Monthly Archives: March 2013

Rock & Roll USA Half Marathon 2013

I have been putting off writing this recap for two weeks because I’m still angry about this race. At first I was  angry about the race itself and the things that went wrong during it. But now that some time has passed I’m more upset with myself and the bad attitude I had while running that I couldn’t shake off. I try to be very honest on this blog and I really want to accurately portray my feelings and the roller coaster that this race was for me. This is a great example of how I am far from perfect and have to work on some things personally. Here we go…

Going into this race I was super excited. I ran it last year when I was 12 weeks pregnant and had a great experience. I ran it the year before (when it was called the National Half Marathon) and I got my half marathon PR. So I had high hopes for this race. I knew I had come so close to PRing at Myrtle Beach the month before and I really wanted to try to get it this time. I felt motivated and ready to push myself again.

We went to the race expo on Thursday night to get the trip in and out of DC out of the way early. I wanted to be able to eat dinner early and relax on Friday night, and that’s exactly what I did… until I realized a little problem. I was planning to go to the race alone because it was going to be cold and possibly rainy. I didn’t want the baby to be out in those conditions so Kevin was going to stay home with him. Then I realized that with the 30 minute car ride to metro, 45 minute metro ride into DC, wait for the start, the actual run itself, the post-run activities, the metro ride home, and the car ride home, I would be gone for at least 6 hours. I knew that especially with the new medicine I started to increase my supply, there was NO WAY I would be able to be away from the baby and/or my pump for that long. Even if I pumped right before I left at 5:30 a.m., the race didn’t start until 7:30, and then I’d have to run 2 more hours with already full breasts (ouch) and then get all the way home. I had a momentary meltdown about this until Kevin said he was going to the race and that the baby would be fine in the stroller under our BOB weather shield. I could feed him before and after the race. After that problem was solved, I felt so much better.

I went to bed early and baby Kevin was good to me and let me sleep through the night. We all got up at 4:45 a.m. and I nursed the baby then got ready while Kevin made me breakfast (oatmeal) and coffee. We packed up everything we needed for the baby and left the house at 5:30. I ate my breakfast on the way. We arrived at the metro station at 6 a.m., bought our tickets and boarded an empty train about 10 minutes later. I was thankful that it was empty because it gave me a chance to nurse the baby in private for the last time before the race. I knew it would be too crazy and crowded at the start and I’d need to wait for a bathroom. After I finished Kevin gave him his formula supplement from the bottle since it hadn’t been very long since I nursed him last and he needed a little more. He was loving his first metro ride!

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As time passed on the train more and more people piled on. Once we arrived at our metro stop around 6:50 it was completely packed. It took 10 minutes  to get out of the station among masses of people. It was sooo crowded. This year there was a new point-to-point course, which was part of the reason we took metro instead of driving. A LOT of other people had the same idea as us. In past years the race started and ended at RFK stadium, which was much more accessible from the highway and easy to find parking. The race still ended there, so we planned to take metro home afterwards. It wasn’t a huge deal, but it definitely made things more chaotic at the start.

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I was very happy to finally find fresh air once we made it outside. We walked over to find bathrooms and noticed that the only porta-potties were actually inside the corrals. Each corral had about 6 porta-potties inside it, which I think was a good idea in theory, but one that wasn’t working very well. I believe there were 30 corrals with supposedly 1,000 people in each one (30,000 people total). Of course people didn’t go in the corral they were assigned to, so the earlier corrals were super crowded and the bathroom lines were SO LONG I couldn’t even find the end of them. I said goodbye to Kevin and the baby at this point and jumped into the crowd to find a bathroom line.

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I went back super far to corral 20-something and just got in a random line. It was 7:10 at this point and the race was starting at 7:30. I ended up waiting in line for 40 minutes and almost peed myself in the process. Finally I used the bathroom, and I was so far back that the corral I had randomly ended up in hadn’t even been released yet. I tried to make my way up to an earlier corral but I could only get as far as #18 before being stopped by a wall of people. It was very frustrating and I knew I was in for an interesting race.

Finally it was our turn to run at exactly 8:00 a.m. I was getting a little nervous about my later start time, since I had last fed the baby at 6:30 and wouldn’t be able to again until 10ish- 3 1/2 hours later. I tried not to worry, because I knew my boobs start feeling uncomfortably full around the 4 hour mark, so I thought it would be fine (enter foreshadowing here…) Once my corral was released I was finally happy again. I was toward the front of my group so all I could see what wide open road in front of me. I tried to settle into a comfortable pace around 8:30/mile and enjoyed looking around at the monuments as I ran down the National Mall. And then… I caught up to the wave in front of me, and all of the waves before that one too. It was like a wall of people that I could not get past no matter how hard I tried. I ran my first mile in 8:40, more than 20 seconds off pace. But I tried not to worry because I knew I had 12 more miles ahead of me. I focused on finding space to get through the people and ran my second mile in 8:20. Better! I kept telling myself the crowd would be thinning soon. It usually does by mile 2/3 of a race like this.

Except it didn’t. Each mile after that was slower than the last. I can’t find my Garmin right now, but I know my third mile was 8:40 again, and my fourth was somewhere around 9:00. During my fourth mile, it was so crowded on the narrow city roads that my pace hit 10:00 at one point and I literally could not go any faster than that because I was stuck behind people. This is when I started getting mad. I knew my chances at getting a PR were gone. I was annoyed because this was not the race I had run last year and the year before. It was obvious that there were too many people for the course. It was insanely crowded for the first 4.5 miles. It wasn’t until this point that I actually wasn’t running right up against someone and had room to breathe. That is crazy! Even NYC wasn’t that crowded at that point in the race.

