Tag Archives: Family

Firecracker 5K

I’m really excited to write a recap of this race, even though it happened almost 3 weeks ago! On the 4th of July I ran the Firecracker 5K in my hometown in Pennsylvania, while there visiting family and friends for the long holiday weekend.

Screen Shot 2016-07-23 at 9.48.54 PM

I was nervous to run this race because I have been focusing on longer distances for over a year now. After having Kyler, I started training for the Richmond Half in November where I got a 5 minute PR, then the Myrtle Beach Marathon in March where I got a 13 minute PR. Then I took it easier for a while before getting back into marathon training again. It had been two years since I really pushed myself in a short and fast race. In fact, my previous 5K PR was set at another 4th of July race in 2014, shortly before getting pregnant again. I ran a 21:55, super fast for me, and I thought it would be a LONG time since I was able to break that – if ever!

One issue I have always had with short races (or all races, really) is going out too fast. I’ve been working hard on fixing this with progression runs, and fast finishes on some easy and long runs. This has helped train me both physically and mentally to start slower and finish fast and strong. I have found that it’s easier to do this during training though, and takes a TON of patience and discipline to do this during an actual race with adrenaline pumping!

I knew I needed to maintain a pace faster than 7:04 to get a new PR, but I wasn’t really sure if that was possible. After a pep talk from a running buddy and a trip to the port-a-potty I finally felt ready to run. My plan was to start at a 7:00 pace and try to drop it each mile. However, I knew the route well and I knew there was going to be a couple of good sized hills on the out-and-back course. I was up for the challenge!

As I waiting at the start line I got the best surprise – I saw my dad and his girlfriend on the sidelines! I had mentioned the race to him, and while he always supports my running he has only come out to a few races. I was so excited to see him and it really helped to settle my nerves.

After an amazing singing of the National Anthem we were off! I made sure to smile for my favorite race  photographer, my dad 🙂

JHA_6952

I settled nicely into a comfortable 7:00 pace. It didn’t feel like I was working hard at all and I was so tempted to push it, but tried my best to be patient. I like to imagine myself banking the energy for later in the race when I know I’ll need it. When you are used to training for longer distances, a 5K can seem deceivingly short and easy. It is NOT easy! The short and fast races hurt, but they hurt more if you go too fast at the beginning. I tried to remind myself of that during the first mile. There was also a hill here, which slowed me down some too. I told myself I had plenty of time left and not to worry about the pace quite yet. I ended up with an exact split of 7:00 for my first mile.

  • Mile 1 – 7:00 

During the second mile we ran downhill, then slightly uphill, then turned around to run slightly downhill, then uphill again. Whew! I started to increase my effort here and push more on the uphills, then let gravity help me back down. I passed the retirement home where I worked for 6 years in high school and on college breaks, as well as lots of spectators, including some that I recognized. That helped take my mind off of the hills and my faster pace.

  • Mile 2 – 6:56

After seeing my mile 2 split, I knew I would PR if I could just maintain that pace. I ran up the last part of the big uphill and then made my way back down. The rest of the course was downhill or flat, which helped a ton, but it was getting warm and was very humid and I was feeling it! Once I crested the hill I started to increase my effort level more. I really wanted to finish strong, but that last mile in a 5K is TOUGH! It feels like it lasts forever! I kept pushing and telling myself it would be over soon. My mile 3 split popped up and I was shocked – 6:44 was my fastest mile ever in a race, and I did it at the end of a 5K!

  • Mile 3 – 6:44

As  I neared the finish line I saw my dad again. I also saw the time on the clock which was just over 21 minutes. I was so shocked and couldn’t believe I actually ran that fast!

JHA_7011

  • Final .10 – 6:16 pace
  • Finish Time – 21:14 (6:50/mile)

I was so proud of myself for the smart race I ran. It boosted my confidence a ton and showed me that those fast finish workouts and all my training is paying off, even in shorter distances. I couldn’t believe that I beat my PR from two years before by 40 seconds!

