Eleven Days

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... is how long you have left to apply to be Evotri's 2012 member!

When I finally decided to apply to be on the Evotri team in 2010, I had less than 2 weeks before their deadline. I had wavered back and forth on whether I should throw my hat in. I had applied a couple of times in the past but hadn't made it very far in the elimination process. Plus, Steve and I were starting to talk about starting a family, and I was sure they wouldn't want someone who was hoping to be knocked up soon. My desire to be on the team got the best of me, though, and I decided the only things I had to lose were a couple of hours of my time and a small piece of my pride if they decided to pass over me again.

I had known of Evotri from WIBA weekends in the past (I was one of the "original" members of WIBA back in 2006 before Evotri had been started). I had gotten the opportunity to race alongside some of the members at Ironman Wisconsin and Steelhead 70.3 and had realized what a great group of people they are. They are so down-to-earth and fun at the same time. There never seemed to be a shortage of laughs around them! I was worried that they wouldn't want to pick me. There are some crazy speedsters on the team. The current count is that JP, Michelle, and Chris have all done Kona - all since joining the team. I'll likely never earn a slot to Kona. Sara seems to get faster after each kid she's had. Rob often beats pros out of the water. Stu has posted some pretty wicked times and is now announcing for the Rev3 Series - how cool is that? Oh, and Charlie BQ'd shortly after joining the team. I told them about my passion for the sport. I told them that I wouldn't be the fastest one on the team by any stretch of the imagination, but I would LOVE to find out what the amazing gear that the sponsors were offering could do for me. In my first summer on the team, my Power Tap, my Zipp wheels, and 3 months of coaching helped me to realize a 70.3 PR. I finally broke 6 hours, and for me, that's huge. Now that I have my new QR bike and wetsuit, I am ready to GO for this summer's race season.

In the process of applying, I told the team about my plans to start a family. I wanted to make sure they knew what they'd be getting in me. They told me they were looking for somebody that wanted to make a long-term commitment to the team and that balancing triathlon and the rest of life is something that they all strive to do. Now I look to them as role models as I learn to continue triathlon in my new life as a mom.

I love Evotri's mission. I have been trying to give back to this sport since I found it in 2004 and have coaxed many friends and former strangers to all sorts of finish lines. I thought that this would be a perfect way for me to continue to give back. When they called to tell me that they'd chosen me to be the newest member of Evotri, I was so excited that I couldn't stop shaking! I had a smile on my face for weeks. It has been a true blessing to get to know my teammates better, and the sponsorship really can't be beat.

We've had so many great applications already, and I can't tell you how pumped I am to meet our newest member. If you're still thinking about applying, it's not too late! Putting together a video and envisioning next year's racing season may be the perfect way to work off your Holiday food coma.

The Beginning

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As part of Evotri, we were all asked to write how we got into this sport. It's a great look back to where we've each come from and to hopefully encourage any potential team members that we've all started somewhere, even JP, who recently WON an iron distance triathlon, and Rural Girl, who recently crushed her 3:30 marathon goal. My story starts with a boy...

I had been dating Steve for 2 years by the time we went off to college. We were high school sweethearts but had decided to go to seperate colleges. He was going to a small art school, and I was at a different university. As luck would have it, those schools were just under 4 miles apart. I had run cross country and track my last 2 years of high school and had loved it. Though I was definitely a middle-of-the-road runner, I loved that the more work I put into it, the more I would get out of it. They were sports where "favortism" didn't really come into play. The numbers spoke for themselves. If you could post them, you were on the roster. I loved the objectivity of it. I still ran when I went off to college, but I had decided that science majors and college sports didn't mix. I really missed the team enviornment, but I kept running for fun. On Fridays, Steve worked in the art gallery at his school. I used these days as my long run days. I would run the 4 miles down to see him and the 4 miles back. One day, I added a couple of miles. The next week, I added one more. The day I ran 16 miles, I decided I would sign up for my first marathon.

By the summer of 2003, I had run 3 and was training for my 4th marathon. I was sitting in my house and just happened to turn on the TV one Sunday. They were airing the Lifetime Fitness Triathlon on TV, and I couldn’t take my eyes off of it. Though I had been running, I hadn’t given triathlons much thought. After watching the program, I vowed that I would be there in 2004 to race the Olympic distance race. I signed up a couple of months later and started training. It wasn’t exactly easy. I had never met anyone who had done a triathlon, so I basically learned all I could from books (I had quite the library of tri books by then). Wouldn’t you know…after all that training, my timing chip fell off my ankle during the swim. I managed to screw up my watch’s lap function during T1, so I don’t really have any idea what any of my splits were. I also lost all of my nutrition during the bike, which resulted in me almost losing my cookies at the end of the race. During that first tri, I thought about Ironman. Oddly enough, it was the M dot tatoo on a woman's right thigh that planted that seed. I saw it when I was on the run, and I thought to myself, I could do that someday. After that first race, I was hooked. I knew that more races were in my future, and in 2006, I realized my Ironman dream for the first time. The rest, as they say, is history!

Evotri Making the Team 2012

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Now entering its sixth year, the members of Team Evotri continue to challenge themselves and others to live a healthy and active lifestyle through endurance sports. They have been given an extraordinary opportunity to train and race with the same equipment and coaching as the pros. They continue to dedicate themselves to maximizing their potential, to sharing what they learn from their experiences, and to making a positive contribution to the endurance sport community.

Team Evotri is again ready to welcome a new member to the family. For 2012, Team Evotri and its sponsors have pulled together a one-of-a-kind package to provide an age group athlete the opportunity to train and race like a PRO, while giving back to the triathlon and endurance community. The current team members will be looking for an individual who embraces the spirit of triathlon: a positive attitude, enthusiasm for the sport, desire to improve, and dedication to give back to the endurance community. Years of triathlon experience and good race results are not deciding factors in choosing a winner, but passion is.
The next team member will benefit by receiving an excellent package courtesy of the team's sponsors:
  • QuintanaRoo will provide a top-of-the-line CD0.1  frameset with innovative shift technology that will undoubtedly take your bike splits to a new level.

  • Zipp Speed Weaponry knows just how to outfit a frame like the CD0.1 with a 404 front and 808 rear wheel set.

  • SRAM will add to the bike with its latest cockpit and drivetrain components.

  • CycleOps finishes the bike off with its cutting edge SL+ wireless PowerTap hub and Joule 2.0 computer.

  • HUB Endurance puts it all together providing a full year of expert triathlon coaching to deliver the newest Evotri athlete to the top of their potential in 2012.

Here's how you can be the next Team Evotri member:

Create a video that's no longer than three (3) minutes. The video should answer the following three questions:
  1. Why Evotri?

  2. Why You?

  3. Can you Evotri?

  • Videos must be posted to Team Evotri's Facebook page: http://www.facebook.com/evotri.

  • Videos must be posted by December 31, 2011, at 11:59 PM CST.

  • Videos not within the time constraints will not be considered.
  • The current team members will select finalists from the video submissions.

  • The finalists will be notified by January 15, 2012 and will be invited to be interviewed via teleconference by current team members.

  • The winner will be announced on February 1, 2012.
Important Notes:
  • By posting a video to Evotri's Facebook page, candidates grant contest affiliates permission to use said video for promotional purposes affiliated with Team Evotri and the 2012 contest.

  • The winner of the team slot forfeits all awards if he/she is unable to continue as a team member for any reason for a period within two years of joining the team.

  • The winner of the team slot agrees to contribute to the Team Evotri web site for as long as he/she is a member of Team Evotri.

  • The winner agrees to race in an Evotri team uniform for all multisport events. Winner to purchase choice of uniform apparel upon final selection.

  • The winner of the team slot must participate in the yearly Team Evotri event. The 2012 event is a training camp in Chattanooga, TN from April 12-15, 2012. You must be present for the entire time.

  • No reimbursement will be made by Team Evotri or its sponsors for the creation, submission or any other expenses associated with the video entry.

  • No reimbursement will be made by Team Evotri or its sponsors for any travel, lodging, race entry fees, or other associated expenses in attending Team Evotri activities.

An Awesome Letter in the Mail This Week

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There will be races when you show up to the start line and know you're not in for a PR. Usually this is from being undertrained - life or injury/illness got in your way. Whatever the reason, at that point you need to finalize your race strategy. Do you aim for a PR anyway and risk falling on your face? Do you assess your training and aim for a more appropriate finish time, or do you throw time out the window and decide to enjoy yourself? For my 12th consecutive Medtronic Twin Cities Marathon earlier this month, I chose that last strategy. At 16 weeks postpartum, I wasn't anywhere close to PR shape. I had squeezed in training that would get me to the finish line, but I knew my time would not be spectacular.

