Wednesday, April 17, 2013

It's Personal

I struggled with weather or not I wanted to write anything on the horrible day that struck Boston on Monday. I have read so many great posts that have captured just how I feel about it all. And adding to all the grief and sadness didn't seem like I was really adding anything to the mix.

But then I sat back and thought about how I really feel. I have gone through all the stages of mourning so far. From initially feeling so sad and scared to feeling like it was all a dream (denial), to being so damn angry about it. I had to stay off social media yesterday. I couldn't take any more links, thoughts, pictures with anything to do with Boston. Even the posts that were in support of Boston, pictures of people going out in their own favorite race shirt to run a few miles for our Boston people. I was overwhelmed on so many levels.
2010 VIP stands - even then I was excited!

I also saw so many people post a real personal connection to the tragedy even if they weren't physically there in Boston. And I for one had that same thought. Immediately when I saw the first glimpse of the finish clock showing 4:09:xx when the bombs went off, I knew I would have been finishing around that time and my hubbs would be so very close to where the bombs went off. But as we all know, my Boston trip and race was sidelined by my doctor (need to thank him next time I go in!). If I had run, that was probably about the time I would have crossed. Hitting so close to home was way too hard for me to think about. As I watched the news unfold in front of me on Monday, I, like so many of you, knew so many people there that day. I  quickly scrambled to text, facebook and tweet to them. Thankfully, all my peeps were safe. My next thoughts went to those that were not so lucky.

I also saw/heard some people feeling guilty for feeling like they could have been there but weren't. But you know what? That isn't a selfish thing. We, as such a large running community, are so connected and the Boston marathon means so much to so many people that making it personal is just normal. I did it and I don't feel guilty. It could have been me, it could have been you, it could have been your friend. In times of tragedy, we all place a personal emphasis on it, it's just plain human nature. And guilt should not accompany it.
My 2010 finish line pic with my good friend Jill :)

Having been so lucky to run Boston myself in 2010, I brought all my own emotions back to those streets, those runners, those volunteers and spectators. It is only natural. But what I am gathering from all this is that we are stronger than this. We will persevere. Boston will happen again - better, stronger. In trying to find something good out of all this garbage, I figured out that, above all, we have brought a great light to the world of running. To many of us, running is such a huge part of our lives. We eat, sleep, breathe and live running, and we surround ourselves with so many like-minded people that it's hard for us to grasp that others don't get what something like what the Boston marathon means. I was sad that I couldn't find the Boston marathon to watch on TV on Monday. I watched on my computer. I chalked it up as the sports world just not caring that much about running or not considering it a "real" sport. But after Monday, through all that tragedy, we have been given this opportunity to show just how awesome our sport is. It is finally highlighting what we all knew all along: that our sport is filled with amazing people, doing amazing things every day, and that we are a community that supports one another. We run for ourselves, we run for charities, we run for something bigger than the finish line. I think out of all of this we are finally able to show the world that running is much more than a selfish thing, that it is a celebration of the human spirit. And if that is all that can be found out of this horrid, horrid day, then I'll take it. Maybe those that have never had a thought to lace up their shoes and run will finally "get it." If anything, we have brought to light what a wonderful community we have and for that I am grateful.

My thoughts are constantly with those that are still struggling with the aftermath of Monday. I wish I could personally take it all away. It has shaken me to the core - like so many of you.

This was personal to all of us. And its OK to feel that way. It was an attack on all of our innocence and I am angry that it has been taken away. But I have not lost faith in humanity. We will preserve and for that I am grateful - especially when I stand on the cusp of bringing a new life into this messy, messy world. Good over comes evil - and I have not lost faith.
Happy Running friends.

Monday, April 15, 2013


Women have been giving birth since the beginning of man-kind. Somehow that is reassuring to me, that I am definitely not in uncharted territory. But in the same breath, each pregnancy is different and however natural it may be, there is bound to be some bumps in the road and surprises.

I struggled with weather or not I wanted to share this bit of news with the interwebs. But I vowed that I would be as honest with all of you as I could, and leaving this part of my story out would be doing not only a disservice to myself and my own documentation, but to all of you. Many things are very predictable in pregnancy, like you are going to gain weight. You are going to to be overwhelmed by the thousands of baby products that someone has declared as a "must have," for every new mom. While other things come up that you could have never predicted.