IMG_5333

JHA_7045

One of things I love about races in the Philadelphia region is that they usually have amazing post-race refreshments like soft pretzels and water ice. OMG. I was in heaven.

IMG_5336

When I was growing up here I was pretty much the most non-athletic person ever, so it felt really good to come home and run my fastest 5K ever on streets that hold so many memories for me. I ended up being the 6th woman overall but 4th in my age group. There were some super fast ladies running!

13620010_10111093267948994_3099859274557371420_n

The rest of my holiday was spent relaxing by the pool, eating delicious food and drinking yummy drinks with some of my best friends in the entire world. It was definitely a day that made my mind, body, and soul happy 🙂

Kyler’s 1st Birthday

As of May 22nd, my baby boy is officially 1! It is definitely very bittersweet to think about. On the one hand, I love watching him grow and develop new skills, and seeing his little personality emerge. But on the other hand, I’m 99% sure he is my last baby, and part of me wants him to stay this little forever.

13221711_10110814437442564_5083282687339219738_n

As his birthday approached I also felt really sad, because our family situation is not at all how I envisioned it being a year after Kyler’s birth, or ever. When my marriage suddenly fell apart this past January, I had hoped we could keep things civil enough to still do things like birthdays together even after separating/divorcing. However, I quickly realized that was not going to be possible – at least not right now. The last 4 months of Kyler’s first year of life already have a black cloud over them. I feel like they have just been a blur because of everything else that has been going on. I did not want to spend his birthday celebration around people who make me angry and sad. I wanted to spend it with the people who love us unconditionally and who have been supportive no matter what. So Kevin and I had separate birthday parties for Kyler. He actually took them for the first time overnight on Friday, had a party with his friends and family on Saturday, and then I got them back early on Sunday morning. I knew it would be a very hard weekend for me since I hate being away from my kids, especially for an extended time like that. So I invited some of my friends and family down from Pennsylvania (and even all the way from Oregon!) to spend the weekend with me, and we had a nice, small party for Kyler on Sunday – his actual birthday!

13265907_10110807301872304_5341373731714961681_n

The pre-party crew that arrived on Saturday!

I am so thankful that I had a house full of my closest friends and family to help me celebrate my sweet and happy baby boy’s birthday. It truly made all the difference in helping me stay positive and focus on the people who love and support me rather than the people who don’t. I wanted to share some photos from the party that were taken by my dad. We kept it sweet and simple. I ordered food from Wegmans, my friend Cynthia made cupcakes, and I did a little “Oh the Places You’ll Go” theme, incorporating the bright colors that are in Dr. Seuss books, quotes, and even a copy of the book that everyone signed and wrote wishes in for Kyler. I made his smash cake myself and reused a lot of decorations I already had from little Kevin’s past birthday parties. Simple and easy!

Here are some photos from our special day!

DSC04165

DSC04179

DSC04547

DSC04543

I cannot thank my family and friends for making the trip down to see us. It was a very special day, and a great way to kick off the second year of my sweet boy’s life! I will be writing a full update on both Kyler and myself at 12 months and what’s going on in our lives now, hopefully over the weekend.

13221091_10110763867480174_5895316072415792187_n

Happy Birthday Kyler James! I love you!

Mother’s Day 5K

Mother’s Day this year was… different. That’s for sure. It was definitely not relaxing. There was no pampering, breakfast in bed or sleeping in. I did get a card, a bottle of wine and some chocolate, which I was not expecting. But other than that, it was really just like any other day lately. Busy, crazy, fun, amazing, exhausting… all rolled into one!

13139117_10110727679546084_8503242683214670758_n

It’s no secret that I’ve been forced into this role as a single mom when I did not want to be.  But rather than feel sorry for myself and compare my Mother’s Day to others that I saw all over social media, I decided to take initiative and plan a memorable, awesome day with my boys. After all, isn’t that what this holiday is truly all about? Spending time with and enjoying the little ones that made you a mommy?