In my last post, I told you how I met Shelley and how we ran almost the entire marathon together. Steve saved me a screen shot of Shelley and me hugging at the finish line:

This week, I checked my mailbox at work and found this:

A closeup of her thoughtful letter

It totally made my week! Shelley, if you ever find this, it was an honor to be your "Race Angel." I hope to see you at the start line next year!

I had a great weekend of running and in the next couple of days will hopefully get together a post for the race I snuck in yesterday.

A Dozen - Twin Cities Marathon Race Report

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I did this race for the first time in 2000. I was a sophomore in undergrad and had no idea what I was doing, but I was well-trained for it - posting the highest mileage I've ever put in for a marathon. I've done it every year since then - sometimes faster, and sometimes I've been much slower. It's become a yearly tradition for me, and for the last 5 years or so, it's become a tradition that my family joins in on. My mom, dad, and siblings all come up to cheer and sometimes run the 10 mile or marathon too. My birthday always falls sometime around the race (it was yesterday), so after the marathon, we all come back to Steve's and my house for a grill out, to share stories, and eat birthday cake before heading our separate ways again. This year, Steve and my brothers Matt and Mike were doing the 10 mile before changing into their crazy animal costumes and cheering like maniacs at mile 25.5.

Honestly, for the last 2 years I've wondered if it was really worth it to keep up the streak. I like having something to look forward to after tri season is over, but the feel of the race has changed. It's no secret that I'm anti iPod for races. I remember writing after last year's race that everyone around me seemed to be tuned out in their own little worlds. I'm a very social runner. I've only truly raced this marathon a couple of times. Mostly I just do it to celebrate what my body can do, soak in the scenery, and enjoy the camaraderie around me. This year's race restored my love for it.

I should back up to the days leading up to the race. Henry was up 5 times Thursday night and 6 times Friday night. By the end of that night, I was honestly ready to lock him in our basement with our cats for a couple of hours. Of course I'd never actually do that, but I have to admit that the thought went through my head at 4 AM. I had the day off of work Friday so Steve and I could get ready for Henry's Baptism on Saturday. We also had an appointment with the pediatric gastroenterologist that day. The doctor basically reaffirmed that it's likely an allergy to a food protein that I'm eating and recommended that I stay off all dairy, wheat, and soy since it does seem to be helping. The alternative is switching him to formula. I would rather keep breastfeeding if possible, so a restrictive diet it is. I'm not sure if it's a sheer coincidence or if it is the diet change, but his demeanor has been COMPLETELY different in the last 2 weeks. He's been a very happy guy who loves to smile, coo, and giggle, and the crying has nearly stopped. He's even been content to play with toys by himself for a few minutes here and there. The clinic and the race expo were just a few blocks from each other, so Steve and I picked up our race packets afterward.

Saturday was a flurry of excitement getting all of the food ready, putting a few last minute touches on cleaning our house, and welcoming our family. Steve's sister and my sisters were SO much help. We are blessed to have such great families. After being up those 6 times overnight, Henry didn't sleep all morning, and just when I thought he'd pass out, we put his baptismal gown on him, and he was wide awake taking the whole experience in. Here's a picture of the 3 of us. Henry's in a gown that my mom sewed for him out of pieces of her wedding dress:

Henry in the baptism gown my mom made him

Henry slept for a couple of hours in the afternoon, but not nearly as much as normal, so I thought he'd pass out at 7 and be good to go for the night. We made some pasta for my family who was staying the night (I had quinoa pasta. You know what? It's really pretty good!). Henry had plans of his own. We tried for hours to get him down, and every time we thought we'd been successful, he'd wake up again.

At 11:30 PM, after more than 4 hours of trying to get my baby to sleep. I was getting desperate. I thought about backing out of the race the next day. I was tired and frustrated from so many nights in a row with no sleep. I handed a crying Henry to my mom and collapsed as a blubbering pile into my dad's arms - asking how the heck I was supposed to continue doing this every night while working full time at a job that requires my brain to be in top-shape. My parents sent me to bed and promised to take care of Henry. I finally passed out. I woke up an hour and a half later to him crying, and for a moment, I panicked that he'd been crying the whole time. It turned out that he just thought it was his job to entertain the company, though. He'd been up laughing, talking, and playing with my parents the whole time. I fed him briefly, and he finally passed out at 1 AM. We then slept for 4 glorious uninterrupted hours until my 5 AM alarm went off.

I got dressed, pumped, and woke up the rest of the house. My mom took Steve, Matt, Mike and me to the start line. I saw them off for the 10 mile start and put the rest of me together. I smothered myself in body glide, ate a mint chocolate Gu, and got in line for Corral 3. When they sang the National Anthem, I said a quick prayer thanking God for the opportunity to be out there running, for my health, and for my VERY supportive family. They played "Everybody Looks Good at the Starting Line," and we were off! My plan was just to go at a comfortable pace, have fun, and hang out at the back of the pack.

At around mile 0.5, I complimented a woman on her shirt. It had the tracings of her 2 kids' feet and said something to the effect of, "We're behind you mom!" With that, I met Shelley. She was running her first marathon ever. We talked about our families. I told her some of the fun parts of the course to look forward to and where the hills would be. Sometimes we talked, sometimes we just ran together. We were very matched in pace, so we just stayed together. Around mile 12, John joined us. He had been running near us for most of the race. It was also his first marathon. His son was born on the exact same day as Henry but had had some initial complications, so his training wasn't what he'd hoped. Twelve miles was his longest run. I invited him to run with us, so he did. We ran along the river together telling stories and jokes and enjoying the gorgeous day. Normally, I would have thought it was much too hot, but this year I was glad it was a little warm so Henry wouldn't be cold while he was out cheering. I was so happy to be running, and though the typical aches and pains of a marathon snuck up on me earlier this year, I was having a lot of fun. I said in my last post that my goal would be to hang out with people at the back of the pack and to enjoy myself. If I could find a newbie to cheer on, that would be an added bonus.

John ran with us until mile 22 or so. He was stronger up the hill. I saw him look back a couple of times while he was ahead of us, but by that time, we were on Summit - the home stretch. I hoped he'd go on without us if he was feeling good, and he did. Shelley and I ran Summit together. We never had to stop and walk, though our pace was slowing down. I was just so happy to still be running and to still be feeling relatively OK. We looked for her family around mile 24 and then looked for mine at mile 25.5. I beamed when I spotted the farm animals! I high-fived my family and smooched my baby.

Spotting my family

Shelley and me at mile 25.5

High Fives for my family, running to smooch my baby

A high five for my bud Maddy. She was out there a couple of times to cheer!

I spotted the giant flag near the finish line as I crested the hill by the Cathedral. Shelly and I picked up the pace and ran to the finish line together. When we crossed, I congratulated her and asked if I could give her a hug. "I wish you would!" she exclaimed. We hugged twice, I congratulated her again, and I made my way up to find my family. Here are my splits just in case you're interested, but they weren't important. This was my second slowest marathon ever, but honestly, it was one of my most fun.

Miles 1&2: 22:50
Mile 3: 11:40
Mile 4: 11:26
Mile 5: 11:32
Mile 6: 11:53
Mile 7: 12:14
Mile 8: 11:16
Mile 9: 11:44
Mile 10: 11:48
Mile 11 & 12: 23:32
Mile 13: 12:07
Mile 14: 12:16
Mile 15: 11:25
Mile 16: 12:13
Mile 17: 12:03
Mile 18: 12:21
Mile 19: 12:32
Mile 20: 12:36
Mile 21: 13:14
Mile 22: 14:11
Mile 23: 13:45
Mile 24: 14:05
Mile 25 & 26: 27:25
Last 0.2: 2:46

Total time: 5:23:15

We all came back to Steve's and my place, grilled some delicious food, and said our goodbyes after a busy, fun-filled weekend. I snuggled my baby, and the two of us took a nap together.

Resting with Mama

That night, Henry slept through the night for the first time EVER. I'm not sure if the weekend wore him out or if running a marathon on an 80 degree day gave me a super concentrated milk supply - maybe a combination of both.

Final thoughts:

* We did end up making that sign for Henry's stroller:

* Running a marathon while nursing makes you HUNGRY!!! I normally eat around 400-500 calories over the course of a marathon, but this year, I ate over 800 and still had trouble keeping up. I had 4 gels, a pack of Powerbar chewies, a pack of Sharkies, and more than a full banana. I ran with a 6 oz bottle and managed to consume 10 bottles (5 tablets) of NUUN and another 5-10 bottles of water. I did a good job of keeping up with my hydration given the heat and was only down 2 pounds after the race.

