I’m Still Here: A much needed update on life, running, and babies!

It’s been over a year since I’ve last given an update (holy cow!), but I’ve purposely waited until I had something worthwhile to share.  I think my last post was somewhat of a downer, so I have lots of wonderful things to share, but I don’t have a whole lot of time, so it is going to be a super short and sweet post today.  I’m really looking forward to blogging regularly when the time comes, so just bear with me for now.

  1.  Daisy learned how to sleep (update from my last depressing post about sleep deprivation)!
  2.  I was finally able to start running again in February of this year (14 months postpartum) after solving the problems of my pelvis which happened to be adductor magnus issues.
  3.  I quit my job at Road Runner Sports in order to stay home with Daisy full time and to start my own little business, Suzanne Jakes Photography, which has been keeping me busy and has really inspired me to explore my creative side.

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And here are the really exciting details…

  1.  My little family is expanding by two feet!  I am 30 weeks pregnant and am having a little boy on or around January 18!!  If you are Facebook friends with my mom, you already know this since she let the cat out of the bag. 🙂  I was able to get about 3 months of running in before I got pregnant but was advised not to run at all during this pregnancy because of my pelvic problems.  I ran for the first 9 weeks or so but had to call it quits after that.  Unfortunately, I’m not doing any sort of exercise, which leaves me feeling extremely crappy about myself and makes me worry that I’m doing a disservice to the little babe.  There’s not much I can do that doesn’t irritate my pelvis and just walking and chasing Daisy around is enough to get things inflamed.  I’m only 7 months pregnant and am already experiencing an extreme amount of pain in my pubic bone/pelvis, so all I can do is wait and hope for the best before I can start training again.
  2.  We are moving to Colorado Springs, CO!  I have been living in Southern California for almost 9 years now and have never quite felt at home.  Tad and I have been talking about moving ever since we got married and things only became more serious once we had Daisy.  We’ve traveled to places like Bend, Portland, Sacramento, and CO Springs to find our home and after setting foot in The Springs, we knew it was our place.  We bought our first house together and are moving this weekend…just in time to get things set up before Baby Jakes arrives in January.  I am so so so excited to live in a place like Colorado and am also really looking forward to living and training at altitude.  Stay tuned on all of that. 🙂
  3.  My running dream is still alive!  By the time I have Baby #2, it will have been 3 years since I’ve competed or trained.  Things did not go exactly as I had planned, but I have accepted it and couldn’t be happier with where I am in my life.  I am so crazy happy being a mommy and am also really looking forward to my future and growth with photography.  These last few years have taught me so much about balancing what’s important in my life.  Three years ago, running consumed me.  It was definitely the most important thing to me and had even become an unhealthy obsession.  Running holds a very special place in my heart, but it will never come before my family.  I do have plenty of unfinished business on the roads and on the track, and I will do whatever it takes get healthy and train again.  The dream lives, and I have huge goals that I plan to achieve.

Thanks for reading, and I really look forward to blogging regularly with updates on our new home, Daisy and the new babe, my recovery, and hopefully my road to a come-back in 2016!!

Joy, Sadness, and Hope

It’s been months since I’ve felt inspired to write.  My blog holds 3 unfinished drafts, none of which felt important enough to share with the world or even worth my time to finish.  Tonight is different.  I feel an incredible amount of emotion, and I just need to get out my frustration.

Nothing has brought me more joy than being a mother.  I feel more happiness and love than I ever knew was possible.  And when I look at Daisy and think, “how could I possibly love her anymore than I do at this very moment?,” she somehow manages to burrow her little way into my heart even more that it actually hurts.  I love her so much, it physically hurts.  _DSC0220

This isn’t to say that being a mom is all rainbows and butterflies, in fact, my patience and strength have been tested more these last few months than ever.  The last few nights have been especially difficult, and I know for a fact that my lack of sleep plays a major role in my mood swings and how I  perceive life in general.

I write not because I feel the need to complain or get sympathy, I just need an outlet.  In the past, when I’d had a bad day, I was able to take my anger and frustration out on a run.  Unfortunately, I’m not able to do that at this point (more on that in a bit), so all I have is my husband and my blog, and I really don’t want to take it out on Tad, because he had a rough day himself.  Tonight, I took it out on the elliptical, which will suffice for now but will never come close to taking the place of a solid run.

Daisy has had a really hard time sleeping the past few nights.  Sleeping has never been one of her strong suits, and on a rare good night, she will wake up about 3-4 times.  This means I wake up and go into her room each time to nurse her back to sleep.  As difficult as it sounds to do this several times a night, it’s one of the most beautiful moments that I cherish every second of, knowing this chapter in Daisy’s life will pass far too quickly.  There’s a brief moment when I wake up to her little cry that I feel frustration, but as soon as I set foot in her room and see her little head peeking out of the crib with her arms stretched out, waiting for my embrace, my heart melts, and I hold very dear the closeness of holding her in my arms and being the only one that she needs at that moment.

She has really tested me these past few nights by waking up every hour, sometimes even waking again after only 30 minutes!  Nothing else can be done either, she is inconsolable without my precious boob.  My husband is unable to help with the night feedings, because she doesn’t take a bottle very well during the day if I’m gone and certainly won’t take one at night.  Needless to say, I am beyond sleep-deprived, so much that it actually scares me sometimes.  I feel like I am going to SNAP!

So here I am.  Seven and a half months of sleep deprivation talking.  Seven and a half months have passed since I’ve gotten more than a 4 hour stretch of uninterrupted sleep (it’s usually about 2).  I am. utterly. exhausted.

It’s times like these, when I’m feeling the most helpless and frustrated, that I miss running the most.  My heart aches every single day that I’m not able to run, and the pain is only heightened when other aspects of my life aren’t going as smoothly as I would like.  A piece of me has been taken away, stripped from my core, and it feels as though I am in mourning over the loss of a loved one.