The night before, I signed up for a small local Mother’s Day 5K that I knew some of my friends in my local Moms Run This Town group were running. I have never raced with my double BOB stroller before, so I thought this would be the perfect opportunity. Running + my boys = happiness to me.

13178641_10110729572652284_6743609210193194512_n

Since I was running with the stroller, I didn’t have very high expectations for the race. I knew whatever time I finished in would be a new kind of PR for me, a double stroller PR 🙂 Plus, I had a feeling Kevin would want to get out of the stroller and run with me at some point.  I figured I’d push myself hard until he asked to get out and then take it from there.

13095886_10110729572592404_1227143132271204102_n

I had never done a race organized by this group before, but I have run in the area many, many times. I knew the course would be on a paved path next to the road, which was wide but still pretty tight while running with a stroller around others. I really didn’t want to start all the way in the back of the pack. There is kind of an unwritten rule (and actually written in some races) that stroller runners are supposed to start behind everyone else, and I totally understand why that is. But I really didn’t want to have to weave around people with a giant stroller when I could start closer to the front and not be in anyone’s way. So I positioned myself up front and pushed hard as soon as the starting gun went off.

The race began with a nice uphill out of the park, where a photographer was perfectly positioned to capture how hard it felt!

IMG_0520

After that we did a short out-and-back segment, that had another nice hill. Since I knew the course, I knew that would be the hardest part of the race. The rest of it would be relatively flat with a few small hills. My first mile came in at 8:11 pace, which I was very happy with since I was hoping to stay around 8:20 average. As I predicted, starting up front was a lot better because I wasn’t in anyone’s way and didn’t have to weave. It was perfect!

I started to feel the weight of the stroller during the second mile, even though it was mostly flat. It was also warming up quickly which made it feel that much harder. My second mile came in at 8:20, and right as it beeped Kevin asked to get out and run with me. YES PLEASE! I was more than ready for a little break.

The thing about running with a 3 1/2 year old is that they get distracted. A lot. They don’t run in straight lines. At all. So our mile together was a lot of stopping and starting, looking at the river next to us, looking at the squirrels and birds, almost running into other people (sorry!). But ultimately I LOVED running with my boy. He even totally wiped out at one point and just got back up and kept going. He’s the best.

He hopped back in the stroller to ride for about a minute or two, then decided he wanted to run through the finish line all by himself. He jumped back out and booked it to the end. We crossed just under 30 minutes, an average pace of 9:31!

13177854_10110729572717154_743413232017746686_n

13151871_10206332037641687_6717998136171722958_n

Running through the finish line with both of my boys was an amazing feeling. It made me so thankful and proud to be their mommy and get to spend the day with them in this way.

 

13133395_10110729588086354_7602316057163811064_n

After we crossed a volunteer looked at our bib and told us we’d have to wait to get a medal later. Apparently since I had signed up within 24 hours of the race I wasn’t guaranteed one, and they wanted to wait to see how many were left at the end. Kevin was really disappointed and got very sad that he didn’t get a medal. A man nearby noticed and came over to us to give Kevin his medal. I almost burst into tears. It was so sweet and thoughtful, and Kevin just lit up with pride when he gave it to him.

13139004_10110729572876834_1585892808753888076_n

Words cannot describe how much I love these two!

13178986_10110729572886814_1256460904737816431_n

After the race, we cooled down with some playground time and lunch. It truly was the perfect solo Mother’s Day. Kyler had fun crawling around and Kevin showed his muscles off to everyone at the park 🙂

Life is far from easy right now. In fact, it’s the hardest it’s ever been. But these two help me keep everything in perspective. They are the reason for everything I do and I love them so much!

The Great Train Race 2016

It’s about time I caught up on some blog posts! The school year is winding down, I am falling more into a routine as a single mom, and while it’s still very hard it’s becoming more manageable. Through it all, I’m still finding time to do some really fun things with my boys, including the children’s Great Train Race in downtown Fredericksburg on May 1st.

