Tuesday, August 23, 2016

Breaking through the Wall

This morning my husband curiously asked, “So how’s your blog going?” My heart skipped with a little bit of guilt and a whole lot of frustration with my reply, “Well, I haven’t written in a while. I haven’t had much extra time. It hasn’t really been my priority…” I could go on and on and on. Finding yourself stuck in a rut is a natural phase for anybody, but as a mother, it’s a much easier trap to fall into. 

Are you ready to break through?
As moms, we regularly put others' wants and needs ahead of our own. Raising, feeding, teaching, and nurturing little ones is a major task! At times, life can be so busy and exhausting that when we do get time for ourselves, all we want to do is rest. We want to do nothing, because we are used to doing everything. Trust me, I am a full supporter of going to bed early or sneaking a nap in while your child naps. But check this out…why wouldn’t you do something that makes you happy? Why wouldn’t that be one of your priorities?

This month started out on a good note, I was actually following a half marathon training program, enjoying summer activities with little Eisley, having girlfriends over for dinner. The second week of August I walked in the door from my long Sunday morning 10.12 mile run, to my husband handing me our 2 year old daughter covered in puke. She was really sick for 4 days, so we stayed home and I became Nurse Momma. That weekend, we began viewing houses and starting the process to purchase our first home! So exciting, yet stressful! The next Sunday I heard a loud THUD followed by screaming during Eisley’s nap. She finally learned how to climb out of her crib onto our wood floors, so we converted her crib to a toddler bed with a mesh side rail attachment. I had no idea how long and draining the process would be to teach her to sleep in her convertible bed and STAY in bed. A few days she refused to nap at all. She has been going to bed 1-1.5hrs LATER that usual and waking up 1-2.5hrs EARLIER in the mornings! It’s taken me between 40min-2hrs just to get her down to sleep; methods including sitting next to her, laying on the bed, soothing music, extra bedtime routine, and closing the door then carrying her back to bed each time she ran and opened the door. This also happened to be the same time we started her swimming lessons, which so far have landed on the “no nap” days. Did I mention how exhausted I’ve been? How am I supposed to take care of my emotional/mental/spiritual health if I am completely drained? (Oh yeah, also while training for a half marathon!)

Today, I realized and accepted the fact that I have lost steam. I understand the fact that no, I cannot control all aspects of life. All I can do is adapt, learn, and go with the flow. The best part about recognizing my feeling of being lost is that now I can move forward with my life as a wife, mother, and runner. I am reorganizing my priorities and making it a point to channel my creative outlets on a daily basis, even if it’s only fifteen minutes. 

Recharging together with a stroller run along the bay!
I used to read regularly, and now my books wait unfinished.

I used to brew kombucha weekly, and now my SCOBYs grow thick in sweet tea turned to vinegar.

I used to write ideas/material/recipes in a notebook for my blog, and now my calendar says August is nearly over with only TWO blog posts!

I used to…NO MORE! I am! I create! I enjoy! I am breaking through the wall and hope that you can too. Join me in moving forward, making the most out of our lives as mothers, friends, wives, artists, athletes, women! Adventure awaits, my friends!

Tuesday, August 16, 2016

Honeywagon Runs Half Marathon

With my second half marathon coming up, it only seemed appropriate to look back and review my very first half, the Honeywagon Runs Half Marathon! Although honey sure sounds sweet (we LOVE to stock up on different local honey varieties), the term “honeywagon” literally means, well, let's just say it's stinky, like cow patties. The race was held on Saturday, April 9, 2016 in Everson, WA and was hosted by the Greater Bellingham Running Club. I was able to easily register online and since I’m a GBRC member, my registration was at no cost. That’s right, free! The half registration fee was $25 for non-members. In addition to the half marathon distance, there was also a 4 mile distance open to walkers and runners. The race started and ended at Nooksack Valley Middle School. That entire community is fairly rural and the extensive farmlands made for a peaceful backdrop during the race. 

