Wednesday, May 29, 2013

A Trail Race Sweepstakes = A FREE RACE ENTRY!

You all have been so patient and wonderful with me this past year as I go through my ups and downs with blogging and I am so happy to be back at it.   Thus when Eddie, organizer of great Cambridge 5k race series,  gave me the opportunity to hold a Sweepstakes for a free race entry for the Vert-Sasquatch portion of the series, I jumped at the chance!

Just as a way of background if you are not familiar with the Cambridge 5k Series going on this year.  CHECK IT OUT!  There are 5 races, the first one took place this past Sunday.  But there are four left, two trail races and two more road races and apparently you can be on teams!  Honestly, check this out and if you are one of my close dear friends in the neighborhood, you know that I am already formulating our Jewish team for the December 1 race - you know who you are! And as per my NJ and other friends not located in MA - get your butts up here and race!

The Race Schedule
Race #2  is the SASQUATCH race on July 14th
Race #3 is the  BIG BAD WOLF, on September 21
Race #4 is the OKTOBERFEST on October 6
Race #5 is the YULEFEST on December 1

Eddie has been gracious enough to offer Aaron and I chance to run the last of the 5 races, The YuleRace.  I think Aaron would rather dress up as Chanukah Harry rather than Santa though...

Ok back to the race entry at hand.  Now personally, I have never done a trail race, but this one looks just amazing!!!!!  It is located at the DCR Middlesex Fells on July 14th at 10 a.m.  Now, if you have never been there, then this is reason enough to want to try this race out.  The Fells is amazing and very close to the Stone Zoo, which happens to be the location for the post race party!  Just a note race entries are filling up fast so if you do not want to wait - register here

note it is the 14th I promise

So here is what is getting me about this just looks so darn enticing

(1) It is great for a beginner trail runner as it is only 2.35 miles.

(2) At the same time, an experienced trail runner may love to do this for fun or to help another newbie!

(3) You can take the Orange Line directly to the race (they offer a shuttle bus at Oask Grove before & after the race).

(4)  The post race party is going to be amazing and sponsored by Notch Brewing, Slumbrew, & Pretty Things.

I am not one for trails in all honestly, but this one may just convince me otherwise. At first, I was like "I would never do a trail race," but as I look at this race more and see the pictures I am more and more enticed by this race.  Also, my coach OK'd it, so now what excuse do I have. 

These people look happy.  They don't even look tired.  I am in.

The lucky winner will receive 1 free race entry and a cool VERT hat.  Two others will receive VERT Hats.  Hey why not...can always use a hat.

So how do you win?  Here is the lawyer in me, if you remember, it is not hard to win my sweepstakes, you just can simply enter your name in the comment sections for a chance to win.  However, feel free to spread the word, it won't help you to win or lose but will let other people know about this cool race and the series in general..

Here is all the fun Terms and Conditions

Basics:  To enter the sweepstakes for a free entry and/or vert hat Band please just leave a comment on this post, meaning the post that announced the sweepstake.  The comment does not have to be anything in particular.  It will be used so that your name can be entered into the sweepstakes as facilitated by Random.Org.   There is NO PURCHASE NECESSARY or any other type of consideration that must be given to enter this sweepstakes.     By entering a comment, you are entering in the sweepstakes and are thus agreeing to the full terms and conditions outlined here.

Contact information/Privacy Policy:  When entering the sweepstakes, please provide a means for the writer of this blog to contact you when the sweepstakes has ended.  You may choose to leave your blog address, twitter handle, email address, or any other means that you are comfortable with and provides a reasonable way for the writer of this blog to contact you.  If you do not want, your contact information put in the comment field, you may e-mail the writer of this blog at  Your contact information will be used so that the writer of this blog may contact you if you win or if the retailer sponsoring the sweepstakes needs to contact you if you win.  Your information may also be used so that the writer of this blog can converse with you, even if you are not the winner. Your name (meaning whatever name you leave - whether twitter, blog, or real name) will be announced on this blog if you do win.   Your name will also be announced on Twitter. After the contest, either the writer of this blog or the sponsor of the sweepstakes will use your name and contact information to contact you if you win and send you your prize.  By entering this sweepstakes, you give the writer of this blog, the right to contact you or have the sponsor contact you as well as post your name on the writer's blog to announce the winner as well as announce your name on Twitter.  

Eligibility Requirements:  To enter this sweepstake you must be over 18 years of age and a United States citizen.  Other restrictions apply.  You can enter by simply leaving a comment on this blog, NO PURCHASE or other consideration is neceessary.   You cannot enter by any other means. 

Duration and deadlines:  This sweepstakes starts on Wednesday May 29, 2013  at 8 p.m.  and will go to Wednesday June 5, 2013 at 8:00 p.m.  Winner will be announced by Monday June 3, 2013 at 8 p.m. and will be announced through this blog -  A winner has one week from the announcement of the winner to claim the prize or else a new winner will be chosen Monday June 10, 2013 after 8 p.m.) .  All prizes will be awarded.  Thus if the winner does not come forward, a new winner will be chosen.

Prize Description: There will be three winners.  One winner with receive a free race entry and a VERT Hat.  The other two will receive a VERT hat. The race fee is valued at $38.00 

Odds of Winning:  The number of eligible entries received determines the odds of winning.  The winner(s) will be chosen using  The writer of this blog will count up the names that have been submitted and plug the information into the Random generator on to select a winner. 