Screen Shot 2016-05-28 at 9.34.36 PM

Last year, Kevin and I participated in the quarter mile Caboose Run just a couple weeks before Kyler was born, and we had a blast. It was a super hot day, but Kevin did great. A quarter mile was perfect for his age at the time (2.5) and his attention span (0). Since then, he’s really taken an interest in running and has increased his distance and speed some. He can run up to a mile, but I decided he should step up the George Washington half mile race this year.

13095767_10110687678877744_6633295859364046747_n

Look how much he’s grown!

The race started mid-morning like last year, but unlike last year which was very warm and sunny, it was cold and POURING rain! That’s May in Virginia for you, totally unpredictable. We got there a little early and waited in the car to avoid getting too soaked and cold before the race began. Even despite the weather, there were tons of enthusiastic kids out and ready to run the quarter mile, half mile, and mile races.

The race started right on time at 11 AM, and Kevin was MORE than ready to go. He ran holding my hand at first which was so sweet, but once the crowd thinned out he got a little more comfortable and let go.

13103445_10110688828698494_7489219100194401661_n

Right after the race started the rain picked up even more. I wasn’t sure what he would do but he just smiled and laughed the whole time, and kept looking up at me in disbelief that we were running in the rain. It made me so happy.

Screen Shot 2016-05-03 at 10.00.11 PM

We made a u-turn around the halfway point to run to the finish line, and he started to slow down a bit. The rain was getting in his eyes, but he was still either smiling or sticking out his tongue to catch the rain 🙂

13139311_10110688828723444_3973205907340528983_n

Screen Shot 2016-05-03 at 9.59.30 PM

Right before the end of the race, I unknowingly took almost the same picture as last year, with just a few differences. Kev has grown, my belly has shrunk, and totally opposite weather! One thing remains the same though – the happiness and pride that I had watching my little boy run his heart out!

13124489_10110689386201254_8022720598325857276_n

We ran past the finish line, Kevin collected his medal, and then he immediately asked to do it again!

13091897_10110688828818254_3466004294223999206_n

One disappointing thing about the race compared to last year (which was totally out of anyone’s control) was the weather kept us from enjoying the post-race party this time. We took a few quick photos and listened to a song or two, but then we headed out to get dry and warm. Hopefully next year’s weather will be better!

13092081_10110688828858174_3299714232003936648_n

I wore my Garmin just for fun to see how long it took us to run the half mile, and I was actually very impressed with his pace! Not bad for a 3 1/2 year old!

13087796_10110688828972944_8955384375121049852_n

I really love being able to make such special memories with my kids, and it’s just a bonus that it happened to involve something I also love very much – running! I hope to make The Great Train Race a yearly tradition for a long time.

Life Update

12743551_10110210039421044_4336606126160636075_n

Okay, deep breaths! I think I am ready to talk a little bit about what has been going on in my life lately. As I have vaguely mentioned in past posts, this has been a rough time for me. I had to take a step back from blogging because I have always tried to be very honest during the last 5 years since I started Run Inspired. I didn’t know how to write about my life, my family, and my running without writing about what was going on. It was honestly hard to write my training recaps and about the marathon, and Kyler’s monthly updates, because everything was being affected by something I didn’t feel ready to talk about yet.

It has been a very difficult start to the new year. A couple weeks into 2016, things started to change in my household. My running got put WAY on the back burner, as seen in my training updates. I started really struggling to get my work done at school and within my coaching business. Certain people became absent from my pictures and my posts on social media. The reason for all of this was that my marriage suddenly fell apart. Kevin and I are now separated and he no longer lives with us. It all happened very quickly and left me feeling extremely broken. I don’t want to go into the details of what happened, but it has been devastating and heartbreaking on multiple levels.

