Thursday, February 28, 2013

28 Day Challenge Recaps

February has now come and pretty much gone. I had high hopes for this month and overall it has been a great month. I participated in two challenges during the month–the plank a day challenge and the 28 day blog challenge. I can honestly say that I didn't achieve everything I wanted for either challenge, but they were both great motivators.

The plank a day challenge went well for the first two and a half weeks. I was able to get at least a short plank in each day. Then I started to run into some problems with back pain. It is all pregnancy related, but this is the same back pain that lead me to stop running for a while. Since then I have been getting planks in a couple of times a week, but not every day. 

While I can honestly say I have been slacking the past week, the 28 day blog challenge really helped me make my blog better and engage more with the blogging community. I have been posting more regularly, I updated many of my social media profiles, I engaged more with the blogging community, I attended my second blogger event and a worked on a number of other small tasks. There are still some things on my list, the biggest being a template redesign, this challenge helped me to think about my blog and what I wanted it to be. I big thanks to Katy for putting this challenge together.

Personally, February was very busy and honestly busier than I expected. There was a ton going on at work, I have been preparing to take the next step with my PhD and we worked on figuring out where we are going to live when our lease is up this summer. Then again, I think I say that every month.

While I may not have completely accomplished either challenge, I am happy I participated in them.

Have you ever done a challenge? Did it help to motivate you?

Thursday, February 21, 2013

Putting Away My Running Shoes...For Now

I am happy to say that I ran until I was just over 17 weeks pregnant. I am not happy to say that I don't think there will be much more running this pregnancy. That doesn't mean I plan on sitting on my butt for the next 22 or so weeks, but I don't think I will be participating in my favorite activity.

To give you a little background, I went for a run last Thursday and at about a mile in pain shot through the entire left side of my back. It stretched from my waste all the way to my shoulder and was some of the worst pain I have ever felt. I paused and walked for a bit and it became more dull, but when I tried to run again, it came back. That day I turned around and walked back home.

After a couple of days rest, my back was feeling better so I tried to run again. It didn't take long before I could feel the pain coming back. So that run turned into a walk and I think I will be doing a lot of that from now on. It is not worth really hurting myself.

I am not a doctor, but I think my back pain is tied to the fact that my already more than big enough boobs have grown to be ridiculous since getting pregnant. I have been wearing two high-quality (think Moving Comfort), industrial duty sports bras, but it isn't enough anymore. I am going to talk to my doctor about it during my next appointment.

It took me a while to put this out there, because I had hoped to run at least through the second trimester. I am also nervous about how hard it will be to get back into running once the baby is born. It has been a big part of my life for a long time.

Since I am not running, I am focusing on strength training a couple times a week. It is not my favorite workout, but I know my body needs it. Spinning and swimming will also be making appearances much more often.

Twenty-two weeks plus recovery seems like a really long time. What is the longest break you have taken from running? How did you keep your sanity?

Thursday, February 14, 2013

Pink or Blue...Do I Want to Know?

One of the first questions people ask, after they find out I am expecting, is if we know if the baby is a boy or a girl. This question often comes before asking when the baby is due. 

Up until this point it has been easy, because my doctor doesn't do the anatomy scan until 18 to 20 weeks. I am now quickly approaching this appointment and  still not sure if I want to know.

I can understand wanting to know. It makes it easier to buy clothes and can impact how you decorate the nursery. The baby can have a name earlier and you can use the name when talking to the baby. In some ways, knowing the sex of the baby makes it all a little more real.

I am also a bit concerned that all the summer baby clothes will be out of the stores by the end of July when the baby is born. Since I live in Orlando and it will feel like summer until November, I will need summer baby clothes.

There is also a part of me that doesn't want to know. This is likely not going to be our only child, so we would like to buy items that are gender neutral. I am not sure that my hormone ravaged mind could resist buying little frilly dresses if it is a girl. I am also not a big fan of things that are overly gendered. Most baby things seem to be really really boy or really really girl. 