Disputes or mistakes:  Writer of this blog will not be held liable for any technical failures or typographical errors.  If the winner does not claim his or her prize within one week of the winner announcement, a new winner will be chosen.  If there is a dispute between two or more participants on who won the sweepstakes, a new winner will be chosen.   If the site goes down, and comments/entries are lost, participants will have to resubmit their entry.  The writer of this blog will make an announcement on her blog and extend the sweepstakes for one week starting from the time that the comment section is back in working order.   At any time,  if the comment section is not working, the writer of this blog shall not be held liable.  When she becomes aware of this (although it is not her responsibility to become aware of it), she will extend the period of the sweepstakes to ensure that all entrants are given one week total time to enter the sweepstakes.  Thus if the comment section is down for one week, one week will be added to the sweepstake.  If it is down for one day, one day will be added to the sweepstake.  This only applies if the writer of this blog is aware of this issue.

Sponsor Information:  Eddie, organizer of the race, can be contacted through twitter here

Disclaimer:  This sweepstakes is being held in the United States and is open to United States citizens, making it under federal and all 50 U.S. states law and jurisdiction.  The sweepstakes is VOID WHERE PROHIBITED BY LAW.  The writer of this blog is not liable or responsible for any lost or broken items and is held harmless.  She is also not liable or responsible for any injuries or problems that occur from using the item won in this sweepstake.   

Time of delivery:  Once a winner is chosen and contacted, the writer of this blog will work to get the winner his or her prize either by shipping the item or having the sponsor ship the item to the winner or by any other means reasonable.  There is no time requirement by which the item must be shipped.  The writer of this blog will work with the winner and the sponsor and will ship the item (or deliver by any other means reasonable), but again no time limited is required.  The writer of this blog is not responsible for items lost or damaged while in shipping or delivery or before or after shipping or delivery.  If the item needs to be returned/exchange or if there is a problem or issue with the item, the winner should contact the sponsor directly.

Tuesday, May 28, 2013

My Second Child

No, no NO I am not pregnant; I do not mean that as a second child.  Rather, I mean Wubby (a.k.a "Wubs," "Wub-a-Dubs," "Wubinator") you all remember him right...

Wubby - April 2012 

Wubby - May 2013

When Wubby first appeared in our lives, I was ecstatic to have him.  I could not wait.  But, honestly, within a few weeks, Wubby and I had developed a love/hate relationship of sorts.  I was pregnant and sick and it was A LOT of work for me to even try to take care of him - even though Aaron did mostly everything.  I kept telling myself that I could never be a mom if I could not take care of a dog.  I also convinced myself that dogs must be harder than children - ha ha ha.

Wubby had a love for towels & blankets especially eating them

Yup Wubby had taken my bath mat

Wubby also realized our relationship was strained.  He often saw me deep in an emotional meltdown - oh pregnancy (sure I am going to blame that on pregnancy, nothing to do with my personality, nope nothing).  He did not listen to me.  He did not see me as superior.  And he seemed to poop everywhere, I  mean everywhere. And chew up everything.

I did love Wubby, do not get me wrong, but I did not feel that connection with Wubby as deeply as others might with their dogs. I just didn't.  Writing that now even makes me want to cry.

Still wanting to develop that special relationship with the Wubs

Then Lee was born.  My greatest fear with Wubby through all of this was whether Wubby would be good with Lee.  We had trainers, took classes, worked hard. Unfortunately,  Wubby became pretty anxious - considering I had postpartum anxiety I cannot blame him.   He was never ever bad with Lee, actually he was very good with Lee and continues to be a wonderful brother.  But he was anxious and not the best listener when it came to listening to me.  We had a behaviorist come and help us.  She told us that we may have to think about "rehoming" Wubby if we could not get him "under control." 

Wubby's first look at the Pack-n-Play pre-Lee.  Yes, there is a baby doll in the crib to get Wubby used to it

After hearing that, something clicked.  I could not stand the thought of Wubby leaving us.  Wubby was my child and I loved him more than I could ever imagine.  He was a part of our family.  It was just not  an option.  However,  if it meant danger to Lee or others, we would have found Wubby another home.  I know other parents who have had to make that tough decision and my heart goes out to them.  They made a difficult but right choice, which is only to be admired.

Anyway, the behaviorist taught us how to help Wubby and I made it my goal.  I worked with Wubby every single day to teach him that I was his Mommy and he needed to listen to me.  We worked to ensure that Wubby's anxiety lessened and that he would be a safe puppy for everyone.  It was hard work, but it helped Wubby so much and the anxiety dissipated and he began to see me as his mother.  He learned to stay, come, sit, lie down, leave it, take it, move back, walk with me etc.  I am not saying its perfect, Wubby still has his adventures - he may have had a joy run around the neighborhood yesterday and we had to go around chasing him, scaring his Mommy a lot.  He also listens to his commands, except if we are at the dog park and want him to come in which case it is very hard to get him to stop playing - we are working hard on that one. 

