Tag Archives: camping

One Year

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One year ago today, I was sitting in the “induction room” at Chinook Regional Hospital.  Dan and I knew that our baby boy would be coming sometime soon, and it was sooner than originally planned.  Andy was originally due November 3rd, but he made his appearance when I was 38 weeks along at 12:32 am on October 19th, 2017.

We didn’t know what the next year would really look like other than the fact that we had a small human to take care of.  What things would we be involved with as a family?  What things would Andy and I find to do during my maternity leave?  What would my post-partum running actually look like?  Sure, we were able to theoretically imagine what the next year would look like, but we really wouldn’t know what it was like until experiencing it first hand.

I have said many times before, but I am beyond fortunate enough to be here in Alberta, Canada, where I have a one year maternity leave with my job.  Also with my job, I was guaranteed my same position as long as I came back by that one year.  I had sick pay covered for the first 15 weeks (I maxed it out mainly because I ended up having the emergency appendectomy 7 weeks post-partum) and then I received unemployment insurance for 35 additional weeks.  Along with the money we saved in the year leading up to having Andy, we were able to live comfortably and take part in a lot of activities and trips.  Some of the things specifically Andy & I were able to do were:

-“Mommy Connections” 8-week programming during three different sessions

-“Baby Steps” postnatal classes at the Lethbridge Health Unit

-“Baby PACT” (Parent and Child Time) 10 week session at Lethbridge Family Centre

-Swimming Lessons!  10 classes

-Baby Mama Boot Camp through Kinetic Fitness.  We did this often twice a week during the winter and spring and then once a week in summer

-Stroller Boot Camp at University of Lethbridge for one winter/spring session

-Kindermusik Drop-In program at CASA

-Library programming like “Babes in the Library” and “Small & Tall”

-HIGH Fitness classes held at the northside LDS church

and much more!

The great thing about these programs were that they were all locally operated in Lethbridge and while some cost money, many were lower cost (Baby Steps & PACT) or FREE! (Library, HIGH fitness).  These programs were important for both mine and Andy’s well being as it got us out of the house in the dead of winter, we got to socialize with other adults and children, and it kept us active.

While it was mainly Andy & I doing specific classes together, Dan also took Andy to a few “Me and my Dad” drop in programs at Family Centre on Saturday mornings.  He plans to start doing this again when winter rolls around.  I would also often bring Andy for visits at my school, we would go to basketball games, we would do mall walks when it was brutally cold and even just going grocery shopping got us out of the house.

We were also able to do some trips this year.  Our first ‘road trip’ was Christmas, where we packed Andy, Snoopy, Woodstock & Faron (2 month old baby, beagle, and two cats) in our car and drove 3.5 hours to Red Deer to see Dan’s family.  A highlight was going to Edmonton to see Dan’s Grandpa and get a four generation Pottage men photo.  Dan’s grandpa passed away in late spring 2018 so this will definitely be cherished.

In April, we flew out to Walt Disney World in Florida to participate in the Star Wars Half Marathon Weekend.  We met my mom out there and experienced our first family vacation via plane.  This helped us tons in preparation for our summer trip where we flew out to Milwaukee over 4th of July to visit my family.  We also acquired a camper in the summer and plan on using it for family camping trips.  We tested it out for one night in Beauvais Lake and it went so well!

Lets not forget about RUNNING!  Running was going to be a big part of my maternity leave year, as it is a huge part of me in general.  I knew that if I couldn’t run, I would possibly run the risk of falling into a depression.  I was fortunate enough to be able to keep running during the first  37 weeks of my pregnancy, with one week off before having Andy, and then two weeks of recovery.  I ran my first 5km race post-partum at just 1 month having Andy.  If you are interested in all my races and times in detail check out the result links at the top of this page

Then the appendectomy hit.  Ouch.  But a month later I was back.  Boot camps, walking, running….it came back slowly but it was worth the wait.  The picture below depicts all the races I was able to participate in during my maternity leave:

I was able to run in 15 different races:

Four 5km races (Claus Cause, Superhero Fun Run, Travelling Beer Garden Race, Coalhurst Family Run Run)

One 4 mile race (Firecracker 4)

One 8 km race (LadiesFest)

Three 10km races (Moonlight Run, Star Wars 10km, Fort Macleod Wilderness Run)

One 10 mile race (Lethbridge 10 Mile Road Race)

One Trail Race as a Relay (Coulee Cactus Crawl)

Three Half Marathons (Star Wars Half Marathon, Red Deer Half Marathon, Lethbridge Police Half Marathon)

One Full Marathon (Berlin Marathon)

OH YEAH….WE DID THE BERLIN MARATHON?!?!?!?!  HOW COOL IS THAT!?  If it wasn’t for being on my maternity leave at the time, it would have been very hard to make this work.  What an amazing experience that my husband and I can say we shared in together.

I was also able to run some amazing times in the last year.  I hit an unofficial 5km personal best of 20:30 in the Beer Garden race (chip time was 20:50 and course measured long) and my Police Half Marathon time was actually my 2nd fastest half marathon time EVER! (1:37.39)  Andy and I ran in a 5km race last weekend and were the first stroller across the finish and actually the first female runner too.  I won some money at different races and I also earned ago group awards throughout the year.  While I was worried on how pregnancy and postpartum would treat me as a runner, I think it’s safe to say that all my hard work before, during and after pregnancy has paid off.