After about a 30 minute drive, I showed up to the parking lot at 8:15am. It was early still and pretty chilly outside, but I read that it would be warmer and dressed for that type of weather. I wandered my way to the Activity Building to pick up my bib which had chip timing. It looked like a decent sized crowd that mainly looked like experienced and confident runners. I was feeling pretty nervous and chose to warm up on the football field (hello fellow introverts!) It always feels a little bit more comfortable if I’m away from other people to focus, get in my own zone, and mentally prepare for the event. At 8:55am I followed other people to the starting line. This was only the second time to ever use my new TomTom watch which actually showed pace, distance, time, etc compared to before when I would simply wing it!

Race course
At 9:00am the announcer shouted and we were off! I started mid-pack, but soon realized that maybe I should’ve started closer to the front. Our course was running along rural roads, opposite traffic. For a while I would awkwardly have to follow closely behind someone while waiting for the safe opportunity to pass them, without being hit by a car! About 2 miles in and I was settled into my groove. There was much less traffic and there weren’t very many runners around me, so I was really able to focus on my breathing, body, and form. I was confident and pretty strong for the first 4 miles, all under 8 minutes. Around mile 5 I came to my first long distance predicament…all alone with one other runner right next to you, moving at the same pace. What is the runner’s etiquette? Do you talk to each other? Do you focus on yourself and pretend the other person isn’t there? Well, I personally felt the urge to simply say, “hi” after running so long next to this person. They were very nice and also had a young daughter, so we were able to talk about our little ones for a couple of miles. Once we passed the aid station, I took off again on my own. 

















Miles 7-9 sped up a little to stay under 8 minutes, and then my dreaded knee started acting up! The last thing I wanted to do was injure myself or not be able to finish the race, so I slowed it down again for miles 10-12. This was just enough rest to get me feeling good again. There was only one runner within sight ahead of me that entire time, a lady that made running this distance look easy! She was a great motivation and pacer for me to follow along when I was beginning to get caught up in my head. We were approaching the aid station and an intersection that was downhill, a perfect opportunity to catch some speed! Well, as I started flying down I could hear, “Hey, aren’t you going to stop her?” So, I turned around and saw that the route was turning right, not going straight like I went! Now I had to backtrack while going uphill to get back on the route and catch up to my fellow lady runner. 

Running primarily alone for long distances is a perfect time for inward reflection and mindfulness of the world around you. The moments that doubt and fear surfaced, I returned to my mantra, “I am healthy. I am strong. I am motivated!” The beginning of mile 13 I was able to pass the female runner I had been trailing, she yelled, “You’ve got this! Kick it into gear!” At this point in the race, we were sharing the route with the 4 mile runners/walkers so I had to do a little more maneuvering through people. I finished mile 13 strong at the same exact speed as mile 1, 7:31/mi pace. Immediately crossing the finish line, I felt a rush of emotions! “Yeah, I did it! I just finished my first half marathon! That wasn’t as hard as I had expected. Did I really push myself, because I don’t feel quite exhausted? When is the next race? Where is the food?” My final time was 1:44:11, averaging a 7:57min/mi pace! I managed to place third in my age group, F19-29, with the first place in my age group finishing 1:32:02 with a 7:02min/mi pace! After grabbing some food and receiving my ribbon, I was ready to head home to our little family. The Honeywagon Runs is a race put on annually and the route is fairly flat, making it a wonderful half marathon to try for your first time! Fellow running mamas, whether you’re a beginner curious about running 13.1 miles or a seasoned runner looking to beat your half marathon PR, I recommend signing up and giving it a shot next year!

Monday, August 1, 2016

July Miles + Potty Training Party

It always seems like once our family actually starts enjoying summer and taking advantage of the wonderful weather, autumn starts creeping into view. This is only our second summer living up here in the Pacific Northwest and I still have to adjust to the shorter summer season. Luckily our “hot” weather is in the 70’s-80’s which makes a big difference for runners! I cannot imagine even remotely enjoying a long run in high humidity and 100+ degrees (if I didn’t pass out first!). Big props to all of you runners that live in places with extreme heat! Now, let’s get talking about my July miles and training!