My boys

Today, Wubby and I have changed our relationship.  I know he is safe around Lee and others (although we keep a close eye, as one should around any animal).  My love for Wubby is overwhelming.  He is my child.  I am overwhelmingly happy when we take Wubby to the park or when we come to NJ where he can run free in a gated backyard.  I always want Wubby included in all our outings (although Aaron has to give me a reality check on this sometimes and my friends probably want to kill me, I owe them a lot - I AM SORRY!).  When I am sad, Wubby and I cuddle and he makes me feel better and I can spend hours petting him and cuddling.  One of my favorite Wubby times is after Lee is in bed.  Aaron and I are sitting on the bed and Wubby is chewing his bone on the floor.  I count 1...2....3...and we both slowly get up, corner Wubby and give him a huge snuggle and play with him, giving him special Wubby time.

Can you tell what this is?  Wubby and I sleeping and cuddling...

I never really got it before, but now I get it.  So even when I end up spending 20 minutes cleaning my running shoes because I stepped in his you know what...

Not  my best picture

Wubby is still my child, he is part of my family and we all love him so much...

17 months

Do you have a special relationship with your pet?  Are they part of your family?

Sunday, May 26, 2013

How far would you go to finish a run?

As recent events have shown, do not mess with runners, we are a breed onto ourselves. We do anything and everything for running.  That is not to say we do not care about anything else but we take our running seriously!  I completely acknowledge that there are runners who are a lot more relaxed about their running and won't empathize with this post.  Even I stopped running at multiple points in my career for things bigger and better. However, for many of the runners reading this, I know most of the time come hell or high water we are running.

No biggie just a 5k the day before I gave birth

Throughout my running career, I have done WHATEVER it takes to get my run in and/or finish a race.  Sometimes, I admit my decisions were not the smartest and have resulted in injuries (hopefully I have learned my less).  But most of the time whether it is snowing, hot as hell, or I am just feeling awful - I am going to put that aside in the name of running.

So I spent two hours in the medic tent post a very hot 20 miler - worth it

Please, I am clearly having fun

Ok now that some of you are nodding in agreement and some of your are shaking your head like I am crazy lets talk about yesterday's run.  Rewinding to Friday night, I was super scared for my run.  I have been dealing with temperamental knees of late - an old runner's knee injury essentially - and had my knee taped by my PT.  I may have called him twice on Friday getting the double, triple O.K. to run 10 miles Saturday morning.  Then there was the fact that it was cold and windy on Saturday and I had not packed for such weather. But when I woke Saturday morning, all that melted away as I geared up for a wet, cold run.  
Because when it is time to run you get excited

So now what is really so hardcore about running in the cold rain?  Not much I guess. Maybe even stupid because of my knee (I promise I got the O.K.), but then Mile 5 came around on Saturday.  At Mile 5, it was time to take a ShotBlok. No biggie I thought and took a walking break to eat and drink.  Yea....and then all of a sudden I felt something crunchy, and we all know Shotbloks are not crunchy in the least, just chewy. And before you knew it, out popped my crown on my tooth.  TMI?  The crown has been there for years, through many ShotBloks, but today out it came.  I could have stopped and gone home, but what good would that have done.  So I put the crown in my iFitness belt (you never know what it will be good for) and I finished those last 5 miles - clearly, what else would you do....

Some people may think runners are crazy.  I just think we are a special breed.  There is something so amazing about digging deep and getting through a run; having a goal and reaching it no matter what.  Are we crazy?  I don't thing so.  It is therapeutic? Hell yea.  Will we stop? Nope.  Granted, when you have to, when you may be injured or hurt, when family comes first, you stop, you do what you have to do.  But in most cases, runners keep going, they preserve, what else is there really to do!

What are some crazy times when you have pushed through a run and gone above and beyond?  How far would you go to finish a run?

Wednesday, May 22, 2013

Ode to Baby Lee - 6 months

Happy 6 months to my beautiful baby boy!  Be gentle folks, I am not so good at this...

Oh Baby Lee
How can it be;
Six months ago
There was lots of snow;
Then out you popped
And the fun just has not stopped.

Born November 23, 2012

Oh Baby Lee
You caused us such glee;
We named you after our mothers 
And you became Wubby's younger brother;
You grew so fast
and Thank Goodness went go to sleep at last.

Oh Baby Lee
Who are you to me;
The baby who once had lots of tears
And caused his mommy lots of fears;
You became my smily boy
Who loves all his toys.

Oh Baby Lee 
You are our little beluga who lives in the sea;
Ok, maybe not since at first, you did not like the bath
But now you go swimming and have found another path;
You love dancing, singing, jumping and clapping;
And you would rather all that instead of napping.

Oh Baby Lee
You love to make friends, oh gee;
Near and far
where ever you are;
the friends appear
have no fear.

Oh Baby
You are everything to me;
Oh Baby Lee
How I love thee.


Weight: find out tomorrow
Height: find out tomorrow
Foods: Peas (yuck); Oatmeal (yum); rice cereal (yum); sweet potato (yuck); banana (MESSY!)
Sleeping: You are an amazing sleeper
Likes: Jumping, Dancing, Music, Ipod Headphones, Wubby kisses
Dislikes: You seem to love everything!
Firsts:  You can roll over back to front; you are eating solids; you went to a Red Sox game;  you went to the Science Museum; you were in a duckie parade; you played in the snow; you ride in the B.O.B

Sunday, May 19, 2013

The Run-Blogger Connection

If you have ever met me for even a few minutes or read my blog, you know that without a doubt I love love to run with friends.  Not only is it so much more fun to run with others, but it also gives me the strength and motivation I need to run my best.  I have been really lucky for the past few years running with bloggers along the way that I have "met" as well as my family! But some running partners, you know who you are, hold a special place in my heart.  Unfortunately, of late running has been a solo activity for me, which is really really lame.