The other thing that is weighing into this decision is that it is very unlikely that we will have a nursery set up before the baby is born. Not because we don't want to, but because we will be moving sometime between July and September and have little say on the timeline (More on that in another post). Even with a nursery, we would plan on the baby sleeping in our room for a while. 

All I really want is a healthy baby, it doesn't matter if it is a boy or girl. I am just trying to decide if I want to know in early March or late July.

Any moms want to offer some advice. Did you find out what you were having? Would you do the same thing if you had to do it over?

Monday, February 11, 2013

Orlando Chili Cook-off

What an insane weekend. This weekend I ended up spending about 12 hours on something that was supposed to take an hour or two Sunday morning. The good news it that it is something pretty cool, but the bad news is that my plans for blogging and running and laundry and shopping for food all went out the window. I will have more on this soon, but here is a picture to give you a hint.

One thing I did actually get to do this weekend was go to the Orlando Chili Cook-off. This was the fourth year for the event, and the first time I had gotten a chance to go. A big thanks to Mary from Events for Change for putting together this blogger opportunity.

We got to Orlando Festival Park at about 3 p.m. The original goal was to get there closer to noon when the gates opened, but above mentioned project got in the way. Once through the gates, we headed for the chili which was handed out in the perfect sample size cups.

We started with some veggie chili, then had some from the Boy Scouts, some from the team from the landscape company and several others. I forgot to keep track of all the different places we stopped, but I loved all the different takes on chili. 

My favorite was the chili from chili crafters. We were some of the last to get this treat. It was made with beer and you could really taste the beer in the chili. I may have liked this one the most, since I am really missing beer these days, but it worked for me. My husband voted for a really meaty chili that was also very good.

This booth was pretty fun.
In addition to the chili, the festival had live music, inflatables, and lots of other food and drinks. We had some kettle corn and then headed home.

Live music. Always a good thing.
Overall, this was a fun festival and I would recommend it. I would definitely try and get there earlier in the day. While we got to try several types of chili, a number of places were sold out before we arrived. I knew this was a possibility, so it was not a big deal for me.

Next on my festival list is the Plant City Strawberry Festival. What are some of your favorite festivals.

Please note: I did get admission to the festival for free, but all opinions are my own.

Tuesday, February 5, 2013

First Trimester Recap

First I would like to thank everyone for their congratulations and kind words. My husband and I are very excited and can't wait until July.

I have no plans on turning this into a baby blog, but since I use this blog to document what is going on in my life, there will be some baby stuff. This whole pregnancy thing is new and I want to remember what happens along the way.

As of today I am 16 weeks pregnant. I am at the point where I am feeling better, but every day is different. Here is what my first trimester looked like.


This was a big one from weeks 6 to 13 with some residual nausea here and there. I am very lucky and was actually sick just once. I am hoping I can keep it that way through the rest of the pregnancy. While the nausea was not comfortable, I know I lucked out here.


Overall I have been eating relatively normally, but there were days when I wanted nothing to do with food. For about 6 weeks the only thing I wanted for breakfast was a whole wheat bagel thin with cream cheese. Veggies, especially cooked ones, were and still are much more difficult to eat than before. Sometimes some fish and chicken are rough too. I have been eating and craving a ton of apples, pears and oranges, so it could be worse. Nothing too strange just yet.


I was the least prepared for how extreme this has been. Pregnancy has knocked me out pretty much from the beginning. During the first trimester I would sleep for 10 to 12 hours a night and it hasn't really improved much at this point in the second trimester. I am asleep by 9:30 p.m. most nights and not up until 7 a.m. It also takes me much longer to recover if I stay up too late (like on Super Bowl Sunday). There are definitely times I feel like I don't get anything done because all I do is sleep.


