The Itch

I wish I would have done a better job documenting my return to running after my first pregnancy. I do remember waiting the entire six weeks to return to exercise, like a good little girl. The first race back I did was a local Thanksgiving Turkey Trot, which was roughly two months after I had our daughter. For some reason or another I don’t have my time, but I imagine I averaged about a 10 minute mile.

My friends, I am experiencing the infamous ‘itch’. Yes, I am busy getting work done and squaring away things for the house, but I freakin’ miss running. Getting out for walks is NOT the same. I want the spring in my step. I miss the wind blowing through my hair, I miss the soft sounds of my shoes hitting the pavement, I miss the ‘hills’ of the neighborhood and I want to see the new plants around post in the process of blooming. I would be lying to you if I didn’t think that a small part of me thinks I stopped running prematurely. Who’s to say I can’t pick up the pace for a quarter mile at a time, right? RIGHT?!

The path to where I was before will be a long one, I know this. Not only will my body be bouncing back, but I will also have a precious addition to the family. They are my priority, and I can’t wait to embark on this journey with them. It will take finesse, juggling, I imagine a little bit of frustration, but it will be worth it. I am totally convinced that running makes me a better wife and mother.

I realized recently that my brother’s birthday is about eight weeks after my due date; and on his birthday I run the number of laps around a track in equivalent to what his age would have been. Heeding the normal six week waiting rule, I would have two weeks to get my body to ‘do’ 10.5 miles of anything for his birthday on July 6th. This is a monumental task that is obviously a bit out of reach, both physically and logistically, as my husband might be gone for training, etc. I’m already thinking about it because I refuse to not do it, I might enlist the help of a bike as well. For now that’s the only thing on my schedule, and in my opinion, the only thing worth doing.

Is there anything that you refused to back down from?

Are you having nice weather?

Do you enjoy going for walks?

Checking In

Just wanted to duck in and say a little hello!

I’m not going to lie – I’ve thought about shutting the blog down a few times in the past month. I don’t know if I’ll have time to continue a normal blog once the baby gets here, and to be honest its really nice to not ‘have’ to blog – a notion that lasts a few days/weeks at a time. Who knows though, a few months ago I was working a blog redesign with a friend and planning to move domains and everything… maybe once I am regularly back to running I’ll blog more often, but until then I’ll probably just have random updates whenever. This is a running [ok, and yoga… and ‘mom’…] blog, but one thing I refuse to turn it into is an all out “kid ONLY” blog. I’m not knocking those that have them, but this started as a running/yoga blog, and that’s how I want it to stay. Yes, life dynamics have changed since then, and I want to document the process as I go, but at 33 weeks of pregnancy, I don’t have much “going” on if you know what I mean! I also promise that I’m reading your blogs as well, though I might not always comment!

Right now I am 33 weeks along with little dude, and the running days are officially oooooover. I am thrilled that my body [and baby!] let me run this long – I made it 6 weeks farther than I was able to run during my first pregnancy! My hips and knees ache every morning, as well as my back and while I have been doing yoga almost daily, I can’t just stay in Cow Pose for hours on end. With Waylynn also creating more room for himself, it makes anything more than walking extremely exhausting and I am wiped out just from walking around the house doing chores. Apparently, I am that wimpy pregnant lady!! I also had a “scare” last week where I thought I was having real contractions – they were about a minute long every 4 minutes or so, until I realized they were Braxton Hicks contractions. I never had those with my daughter, so it was quite alarming having to go through that for the first time – after a few glasses of water and moving around a bit they went away, but if that’s not my body telling me to slow down, I don’t know what is.

Congrats to all of those who not only raced this past weekend, but it seems like many of you PR’ed!! That’s pretty exciting, and I’ve loved reading all of your recaps. If you need me, I’ll be getting work done, puttering around the house, entertaining a toddler, and trying not to fall asleep anywhere I sit down for more than 45 seconds. Smile

The Farm

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Man. This is heartbreaking to write. and even more heartbreaking to realize that I don’t have many pictures of such an amazing place…

February of 2010 my grandpa passed away. From there, my grandma’s health has declined to the point where she is in assisted living, about an hour away from the farm they bought around 50 years ago.

I have pretty amazing memories from the farm. I knew that dirt road the second we turned onto it – my dad would fly up and down the dips in the road, sending a rush of adrenaline through both my brother and I for a split second as we felt the car suspended momentarily in air. Early in life, I knew it as a place where I knew a homemade cherry pie (amongst others) would be waiting for me. I would sit on my grandpa’s lap while he drove me around on the good ol’ John Deere, and I knew that night we would be chasing lightning bugs until we passed out. We ran around, sticky with sweat from the warm Missouri air, picking bark off the Bullet Tree until we were corralled into the house to eat a five course meal Grandma had somehow prepared out of thin air. I would eat my way through the sweet corn fields, drowning each ear in butter, sprinkling them with salt and pepper just like how my Grandpa showed me – to this day I will eat my corn that way, yet it’ll never taste like how it did on the Farm.

Fourth of July on the Farm? Holy Moses, I’ll never forget that. One summer, my parents spent about $600 buying fireworks in Illinois, and it took us about four nights of hour long fireworks shows to go through them all. The Farm was also a Mecca for family reunions. I would painstakingly wait while we drove the mile and a half down that dirt road, eager to see everyone; ecstatic when I recognized the RVs, cars and campers in the makeshift driveway, knowing I would have cousins, uncles and aunts to play with for days on end.

In my teens, I found a happy balance there between appreciating the quiet times at the farm, mixed in with a healthy dose of reliving my childhood. I would show the ‘new’ kids how to catch bugs, snatch frogs up without having them pee on you. I would sit on the front porch swing and take in the day, and I even went to church with my grandparents (secretly I think my Grandma was trying to set me up with the preacher’s son). To this day I still think Grandpa just focused on the brunch part of church, but I’ll never know. Winking smile 

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I would run the dirt road numerous times, only to return drenched in sweat, prompting my Grandma to ask if I was ok, and shaking her head as to why ‘anyone would go that far on purpose’. It wasn’t until a few runs later that my Grandpa offered to drive behind me with a shotgun “in case of them coyotes” – pronounced, “kai-yotes”.

As an adult, I can safely say that I took advantage of every second I had on that farm. I’ve never admitted this to anyone, but 99.9% of the times that I meditate, I’m on the Farm. I’m on my yoga mat, on their front deck, sitting in the breeze and hearing the random bugs. I swear at times I can smell the mustiness of my Grandparent’s home, or hear the creaking in the floor – it was especially bad walking from the guest room to the bathroom, but comforting in a way.

Sadly, my last trip to the farm was also one of the last times I saw my brother. It was definitely a happy reunion, one that only a few family members could make because it was last minute. We both put on our uniforms and took pictures, both ‘in all seriousness’ and goofing off, in true Stiles form. It was a very short visit; we had ‘life’ to get back too, and Jon had military ‘what nots’ to take care of. Fortunately, I was able to see him just a few weeks later, but again – another memory on the farm.

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I’ll always remember the little things about the farm – the way the barn smelled, the knick-knacks my Grandma had in the kitchen, the hat rack right inside the front door, the oil lamps in the bedroom, and of course Grandpa’s couch and his affinity for trains.

I hope to never, ever forget these memories. From what I understand, the neighboring family bought the farm, and they intend to fix up the house. So, not all hope is lost.

My only regret is that my children won’t get to visit it how I did.