I have a lot of extremely raw emotions that come and go as I work through this grieving process. It has been a roller coaster that goes up and down, between sadness, disappointment, anger, hope, hopelessness, exhaustion… and so on. Then in the middle of all of this I had to go run a marathon, and it was one of the most defining moments of my life. It was so much more to me than just a race. It was a chance for me to show my strength, independence and resilience. To show that I can do hard things, and that good things do come to those who work hard, stay positive, and don’t give up. It helped give me some of the strength and clarity that I needed to move forward.

Making the choice to continue to love, trust, and respect others when they have not given that to me in return has been the hardest thing I have ever had to do. But at the end of the day, I know that I need to do that for myself and more importantly my boys, to show them what it means to take the high road and to have good character. “Forgiveness doesn’t excuse the behavior. Forgiveness prevents their behavior from destroying your heart.” I refuse to let the actions of others destroy my heart.

Screen Shot 2016-03-25 at 7.54.55 AM

The dust is starting to settle a bit, and I’m now adjusting to my new “normal.” My family and friends have been EVERYTHING to me during this time. I am seriously blown away by the support and love we have received. Luckily, Kevin has always been an amazing father and that has not changed. He is still very much around and a part of their lives, and I am thankful for that. I never expected this for our family and for our boys and while it breaks my heart, I’m glad that we can at least co-parent together for them.

12814739_10110338361058454_2441509607701827030_n

Now that spring has begun and the world is coming to life again, I feel like I am starting to as well. Things at home are still very hard as I learn how to navigate as a single parent, but I’m taking it day by day. In “real life” I’ve been slowly telling people what is going on, usually in person, because it’s a lot to explain and the questions that I’m asked about it all are emotionally exhausting. I plan to spend the next year of separation before we are able to file for divorce focusing on myself, but most importantly my sweet boys.

12049702_10110423856220464_666275764830540523_n

I don’t know what the future holds for me, but I do plan to continue blogging about it. This space has been an amazing journal of the last 5 years of my life and I’m so thankful that I have it all documented. While I may not have as much time as I did before, it’s important to me to keep blogging about this journey. It will be interesting to see where I am a year from now and where life takes me. I’m ready for the next chapter.

12814436_10153962394904710_3740254715156072490_n

Mom & Baby: 8 Months

Whenever I sit down to write a new update on one of the boys, I always open up my planner to see what we did over the past month. I also look at the pictures I have taken. I couldn’t believe all that happened in just one month! From the holidays to traveling to South Carolina to a blizzard… whew! We sure did pack a lot of excitement in. It’s actually been so exciting that I’m 2 weeks late writing this update. Here are all the details about Kyler’s 8th month of life.

12240132_10109757752263134_8185782053577456939_n            DSCN5200  DSCN5234

Baby

Kyler went to the doctor at 8 months to get his second flu shot dose, so I know that he now weighs 17 pounds 4 ounces! He’s gained a good amount of weight since last month when his sickness took his appetite away for a little bit, so I was relieved to hear that!

DSCN5238

He somehow contracted a viral case of pink-eye this month shortly after his ear infection, but other than that he’s been healthy (knock on wood!). It needs to stay that way! He’s been home with me the majority of the month thanks to winter break, travel, and some snow days, so that helped with the germ factor.

12417698_10109975902662984_6855976094249503542_n

Kyler has become quite the little eater! We’ve been a lot more relaxed this time about letting his taste different foods, after the initial month or so of experimenting with one at a time. By this point he’s had a ton of different food, and I honestly can say that there hasn’t been one thing he has disliked. From avocado to banana to green beans to broccoli to eggs, he devours it all and he really likes to feed himself. Right now he eats breakfast and dinner with us, but soon we’ll add lunch in there too.

IMG_4993

Since food is just for fun until he turns one, he’s obviously still nursing a lot too. One of the nicest parts of this month was that I was off work for most of it for winter break and then the blizzard, which meant I could put my pump far away and just nurse him. He usually nurses 6 times a day, sometimes more if he’s not feeling well or is extra attached. This month I did have a new challenge when I traveled for a work conference in Myrtle Beach, which meant I had to pump for 48 hours straight. It was weird to not feed him for that long but we got through it. I was very thankful for all the milk in our freezer!