* Speaking of nursing, everyone asks if I was OK going that long without, ahem, "relieving" myself. When I first signed up, I thought I'd have to spot a pump somewhere given my expected finish time, but I was fine. I can normally go 6-8 hours without too much trouble, and I think the dehydration factor worked in my favor.

* The NUUN and my slow pace made a HUGE difference in my cramping during and recovery after the race, which was good since I still had to safely carry a baby up and down our stairs.

* The sleeping through the night was a one-time deal. He woke up 5 times the next night but was only up 1-3 times the rest of the week, so I'm calling it progress.

* I wore my sacro-illiac support belt for all of my long runs and for the race. I still ended up with some SI pain, but I do think it helped. I'm hoping to be able to wean myself off of it now that runs of that distance are done for a few months.

* I don't have any races on the calendar yet but am definitely looking forward to being back next year. My focus this winter will be getting my speed back.

* Speaking of winter, I think I'm using my birthday money to buy the weather shield for the BOB. Obviously I'm not going to take Henry out in crazy temps, but he LOVES being outside, so on milder days, we can still get out for some fresh air.

And with that, I'll leave you with one last picture of Henry from this week:

Happy little guy wearing his "Born 2 Farm" onesie :)

Have a great week everybody!

So it Turns Out I'm NOT a Supermom

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As I was preparing to go back to work, I had this grand plan in my head. Henry was still waking up once or twice a night, but I figured this was a manageable schedule for when I'd be back to work. Marathon training was going OK, considering, and we finally had our childcare situation lined up. I was going to be able to balance a career, my family, and maintaining an active, healthy lifestyle. I was going to be a Supermom. I'm now in the middle of my 4th week back to work, and boy am I pooped. Henry has regressed back to every 3 hour feedings, and we've consistently been up 3-5 times a night. Twice a night seems to be a welcome rarity. By the time I get done with an 8-10 hour day at work, I'm totally beat, and given that Henry needs to make up for lost time on the boob, I'm constantly feeding him. My visions of evening runs with the stroller have turned into mommy-baby naptime.

Last Friday, Henry was up 5 times overnight. By morning, I was SO tired. All I wanted was for Steve to say, "Here, honey, I've got this one. I'll go get him a bottle." Instead, he poked me and informed me the baby was hungry again. I got up 20 minutes early to throw supper in the crock pot only to discover I left the tubing to my breast pump at work and would be pumping with the hand pump so Henry had food to take to daycare. So much for those extra 20 minutes. By the time I got to work late, crabby, tired, and at the end of my rope, I thought, "Hmm. I'm still hungry." That's when I realized I had forgotten to eat breakfast. I haven't forgotten to eat breakfast in 30 years. Of course then he had a great weekend equipped with a happy demeanor and lots of giggles and naps with mommy. I started the week rejuvinated, but I'm already back to needing a mid-morning caffeine fix...

I've been getting in my long runs on the weekends, but there has been a serious hole in the rest of my training. My 18 miler 2 weeks ago went really well, but my 20 miler a week ago wasn't so pretty. I'm a little nervous how the marathon will go this weekend. I'm just going to have to focus on hanging out with people at the back of the pack and enjoying myself. It's the only way I'll get through the last 6 miles.

On a brighter note, being back at work has been going OK aside from the serious sleep deprivation. I bounced back faster than I thought I would, and although I don't have as much time at the end of the day to socialize (I'm running out the door to make it pick up Henry), I do enjoy seeing my coworkers again. I'm also back to a weight that I've been before. Granted it's a weight that I usually see at the end of an overindulgent winter, but it's relieving to at least fit into my "fat" pre-pregnancy clothes. I've got another 6 or 7 pounds to lose, but I know I need to be patient. I worried so much going back to work that I couldn't find any clothes to buy, but it has turned out that I've been OK wearing some carefully selected items from my own closet. In the last couple of weeks, I've been catching glimpses of myself in the mirror and have noticed that I'm getting my waist back! Last but not least, Henry's demeanor is getting MUCH better, and we can at least lay him on the floor to play for a few minutes here and there. We used to have to hold him constantly, and even then, he cried all of the time. It's amazing how much you can get done in 10 minutes without a baby in your arms! We still haven't figured out his tummy troubles. We're seeing a pediatric gastroentrologist on Friday. I'm currently off of all dairy, soy, and wheat products. At times it's really hard, especially since it means we have to cook all of our food at home, but I keep telling myself that lots of fruits and veggies, lean meats, and nuts is really how I should be eating anyway. I haven't been perfect and have snuck in a baked good here or there (I'm hungry ALL of the time and have a whole mouth full of sweet teeth), but overall, it's going better than I thought it would. Henry hasn't had a bloody poo since last Thursday. It's hard to say whether it's sheer coincidence that his demeanor is getting better since getting rid of wheat and soy or whether it's making a difference...

Steve's been putting in crazy hours at work, but some of that is starting to work itsself out. Hopefully in the next couple of weeks, I won't need a daily afternoon nap. Henry will continue to be happy enough to take out in the stroller, and Steve and I can take shifts in the evenings so the other one can get out and get in a workout. In the meantime, I'm running a freaking marathon this weekend! It's been my dream since I signed up to put a sign on our stroller in the cheering section that says, "I did this last year." I'll be back next week with a race report!

St Croix Valley Sprint Triathlon Race Report

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Henry's asleep in his bunny swing, so I'm going to try to make this quick before he wakes up again. My first week back was a very tiring one. Henry has decided that he doesn't love eating at daycare and would rather get up a few extra times during the night to make up for all of those lost feedings. We've been up 3-5 times most nights this week. Thank God it was only a 4 day week. I guess this week will be the real test. Speaking of Henry, as if I don't talk about him enough around here lately, I think his demeanor is getting better. This is giving me hope that he's a 3 month colicky baby and not a 6 month colicky baby. I really can't thank you all enough for the massive amount of support, suggestions, thoughts, and prayers you've offered me the last few months. I REALLY needed it, and you came through. We still haven't figured out his intestinal issues other than the fact that he most likely has allergic proctocolitis. I went off dairy again this week, but I'm not convinced it's dairy. Next on the list is soy and then eggs, so if it doesn't get better, that's where we're headed. After the LC told us that it was ridiculous to be cutting out so many foods and that she didn't think it was an allergy, she called back 4 days later to say that she thinks it's most likely an allergy. Thankfully, most kids grow out of it around 12-18 months or even earlier, but I still want to nip it now so his poor insides aren't so irritated.

OK - enough about that. You came here for a race report. This was the first postpartum race I'd done. We've gone to cheer on Steve at a couple of them this summer, but this was my turn. We layed out and packed as much stuff as we could the night before. I made a list of everything we needed to grab the morning of - diaper bag, my tri bag, my breast pump for the car ride, our baby, etc. The BOB and my bike were already packed up. Henry woke up twice during the night, including one feeding that lasted an ENTIRE hour. He's never eaten that much in his life. Guess he thought he was gearing up for a race, too! Our alarm went off, and we quickly busied ourselves packing up and heading out the door. The goal was to leave around 6 so we could be there by 6:30 (transition closed at 7:15). As I was pumping on the way there, I realized that the bottle I had grabbed to put the pumped milk in had somehow not made it into the car. That's when Steve and I realized that we had managed to forget the diaper bag, too. Great. Mom of the year right here. We keep a small diaper bag in the bob, so I wasn't worried about diapers, but I felt sick knowing that I was about to leave Steve with 10 ounces of milk, a hungry baby, and no way to combine the two. We made plans for him to go to a local 24 hour Wal-Mart while I was on the bike if needed.

When we got to the park, we unloaded the car and stopped at a picnic table so I could try to feed H a little before I needed to race. He halfheartedly ate and then proceeded to throw up most of what he ate. Double great.

Emergency feeding time...

I picked up my race packet and headed into transition with baby in tow. It didn't take me long to set everything up, don my wetsuit, and stop for these photos:

Posing with Henry before the Start

Henry giving me a pep talk before the race

The swim:
I've never done a sprint tri. The shortest distance I've ever done was an oly. This was the first swim I've done where I didn't look up and think, "Holy cow, that's a really long way to swim." I said a quick prayer of thanks before my start. I really do havw a lot to be thankful for. Soon it was go time! I sighted OK, felt OK, and was out of the 1/3 mile swim in 12:14 - not great by normal standards, but I've only been in the water twice since I was 16 weeks pregnant.

All smiles coming out of the water

This took me way longer than it should have. I fumbled all over with my wetsuit, my shoes, and with the decision on weather to grab my mini bike pump. I was out in 2:16.