Last Thursday my hubbs and I went in for our 2nd ultra sound and what is called a "NT scan." All along pregnancy, you are tested for so many things that can make your head spin and create a lot of fear in you. In all reality, most are not meant to add to your fear, but to reassure you that you are doing everything right and that baby is right on track. The "NT scan" is a scan that is done twice during pregnancy, first between the weeks of 11w 5d (11 weeks & 5 days) & 13w 6d, then again from 15w 5d & 18w. It is a scan to measure the fluid in the baby's neck and check to see if the baby has formed correctly or if there is a high chance it will have Spina Bifida. Spina Bifida is a horrible disease, it basically means there is a high chance that baby will have some sort of paralysis. They also do a blood test at this point to see if they baby will have a whole other list of genetic diseases like Downs Syndrome. To say going into these tests is scary is an understatement. At this point there is nothing that a mother can really do to prevent any of these. They almost all occur at a genetic level that is out of your control. There is a lot of science behind the thinking that if a mother has an adequate level of folic acid in her at the time of conception and through those first few critical weeks of pregnancy, the chances of Spina Bifida go down. But again, many times, it is out of your control. The other side of all of this genetic and disease testing is that they only have an 80% accuracy rate! 80%?! I know personally my best friend had a positive test for Spina Bifida only to have her son come out perfectly healthy. So, along with the fear, there is a sense that more often then not they are wrong. On the flip side of this, even if you get a "negative" reading, it could, ultimately, be wrong. Originally I had said no to all testing. I just didn't want to know. I had this sense that what ever was meant to be would be, and god willing, if we got to the other side, that we would love this child no matter what - "faults" and all. But they do do all of this testing so early because some parents decide to terminate. We did it on the off chance that if something was found we could get the help we needed before hand and at birth, they would be ready.

I bring up all this "science" stuff because it really does come into play when you are pregnant. I had no real clue of all of this until we came home from our first visit with the doctor with no less than a giant stack of pamphlets that describe everything and anything that they test for and and can go wrong in pregnancy. To say it's a miracle is selling it short.

Well, our test went well. Our baby is right on track and even measuring ahead of schedule! (We are blaming it on it's big head! No seriously, the head is big! Which is more scary for me! Eeek!) The "NT scan" came back negative and that was reassuring. But what I struggled to share is that we got another piece of news that day. Something so very unexpected.

I was laying on the table as the technician was doing the scan and within a minute she was asking me some crazy questions. The first one being, "did you go through fertility treatments to get pregnant?" Uh, no! Her response, "oh, wow." Her next question, "well, did you know you were carrying twins?" UH NO!!! I was SHOCKED!! TWINS? ME? WHAT?? HOW DID THEY MISS THIS THE FIRST TIME? Her next statement sent me for a tailspin though, when she said, "well, looks like you were carrying twins, but you are no longer." I really didn't know what to feel. Up until this point it was never on my radar. Sure there were some jokes thrown around when we first found out we were pregnant that it could be twins, but we never really believed it. Twins don't run in either of our families, so the possibility seemed non-existent.

After a few measurements with the machine, she as able to see that "Baby B" had stopped growing around 8w and 1d. Wow.... Through all of this, the hubbs was still left in the waiting room and I was all by myself to absorb this information. My first question was, "but is the other baby OK???" And she said very reassuringly, "yes!" In fact, baby was so busy doing somersaults that it was hard to get a good measurement for the NT Scan. Baby was not cooperating for her and was active it took almost 3 times as long to get the test done. And once I heard how healthy and active "Baby A" was, I pretty much let the other news of "Baby B" float to the back of my mind while we finished up the test. The fact though that she kept saying "Baby A" and "Baby B" was a little foreign to me. My next question was, "how did they miss this the first time?" Turns out, what we thought was an extra large "yolk sack" for "Baby A" was actually the backside of the placenta of "Baby B," and since we had the first ultra sound done at 8w 4d and the doctor only heard one heart beat, it never occurred to anyone at the time there could have been two.

