Monday, July 21, 2014

Race Recep - Suck it Up Buttercup 5k

A few months ago a coworker of mine was looking at ways to get in shape for his 40th birthday. A couple of us convinced him that participating in his first 5k would be a great motivator and he said if I could find one, he would do it. It felt like it was meant to be when I found a race the weekend before his birthday in the part of town where he lives. Little did we realize that the Suck it Up Buttercup 5k would live up to its name.

Race morning my alarm went off at 4:15 a.m. I got up and got myself together and packed up. This was the first race in months that we were all running, so a little before 5 a.m. I got Baby E out of her crib. The goal was to get her changed and into her car seat without really waking her up so she would sleep in the car on the way to the race. Yeah, that really didn't work. She woke up and didn't fall back asleep until about 10 minutes before we got there.

We all piled in the car and were pulling out of the driveway at about 5:15 a.m. This is the first time in a long time that I wasn't running late for a race. It was a nice feeling. The drive went smoothly and we got to the race site a little before 6 a.m. I let Baby E sleep for a few more minutes, then woke her up so she could nurse before we started. This was as much for me as it was for her.

After a quick stop at the port-o-pottys, we found my coworkers and lined up toward the end of the starting line. I had the stroller, so I wanted to give myself plenty of room. The organizers pushed the start by about 5 minutes, and at about 6:35 the national anthem was played and we were off.

The first two miles went well. It was hilly, but not too bad. I knew the course was not flat and I would have the stroller, so my goal for the race was to keep my pace under 13 minute miles. At the two mile marker, I was just under this pace and super excited. That excitement didn't last long, because the next mile was a killer. There were several really steep hills and pushing the stroller down the hills was worse than pushing it up. For this mile I felt like we were back in Virginia because the course was much more Virginia hills than Florida hills. 

This picture doesn't do the hills justice
I was super excited when I saw the corner to turn down for the finish. At that point I was hot, tired and ready to be done. I was also glad that I didn't sign up for the 10k this year. 
At the finish line

My final time was 41:24 or a 13:21 per mile pace. Which means that I took forever to cover the last mile. Oh well, I'll be better prepared for the hills next time.
What was so hard about that?

Post-race group photo
This was my first race with Final Mile and I have to say I was really impressed. Yeah, the course was hard, but that is not a bad thing. The event was well organized and marked, you had access to your photos, and the race shirt was a gender specific tech shirt. 

Seven months of racing down and now it is time to start gearing up for the fall and winter racing season. I am happy I decided against doing a full marathon this year, and excited to try and kick some butt in the half.

Thursday, July 10, 2014

11 Months with Baby E

This should probably be 11.5 months with Baby E, but better late than never. I think this month has been the fastest one yet. It seems like just yesterday we were celebrating 10 months and now 11 months has come and gone.

We are quickly moving from babyhood into toddlerhood. Baby E is quickly learning that walking means there are so many new places to explore. She has also now figured out how the kitchen cabinets work and that there are fun things in there to find. This development caused us to get our butts in gear and put locks on the cabinets as well as some other baby proofing things.

But why can't I play with the trash can?
It seems like she is always talking and more and more things have meaning. She will say hi and daddy is da. Ma is both milk and me. I think that she is a little confused because we are still nursing, so in most cases milk comes from mommy.

So happy

Baby E remains a great eater. She will eat just about anything that you give her. Cottage cheese is one of the few things she doesn't seem to like. Rice is hit or miss, but she eats everything else without any fuss. Eggs and zucchini are still very high on her list and she hasn't met a bean she doesn't like. 

This month was relatively quiet for a change, so we enjoyed some time just hanging out as a family. We spent time at the pool and celebrated her 11 month birthday with a trip to the splash pad.

Birthday party planning is in full swing. I may be going a bit overboard (damn you pinterest), but she is only going to be one once. I wish being crafty came more easily for me. 

I have to say that for me, each month seems to get more fun. I can't wait to see what the next few months have in store.

Friday, June 27, 2014

Masters of All Terrian 5 Miler Seminole State Forest Race Recap

So remember back in April when I ran my first off road race. Well, I decided I enjoyed it so much I wanted to do another one. I liked it and the fact that strollers were not allowed in the 5k I had planned on doing for my June race. 

Another great race!
So the Saturday before Father's day I was up at 4:45 a.m. I made my peanut butter whole wheat bagel, grabbed my pump and was out of the house by 5:15 a.m. This race was about 45 minutes away from home, so I took advantage of the extra time and pumped in the car on my way to the race. That is one pre-race ritual I will not miss. This should be the last time, but I have said that before.