Anyway, I watched my pace creep up even after the crowd had thinned some because I just didn’t care anymore. I was annoyed and my attitude was terrible. I wasn’t having fun and I was mad that my last chance at a half marathon PR this spring was gone. Every time my watch beeped for another mile I got angry, so I eventually turned it off at mile 7. At this point I started walking whenever I felt like it. My stomach hurt because I was eating Gu instead of Honey Stingers (forgot to get them before the race), and I just didn’t care anymore.

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While I was running I could hear other runners around me having conversations about the same things that were bothering me about the race. As we progressed through the course one thing that was super noticeable was the lack of volunteers. Some of the water tables were vacant, leaving us to have to stop and pour our own water (really!?) and the ones that had volunteers at them were so crowded that the poor volunteers couldn’t keep up and were frazzled. I have never had to stop during a race and wait a full minute for a cup of water. Once again, it seemed like Rock & Roll registered more people that they had the capacity and resources for.

Walking...

Walking…

By mile 10 I was starting to be in pain. Even though it had only been 3 hours since nursing the baby, my boobs were extremely hard and my left one had a huge painful knot in it (thank you Domperidone- it’s been a long time since I’ve been engorged like that). I was wishing I had brought my phone so I could text Kevin, not that he could really come get me or anything. My boobs hurt when I walked, and they hurt when I ran. So I just tried to run so I could finish quicker and get back to the baby to feed him.

Where's Mommy?

Where’s Mommy?

I literally could not wait to be done with this race. While I was being a negative grump, my amazing husband and sweet baby boy were waiting for me at the finish.

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By the time I finished baby was passed out…

I finished in 2:07:09. That is 10 minutes slower than last year when I was 12 weeks pregnant. 16 minutes slower than my time in Myrtle Beach a month prior. 18 minutes slower than my PR. Wahhhh 😦

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After the race I tried to get through the finish area quickly because I just wanted to get away from all the people. I took my metal and put it in my pocket because I didn’t want to wear it. I didn’t take any food or water and just wanted to get out. I was in such a bad mood and was so hard on myself. Looking back on it now it’s really silly, but at the moment all I wanted to do was cry.

I didn’t have my phone and I never saw Kevin at the finish where he said he would be, so I had no idea how to find him. We hadn’t planned it out beforehand, which wasn’t smart, but I didn’t realize how big the race would be this year. I walked to the finish area to look for him, then to the family reunion area under S for my last name. I even went to where we stood last year spectating, thinking maybe he would be there. I couldn’t find him. More time was passing and my boobs were KILLING me. I finally went to the letter S in the reunion area, trying to send him telepathic messages to come find me there. It had been almost 30 minutes since I had finished at this point, and finally it dawned on me to ask someone if I could borrow their phone to call him (duh). I did and finally we were reunited.

I immediately started crying when I saw Kevin, both out of frustration from the race and pain from my boobs. He was so confused because all he knew was that it had taken me longer than we had expected. We went over to a grassy area where I could sit and nurse the baby. It was such a relief- nursing has never felt so good. I had to massage the hell out of my boobs to get the knots out, but I finally started to feel normal emotionally and physically again, as I explained to Kevin what happened. He tried to get me to eat something, but I didn’t feel like it. Again, I was being super hard on myself for no reason.

I finally snapped out of it when my friend Cynthia called me. She had finished the race too and gotten a PR. She was super happy and excited, and I was really truly happy for her too. It made me realize that even though I had a bad experience, not everyone did, and that I just need to move on from it. We met up with her and I finally put on my medal and let myself celebrate the accomplishment of running 13.1 miles.

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If the Myrtle Beach half marathon was an example of how all the elements of a race can come together perfectly, this race was the opposite. There were a lot of things that happened that were out of my control, but I didn’t control the one thing I could have- my attitude. I gave up mentally and let myself be upset and angry. Looking back on it now, I realize how silly that was. I know that every race doesn’t have to be a PR to be enjoyable and fun. I know that not every race is going to be perfect like Myrtle Beach was. I’m disappointed in myself for acting the way I did. I registered for the race because I love running- and somewhere along the way I forgot that.

My biggest fan :)

My biggest fan 🙂

With that being said, I think I am finished with the Rock & Roll race series, along with some of the other big ones as well (ahem, HOT CHOCOLATE races– terrible). This was my 5th Rock & Roll race, and they have changed a lot over the years. I feel like certain race series continue to get bigger and bigger, registering too many people than they can accommodate on the course and at aid stations. It’s like they are money hungry and just want to get as many people as they can, forgetting to pay attention to other details. I just don’t personally enjoy them as much as the smaller, locally run races like Myrtle Beach, Delaware, the Air Force Marathon, and some others I have done recently. I think there are some bigger name races that do it right, like the NYC Marathon and Marine Corps, but those are few and far between these days. I actually wrote a post last year about large vs. small races. If I’m going to pay money to race, I’d much rather do these types of races and have a more enjoyable experience. That’s not to say I won’t ever do a ‘big’ race again. I still want to do the Chicago and Disney Marathons, and some other big ones. I’m also already signed up for the Nike Women’s Half in April and the Divas Half in September. I just need to remember going into these races that there are going to be things I can’t control and I just need to accept that, and focus on what is in my control instead. I am determined to not ruin the experiences for myself, have a better attitude, and have FUN!

Since this race two weeks ago I have only run one time, and that was yesterday with the baby in the stroller. I wanted to wait until I WANTED to run again, rather than force myself to get out there. I felt like I was losing my love of running and that made me incredibly sad. Yesterday the mood finally struck me so I went out without my Garmin, and played fun music on the speaker of my phone, singing to the baby along the way. I stopped when I felt like it to play with the baby, took my time, and had an amazing 3.5ish mile run. It was so nice, and reminded me why I run in the first place.