Most weeks I have been getting 3 to 4 workouts in. Normally 2 runs and at least 1 something else, often spin or yoga. I need to try and do a little more, but the fatigue does not help with this because all I want to do after work is sleep. Exercise also takes a lot more out of me than it used to. After Saturday's race, I was ready for bed at 7:30 that night. I don't think I was that tired after the marathon last year.

I know I have had it pretty easy, but feeling so tired has been difficult. Have you ever been pregnant? What symptom was the worst for you?

Sunday, February 3, 2013

Lady Track Shack 5k Race Recap

Yesterday was the Lady Track Shack 5k. I went back and forth about running this race, but ended up registering last week after a couple of good runs. I loved that it was a ladies only race and it attracted a wide range of runners.

Since getting pregnant, my running has been sporadic to say the least. While my doctor was fine with running, the morning (or all day) sickness and pregnancy fatigue coupled with a bad cold and some serious pain in my hips have meant that I didn't run at all for about 4 weeks. About three weeks ago, everything seemed to get better and I am very happy about that.

Saturday morning I woke up and my stomach was a mess. This didn't really surprise me, since it was not happy on Friday either. It is crazy how much havoc pregnancy reeks on your digestive system. I ate a small breakfast and got my stuff together. By the time I left the house my tummy was feeling better.

I left the house by 6:40 a.m. and got to the race site about 7 a.m. figuring this was plenty of time, except that it took me another 15 minutes to find a place to park. After parking I booked it to the start since I was still almost a half mile away. It was freezing (or 47) on Saturday morning, so this was a nice way to warm up.

I got to the start with about 5 minutes to spare. I looked around for a port-a-potty, but managed to miss all of them. I knew this would come back to haunt me, but there wasn't much else to do since the race was about to start. 

I looked for Jackie and Victoria as well as a few other friends who were running the race, but didn't  see anyone. I lined up behind the 10+ minute mile sign since I am not exactly speedy on a good day.
The start was packed
The first mile was good. I felt good and once the crowd thinned out I was able to get into a comfortable pace. I have been using 2 minute run / 1 minute walk intervals and that is what I kept for the race. These intervals, coupled with a heart rate monitor help me to keep from pushing myself too hard. 

The course runs through a beautiful part of Winter Park, FL, and the second mile went by as smoothly as the first. There are a number of lakes on the course and the sun was rising as we were running. I need to remember to take more photos.

Running through Winter Park
It was just after mile two that my bladder reminded me that I hadn't found a bathroom before the race. The last mile was a bit rough. I had some nausea and I thought that I might pee myself, but I got through. 

After finishing the race, I hit the bathroom and then grabbed a banana, a granola bar and some strawberries. I took a look at some of the other vendors at the finish and then headed back to the car. It was too cold to hang out for long.

Overall, the race was great and I am super proud to say that I ran a race at almost 16 weeks pregnant. I plan on running for as long as I can, even if it means I am ready for bed at 7 p.m.

Friday, February 1, 2013

February: The Month of Challenges

A few weeks ago Katy Widrick announced the 28 Day Blog Challenge. With all the changes going on in my life, I wasn't sure that I wanted to participate, but then I got to thinking about things I want to accomplish this year. One of those things is to grow this blog and really find my voice.

The 28 Day Blog Challenge is a great way for me to get my butt in gear. I am still deciding exactly what I am going to do to participate, but you will see some changes around here. Hopefully they are for the better. I started by adding a race recap page. I am also working on posting more frequently since I don't have any more secrets.

I also want to give a huge thanks to Katy for putting this together. I am excited to participate.

In addition to the blogging challenge, I am doing a plank a day challenge this month. Having a strong core is really important right now and I need some motivation. I was inspired by Michelle's post last week and this tweet

Don't worry planks are safe core exercises for pregnant women and I have been cleared by my doctor for exercise. Today's planks were done during a surprisingly challenging yoga class.

It has been a while since I have challenged myself. What was the last challenge you participated in?