About 6 a.m. I pulled into the parking lot. There was plenty of parking for this race and it was nice to know I wouldn't get parked in. The line for packet pickup was short and the race organizers were nice enough to provide bug spray, something I hadn't even thought about. I sprayed down my legs to try and avoid getting bit by anything nasty. After a quick trip back to the car and then the port-o-potty, I headed over to the starting line. I don't know if it was because this was a smaller race or because they were better prepared, but bathroom lines were much more mangageable at this race.

At 6:30, the gun sounded and we were off. The first two miles of this race were quick. We were running on a trail that was wide and made of packed gravel. It was fun to see the sun come up over the Florida prairie. I managed to get gravel in my shoes about a half mile in, but after a couple minutes it was fine. As I approached the 2 mile water stop, I looked at my watch and was pretty excited that I was on track for a pretty big PR. Then the course turned right.

The trail went from wide and made of hard packed gravel to narrow and made of mostly sand. This is where the trail got hard. I was really happy that my training had been more consistent for this race than the one I did in April, because I needed that additional fitness here. 

Some of the trial was like this

Most of it was like this (It is even narrower than it looks)

For most of this part of the course I didn't see anyone. It was so desolate that there were a few times that, even though I was following the trial flags, I wondered if I was still on the right path. While a little scary, it was nice to spend some time by myself. This was also where my pace fell off a cliff. The sand, twists and turns of the course and other obstacles on the trail slowed me down. There were a few spots where it was pretty much impossible to run.

Miles 3 to 5 were hard, but fun. The course was really pretty and that made the distance seem to go by relatively quickly. When there wasn't a water stop at mile 4 I began to regret my decision to leave my water bottle in the car. I hate carrying things when I run, but at that point it was starting to get hot and I was starting to get thirsty. Not surprising, it is June in Florida.

Just when you think you are getting close to the finish...tree

My official time was a little over 1:09:52 which is almost 3 minutes slower than the April race. The crazy thing about my time is that I am actually really happy with it. This course was much harder than the course I ran in April. I am learning that there is a lot more variation on trail courses than on road courses.

With this race I am half way through my goal of racing at least once a month this year. I have a most of the rest of the year planned out, but I am still looking for an August and a December race. Any suggestions would be great.

Monday, June 9, 2014

Pleasant Prairie RecPlex Spring Family 5k Race Recap

This race recap is a little lot late, but better late than never. We spend Mother's Day weekend in WI visiting my family. I was struggling to find a May race when I stumbled upon one taking place about 10 minutes from my parents house the weekend we were there. It got event better when my whole family decided to do the race with me.

Everyone ready to race

The nice thing about racing in May in WI is that you don't have to worry about the heat. The race started at 9 a.m. and it was still chilly. We had baby E with us, so it was nice to have a little extra time to get her up and ready to go.

We got to the race site about 45 minutes before the start. It was enough time to nurse Baby E and hit the restrooms without feeling rushed. A little before 9 we lined up and took a few pictures. Then the national anthem played and we were off.

The first half mile or so of the race was really crowded. My speedy sister was able to cut through the crowds and get out ahead. I got caught up behind a couple of people here. the start was on a road, but we quickly moved to a paved path. 

Still a little crowded

I had run the loop that made up most of the course a number of times in the past (it is my favorite place to run when I am visiting my parents), and knew it was only 2.25 miles long, so I was curious to see how they were going to make up the difference. About a mile in I found out...

surprise...trail race. 

The trail portion was an out and back that was just over three-quarters of a mile. Then you were back on pavement for the rest of the race. The best part was the view of the lake. 

So pretty

About 2.5 miles in I remembered why I hated running in the cold up north. It makes my allergies go crazy. By this point in the race I was coughing and having a hard time breathing. Something I need to keep in mind if I am planning on racing out of FL again.

My final time for this race was 39:04. The course was long and the race didn't have a rolling start, so I was probably a minute faster than that. Still not a great time, but I had a good time and that was what mattered here.

Friday, May 30, 2014

10 Months with Baby E

Wow...this month has been a blur. We have been super busy and it seems to have gone by in the blink of an eye. It almost seems like someone flipped a switch because Baby E has grown and developed a ton this month. She seems less like a baby every day.

I so big Mommy

We started the month with Baby E's first ear infection. That was no fun, but she handled it like a champ. She didn't even let on that she wasn't feeling well. I felt like a terrible when we went in for her 9 month check up and the doctor said she had a bad ear infection.

Next on the agenda was a trip to WI for Mother's day weekend. Baby E handled her first plane flights like a champ. She nursed a good portion of the time we were in the air with a couple of short naps and some playtime. We managed to spill drinks on both flights, but it could have been worse.

Mother's Day with the Family

The WI trip was a lot of fun. We met up with friends, did a 5k (yeah, I still need to do a recap on that), held a meet and greet for Baby E, went to the park and spent a lot of time with my family. It was nice to all be together without some sort of health crisis going on.