The bike:
I've long touted this race as a great beginner race. I did their oly a couple of years ago, and it's my PR. The sprint distances aren't intimidating, and you can stand up during almost any given part of the swim. Plus, it's at the end of the summer, allowing plenty of time to train. Steve did this race a few years ago, and it's a good thing I walked through the course with him the night before or I would have been surprise by the GIANT hill on the bike. This ride? Not beginner friendly. It's slightly uphill for the first 3 miles of the out and back and then gets really nasty. I haven't reviewed my power data yet, but at one point, I looked down at my Powertap to see I was on a 7% grade hill. People were walking. I was in my granny gear and still thought I would lose my cookies. I was WORKING! My speed was pitiful. I was so glad to hit the top (and the turn around) but then quickly became nervous on whether I would do OK handling my new bike on a descent that big. I did have to break pretty hard on one curve that they had warned us about, but otherwise I did OK. I went back and forth with Katie, a local triathlete/runner that we know. I smiled and told her she'd be getting me on the run. I finished the 10 mile bike in 38:12 - a 15.7 mph average. I have to admit that I'm disappointed with this average, but looking at the winners, all times were slow on the bike. You just never make up that speed once you've lost it on the uphill, and like I said in my last post, you can't be too hard on yourself when it's only the 4th time you've been on your bike in over 3 months. I could hear Steve cheering me on as I came into transition.

Coming in off the bike

Much smoother this time. I was in and out in 1:36.

The run:
I've been lamenting for weeks about how slow my running is coming along. The endurance has come back, but my speed just hasn't budged. I had done a 5 miler a few days prior where I averaged 11 minute miles, and I was ecstatic to see an entire minute drop from my usual min/mile pace. I was thinking that 10:30s -11:00s would be a realistic goal given my recent training times, but my body had other ideas. I took off out of T2 with a pace that I thought was comfortably fast.

Starting my run

I was relieved to discover that once I was running, barfing seemed much less inevitable. I talked with a local mom (I think her name was Tiffany) on my way to mile 1. She recognized me from my blog and offered me encouragement that cranky babies don't always stay that way. I was shocked when I hit my watch at mile 1 and saw a 9:24. I wondered if I could maintain that kind of pace. At mile 2, my watch read 9:03. Awesome. I was feeling great. I was pushing for two reasons: 1. I was racing and 2. There was a good chance that Steve had a very hungry Cranky Hank waiting for me at the finish line. I was cheering people on as I was passing them and cheering racers who were still heading toward the turnaround. I was still feeling good at mile 3 - 8:45.

Still feeling good on the run

When I passed Steve and Henry as I was running toward the finish line, I shrugged and told Steve I had no idea where this run speed came from, and that's when he snapped this priceless photo:

WHERE did this run come from?

Heading toward the finish

I had 8:53 as my last split for a total run time of 36:13 - just over 9:03 min/mile average.

I got a little teary at the finish line. I had so much fun and was so happy to be back. Total time: 1:30:29 - 4/11 in my AG and 32/89 women.

All packed up and ready for some FOOD!

I found Steve and was relieved to find that Henry had slept through most of the race - disaster averted. He actually slept through me packing up my stuff and eating the DELICIOUS post race luau pork sandwiches that they were serving.

Henry was still asleep as we loaded up the car

He made it all the way home before waking up and being ravenously hungry.

I would love to do this race again. First of all, it would serve as a good measure of improvement, but it really is a fun race. Although I've never been a lover of sprint races, I think I could really get used to doing a few of these. It's a great way for me to learn to push my limits.

One year ago today, I was smashing my PR at Rev3 Cedar Point half. Last week, I did my first postpartum sprint. It's amazing how much has changed in the past year, and I'm excited to see how the next year unfolds.

Next up on my racing calendar is the Medtronic Twin Cities Marathon. I felt awesome on my 18 miler yesterday and was relieved to discover that my times are coming down a bit. There were several local running groups doing 20 milers on my usual route, and it was fun to be part of that excitement. I'll hopefully get in a 20 miler next weekend and will then be headed for taper town. It's been my dream ever since signing up this year to put a sign on the BOB that says "I did this last year." You know I'll be stopping for baby kisses on my way to the finish line.

My First Postpartum Tri Race Report Coming Soon!

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I'm officially done with my maternity leave tomorrow, and to be very honest, I'm an emotional wreck today (as I have been for the last 3 weeks thinking about going back to work). I hope to get a race report up sometime soon to tell you all about my sprint tri yesterday, but today, I'm just going to enjoy being with my two favorite boys.

In short, it went WAY better than I expected. Nothing stellar, but just being out there 12 weeks to the day after giving birth is something to be pretty thankful for. The swim went about as good as it could have. The bike wasn't what I'd hoped it would be, but I forgot about the HUGE hill basically comprising the entire bike, so for having been on my bike all of 4 times now since May, I'll have to be happy with it. I pulled the run out of somewhere, and if I can find out where that was, I'll have to go looking for more. I went about 2 minutes faster/mile than what I was thinking it'd be. That could have something to do with a major mommy mishap in packing that left us with a potentially hungry baby at the finish line. Thankfully, Henry cooperated during the race!

Most importantly, I had a smile on my face the whole Day. I had SO much fun and can't wait for next year!

Stopping for a photo with Henry before the start

Out on the run

Happy Labor Day, everybody!

My CD0.1's Maiden Voyage

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Last Thursday, I decided it was time. I had this sweet new ride calling my name, and I was SO eager to take it out, despite previously described apprehension being 11 weeks postpartum. I dug through my drawer to find a pair of bike shorts that fit me, handed Henry off to Steve, and set out for a quick spin to try everything out. I hadn't been on a bike since May and haven't been able to ride outdoors Since mid-October last year.
Henry and I posed for this pic before I set out:

Henry likes the new ride. Mama likes it more!

It. Was. Glorious.

I only went for 15 miles or so, but I felt great. This bike is crazy fast, and though I was a little nervous that it would take a lot of time to get to know my R2C shifters, it seemed to click pretty fast. My average wasn't spectacular, but given my time away from the bike, it really wasn't that bad, especially considering the number of stop signs I hit.

I felt like me again riding. Although my running is progressing, my times aren't really coming down. I still feel slow and heavy, but on my bike, I felt like an athlete, like a person, not just a mommy milk machine.

I got home with a big smile on my face, and Steve snapped this photo:

Home after a quick fun ride.

I squeezed in another ride on Saturday. Same thing. I felt great, and with that, I signed up for my first and only tri of the season - the St. Croix Valley Sprint Tri.

I have been in the pool twice since Henry's birth, but my swims went OK. I've lost a lot of speed, which I'm hoping to get back once H is not so cranky that he can't go to Kid's Care at our Y. I'm confident I'll be fine in the 1/3 mile swim. The bike is only 10 miles, and the run is 4 miles. It will be my first ever sprint tri, and although it will no doubt be embarrassingly slow, I have to keep telling myself that I gave birth 12 weeks ago and need to cut myself a little slack. I am really hoping to focus on getting my speed back over the winter to see what I can do in shorter distances next year, and this will be a great starting point.

On the running front, I've been increasing my mileage pretty successfully. I logged nearly 30 miles last week with my long run being a 16 miler. My speed just isn't coming back as fast as I'd hoped, but now that I've been able to get back some of the distance, I hope to incorporate some speed work back into my regimen before my marathon in a month. The race this weekend will serve as my "recovery" day. Next weekend I'll put in an 18 miler. The following week I'll shoot for 20, and then I'll taper for 2 weeks and see if I can hit the finish line in the 6 hour time limit on October 2. I'm really hoping that being at the back of the pack will allow me to meet some new people who need a little encouragement. I thrive on getting people excited out there. I LOVE LOVE LOVE the TCM course and will show it off whenever I can.

On the Henry front, things aren't going much better, which makes me really nervous to send him to be with someone else when I start work next week. I mean, if his own mother has trouble settling him down some days, how is a stranger supposed to do it? Fortunately, we have a neighbor caring for him. She has 2 kids of her own, and one of them was a crabby baby. We had a 2 hour trial the other day, and it went really well. He was sleeping when I got there to pick him up. By the end of last week, he was extra crabby. I had cut out ALL dairy for over 2 weeks at that point (save for one day when I had a moment of weakness and ate a cookie with butter in it), but it really didn't seem to help his disposition. We thought it was helping his intestinal issues, but he had another bloody poo on Saturday, so we're back to square one. I ended up cutting out all wheat, soy, and eggs for the last few days, but the LC today told me to forget about it. It's been a really frustrating process. We've seen 2 doctors, a lactation consultant, a Douala (the teacher for our birthing class series where we had a reunion yesterday) and a chiropractor within the last 2.5 weeks, and all of these "experts" think that they know the cure-all and are contradicting the information that the other ones are giving us. By this afternoon, I was really ready to call it quits on all of them. I know that the real "cure" for colicky babies is usually just time, but it's so hard to watch your baby scream and not do anything. I would feel terrible if there were really something wrong, and we just ignored the signs. Then, as if to tell me everything would be just fine, I figured out how to make him giggle today, and that was worth all of the frustration I'd had in the morning.

