Monthly Archives: April 2013

A Letter to my Daughter about the Boston Marathon 4/17

race5Dear Alexandra,

It was Monday about 4 pm when I heard the devastating news about the attacks at the finish line of the Boston Marathon. You and I had just come in from a little walk with Sparty through the neighborhood and you were sleeping (something you rarerly do during the day). I looked at my phone and saw that I had missed text messages from family. When I started scrolling through I realized that something awful had happened and turned on the news, just as my dad (your grandpa) was calling to tell me.

With you still in your car seat sleeping, I stared at the tv screen in shock and horror at the video they were repeating over and over again.

You obviously won’t remember this day and had no idea what was going on as you slept peacefully. Someday though you will hear about the attack and I want to be able to tell you what exactly was going through my mind on that day.

The Boston Marathon is the oldest marathon in the U.S. and its run every April on Patriots Day in Boston. Patriots Day in Boston is a huge celebration, similar to New Year’s Eve in Times Square. Most residents have the day off of work (except for emergency workers and restaurant and bar employees, etc) and come out to be spectators for the marathon that is the pride and joy of their great city. It is the best spectated marathon in the US.

The Boston Marathon also happens to be a very prestigious marathon, and only those that qualify are able to run it. Some runners attempt to qualify their whole life and it has become a sort of “bucket list” event for most if not all in the running community.

Just last year, your daddy and I ran it together. It was something we had both always wanted to do, and we both happened to be qualified at the same time. I remember when we signed up even. For the first time in history, the Boston Marathon Association had a tiered registration process because the year before the race had sold out in 1 hour! I had beat my qualifying time by over 20 minutes so I was able to sign up on the first day. Daddy at that point had beat his qualifying time by under two minutes so he was in the last wave and he was certain he wasn’t going to get in. He registered on line as soon as possible that last day and we waited anxiously to get confirmation that he would make it in. When his email finally came a few days later we were elated and he was shocked! He had made it in by about 17 seconds. That is really important, because if he hadn’t made the cut off that year, we may have very well been running the marathon this year…which also would mean that you wouldn’t have been born. Sometimes its so crazy when you stop and think in life how 17 seconds could have changed the course of your life so much.

So we made it in and immediately made reservations for hotels and flights. We planned to make a whole vacation out of it and explore the city. Well, since the Boston Marathon is a big race and mommy tends to not do so well at big races, we decided to do another marathon 8 weeks before Boston to try to run a fast time. All winter mommy and daddy trained together and our winter marathon in Myrtle Beach went great for mommy, not so great for daddy when his hamstring went out at mile 20. However, after the marathon it was mommy that got hurt. I strained my IT band pretty bad and was unable to run hardly at all in the 8 weeks leading up to Boston.

A few days before we left I also came down with a severe upper respiratory infection. I was still determined to run. We had already made our reservations and signed up and everything.

Once we arrived in Boston the city started experiencing unseasonably warm weather. Temperatures were predicted to be in the low 90’s on race day and the race directors kept sending out emails urging people to not run. And then they decided to allow people to defer their entry from the race and have guaranteed entry the following year (this year). Well, we actually thought about it. I was honestly in no shape to run a marathon. But since Tim and I had made it in and decided that 2012 was the year we were running, we started to also plan a big event we wanted in 2013…the birth of a baby. I knew I shouldn’t run that year…but I also knew that I really wanted to have a baby the next year…which meant, no running the Boston Marathon. So we made the decision to run in 2012. We finished the race in over 5 hours. It was dreadful. Mommy got severely dehydrated and we ended up walking the majority of the marathon. Daddy never left my side though, and was so supportive and it was then that I really knew we could get through anything togeher, and felt more ready than ever to have a baby.

All day on Monday I was thinking about the marathon and what daddy and I had been through together the year before. I had been looking at pictures and smiling at the memory of the whole experience. After I heard that someone placed bombs along the finish line my whole day completely changed.

I thought about how happy daddy and I were to finally see that finish line and imagined that all the other runners were feeling the same way. It was such an emotional and surreal experience to cross that finish line and I thought of all the runners that will forever have that memory of a moment that should have been pure delight be tainted with the hurt that someone deliberately caused. I looked at you sleeping in your carrier and cried for those runners and for the innocent spectators that were hurt and killed. Especially when they announced that one of the victims was an 8 year old boy. I thought of how he was probably there watching his mommy or daddy and I lost it completely and wept for his family.

The fact that in different circumstances this could have been us makes it hit home that much harder and made me realize everything in my life that I have to be thankful for, especially you.

