Author Archives: mscurlgurl78

Maternity Photo Shoot by @Lemonhurricane 

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Earlier in the summer I had the idea come in my head that I wanted maternity photos done. I knew I didn’t want stereotypical maternity pictures taken (heart over the belly, weird and awkward posing). What I wanted was some nice photos of my husband and I, some solo pictures of myself, and then photos with Snoopy. I think my desire to have these photos done increased as Snoopy was having trouble in June, and I knew I wanted to capture moments with him in case he took a turn for the worse. 

I contacted a former student of mine, Emmy Burton.  Emmy is a very talented photographer!  I knew I wanted her to take our photos.  While she had not yet done a maternity photo shoot, she had done many family portraits and grad photos…so I just told her it would like that. Not to worry about the enormous belly!  

I gave her my ideas about what I wanted in my photos and where I’d like them to be—west side Lethbridge by the bridge. But not down in the river bottom like everyone else’s; I wanted them above the Oldman River at eye level to the bridge.  Oh, and I wanted a train to be coming by…..

Our date for photos was September 2nd. A lot of British Columbia and Alberta have been having trouble with wildfires this summer due to extremely dry conditions.  About a week before our photos, lightning struck in BC and the Kenow wildfire started.  The smoke had begun to loom across the mountains into Southern Alberta, and that afternoon it really hit us bad.  She asked if we wanted to reschedule but I figured we should just go ahead and see how they turn out. 

And I’m so glad we went for it!


In my opinion, the smoke added this natural filter that just adds to the photos!  Emmy got us set up quickly and started taking photos right away. And at one point early on, Dan looked to the west, pointed and yelled “TRAIN!!!!!”


My train came!  We got a few photos as the train headed across the High Level Bridge to east Lethbridge.  After the train passes, we continued with the photo shoot getting some great shots of Dan and I, and then with me and Snoopy. 


Emmy took the photos home and within a week she got us the edited digital files. We are so happy with the photographs and will cherish them forever!  I encourage you to check out and follow Emmy’s Instagram page with her photography @lemonhurricane If you’re in the area and looking for someone to capture a special moment, consider contacting Emmy!

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Taber Cornfest 5km Recap & End of Summer Wrap Up

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It’s Sunday, August 27th.  Tomorrow is the first day back to work for teachers, and students start up with mini-schedule on Tuesday, September 5th.  The first full day of classes will be on Wednesday, September 6th.  That day also marks that I will be 32 weeks pregnant.

This was a summer like none other, first and foremost because I have been pregnant.  There were many things that did not occur this summer that usually would.  For instance, drinks on patios.  Sure, Dan and I were able to make some of our evening outings the same with trips to Telegraph Taphouse, but having an ice cold alcohol free Erdinger doesn’t pack the same punch as a Lagunitas IPA.  Right now, I am drinking a club soda with grenadine and cut up peaches.  I’ve got to cool off somehow!  I also did not travel much this summer.  Figured it would be wise to save money and really didn’t want to deal with the potential pains of flying or driving long distances while pregnant.  Since I didn’t travel, I was able to teach summer school in July.  I was very happy I did, as it kept me busy and earning the extra money was awesome!

“Adaptation” has been key.  That’s really the best word for how I’ve dealt with summer 2017.  Because of my ever-changing body, I needed to adapt my running.  Notice, I adapted.  I did not quit.  I am proud to say that I ran 4 times a week all summer long.  I golfed in ladies league on Mondays.  In August, I added in a baby bump boot camp on Thursdays and a cardio class on Fridays.  All of these things kept me busy, and most importantly kept me sane.  I knew I needed to keep my running up this summer, because it really is a key part of who I am.  Other summers, I would have signed up for races in Calgary or Edmonton during July or August but this year I held off.  I knew driving up there to do a race would not be the wisest idea.  However, I kept an eye out for events local that I could do.

That brings me to yesterday, when I ran in the Taber Cornfest 5km.  This event was celebrating their 25th year, and would be offering a 5km and 10km option.  Taber is a small town 50 km east of Lethbridge.  It would be an easy drive out on race morning, and while I was not going out to break any records or place in any divisions, I was going out to race the best that I could at that given day.

With summer being so hot down here in Southern Alberta, my paces for training runs have not been anything crazy.  I had come to terms with that in the past month, knowing that just getting out there and completing the training runs during the week was what mattered…not how fast I was going.  I had a goal in my mind to run around a 33 minutes 5km in Taber, roughly a little faster than an 11 minute mile.  Based on how my running was going in August, I knew I could attain that goal.

Race morning was nice and cool.  It had gotten quite tolerable the night before and this carried on into the morning.  By the time the race started at 9 am, it was only around 59F.   I went out and held a pace that came naturally to me and felt comfortable.  I kept checking my heart rate during the first mile and it was always under 150.  My breathing was in check and I was feeling great.  Suddenly, mile 1 came and my watch hit 8:39!