Finally they brought the hubbs in, and trying to make light of the situation, the first thing I said to him was, "did you hear? You really dodged a bullet!" Of course his response was "what the heck are you talking about?" The technician and I went on to explain to him what we had found out and his reaction was, "but is baby OK!?" It felt good to be able to hear and say, "YES!" Everything is on track!
The Blueberry! See the "halo" above the Blueberry's stomach? That is "Baby B's" placenta

I can honestly say I was feeling OK with everything we had learned. I pretty much put out of my mind any feelings of sadness on the way home. All we could do was be so excited to see the pictures of the baby and how it has finally turned into looking like a "real human" and not an alien. And to hear how active it was made us so happy. It wasn't until I was alone later that morning and the hubbs had gone off to work that it hit me. I called my mom to tell her how good the appointment went and our "discovery." That is when I lost it. And so did she. I think it was only natural to have a sense of sadness. To have a sense of what could have been. But after the reassuring words only a mother could give, I came to the conclusion that what has happened was for the best. I am SO grateful that I didn't know this whole time. That I wasn't preparing for twins only to be disappointed. I know that the fact that "Baby B" didn't make it is better, that it most likely had something very wrong with it and mother nature has a way of "taking care" of the really sick ones.  We did learn that I had released 2 eggs, and this meant that they were not identical which is good news for "Baby A." It means that that baby is healthy and strong.

There have been a few times since the appointment that I have had moments of sadness and a feeling of loss. But I know that this will pass as we get farther along. I am sure feeling like I am mourning is totally natural. But really, I am OK with all of this. I am so grateful that I didn't have to deal with a miscarriage or any real disappointment. I am so grateful that there were 2 eggs and one is so healthy and on track. And again, I am comforted knowing that there was nothing I did or could have done to change that outcome.

So, surprises come all along with pregnancy, and I am sure this will NOT be the last one, but I am sure that for the most part the next surprises will usually be good. I am feeling so much better in the 2nd trimester and everything seems to be on tack.

I finished off another great week of running. I hit 40 miles and even had my longest run since the Blueberry showed up. On Saturday I ran 10.1 miles! And yes, all on the treadmill. I kept telling myself at certain points I could take a walk break, but I never did and I hit all of my HR zones like I was supposed to. I felt great afterwards. But on Sunday I was just wiped out! My legs weren't sore or tired and mentally I felt good, but my body was just plain tired. I decided a rest day would be OK.

I will leave you all with a pictured of how much I have grown! I have totally "popped!" The doctor confirmed it is "all baby," but man, I feel big already! And we are just barely over the 1/3rd mark! Sheesh!
Obligatory bump shot
I'm off to keep tracking all my Boston friends! Today has been a little hard seeing all the Boston updates on Twitter and Facebook. I had been dreaming of being there again for 3 years. But I only have to look down and see that I have a bigger job right now and I will be back. Oh yes, I will be back!
Happy Running!


Monday, April 8, 2013

So, What Do You Want to See?

First off, THANK YOU to all of you that read and left me such sweet comments on my little story. The one thing you find out when you finally divulge to the world that you have struggled with fertility, is that so many people do. And everyone has a story. It's often a subject that isn't discussed in the open, sans the conversation you might have with a close relative or friend who is going through or has gone through it themselves. I'm not sure I want to be the "spokes person" for the subject, but maybe, just maybe, my own story can touch someone to be more pro-active in their own struggles. Yes, it's something that society hasn't really lifted the vail of "secrecy" from, but by no means is it something to be ashamed of.

The problem with vowing to blog more often, is, well, that you have to blog more often! I've never written on this blog anything profound or all that witty, but many times my blog went untouched because I felt like I didn't have anything really to say. Yes, my race reports were always fun to post, and a place where I could archive my story for myself, but aside from that, going on and on about my training always seemed boring to me - so it had to be boring to all of you!

So, here is my question. What keeps you coming back to a blog? What topics make you smile, stop and think about something, or help point you in the right direction? I know that I want to blog about running and pregnancy but I don't always want to be talking about that. I know that the majority of blogs that I never miss are ones that are completly honest and open, about any topic. I will try and bring that here. And since I won't be "racing" much, aside from my marathon in June and an upcoming trail half in April, there goes a big chunck of my blogging topics! Help a sister out! Let me know what you might want to hear from me, or if you're just fine with all my on-going posts about running while pregnant, let me know that, too!