I’ve heard other runners say, “running doesn’t define me.”  Running does define me.  It was my heart and soul.  It was my dream and my future.  It was everything to me.  Without it, I don’t know how to just be.  My heart has been filled with the unbelievable joy of motherhood, but I can’t help but feel an incredible void so strong and so deep that I cry as I type this.

It’s been such a struggle balancing these polar opposite emotions of joy and sadness.  I am so thankful that I have been blessed with such a beautiful and healthy baby girl, and I feel guilty for wanting anything more, but I am sad that I can’t run, I am heartbroken, and as much as it hurts me to say, I feel angry with God.  I always felt closest to Him during my runs and though it has been years since I’ve been to church, running was my church, where I prayed the most.  I just don’t understand why He’s taken that away from me.

The time that I spend with Daisy is so priceless to me, and I cherish every second of it.  She makes the agony of not being able to do what I love most bearable.  Every day that passes does get a little easier to accept the things I can’t control, but it’s the moments when I see a runner pass me on the street, or when I find an awesome trail that would be perfect for a training run, the times I catch myself relishing in a daydream of some of my best runs, or hear of records being broken or runners having significant breakthroughs that hurt the most.

All I am left to do is hope.  Hope for a better night’s sleep.  Hope for another beautiful day with my little girl.  Hope for both physical and emotional healing,  Hope for the day when I can fill that void and run and be myself again.  And hope for acceptance of what’s to come.20140725_172751

A Time to Heal; a Time to Break Down, and a Time to Build Up

My blog has been haunting me for weeks now.  I had every intention of writing a post every week to fill you all in on my recovery, physical therapy sessions, and getting my body back in shape, not only to hold me accountable, but to help any other women who might be suffering from the same issues.  Nothing has gone as I had planned, and I feel discouraged and haven’t had the nerve nor the motivation to get it out in writing.  So here I am with nothing but another boring update on my pelvis.  Brace yourselves.

I’ll start with that amazing appointment with the specialist I had waited months to see at the beginning of April.  Best.  Doctor.  Ever.  She is a Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation specialist, also known as a Physiatrist, who specializes in non-surgical treatment.  If I had to describe her in one word, it would be, “thorough.”  She spent so much time with me (1.5 hours), asking every detail about my problems, performed a physical exam of my pelvis and back, answered all my questions, and came up with a specific plan of action.

In summary:

  1. She doesn’t think it’s a stress fracture but suggested an MRI or X-Ray to rule it out.  She totally understood my hesitation in doing so, due to my fear of damaging my eggs.  <– I know, seriously…but I don’t want to chance having mutant children.
  2. There doesn’t seem to be a significant amount of calcification around the joints that would lead her to believe I did permanent damage while trying to run through the pain during my pregnancy.
  3. SPD (Symphysis Pubis Dysfunction) or Osteitis Pubis is very common in athletes, and it is caused by the Relaxin hormone during pregnancy, which doesn’t leave the body for 6-12 months postpartum.
  4. My treatment options are as follows:
  • If I do nothing at all for 6-12 months, she’s confident that I would see improvement.
  • We could try to speed up the recovery by doing 6 weeks of physical therapy.
  • If PT doesn’t help, the next move would be to try laser treatments or PRP (Platelet Rich Plasma) injections <– this triggers a healing response in the body and has a very good success rate but is still considered ‘experimental,’ and is not covered by insurance, read I can’t afford it.
  • My last option would be to get an X-Ray to determine if I would need surgery to bring the pelvis back together.

So here I am, 6 weeks of PT later, and I haven’t experienced a shred of improvement.  I still can’t run for more than 30 seconds before my pubic bone starts to throb.  I’m over it.  I’m sick of talking about it.  I’m tired of complaining.  I’m just…done.

Things never seem to go according to plan, so I’m going to throw every notion that I had about my future out the window and take it one day at a time.  I’m a runner, and I will always be a runner.  I just can’t run at this moment, and I’m learning to accept that.

This experience has definitely thrown me for a loop.  I definitely feared something like this would happen when I decided to get pregnant, I just didn’t really believe it would happen to me.  Not being able to train for an indefinite amount of time really raises a lot of questions about my running career and future.  My eyes have been set on the 2016 Olympic Trials, but that dream is long gone and has forced me to significantly change some goals around.

It takes 6-8 years to really develop a runner and build a solid base to reach one’s full potential.  I only have 3.5 years of experience under my belt and have been set back quite a bit by this year and a half or so of time off.  Because I’m such a late bloomer, I truly believe that I can be competitive on the national level for another 10 years.  It’s so hard being a woman in this sport, because we don’t reach our peak in performance until our mid 30s, which happens to coincide with the time that we really should be having babies.  I am not interested in taking the next year or two to fully recover and get back in top shape just to compete for another year before it’s time to have another baby.  I cannot go through this recovery process twice.   _DSC0290

I’m not going to call it my plan…let’s just be safe and call it a goal.  I want to have another baby, like, yesterday.  I’ll be writing a post here shortly about some mommyhood stuff, but let me just say that I am truly, madly, deeply, head-over-heels in love with my little girl, and I cannot wait to have another one!!!  All the fun baby stuff aside, I also really need to be done with pregnancy as soon as possible so I can focus on recovering and my running career.

Unfortunately, I can’t always get what I want.  In a perfect world, I would get pregnant tomorrow, my pelvis would magically fix itself, I’d run through my entire pregnancy, miraculously get back in shape in 2 months and qualify for the OTs in 2016.  Ha!  Instead, I’ve got to wait until I see improvement in my pelvis before I can even think about getting pregnant again.  My doctor says that if I get pregnant while I’m still having problems, I can risk permanent damage and an arthritic pelvis, and I’ll probably never run again.  Bummer.

So what’s a girl to do?  I’m just going to wait.  I wish I could cast out this demonic Relaxin hormone but will instead sit around and wait for it to leave my body in another 1-6 months.  The other sad thing is that if I do see improvement and am finally able to start running again, the doctor said I should not run at all during my next pregnancy, because the SPD will most likely be as bad, if not worse, the next time around.