Running is such a big part of mine and daddy’s lives and we plan to take you along to so many of our races. I sometimes think about the day that you’ll be cheering for me at the finish line and how it will motivate me even more to push during that final stretch of the race.

What I want to tell you about the horrible events on Monday is that I don’t want it to ruin your joy or make you afraid. Admist all the evil there was also a lot of good that was occuring. We saw images of workers rushing in to help, runners turning and around and going back to help other runners. I’ve heard of residents of Boston offering their homes to stranded runners with nothing but the sweaty clothes on their backs that couldn’t get into their hotels. So with all the evil that exists in this world, I chose to believe there is much more good.

At anytime, anywhere we are something could happen to any one of us. I choose to trust that God will take us when we’re needed and not go about my life living in fear. Terrorists, by definition aim to cause terror in people. I will not let them. I hope someday that your daddy and I will run the Boston Marathon again, maybe even with you if you should choose to and if mine and daddy’s bodies are still able enough to run a marathon.

I love you more than you will ever know (until you have a child of your own) and want to protect you from all the bad in the world, even though I know I cannot. Live your life to the fullest every day and never forget to appreciate everything you have (or it should be EVERYONE you have since things end up being of little importance). Even if you don’t ever want to run the Boston Marathon, I hope someday you will visit the city and experience the marathon and all that magic that it contains.

Love Always,


Smiles and Running Post Partum 4/7

In the last couple weeks Alexandra has been rewarding us with lots of smiles and she seems to give more and more every day. No matter how many times I’ve seen them, it still melts my heart. I love this little girl more than anything and parenting is very hard, especially when you are doing all the giving. So when they finally start to show affection for you, its completely priceless! She’s also been doing a good deal of “talking”. She makes these cute little sounds and smiles and even laughs when she’s talking to me. I try to grab a camera and capture some of it, but its like she knows and will not cooperate. So I just try to take every little thing in. Its hard to believe my maternity leave is already half over and I want to enjoy every single minute with her.
Her nighttime schedule has been pretty consistent since she was about 4 weeks old. Typically she only gets up once or twice during the night to feed. She’s been going for longer stretches, though not consistently. The night before last she went for her longest stretch…slept 6.5 hours! When she goes for longer stretches like that I do have to get up and pump because I can’t sleep feeling that “full”.
Her daytime routine is far from it. We’re still all over the board. She seems to have some days where she sleeps a lot and can even go 3-4 hours between a feeding (I don’t ever wake her to feed anymore, I let her tell me). Then there are days when she hardly sleeps at all and gets really fussy as the day goes on. These days are pretty rough. I’ve found sometimes the only way to get her to sleep is to put her in my little sling carrier. Its fantastic that I have it, but it also doesn’t allow me to take a shower and obviously I can’t get in the car and go anywhere like that. It is too bad they don’t make slings so that you can take your baby running with you!
All in all, its slowly getting easier. I’m starting to know more how to soothe her when she cries and sometimes it seems all she needs is just to see me or have me hold her and she’ll calm down. It makes me happy, but also makes it hard when Tim gets home and I want to run and cook dinner and she fusses and cries for him. I try to let him keep trying when I get done running but after hearing her scream for long enough I can’t take it anymore and usually step in. I don’t know, its probably not the best thing to do, but I can’t stand to hear her cry like that and I feel bad for Tim too. I’m sure it will get better with time.
As far as running goes, I completed my first 3 mile run on Saturday morning and surprised myself by running pretty fast. I wasn’t trying in the beginning, but I’ll admit that after I heard my pace the first mile I wanted each mile after that to be a little faster and it was. By the last mile though, I was working pretty hard, but felt good. It felt nice to be kind of pushing myself again. The rest of the day I didn’t seem to feel more physically tired than normal so I probably didn’t push it too much. Even though my incision site is still sore to the touch I feel mostly recovered from the surgery. I know it will take a while for my abs strength to come back, but I feel like I can do most things just fine. I’m not technically supposed to lift over 15 pounds until 6 weeks but when you’re at home alone all day with a baby that weighs just over 9 pounds now and frequently carry her around in her bouncy seat or car seat its kind of impossible to avoid it.
My weight has remained the exact same since 2 weeks post partum. I guess its good that its not going up (especially since I seem to ALWAYS be hungry and let myself eat to my content right now). It still doesn’t look like my body to me. I still have very little definition in my belly and after I eat or drink anything it sort of just puffs out. My hips and butt also seem to be a lot curvier than they’ve ever been before. I feel guilty admitting this, but I’ll be glad when I’m done breastfeeding and my larger than life breasts go back to their “barely there” pre-baby size. Yes, seriously. I just tell myself that its going to take time to get back into shape, but remind myself that I WILL get there.
So that’s what we’ve been up to lately!