How else would you run but with friends and sparkles.

Luckily, this weekend I had a chance to run with another blogger.  I don't know there must be something about bloggers but running with them always makes the run ideal.  Just as backdrop - last week I ran alone - 10 miles it took 1:36:00.  My half took 2:02 two weeks ago. They were O.K. runs but not as good as I wanted.

This week, I ran with support, with a friend, I ran 12 miles in 1:48:59.  What happened? Clearly, running with a friend, a fellow blogger and runner makes a big BIG difference.

Dani & I post run

Dani and I have technically crossed paths twice and have checked out each other's blogs but other than that we had never really talked, but we quickly agreed to spend 12 miles without a flinch of an eye.  It could have been awkward, it could have been silent, she could have not liked to chat, while I like to chat away.  But I was never worried about that, I knew she was a runner, a blogger, and would be an instant friend!  (Dani is right now un-following me on Twitter - I tried to explain to her I am a blog stalker but I don't think  she realized how bad it really is).  The only worry I had was her speed and keeping her from going as fast as she wanted - she is super fast and amazing. 

From the start, this run was amazing.  We met and off we went chatting away talking about anything and everything like old friends from races to jobs to life we moved along with ease.  And as I looked down at my pace I was increasingly excited, not only was I making a new friend and hopefully running buddy, but I was seriously increasing my pace from last week!

8:57, 8:41, 8:56, 8:54, 8:59, 9:35, 9:04, 9:13

Get excited Wubby - Dani told me about a dog beach!!!

Then the last few miles hit.  It was hard stuff.  This run was pushing it for me.  If I was alone, I probably would have given up, but running with another I pushed myself.  I told Dani to keep talking and she did, she encouraged me, as wonderful runners do, and soon enough we had finished.

9:06, 9:14, 9:14, 9:01.... 

I have not been a consistent blogger in the past year.  Of late, I have felt the need to get back into blogging, and this run only reaffirms this.  The friends and running partners I have made through blogging are friends of a life time, people I could not live without.

Thank you Dani for helping me have such a great run (and again hopefully I totally did not creep you out with this post hehe).

Do you have that special run/blogger connection?

Wednesday, May 15, 2013

The Truth About Postpartum - Postpartum Anxiety

I have thought a whole lot about whether to share this post with others.  At first, I felt ashamed. I did not want people to know, especially people that already know me "in real life."  Yet as time went by it seems I have already told about everyone (and it was not hard to see anyway) so I believe it is about that time to write about it.  Why?  Maybe because writing is therapeutic to me and maybe to let other mommies out there know that there is nothing to feel ashamed about, that there are others out there too, and that sometimes it is not all puppies and rainbows.

I also feel the obligatory need to say the line here about how much I love Baby Lee.  He is a joy.  He is my genius baby and I would not change having him for the world.  However, now that I have given the obligatory caveat that all mothers feel they must say to others (who are not their close friends) before adding in the words "but"....

How can you not love this face!

Before Lee was born, I knew a little bit about postpartum anxiety and depression.  Not much but once I saw a webpage on it and sent the link to Aaron saying we should watch for this and that was that.  No one really talked to me about it not my friends and not my doctors.  After Lee was born, I was on an adrenaline high.  Take running a marathon or any other race and multiple it by 1,000 and that's how I felt post giving birth naturally.  I could not take my eyes off the little man.   I just wanted to stare at him all the time.
Post Baby Bliss - nothing like it

But soon enough, we were at home and reality had set in - I was not sleeping (do new moms and dads ever really sleep?),  I was, in my mind, having trouble breastfeeding, and Lee was crying 24/7.  For five weeks, he would not sleep during the day and would get small amounts of sleep at night.  When he was awake, he was inconsolable most of the time. It was a nightmare.  There was no quiet, there no rest, there was just constant fear, anxiety, and crying from all household members (ok just Lee and I).  It turns out, in the end, Lee has a dairy protein allergy meaning he was allergic to the dairy he was receiving via my breastmilk (i.e., what you eat gets in your milk and is transferred to your baby) and also he has reflux. Fun times!  This was not fully discovered until 4 weeks but it caused the non-stop tears.

No mommy, I want to be a vegan baby!  If only babies could use their words

During the first two weeks of Lee's life, I was not doing very well.  I kept stating how overwhelmed I was and crying all the time.  It was not until my lactation consultant mentioned something that we realized that this may not be normal.   I had an emergency session with a therapist that night and Aaron, the therapist, and I decided that we would not take the medication route just yet but intended to deal with it through healthy coping mechanisms.

Long story, short.  That was not enough for me.  I had full on postpartum anxiety.  For me, this meant I could not handle all different kinds situations.  If I had to make a decision, it took an hour, at least, discussing the options with Aaron over and over again, no matter how insignificant.  I would get stuck on an issue and could not let it go until it was resolved.  I would have to hand Lee to Aaron at points and go do things for myself because I was so very anxious.  And of course the lack of sleep did not help.

