 2013. What do I talk about? If I talk about running, do I just blog about my training? Treat this like a journal? And I guess that’s what this blog has become. I journaled my way through my Disney race training and then onto my Boston Marathon qualifying attempts, including the failures. Then onto Boston itself. I reflected on past vacations with my family, memories with my dad, our trip to Quebec City in search of more information about his family history. Then onto my foot surgery, my miscarriage, my pregnancy, my running while pregnant. The blog started as one thing, and now it’s transformed into just everything that makes me “me.”

So, since January had no races to report on, I think I’m just going to talk about the month itself. I’ll break it into two parts. Part 1 will be “Mom Stuff” and Part 2 will be “Running & etc”. And in some cases, there’s two parts will overlap.

Part 1-Diapers and Feeding and Sleeping, oh my!

So in my attempt to talk about mom stuff, I figure I’ll touch on the big three. Starting with diapers, I am by no means an expert or trying to push an agenda, but we have opted to use cloth diapers with Andy. But there’s a catch—we are only using them about 65% of the time. At night, Andy wears disposables. We also use disposables when we travel away from home, and for instance, I plan on ordering diapers to get delivered to our hotel when we go to Walt Disney World (Garden Grocer for the win!). They serve their purpose at that time as he can go longer stretches between changes. But during the day and early evening he is rocking the cloth.

Love the Flip diaper covers!

I’ve actually had people use the term “brave” when they hear we are doing cloth. Ummmmm, that’s not a word that should be tossed around lightly. And really, cloth diapers aren’t that scary! We bought a bidet sprayer to attach to the toilet and we have our change table set up in the bathroom next to it. It make its super convenient when changing Andy as we can then just spray off the cloth inserts and then put them in the wet bag. We have a variety of cloth diapers that we got second hand from a friend, but we really like the Flip diaper covers with the inserts. As long as Andy doesn’t leak onto the outer cover, you can use the cover a few times before putting it in the wet bag. We end up doing the wash every three days or so, and no our washer isn’t getting ruined!

Food. It’s an interesting topic, as I have never talked about my boobs to my husband more than I have in the past 3.5 months. We are still breastfeeding, and I’d say that I’m pumping about 95% of the time. This month was a bit stressful though, because I came down with a little bit of a sickness. While I was still pumping, I started to get lazy about it….I was doing less pumping sessions per day and my daily output dipped a bit lower. We still had backup bottles in the fridge so there was no major worry. Until a Sunday rolled around and I pumped only around 600 ml. I freaked out.

After talking with my lactation consultant friend, we devised a plan to get those numbers back up. Basically, I couldn’t be lazy that week. I did about 7-8 sessions a day with the pump and slowly the daily amounts got back up. The bottle lineup in the fridge is starting to grow again. But, I do have to say that my husband kept me as calm as he could during this. He kept reminding me that worse comes to worse, we have a freezer stash to dip into. We did use about five bags of frozen milk, but there are still sixty or so left. And once I feel confident enough in the fridge bottles, I’ll try to add a bag a day back to the freezer. And he also stressed to me that if we have to supplement with formula, it’s not the end of the world.

The most important baby thing is own!

I think that’s the biggest mom thing I want to talk about—formula is perfectly fine! The baby is getting fed, that’s what matters. Yes, the research concludes breast milk is best. The benefits to baby are fantastic. But new moms need to do what works for them. Want to exclusively breastfeed? You go girl. Want to pump a lot? I got your back! Want to use formula, or maybe you have to use formula? Totally cool. No one should judge parents for what choice they make in feeding their babies.

Now on to sleep. I feel like the most common small talk people make with my husband and I is “are you getting enough sleep?” Short answer is “yes.” This is why I chose to predominantly pump, because Dan and I can alternate bottle feedings in the middle of the night. Huge advantage!

Andy has been sleeping longer stretches at night, but not necessarily consistently. His longest stretch was a six hour one from 10pm-4am. Awesome! But then the little stinker still reverts back to three hour stretches at times. Mostly though, when he wakes up in the middle of the night, he takes care of business with his bottle and then falls asleep rather quick.

Andy is currently sleeping in his pack and play bassinet attachment which is located on the main floor of our house. Our bedroom is six steps away, and we have an audio monitor plugged in so we can hear him if the door is shut. We moved him down here shortly after Christmas because we needed better sleep ourselves! Having him out of our room, but still close by, allows whoever isn’t up to feed him to keep sleeping. When he was in our room we found that whoever’s turn it was with him stayed up quite a bit longer, as we needed to take him out of the cradle, then down to the main floor. Feed, burp, change, rock to sleep, bring back in room to cradle….and then sometimes he’d fuss a bit more and that would just wake the other person up. We will eventually move him up to his nursery, but we are mainly waiting for him to have consistent long stretches of sleep at night. Hopefully when I write about a February recap I can say we are transitioning him up there!

Part 2-Getting my Groove Back

I did start my training back up once January hit. I knew my appendectomy had been healed, and I was ready to go. I made a reasonable training calendar (all the way through May) that includes my boot camp classes and running workouts. Marathon club would be starting part way into the month, so I would have my long run on the weekend to look forward to. I also made some goals; some to do with running times and some to do with weight.