She loved the flowers
Friends and babies

Swinging is the best
Baby E also had her first trip to the beach last weekend. She loved playing in the sand and was intrigued by the water. While she was more than happy to try and eat the sand, she did not like the taste of the salt water. She got a little in her mouth when we were playing in the water and she immediately started clawing at my swimsuit to try and get a drink. She knows were the milk hides.

Beach baby

The biggest change this month is that Baby E is walking. I don't know how it happened so quickly, but she went from taking a step here and there to walking across the room in less than two weeks. This video is from last week and she is already so much steadier on her feet.


She still loves her alarm clock and her DVDs. She is also getting into more and more things around the house. Taking her snacks out of the diaper bag or playing in the pantry are two of her favorite things.

Baby E learned how to fist bump when we were in WI (thanks Auntie Heidi) and waving came shortly after. Baby E is also starting to pick up some words and meaning. She seems to understand and often use Dada, Mama and hi in context, but that may just be wishful thinking.

Watching Baby E develop over this month has been amazing. I know that every stage has its challenges, but so far, each one has been more fun. I can't wait to see what the next few months hold.

Sunday, May 11, 2014

My First Mother's Day

Today is my first Mother's Day. It is amazing to that last year at this time we were planning and preparing for Baby Marron to make her arrival (not that we knew it was a her). This year she is quickly moving from baby to little girl.

When did she get so big?
We are visiting my family in WI for Mother's Day and it is nice to spend my first real Mother's  Day with my own Mom. My sister and her husband also gave me a wonderful gift...they took care of Baby E last night so my husband and I could a have a date night.

I know that Baby E will never be this small again, so I am trying to take in every moment. Her hugs and snuggles are an amazing gift.

I am so blessed

Monday, May 5, 2014

9 Months with Baby E

I can't believe that 9 months is here already. Each month seems to go faster than the last. Welcome to parenthood. This was a pretty big month for Baby E.

Baby E is now almost 20 pounds and 28 inches tall. She also has 5 teeth. I swear it seems like she grows overnight. She is still wearing her 9 month clothes, but most of those are going to need to be put away soon because most of her pants are turning into high waters.They still kind of fit, so I am not in a rush.

Always on the move

The month started out with a visit from my best friend and her son. He is about 2.5 months younger than E. We took the babies to Lake Eola for a baby play date and E loved being outside and playing in the grass. She did not like me holding the other baby. When I picked him up she gave him a look that could of killed. Who knew that a 9 month old could be jealous? That girl knows her Mommy.

Grass tickles my toes!

Warmer weather also means that we have been able to take E to the pool a couple of times. She seems to like it and she is getting better about keeping her hat on. I am excited that she will be old enough to enjoy the water this summer. We are trying to plan a trip to the beach soon. 

Playing in the pool!
  This was Baby E's first Easter celebration. She went to visit the Easter bunny and didn't freak out, but wasn't so sure about him. Her Easter basket was filled with some clothes, hair bows, pacis, a pool float, Cheerios and bananas, but she wasn't really interested in it. She also did great during mass, which I am thankful for. I think her favorite part of the day was the Easter egg hunt. She got to play in the grass with some plastic eggs. Her cousins were excited for the candy inside. 

  Baby E is a master crawler now. She has been exploring more and more of the house. This means we are keeping more and more doors closed. Our office, which is still a complete disaster from moving, is one of her favorite places to try and go. She also wants to play under our wood table on the tile floor. This makes me very nervous, and I often spend a good part of my day keeping her from going under the table. 

Turn your back for 30 seconds and this is where I will be

She still will pull herself up on everything. At daycare they said that some days she doesn't want to play with toys, she just wants to stand and jump. Around the middle of the month she started standing up without holding on to anything. We were amazed the first time she did it, because it seemed to develop quickly. Now she will stand and clap or play with toys. She still hasn't started walking without holding on to anything, but she is reaching further and further to go between things. I know it won't be long and she will be running.

Baby E is starting to remember where things are located. This blows my mind. I know every parent says it, but she is ridiculously smart. She looks for things when you put her down in a room. Unfortunately, many of the thing she remembers are things she is not allowed to play with.

We have a house full of toys, but baby E's favorite things to play with are door stops, CD/DVD/Game cases and cords. I keep the cords away from her, but figure she can't really hurt herself on a doorstop or DVD case. 

Taking my video games with me

As for me, I am doing pretty well. My weight/fitness is still about the same. I am still nursing and pumping and every time I cut calories or really increase exercise my supply seems to drop. There are only a few more months of pumping left, and the benefits to E far outweigh my desire for smaller pants. I am becoming far more comfortable with this whole mom things. There are still tough days, but I figure that is part of being a parent. This month my husband had to go out of town for a funeral and it was the first time I was a single parent for a couple of days. I think I only cried once during the three days he was gone, so I call that a win.