I was WAY ahead of my 11 minute mile pace.  For a brief second I thought about really slowing it up.  But, my heart rate was good, my legs were feeling strong….so I stuck with my gut and just kept on going.  Mile 2 slowed a bit, but it was still a 9:03.  OK….if I can hold the final mile around this pace and watch my breathing I can definitely finish under 30 minutes!  

The last mile was harder than the first two, as my heart rate did climb up a bit.  I kept watching my FitBit and whenever the bpm got into the 170s I would try and focus on my breathing to bring it down.  Mile 3 clocked in very close to the same time as mile 2, with a 9:04.  I did let myself go a bit the final stretch, wanting to close the gap on the women in front of me.  When I crossed the finish line, my watch stopped at an unofficial distance of 3.16 miles.  My official chiptime would be a 28:02!  I placed 4/23 in my age group, 11/98 in women, and 35/158 overall.


Running 5km races are not really my thing.  They are hard for me!  Call me crazy, but I’d much rather run a half marathon.  It took me a really long time to get my personal 5km best of a 20:42.  The fact that I am about 7.5 minutes slower than my personal best all while being 30 weeks pregnant makes me super happy.  Why does it make me happy?  Because it shows that my hard work this summer is paying off.  I have been reasonable with my running this summer, with the overall goal being to remain healthy while progressing in this pregnancy which should then make it easier to get back to my racing form after the pregnancy.

With being 3/4 of the way through my pregnancy, I know every week will pose a new challenge.  I am also mentally preparing myself for the possibility of having to stop running any day.  There are a variety of things that could come up that would put my running to a halt.  If my doctor told me that it was no longer safe for me to run, I would stop.  I mean, come on…I am not an idiot.  If something I was doing was putting the baby and/or myself in danger, I would quit it.  But, I have been having a fairly low-key pregnancy with no issues so my doctor has been very supportive of my choices to continue running and working out.  I am very fortunate to have an OB who supports my running, as she knows it is something I did not just start overnight.  Before being referred to my OB, my family doctor was also very supportive of me continuing on with my running, as long as I didn’t have a high-risk pregnancy.  I actually had an appointment with my family doctor last week to just confirm that he would be able to take the baby on as a patient and his words of encouragement meant a lot.

I am also very fortunate for the support my family and friends have given me this summer.  They are pretty well adjusted to the fact that running is a part of my identity, and it doesn’t seem to surprise them at all that I have continued.  I think this is one reason actually that my husband sometimes seems to forget how far along I really am in this pregnancy, because I have still gone about my running as I normally do.  He doesn’t seem me out there training in the summer, but he knows I’m out there doing it.  And he knows it makes me happy.

So what are the two next two months going to be like?  For running, I will still continue with my 4 times a week running.  I will be joining my cross country kids on their runs during the week, and will likely be the caboose of the group.  I also am considering doing a 4-week session of the Baby Bump class at Kinetic, as it is offered on a Friday at 4:30 pm.  This will keep me active and help burn off the energy from the work day.  My mom comes to visit near the end of September.  She will be a huge help around the house getting things set for baby, and we will be having my baby shower.  There is also the Lethbridge Police Race on September 30th, where I will be doing the 10km, my mom will be walking the 5km and my husband will be doing the half marathon. When she leaves in October, I will have just had my 33rd birthday and I will surely start to feel the nerves and anxiety attached to becoming a family of 3.  Baby is due November 1st, which may seem like a far way away from August 27th….but we all know it’s closer than you think!  I can pencil in a lot of things, but I know stuff could change in an instance after one doctor appointment!  

 

RunDisney Virtual Running Shorts 2017

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I’m not someone who partakes in “Virtual Races” much.  For those of you who don’t know what a virtual race is, it’s any event where you register to race the set distance but on your own course.  Some actual road races offer virtual options, which usually need to be completed and logged during a certain window of time.  And some companies put on virtual races just as events where people can log their times and earn a medal to commemorate the run.

The times I have done so was when I did a Digital Running Virtual Run to tack on to my RunDisney Dopey Challenge in 2014 (Hat Trick medal, Grand Slam medal), an “Interstate Challenge” (run a race in Canada and USA…easy!) which then led me to doing a “Time of the Season” challenge with them (run at least a km race in every month of 2014….HUGE four piece medal once done!)  I also did the Knotts Berry Farm Coaster Run 10km as a Virtual Race in 2015 solely for the Snoopy medal.  I mean, duh….

I would rather just be out running an actual race than doing a Virtual Race.  And a lot of the Virtual Races that I see people doing are through promoters in the USA, which then means its a US dollar registration fee, and since our exchange rate in Canada isn’t really that great at the moment it just gets pricey.  It has to be something special for me to consider a virtual event.