My last race was one week before Henry was born. My next one will be 12 weeks afterward. I think it's going to be a pretty surreal experience having him at the finish line. Wish me luck!

Spilling the Beans - Big Evotri Bike Announcement

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I have been a member of Evotri since last summer. With the help of the super sweet gear from our sponsors, I was able to post a HUGE PR at Rev3 half last September. Shortly after that, I got pregnant with Henry, and racing has been on major hold. The thing is, the gear I was using (my Zipp wheels and Cyclops Powertap) was only a small portion of the things I received as part of the team. I had a box of SUPER sweet components sitting in my basement waiting for a bike worthy of them. Two weeks ago, I got this in the mail...

Um, yeah. This definitely looks worthy.

Presenting, my Quintana Roo CD0.1 I almost fell over when I realized I could lift the frame with two fingers...

We took all of my boxes of parts out to Gear West Bike and Tri, our local tri mecca. They are a bit of a drive for us but totally worth it. We have so many bike shops within a couple of miles of us, but none of them have the level of expertise of Gear West while maintaining the feeling of a small shop. I just prefer a shop where I know their names and they know mine...

Lots and lots of parts ready to be put together. Good thing somebody knows how to do this!

A few days later, we went back to pick up my new beauty. It's a good thing I never had bladder issues after having a baby, because I almost peed myself when I saw my new bike. I still can't believe this is mine. They did a really quick fitting so they could cut my aerobars down and string the cables, and Steve snapped this picture.

All smiles while trying out the new ride

I'll go back for a more thorough fitting once I don't have a 10 pound tire around my midsection and have regained some of my flexibility - hopefully this winter.

While I was getting fitted, Henry sat by the Quintana Roos on display there. He definitely approves of their products!

Henry's content face. He likes Mama's new toy :)

So I'll be saying goodbye to my current tri bike - a QR Tequilo that I've had since 2007. It has treated me really well, which is a big reason I'm excited that we're going to be working with Quintana Roo. I love that it's a small company with a triathlon focus. It's right in line with our Evotri mission.

I have been really slow to get back on my bike postpartum. Apparently prolapsing your urethra on top of all of the other damage that results to your lady business after 36 hours of labor will do that. I'm thinking this will be just the incentive I need to get out and enjoy a few rides before winter hits. Oh, and I'm still considering squeezing in a very short tri in a couple of weeks.

I am already starting to look at potential races for next year. I'm really thinking that it's time to focus on shorter races and trying to bring down my times. I can't wait to see what I can do with my CD0.1.

Marathon Training New Mommy Style

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Nine seems to be the theme of the week...

Nine was my long run on Sunday. My plan was to run the first 5 with the BOB and then circle around home to drop off Henry and finish the last 4 miles solo. We didn't get started until after 7 PM, and it took Steve a little coaxing to get me out the door - I was tired and knew that nine miles would take me close to 2 hours given my current slow pace. Henry was having his evening crabbies, as usual, but he passed out cold in the stroller before I could even make it 2 blocks. He was so passed out and content that I actually contemplated trying to take him the whole way, but my sore groin muscles were screaming by 3 miles, and I knew it would be stupid to do all 9 with the stroller. The BOB is SUPER easy to push and doesn't really feel like I'm adding another 40-50 pounds to my run, but I know it alters my stride a little, and I'm trying to avoid injury since I'm already pushing the milage uppage 10% rule. I tacked on an extra mile to make my "with stroller" run portion 6 miles to give Steve a few more minutes at home and then ran the last 3 by myself. By the end, I was pooped but felt OK except for the groin issues. I'm aiming for 11 as my long run this week. I've still got my eyes on the Oct 2 marathon. I also squeezed in a 5 mile run Tuesday (with the stroller) and 2 runs yesterday - 4.4 miles and 3.6 miles. Henry had his 2 month checkup, which meant shots and an extra sad, crabby baby. Between Steve's long run in the morning and my runs in the afternoon and evening, he logged around 18 miles in the stroller for the day. Man does he love that thing! He either sleeps in it or is very awake and content, so Steve and I both try to take him whenever we can to give the other one a break.

His "I'm looking around but am content" face

Nine is the number of weeks pospartum I'll be in 2 days. I am still surprised how long it takes to heal after giving birth. I got the all clear to go swimming at my MD visit last week, and I did get in a 1 miler. It was slow but actually felt pretty good. I'm hoping to get in a few more swims before our pool closes for maintenence in two weeks. I've been toying with hopping on my bike for a couple of weeks now. My lady parts are still healing up, but I do want to at least try a short ride. Biking is about to get WAY more exciting around here, too. Big Evotri announcement coming soon!

Nine is the number of ounces Henry gained over the 9 days between his doctor visits. He's now up to 11 pounds 6 oz - right in the 50% for weight, though he's quite below average for height - that's my chubby baby! We took him in last week to discuss starting reflux medication for him. Feedings were getting pretty traumatic, and although it has helped a little, it wasn't a magic bullet. We really didn't think it would be. Henry's doctor agreed that he fits the definition of colic to a T. We're going to keep the reflux medication for now. Since he's also having some other concerning GI symptoms, I'm also going to try going dairy free for a week or two to see if it helps. Dairy and soy tend to be the most likely offenders, but if that doesn't work, we'll have to keep trying to pin down the culprit.

Nine is also the number of pounds I have to go to get back to my pre-pregnancy non-super fit weight. I was down to 139 when I got pregnant, but my usual wt is closer to 143. My goal is to be below 150 before going back to work in just over 3 weeks. Keeping my fingers crossed!

Finally, here is a two month picture of Henry, just a couple of days short of nine weeks:

Happy little guy on his changing table, courtesy of Steve :)

A Week By the Numbers

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Last week, I hit the six week post-partum mark. Normally, that would mean a trip to the doctor to get the all clear, but vacation with Steve's family this past week interfered with scheduling that appointment, so I'm going tomorrow. It will be nice to get into the water again. Not being able to swim is something I forgot about when I was excited to have a summer baby. Though I'm not excited to squeeze into my swim suit (currently I resemble something similar to an overstuffed sausage when I try), I am excited to actually take advantage of all of that hot weather we've been having. Pool parties and trips to the lake really aren't as fun when you've not allowed to swim. That's not to say that I'm excited to be able to swim laps again; I haven't been in the pool since I was 16 weeks pregnant. I'm afraid it's going to be a laughable event when I hop in the pool at the Y, but I've been able to at least look at my bike in the last week and am wondering if I can squeeze in a short tri before the season is over.

Running is going better. I had been run/walk alternating a few weeks ago, and I'm feeling less and less like my insides are going to fall out. I went on my first run sans stroller two weeks ago at the 5 week mark. It was crazy hot here, but I was so happy to get out that I didn't even care. My 3.5 miles were slow, but most of me felt good. I think my lower abs/upper groin atrophied quite a bit. I got in another 3.8 miler a week and a half ago. Last Sunday, at my 6 week mark, I managed to make it 5.2 miles. It felt like the last few miles of a half Ironman run. I'm a little surprised that even though I'm 25 pounds lighter than my delivery weight, my times aren't that much better. I'm still doing around 12 minute miles. I know I need to be careful how I come back. postpartum women are at increased risk for stress fractures, especially in the pelvis. I've been wearing my SI belt on my runs to help stabilize my pelvis. Hanging over my head is the fact that I signed up for the marathon again this year. I told myself when I signed up that there was no pressure to actually do it, but if I was feeling up to it, I'd love to keep the streak alive. This year would make 12 Twin Cities Marathons in a row. Well, I'm not very good about not putting pressure on myself, and I think I'm going to at least try ramping up my miles and see how I feel. The marathon is 9 weeks away. The rest of my family is signed up for the 10 mile, so it'll be a really fun weekend. Right now, my plan is to run 3 days per week dn build my endurance through lots of cross training - elliptical machine, biking, rollarblading, and swimming - anything low impact. I did get ina long rollarblading session when Steve and I were on vacation earlier this week. My in-laws volunteered to watch Henry for a couple of hours, and while Steve biked, I strapped on my blades. I covered just over 19 miles in around 1:50 and felt great.