This past week I finished my highest mileage week of running while pregnant! I hit 46 miles, which, I know, to many sounds like a lot. And yes, it is! But honestly, I felt good all week (for the most part) and I was by no means pushing much. I never thought that running 46 miles in a week would be such a big deal to me, but I finally felt such an accomplishment on Sunday when I finally added up the miles - something I hand't felt in so long! And in a way, it felt like an even bigger accomplishment than all those 80+ or 100 mile weeks I had ran before.

Right now, thanks to my coach, I am doing a good mix of some "harder" runs and "easier" runs, both being relaitve. And I even have a couple of double days thrown in there, which is one of my favoirte things to do. When you're running 80+ miles a week, double days are a necessary element. I never thought I would be able to while pregnant. I'm well aware that there may be a point where those double days are far and few between and most likely disappear all together. But for now I am enjoing it.

Here is a run down on how my week of running goes. PLEASE keep in mind, I have a coach! I had a great base of mileage and fitness BEFORE I was pregnant, and I have a doctor who is monitoring me and on board with my running. If you're pregnant, please don't use this as a base for you own running. Each runner is different. Every pregnancy is different, and like I said before, there may come a day during this pregnacy when all this comes to a screaching halt due to any number of cicrumstances. Until then, here is a run down of my week in running.

Monday: Double Day
   run #1: 10min w/u - HR >150, 30mins steady - HR 155, 5min c/d - HR >150
   run #2 45mins, all eady, HR >150
Tuesday: 1:10, all easy, HR >150 (side note, I was Pukey McPukey this day, I chose a rest day)
Wednesday: 1:30: 20min w/u - HR >150, 10x5min HR 155 w/ 1min easy jog in between, HR >150, 10min c/d - HR >150
Thursday: 1:15 - all easy, HR >150
Friday: Double Day - Same as Monday (side note, was not able to do 2nd run, couldn't get my HR down, gave up after 5mins)
Saturday: 1:10 - all easy, HR >150
Sunday: 1:20: 20min w/u - HR >150, 4x6min HR 155 w/ 6min easy in between HR >145, 12min c/d - HR >150
(I probably won't run down each week, as my schedule is made by someone else and if you're looking for a good coach, contact her!)
Me and my HR monitor have become BFF's 

Even with the two missed runs, I still got in the 46 miles. I am averaging any where from 10:30/mi to a few sub 9's in there. For the most part, my "comfortable pace" is right around 9:20-9:30 (HR >15). Each run is different, which I guess isn't too far off from a runner who isn't prego :) Sometimes my HR wants to cooperate, and other times it doesn't. I am much more sensitive to what I eat and drink now, too. I know that if I have caffine too close to a run, my HR is through the roof! Same thing goes if I'm too hungry. Or if I don't wait long enough in between my runs. A bit of it is trial and error, some of it has no explanation. The important part is listening to my body. That is a new concept for me. Before I would push through most aches, pains, hunger, headaches, etc. Now, I just plain can't. It's amazing though how fast my head got on board. Before I would have been really bummed out if I missed a run or didn't hit the mileage I needed or a pace I had set. Now, I'm just happy to get through a run without having to stop and pee!

There ya have it, a look into a week of running while pregnant. I still stop and smile when I write that. Heck, I still stop and smile every time I remember I'm pregnant! I have to admit though, with Boston just a few days away, its getting hard not to be even slightly sad that I won't be toeing the line on Monday. I'm gonna try REAL hard on Monday to cheer on so many friends who will be there running their hearts out but I also know that seeing too many tweets or too many posts might make the pain a little harder to bare. Sorry, just being honest. By no means would I trade my situation just to be running a race, but come on! It's BOSTON! And I had earned my spot to be there! But I know that it wasn't going to be my last Boston and I hope I'll be there in 2015 taking my own revenge on the Newton Hills :)

And I can't not have a post and not include a pic of Lilly enjoying her backyard this weekend - nothing puts a smile on my face faster than seeing her enjoying life like this! I need to take a page out of her book! Stop and enjoy the grass!

Happy Running!

A New Beginning...

The last time I was here, I had left with you with my latest attempt (at the time) at going for that elusive sub 3. I was injured, I was burnt out, but I was still hungry for the goal I had set ahead of me.