In Spring 2016, RunDisney announced their first “Virtual Running Shorts” which would take place in the summer.  There would be 3 different 5km virtual runs you could do, one for each month, with a different medal for each month plus a challenge medal if you did all three.  I was intrigued by this last year since I knew I couldn’t run that much distance in the summer, as my foot surgery was early June, but opted to not push myself post surgery with events (even if just a 5km virtual run).

This year, RunDisney offered the Virtual Shorts again and I jumped on board pretty quickly.  The price tag sort of made me contemplate if it was worth doing-each virtual race was either $40 a piece or you could pay $142 for all three plus the challenge medal and other goodies.  This was then when our Canadian dollar was really at its worse, so after the tax and fees and exchange rate, I did end up paying quite a bit for what is basically just appears to be 4 medals.  Would it be worth it?

I was impressed with that I received my package from RunDisney very early in June—even before some other people in the USA!  They mail you all four medals right away, each individually packed, plus the other goodies which was a collapsible dog bowl, dog tag, and cool towel.  The additional goodies were only for if you registered for the whole challenge, and are dog items since the mascot for the series was Pluto.  They are definitely not something on their own worth registering for, and if you don’t have a pet there really isn’t a use….but I have to say we used that dog bowl a lot this summer with all our travels to and from Calgary for Snoopy’s acupuncture!

 

I opted to keep all the medals in the box and would only remove each one as I completed a race.  What’s the point of hanging them all up right away?…I needed to earn them!


Since I wanted to be able to hang my medals early each month, I tend to chose early dates to complete my virtual run.  I also tried to choose days that were important to me, just to make them a bit more special.  I ran my June 5km on June 7th, which would have been the day of my dad’s 65th birthday.  I was 19 weeks pregnant at this point, and full of emotions, as Snoopy was not yet back to walking.  I finished this 5km in a time of 34:55.

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I opted to use the Canada Day Red Dress Run 5km event as my July digital run.  That event ended up being closer to 6km in length, but I made sure to stop my watch once I reached the 5km point so I had a time for my virtual run.  I had most fun doing this run as part of the RunDisney Virtual Running Shorts series mainly because I took the “Dress in Red & White for Canada Day” theme as the opportunity to wear my Minnie Mouse tutu!  It was also fun for it being during an event, as I pushed myself a bit more and ran a 31:45.  I was 22.5 weeks pregnant.

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I couldn’t wait any longer for my last medals, so once August 1st rolled around I went out and did my final event.  The whole month of July had been incredibly hot, but I had stuck with my 4 days a week training plan of running.  Honestly, having these little 5km virtual events each month helped keep me going through the heat and this pregnancy!  I was just shy of 27 weeks along in my pregnancy when I completed the final 5km, in a time of 35:41.

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All four medals are hanging proudly on my medal hanger, and I even made sure to hang them right by all my other RunDisney bling!  Participating in this virtual event was perfect for me, given that my last half marathon was end of May and that I wouldn’t be doing any other long races this summer during my pregnancy.  It helped keep me accountable this summer, when otherwise I may have just gotten frustrated that I wasn’t registered for any summer time 10km or half marathons.  If someone needs a little extra push, this race series may be a good option for you.  While I most likely won’t do it again next year (I’m doing Start Wars-The Dark Side and Disneyland Half Weekend, so I get the real deal!) I am happy that I registered for it this summer!

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My “I’m 63.75% Through This Pregnancy” Post

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I am 25.5 weeks along in this pregnancy.  So, if you consider 40 weeks being 100% through, that’s where I got my percentage up on the header.  But some people like hearing about it in months….so I am approximately 5.7 months along.  That is, if you look at it in terms of 5 months and 3 full weeks, with each week being 21 days.  And then you approximate each month to have 30 days total….so that’s where the 5.7 comes from.

This is why I haven’t really done a post on my pregnancy yet.

I started this blog in 2013 to talk about running, Disney World and my dad.  I have been running since high school track, and then ran my first half marathon in 2004 at age 19.  By 2014, I felt like I had some knowledge to share.  And now in 2017, I feel even a bit more knowledgeable, or at least it is easier to share my insight.  For Disney World, I have been going since 1991.  I have continued to go well into my adulthood, with my mom, my husband, and most notably with my friend Maureen when we went for 16 days.  I have stayed lots of places on property, read all sorts of blogs and updates on the parks….I feel confident I can help many of my family and friends plan a Walt Disney World trip if they were to ask for my help.  And my dad, well…he is my dad.  I had to use this blog as a self-reflection on things I was struggling with since he passed in 2004.   I have not only found out more about my dad’s past as a Quebec orphan since starting this blog, but have found out more about myself in the process.

But pregnancy.  Well, I can’t tell you one thing that I can guarantee to be a helpful insight.  

