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?

The Itch

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

Checking In

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.

The Farm

How 5.5 Miles Made Me Cry

I’ve never been the emotional kind. I always considered it a strength, knowing I could face pretty heavy stuff and be able to keep my composure. However, pregnancy = waterworks. It is ridiculous what I cry about. My husband nonchalantly mentioned something about our daughter going to college and I lost my damn mind. I was seriously blubbering for a good 10 minutes and saying irrational things like, “how could you say that, she is ONLY TWO” and “she is NEVER leaving this house!!!!” I must be a peach to live with.

With next Monday marking the start of my EIGHTH month of pregnancy, I set out with a mentality of a run/walk. Whenever I felt like walking, I would; and I would walk for as long as the kiddo would put up with the stroller. For some reason or another, she would throw a FIT when I started running. This has never happened before, in fact, she’s usually asking me to run because “she likes to go fast” – yeah. So anyway, I got lucky and she fell asleep in the stroller, so I was able to get a 3 mile run in in the amazing weather we’re having.

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My goal for my total running mileage was 3 miles, so once I hit that I just started walking. I honestly felt as though I could have gone farther, but at this point I was still over a mile away from home and I didn’t want to overdo it. Plus, I also wanted to stop and take in the scenery.

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Holy cow, what a disappointing picture, haha! The mountain looks much better in person than on a simple camera phone. Typically, it looks like this…

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Anyway, we came home and I stretched while I heated some leftovers back up – apparently walking will work up an appetite. As I was writing in my running journal [don’t hate] I started tearing up a little. Here I am, in my third trimester, pushing a running stroller, and able to cover mileage at a reasonable pace.

I am so incredibly grateful.

Grateful that my body that allows me to do this. Grateful for the weather we are having, which put the pep in my step to get out there. Grateful that my daughter loves being outside as much as I do. Grateful that I have the ability to have healthy pregnancies. Grateful for the support that everyone has shown me, even when I was too blind to see it.

So why am I writing this all down? Because right now, I’m in a state of bliss, and I really wanted to document it. This will be my bookmark for the times that I’m hard on myself. I get drawn into my own negativity way too often and I need to work on that. This post is to combat the feelings I have on slowing down, the times where I might be struggling mentally, or when I just flat out don’t want to do it.

I want to remember that during my second pregnancy, I was still doing what I loved, and that’s all that matters.

How 5.5 Miles Made Me Cry

A Running Mommy’s Wish List

Sorry to leave so many of you hanging about the rest of our story!!! I promise that I will get that written up soon!!

We are starting to finally realize that our new arrival will be here within the next few months. Granted, yes we’ve known this for awhile… but if you put it into relatable terms, “before school lets out”, “at the end of the training calendar”, “less time than a Kim Kardashian wedding” – then your eyes widen at the thought of it. If the little guy decides to show up early, we have everything – clothes, car seat, a place for him to sleep, etc; but I’m talking about me here. The runner. Yes, mom; but we all know what running does to you. It’s unexplainable, but we know that we just need to do it.

With Kara, I found out the hard way [meaning it took me MONTHS] that it is ok to let others help, and to take time for myself. I remember crying in the shower when she was a few weeks old, exhausted and wondering why on EARTH God chose me to be a mother. Slowly, I accepted help – I came around, and eventually went on a run alone. Then, finally, we bought a running stroller and I ran with it for the first time just 10 days before Kara’s first birthday. I love the running stroller and that thing has saved both my sanity and my daughters, on numerous occasions. It has hundreds of miles on it, and is 100% reliable. So item #1 on my wish list? A double running stroller… a BOB Revolution SE Duallie Stroller, to be exact.

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And you better bet that I’m getting all kinds of bells and whistles for it as well. The weather shield, the car seat adapter, and bottle holder. The problem? Right now, as my Amazon wish list sits, the total of all this stuff comes to right at $700. DUDE. Sure, I know these go on Craigslist for about half the price – but I am just not comfortable buying this used. I don’t know the exact history of it, and for the safety of the kids, I would much rather go full price. But you know what? I’ll be running, with my babies – and it will be more than worth every penny. 