So what’s next?  Well, there’ll be another year to follow.  And years after that.  And while I have ideas of things we have as plans, goals and dreams, we really can’t say those things for certain until they happen.  There will be family events, trips, races, and just family time.  A quote many of my friends have shared on Instagram and Facebook this year comes to mind right now:

“The days are long but the years are short”

To say that this past year went fast is a huge understatement.  But many days were long and tiring.  Some were filled with frustration.  But in the end, all the days created lasting memories.  Next year the days may feel long too.  I know going back to work is something I am struggling with in my mind.  Some of those days are going to feel hella long.  But when we have the free time as a family to do things, we will.  We need to fill our time with memory-making opportunities and seize the moment.

Onto year 2!

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Race Recap-Grizzly Ultra Run Relay

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On Sunday, October 14th, I participated in my first ever relay trail race, the Canmore Grizzly Ultra Marathon. I actually had never intended on running in this race, until one day in September I received a message on Facebook from a Dopey Training Crew member who lives in Calgary. Saskia and I had talked online after realizing we both lived in Alberta and had joined the same Dopey Challenge training group. We even met up at the Edmonton Half Marathon in August. So when all of her relay members for the Grizzly Ultra started bailing on her, she got desperate and asked a random girl (me) who lived in Lethbridge, loved to run, and who she sorta knew.

I said Yeah! and she signed me up. After some discussion, we decided I would run the first leg of the 50km relay, which was a 14 km portion. This leg was described as a “fast, non-technical leg for runner’s with lots of endurance.” The difficulty was 3 out of 5 claws. (Get it….claws….like grizzly claws….yeah).
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I went to Calgary the night before, as Saskia let me stay over for the night. I almost didn’t want to come, however, as Friday night I slept for a solid 12 hours because I had started coming down with a cold. And Saturday, even though I had a race the following day, I was suppose to do 7 miles easy. I just couldn’t. I took a 3 hour nap instead. I was feeling in rough shape. All that sleeping and then trying to go to bed early in preparation for a 5 am wake up call didn’t add up well for a great pre-race nights’ sleep. I think I woke up every hour.
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We headed to Canmore at 6 am Sunday. We had all sorts of camping gear packed, as we needed to set up a base camp area outside the Nordic center for when we were done/waiting for our legs to start. Trish, our leg 5 runner, drove out with us to the Nordic center. This would be her first race….ever! I didn’t find that out till later during probably Adele’s leg 3, but it was very cool to know we had a total race newbie. Adele and Greg, the leg 2 and leg 3 runners, were meeting us there. Saskia would be doing leg 4.

I have to say, once we got to Canmore, I got a little nervous. The only other previous trail race I have done was my Coulee Cactus Crawl. I was very thankful to be the first leg, as it meant my pre-race prep would be the same, and I wouldn’t be sitting around for hours after the official start for my turn. I had studied the diagrams of elevation for my leg of the course, and I had a positive attitude about being able to handle the terrain. When the 9 am start came, I was set…off I went with all the other Leg 1 runners and soloists!

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The other nice thing about being the first leg of the relay was having people surrounding you during the whole 14km. It started to spread out more by around 6 km in, but I always had people directly in front or around me. This helped with my pacing and also pushed me. The leg I ran was a wide double-track course and only occasionally did the terrain become rocky and rough. There was only one hill that slowed me down quite a bit, but then we hit a turn around and going back down it was awesome!

Since there are no mile markers on the trail, I kept referring to my GPS to get a better idea of how much more I had to run. Being in the woods made it interesting, as you had no real idea to where you were in relation to the finish line….there was no way to see through the trees! I could sense, though, when we were getting on the home stretch, as we ran back on pieces of the beginning of the race. I could hear commotion and announcements through the trees, and soon we hit the paved main road….I was almost done!

I pushed my way through to the finish in a time of 1:13:20! I was pleasantly surprised with my time, and I definitely think that Erin telling me I could get the 14 km done in under 1:20 really pushed me. It was a little chaotic finding Greg in the relay exchange area, as I had to stop quickly and was a little disoriented. Soon he had our timing chip and was off, and I got my finisher’s medal!

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The rest of huge day was spent going from inside to outside and trying to stay warm as we waited for all our runners to run their legs. I felt fantastic during the run, but the hours that followed led to an extremely runny nose and an overall feeling of garbage. I tried to keep my mind off of the fact I was starting to feel petty sick by watching for our runners coming back and also keeping an eye out for Erin as she came through for each leg.

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In the end, our team finished with a time of 6:13:24. It was awesome. Seeing all our runners come in at the end of their legs and then our next runners head out to start their leg, but it was especially cool to see Trish finish for us, since it was her first race ever! This race was organized very well and the scenery was next to none….beautiful! I would definitely recommend this race for runners looking for a change of pace an a challenge! We are all already talking about doing it again next year, and now we all wouldn’t be strangers!

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