I don’t have anything that I’m technically training for until this summer when I begin marathon training. I’m running a few 5Ks, a 10K, and a half with my friend (it’s her first one!), but I’m taking a relaxed approach and using this ‘break’ to learn how to run for enjoyment again. No pressure, no expectations, no speed work… just me, the road, the baby in the stroller occasionally. It’s time for a change.

Mom & Baby: 6 Months

6 months. Half a year! I cannot believe I have a 6 month old. It seems like such a big age!

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Baby

I have loved every day, every week, every month with baby K. However, this is by far my favorite age yet. He is just so much fun, and he is learning things so quickly. It’s amazing to watch him grow, develop, and explore the world around him in new ways.

One of his newest discoveries- his feet!

One of his newest discoveries- his feet!

Kevin took the baby to the pediatrician for his 6 month appointment last week. He weighed in at 15 pounds even (10th percentile) and 27.5 inches (90th percentile!). The doctor was very happy with his weight gain. He gained 23 ounces in the 21 days since his last appointment, and went from being in the 3rd percentile to the 10th.

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He is now in all 3-6 month clothing except for a few bigger 0-3 size onesies and jackets that still fit him. He is so tall that a lot of his pants are getting to be way too short, like in the picture below. He’s also in size 2 disposable diapers at night, we are cloth diapering the rest of the time.

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Here are the monthly comparison shots… 1 month to 6 months.

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This baby is such a little HAM! He loves smiling and laughing at the camera and everyone he comes in contact with.

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He is also super noisy. His babbling has changed this month and he’s now saying more consonants (rarara, dadada, bababa, nanana, mamama, yayaya), in addition to vowel sounds he’s been doing for a while (aaaaaaaaaaaa, ooooooo). He likes to shriek and scream and laugh. All. Day. Long.

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Probably the most exciting news this month is that we started to introduce solids. Our pediatrician gave us the go-ahead to start and recommended we go for fresh fruit and vegetables rather than cereals, in order to get the most out of it nutritionally. His first food was avocado. Since then we’ve been (mostly) doing the 3 day rule, where we have him eat the same food for 3 days before introducing a new one. In his 6th month he also had roasted sweet potato, banana, steamed carrots, and steamed broccoli. There has been a lot of trial and error (FYI- bananas stain light clothing!), it requires a bath every night, and we’ve learned he definitely likes some food better than others. Banana and avocado are his favorites so far. He was not a fan of broccoli!

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We are doing a combination of Baby Led Weaning where we put soft pieces of food on his tray and let him explore and feed himself, and feeding him some purees/mashed up food as well. He is able to pick up the food and put it in his mouth, but he really likes when we put food like avocado and banana in the mesh feeder. He has a hard time picking those foods up without it because they are so slimy. It’s so cute to see him hold it and suck the food right out of it.

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Speaking of eating, he is soooo distracted when he is breastfeeding or eating from a bottle these days. He stops all the time to look around or smile at us. It’s really cute but it takes him forever to finish!

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He’s still gnawing on anything and everything he can get his hands on and drooling a ton. I can see his teeth below the gums but they haven’t emerged yet.

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Sleep. Oh sleep. He sleeps through the night regularly (8:30ish to 5:30ish)… if he is in our room. He was doing fine in his crib until we couldn’t swaddle him anymore because he rolled over, and then he started teething, and his sleep became horrible. When he was in his crib he would wake up every hour. It was so, so hard to get up 5-6 times a night and then go to work the next day. So we caved and brought him back into our room and magically he starting sleeping through the night again. Truthfully, I don’t mind having him there and I think my husband likes it even more than I do. But I don’t want him to be in there forever and form bad sleep habits, so we’re looking into different forms of sleep training. I feel more comfortable trying something now that he is 6 months old. We’ll see what happens!

Taking a nap with daddy

Taking a nap with daddy

Other exciting news: he is now big enough to go in the main part of the stroller! And he LOVES IT! The first time we ran with him in there he was smiling and laughing the whole time, especially when daddy ran ahead and looked back at him. He thought it was so funny.

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He loves his toys. He’s obsessed with his exersaucer and anything that makes noise and/or lights up. He likes to pass his toys back and forth between both hands now, and he has become a pro at reaching for what we wants and getting it.

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He is not able to sit unassisted yet but likes practicing in the Boppy and his Mamas and Papas chair. Without support he will last for about 2 seconds before falling over.

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Loves: getting scared, being tickled (especially his armpits and feet), banging his hands on things, reading books and turning pages, the Paint Sparkles app on my phone that he ‘draws’ with, bananas, practicing standing up, chewing on everything

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Hates: hiccups, his pacifier (he just recently started refusing it), getting his face/nose wiped, his crib

He especially loves his Daddy!

He especially loves his Daddy!

Body

A lot to say this month! Still at my regular pre-pregnancy weight of 130 and feeling pretty good about my body at 6 months post partum.

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I have two body issues this month: the acne that comes around my period, and weird little red bumps called Keratosis Pilaris on the back of my arms and upper leg area that have developed post partum. I’ve actually had them for a while but kept forgetting to mention them. I looked it up and it seems like a lot of women get them after having a baby. I made an appointment with the dermatologist but they couldn’t see me until June! So I guess I’ll just have to deal with it until then.

Here is the comparison of some post partum photos. It shows week 1, month 1, month 3, and month 6 [click to enlarge]. Both my belly and my butt have shrunk, apparently!

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In other body news, there is a new development in breastfeeding this month. I’ve written a lot before about my major supply decrease due to stress at work and then my period returning. It got to the point where I was lucky if I could pump 6 ounces total a day- enough for 1 bottle- from pumping 3x at work and once in the middle of the night. It made me so sad to work so hard and watch my supply continue to go down, especially since I tried everything I could naturally to bring it back up.