On the Henry front, things are going...okay. He's a pretty high-maintenance baby. He's generally fussy and requires nearly constant holding or rocking or bouncing. For some reason, he LOVES to bounce. My biceps may be the first muscles I get back. A lady at LTF triathlon told me her grandbaby loved the balance ball, and that was an amazing tip. Though he doesn't technically fit the colic definition, he's close. He's crabby to the point that his auntie Steph bough him socks with crabs on them. He still loves his stroller, being outside, baths, and being naked (he is Steve's son after all). He's started smiling and talking more the past couple of weeks, which makes the crabbiness so much more bearable. Once in a while, I get a huge smile...

Update: I just finished up a 7 miler a couple of hours ago. It was rough, but it didn't feel much worse than my 5 miler last week. When I got home, I saw that our heat index is 102. Hopefully that had something to do with feeling so sluggish and slow...

Race Week!

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Don't get any ideas that I've gone totally bonkers. It's not a race week for me, although I have been feeling a bit left out sitting on the sidelines the past couple of months. My 5K at the beginning of June helped take the edge off, but it wasn't a "real" race. I haven't had a real race since Sept of last year at Rev3 half. All of my races since then have been just for fun at a pretty easy effort. If I can ever look at my bike again, I may still try to squeeze something in yet this year. Who knows...

In the meantime, I am SUPER excited to welcome my Evotri teammates to town tomorrow to race the Minneapolis Triathlon on Saturday. I am excited for a couple of reasons. First of all, I haven't seen my Evotri peeps since last September. This year was the first year I missed WIBA. I have been there every year since it started in 2006. I was SO sad that weekend and really missed being out there, meeting new faces, and seeing old faces again. I am excited to introduce my team to Henry, and I'm excited to show off Minneapolis and St. Paul. I am very proud of the amazing multisport community we have here. I am also excited to be able to share this triathlon with them. This was my first tri ever back in 2004, and it's the only race I've ever done where the excitement and energy around it even comes close to what you can feel at an Ironman. Steve is signed up for the sprint, so Henry and I will have a lot of cheering to do!

Thanks again, everybody for your support on my last post. I know I'll feel better eventually. A lot of people ask how I'm feeling lately. My answer is always, "Oh, well, OK, I guess... considering..." How I'm really feeling? Tired, sore, and chunky. I think when those first 20+ pounds basically fell off, I was a little optimistic on how soon the rest of the weight would come off, especially since, as my mom lovingly puts it, I could basically be the wet nurse for the whole block. I know it will take work to see the rest of it come off, and I know that I need to be patient with myself. I'm still not even a month postpartum! At least the sore part is getting better. I'm still a little sore, but it's getting more bearable, and when I attempted to run a little this week, I felt a lot less like my insides were going to fall out.

On the workout front, Henry and I have gotten in a walk every day this week. It makes me feel SO much better, and he loves to sleep in his car seat. On Monday, we walked 4.5 miles (to Herberger's and back) to make a quick return. I ran the last 1/2 mile home just to see if I could, and it went OK.

Henry slept through the whole thing, as usual

On Tuesday, we met up with my (formerly) fellow preggo running partner. It was fun to meet her beautiful daughter, Zanna. Our conversation has shifted from being anxious to meet our babies to how we're dealing with being new parents. I just LOVE hanging out with her - time flies when we start talking! Here's a photo of Henry and Zanna "meeting" for the first time:

They've been running together since before they were born!

Yesterday, I suggested to Steve that he could get in an OWS and I could walk around lake Nokomis with Mr. Henry, so that's what we did. I walked just under 3 miles. I didn't get adventurous enough to try running again. I was feeling a little sore.

Post walk, rocking the BOB, a smile, and a baby pooch

Today, Henry and I walked to the bank and back - around 5 miles round trip. After the first mile, I decided to try walk/run intervals. I ran 2 minutes then walked 5. By the end of the trip, I was running 3 and walking 4. I actually felt pretty good on the run intervals, and I had to force myself to stop for the walk breaks to keep it pretty easy. Henry slept the whole time. He loves his carseat, and I love the BOB.
In total, I probably got in 25-30 minutes of running. I'll consider that a success. I can tell I'm using muscles that haven't been used in a while, especially in my lower abs and groin. By the end of my preggo running, I was barely lifting my legs when I ran - my belly was in the way. It'll take a while to get used to running with normal form again.

I'll have to post photos of our race weekend festivities. I'm sure I'll end up taking a lot. Happy weekend, everybody!

My Brother Lost the Bet

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My brother Matt and his girlfriend Angela were over last night. Matt admitted that he would have placed money on the fact that I'd be running 3-5 miles two weeks postpartum. Honestly, a month ago, I would have too. I mean, I ran 4.5 miles the morning of the day my water broke, I managed to avoid a C-section, and the rest of my body (and my brain) are ready to go. My nether regions? Not so much. Local rock star Kortney Haag stopped over yesterday with her two boys and an amazing lunch. She said that the first time she tried to run after giving birth, she felt like her insides were going to fall out. I was so relieved to hear this because that's EXACTLY how I felt yesterday on my walk when I had to run to beat a changing light. It's a little disconcerting.

Thank you all SO MUCH for your advice and encouragement on my last post. Unfortunately, not much has changed on the breastfeeding front. It is getting a little easier, but I wouldn't classify it as "easy" by any means. Henry still doesn't have a great sleeping schedule, and he rarely goes a full 3 hours between feedings. That meant that he was up every 1.5-2 hours last night, and I woke up feeling exhausted. I had hoped to get out for a walk before the 100 degree temps rolled in, but at 8 AM, all I could think about was trying to get in a nap.

We have been a lot better about getting out of the house, though, and I know that's been helping to relieve the cooped up feeling that has been creeping in. Henry LOVES the stroller. He passes out in it every time. Right now, I would rank it at the top as far as "good investments" that we made before he was born. Seriously. The BOB is worth its weight in gold. Other great investments: the Simple Wishes hands free pumping bra. You cannot underestimate the value of having 2 free hands during those 10 minutes. Also, a good baby carrier... I bought the Baby K'tan a few weeks before Henry was born. He's just now big enough to go in it, although his head control is really good, so I probably could have tried it earlier. He was crabby for much of the morning. Once I strapped him in it, he fell right asleep. I've had 2 hours of a content, sleeping baby.

We got out for a 1+ mile walk yesterday with the BOB and a 2.5 mile walk the day before. I love living in St. Paul and being able to make it a goal to walk to get a few errands done. Tuesday's walk was to our local pharmacy. The pharmacist told me I in no way look like I gave birth 2 weeks ago. (It's a good thing we don't operate on tips - I would have had to give her a big one!) Though I still feel like I did, it's amazing how big of a difference putting on real clothes and getting out of the house makes! I'm hoping we can get in another good walk tomorrow once the heat subsides a little. I'm still sore afterward, but icing really seems to help.

Well, back to another feeding. Happy 4th of July weekend, everybody!

Slowly But Surely, With Emphasis on the Slowly...

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Things are progressing slowly around here. Henry and I are figuring each other out more and more each day, and I'm starting to feel a little more independent with what he wants/needs. Steve has been a HUGE help - feeding me when need be and taking on diaper duty for many of the daytime hours so I can at least make a trip to the bathroom once in a while. I am SO glad that he's on a summer schedule and can be home a little more often. Steve and I have both wondered multiple times in the last week how people do this with more than one kid. Seriously, moms of multiples, you have my utmost respect and admiration.

Endurance wise, I'm feeling good. I don't get too tired working around the house and going up and down the stairs multiple times. Steve and I got out for a 2.5 mile walk Wednesday, and it felt SO good to just get out of the house.

Out on our first long walk!

Somebody likes the carseat and the stroller :)

My legs, back, etc all felt OK. The rate limiting step seems to be my lady business. I think I grossly underestimated how long it would take everything to heal after 36 hours of labor, 3.5 hours of pushing, and some repair work. Between that and BFing, showers have been... interesting.

At least once a day on most days, I describe myself as bruised - just overall sore. I actually am bruised still on my forearm where they tried to place my IV for the first time. Nearly 2 weeks later, the huge hematoma is still a variety of ugly yellow and brown colors.

I'm trying to cut myself some slack. I don't take to sitting still for very long, so the last 2 weeks have been a pretty big adjustment in that department. I know I just need to listen to my body to know when I'm ready for more intense activity. A big part of all of this is how hard it is to leave the house. You know the difference between running and biking, how much more prep-work is involved to get out on your bike (pumping tires, emergency kit ready, water bottles, helmet, etc, etc vs just running clothes and shoes)? Well, multiply that by about 20 and you have what it's like to leave the house with a newborn even if it's just to be gone for 30 minutes. Sometimes it's just easier to stay inside. The fact that the weather has been so cool and crappy has definitely made this easier. I know that with a little more practice, though, I'll be more confident at leaving the house, and I really NEED to. It's just not good for me mentally for me to feel so cooped up.