I know losing weight after baby has to probably be one of the top concerns many women have. I’m trying to be reasonable about the process, and I also recognize that the number on the scale doesn’t fully represent where you are at. I have always felt like the number on the scale for me was higher than I believe I look. Maybe it’s partly to do with muscle mass, maybe a little to do with my short stature. Regardless, I would be using the scale just to monitor where I’m at but what I would care more about is how I am fitting into my clothes.

To give you an idea of where I was at before pregnancy, I was around 135 pounds in the summer of 2016. This was after my foot surgery. When I am hardcore into marathon training, like when I did Vancouver and Boston, I’m usually in the low 130s. On February 26th 2017, about a month and a half post miscarriage, I was 142 pounds. I wrote his down in a journal because this was when I had a positive pregnancy test! I also wrote that my goal after pregnancy was to get back under 140 pounds.

I’m on the right track. I gained about 30 pounds while pregnant with Andy. The last I weighed myself while pregnant was at my 37 week appointment and I was 170 pounds. Andy was born at 38 weeks. By December, I had gotten down to 147 pounds. But then my appendix surgery occurred. I was worried what that next month would look like.

On January 2nd, I weighed 147.3 pounds. Not bad considering 1.) I couldn’t work out in December and 2.) it was the holidays! I wrote down a plan for the next two months. I would start my exercise/training plan and not change anything with my diet. I hate dieting. It’s stupid and it’s stressful. I just wanted to see what I could do with exercise alone. So my goal is that by March 1st I get down to 140 pounds. On February 1st, I weighed myself and was 143.1 pounds—down four pounds! Three to go!

Dan already told me not to beat myself up over if I don’t get those last three pounds off this month. My body composition is going to be changing all month long. As I keep working out, I’ll gain more muscle mass back. This will weigh more. But at least I’m on the right track.

Running is taking time too. Yes, I am running and doing the distances. But my paces are way off from what they were pre pregnancy. My first race of 2018 is the Moonlight Run 10km on St. Patrick’s Day. I’ve set a goal time for between 46-48 minutes. I am not sure if that is too lofty or just right. Only time will tell.

Well. That’s it for now. Not sure if I’ll have anything exciting to write about this month, but I may do a post in regards to my running as we get into more challenging marathon club routes.

Final Thoughts on 2017

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To say that 2017 was a crazy year is an understatement.  I started the year off in Walt Disney World with my mom and best friend.  I was pregnant and participated in the Marathon Weekend events.  Then, shortly after coming home, I found out I miscarried.  An immense amount of anger took over me.  But things have a funny way of working out.  No less than 6 weeks after my D&C I discovered I was pregnant again.  We had many early ultrasounds and blood tests to confirm the pregnancy.  We went for the 1st trimester screening test and were able to see a clear image of our growing baby.  At 20 weeks we found out we were having a baby boy.

All during this time I continued to run, using it as a coping mechanism from when I first found out the bad news, and then as a stress reliever to help keep some normalcy in my life. How much did I run this year?  Not as many races as I had in years prior, but quite a few.  I did three 5km races, three 5km virtual races, one 6km, one 4 mile, one 8km, two 10kms, a half marathon relay, two half marathons and one full marathon.  I am most proud of the 10km I ran at 35 weeks pregnant, which I completed in 1:02.50!

It was shortly after that race that I found out I had pre-hypertension.  This was discovered at my 37 week appointment.  I was done with work immediately, and one week later I was induced and gave birth to our son, Andrew Allen Pottage.  Labour was the most pain I’ve ever been in.  It was worse than any race I ever competed in.  But making it to this finish line was oh so sweet.

I have now pretty much fully recovered from not only the pregnancy and delivery, but also from my surprise appendectomy that I had at the beginning of December.  Now that I am ready to take on 2018, I have some big plans.

I will be joining Runners Soul marathon club for my 6th season.  I will be training for the half marathon distance, where I’ll run the Red Deer Half over May Long weekend.  Before May Long, I will do Moonlight Run 10km, 10 mile road race and the Walt Disney World Star Wars Half Marathon weekend, with both the 10km and half marathon events.  That will be an exciting trip, as it will be our first time on an airplane with baby Andy!  I can’t wait to take him to Disney World, and even though he won’t remember a damn thing, the memories  and photos will be ones to cherish.

The biggest running news for 2018 is that my husband and I will be heading to Berlin, Germany, in September to run the Berlin Marathon!  The opportunity was presented to us through our local running store Runners Soul, and there is a group of us heading out there to run in this World Marathon Major event!  And did you notice I said “my husband and I”?  YES, Dan will be running a full marathon!  He actually will be doing the Red Deer Full Marathon in May as his first full, in order to figure things out and see how much pain he is in afterwards.  But this is going to be such a memorable race-cation for us!