2012 was not a big year of racing for me. Without boring you all, I only ran ONE marathon, the Lake Tahoe Marathon in September, where I was the 4th woman over all with a big course PR and a day I would never forget. I thought my fire had been reignited, but I was once again just feeling burnt out and had no idea how to achieve my goal. In December I toed the start line of CIM, on one of the worst days of weather a marathon could see: pouring rain and wind! I also was wearing a banana costume, which, as some might think was crazy, but actually kept me fairly dry! Even with the excitement and a ton of friends to run with, my desire to suffer through 26.2 miles of wet and wind was just not there, and I called it quits at the half way point. I was slightly disappointed, but really, I knew it was the right choice. I didn't want to end up injured, I didn't want to end up with layers of chaffing, and I still got to run with some of my best friends.

Beautiful Lake Tahoe and my cheerleader Alisyn

The Banana & Alisyn (after the CIM that wasn't)

This shit was bananas - waiting at the start of CIM - see all the ponchos!?

In the middle of all of this, the hubb's job relocated us to Southern California and I was thrown into a new area, little to no friends and no job. The move was right for us, it was a promotion and a step in the right direction for his career - it would have been stupid for us to pass up. But to be honest, I was scared and worried. I was in a new town, new weather (read HOT most of the year!) and no idea what was next for me.

I never really shared much here on our struggles with getting pregnant. Often times women think that once they are ready to start a family, it will just magically happen. Well, more often than not, that is just not the case. We have had a LOT of UPs and DOWNs with the process. No one tells you the strain it puts on a relationship or marriage when you are both to committed to achieving something and continually come up short. We finally took the pressure off ourselves in 2012 and decided that if it were meant to be, then it would be - no more "trying," no more "discussions." In the back of my mind though, I had this sense that it would never happen, and as time went on, I became more and more ok with this. Children don't and shouldn't define you or your marriage success, even though I was so tired of the looks I got when I told people that we were married 9+ years and had no kids. Judgement, although never totally outward, was always looming in people's minds when I would tell them, "well, we tired, it didn't happen, we're moving on." If I thought about it too much, I would get sad and angry. Maybe I was to blame? Maybe too many miles each week? After all, I was running 80+ miles a week, maybe it was that.

By the end of 2012 I had started to back off my miles, cutting down to closer to 60. Since I didn't really have a big goal race until Boston 2013, I figured it was now or never. In reality, running 20 or so miles less a week wasn't a huge deal to me mentally or physically and in a way I could feel a bit of stress be lifted. I never told the hubbs that I was doing this, I never really told him my thoughts on this even though it had been discussed in the past. He had always continued to support my running through all our trying, so bringing it up now didn't seem like the case. In January this year, I went to visit my family in Arkansas. My mom has always been supportive of our struggle and our decision to put things on the back burner. She has always known of our situation, and was nothing but supportive. My baby sister was also always supportive. On this trip though, my sister told me something that brought tears to my eyes. She told me, if it were definite that we couldn't start a family on our own, that she would carry our baby if we ever wanted. Wow, what a self-less thing for a sister to say. As much as I was so touched by her giving, I knew that that was probably a road we wouldn't take.
My baby sis Erin and I - hanging out in 'exciting' Arkansas!

I will admit, that through this, aside from a basic doctor's check-up, neither my husband or I really got "checked out" to see if we had good "working parts." Looking back, we probably should have, but as easy as that sounds, it is easier said than done. By doing that we were admitting to ourselves that we could actually be "broken" or have a real "problem," and I know neither of us was ready before then to face that. I had always known that I didn't want to do anything invasive to get pregnant - its just who I am. I didn't want endless tests or drugs, or the possibilities of endless disappointments. I have seen a cousin go through it and it was not easy. I just knew that I never wanted that. And thankfully the hubbs was on board with my decision.

When I got back from Arkansas I was ready to start training again. It was the end of January and Boston was just a few short months away. I dove into running, upping my mileage a bit each week and working on finding a new client base to work with in my new city. I was finally allowing myself to enjoy our new area and new life, knowing that it wasn't going to be forever (the plan to stay in SoCal is 2-3 years). I had a real change of heart in a lot of areas of my life. I don't know if it was the trip to Arkansas to see my family, the fact that I had just turned 33 another year older, or that it was the beginning of a new year, but I finally talked to the hubbs and we decided that we would explore some options and see a fertility specialist. November 2012 marked 3 years of "trying" to get pregnant. I was finally ready to know if it was in the cards for us or if we should go buy that convertible and be happy with just the two of us and Lilly.