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Lunchtime pump session…

After much thought and research, I started Domperidone on March 7th, about a week before Kevin turned 6 months old. Domperidone is a medication that treats nausea and even reflux in babies, but has the strange added side effect of increasing milk supply. There’s been some controversy over it, because the FDA put out a ban on it due of its ‘off-label’ use and some evidence that it can cause cardiac problems (only if taken intravenously). However, it is available from compounding pharmacies in the U.S. I talked to my doctor about it and he wrote me a prescription, but had difficulty getting it from the compounding pharmacy because it was a far drive and they had horrible hours. Since I had my doctor’s approval, I went ahead and ordered it from Canada. I’m taking 9 pills a day (3 pills 3x a day, a total of 90 mg) and within one week I had doubled my supply. It has now been another week and it keeps on climbing. Yesterday I pumped almost 14 ounces, a big difference from 2 weeks ago when I struggled to pump 6. In addition to that, I actually feel my boobs getting full more frequently, and the baby doesn’t cry when he’s finished breastfeeding because I’m finally satisfying him again.

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It took me a long time to take this step because obviously, I am not a person who likes to take medication. I wanted a natural birth, I never take painkillers like Tylenol and Advil, and I usually prefer the ‘natural’ way rather than the alternative. I told myself that this was my last attempt, and if it didn’t work I’d be fine with accepting that I can’t breastfeed like I want to. I didn’t have high expectations, so I was so excited when it actually worked. I’m so thankful that the baby is getting more of my milk again, plus the medicine costs less than formula which is a bonus.

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Mind

I just reread what I wrote last month about my mental state, and things are SO MUCH better now, thankfully. Kevin’s 6th month started with a trip to Myrtle Beach to visit my in-laws. It was so nice to get away for a long weekend, relax, and let my stress disappear.

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It was made even better by the fact that I had an awesome first post partum half marathon that left me feeling strong, physically and mentally.

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Another highlight of the month was finally going back to Pennsylvania to see my friends and family. We hadn’t been home since Christmastime, so it was so much fun to be home again. I loved being able to see my dad and sister, who got some quality time with the baby when they watched him while I went to my friend’s bridal shower. I also got to catch up with my amazing friends. Again, this trip just left me feeling so much better about life in general.

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Overall this month I feel a lot less stressed and worried. I’ve been able to relax and let go of a lot of things, and I’m feeling the weight lift off my shoulders. Things at work are getting better too, and I can see the light at the end of the tunnel… SUMMER VACATION in June 🙂 Kevin has, as always, been amazing through it all. He is my rock and I honestly have no idea what I would do without him.

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I love my big boy!

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Previous Post Partum posts:

Random Facts Friday 2

It’s Friday after 2 snow days and I’m feeling kind of scatterbrained, which means it’s time for another Random Facts Friday post!

1. I love reality TV. I don’t always have time to watch TV but when I do, I just want to watch shows that are entertaining and don’t make me think too hard- The Biggest Loser, Dancing with the Stars, the Kardashians, Jersey Shore… I could keep going. I am actually really embarrassed by that list.

2. I have totaled 3 cars in my lifetime. The first was the summer before my senior year in high school. I had an old Plymouth Sundance that didn’t have great tires and was driving in the pouring rain. I hydroplaned into a telephone pole. The second was during my freshman year of college. I was driving home for my grandpa’s funeral on Valentines Day and it was snowing. The roads were bad and everyone on the road was driving slowly, including me. I hit a patch of ice and my car spun around so that I was horizontal with the road. While I tried to get back to facing the right direction a car came speeding behind me and hit me on my passenger side, causing me to go off to the side in a ditch. The third time was two years ago when I was driving through my apartment neighborhood and a man pulled backwards out of his parking spot really fast without looking, slamming into my passenger side. Thankfully I was fine in all of these accidents. But it definitely makes me feel like a bad driver!

3. I love tequila. I love it in mixed drinks, margaritas, and even straight shots with lime and salt. It’s been a really long time since I’ve had it though. At our wedding reception Kevin took off my garter to the song “Tequila Makes Her Clothes Fall Off” and pretended to pull a little bottle of tequila out from under my dress. Then he drank it. Haha!

4. I never really learned how to swim until last year, when I finally swallowed my pride and signed up for lessons at my gym.

5. I really think that baby snot is grosser than baby poop. Although now that we are into solids I may be changing that opinion, based on what I’ve seen so far!

6. I really don’t like talking on the phone and making phone calls. I don’t know why. I’d rather talk in person or text or email.

7. I think I am a hypochondriac. I always think there is something wrong with me, and I worry about everything health related. I am pretty sure this is connected to my mom passing away from pancreatic cancer when I was 17. It was really unexpected and happened 10 months after diagnosis. Now I am paranoid and hate going to the doctor or hospitals.

8. I have a bad habit of leaving cabinets and doors open when I leave the room. I also leave lights on, which used to drive my dad crazy and now drives Kevin crazy too.

9. I am a clean freak when it comes to dirt and germs, but I’m actually a messy person in terms of clutter and keeping things organized around my house. To me, clutter isn’t “dirty” and I know where everything is that I need. Kevin is the same way. It only bothers me when it becomes too much, then I get annoyed and go on a big organizing/cleaning spree.

10. I am a very visual person. I can remember things photographically like notes I have written, or where to turn if I’m driving by the scenery and landmarks, rather than names of streets. I am also very good at remembering faces and things that people wore.

11. I am a huge list maker and calendar lover. My planner is my best friend, and everyday I make a general to-do list and a school one that has everything I need to do at work each day, I also keep a running weekly and monthly calendar in my planner, as well as a big family calendar in our kitchen.