How can you have postpartum when they are this cute?!?

By Week 4, Lee was diagnosed and the doctor told me that I would just stop eating all forms of dairy until Lee was one young and keep on breastfeeding.  I was SO MAD.  I may have cried in the doctor's office and said like a 5 year old that "Lee would be getting formula."  I calmed down and then drove straight from the appointment to Robin's house where she helped me reason this whole thing out, as good running partners do.

The next week was considerable hell as my anxiety got worse. I tried to go off all forms of dairy and continue breastfeeding Lee.  Even though my breastfeeding experience had not been in anyway joyful, I just could not imagine the idea of giving up that task.  Ultimately, at the end of the week my midwife prescribed me anti-axiety medication which would require me to stop breastfeeding.  Her telling me I had to stop was all I needed to stop breastfeeding and start using hypoallergenic formula. Stopping breastfeeding was the best decision for us - more on this on another post.

Turns out Lee really really likes formula

Unfortunately, she prescribed too large of a dose.  It caused me to have panic attacks.  I woke up twice in the middle of the night crying, gasping for air, and with a racing heart.  I knew this was not normal.  Then for three days I had this type of out of body type disassociation where I could talk to you and converse with you but did not feel truly there.  It was awful and scary.

As an aside, I am in a book club and recently we read the book "The Unfinished Works of Elizabeth D." by Nicole Bernier.  This is worth a read by the way.  At one point in the book, the main character is in a highly superficial mommies' group and she tries to keep up and act like all things are perfect when things are not; they are hard; babies are hard! I do not know what I would have done if I was in such a group.

Unlike most of the mommies in this fictional book my group of friends, all of which who have had babies in the last few years or months, or even those who have not came to my rescue.  They brought food over and sat with me and told me stories of their postpartum depression and anxiety.  That is was pretty normal to feel like heading for the hills; to just want to cry; to feel overwhelmed.  These mothers were mothers I looked up to and adored.  I saw them as the "perfect" moms, knowing that they had struggled gave me hope.  Others who did not have babies were just as supportive.  They were all amazing.  One friend in particular was my life line.  She told me about her experiences and recommended an amazing doctor.  She let our family come over each week and sat and talked with me and helped me with Lee - I think her husband had enough of me by week 8.  Another friend spent the entire night when I was alone without Aaron.  Others were always willing to chat....

I saw the psychiatrist who believed that my initial prescription was way too high and caused the disassociation and panic attacks.  We then worked for another 3 to 4 weeks to get the dosage right.  It took from December 28th to February 24th to finally get the medicine right and for it to "kick in" so to speak.  Anti-anxiety meds take 6-8 weeks to work!!! That is not very helpful when you need it now.  There are immediate short attacking drugs for panic attacks and the like but generally 6-8 weeks to make the long term stuff yea that was fun.  For that time, I continued therapy, I took the medicine and things began to start working again.  About the time of our trip to Florida for one of my best friend's wedding, I finally began to feel like me again.  Previous to that though, I was always, never myself.

These shirts were never so true haha 

I could take care of Lee and Aaron was super super supportive and helpful.  However, I could not truly enjoy all experiences with the anxiety hanging over my head.  The other part of it was sleep.  My doctors believed it was essential for me to have a full night's sleep.  Once I stopped breastfeeding, Lee and Aaron were super helpful to that end - Lee got better sleeping and Aaron took anything that had to do with nights.  I felt super guilty but realized it was the only true way for me to recover.  Yet, even with that help, I woke up every two hours and could not sleep - it would take hours to get back to sleep.  It is only recently that I have finally started to get full nights sleep.  I know I know I have a 5 and half month old baby, I should not expect sleep.  However, for me and my family, sleep was essential and had to occur.

Today, I feel a lot more like me!  I am overall very happy and less anxious even with A TON of stressors going on in my life.  I am able to let things go.  I do not obsess over every little thing Lee does or every decision that has to be made.  I do not turn to Aaron and ask the same question over and over again.  I think clearly and enjoy life and my baby.  Aaron tells me to be proud of myself and I am.  I am proud that I accepted what was hard to accept, talked to people, and took action.  Proud because I know getting help is important to my family's stability and overall happiness.


People do not tell you  the truth.  They do not tell you about how hard postpartum is!  When I was diagnosed, my midwife said that it  happens to so many people and that they don't tell people because they do not want to scare them.  Ummmm..... yea.  Maybe for some it is not hard.  But for me, in the beginning it was very very hard.  I wanted to post about it to tell all you the truth.  To tell you my story and to help you cope if you need to or be ready if you need. And to get help, to talk to someone, anyone.  I am always happy to answer questions and be supportive too. And if not, it is just another blog post....

Did you suffer from postpartum troubles?  What are some truths about postpostpartum no one told you about?