I can’t give advice on this area!  Sure, I can tell people how I handled the miscarriage I had in January but that hasn’t even still fully settled in.  And what I did after the miscarriage may not work for everyone.  And I dont expect it to.  Much like how my current pregnancy is not like anyone else’s and people shouldn’t be following my advice.  Because lets face it; I’m sure someone out there will have some scrutiny for something I’ve done.  But really, I don’t care if you do!


What I’m going to share below isn’t a list of things that every pregnant woman should do, or what to expect in their pregnancy.   I’m just going to go over a bunch of different things I’ve encountered and dealt with during this pregnancy.  So in no particular order, other than what maybe you’d expect me to discuss….

 

Exercise during pregnancy

At first I was anxious about someone saying the quizzical “Are you sure you should be running still?”  Well, you’re not my doctor, but thanks for pretending like you know what’s best.  So, no one has said anything.  Maybe some strangers have thought things as they’ve seen me in races or running in the summertime here in Lethbridge.  But those who know me know I am playing this smart.

Since finding out I was pregnant, I set a goal to myself to keep running 4 days a week as long as I can.  I am proud to say that I have stuck with that ‘training plan.’  I need a plan to follow so I can hold myself accountable, so that’s why I set that goal of 4 days a week.  I generally do one “long run” and then three other shorter runs.  Yes, my pace has been slowly getting slower, but I am still getting out there.  I watch my heart rate to judge if I can pick the pace up or if I need to reign it in a bit.

I also have my weekly 9 hole golf league on Mondays and I most recently started going to the free HIGH fitness class put on by Kinetic On The Go (think of a Zumba hybrid). I had been doing the classes Kinetic On The Go brought to the school I work at during the Winter and Spring, and I figured I would try them again as I am considering registering for a Post-Natal Baby Mama Boot Camp they do at the studio.

Summer slows things down for road races, but I do have a couple things set in the final stretch.  Currently, I am taking on a RunDisney Virtual Run series, where I do a 5km in each the month of June, July and August.  I only have August left to do.  I run the 5km on my own time and log the race.  It’s given me something to “check off” each summer month.  On September 30th, I am planning on running in the Police 10km in Lethbridge.  It will be a combo walk/jog/run, as I will be almost exactly 8 months along.  If I am not up for the 10km, I’ll drop down to the 5km.  There are also some other local 5km races mid October, but I’ll wait until October to see how I am doing.   Even if I could just do the Bare Bones 5km as a walk on October 22nd that’d be amazing.

Side Effects, Symtpons and Pains

I have been pretty fortunate to say the least!  I have not puked once, which is obviously what everyone automatically assumes will happen upon finding out they are expecting. I had some very slight nausea in the single digit weeks of the pregnancy, but that subsided quickly.  I never had any full over sickness that caused me to call in sick during 2nd semester of school, so that’s a huge positive!

I have had some issues with headaches, but I figured out the main cause: hydration.  A headache starts to creep in mid afternoon if I haven’t been hydrating enough all morning.  The summer heat also kicks it up a notch, so I need to drink even more.  My only other minor issue were leg cramps in my calves.  These started in June and I would wake up with a Charlie horse.  I talked to my doctor about them and I started taking a calcium magnesium supplement three times a day.  Problem solved!  Really, the cramps weren’t too bad at all, but I think it has to do with my high pain tolerance.  The occasional back pains I get I know have to be pregnancy related, but I always just think of them like pains I would get from after a long run or race.  Overall, I’ve been feeling pretty good!

I’ve also had no food aversions!  I was very nervous about this, as I really didn’t want to have to change my diet too much.  All the normal foods that I ate before being pregnant settle in my stomach just fine.  There was one evening that cooked Brussels sprouts sort of bothered my sense of smell, but I had them again another time and were just fine.  And luckily, I am still able to enjoy all the spicy food I always loved!

Diet Staples I Miss

BEER.

It is no lie that I love beer. Specifically, I love hoppy beer.  iPA’s are my favorite!  While I am obviously handling the no alcohol stipulation, I would be lying if I said I didn’t miss it.

My husband has bought me a variety of non-alcoholic beer.  They are not all created equal! In my opinion (and he agrees) the President’s Choice brand at Canadian Superstore is the best available and at the best price.  While I don’t generally go for a blonde beer normally, their NA blonde tastes pretty comparable to a standard blonde beer.  It does the trick after an afternoon of yardwork!  But in case anyone is keeping notes, my husband asked what the first drink would be that I’d want after the pregnancy is complete…..with no more than 5 seconds of thought I responded with Lagunitas Lil Sumpin Wild.  If you’re in Lethbridge, you can buy it at Andrew Hilton on 3rd ave.  Then, just shoot me a message and I’ll tell you where to drop it off!

Other than beer, I miss egg yolks.  Cooking my eggs scrambled or as an omelette is getting old.  I also missed making sandwiches for my lunches during the school year (apparently listeria is a risk in cold lunch meat….).  I did make some occasional grilled sandwiches at home by heating up the meat first on a skillet.  I was anxious about the threat of “no soft cheese” but it is so easy to find pasteurized cheese, specifically Brie, at the grocery store.  I’m a Wisconsin cheesehead, so I need my daily dose of cheese!