12. Even when I was at my highest pregnancy weight (156), I still didn’t weigh as much as my highest weight ever (160), which I hit during my freshman year in college right before I started running. I want to do a flashback post soon to give you a glimpse of the old me!

13. Sometimes I think I have psychic ability, because I will think about a song while I’m in the car and it will come on the radio. Does this happen to anyone else?

14. I went to Penn State for college from 2004-2008 and had some of the best years of my life. And no, I don’t want to talk about the current events that have given my school a bad name. I will always be a proud Penn Stater!

Your turn! Tell me something random about you! Where did you go to college? Do you love lists, reality tv, and tequila? Are you messy like me? I want to hear it all!

Previous Random Facts Posts:

Day in the Life with a 5 Month Old

It’s time for another Day in the Life post! This was how our day went on Wednesday, February 27th, when Kevin was 5 1/2 months old.

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4:45 a.m. Baby wakes up to eat. This is very predictable these days. He wakes up anywhere between 4:15 and 5:00 a.m STARVING like he’s never eaten before. His appetite has been out of control lately!

5:05 a.m.  I finish breastfeeding him and hand him off to his dad, who feeds him a 4 oz. bottle of formula while I go back to sleep. Kevin and I try to share the nighttime/early morning duties. The baby is easily eating 5-6 oz. per feeding lately, and his first morning feeding is always the biggest after sleeping for a longer stretch. I don’t produce much breast milk anymore, so first thing in the morning he probably gets only 2-3 ounces total from me.

5:15 a.m. Baby is finished eating, so dad and him go back to sleep in our bed.

6:00 a.m. Kevin and I get up and start getting ready for the day. Baby is still sleeping peacefully.

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6:35 a.m. I finish getting ready and Kevin brings my breakfast up to me [banana and blueberry oatmeal with peanut butter] so I can eat next to the baby, who is still sleeping. In the morning, Kevin takes care of making breakfast for us, packing our lunches, preparing bottles for the day, and washing my pump parts, while I take care of the baby. Yes, he is an amazing husband! He also brings me my coffee, Mothers Milk tea, and a ton of pills (4 fenugreek + 3 blessed thistle for milk supply).

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6:45 a.m. Baby’s awake and full of smiles! I change his diaper and put him in a cloth one. He wears disposables at night.

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He loves touching the birds on the wall during diaper changes

6:50 a.m. Playtime in the Boppy while I finish my coffee. He loves to babble to me and play with toys. His new skill is passing toys from one hand to the other. He is always practicing this!

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6:55 a.m. And he poops… Of course! I wait a few minutes to make sure he is done and then do diaper change #2 of the day. I also change him into fresh clothes. I usually keep him in pajamas if he’ll be home with our babysitter all day because it’s just easier.

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7:10 a.m. I lay him down in his nursery to play and quickly spray out his cloth diaper.

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7:15 a.m. More playtime and babbling in the Boppy while I quickly down my coffee and tea and brush my teeth.

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7:30 a.m. Our babysitter arrives, so I talk to her for a few minutes before gathering my things and leaving for work. Kevin also leaves around this time.

7:38 – 8:00 a.m. Drive to work. This was a good commuting day! It usually takes me anywhere from 20 minutes to even an hour sometimes. Gotta love the traffic in the D.C. area.

8:02 a.m. Go into work, drop things off in my classroom, go to the bathroom, make copies, and talk to coworkers.

8:25 a.m. Time to pump! When I pump in my classroom I always lock my door and wear my cover in case of surprise intruders. I learned my lesson the hard way about this.

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8:40 a.m. Finish pumping. This is why I need to supplement with formula! Lately I’ve been producing only 1-2 ounces per pumping session. On this morning I pumped 1.5 ounces. Sad 😦 I use the bathroom one more time (I drink way too many liquids!) and then the kids arrive.

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8:45 – 10:00 a.m. Teach, teach, teach.

10:00 – 10:45 a.m.  Planning period. I eat a lactation cookie, which are amazing! Then I go meetings and try to get some work done.

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10:45 a.m. – 12:20 p.m. More teaching.

12:20 – 12:50 p.m. I pump while attempting to each lunch at the same time. Kevin packed me a hummus and avocado sandwich, carrots, 2 hard boiled eggs, and more fenugreek & blessed thistle pills. Plus a lot of water! When I pump this time I get a little bit more than the morning- 1.75 ounces. After lunch I run to get my class and take them to recess.

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1:10 – 3:30 p.m. Teach, teach, teach!

3:30 p.m. The kids are dismissed and I get a few things done in my room. I also eat another lactation cookie 🙂

3:50 p.m. Leave work and begin my commute home. I often pump in the car on my drive so that I don’t have to stay even later at work. It wasn’t hard to do with my hands-free bra once I got the hang of it. On my drive home I pumped another 1.5 ounces, bringing my total for the work day to 4.75 ounces. Not even enough for a full bottle the next day. Sigh…

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4:25 p.m. Arrive home happy that my afternoon commute wasn’t as bad as usual. It can take as little as 25 minutes to as much as an hour and a half to get home from work. I only live 17 miles from my school but I have to take either route 1 or 95 South to get there, along with every other commuting person that lives in Northern Virginia! When I get home the baby is awake and happily playing on his activity mat with our babysitter and her 2 year old son.

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4:45 p.m. After playing for a little while, I bring him into the kitchen so I can start making dinner. Luckily, he’s happy to sit in his bouncer with his rings and keys. Sometimes I don’t get so lucky! On the menu this night was a veggie stir fry with roasted chickpeas and brown rice.

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5:30 p.m. I take a break from making dinner to change a BAD poopy diaper. It requires a change of clothes as well.