12400908_10110038166800154_333274552518746701_n

Nursing after the Charleston Half Marathon

He doesn’t have any new teeth yet, and is still very proudly rocking his bottom two. I can’t even handle this smile of his. Melts me every time.

Screen Shot 2016-02-03 at 9.20.35 PM

Kyler has gotten very good at sitting and only really falls over if his brother knocks into him or pushes him over (yeah… it happens!) Now he is starting to move from the sitting position onto his tummy. He is not really trying to crawl yet but he is working hard on pushing himself up with his arms and scooting a little bit. Kevin started army crawling at 9 months and crawling on all fours at 11 months, so I’m not worried about it. I’m enjoying his lack of mobility for now 🙂

FullSizeRender

I think Kyler’s tummy and digestive system is still getting used to eating solid food, because we’ve had our fair share of poop issues this month. Never a dull moment, that’s for sure! He tends to not go for a few days at a time and then has a really bad, explosive diaper. It’s hard to predict when it will happen, which makes going out risky sometimes. Over winter break I took both kids to the grocery store, and Kyler started screaming when I was almost done and wanted to be held. When I picked him up I realized he had a huge blowout and it was all over the car seat, his clothes and me. I rushed through check-out while holding him because he was still upset, and every concerned citizen informed me that my baby had pooped through his clothes. Then Kevin had a meltdown because we had to go home and couldn’t go Christmas shopping for daddy. Sigh… all I could do at that point was laugh!

10426702_10109906637570784_4657962060754370413_n

About 30 minutes before the grocery store poop incident!

His sleep has been a little disturbed this month, which I think is due to the wonder week he’s working through. He went from 7-9 hour stretches to waking up 2-3 times a night. Now he’s back to the longer stretches but every once in a while he has a rough night. While I was off form work, I tried to get him napping on more of a schedule and in his crib more consistently and it went really well. He tends to take a morning and afternoon nap, and sometimes little catnaps if we’re driving somewhere.  I am also working on moving his bedtime up. He was going to bed at 8:30, but now we have him going to bed at 7:30. Then he usually wakes up between 3 and 4 to nurse.

Screen Shot 2016-02-03 at 9.22.03 PM

Coffee for both of us?

Kyler is VERY vocal and loves exercising his voice. He will screech, babble, make noise with his lips and blow raspberries. He practices different volumes and goes between screaming and whispering. He has started to say “dadada” but I don’t know if he’s associating my husband with that. He also LOVES to laugh, and has learned to wave! Check out the videos below to see my little man in action!

I still can’t get over the personality difference between Kyler and Kevin. Kevin was (and still is) very high maintenance, while Kyler is super laid back. He’s just happy pretty much no matter what is going on, unless he’s hungry or tired. For example, we got him up super early, drove to Charleston and dragged him all around the city and he was super smiley the whole time!

12495157_10110038167723304_5333807435651152169_n

Kyler’s favorite part of the day continues to be bath/shower time. As soon as he hears the water turn on he starts kicking and squealing in excitement, and he gets upset when it’s time to get out.

IMG_4662

One of the most special parts of this month was that we celebrated Kyler’s first Christmas. With him only being 8 months old, he only had a few presents to open and was mostly interested in trying to eat the wrapping paper, but it was really sweet and something we’ll remember forever!

23943739726_fac06fb7f2_k

We are thinking of transitioning him into a convertible carseat soon. We already have one and he just looks so big in it, even though he hasn’t hit the weight and height limit yet. I might actually shed a tear when we move him out of it and say goodbye to the infant carseat we’ve had since Kevin was born. It’s close to it’s expiration date anyway, but I remember when we first bought it. Seems like yesterday and forever ago at the same time.

12439311_10109991375659974_65619422856144146_n

Finally, here’s some brother love!