Sunday, May 12, 2013

A Mother's Day Run & Fun

This weekend was a blast! I hope everyone had a great Mother's Day weekend.  I want to be sensitive about this post because not everyone has a mother, not everyone is a mother, some people want to be a mother but can't and some people don't want to be a mother.  Having fallen into the category of not having a  living mom and now being a mom (but also having had trouble becoming a mom), this was a very emotional day for me.  I was excited and happy to celebrate my very first mother's day as a mom, but also there were surprisingly some tears that sneaked up on me - I was very sad I was away from my hometown where my family was and felt excluded and a bit alone when everyone else was going to their families.  I miss my moms (I consider both my mom and my mother-in-law mothers).   I also feel for those who are struggling in many different respects on a day like this. I just felt the need to acknowledge this before going further.   To say, that I get it too.  Life is not always fair, but we do the best we can.

And we have a lot to be thankful for......

Doesn't get much better than this

My wonderful boys

This morning, I started my Mother's Day with what else, a 10 mile run.   I was extremely nervous about this run as my knees have been acting up since Thursday.  Friday and Saturday they felt awful.  I was pretty much expecting this run not to happen.  But I took it easy on Saturday and Sunday I woke up and things seemed to be O.K. so after consulting with Aaron and Robin I decided to go for it - granted Aaron was asleep and maybe so was Robin....Right now, tonight, they still feel O.K. but heading to the coach/P.T. tomorrow.

I could not ask for much more out of this run.  Sure it was nowhere near as fast as I used to be, but I had a hard tiring week, just ran a half, and oh yea there is that whole new mom thing, so I am trying to be gentle with myself.  My knees behaved and I had some nice negative splits with the first mile coming in around 9:40 and the last mile around 8:55 = 1:34:00.  Bigger and better things about this run - it rained and that was sooo refreshing.  Also, for the first time ever I ran with a water belt and it actually worked!! More on this another day...

Thank you ifitness - finally a belt that worked!!!

The better part of Mother's Day came after this run.  After all, shockingly, life does not revolve around running, sorry folks.  Today, for Mother's Day, we went into Boston for the "Duckling Day Parade."  This by far the cutest thing ever.  It occurs at Boston Commons and replicates the childhood book of Make Way for Ducklings.  It does so with a mini-parade with parents and children all dressed up in their ducky costumes.  There are also a ton of activities before but because of the rain we just made it for the parade.....

Lee is a very happy duckling and a cute one at that

Ever try to get a baby to pose for a picture...uhh, granted Aaron and I are not looking either.  I actually love love this picture.

So we marched in the parade and into the public gardens just like in the book.  Then we hung out and looked at all the real duckies for a while and finally headed to Newbury for a wonderful trip to North Face - sometimes it is about running ;)

Lee is not sure about these duckies

In the end, it was a wonderful day.  I am totally zonked and I hope everyone had a great day as well.

How was everyone's weekend?

Thursday, May 9, 2013

Aaron's Big Year

Hi everybody!  Remember me?  It's been a while.

I have a bit of a confession to make; I've owed Steph this post for about 5 months now.  Back in December, I hit a major low point in my running.  While juggling the new baby, recovering new mommy, anxious puppy, and working from home, I stopped exercising altogether with the exception, of course, of hockey.  It wasn't healthy and on New Year's Day, I took the first step to changing that by running a 5K.  It was symbolic in that the previous year marked my first 5K or race of any kind.  A year later, I officially dropped 1 minute off my time, but added 3 or 4 from my PR.  I was happy that 3 or 4 weeks off was still enough to do better than the previous year, but I was bummed that I let things go on as long as they did.

 Note how exhausted I look

With that, I set out to keep myself running for the full year.  I called 2013 "Aaron's Big Year".  The goal was to run at least one race every month and lose weight in the process (more on that later).  While the intention was there, the funds weren't and I had to cross 5 races off my list.  Back in January, I decided that I was going to run the New Jersey Half Marathon, but as April turned into May, I knew this wasn't meant to be.  It was destined to be "Victim Race #6".

While in New Jersey for Steph's race weekend, I told her about my disappointment in setting this goal only to have it escape my grasp.  Last weekend was supposed to be MY race weekend too.

At the Expo, Steph generously offered to register me for the race, but we decided against it.  We couldn't afford it and I hadn't run more than 8 miles in one stretch (and that was back in August 2012).  I resigned myself to let this one go and hopefully catch another one later.

As fate would have it, our friend spontaneously got sick and offered me her number.  This set the gears turning.  Could I even run that distance?  I just got diagnosed with tendonitis in both of my ankles.  How couldn't I get hurt?  With Steph's urging, I decided to go for it anyway.  My strategy was to take my time, knowing that the goal is to merely finish unscathed.  I could walk each water stop and run the mile and a half between them in order to keep my legs fresher.  I'd have fuel and water throughout.  With the plan set, I said "why not?"

And if you know Steph, giving into her demands was a huge mistake...

Mind you, the last major complicating factor was that I seem to have misplaced my Garmin and, thus, have no way of knowing my pace and adjusting accordingly.  I've run the last 5 months or so without one and have become a Zen runner (more on that later), but how in the world could that work in a race?

On race day, I did my usual warmup routine as if 13.1 miles was just my usual distance.  When the race started, I ran like all my regular runs and let people pass me.  Tons of people passed me, but I found a stride that was comfortable and my breathing was stable.  After the first mile, I saw a clock showing the gun time of 13 minutes and figured I ran a 10 - 10:30 opening mile.  Way too fast for this distance!  So I tried to slow up and calm myself down some more.  A trip through the first water stop and two miles later, I cross the 3rd mile checkpoint at 33 minutes.  So much for slowing down.  However, I still felt comfortable and smirked at people passing me while huffing and puffing.