5:45 p.m. Kevin arrives home right as dinner is ready. We eat!

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6:00 p.m. I feed the baby and then Kevin gives him a 4 oz. bottle of formula.

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6:15 p.m. While Kevin is feeding the baby his bottle I go downstairs to put cloth diapers in the wash for the rinse cycle, then come back up to relax a bit and catch up on the Biggest Loser (love that show!)

6:30 p.m. Baby falls asleep. He has gotten in the habit of taking a longer evening nap. I’m not sure if that means we should put him to bed earlier or not? While he sleeps I go back downstairs to add detergent to the washing machine and run the diapers through their wash cycle.

7:00 p.m. Start grading a huge stack of papers (I am soooo behind!), and continue watching the Biggest Loser.

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7:30 p.m. We wake up the baby after he has been sleeping for an hour so that he will sleep that night. I change his diaper, then we give him some avocado. This was the third day that we gave him solids, and his third day of avocado. Our pediatrician recommended doing each food for 3 days before introducing a new one, to watch for any allergic reactions. The first two nights of avocado went well Baby Led Weaning style. He picked up the pieces and put them right into his mouth. However, he had a hard time holding them because they were slippery, so this night we put the pieces into our mesh feeder to try that. He was not having it! I will write more about introducing solids later, it has been a lot of fun!

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7:45 p.m. Bath time! We have started nightly baths as part of the baby’s bedtime routine and it has really made a difference in his quality of sleep so far. It’s also necessary since he gets messy from eating solid food. Kevin gives him a baby massage too, which he LOVES. He smiles and goes into a calm trance during his massage each night 🙂

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8:10 p.m. We put him in his pajamas, turn on his noise machine, read him a book, and then I nurse him. We try to do his bedtime routine together as a family.

8:35 p.m. Baby goes down in his crib easily- almost too easily. I have a feeling he will wake up again soon. I quickly run down to the basement to put the cloth diapers in the dryer then clean up a bit on the main floor while Kevin does dishes.

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He likes to sleep on his side lately…

8:55 p.m. And he is awake! I knew it was too good to be true. He has been waking up a few times before he falls asleep for a longer stretch. All I had to do was put his pacifier back in and rub his back, and he was asleep again within a minute. Then Kevin and I get ready for bed, and I take more fenugreek and blessed thistle pills.

9:20 p.m. We are in bed and fall asleep right away!

11:30 p.m. Baby is awake. Sometimes he’ll sleep straight through until 4 or 5 a.m., but most of the time he gets up at least once a night and wants to eat or wants comfort. I nurse him then Kevin changes his diaper. I normally pump in the middle of the night to get extra for the next day, but on nights that he wakes up and eats I don’t do this.

12:05 a.m. Baby is back to sleep and so are we.

4:45 a.m. Just like clockwork, baby is up again and ready to eat and start another day.

And what was baby doing while I was at work? Here are the notes our babysitter wrote for us.

  • 7:45 a.m. – Bottle (5.5 oz. breast milk)
  • 9:00 a.m. – Diaper change/wet
  • 9:05 – 10:15 a.m.- Nap
  • 10:15 a.m. – Bottle (5 oz. formula), diaper change/wet
  • 10:30 a.m. – 1:00 p.m. – Playtime, jumperoo, went for a walk outside
  • 1:00 p.m. – Bottle (5 oz. formula), diaper change/poop
  • 2:00 – 3:15 p.m. – Nap
  • 3:30 p.m. – Bottle (5 oz. formula), diaper change/wet
  • 4:25 p.m. – Mommy’s home!

24 Hour Totals

  • # of feedings: 8 + some avocado… hungry boy!
  • # of diaper changes: 10 (cloth requires more changes than disposables)
  • # of outfit changes: 3
  • # of hours of sleep for mom: ~8 hours of broken sleep
  • # of hours of sleep for baby: ~13 hours
  • # of hours spent nursing: ~1 hour 5 minutes
  • # of hours spent pumping: ~1 hour
  • # of formula ounces eaten: 23 ounces
  • # of breast milk ounces eaten: 5.5 ounce bottle + about 5-6 more ounces directly from me

Previous “Day in the Life” posts:

Letting Go of “All or Nothing”

Lately I have had so many ideas for posts I want to write. I keep them all in a note on my phone and until now, I haven’t had the time to actually follow through with them. But now that I’m focusing on taking care of myself, I’m making it a point to finally get my thoughts down. One of my favorite commenters Becky wrote on that post that she hopes blogging is something that still makes me happy, so that she can continue to hear from me. Truthfully, blogging DOES make me very happy. I love this little blog and all of the memories I’m able to preserve by writing it. I realized that I want to make sure I blog about things that are on my mind because I enjoy it and its therapeutic for me.

So with all that said, one of the things I have been thinking a lot about lately is how much motherhood has changed me. Obviously it’s changed me in a ton of ways, but one of those is my former “all or nothing” attitude. Being very type A, I used to have a hard time accepting doing things halfway or inconsistently. In my mind, if I couldn’t commit to it 100% it wasn’t worth committing to it at all. Looking back this was such a silly mentality to have. I have learned to let go of it over the last 5 1/2 months since having Kevin. It hasn’t been easy to make this change, but by doing it I have saved myself a lot of stress and worry over nothing!

Here are some of the ways I have changed my mindset from “all or nothing” to a healthier balance!

Running. It used to kill me when I wasn’t able to follow my training plans exactly. These days I am running once a week. Yup, just once! I am far too busy and far too sleep deprived to run more than that at the moment. And you know what? That’s okay right now. There are days when I could run but I don’t because I want to spend time with my family. I love running a lot, but I love my family more!