945896_10109949846764214_6307198887737650747_n

The face they make when mommy sings… :/

1530_10109952809057754_5961691838924196545_n

Melts my heart

FullSizeRender

Pretty sure Kyler lived in his Christmas PJs all month

And some mama love too. This boy usually won’t take his eyes of his mommy lately 🙂

12507280_10110044530352544_8073278403273197090_n

Body

It was an interesting month for me physically. I don’t have any official body pictures this month so I will use a photo from my snowy run the other week instead. I am officially below my pre-pregnancy weight, which I don’t really want. I have been so hungry lately, and it was hard to tell whether it was due to marathon training, breastfeeding, my thyroid or a combination of those things. It felt like my metabolism was in overdrive. I got my thyroid levels checked and they were definitely on the hyperthyroidism side now (I’ve had Hashimoto’s hypothyroidism since I was 16) due to still being on a higher dose of my meds from pregnancy and the initial post-partum period. They adjusted them back down and I feel so much better. It feels like my body is functioning like it should, and my anxiety has gone down as well, which can be a side effect of thyroid levels on the hyper side. So glad I got that checked out!

12548959_10110079042220484_3703388009558219930_n

Even though I prefer to weigh around 130 and I’m a little below that right now, I’m pretty happy with my body at 8 months postpartum. My clothes fit really well, I feel strong from running and marathon training, and things are slowly going back to the way they were. I had my annual appointment with the midwives who I delivered Kyler with, and after examining me they said it seems like I never even had a baby (or two). I beg to differ about that, there are definitely some things that aren’t (and will never) be the same, but that is fine. The more I run and the more success I find in that, I’m so much more interested in what my body can do rather than what it looks like.

For example, I ran two races this month that I feel very proud about. I did the Resolution 5K on New Years Day and the Charleston Half in the middle of the month. Even though neither race gave me a PR, I think both showed how my running has improved since having Kyler, and helped me learn a lot about myself.

486749_10109962461299584_5343536214137584653_n

12509254_10110038166046664_6235422826307365051_n

Mind

So much went on this month that made me happy mentally and emotionally. First we celebrated the holidays for the first time as a family of 4 and with our extended families. It was really nice, despite strangely warm temperatures this year (I ran in shorts and a tank top on Christmas Eve… it was 70 degrees!). But we baked cookies anyway, sweating the whole time 🙂

DSCN5210

I spent two weeks off from work on Winter Break with my boys, which was so nice. It was definitely a different experience than the last time I was home with both of them for an extended time during the summer. Kyler and Kevin can actually play together a little bit, which is really nice. But it did make me a little nervous for this summer when they’re both mobile!

1935504_10109911111729534_1184605364090376439_n

A few weeks later we headed to Myrtle Beach for a mini-vacation. Like I said earlier, I went down a few days early for a work conference. I haven’t been alone for an extended amount of time like that since before Kevin was born. It was a little weird to say the least, and I didn’t like having to pump all day since I didn’t have a baby to feed, but it was also relaxing. And I got to sleep through an entire night uninterrupted! However, I was still super happy to see my boys at the end of the week and to spend the rest of the long weekend together.

12553088_10110031554097064_835992949918832357_n

12507657_10110039368751434_4447051300537607429_n

Finally, this month was capped off with a glorious blizzard that led to us being off from school for a week and a half. But that went into month 9, so we’ll talk about that more soon!

12494989_10153188946787245_8579390084936862751_n

I have been so aware of how quickly time is passing, and really trying to focus on enjoying and remembering these special times with a baby that is only going to be this little for a short time. A lot has happened in the last two weeks since he turned 8 months old, but I’ll save that for next month’s post. Hopefully I can get it up in a more timely manner 🙂

IMG_4478

Previous Mom & Baby posts:

Resolution 5K

Screen Shot 2015-12-30 at 3.38.47 PM

On New Years Day, my friends, family and I brought in 2016 with a 5K race! I really can’t think of any better way to kick off a brand new year! A bonus to this race was that it didn’t start until 11 AM, so we had time to sleep in a bit – which was nice because we were up until 2 AM at our friend’s house celebrating with a little too much food and quite a few drinks once all of our kids went to sleep 🙂

IMG_3786

Classy husband drinking champagne from the bottle 🙂

Even though we were tired, we got ourselves up and got ready to head out. When I mentioned to my husband that I wanted to do this race, I was surprised that he said he wanted to do it too. He’s been really wanting to get back into running more regularly and he thought this would be a great way to kick it off. He said he would push the boys in the stroller so I could race it.