Miles 4 and 5 were interesting because the race snaked through several small blocks.  While I was making a left turn, there were the runners ahead of me running at me and making a left turn at the same intersection!  It's crazy watching a sea of people running at you and veering off at the last second.  I looked for Steph, but couldn't find her.  Oh well.  Maybe at the next intersection.  I finished Mile 5 and reveled in the fact that I had only once run a race as long and felt like death at the time. At 55 minutes (minus 3 minutes or so), I had run a few minutes slower than that 5-Miler and still had tons of energy!  I was slowing down somewhat and feeling good, but still going fast.

I hit Mile 6 and crossed the 10K marker at 1:07 and all of a sudden, the 2:20 pacer passed me and my right achilles tendon flared up.  I ran to the end of the bridge and started stretching it out.  The honeymoon was over and I knew I'd have to really push myself through the second half of the course.  But off I went, running between water stops, walking at the water stops, stretching out my achilles, and repeating.

Miles 7 through 10 were a blur.  I probably zoned out a bit or got really into a train of thought - possibly even visualizing myself finishing with Steph there to congratulate me.  I was running at a 2:30 or so pace and was telling myself that I'd be ecstatic crossing the finish line at 2:40.  But with each water stop, my achilles felt tighter.

Even worse, I still hadn't heard from Steph.  The finish line was only a few blocks walk back to Mile 9 or so and I was somewhat counting on her to help me through the end.  Little did I know she wasn't as far ahead of me as I thought.

At Miles 11 and 12, I hit the wall hard.  I made the last turn up the beach and felt like every other race I've ever run - regardless of how much was left, my legs were on autopilot and would carry me to the finish... or so I thought.  I ran past the last water stop, which was a big mistake.  I had to walk several times in those 2 miles and couldn't get my legs to keep going.  They were spent, but I kept getting closer to the finish.

Then disaster struck!  All of a sudden, my left hamstring locked up with a quarter of a mile left in the race!  I immediately stopped running and stretched at the nearest barrier.  I didn't notice it at first, but that's where one of the race photographers set up shop.  So there's me, wincing in pain while the photographer is snapping away.  I was pissed and when I finally felt good enough to walk, I limped past him.  Steph saw the pictures and said she's never seen me make those faces before.

I was content walking to the end.  I didn't want to get hurt.  Somebody passed me and told me to keep running, so I did.  I don't know why she was an authority on my ability to continue on, but at that time, she was just what the doctor ordered.  I started to hobble and felt awful.  Then I realized that if I speed up, I could possibly stretch my legs enough to not cramp.  Off I went past the woman who lifted my spirits and galloped across the finish line in 2:30:29.  Were it not for the cramping incident, I could've run it in under 2:30, but that's for another day.

Not the best pose, but I needed fuel after the race, but ate too quickly and was really nauseous.

I was proud of myself and shocked that I pulled it off without training, but still Steph was nowhere to be found.  She was at the massage tent cooling off!  All in all, I had a good time running the race and have to give myself a pat on the back for seizing the opportunity and greatly exceeding my expectations.

As Steph says Postpartum PRs! 

I may still be sore, but I have a new medal on the wall, a new PDR, and the confidence in myself that Steph will have some competition in the near future!

Now the only question is what is next....

Ever run a race a whim? What should I do next?

Tuesday, May 7, 2013

A Postpartum PR - The New Jersey Half Marathon

Yesterday, I woke up at 4 a.m. and drove from N.J back to MA after days filled with memories of race weekend festivities and activities, and of course the race itself.  I am sore, in pain, and could not be more excited to get back into racing! Running here I come!!!  We were not even out of the parking lot from the N.J Half Marathon when I began texting friends to ask about upcoming races and how we could potentially be a part of them - Falmouth, Philly, Divas - please let me in!!!

But before we get to my dreams and aspirations (a whole other post indeeds) let;'s just start with the past 72 hours of the N.J Half Marathon.  And with that I would just like to preface the fact that I have not run over 10 miles since February 2012.  In fact, I purposely reduced all running and gained weight to get none other than beautiful Baby Lee

Worth it!

While I did run during pregnancy, it was nowhere near what I was doing pre-pregnancy.  After pregnancy, I did not do anything until about week 7 (mid-January) and did not run until February - and it has not been easy going.  I know some people come back fast and in all honesty I am super jealous but for me its been a bit slow.  That is O.K though, I am happy to be slow (for me anyway) if it means running with the family.

Nothing like it!

Thus, I had no idea what this half marathon had in store for me.  My coach told me to just find a simple comfortable pace until mile 8 and if I could speed up after that to go for it! If not, just hang on for dear life.  So clearly he was not expecting too much either.  That's ok by me, either was I, although I secretly hoped for a 1:50ish time.

Expo - Mommy Runners and their babies and BOBs - So wonderful to have a playdate at the expo with Jen, Liz, Lucas, Lee, and Wyatt.  These ladies are the best check them out - sweetest ladies, cutest babies - enough said.