What Else Is On My Mind?

The main thing is that it still doesn’t seem real.  Even though I have had four ultrasounds.  Many doctors appointments.  Blood draws.  Feeling baby move.  Setting up the nursery.  Buying baby things. Looking up information about what’s the best breast pump.  Getting really excited about finding a ridiculous good deal on used items on Lethbridge Swap and Buy.

Maybe it’ll feel more real once Dan and I start our prenatal classes this week through Alberta Health Services.  Maybe it won’t feel real until we are on the way to the hospital, or maybe even not until I give birth to this baby.  I can’t determine when it’ll actually “feel real” to me or when it’ll really hit me that we are going to be parents.  But I do know Dan and I are as ready as we can be for every unexpected, unpredictable, wonderful thing that comes our way.

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October 1st, 1984.  Me!

 

Snoopy

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My posts since the month of June have been a little short and inconsistent.  The end of the school year with track season winding up caused some of that, but there was also a huge hurdle that hit our household.  That hurdle involved our dog Snoopy, who is a 10 year old purebred beagle.

Snoopy turned 10 this May.  And this past weekend, I celebrated his 10 year “anniversary” or otherwise referred to by many pet owners as his “Gotcha Day”.  I bought Snoopy back in July 2007, when I was still back in Wisconsin.  I had done my research on Beagle breeders in the general Midwest area and settled on buying Snoopy from Blackhawk Beagles in Mount Morris, Illinois (The couple who sold me Snoopy were on their last litter at that point and have since retired from breeding).

Left-Snoopy when I brought him home from the breeders. Right-on his 10th anniversary “Gotcha Day!”

But on June 1st of this year, my husband and I weren’t so sure if Snoopy would be making it to his 10 year anniversary.

Back in November 2016, we were told by our vet that Snoopy most likely had arthritis.  He had been exhibiting some pain from time to time, where we couldn’t exactly pinpoint what hurt him!  He’d be on the couch and you touch his head the wrong way; he’d yelp.  Touch his foot the wrong way; he’d make an angry face.  He from time to time couldn’t get up on the couch with ease or the bed.  He would also walk with a drunken stupor and have trouble standing.  Our vet checked his general reflexes and determined he must be having flare-ups of arthritis.  At that time, we were given a liquid anti-inflammatory to administer to Snoopy when we noticed a flare-up happening.  Repeat this for 4 days and he should improve.

This worked fine until the beginning of June.  A flare-up began, but it got worse VERY FAST.  I left for Edmonton with our Track & Field team for provincials, and my husband had to deal with seeing Snoopy deteriorate.  It was not the normal flare-up.  He was losing feeling in his front legs.  Dan took him in for an x-ray, but with him squirming around they couldn’t get a clear one.  We would need to bring him back Monday.  By the time I got home on the Saturday night, Snoopy really didn’t even want to get up from bed.  By Sunday, Dan had to carry him outside whenever we needed to get him out.  He could not stand on his own.  His front legs just weren’t working.

When we took him in on Monday to get a sedated radio graph, the results came back showing he had very bad arthritis all along his spine.  Calcification’s were present.  Spondylosis.  Snoopy could not stand or walk on his own that morning, and for the next week and half he needed to be carried carefully whenever he had to go out.  He was put on a plethora of medications (doggy morphine, nerve pain relievers, muscle relaxers) and also taken off the original anti-inflammatory.  We needed to introduce a waiting period to clear that out of his system before he received a new drug that would be more intense.

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It was really tough that week.  I cried A LOT.  My pregnancy hormones were out of control.  I hadn’t cried this whole pregnancy until this began.  Snoopy had been my fur baby since before I had even met my husband.  He’s been by my side since 2007.  We weren’t sure if he was going to get out of this struggle, if he’d gain strength in his front legs again.  The vet even mentioned if after this regime of drugs were introduced there wasn’t any improvement, we’d have to look at quality of life.  I did not want to even think about letting go of Snoopy.  He is an older dog at 10, but he isn’t even at the Beagle life expectancy  of 12-15.  We can’t put him down….

The week of June 12th he began his new anti-inflammatory steroid.  3 pills each morning.  He also started going to acupuncture on June 10th and would be heading to it 3 times during this very week, with the hopes that improvement would mean visits less often (we have to drive to Calgary to get this done).  Then, on Tuesday, what seemed to be a miracle occurred—he sat and stood up on his own.  I am so glad Dan saw it happen, because if I had told him it h would have thought I was lying.  He was wobbly as hell, and his front legs kept buckling, but something changed in his nerves that he was able to feel his paws again.