I can’t help myself from running the numbers.  Let’s say it takes my body 9 months to get rid of that hormone, and I’m finally able to run pain-free in September.  I get preggo again in October, have another babe in July, and take a full year before I am able to really run again.  That’ll be July of 2016, and I’ll almost be 32 years old.  That will give me 4 years to train for the Trials in 2020!  Let’s do this!

I knew this post would be cathartic.  Seeing it all typed out gives me hope.  It really just boils down to one thing; the most important thing to me is my family.  I may whine and cry about not being able to compete, but I am the happiest I’ve ever been, and sometimes my eyes well up just thinking about how blessed I am.  Sure I will be sad if I’m not able to compete again, crushed even.  It would be even more devastating if I weren’t able to ever run again.  But in the grand scheme of things, I know I’ll be fine, because my little girl makes it all worth it, and I’d do it all over again in a heartbeat.

 

Here’s a little Memorial Day fun!  It was also Daisy’s 5 month birthday!  Yay!

 

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New Look, New Site, New Me.

Greetings and salutations! My life has completely changed over the last few months, so I decided that the blog deserved a complete overhaul.  I’m so excited about sharing weekly updates on my progress and getting back to running. The past few weeks have kind of been a whirlwind.  I’ve been seeing different doctors and therapists who are trying to fix my pelvis, and I also joined a mommy group that keeps Daisy and me very busy!  There is so much to say, but I will have to save it for another time.  I just wanted to introduce you to the new site and hear any feedback or suggestions! Oh, and Daisy says hello… _DSC0698

Patience, Hope, and the Long Road to Recovery

First, I have to say thank you to all of you who responded to my last post.  I was overwhelmed with an outpouring of support from old friends, new friends, and those I’ve never met.  Being a new mom, I have learned that a strong support network is crucial in order to keep your sanity.  It is beyond helpful to hear others’ experiences and know that you’re not alone, that other people understand what you’re going through and that they made it just fine.  Though I didn’t find the time to write responses to most of you, your words were so helpful, encouraging and so very much appreciated.  Thank you!DSC02834

With that said, I am the happiest I’ve ever been.  I am so madly in love with this little munchkin, and when I’m with her, nothing else in the world matters.  Words cannot describe the joy I feel when I hear the playful little noises coming from her room when she wakes up, and I peak my head over her crib to see the sweetest ear-to-ear grin.  Things have gotten easier, she’s sleeping longer through the night, and she’s gotten to the really fun stage where she smiles all the time and is communicating with us.  I could go on forever about Daisy’s milestones and share the thousands of pictures and videos that we’ve taken of her, but this is a blog about running, and I’m here to share with you my road to recovery or lack thereof.

Pregnancy is clearly very hard on the body.  The fact that we have to push a 7-8 lb, 20 in. long BABY out of a very small opening is a miracle in itself, but it’s the other things such as the weight gain, weakened muscles, and loose ligaments that have plagued me since giving birth.  The past few months have not been easy for me.  I’ve been in a huge slump both physically and mentally as far as fitness is concerned.  I tried running 2 or 3 times with no signs of  improvement with my pelvis.  Even going for a walk made it hurt.  I started working again twice a week, and those two nights leave my body feeling broken, like I’m a 90 year old woman.  My knees ache, my pelvis hurts even in my sleep, and I still get little twinges here and there from my long lost friend, the achilles.

So what exactly have I been doing these past 3 months?  Besides embracing all of the joys of motherhood, I have done absolutely nothing.  And I mean nothing.  I had given up.  I had lost all hope.  I’ve had to endure so many months of pain, I don’t even remember what it feels like to be normal.  I can count the number of times I’ve been to the gym on one hand.  The few times I’ve gone to try to do some cardio either left my pelvis aching or my achilles burning.  I’ve completely let myself go because of my “all or nothing” attitude.  If I can’t run, I don’t want to do anything.  Everything else is so excruciatingly boring or causes me pain.  Not being able to run has made me feel empty and broken, and there  has been no light at the end of the tunnel…_DSC0374

until yesterday.  Months ago, I made an appointment with a specialist who I feel will really be able to help me.  I anxiously waited for my appointment, which was supposed to be last week, but due to the nightmare with our healthcare system (thank you, Obama, for this “affordable” new health insurance that is almost twice as much as what we were paying before), we had to change our insurance (again) in order to see the doctors who I need to see.  So I had to push my appointment back another two weeks.   Having to wait so long to see this doctor is actually one of the reasons why I’ve put off all forms of exercise out of fear that I’ll do even more damage to my pelvis.  My appointment is on April 2nd, and I am really looking forward to getting some answers and really starting this recovery.

So back to yesterday….

Tad, Daisy and I went for a walk at the park yesterday, and I probably walked about a mile and didn’t feel any pain.  When we got to the car, I put the baby down (I was wearing her in my fabulous ergo baby carrier) and jogged (I hate that word) probably 400 meters with no pain.  This. is. HUGE!  Yes, things felt weird, my lower abdomen felt funky, and I felt like I had to pee, but I didn’t feel that horrible ache in my pelvis.  Progress!!!!DSC02866

It was kind of a wakeup call for me.  There is still hope, and I just can’t give up.  I have to snap out of this funk and stop feeling sorry for myself.  The longer it takes to heal the harder it’s going to be to come back, but there are little things I should be doing to make it easier for me like strengthening exercises for my achilles, weights, and I just have to grin and bear it and do some cardio in the gym.

I know it’s going to be a long road to recovery, and this whole process has even made me change some of my future plans (stay tuned).  I am so far behind my other friends and competitors my age, and every year that passes, I feel more and more anxious like time is running out for me.  But in the grand scheme of things, I’ve got fresh legs and another good 10 years of training ahead of me.  Deena Kastor is 41 years old and still winning races and making world teams.  Kara Goucher is 35 and still making changes in her career and has plenty of room for PRs.  The winner of the 2008 Olympic Marathon was 38 years old.  I have to remind myself that there is plenty of time, and I just have to be patient.  I know my time will come.2014 Dallas Rock n Roll Half Marathon

Meet Miss Daisy!!