On the weight-loss front, the first 2 weeks have been pretty dramatic. I am down 22 of the 42 pounds I gained. I know most of this is baby and excess fluid, but it's somewhat reassuring. I'm definitely not dieting right now as it can be detrimental to your milk supply and it's really the last thing I should be thinking about. I know the rest of the weight will come off MUCH more slowly, but it's still comforting. It's funny how much less I feel compelled to eat lately. I would say I'm back to my pre-pregnancy appetite - plenty considering I'm not as active as I was. However, I was SO HUNGRY ALL OF THE TIME when I was pregnant that it seems like I don't eat at all anymore (think 2000+ vs 3000+ calories per day).

Henry is up 4 ounces from his birth wt and 5 ounces since Monday, so I must be doing something right!

Well, my little man is waking up again - time for another round of feeding. Happy Friday, everyone! And now, I leave you with a couple of bathtime photos:

Henry's first "real" bath since his belly button fell off

Yummy big hands!

Henry's Birth Story

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First of all, thanks everyone for your kind words and congratulations. As you probably all know by now (especially if you read Steve's blog), Henry was born one week ago today. After feeling like he'd NEVER come, we have had quite the week welcoming him into our lives. I love him more and more each day. Though I'm definitely still tired and sore, I'm looking forward to getting out of the house more this next week. Steve and I went for a 45 minute walk with him on Friday. It felt SO good to just get moving and actually see sunlight, even though I was a little pooped at the end.

I thought I had a boy baking in the oven since the moment I found out I was pregnant, so I think it's pretty funny that that's how he came out. In retrospect, I'm glad he was a "surprise."

I have found it really interesting and helpful to read other people's stories regarding the birth of their children in the past. It always amazes me how very different people's experiences are. If you don't want to read a long, potentially TMI story, come back later and just skip this post :)

Something told me before my run on June 10 that it could be my last for a while. Call it instinct or just knowing that the timing was getting close, but it was in fact my last run with baby Henry in my belly...

My water broke at 11 PM Friday night. At first, I didn't even think that's what happened. He was kicking all over the place, and suddenly I felt a very small "pop" and a little gush of fluid. I jumped out of bed and told Steve my water broke. I went to the bathroom and decided that all of that baby twitching must have just caused me to lose bladder control, even though that had never happened to me. I sheepishly informed him it was a false alarm. Then at around 2 AM, I lost another small amount of fluid and started to think that maybe it had broken after all. I tried not to wake Steve. I called into the hospital, and they said that since I wasn't having much in the way of contractions, I should give it an hour or 3 before coming in.

I woke Steve up a little after 3 so we could get a few things lined up in case this was the real deal. We got to the hospital around 5:30. By then, I still wasn't sure my water had broken at all. When they did the exam, they were just as confused as me and wanted to keep me a few more hours for observation. As we sat in the triage unit, a physician and a nurse both came in to inform us that even if my water hadn't broken, we wouldn't be going home. Henry had an episode of bradycardia (low heart rate) that was significant enough to worry them that he was in distress. At 8 AM, they repeated the exam but found that it most definitely HAD broken, so now we were on a time frame. Usually they'll only let you go 24 hours after it breaks. Since I really wasn't dilated at all (I was at a 1 and 50% effaced - women walk around for WEEKS more progressed than that) and was not having a lot of contractions, they started me on pitocin, which Henry it seems did not like. He had a two more episodes of his heart rate dropping to the point of doctors and nurses rushing into my room and doing all sorts of interventions to make it come back up. At 2 PM, my MD told me that he had broken her 3 strikes rule and I would probably need a C section. They decided to see what my body could do on it's own and gave me a 7 PM deadline to "make progress". I tried all sorts of different positions, walking, etc. Just before 7, my contractions were 2 minutes apart lasting about a minute each.

Stopping for a contraction

I was getting pretty pooped by then. When they checked me at 7, they said I had made significant progress. I was now dilated to 2 and much more effaced. After all of that work, I didn't feel like that was much to brag about. They gave me an 11 PM deadline and some Nubain, which made me feel a little drugged but let me get a little rest between the contractions. At 11, I was dilated to a 3, and they were OK with that progress. At that point, I had been "in labor" (sort of) nearly 24 hours and had been awake for 40+ hours save three brief hours Fri night.

I had hoped to be as drug-free as possible throughout labor, but it was decision time. I decided to get an epidural, try to sleep a little, and see if numbing me would help my body stop fighting the pain and actually let me make progress. I had spent the last 9 months using all sorts of muscles to keep him supported during my runs and throughout the rest of my day. They were working against me. In the back of my mind, I knew I'd need either an epidural, spinal anesthesia, or (if he had a REALLY scary bradycardia episode) general anesthesia for a C section anyway. It was the best decision I made. I slept off and on for 5 hours, and when the checked me at 5 AM, I was dilated to a 7. I have no doubt in my mind that without the epidural, it wouldn't have happened. By 6:45 Sunday morning, I was fully dilated, but he was still pretty high up and they wanted to see if he'd come down with the contractions without me having to push him down. We started pushing at 7:45. He hadn't come down much on his own, so I had to push him down. At first, the pushing was actually pretty easy. My contractions were pretty sporadic - sometimes 10 minutes apart, sometimes 2. I was so relieved that I wasn't heading to a C section for the moment that I was actually joking around (I am very sure the epidural helped).

They say that one disadvantage of having an epidural is that you can't push effectively, but I could still tell when a contraction was coming, and they kept telling me how great my pushes were. We had one more REALLY scary bradycardic spell that lasted several minutes where they called in extra nurses and the NICU team, but we got him recovered. I was SO hot in there. Even though I was wearing nothing but a sports bra, Steve was putting icy wash cloths ALL over me. The room wasn't warm, but I was WORKING. I never thought that I couldn't keep going. I knew I had to. I was just so worried that Henry would have another scary episode. At the end, they kept asking if I wanted to feel his head, but I just wanted to focus on recovering between contractions so that I would have enough energy to keep up effective pushing. I pushed for 3.5 hours total, but eventually, he was out! Steve got to announce that we had a boy. They plopped him on my chest, and I felt something splash me in the face. I didn't think much of it until later when they explained that when Steve cut the umbilical cord, blood flew EVERYWHERE. He even covered the walls with it.

Our family right after his birth. You can see blood on my face and on the pillow...

Henry was 7 pounds, 6.2 ounces, and 20 inches long. Oh, and we think he's pretty cute :)

I held Henry in my arms for a long time and knew I'd never be the same.

The day we were discharged from the hospital

Steve was AMAZING throughout the whole process. I couldn't ask for a better daddy for our son. Happy Father's Day, Honey!

We were also very fortunate to have my mom in the delivery room with us. She's an OB nurse by trade, and having her love, support, and expertise there was SO helpful, especially during some of the scary episodes. We love you, Mom (Grandma)!


We got to bring Henry home Tuesday evening. The Script's "For the First Time" played on the radio: Even after all these years we just now got the feeling that we're meeting for the first time. I welled up for the zillionth time of the week.

The rest of the week has been a roller-coaster of emotions, mostly happy, although breastfeeding is SO not fun right now, and that has caused a few sad/pained tears. Everyone reassures me it does get better. In the meantime, this keeps me motivated:

We think we'll keep him :)

The Big 4-0

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Tomorrow is my due date - I've officially hit 40 weeks! And the way things are going, it doesn't look like I'll be "doing" anything but cheering Steve on at his Oly tri, where it likely won't hit 60 degrees before he finishes. Yikes that'll be a chilly one, and I thought last year in the cold rain was hypothermia inducing... I've been sitting on the fence as to whether I'd come out to watch the race. I know it's good for me to get out of the house, but I do get tired pretty easily these days. As long as he's OK with me being a party pooper and not wanting to stick around for hours afterward if I'm tired, I'm still considering tagging along. Right now, I'm feeling OK. We'll see how I feel in the morning.

So... this week in review: Monday I got to work and decided I was just over being pregnant. They had officially moved me to project time, and things were a little slow while the projects rolled in. I watched the clock a lot until my doctor's appointment where we didn't really get any new news. My MD doesn't do internal exams until 40 weeks, so in the way of "progress," I have no idea where we're sitting. Aside from lots of pelvic pressure and Braxton Hicks contractions, I don't have much to go on.

I somehow missed the memo that it was going to be HOT at the beginning of the week. I was paying attention to the end of the week forecast for Steve's race, but I missed Mon and Tues. When I stepped outside in my corduroy pants Monday, I thought I was going to melt. No wonder it had been so hot and sticky in our office all day! A 95 degree day for an overdressed non-acclimated pregnant woman is pretty miserable.