His walking reminded me of a baby giraffe.  For about a week, he figured out how to move again, taking steps gingerly.  We still lifted him onto the couch, bed, car…and we built a gate so he couldn’t get up the stairs to the patio.  He continued the steroid and a daily glucosomine tablet, along with acupuncture.  He tapered his steroid down to 1.5 pills every other day, with a new smaller dose presumably coming next week.  He has been to acupuncture 9 times, and does not need to go back until the first week of August.  He appears to be back at nearly 100% (we can also judge this based on the fact that he stole a chicken bone off Dan’s dinner plate, knocked over the garbage in the guest room, ate one of my leather shoes in the closet, and chewed apart the cardboard box that cloth diapers were stored in.  Basically, if he’s an asshole we know he’s feeling pretty damn good).

Snoopy enjoying acupuncture at Calgary Holistic Vet

So is Snoopy cured?  Sadly, we know he is not.  The arthritis is still there.  However, he is functioning, comfortable, and HAPPY.  We know the arthritis will not go away, much like it doesn’t in humans.  But with pain management, we hope to keep him happy for as many more weeks, months and years as possible.  We know he is on ‘borrowed time’ now, and that’s scary.  But, in a way, we both agree it’s good this happened now so we could get ourselves prepared for the tough decisions we may have to make down the road.  We just hope that road is a long ways away.  We really want Snoopy to be around when our baby is born this fall—we know how great he is with kids and having him with our baby will mean the world to us.

 

 

Millarville Half Marathon Relay 2017

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It had been a couple years since I ran in one of the Millarville events, so what better way to get back at it than do a relay with my husband?!?!?  I signed us up some time back, but had always planned that I would run the first leg of the half marathon and he would run the second leg.  We stuck with that plan as race day approached, since I would be over 20 weeks pregnant and the first leg was the shorter distance.  Having just come off a good race time at the Lethbridge 8km Ladiesfest I knew I could pound out a good time for the 9km portion of our relay.

Our alarms went off at 4:15 am that Saturday morning.  We would be driving up to Black Diamond and do our race pickup before the event.  The drive took about 2 hours, so we arrived with about 45 minutes to spare.  There was another reason why doing the relay was the better option for us—we had to bring our dog Snoopy along for the trip.  I’ll be doing a blog post at some point this summer about what has been going on this June, but the main point is that Snoopy has bad arthritis and has been going to Calgary for doggie acupuncture appointments.  We booked an appointment strategically for after the race, since we’d already be almost to Calgary.  Doing the relay allowed one person to stay with Snoopy at all times while the other person ran!

I was off at 7:30 am with the other runners.  All relay and half marathon runners started together.  The 9km portion I was running winds through Black Diamond neighborhoods, past golf courses, and onto paved trails.  It offers some rolling hills and lots to see.  Being the first leg of the relay had the benefit of having lots of other competitors around you as your ran.  This always pushes me more!

I had my phone with me, so I voice texted Dan when I had less than a mile to go. I wanted him to be prepared at the transition area.  I crossed the relay transition with a 9km time of 48:26.08.  My splits were 8:01, 8:55, 8:56, 8:59, 8:28 for miles 1-5.  The distance on my watch clocked in at 5.65 miles and I had an average pace of 8:35 a mile.  

I went to the car (where Snoopy was patiently waiting) and we drove the short drive to the finish line at the Millarville racetrack.  After parking and walking to the finish line, we didn’t have to wait too long for the first half marathoner to come across.  It was then pretty quick having other finishers for the various distances come by.  Dan came by with a half marathon finish time for our team of 1:43.50.  His split for the 12.1 km he ran was a 55:24.57.  This works out to a team average pace of 7:55 minutes/mile.  Not bad for a pregnant wife and a husband who still doesn’t really like to run!

Dan, Andrea and Snoopy


 

Ladiesfest 2017

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Runners Soul in Lethbridge puts on an awesome “Ladies Only” race each June, aptly named Ladiesfest.  It is an 8km event that starts and finishes at the Lethbridge Lodge.  I have never actually participated in this event (as I am usually away at the High School Track & Field Provincials) but this year the weekends did not interfere!

My husband Dan got asked to help volunteer, which was great because I got to see him on the course!  I had picked up my race packet the night before at Runners Soul, so we just had to show up at 7:30 the morning of the race.  It was VERY windy, even for Lethbridge.  If I was actually racing this would have made me nervous.  Instead, I was just happy it wasn’t super warm out.

“Flat Andrea” the night before!


There were close to 700 ladies in the even this year.  We all lined up and started promptly at 8.  The first mile is completely downhill, following the Wendy’s Hill we take during Moonlight Run.  This is a very fast first mile, but we had the wind pushing us backward as we made our way down.  Mile 1 was 7:11.