It’s hard to believe that I wrote my last post over two months ago.  It’s hard to remember even what it was like being pregnant.  I look at pictures of myself from a month ago and can’t believe how huge I was!!!  It’s unbelievable how time flies, and I can’t believe I have a daughter. 🙂 Image

Daisy is now 4 weeks old, and it has been quite a ride!  I had written a very detailed version of her birth story that was mainly intended to  keep for myself so that I could remember all the details for years to come, and I thought about sharing it with the world, but after some thought, I like the idea of keeping that for myself and giving you all the abbreviated version. Image

In my last post, I shared that I was going to have a natural birth, and that I felt really confident in myself, my husband, and the Bradley Method, but things didn’t go as I had hoped.  I really went into it without any fears, but God had a different plan than I!!

Daisy was due on December 20, and that day came and went.  It really is true what they say about the last 3 weeks of pregnancy (weeks 37-40), as soon as you hit that 37th week, which is considered “full term,” those last weeks are a total waiting game.  Once that due date rolls around, you’ve already been sitting and twiddling those thumbs for three weeks.  I definitely got cranky and uncomfortable, and I tried not to let all the phone calls and texts asking me, “any news yet?” bother me.  Even though I would have been overdue, I wanted to have a Christmas baby, but I came to my senses and decided that I wanted to go into labor on Christmas night after all the festivities were over, so I could actually enjoy the holiday with my family.

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Still smiling at this stage! I had no idea what was in store.

Our power of intention is pretty amazing, because I went into labor Christmas evening.  I started getting contractions around 7-8 pm or so, but I ignored them while my family was still here.  It wasn’t until around 10 pm that I was pretty sure the contractions were real and not just false labor.  I tried to get some sleep but only ended up taking about an hour and a half nap on the couch where I was awoken by a contraction every 10 minutes.  I got up a little after 2 am and tried to get in bed only to realize that I wasn’t able to sleep through the contractions anymore.  Tad woke up and started getting things ready, like packing my hospital bag (I’m such a procrastinator) and helping me relax and time my contractions.

Long story short, I labored at home for a long time.  Everything was going smoothly, and my contractions were progressing nicely.  I wanted to stay at home as long as possible and was hoping to get to the hospital right before I was ready to push.  I followed all of the little rules of when you should go to the hospital like 4-1-1 (contractions are 4 minutes apart, lasting at least a minute for at least an hour) and the emotional sign posts that we learned about in our classes (really focused, rituals, loss of modesty, and in my case – self doubt).We arrived at the hospital around 10:30 am after laboring for almost 15 hours, and was certain that the baby was coming soon.  After my exam to check dilation, we were told I was only………. wait for it……… 2 cm!!!!  I honestly couldn’t believe it and thought that something HAD to be wrong.  I had heard the stories of women believing that they were further along coming to find that they were only 3 cm dilated, but 2?!  I was angry and confused and really started to doubt that I could handle the pain any longer.

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Clearly, I did not care what I looked like going into the hospital…

I labored for another agonizing 8 hours without any medication, but by around 6 pm or so, I couldn’t handle it any longer.  I really started to panic through each contraction and truly believed I couldn’t take one more.  I begged my husband (after several failed attempts) to get the epidural.  I knew in my heart that it was necessary for me to continue, and after Tad spoke to my doctor (who specializes in unmedicated and natural births, we all thought it was the best decision.  Dr. Cap was concerned that because I had been laboring for so long, I might not have the strength to push the baby out, which would introduce a whole new set of problems.

It’s worth mentioning that the hospital was EXTREMELY busy that day.  Each request or call for a nurse seemed to take an eternity, and every nurse that came into the room kept saying how busy they were.  When I begged Tad to have the epidural, he really wanted me to have an exam to see how far along I was before we went through with it.  I refused, because I knew how long it would take to have the nurse come in, and I didn’t want to have to wait only to find out that I was only 5 cm and then wait again for the anesthesiologist.  When we did request the epi, it took about 45 minutes to an hour to finally get it.After the epidural (which really did not provide me with much relief), I was pushing within 15 minutes, and Daisy was born about 45 minutes later at 8:17 pm on December 26, weighing in at 8 lb 1 oz!

Looking back on it now, I was probably in transition (the hardest stage of labor) when I asked for the epidural, and if I’d only waited another hour, I would have had a natural childbirth.  OR, I can believe that the epidural is exactly what I needed in order to let my body relax and give me that last push to open up.  I was in labor for 24 hours and 23 of those hours were unmedicated, and for that I am proud.  But the most important thing is that I have the most beautiful healthy baby girl, who I am madly in love with.  Image
I had to stay in the hospital for 2 nights because I had some major swelling.  During those 2 nights, Daisy lost 13 oz, which was much more than the 5-6% drop that’s normally seen in babies, and continued to lose even more weight over the next couple of days.  Her lowest weight was 7 lb 1 oz, and the doctors really had me concerned, and I felt so sad and depressed that I was slowly starving and killing my baby by trying to breastfeed.  The last few weeks have been extremely stressful and emotional for me with lots of visits to the doctor and several meetings with lactation consultants.  Since day one, I’ve had to pump and supplement for every feeding (every 2 hours), which has been beyond exhausting.  I never understood why women always talked about how exhausting breastfeeding was.  I seriously thought that you just fed a baby breakfast, lunch, and dinner, and that the sleepless nights were just mom and dad trying to calm a crying baby and change some diapers.  Little did I know…