I’ll still blog in the new year, though, it may not be as often as I used to.  With the baby and all, things are a little different.  I will always do my race recaps, but also hope to talk about how training postpartum is going.  I am sure there will be some frustration as I try to get back to where I was before baby, and I hope to share how it is all going.

2017 started off really sour.  But it ended oh so sweet.

Two Steps Forward, One Step Back

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As mentioned before, I started running again November 1st. I’ve been going to boot camp twice a week. I’ve been walking. I’ve been getting out of the house lots. I’ve been finding a “new normal” routine. It’s currently 4 am on Thursday, December 7th, and I’m pumping. This is part of the new normal I’ve created. December 7th marks 7 weeks postpartum. Considering how strong I started off, I should be even stronger now. But, I hit a very unexpected speed bump…

Monday, December 4th, started out like a normal day. I was a bit more tired than usual, so I took an epic nap with Andy in the morning. During that time, my stomach was feeling a bit uneasy and bloated. By the time we headed to our Mommy Connections class, I felt VERY bloated. I wore a hooded sweatshirt to cover my bloat and went on with the afternoon. As the afternoon progressed, this did not go away. In fact, a pain developed in my stomach. When we got home, I went to nurse Andy on the bed. Laying on my side is what I find to work the best for us when we do this. But this time, a major red flag occurred-I had trouble getting up.

The pain in my side was bad. So bad that we just laid there. I was about to call Dan to see if he was coming home soon, but then I heard him come in through the shop. Phew. He came upstairs and helped me with Andy, and I tried to figure out what was wrong with me. I googled some things as the pain progressed. Yes, looking up possibly ailments online is not the best thing to do, but I did it anyway. By 5pm, I knew something was wrong. I needed to go to ER.

Dan packed Andy up in his carrier and drove me to ER. I walked in and was immediately frustrated-quite a few people in the waiting room. The screen said approximately a 2 hr 7 minute wait to send a doctor once you registered. I felt like I was at Disney World. I registered and sat. Sat uncomfortably , that is. I must have been triaged ahead of people due to the fact that I was 7 weeks postpartum because I was soon moved to another waiting area and eventually a bed. By the time I got to the bed, I had the chills. When the doctor came in she performed an ultrasound. She couldn’t get a super clear image on the in-room ultrasound but was pretty certain there was a stone in my appendix.

Dan and Andy came by around 9:30, and at this time I had gotten brought up to the large ultrasound machine. The tech there confirmed I did in fact have appendicitis. When we met with the doctor back in the ER it was determined that surgery to remove this pointless organ was the best course of action. It would be performed as a laparoscopic procedure, with three “ports” created in my stomach area-one to the left of my belly button, one below my belly button and the third through my belly button. As long as all went well (which it did) they would remove my crappy appendix through my belly button.

By 1 am I was in recovery and then soon after brought back to a room. The room I was brought to was actually in the maternity ward, due to overflow space. This came in handy because the nurses there had gotten me set up with a pump and some bottles before I even went down to surgery. Dan had gone home with Andy so I gave him a call to let him know I survived, and then I tried to sleep.

The morphine in my system was causing me to fall in and out of sleep, even when I was trying my hardest to stay awake and post things on Facebook or send emails. This whole ordeal was surreal–I wasn’t supposed to be back in the hospital. I did that back in October. I had my induction day, my labour and delivery, and I was discharged out. I was supposed to be continuing on the up and up from there. But now I felt back at square one, and in some ways, even farther put back.

The doctor eventually came and told me the surgery went as planned, and my three incisions would heal over time. I had green bandages on my stomach that could be taken off later, but then some surgical tape and stitches that would eventually dissolve and fall off. I was slightly swollen. It hurt to cough. It was not easy to get up and walk. When I was discharged I was pushed out in a wheelchair and I can say with certainty that I felt worse leaving the hospital on Tuesday, December 5th, than I did when I left on Saturday, October 21st.

Running would be halted. Baby boot camp would be postponed. I had orders to not lift anything more than 10 pounds for 5-6 weeks. Andy is already in the low 9’s, so him in his car seat puts that over the limit. I was starting my postpartum healing all over again with a non-postpartum procedure.

Im not asking for people to feel sorry for me. But, right now at this moment, I feel very frustrated and vulnerable. Just when I thought I was on the right track to being “back to normal” it was all put on hold. I’m going from my body feeling great and ready to be back fully in the game to it feeling weak and beaten up. The activities I was participating in during the weekdays will have to temporarily change while I heal, and we aren’t going to be able to leave the house just the two of us as much.

Two steps forward and one step back. That’s what this feels like. And I feel like next week after my mother in law leaves (she came down less than 24 hours after my surgery to help) it’ll even feel like two or three steps back. I was fully independent and able to care for Andy easily on my own. Now I’m having to force myself to ask for help because when I don’t, I can tell I’m potentially doing more harm than good. As I anxiously await for my body to heal from an unexpected surgery, I am grateful for everyone who has stepped in to help us out. I know 5-6weeks is a very short time frame, relatively speaking, but when you’ve already been 6 weeks recovered and back doing your “new normal” going back to the starting line is very mentally challenging.