Stroller run to Whatcom Falls Park
Week 1: 1-2: 6 miles
Week 2: 3-9: 28.28 miles (including Chuckanut Foot Race)
Week 3: 10-16: 14.71 miles
Week 4: 17-23: 19.97 miles
Week 5: 24-30: 33.55 miles
Week 6: 31st: 6.47 miles 

Total miles for July: 108.98! 

Looking grouchy in the PNW summer heat!
The second week of July was the Chuckanut Footrace, a 7 mile trail race that’s been going on 50 years strong! If you missed it, you can catch up with the race recap HERE. Somehow I placed third in my age group! Weeks 3 and 4 were both lower in mileage. After only treadmill running at the gym, I was excited for an 8 mile trail run with a friend. I wore a pair of compression socks for the first time and I’m not sure if it’s related, but by the last 1/10th miles my right knee hurt and it felt like my leg was going to give out under me. It only bothered me while going downhill. My friend said it must be my IT band. She showed me some stretches and told me to use the foam roller twice a day. I’ll admit, this could’ve been a major bummer. The Bellingham Bay Half Marathon is only two months away! Instead of potentially injuring myself, I rested a lot and took things very slow for the week. 

Let me expand on the term resting… AKA four days of potty training boot camp! Eisley was showing signs of readiness and independence, so we thought we would give it a shot. I read all sorts of methods, tips, and tricks that claimed to be THE best/easiest way to potty train. Well, the first day we set up Camp Potty Party in the living room. We had books, her potty seat, a sticker chart, tons of towels, and a timer set to go off every 15 minutes so I could sit her on the potty. She would barely sit down and the entire days was accidents, which equaled lots of laundry; especially since we tried having her naked from the waist down. Day two, I was surprised to find out she stayed dry overnight! I put her in ‘big girl’ undies to help her feel the sensation of being wet. She actually went in the potty a couple times, so I was feeling a little improvement. Day three, she woke up dry again! We had some accidents and she still refused to poo. It seemed like she was getting the hang of things, but I also was having some doubts. When she’d have an accident, she would continue playing or doing whatever she was doing, and didn’t seem to care. If she happened to already be sitting on the potty (now she LOVED sitting there), sometimes she would have success, but never purposely went to it or said anything to me. Day four had me coo-coo from us staying in the house that entire time and we decided to put on a diaper, say “A+ for effort” and wait to potty train when she’s older. Let's just agree that potty training and half marathon training are a lot to handle!

Sipping on her Tropical Hemp Heart Smoothie
The 5th week of July I officially began my own training, for the Bellingham Bay Half Marathon. This was the first time I’ve actually followed any sort of plan. The Fit School’s 18-Week Basic Half Marathon Program (which I started at Week 10) includes three speed/strength workouts, 3 tempo/pacing workouts, and 3 filler workouts. Sunday was a 7.35 mile outdoor trail run. Monday was speed work on the treadmill: 10min @6.8mph, (1min @7mph/1min @8.5mph) for 20 min, with a 10min cool down @6mph. Tuesday’s filler workout was a 1hr easy run on the treadmill, 6.36 miles, plus another 1 mile walk pushing the stroller. Thursday was another filler workout doing 5.43 mile outdoor run pushing Eisley in the stroller. The sun was shining, we were tired of the gym, and we wanted to enjoy some fun time at the beach!

Enjoying our mama daughter date!
I am feeling super motivated and focused in both my running and my mom life. We celebrated Eisley’s 2nd birthday on the 22nd. We also had our VERY FIRST official babysitter which allowed my husband and I to go out on a date! WHAT!? It is important for us to grow and remember that while we are parents, we are also a couple. Well my friends, I hope you have had a wonderful start to the week! Get outdoors before the summer is over. Manifest positive energy and love on your little ones, fellow mamas!