I am happy to say that little Daisy is now a whopping 8 lb!!  She is a perfectly healthy little babe!  Things are still a little rough.  I’m still supplementing and pumping, which takes so much time and hasn’t really allowed me to get out much.  I am absolutely dying to run again.  We’ve gotten out for a couple walks here and there, but unfortunately I still have pretty bad pelvic pain.  It’s gone away for the most part, meaning I no longer have to waddle from point A to point B, but anything longer than a trip to the fridge at a “brisk” walking pace, causes my pubic bone to once again scream in agony.  I actually tried running the other day (at 3 weeks postpartum), and it was so painful!  I ran through it for about 3/4 of a mile, because it felt so good to be “running” again.  Image

Apparently, 6 weeks is the norm to take off after having a baby, but for some reason, I was under the impression that my pelvic pain would magically disappear after childbirth, that I’d be running after 2 weeks, and back to full speed at 6 weeks.  I guess I just have to be patient.  Honestly, sometimes I wonder if I will ever be able to run again.  Whenever I voice that to my husband or to a family member or friend, they just respond with a “just give it time,” or “you’ll be fine,” but what do they really know?  I was in pain for so long, and it was so severe, it’s hard to imagine life without it.  I’ve tried to prepare myself with the thought that I may never be able to compete the way I once did or the way I know I could, ever again.  It sounds dramatic, but it could be a reality.  I pray that I am just being dramatic.

I don’t ever want it to seem like I am ungrateful for the incredible blessings in my life such as my new little family, but running is extremely important in my life, and I’m going to continue to do everything I can to get to the level that I know I am capable of.  For now, I’m going to embrace my new role as a mother and try to be patient with this healing process.  I can’t wait for the day when I’m able to run pain-free and push my body to its limit.  I’ll keep you posted on my recovery and my progress.  Until then, I’ll be following the track world and dreaming of my first race back.  I’ll leave you with a few of my favorites…
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Pregnancy Update: 35 weeks?!!

I wrote my last blog at 26 weeks, and suddenly, I’m just about 35 weeks prego.  Where, oh where, has the time gone?!  I cannot believe I’m going to be a mom in just over a month!  These past few weeks have been incredibly busy and a bit stressful.  I’m taking one class this semester, I’ve been working 2-3 days a week (though I had to cut back to 2 over the past few weeks due to my pelvic pain), I started my childbirth classes, I’m in the doctor’s office almost every week, whether it be my OB or my endocrinologist, and my husband and I moved about 2 weeks ago and are still trying to get settled and set up some type of nursery!  On top of all that, I’m really trying to stay in shape, but with this move, it’s been extremely difficult to get in the gym or pool.  The weeks have been flying by, and I’m so ready to be done with this pregnancy, but at the same time not ready at all!

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17 weeks/35 weeks – What a difference!!!