486749_10109962461299584_5343536214137584653_n

Going into this race, I didn’t expect to PR, but I did want to push myself to do my best. I hadn’t raced a 5K in a year and a half (shortly before I got pregnant), and that’s when I set my PR of 21:55.  I decided to do this race in place of my tempo run for the week, and I figured I’d finish somewhere in the 22-24 minute range based on my recent speedwork. I wanted to make sure to warm up a little beforehand, so after getting our bibs and making a quick bathroom stop, I ran about a mile and a half around the park to get myself ready to race. I got back to the starting line just as the race was supposed to start, said hi to a few friends, and went up toward the front.

The race started exactly at 11:00, and we were off! I spent the first minute or so trying to shake off my nerves. Then I made sure I wasn’t going too fast. I wanted to stay around 7:15-7:20, a pace that should feel hard but not too hard, to ensure I had enough leftover for the last two miles. My first mile came in and I felt good about it. I thought I could probably maintain that pace for the rest of the race.

  • Mile 1 – 7:14

And then I realized that maybe I couldn’t! I have ran this course before during a 4 mile race a few years back, but I had forgotten how parts of it were on rocks and dirt, and how it had some short but steep hills. I tried to maintain the pace I was running but ended up slowing a bit during mile 2. Since part of the course was out and back, I was able to see my friends and my husband with the boys, and that gave me a little boost that I needed.

FullSizeRender

I was a little disappointed when my split for mile 2 came up. I was irritated at myself for probably starting too fast, but I tried to keep myself focused. In my speedwork and tempo runs lately I’ve been working on running fast while keeping my body and form controlled, as well as my breathing. This helped me stay as relaxed as possible.

  • Mile 2 – 7:30

During the last mile I started to feel the effects of the little sleep I got as well as the other poor choices I made the night before. But I gave myself a little pep talk and thought about how I have been practicing finishing strong during this training cycle – and how important that is physically and mentally. I picked it up as best as I could, even out-sprinting some people in the last stretch to the finish line.

  • Mile 3 – 7:22
  • Finish Time – 22:48 / 7:20 average pace

My first thoughts immediately after crossing the finish line were: “Ouch. So this is why I don’t race 5Ks very often. They hurt!” Yes, they do. I’m definitely more of a lover of slower, longer distance racing! But I was still VERY proud of myself for my finishing time and the fact that it was within a minute of my PR. Maybe on a different course, with better fueling and hydration I could have done better, but I truly gave it all that I had and I was happy with how I did.

My friend Cynthia came in about a minute after me, getting a HUGE new PR! Our friend Erin finished right after her. Once I caught my breath a little, I went back out on the course to see if I could find some other friends, along with my hubby who was running with Laura since she’s coming back from an injury and wanted to take it easy. Once I found them, we all ran/walked to the end, and we let Kevin get out of the stroller to run the last quarter mile or so. He crossed the finish line all by himself and was so proud!

It felt so good to start the new year in such a fun, active way with some people who I love!

943891_10109962462736704_5621021207586984106_n

10345999_10109962461254674_690341968893052765_n

The icing on the cake was that I actually ended up winning first place in the 20-29 age group! One of my 30 before 30 goals was to place in my age group before I enter a new (and usually extremely competitive!) one, and I’m so happy I was able to do that!

68236_10109962461529124_6828403447217645565_n

What a way to set the tone for a new year. 2016, I’m coming for you!

FullSizeRender