five on friday: episode 2

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I can’t believe it’s already Friday again!  This week has been awesome: lots of relaxing, lots of laying low.  This Friday, I am linking up with DarciAprilChristina, and Natasha to share my favorite things about this week.

[ONE]

Serial Podcast 

Graphic via http://serialpodcast.org/
Graphic via http://serialpodcast.org/

I started listening to this series a few weeks ago, and I must say, I am hooked! I like to listen to podcasts if I am running or doing something repetitive at work. I love a good story, and the story of this case has me completely enthralled.

I don’t want to give anything away, but per the website: “Serial is a podcast from the creators of This American Life, and is hosted by Sarah Koenig. Serial tells one story – a true story – over the course of an entire season. Each season, we’ll follow a plot and characters wherever they take us. And we won’t know what happens at the end until we get there, not long before you get there with us.”

If you love podcasts, you have probably already heard of Serial. If not, or if you are looking for something new, I definitely recommend checking Serial out. Be sure to start at the beginning!

[TWO]
Healthy Dark Chocolate No-Bake Bars
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At 26 weeks pregnant (today!), my appetite continues to ramp up.  However, I feel like I am carrying a baby that doesn’t want to eat junk.  Sometimes mommy still eats junk…almost immediately after, mommy feels like junk.

I think baby doesn’t really like junk.

To be fair, I have been doing my absolute best to stay healthy this pregnancy, and I feel great as a result.  I found this recipe in hopes of satisfying my sweet tooth, while still getting in some good stuff.  Please, please, please check out Healthy Dark Chocolate No-Bake Bars from Confessions of a Bright Eyed Baker.

The recipe is perfect!  I like to just add a little extra sea salt, for my own taste.  I haven’t been able to stay away from these bars, and baby doesn’t mind at all!

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[THREE]
Movie Night: Boyhood
Graphic via Fandango.com
Graphic via Fandango.com
 For a movie date night on Saturday, Jon and I went to see Boyhood.  Going into the theatre, I wasn’t sure what to expect.  Originally release in July of 2014, I knew 2 things about the movie: one, it had done well at the Golden Globes; two, it had been filmed over the course of 12 years.  As it ended up, I really liked it!  It’s a coming of age piece that kind of felt like a documentary/reality show to me…probably because I felt like I got so close to the characters.

The plot was subtle, and I love the intimate feeling that I got from following the characters as they naturally progressed for 12 years.  The transitions between years were seamless.  Beyond seeing the characters change physically, I noticed things in their home that make me feel like family.  For example, childhood photos that Jon and I noticed before Mason’s High School graduation made us both feel nostalgic…and yet, we don’t actually know him.

Although the movie primarily follows the story of the main character, Mason, I felt myself getting attached to the whole family.  The movie is a bit long, so eat your popcorn slowly.  However, I really feel like there isn’t one thing that could have been cut out.  I didn’t want to leave the family when it was over.  It’s a movie I recommend seeing, you’ll leave full of stuff to think about (and maybe a few false memories).

[FOUR]
My newest craft project
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With our little baby girl on the way, I really want to get sewing again.  I learned a little bit when I was small, and growing up, my mom always sewed for my sisters and I.  I remember always having beautiful, original Halloween costumes and matching Easter outfits.  I love these memories, and I’d like to be able to give this to my daughter; sewing really is a dying art.

I asked for a sewing machine for Christmas for Jon, and a got a Brothers, which is awesome! Although we’ve been too busy for me to take it out just yet (the story of every craft project, it seems)…I picked up some light-weight flannel for my first project. I love, love, LOVE the prints!

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I picked-up an easy Simplicity pattern, and I plan to start out with some bibs and pants.  I am excited to get started; I know that my progress will be slow at first, and riddled with opportunities to “learn” (i. e. mistakes).  I will be sure to post updates as they become available!