The past few weeks have been extremely difficult for me to get my workouts in.  I’m tired, I’m busy, and my pelvis hurts.  Some weeks are really good where I’ll get 4-5 good workouts in, but this has not been the case over the past month.  With the packing/moving/unpacking, all the squatting and standing has left me utterly exhausted, and I’ve only been able to get in 3, maybe 4 workouts a week.  It’s been more tough on my mental state than anything.  I am really hard on myself when I miss a workout.  I get extremely cranky and feel like I am a complete failure and a terrible excuse for an athlete.  It’s not just about me either.  I’m really striving for a smooth, natural, unmedicated labor, and I feel like I’m letting my baby down by not conditioning my body enough for the big day.  I know this is ridiculous, because I know I’m probably more fit than the majority of pregnant women, but I put a lot of pressure on myself.  I’m slowly learning to take it in stride though, mainly because my pelvic pain is getting worse as my due date approaches, and when I take a day or two off, I convince myself that it’s better to rest. This has been my life over the last 2 months, so I wanted to fill you in on my most common thoughts so far during this last trimester.  It’s been so much fun reading some other runner’s blogs during their pregnancies and to know that I’m not alone, so I thought I’d share some things that some other running mamas can relate to.  So, in no particular order, these have been my most common thoughts: 1. “Ow, my pelvis!” – I don’t have to bore you with all the details (again), you can read about it here.  Unfortunately, this is my most common thought/complaint.  Hanging up my running shoes hasn’t been enough to stop the pain, it gets bad just from walking or standing on my feet for more than a couple hours.  It sucks, it’s annoying, and I pray that it goes away when I start training again.  At 35 weeks, I’ve finally decided to seek treatment from a chiro who specializes in SPD in pregnancy, and I even purchased an SI/pelvic support belt to wear for the next 5 weeks (yay!).  Here’s a link to the belt that I purchased (I’ll let you know if it works in a couple weeks!) 2. “I miss my running body.” – Maybe I’m just being vain, but I really do miss my running body.  I didn’t really realize or fully appreciate how fit I was until now.  Before I got pregnant, I would look in the mirror sometimes and truly think that I was fat (no joke) and would have a little temper tantrum by throwing myself onto the bed and just pout for a few minutes until my husband came in to console me.  <– This is actually more of a common occurrence when I’m injured and unable to run.  Don’t get me wrong, I’ve really begun to embrace my pregnant body and even feel proud of it, but I’m definitely looking forward to feeling fit again!  Image 3. “I can’t breathe.” – I’ve gotten to the point where the babe is just taking up all the room in my little frame.  She is pushing on my lungs, and I just can’t breathe.  I’ve always been proud of my runner’s lungs, but now I struggle to breathe like a 400 lb man.  Sitting in a car is when it’s at its worst, when everything is just pushed up and cramped, and I start to panic when it gets tough to breathe.  It definitely subsides when I lie on my side. 4. “Did I just say that?” – Pregnancy brain is legit, my friends.  I have no control over what comes out of my mouth.  It’s a lot of gibberish usually followed by a blank stare or look of confusion while I’m thinking.  I can’t think of simple words such as “that” in a conversation.  It’s embarrassing. 5. “I’m supposed to pee in that little cup?” – Ok, so this only happens every 2 weeks (every week starting next week!), but it is significant enough to make my list.  Whenever I see the OB, they do a urine test to check for protein in the urine and glucose levels.  A couple of weeks ago marked the last time I was able to make it in the cup successfully.  Now, I dread it like the plague, because the last two times, I have peed all over myself, my clothes, and the floor.  I can’t see what’s going on down there!! 6. “I just want to run.” – This thought enters my mind daily.  I long to feel those endorphins and the pain of that last mile during a 16 mile run.  I crave it.  I need it.  I miss that sound of silence when I can just hear my own footsteps and breath.  I want to be in that zone where I get in a groove and knock off each interval, one by one, each getting faster and faster.  I can’t wait to run again…sigh. 7. “Give me chocolate (or anything with sugar).” – So, I haven’t really had any significant cravings or food aversions during this entire pregnancy, but I definitely started needing sweets more when I hit my 3rd trimester.  We’re talking “need” as in, “I need chocolate now, so don’t stand in my way.”  I have no self-control either, so if I ever buy a bag of Snickers or Kisses, I just inhale like 10 in a row.  It’s gotten to the point where Tad has to hide whatever sweets I bring into the house so he can ration them out. _DSC09798. “I still can’t believe there’s a baby in there.” – Some days, I feel ready to be a mom, but others, I just can’t even imagine how much my life is going to change.  Am I going to be a good mom?  Do I have a motherly instinct?  Am I going to bond with the baby right away?  Will I love her as much as I love my cat?  <– I know that sounds weird, but seriously, if you know me at all, you know that Chai is my pride and joy… Are my friendships going to change?  Will my running goals change, or will I even be the same runner postpartum?  How am I going to manage being a mom while working, training, and going to school?  Having a huge belly is an unbelievable conversation starter, and it’s been really fun talking to total strangers and hearing how much joy their children bring to their lives.  I’m so excited for this time in my life, and it’s something I’ve always dreamed about, but at the same time, I still feel like a kid myself, and there is so much I want to accomplish.  I am so fortunate to have such a wonderful and supportive husband, that I cannot wait to go on this journey into parenthood with.  He is my rock, my best friend, and I feel like we make a great team, so I feel pretty confident that I can be a great mom AND a great runner. 🙂_DSC1008 9. “Natural childbirth?  Bring it on!” – I’m sure some mom’s are laughing at this thought and my naiveté, but I feel really optimistic and excited about my labor.  I’m studying the Bradley Method, which is completely natural, drug-free, husband-coached childbirth, and I’m really looking forward to the experience!  I don’t know if it’s the athlete in me or what, but I am ready and fully embracing the challenge of going completely natural with no interventions, and I really have no fear.  Obviously, I understand that complications can arise, but I’m trusting in the Lord and have 100% faith in my husband and doctor to help me have a smooth labor. 10. “My belly is huge.” – Sorry to state the obvious here, but I must say this about 10 times a day.  I seriously cannot believe how big my belly is.  I’ve just now gotten to the point where things are starting to get really uncomfortable.  Rolling over in bed has become quite the task, and I had to tell my manager that this is my last week at work, because it is a definite struggle getting up off the floor when I’m fitting people into shoes.  I find that I am now starting to underestimate my girth and have a really hard time squeezing in and out of spaces that in my mind, my body is completely capable of.  I totally try to suck it in as I try to fit through a tiny space that I have absolutely no business trying to squeeze through.  Everyone comments, “you’re so tiny!” and I just respond with, “I’m huge.” So that’s that.  I’ve got 5 weeks to go, and I am beyond excited.  Our new house is really starting to come together, and I really want to make the most of this time with my husband, family and friends.  I’ve got so much to do these next couple of weeks and probably won’t get a chance to blog again before the baby arrives, so until then, please keep me in your thoughts and prayers that I have a smooth and safe delivery.  I’m looking forward to sharing my birth story and my comeback with you in the upcoming months!  Thank you all for reading!!  🙂