Breastfeeding. Before having Kevin I was 100% committed to breastfeeding exclusively. I knew lots of moms use formula, including my own, but I didn’t see it as an option for our family. Then I went back to work, struggled with my supply, and the baby wasn’t gaining enough weight. After many tears I couldn’t keep up with his demand anymore, so we started supplementing. I realized that any milk of mine that the baby gets Is extremely good for him, and that breastfeeding doesn’t have to be all or nothing.

Cloth Diapering. I have been loving our cloth diapers, but sometimes (like when we are out and overnight) I don’t feel like dealing with them. So we use disposables instead, and I don’t care. Gasp!

Sleep. We were doing really well with baby Kevin’s sleep around the 3 month mark. He was sleeping though the night and we were all well rested. Then 4 months hit and he entered his sleep regression phase. Then we moved him to his crib and it was a tough transition for him. Once he finally got used to it, he rolled over and we had to stop swaddling him. Another tough transition. And then on top of it all he started teething. So I have learned that in order for all of us to get any sleep, baby has to end up back in our room most nights. Yes, we could sleep train him but this is working for us and we don’t mind. Sometimes he sleeps in his crib, sometimes we co-sleep. No big deal!

Solids. Yes, we started them before 6 months (5 1/2 to be exact) and we are doing a combination of Baby Led Weaning style and parent-led feeding of soft food and purees (skipping rice cereal and oatmeal as recommended by our pediatrician). We like experimenting with both. I don’t see anything wrong with not committing to one or the other.

“Healthy” Eating. I am way more relaxed about my food choices now. Don’t get me wrong, I still love my veggies and a big salad, but I don’t beat myself up if I have (a whole bag of) chips or (a bunch of) cookies. Life goes on!

I am still working on adopting this attitude in some areas of my life, especially when it comes to my mood. I am learning that a day doesn’t have to be perfect to be a “good”‘day, and that even on tough days I can try to find a positive. I’m also learning how important it is to be flexible as a mother, and follow those “mommy instincts” about what is right, rather than what a book or some “expert” says. It is so freeing to change my thinking in this way!

How about you? Are you an “all or nothing” person or a “little bit of everything” person? If you are a mother, how has motherhood changed you?

Myrtle Beach Half Marathon

The last time I ran 13.1 miles was last June in Seattle. I was 26 weeks pregnant with 17 extra pounds on my body. I finished in 2:24:27, an average pace of 11:02/mile. After that race I was hopeful to be able to regain my speed and fitness after baby, but I wasn’t sure if I ever would.

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It is now 8 months later and my baby is 5 months old. I was finally able to run 13.1 miles again [2 weekends ago], this time in Myrtle Beach, minus those 17 extra pounds. I ran the same distance more than 30 minutes faster, with a time of 1:51:38, an average pace of 8:31/mile. I finished less than 3 minutes shy of my half marathon PR, set almost two years ago (1:48:55). Best of all, I felt AMAZING!

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Let’s start at the beginning…

We had been planning to come to Myrtle Beach for my first post-baby race for a long time. Kevin’s parents live there now, so we thought it would be a great time to visit them and also make my comeback to long distance races. Originally, I had planned to run the full marathon. I signed up for it and started training, but then I fell and hurt my knee, which forced me to take almost a month off from running. Losing that whole month of training was crucial for me, and I decided to drop down to the half instead. I was still super excited for the race though, and looking back now I’m very happy I ended up running the half rather than the full. It was just the confidence booster I needed to kick off my post partum long distance racing.

We headed to Myrtle Beach on Thursday evening after work. It is about a 6 hour drive from where we live in Virginia, and it ended up being a perfect time to leave because the baby slept practically the whole time. We arrived around 1 a.m. after a few stops for gas and to feed/change the baby. We said our hellos and then passed out.

The next morning we got up, relaxed and hung out with Kevin’s parents. It was so nice to be able to have a leisurely morning. Plus the warm breeze coming through the open screen door felt amazing!

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Eventually we made our way to the expo. His family lives in Surfside Beach, which is only about 15-20 minutes from where all the race festivities were happening. So convenient! The expo was small, which was to be expected since the race was on the smaller side as well. I think there was a total of 5,000 runners between the full and the half. We still had a good time walking around with the baby and Kevin’s parents and getting our free swag 🙂

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After the expo Kevin, the baby and I all walked around Broadway at the Beach for  a little bit. While we were walking we saw a bunch of kids run by, followed by a huge crowd of more kids and their parents. We realized it was the one mile Family Fun Run – another race weekend event. It was so cute seeing all the little kids run by. I could totally see us doing this as a family in a few years.

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We were only at Broadway for about 30 minutes before we needed to meet up with Kevin’s family again for dinner at Mellow Mushroom. Whenever we go to Myrtle Beach we try to go here. Kevin loves the beer and we both love the food. We like to eat pizza before a race, and I appreciate how they offer vegan cheese on their pizzas, since the baby has a sensitivity to dairy and so do I. I don’t take any chances on the night before a race. Can’t risk having tummy problems! The food was great and it was the perfect pre-race meal. While we were at dinner Kevin’s mom also surprised me by giving me a shirt that I liked at the expo. I was so excited to wear it for the race.

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After dinner we went back home and went to bed early. We wanted to try to get a good nights sleep (if that is possible with a 5 month old), since the race started at 6:30 a.m.! Thankfully, the baby had a good night and we all woke up to our alarm at 4:00 feeling pretty good!

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I ate some oatmeal quickly and we were on our way. I used to just have a Clif Bar or Honey Stinger Bar before a race, but now I have found that I need more. I thought oatmeal would be too heavy, but it’s actually perfect and provides me with a lot more energy, so I have been eating it before my long runs.