So Sunday morning we woke up at the wonderful 3:45 hour and headed to the race.  I say we meaning Aaron and I...more on that later.  Pre-race it was cold and windy but I huddled together with Jen and Aaron and kept warm.  We stood huddled in the corral together musing about why on earth we did this. Then, there was no time for second guessing we were off.

Silly me, I thought I could keep up with my fast friend - hah.  I quickly lost sight of her as she cruised forward, but you can read her report on that.  The plan in the beginning seemed to be going O.K, I held a steady 9:00 mile pace for the first three miles but was completely parched.  I had such a dry mouth.  All week I was plagued by said "dry mouth"  and the first five miles of this race were no different.  So the first three to five or so consisted of me determining exactly why my mouth was dry, exciting stuff I know.  I resigned to blame it on my medication - more on that later.  I even went as far as to try Gatorade at the second water stop - that lasted for about a sip and then I just kept with water.  I pushed on through those first five miles scientifically determining through my race mind intelligence the origin of said dry mouth while stopping at each water stop.  The water stops, by the way were wonderful - every 1.5 miles.  It was exactly what I needed but I could have used more and hope that at some point I can learn to actually use this thing....

I gave birth, I have hips, Water Belt Here I Come!

By mile 3 I was warm, I did the impossible, I sacrificed my favorite, Boston running shirt.  I gave it a kiss and let it go...

Luckily last night I found a lone one on the rack at City Sports and scooped it up.

By Mile 4, I was feeling it and not in a good way.  Mile 4 and 5 came in at 9:13 and 9:26. People kept passing me and that is when I heard it - the 2:00 hour pacer.  It was so defeating.  I did not want to run a 2:00 hour marathon, I knew I could do better than that.  And yet here was Mr. Pacer coming up and pacing me (although he was totally awesome).  I ran with them for a half a mile and got my motivation for the next several miles to push on. Mantras came quick and easy

"I am not a two hour half marathoner" "I am not a two hour half marathoner"

Although in retrospect, I should have hung out with the two hour pacer.  (Please note, nothing wrong with a two hour half marathoner. For me, I was just hoping to go under 2:00 hours.  This race humbled me and reminded me how hard running really really is).  I continued with my mantra as I could hear the two hour pacer trying to get ahead of me.  And just like that my determination and old race junkie self came rushing back  I repeated my mantra; I started to play the game of who could I pass; I added new mantras

"I gave birth naturally, I can do this"  "
"Embrace the pain, let it be there" (coming directly from a birthing mantra)
"Dig Deep"

Mile 6-9 - 9:01, 9:03, 8:52, 8:57

Around Mile 10, things got hard.  I kept up with my mantras and determination, but alas my body was ready for this thing to be over.  I watched with sadness as the two hour pacer passed me.  I saw him to catch up to the 1:55 pacer and my crazy race mind determined that the 2:00 hour pacer was going too fast - that had to be it, even if my Garmin said differently.  The last 2.1 miles were tough.  We headed up some hills and onto the boardwalk where we were met with the wind.

I wanted it to be over, I was done, I even decided ok so I am not a two hour half-marathoner but I am a 2:05 half-marathoner. So I started to say "I am not a 2:05 half marathoner."  Adjust, embrace, it is O.K.

Recently, people have expressed that runners are a different breed.  We unite.  When you run a race you feel that.  At Mile 11, I began to play the "do si do"game with a guy.  He told me Let's go! I did, I passed him and told him to keep up. He passed me. I kept him in sight.  We kept each other going.  He won out in the end, but I was happy to once again have made a friend to lean on in running.  There is nothing like it.

Mile 10-13.1 - 9:58, 9:01, 9:44, 10:00, 4:47

And then that was it.  I crossed that wonderful finish line - 2 hrs and 2 minutes after I started.  My joy of racing had returned.  Did I truly want to have been able to go faster? Yes.  But given that I am just back to training, given that I have not run this far in a long time, and given that I just had a baby  - I will damn well take it. So there, hypothalamic amenorrhea.

Once I finished the race, I was done.  I kind of staggered around for a while and settled finally right outside the massage tent to eat a big soft pretzel, put my name in for my massage, ice,

Soft pretzels at the finish - hell ya!

And oh wait for Aaron....I will let him to tell you that tale.

This is too long of a post and you probably all have given up on me, but I wanted to highlight two more things about this race.

1) DO IT!!!!
    - It was completely well organized, awesome, friendly, and fun;
    - The medals were amazing;
    - There was water and Gatorade throughout;
    - Ice and massages at the finish along with big soft pretzels;
    - The shuttle buses were a breeze;
    - The race course was excellent - it did some fun loops to always keep you interested during which    
      time you could see other runners running different miles; and
    - Most would say it was flat and fast - I was not used to anything resembling a hill so I would say it  
      did have some rolling hills but a good mix

I will see you in 2014!!!!

2)  I have caught the racing bug. I AM BACK.  The ride home was spent deciding what other races to do and convincing friends to join in.  A good portion of last night was spent online determining my race schedule.

Alright, I promise I am done.  Happy Tuesday all!  I hope you are still with me at this point and if you are thank you!!!!

Do you ever get that "dry mouth" problem?  Who can tell me how to run through and drink from those little water cups at water stops or better yet how to actually use my water belt?  Who else raced this weekend?