Miles 2-4 were down in the river bottom.  The trees blocked some of the wind nicely, and the loops we made on the paths was great.  There were a lot of great volunteers down on the paths showing us the way, plus some awesome highlights—there was someone playing a full-size baby grand (seriously, I think it was) piano.  How they got it down there and back up is a mystery to me!  I held the pace I wanted during these miles down by the river, running a 8:42, 8:48, 8:51.

The last mile was a doozy.  Running up Whoop Up Drive heading East.  The “Run with Johan” group had a fun water stop for all of us planned, with crazy costumes and energy.  I joined up with my friend Emma as we trudged up Whoop Up.  We never walked!  Once we got up to the top of the hill, I knew there was about 400 m left of the race so I kicked it in with anything I had left.  My last mile was a 10:13 (after climbing 246 feet, according to my watch!) and I finished in a time of 43:51.88, which was good enough for 72/696 overall and 8/113 in my 30-34 age group.

First Ladiesfest & 19.5 weeks pregnant!


The race was capped off with flowers and chocolate being presented to us as we crossed the finish line, and then an AWESOME brunch held in the Lethbridge Lodge ballroom.  This is a fantastic women’s run and Runners Soul once again does a wonderful job at putting on a first class event!  Can’t wait for next year!


Calgary Half Marathon 2017

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I first ran a Calgary Marathon Weekend event in 2009.  That marathon was AWFUL for me, and I took a break from running full marathons.  But, in 2013 I returned to Calgary for their half marathon.  And in 2014 for the full.  And 2015 & 2016 for the 50km.

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Calgary Marathon Expo

 

This year, my husband and I ran the half marathon.  I went in with a few time goals, with my overall goal being to run a sub 2 hour half marathon.  Normally, this is no problem as I have been running low and sub 1:40s for a few years now.  But, being 17.5 weeks pregnant would be new running territory!  If that goal couldn’t be met, I wanted to beat my first half marathon time of 2:05.30.  Third goal would be sub 2:10.  And after that, just completion.

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Runners Soul Marathon Club

Weather was set to be comfortable, and the 7:00 am start is always nice.  In my experience running Calgary Marathon Weekend event, the heat really kicks in at around 9:30 and on.  I would be done before the heat of the morning arose, and off those non-shaded city streets.  I was concerned, however, about needing to use the bathroom multiple times.  I am needing to stay hydrated more than ever, but that comes with consequences!

Dan and I started in separate areas of the starting corral.  I actually started with our cousin Erin, even though I knew she’d be gone from my sight in a few short steps.  I started farther up than maybe I should have, but I also know so many people self-seed themselves incorrectly.  I planned on pushing the first mile just so I could get some space and not be trampled/ran into/stepped on.  This plan worked as I ran mile 1 in 8:33, and therefore had plenty of elbow room.

Miles 2-5 were consistent and uneventful.  Actually, the eventful parts of these miles were people running by me commenting on my shirt!  “Run Faster!  I’m pregnant and still kicking your ass!”  I heard a comment from a guy at one point saying he’s done a lot of races and that’s the best shirt he’s ever seen.  I got a lot of “congrats” and thumbs up.  It kept me smiling and moving, and I’m sure it kept a bunch of other people moving!  Miles 2-4 were 8:45, 8:59, 8:58, and 8:59.  I was on pace to break 2 hours (ideally wanted an average pace of 9 min/mi…I was on track!)

Mile 6 was my slowest, at a 9:46.  This is due in part to my one and only potty break.  I spotted two Porta Potties downtown at around mile 5.8 and there was no line.  PERFECT!  But, they were both occupied.   I had to wait probably somewhere around 15-20 seconds, went in and was out quickly.  Probably used about 45 seconds there.  But, it was needed.  Hopefully it wouldn’t come back to taunt me as my time approached the 2 hour mark.

I was never able to get my pace back below that 9 minute mark, but I hovered right around it.  Miles 7-10, which mentally were the most challenging as you saw people already heading back to Stampede grounds as you were heading to the turnaround, were 9:05, 9:03, 9:14.

During those miles, I took advantage of the soaked sponges, as I do at every Calgary event!  The sun was up, clouds were non-existent…it was warming up!  I needed to keep my body temperature down. I kept watching my heart rate and every time it got near 170 I would slow down a bit and adjust my breathing to bring it down to a 150.

On the home stretch I knew I could get that sub 2 hour.  I ran a 9:02 for mile 11, 9:08 for mile 12 and a 9:11 for mile 13.  The problem was when my watch hit 13.1 miles, I wasn’t at the finish line.  This can happen in a lot of races, especially if you veer off the course to use a bathroom, run zig-zagged to go to aide stations, don’t run the tangents of the course….I pushed as hard as I could so I could get under 2 hours.  My watch read 13.9 when I finished, and I finished in a 1:59.12!  A sub 2 hour half marathon!