We made the drive to the start and I pumped quickly, to make sure I was totally empty- necessary when you are about to run for 2 hours! Then we bundled up the baby (it was a little chilly at 6 a.m.) and walked over to where the race started.

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I didn’t have a lot of time before the start, so I quickly used the bathroom, kissed my boys goodbye, and jumped into the crowd of runners. While I waited, I thought about my race plan. My training hadn’t been great, so I didn’t expect a PR. But I also wanted to try to push myself to see what I could do. I decided to go out around a pace that would get me to PR (about 8:18/mile in order to run under a 1:48:55) and hang on as long as I could. I wanted to see how long I could last at that pace, so I knew what type of work I had to do before my next half marathon on March 16th. I considered it to be a little test. With the pressure off, I was ready to go!

The race started and we were off and running… in the dark! Since we started at 6:30 a.m. it was still pretty dark out, which was strange. I had never started a race before the sunrise. Since it was a smaller race, it wasn’t too difficult to get to a spot that wasn’t overcrowded with people. I found an open path and got into my groove. I ran my first mile in 8:22, almost right on pace. My second was 8:07, which I realized was too fast, so I pulled it back a bit. It was hard to do though, because I felt great and I loved the course, which was basically a big out-and-back loop that was super flat.

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I settled into a more consistent pace that was easier to maintain, ranging between 8:14-8:22 minute miles. I tried to focus on not expending too much energy and remembering to fuel correctly. Even though I didn’t feel hungry, I ate my first half pack of Stingers after 25 minutes. I have made the ‘fueling too late’ mistake too many times and I did not want that to happen today! I ate a half pack every 20 minutes after that. I didn’t carry water, but I knew there were water stops every two miles. At times I wished I had my own, but it was fine because they had water in HUGE cups that held a ton and were easy to drink out of. The first few miles went by so quickly. All of a sudden we were at mile 5 and heading into a shopping area to do a loop before heading back the way we came.

By this point Kevin’s mom had come to the start/finish area to meet Kevin and the baby. She scored a great spot by the finish line and got to see the first two men fighting it out to win the race. It was a close one!

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Kevin left the baby with his mom and ran down to meet me on the course. I knew I would see him around mile 11, and as we exited the shopping area at mile 7.5 and headed back his way I kept that in my mind. It helped me to know that he would be there waiting. Around mile 9, I started to not be able to keep the pace I had been running before. I tried to keep it up, but I watched my pace slowly climb higher and higher. Honestly, I was shocked that I had made it to mile 9 running as fast as I was, so I was happy!

The tenth mile was a little slower than the last, and so was the eleventh. By now we were running on a street that ran parallel to the beach, so every time I started to feel tired I looked over and the beach took my mind off of it. I passed mile 11 where there was a radio playing the Justin Bieber song “Beauty and a Beat.” As embarrassing as I am to admit this, I LOVE running to that song! It was just what I needed to hear and perked me up. Finally at mile 11.5 I saw Kevin and he jumped in to run with me. I told him how the race had gone so far and that I was slowing down. When my watch beeped for mile 12 it was slower again, but I was still running sub-9 minute miles. I knew I wasn’t going to PR, but to my surprise I was going to come close.

The last mile was not easy, but Kevin kept talking to me which helped. I reminded myself how awesome it was to run with him again. We hadn’t run together as just the two of us since the morning my water broke almost 6 months ago! I started hearing the finish line music and my watch beeped as I hit mile 13. I saw the finish once I turned a corner and tried my best to sprint to it. I remember thinking, thank God I’m not running the full! I was ready to be done and start my celebration!

  • Mile 1 – 8:22
  • Mile 2 – 8:07 <– got too excited!
  • Mile 3 – 8:14
  • Mile 4 – 8:19
  • Mile 5 – 8:18
  • Mile 6 – 8:22
  • Mile 7 – 8:22
  • Mile 8 – 8:21
  • Mile 9 – 8:31 <– starting to lose steam
  • Mile 10 – 8:43
  • Mile 11 – 8:49
  • Mile 12 – 8:53
  • Mile 13- 9:03

Kevin’s mom was waiting at the finish line to capture us coming through…

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And in a time of 1:51:38, I crossed the finish line of my first post-partum half marathon!

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I felt amazing and completely spent. I couldn’t believe how close I came (2 1/2 minutes) from getting a PR. While I don’t think it was the result of dedicated training, I know that my body is stronger post-pregnancy. I’m actually planning to write a post about how pregnancy and motherhood has changed my body and my running for the better. However, I also think that this was a race where everything came together perfectly- the course was flat and fast, the weather and temperature was perfect, my stomach felt great, I fueled myself well, I had no serious aches or pains… these are all things that have gotten in the way of me having a good race before. I got lucky, and ran an amazing race as a result.

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The baby was passed out through the whole thing…

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Eventually, after getting some food and walking around, he woke up and was all smiles. I was so happy to see him, and couldn’t stop thinking about how the last time I ran a half marathon he was inside me!

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Maybe someday he will run a race with me and get his own medal 🙂

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After the race we went to breakfast at Eggs Up Grill, one of our favorite restaurants in Surfside. Then we went back to Kevin’s parents’ house where I showered (isn’t the post race shower amazing?!), and napped for 3 glorious hours with the baby. It was AMAZING!

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Since the race was on Saturday and we weren’t leaving until Monday, we still had a lot of time in Myrtle Beach after the race was over. The rest of our trip was spent relaxing some more, spending time with family, eating [a lot], enjoying some drinks, napping as much as possible, and accepting the help of an eager grandma who was willing to take care of everything baby related 🙂

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On our way back home...

On our way back home at South of the Border…

We had such an amazing time in Myrtle Beach. I already can’t wait to return to run the full next year. I’m excited to see myself get stronger as I continue to make my comeback 🙂