Eventually, I would also like to get a treadmill for the house. We will probably set it in our room, so that its out of the way, but most importantly, its not any kind of hazard to the kids. This also means I’ll be staring at a white, blank, boring wall during my runs – but I don’t care because I will be running. I came across the Livestrong 8.0t Treadmill.

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Relatively cheap [for treadmill standards] at $800, this is also currently on sale at our PX, where they also have financing options. Nice. It has features that I honestly could do without, like remembering your previous 5 workouts, MP3 hookups, storing your PR, a fan, etc… again – I just want to run. Selling point? It folds easily. I can literally lift the bottom of this thing with one hand. And for a wimp like me, that is BIG. Some might argue that I have access to a free gym here on post. I know this – buuuuuuuuut the childcare there is LESS than stellar [employees texting, sending kids home with poopy diapers; I have seen kids straight up ignored] and the last straw was when I found out last week that there were lice going around. Yeah, not happening.

So that is my “wish list” for 2102. Granted, this is all small potatoes compared to healthy children, and a happy household, of course. If I can get these two material things, I’ll be happy – I won’t sign up for races, I’ll keep other running expenses at a minimum, and be on my merrily way with either kids in tow or on the treadmill. Smile 

Mother runners – anything else you can think of that I might need? Advice? What was your biggest challenge in going from one to two children; running or in general?

A Running Mommy’s Wish List

Love, Love, Love

Love is in the air here at the house.

Today the husband and I celebrate THREE whole years of marriage.

 

We “met” online in early 2008ish, through the Runner’s World forums; while I was working at Wright Patterson Air Force Base in Ohio, and he was writing software in Texas. Honestly, at first I thought he was an arrogant jerk. He seemed to know a lot about everything and I found that highly annoying. To this day, he’ll still have random trivia about the War of 1812, or know the scientific explanation behind baking soda eliminating odors. Now, I just find it cute and charming; like having my own 6 foot 4, walking encyclopedia. For whatever reason, in the forums we started talking about country music. Knowing he was from Texas, I asked if he knew about Pat Green, an Austin musician – whose music I had heard randomly played at frat houses libraries. He replied back with something along the lines of, “Absolutely, I’m his biggest fan, I’ve been to numerous shows, yadda yadda, How the hell do you know about him, yadda”. The conversation naturally shifted to other Texas musicians, some of which I hadn’t heard of at the time. I asked him if he could recommend some songs for me to download, and he then offered to send some to me. Please note the perverted title of the Private Message.

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From there, we went on to have about a million email exchanges, until we finally did the number swap, and spent hours and hours and hours and hours on the phone. Conversations were about everything under the sun; from how our running was going to local weather. I’m not going to lie – I never thought that anything would lead to a relationship. His humor, charm and the fact that he was just so damn genuine totally sucked me in. I found myself falling in love with someone I had never met and while it confused the crap out of me I just let it happen. I was always the one to judge couples that met on the internet. I thought it was unnatural, desperate and weird – yet here I was; 2,000 miles away from a dude who wrote software, melting at his voice, waiting on pins and needles for every phone call/text/email.

We finally met on May 22, 2008. I signed a lease for an apartment, and found an open slot for my Air Force Reserve job within the week, and was moving to San Antonio within a month. When we woke up the morning of March 3, 2009, getting married was the last thing on our minds, but it happened by 5 pm that day, and I have never been happier. that’s a story for another day!!

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I look forward to so many more years with my husband. He makes me strive to be a better person [even when I don’t want to be…], he is my rock, and he knows me better than I even know myself.

Most of all, he is the most loving, ever-adoring, patient father to our daughter, and he beams when he talks about everything he wants to do with our son. I am incredibly blessed to be his wife, and will never take it for granted.

Love, Love, Love