Hanging Up My Running Shoes (For Now)…

I think that every runner has a certain degree of an “I will not be defeated,” mentality, “no matter how badly it hurts.”  Being a pregnant runner, it’s difficult to let go of that, even when I know I should take it easy.  This is not to say that I have been pushing myself to the max, because that’s not the case at all.  I’ve been exercising quite comfortably and feeling great, except for the severe pain in my pelvis after my runs that leaves me almost immobile. After a couple months of talking myself into believing that my pelvic pain was just a normal symptom of pregnancy, I realized that I might need to cut back on the running.  After my last post, I actually did end up getting sick after my trip, from the cesspool of germs that we call an airplane, so I took about 8 days off from all exercise completely, to give my body a rest.  After that, I thought I would focus mostly on cross training and maybe run 3 times a week, just a couple miles at a time.  Last night was my first run in a few weeks, and boy am I paying for it today! Image It was the first time I really didn’t think about pace, in fact, I actually forced myself to run no faster than about 9 minute pace for 3 miles just to see if I could get through without the pelvic pain.  It really started to kick in after about a mile, but it didn’t hurt any less to walk, so I opted to keep running.  It was actually quite an enjoyable run, because I usually never get to run with my husband when he can actually carry a conversation.  He gets so quiet and focused when he tries to keep up with me, but last night, we were able to really enjoy each other’s company 🙂  The pain got so bad, and most rational women would have stopped running and started walking, but I just couldn’t do it.  I don’t mind taking little 20 second breaks here and there if I need to, but I just couldn’t force myself to start walking, due to my stubbornness and unwillingness to give into pain. There’s really no need to go into any more detail except for the fact that I can barely walk today and have had to waddle my way around, which has brought me to the conclusion that it’s time to hang up the running shoes for the rest of this pregnancy.  I’ve got what is called Symphysis Pubis Dysfunction (SPD) which is also referred to as Pelvic Girdle Pain or Pelvic Instability, and it effects 1 in 4 pregnant women.  Go figure.  What happens during pregnancy is that our bodies release a hormone called relaxin, that loosens all of your joints and ligaments so your pelvis can expand to make room for the baby.  This can cause instability and misalignment of the pelvis, causing inflammation and severe pain.  Ladies, it hurts something fierce!  The pain is right above that pubic arch, and it hurts most to walk or lift your legs as you would to put on a pair of pants.  I wish I had learned about it a little sooner, because there’s a chance that this could affect me up to a year after the baby is born. After last night’s run, I realized that this isn’t something I want to mess with and have already started taking the proper steps to recovering and making sure this doesn’t become an ongoing issue after my pregnancy, strengthening my core, pelvic floor muscles, and pilates.   It really breaks my heart that I can’t run anymore, because I always thought that I’d be able to run all the way up to delivery, and I really wanted to take pride in doing that.  Over the last couple of weeks, I had come to terms with not running as much as I’d like, but now I have to accept not running at all.  It really hasn’t been too bad though, and I’ve actually really been enjoying my workouts in the pool.  Adding some freestyle swimming has really helped with the monotony of aquajogging, and it’s really kind of a nice change! Image I’m 26 weeks today, and am really starting to get excited!  Tad and I have finally started the preparations (everything I read says that most women have their nurseries done by now!) and making purchases to get ready for Baby Jakes.  We just bought the crib and furniture, everything we need for cloth diapering, and a jogging stroller!  The fact that I’m going to be a mom has really started to sink in, and I am longing for the day when I get to meet and hold my little girl! Besides my SPD, I’ve been feeling really good and haven’t been experiencing any other symptoms of pregnancy.  The only thing I can complain about is that it’s difficult for me to sleep, only because I’m so excited.  My belly has grown so much, and now people don’t hesitate to ask me when I’m due.  I haven’t really gained much weight, which had me a little concerned, but I finally gained 2 lbs over the last couple days, so I think I’m heading in the right direction.  I was 109 when I got pregnant and gained weight really quickly, but I topped out at 122 at about 20 weeks and have been stuck there ever since!  I was 124 this morning, so I feel a little better about it.  My belly feels huge, so I know the baby is growing just fine in there.  She is kicking and moving around incessantly, which kind of freaks me out sometimes, but I love just lying down and watching my belly move around.  It’s so crazy! Pregnancy timelines are so weird.  I feel that 26 weeks has me at a solid 6 months, but I know some might disagree.  I thought this would put me in the third trimester, but apparently that doesn’t happen until 28 weeks.  Weird.  I have really been enjoying being pregnant, even if I can’t do what I love most, and being in the pool 5 days a week is allowing me to get some sweet Vitamin D and a nice glow, so I can’t complain!  I’ve been feeling energized and excited, and I’m constantly dreaming of my new life as a mom and my next race.  I think I’m going to focus on really building my base next year and racing my first half marathon!  The goal is to start racing in April and jumping into as many USARC races as I can.

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Beautiful daisies sent from my beautiful friends back home for my 29th birthday. Yikes, I’m getting old! Did I mention our baby girl’s name is Daisy Allison?

I’d love to hear from some other pregnant running mammas!  Have any of you experienced SPD?  Did it affect you post-delivery?  Any tips or exercises on how to relieve the pain?

Running With a Bump!

What an incredible couple of months it has been!  I feel so guilty for waiting so long to write an update.  I really had high hopes of blogging every week of this pregnancy, not only to preserve my own memories, but to help those other pregnant running mammas out there.  Life got in the way; in a good way!!

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Two of my best friends. 🙂 Steph and I are about 10 weeks apart!

Over the past two months, I went through some intense summer school classes (what was I thinking), I celebrated my first anniversary with my husband, I started a new job(!), I traveled back home to Maryland for two magnificent weeks with my family, and I’ve been busy being pregnant. I’m now sitting on a plane back to San Diego with a coughing, sniffling and sneezing 5 year old kicking my seat behind me, hoping that my hand sanitizer and tough immune system keep me healthy while I reflect on the great memories I’ve made since I’ve last blogged.

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Home ❤

I figure I will start with a pregnancy update:

Pre-Injury weight: 101-102 lb.

Pre-Pregnancy weight: 109 lb.

Weight after first trimester: 115 lb.

Weight at 22 weeks: 122 lb. (Can you say, water weight? Holy moly!)

I need to just talk about weight for a minute.  When you’re a 100 lb. runner, putting on 20 lbs. is not easy to accept.  I’m trying to embrace it, and I knew that because I was underweight going in, I’d probably put on more than the average woman, but it doesn’t mean that I love what I see.  I like what I see in the mirror, but when I see pictures of myself, I honestly see a whale.  I am not doing anything different with my

Imagediet, in fact, I’m probably eating much less than I did when I was running 70 miles a week, but my body is just hanging on to everything I take in!  It seems like we are supposed to just love our bodies at this time, because pregnancy is such a beautiful thing, but I just really want my abs and flat stomach back!  Ha!  Don’t get me wrong, I do love my belly, but my thighs and butt have gotten HUGE, and I have cellulite now that I didn’t have before, so it’s challenging to love my new body at times.  I do have faith that my body knows what it’s doing, that I am in good shape and am just retaining a lot of water, and that I will have my old body back in no time. 🙂

First Trimester:

I really wish I had kept up with my running log during this time.  I was able to start running after recovering from my achilles injury shortly after I found out about Baby Jakes.  I came back extremely slowly in order to make sure that it was completely healed.  I started out literally running 10 minutes every other day for the first week, and then about 15 minutes every day the week after.  I was running about 9 minute pace (brutal), but it was fine, because I was so afraid of overdoing it and harming the wee babe.  After those first couple weeks, I was able to run about 6 miles at around 7:30 pace or so, but I very, very quickly slowed down from the morning sickness and breathlessness and had to drop to 8:00-8:30 pace.  Looking back on it now, I feel pretty fortunate to have not actually thrown up, but at the time, I felt perpetually horrible and always on the verge of having to run to the bathroom to puke.  I was EXTREMELY tired and would come home from class and take a 4 hour nap.  It took every ounce of will power to get out the door for my runs, and I was only able to run 4-5 days a week.  I was just too tired to do anything more.