I had so much fun running the 5K with Abbe on Sunday, and Monday morning, I realized I didn't have any more "fun" activities planned. There are still plenty of things on my "to-do" list, but it's mostly non-essential filler at this point. I took a step back Monday morning and realized that maybe I just need to relax a little. Being revved up all of the time probably isn't encouraging labor, so I scheduled a message for myself. I was honestly hoping it would send me straight into labor like they have for many women I know, but I figured if nothing else, it would help me to relax. Though it did relax me, no baby results.

Tuesday we hit a 23 year high temperature of 103 degrees. I think I heard it was the 4th hottest day on record here. Abbe and I were going to go for a very easy walk, but she finally went into labor, so I just went to the Y where it was still very hot and hopped on the recumbent bike for a little while. I talked to my mom that night who basically told me I just need to stop working out for the next week. Of course, she's been trying to get me to slow down throughout this whole pregnancy, so I wasn't surprised. In keeping with the theme of trying to relax, though, I thought I'd give it a try.

Wednesday I was a wreck. My preggo coworker was being induced, my running partner had her baby, and I was getting pretty anxious to meet my own kiddo. I felt... well, to be honest, I felt lonely. It seemed like I was out on a race course where all of my friends had finished and were off celebrating with their families. I on the other hand, had quite a ways to go and didn't know exactly where the finish line is. Yes there are still other preggos out here with me, but many started a wave or two behind me, and somehow that doesn't make me feel any better. I don't necessarily have a ton of energy for huge social outings at this point, and I know my family is getting just as impatient as I am as they're waiting anxiously at the finish line.

Yesterday, I decided I'd get a pedicure after work. Steve had gotten me a gift certificate for Mother's Day, and this seemed like a great time to use it. After my pedi (which left me really relaxed and with super cute toes), I went to the mall to do a little shopping - a gift card for my Goddaughter's birthday, a Father's Day present for my dad, and a robe for me for the hospital. When I got home, though, I didn't feel any better. I just still didn't feel like myself emotionally.

I hadn't slept well Wed night and had woken up at 4 AM unable to go back to sleep. I had contemplated getting up and just going for a run or a walk but just laid in bed instead. Planning ahead, I laid out my running clothes last night just in case I had the same issue this morning. I was able to sleep until 4:45 but was wide awake again. I heard the rain outside, but after a few minutes, I knew I had to give it a try. I was out the door just after daybreak, and it was GLORIOUS. It was cool and just lightly sprinkling, and though my times have now slowed to something resembling 13 minute miles, I felt great. I planned to try for 3-3.5 miles, but at the 1.75 mile mark, I decided to keep going. It was at that stoplight that I caught the eye of a group of 6 runners who were also waiting.

One guy took a look at my belly and asked, "You're not going into labor in the next 1-2 hours, are you?"

I gave him a big smile and told him, "Hopefully! I'm due tomorrow!"

They all smiled and one of the women in the group piped in, "I've been there!" They wished me well and took off as the light changed.

In total, I ran 4.5 miles. With the 5 minute walk at the end, I was back at my front door in just under 60 minutes with a whole new outlook. I felt like myself again. Yes it's getting harder to run. My feet ache a little when I'm out there. My SI joint feels achy when I'm done - sort of how my knees and hips feel after a long run when I'm not pregnant. My BH contractions usually ramp up after a run, too, although these days I welcome them since it feels like I'm making some sort of progress. The pelvic pressure I feel normally increases after my runs. I can't imagine it's easy for those parts to hold in a 7-8 pound baby anymore. I remember a 5 miler at 35 weeks, though, when I thought I can do this for 2 more weeks. I can't do this for 7 more. Today, I still feel like I can do this for 2 more weeks if I have to. I have learned over and over again throughout this whole journey that any physical discomfort I experience lugging all of these extra pounds through a workout is FAR outweighed by the emotional benefits of continuing to stay active. Plus, baby really enjoyed our post-workout protein, yogurt, and fruit smoothie :)

I got to work feeling great. I have been so lucky to be on projects this week. After Monday's slow day, they gave me plenty to work on knowing that I may or may not be able to finish it, so it's pretty low pressure. I am hitting my PTO max, so I've been shaving a little time off of each day to avoid losing hours. I've been able to come in and leave at flexible times, and I haven't had to be on my feet a lot. Plus, it has kept my mind busy.

I owe you a 40 week picture. We'll have to take one tomorrow.

Grand Old Day on the Go 5K Race Report - 39 Weeks Pregnant

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When Abigalius and I were on our weekly run on Tuesday, I told her of my plan to run the 5K this weekend if the munchkin hadn't shown up by then. It was a pretty cheap event ($20), and pre-registration was good up until the day before the race. Looking at past results for the run/walk, I confirmed that it is a pretty low-key race - no biggie if we needed to stop and walk for a bit. I knew I could wait a couple of days to sign up, and if I lost my twenty bucks at the last minute, I'd be happy about it. If nothing else, it would give me something to look forward to this weekend. Abbe got the green light from her husband, so we both signed up. We thought it could be fun to put our due dates on our backs. Everybody asks these days anyway!

Steve and I got to the race a little early and found Abbe, Micah, and their dog Gus on our walk to the start line. We stopped at the porta potty, posed for a few pictures, and watched the kids races.

Our homemade signs to answer a couple of questions

Mamas and babies ready to run!

There were kids, dogs, strollers, and families EVERYWHERE! It was so nice to finally have a beautiful weekend after the crazy spring weather we've been having, and you could tell everyone was happy to be out.

After all of the kids came in, we lined up at the starting line and snapped this photo:

Appropriately lined up next to the kids and the strollers...

Then it was time to GO! Abbe and I have been running together for a few months now, but we've never done a race together. I told her before we started that I was still just out to have a good time. I know she's a little faster than me, and I wanted to let her know that I didn't have any expectations that we needed to stay together if she wanted to run a bit faster. We both decided to just play it by ear.

Getting started next to the mini doughnuts

Right off the bat, we were getting a TON of comments about the signs on our backs and our very pregnant bellies. We got a lot of "Go Mamas!" and other fun cheers. One guy asked Abbe if today really was her due date. He then went on to offer that he's a doctor and asked her if she's dilated (uh, too far maybe?). We just joked that we probably wouldn't be needing his services on our run. :)

We hit the first mile in 11:10 - a little faster than our normal pace but still comfortable.

Having a fun run

Crossing the Ayd Mill bridge - a great belly shot

Mostly we just ran and talked and waved to the people cheering. The streets were lined with vendors getting ready for the day's celebration. I remember feeling really nauseated by all of the food smells a couple of years ago when I was racing hard, but to a pregnant lady on an easy run, doughnuts and other horrible for you food smells delicious. Good thing Steve and I only brought enough cash to indulge in a post-run bubble tea...

More food, strollers, and runners

I grabbed some water when we hit the turn around. The sun was starting to heat everything up. I drank some and poured the rest down my back. We haven't had many 80+ degree days here yet this spring. I was getting a little warm but definitely not overheated.

We hit our second mile in 11:17 - just fine with both of us. One guy pushing a double BOB passed us and told us we'd be in those shoes next year. I joked that I hoped I wouldn't be pushing a double BOB next year.

As we neared Snelling, we were heading up a small hill and decided to walk for a couple of minutes. We definitely weren't going for PRs. Once we got to the top of hill, we knew we'd have just about 0.5 miles to go. It was then that Steve overheard a small group behind us say, "We can't let the pregnant women beat us!" As the four of them passed us, one woman in the group told us that she loved seeing us out there. She said she was a few months postpartum and wished she would have been running toward the end.

Getting started again and running down the hill

We passed Micah and Gus on our way to the finish line, which seemed to sneak up on us.

Finishing with smiles on our faces

Heading to the finish line. Gus the pug is cheering his mom on (on the right)

We finished our final 1.1 miles in 14:10 for a total time of around 36:37 on my watch. (I still have to check on the official finishing time - it was chip timed).

Hopefully this is my last "race" before Baby comes. I'd really love to meet him/her soon! I guess we'll see, though, since it might be a few weeks yet and I may be out a running partner soon. It was just a fun way to get out there and be active with a few hundred other people. It was a preggo lady's dream with porta potties everywhere! It was fun to hear all of the cheers for our bellies, and we had so many moms come up and tell us that they loved seeing us out there, including a couple who were running just a couple of months postpartum.

When Steve and I got home, we grilled some food, made some banana muffins, and weeded the garden quick. Then I took a well-deserved nap. What a fun weekend!