The First Month 4/5

We’re just over a month in, and here’s what’s been going on:

Me: My mastitis started to clear up after several days on the antibiotics. I waited until all the pain and swelling was gone before attempting to run. 9 days after antibiotics, and 3 weeks + 2 days after my c-section, I went for a run. I only went one mile to start off since it had been 59 days (yikes!) since my last run. At first it felt very awkward. It was like I was going through the motions but it felt so foreign to my body, like it forgot how to do it. A few minutes in though and I got into my rhythm and felt really good. I took it VERY easy. I did not look at my pace until I was finished because I didn’t want my competitive juices to start flowing and make me push myself. I just wanted to give my body a good test drive and see how it responded. The last run I had gone on I was 34.5 weeks pregnant and running between an 8:30 pace (on a good day) and a 9:30 pace so I had no idea where I was going to be post partum. When I finished my mile I was surprised to see I had run it in 7:59! It was just a mile, but I really was taking it very easy and FELT like I was running more like 8:30-8:45 pace so I was pleasantly surprised to see it was just under 8 minutes!
The next morning I woke up sore! It was mostly in my legs, but also in my abs. I don’t know if I’ve ever been sore from running 1 mile easy before…but I guess my body has been through a lot and the muscles took a pretty severe beating. I went for another mile run that day to try to get some of the soreness out. I finished that mile in 7:49! By Monday I was still sore so I took that day off and just went for a walk with the dog. Tuesday I did a mile again, but felt sort of tired and had some achiness in near my incision. Not too surprising, I ran a little slower, 8:07 pace. I continued with my 1 mile runs on Wednesday and Thursday and felt about the same. On Thursday though there was a dad and daughter that crossed the road at the same time as me and they were running faster than me. My competitive juices started flowing again (and I was actually glad they were still there!) and I picked it up and decided I couldn’t let them leave me in their dust! So I stayed right behind them for the remainder of my big 1 mile run and was thrilled to see I ran a 7:19! It felt harder, but not race hard. I was getting more encouraged.
On Saturday I had my best run yet. I went for my first 2 mile run and I averaged 7:09 pace for the two miles. Again, I was NOT pushing myself, just out running and enjoying being out there. I felt good, and didn’t have the soreness near my incision this time. I still have a long way to go, but its encouraging every time I step out the door and feel good.
After two weeks post partum I had lost 20 of the 26 pounds I gained during the pregnancy. I hadn’t done anything to lose the weight. I was just breastfeeding and eating when I was hungry. It was encouraging and I figured in another couple weeks I may be back to my pre-pregnancy weight. Wrong! Now that I’m 4 weeks post partum I’ve stayed exactly the same, 20 pounds down, 6 to go. I did read that when you’re breastfeeding you probably will hang onto 3 pounds or so due to the extra tissue in your breasts. So, I would like to still lose another 3 pounds, but I’m not doing anything right now to try to make that happen. Breastfeeding burns a ton of calories (up to 600 a day) and if you try dieting while breastfeeding, it can negatively affect your supply. So hopefully now that I’m running again it will just happen naturally.

Alexandra: She has been doing great! I don’t know if it’s the ranitidine, the dairy finally being out of my milk or the fact that I’m off of antibiotics, but she’s seemed to be so much happier. Yes, she still gets fussy sometimes and still has some crying spells, but its not like it was before.
She’s already got a strong personality. She’s very stubborn. When she wants something, she will not give in until she gets it. I’ve been trying to get her to take a bottle of my pumped milk since she will have to when I go back to work and I want to start building my stash. We struggled and struggled and then my sister in law suggested Dr. Browns bottles and I finally tried them and we were thrilled she took it! Then my dad watched her for us for a few hours so we could go to my nephew’s birthday party and she took it from him! Then my sister from Colorado comes to town and I thought it would be great to have her experience feeding her niece and the little stinker refused! I think she knew that I was there and wanted to nurse instead and she through a little fit until I finally caved and nursed her.
She’s starting to smile and even laugh. It’s the most beautiful thing in the world when she looks at you with those baby blues and gives you this big toothless grin. I melt every time.
She’s been getting more and more scheduled and has been sleeping longer at night. We HOPE this continues!!