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Finish area 

Dan was in the finish area waiting for me (I’m not sure how he managed to stay there without the volunteers kicking him out after he finished).  He ran a personal best of 1:41.08.  This was over 11 minutes faster than his only other half marathon, which he ran a year before this.  Look what a little training can do!  And with him running that time now, if I can get him to keep on with running, I will have some friendly competition post pregnancy!

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Another half marathon in the books!

 

Lakeview Superhero 5km Recap

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The 2nd running of the Lakeview School Superhero 2km and 5km race occured on Wednesday, May 10th.  I participated in the event last year, which was started as a fundraiser for their new playground.  You can read about last year’s run here.  This post also had some other May recaps in it, which are interesting to look back at!  Crazy how things change in a year!


My husband and I both ran in the 5km event this year.  They had the 5km runners begin before the 2km event this year, which was a welcomed change from last year’s order.  I had just made it ‘public’ that I was pregnant, so I was at ease knowing my slower pace was warranted.  I know, I shouldn’t care what people think…but it’s a runner’s mentality.

It was very busy at the start of the race.  This wasn’t necessarily due to the amount of runners in the 5km, but all the families waiting around for their children to do the 2km.  With all the 2km participants, the number of spectators was ridiculous.  I was happy for the race to start and get away from the chaos of strollers and families.  The route takes you from Lakeview School to Henderson Lake, and you loop over the bridge by the concessions area and head back to the school.  I started off strong, but knew I should probably take it back a bit.  My first mile was an 8:02.

As I got into the park, I could see the lead bicyclist.  And my husband….right behind them!  It was very exciting to see Dan in the lead.  He was able to hold this lead the rest of the race and he finished 1st overall with a time of 20:28 (Which beat my own 5km personal best…I’m not mad…really).  By mile 2 I had slowed down considerably.  It was a bit humid out and it was getting to me.  I was also watching my heart rate and wanted it to lower some.  I ran an 8:39 for that mile.


My last mile I kicked it in to gear a bit and ran an 8:23.  I was able to finish with a respectable time of 25:57.  This was a far cry from my 22:16 the year before, but for being 15 weeks pregnant I’ll take it!  I just missed out on an age group award, as I finished 4th.

This was a great little local event and if they keep having it each year I will keep supporting it!  

Medicine Hat Rattler Run 10km 2017

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The Rattler Run was the first race I have done where I officially made it known I was pregnant!  I had “pregnant-raced” in secret while 7.5 weeks along (Moonlight Run 6km) and at 10.5 weeks (10 & 4 Mile Road Race 2017) but this would be the first weekend that I had made it public knowledge to all our family and friends.  I was 13.5 weeks along and feeling good, so I knew I would still have a respectable time.  Mainly, I just wanted to have a great day with my husband at this event!


Race weather was perfect for late April and the 11 am race start time is perfect for us as we travel in from Lethbridge.  Dan and I both started near the front of the pack, as I wanted to make sure I had room around me right away.  He went off ahead of me and I wouldn’t see him until the finish.  I got myself settled into a comfortable pace and hit my first mile in 7:32.  I was very happy!

I started to slow immediately the next mile.  The biggest change I have noticed in my body while running is how heavy my legs feel.  Probably due to increased blood flow and all.  The heaviness caused me to automatically slow down, and that’s ok.  8:13, 8:30 and 8:37 were miles 2-4.  These were all down below Medicine Hat College on a really pretty route next to some coulees.


The route was different for the 10km compared to the other two years I had ran it.  We had to run up the hill at Kin Coulee Park this time.  I would describe it as a mini-Moonlight run….mini because the hill is only about 1/4 of the Wendy’s hill you need to run up at moonlight…but still a pain this late in a race!  My heartrate went up as I started climbing up, so I immediately took it easier up the hill to settle my heart rate back down.  Ran mile 5 in 9:34.

The last mile was a struggle mainly because my legs were just beat by the time I got to the top of the hill.  Had to do another loop around the college and in to the finish line.  I finished mile 6 in 8:53, and then kicked it in for the last bit in with a final time of 52:40.

I had set my A goal for this race to be a sub 50 minutes.  I knew by 5km in that wouldn’t be happening, nor would it be worth it.  My B goal was to run between 50-55 minutes. So I made that!  C goal was under an hour.

Dan’s race went pretty well too, but he was a little frustrated because of a cramp he got really early on.  With all the speed work he has been doing I know he can run an even faster time, so I think he is looking forward to some redemption down the road.  He finished with a 46:47.


Final results/placings weren’t available immediately, so we hit the road because Dan had a meeting to get to.  As we drove away from Medicine Hat, I realized I had placed 3rd in my age group!  Luckily, my friend Heather was still at the event because her son was waiting for his award.  She picked my medal up for me.  I had thought my placing days were done until post baby!  My stats  were 3/25 Age Group, 13/83 Gender, and 52/152 Overall.  Dan was 7/15 Age Group, 17/69 Gender and 21/152 Overall.  A great day for both of us!