Symptoms:

  • Extreme fatigue and nausea
  • Lots and lots of pee (I had to get up about 3 times a night to go)
  • Whoa, constipation!  I went from going 2 or more times a day to celebrating a poo once every 3 days!
  • Feeling breathless all the time:  Seriously, folks…I would get out of breath just flossing my teeth.
  • Shortness of breath and rapid heart rate on my runs:  I used to be able to do mile repeats in 5:25 pace at 160-170 BPM, now I hit that on easy runs at 8:00 pace.
  • Chafing! – Wow, my new thighs show no mercy!  Thank you, Carol, for introducing me to BodyGlide!
  • Big boobs – I feel like I wo-man! <–Shania reference, anyone?
  • Really low self-esteem (13 lb is a lot of weight to put on a small frame!)
  • Food Aversions: I had a hard time getting raw spinach and bell peppers down.  I had to switch to romaine lettuce.  I also couldn’t eat my go-to snack, Picky Bars!
  • Cravings:  Nothing really.  I did have a week where I was just feeling really drained and was in the mood for some fast food and pizza.  It was the first gluten I had had in a long time, but it was worth it!
  • Mood swings:  Not sure if I can blame this on pregnancy or not….

Second Trimester:

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21 weeks

Believe what they say.  It’s totally true that this is the golden trimester.  As soon as I entered my 12-13th week, the nausea went away, and I definitely had more energy.  My runs were getting better, but heartburn, gas, bloating, and any other form of indigestion you can think of, began to plague me.  These things started getting better around week 17, and I was really able to pick up the pace and mileage.  The past few weeks of running have been amazing!  I’m averaging just about 7:30 pace on every run (about 6 miles).  The pace is a little deceiving, because it takes me a lot longer to warmup.  I start almost all of my runs at 8:15 pace for the first 2 miles, and I have been finishing my last couple miles in 6:50-7 minute pace.  Unfortunately these fantastic runs may be coming to a halt.  Though I’ve been feeling great during the runs, I’ve been experiencing severe pelvic pain in my joints and bones afterwards, so bad that it’s almost too painful to walk.  It’s now become a constant pain that makes it almost impossible to even lift my legs off the ground while trying to change in and out of my pants.  It really is as bad as it sounds, and it’s enough to make me realize I may not be able to run the way I had planned during this pregnancy.  It’s not worth risking a pelvic stress fracture that can sideline me after the baby comes.  This week will be the start of a new phase where I really focus on strengthening my muscles in the weight room and cross training in the pool and on the bike.  My goal is to keep running 3-4 days a week, but I might have to shorten my runs to 3-4 miles at a time.

Symptoms:

  • Heartburn/Indigestion/gas/bloating/younameit
  • Round ligament pain: Yowza!  These hurt, but thankfully they only last a few excruciating seconds.
  • Migraines and headaches:  There were a few weeks where I had a minor headache that persisted for days.  I had 2 migraines (which I had never experienced before), that were so bad and lasted so long, that I almost went to the ER.  I finally wised up and took 2 extra strength Tylenol with a couple sips of coffee that helped them go away.
  • Pelvic pressure/pubic bone pain:  The relaxin hormone causes your entire pelvis to loosen/expand, which means lots of pain.  It’s probably only going to get worse.  Oy.
  • Baby bump:  Yay!  I finally started to really show at 17 weeks, and now I see everyone’s eyes drop down to my stomach when I walk by.
  • Baby movement:  I would sit still in a quiet room for 30 minutes trying to feel the baby, but I didn’t feel it move until 19 weeks.  I didn’t really feel the flutters that everyone talks about, but I felt little pokes that felt somewhat like a muscle spasm.  Baby is now moving and kicking all over to the point where we can actually see my belly move.  It likes Hershey kisses!
  • My belly button popped already!
  • Boobs are still huge.
  • No stretch marks yet.  I have armed myself with coconut oil.

So that’s that.  I have a few more weeks left in my 2nd trimester, and I pray that I can continue to stay as fit as possible and that I can ease this pelvic pain with some cross training.  I don’t know how Kara Goucher did it, I really don’t!

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Who says you can’t get a little messy when eating crabs for hours?

As far as the rest of my life is concerned, I started a new job at Road Runner Sports as a “Fit Expert,” aka, I fit you into the proper running shoe.  This has been the plan for a while now, the typical “cliche” career choice of a professional runner is to work in a shoe store, but I LOVE it!  I am in my element, and helping people with their aches and pains and listening to them discuss their training goals brings me such joy!  I love the people I am working with, and they were even gracious enough to allow me to take a 2 week vacation after only working there for a month.  I went home for a week, and Tad flew out to join me for the second week.  It was so relaxing and soothing to my soul to be home for so long.  The weather was perfect, the grass was beautifully green, I spent so much time with my family and friends, my mom surprised me with a beautiful baby shower, and I ate more crabs than I have in years.  It was perfect and probably the best trip I’ve ever taken.  I feel rejuvenated both mentally and physically and now feel ready for the months ahead.

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My amazing Mom and me on her birthday!

While I was home, I also had the honor of speaking to my high school Alma Mater’s cross country team.  Coach Stough and I have been in contact through facebook, and we thought it was about time to have a reunion after 12 years.  He had told me about some young promising athletes, and I jumped at the opportunity to speak to them.  It was such an amazing experience, standing in front of a room with about 70 or so kids in 7-12 grade, eyes glued to mine as I told them my running story.  I hope I was able to inspire them as much as they inspire me!  I even ran my old cross country course with two of the girls, and I answered their questions about training, post-college running, and chatted about some of the same teachers that we shared.  It was such an awesome experience for me, and it felt so good to be home and see my old coaches and where my love for running began.  I can’t believe how far I’ve come and how many wonderful people are supporting me and my dreams.  I am more inspired than ever and can’t wait to continue on this path with my family, friends, and my new little girl. 🙂

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Love.