I had an appointment for the second week in February to see a fertility specialist. I really hadn't put much thought into it. I mean, I'm healthy, I exercise, I eat well. I really couldn't imagine what they would say (yes, I am "regular" in that department). But as the appointment got closer I could feel some anxiety building. The hubbs said he felt the same, but was ready to find out.

Well, turns out, we didn't need to go see that specialist after all. I had heard people tell me countless times (seriously no less than ONE million) that once we stopped "trying" it would just happen. Or if we started the adoption process, poof, we would get pregnant. Well, apparently our "poof" was making that fertility appointment. Exactly one week before we were to go, I found out I was pregnant :)  Yes, words that I wasn't sure I would ever type.

I took FOUR tests because I just couldn't believe it. I called my older sister who is a labor and delivery nurse to tell her first - even before I told the hubbs! I was in serious shock! Not because I was fearful, more a type of shock that I never thought I would have this day. When I called the hubbs at work he was over the moon and he hasn't left that high since the day we found out.

Its amazing the millions of thoughts that go through your mind when you find out your pregnant. This was something that we had been hoping would happen for so long, and when it finally all comes together, there are no words to describe it.

So, my life changed in the blink of an eye - literally. As I am sure anyone who has been proposed to or found out themselves they were pregnant - it's true, everything changes all in a second. My first thought was, of course, "what about Boston?!" Looking at the calendar, I knew right away it was out. And...I was ok with that. I wanted to confirm with the doctor first though before I really let that goal slip away. Turns out I was right, he nixed Boston but is totally on board with a marathon in my 2nd trimester. (Boston is my 14th week, yes my 2nd trimester,  - but he thinks it's probably smart to just hold off a bit longer)

So far things are going well. I would be lying if I told you that it was all sunshine, rainbows and unicorns being pregnant. For me, the first 8 weeks of being pregnant were not pretty. Aside from a whole new way to think about training, I was totally sick 24/7 for the majority of it. Thankfully, around 9.5 weeks my nausea went away and my energy and appetite came back. My doctor is totally on board with my running. Although there isn't but a handful of studies done on women who are pregnant and are long distance runners, for the most part, if you have been doing something all along exercise wise, then its usually ok to keep doing it - just maybe with the volume turned down a bit.

I definitely got the volume turned down. Those first 9.5 weeks I could barely run due to being so tired and worn out. But I am back to running about 30-40 miles a week. The other thing they have you do (well, at least my doc has me doing) is to run by heart rate (HR). They do know that distance runners often times have smaller babies. This is due to the fact that when you run, blood flow is directed to the mother's important body parts (i.e. your heart, lungs, legs) and away from baby. Which in turn often leads to a smaller baby when born. This is where the studies start to waiver - there hasn't been long term studies done on those babies to see if there are long term effects. But for the most part, if you keep yourself well-hydrated, watch your HR and keep your temp down, you and baby should be fine. But if I was told tomorrow no more running, you better believe I would stop. But so far, so good. I have a coach who keeps me on track and makes sure I'm not pulling normal "Katie" stuff and running 100 mile weeks. My running times have DROPPED a TON, and I'm ok with that. My first run out I was running almost 4 minutes slower than my goal marathon pace! It's amazing though what this HR training does for you and how quickly it can have real effects on your running - I started out this pregnancy just a few weeks ago barely able to run 11:00/min miles, now I'm regularly running in the low 9's (which is crazy for me to type, I haven't ran that slow by myself in years!) - and it should go down a bit more before it goes back up - which is inevitable :)

This is my new beginning. I have a new goal and finish line now (October if you're wondering) and I'm excited to experience everything this will bring me and my family. For the first time in my running life I'm not focused on pace or mile splits, I'm more focused on making sure I can keep running all through this pregnancy so that after I give birth I can hit the road again and start working on that sub 3 goal again.

Meet "the blueberry"

I'm hoping to keep blogging through this, too. I read so many of your blogs regularly, but haven't been commenting much due to the fact that I felt like I wasn't really "contributing" to this community. I'm in a different and better spot than I was when I left this blog so long ago. And not just because I'm pregnant, but this change had already started before and I am just now able to see that it's so much better on this side of happiness.

Thank you all for reading - it's been way too long!
Happy Running!