Monday, April 8, 2013

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!


Jen Feeny said...

This post made my day! So happy for you both and even more excited that you're back and going to share more with us!!!! Love you girl!!!

Beth said...

I was so excited to see a post!! We met at Diablo Trail Challenge a few years back and I had enjoyed reading your posts back then.
Congrats to you!!
The hubbs and I "tried" for 4 years. I had just gotten to the point of thinking maybe I could be content just the 2 of us and...that's all it took! We now have a 10 yr old, 9 yr old, and 6 yr old : ) We look like quite the herd running down the trails!
Congrats again! I'm glad your back writing here, and looking forward to reading more!

Unknown said...

I'm so happy for you, that is an amazing story! I can't say I have been in your shoes, but closely affiliated. My sister and her husband tried for 4 years, multiple IVF rounds, fertility treatments, and a few miscarriages...they had their first baby last week. Good things come, and it will so be worth it. Excited for you and your hubby, you'll bounce back quicker since you're still running through pregnancy! Such an inspiration, like seriously.

Zaneta @ Runner's Luck said...

CONGRATULATIONS!!! Oh my goodness!!! I am so excited for you guys!!! :) As I was reading this post, I started to tear up and by the end, I was smiling ear-to-ear!! I'm sure you both are elated about this news!!!! I will keep you guys in my thoughts and prayers!!! :)

Heather said...

Congratulations, I am so happy for you! I haven't been blogging in forever either, but was so happy to see a post pop up from you. After several years of trying to conceive and several miscarriages, I am now 16 weeks along and due in September. :) E-mail me at hmwynn at gmail dot com if you ever want to chat!

Anonymous said...

Legit- I just checked your blog two days ago because I was thinking about you and then you pop up on my reader!

I haven't even read your post yet, I am just so excited you are back!

I did see the ultrasound- congrats!!!

Rob Brooks said...

Big smiles up here in Oregon. This is such wonderful news Katie, congratulations!!!!!

Michaela said...

So glad to see you writing again! And congratulations -- you are going to be a wonderful mom. I have no doubt. I am so, so very happy for you! :)

bobbi said...

I am so so excited for you!!! Congratulations! What absolutely wonderful news!

Michelle said...

Glad to see you blogging again and HUGE congrats on baby! Sounds like you have a wonderful doctor! Enjoy...even those sick moments. ;)

Katie said...

love you!

Angela Knotts said...

So excited & happy for you! You will be a fantastic mama. :)

Alisyn said...

You are so inspiring! So thankful to have you as a good friend and happy you are writing again! I love you!

naomi said...

First of all, I was so happy to see your post appear in my Google Reader! Secondly, congratulations on the blueberry! I am so happy and excited for you and Ari!