 

[FIVE]
An outdoor winter run
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As winter has moved in, I have been sticking pretty closely to my old buddy, the treadmill.  My last outdoor run was at the end of December.  However, on Monday, the temps in New England peaked around 48 degrees and I knew there was no ice.  I truly admire pregnant runners that run regularly in the frigid cold.  It’s typically something I feel too clumsy to do, and it’s not easy.

 On Monday, the conditions felt good, so I decided to run the roads.  I’m glad that I did, but at 25 weeks, I noticed some major changes in my body since my last outdoor run: my left leg/ankle felt very tingly and strange, I felt a lot more impact on my joints from the extra weight, and the hills that I once loved…I now cursed.  I also forgot to bring my gloves…rookie mistake.  48 degrees running against the wind feels much different than 48 degrees running with the wind.  Despite the slightly increased discomfort in my legs and my freezing hands, I was thankful for the refreshing, cool air in my lungs and the ability to enjoy and outdoor run.

Overall, it was great week!  Super relaxing, and I spent lots of time thinking about all the newness we have coming.  I am enjoying the quiet while I can…only a few more months until our world is changed, yet again.

 

trail tuesday: holiday travels recap

Jon and I are blessed to have family in all areas of the country.  While sometimes it’s hard to have the people the we love be so far away, the silver-lining is we have the opportunity to visit areas of the country that are both familiar and new to us.

Although somewhat overdue, I thought I would spend this post recapping some of the awesome experiences that we shared with our families over the holidays.  Also, I want to highlight some of the amazing trails that I was fortunate enough to run/hike during our 10 day sabbatical.

Michigan

We began our holiday travels in Michigan visiting my family.  We were fortunate to celebrate Christmas a few days late, as well as New Years Eve. Some highlights of our trip included visiting with extended family, lots of really good food, seeing friends I haven’t seen in years, registering for baby gear, and of course, visiting our old stomping grounds in Ann Arbor for a very important announcement…that also happened to correspond with a basketball game.

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  • The Paint Creek Trail

My favorite place to run in Michigan is the Paint Creek Trail.  This trail winds through downtown Rochester. Runs along this trail go by quickly as you seem to seamlessly transition from woodlands to downtown, and then back to the woods.  I enjoyed a warm 5 mile jog and a chilly 4 mile run while visiting, and I was glad to be able to get some time on this trail.

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Arizona

After 5 days in Michigan, Jon and I continued on to Arizona.  Jon’s sister and her husband live in Arizona, and we met Jon’s entire family and some extended friends for the remaining 5 days of our trip.  In all, there were 10 of us…a pretty large, and fun, group.  Some highlights (beyond the trails we visited) included an intense euchre tournament, a day of shopping in downtown Scottsdale, and an evening of golf and good food at Top Golf.

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  • The Grand Canyon

Not expecting snow, Jon and I packed a little light for this part of our trip.  However, we arrived at the Grand Canyon around noon to find it covered in snow.  After a tailgate-style lunch, a group of 5 of us took off on a snow-covered, easy 2 mile hike into the Canyon.  The views were positively breathtaking, and the fresh snow added to the quiet as we descended into the Canyon.  I’ve never experiencing anything so massive and spectacular.  These pictures truly don’t do it justice, it’s really something you have to experience in person.

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  • Saguaro National Park

During our second full day in Arizona, all 10 of us embarked on a moonlit hike through Saguaro National Park.  Right around 3 miles of walking, this trail wove through the dessert and exposed me to a view of the country that I’ve only seen in movies.  We followed our shadows back on a winding road lit only by moonlight; the whole experience was breathtaking.

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  • Pinnacle Peak

During our third day in Arizona, a small group of us decided to take a short trail run/hike at Pinnacle Peak.  Along with Jon and his brother, I decided to run the 3.5 miles.  Because I was 23 weeks pregnant, I ran it my own pace.  The views were amazing, but I am not used to the elevation gain (over 1,000 feet) of this trail.

The run began with more downhill than uphill, which made me nervous because I knew what was coming on the way back.  “What’s goes up, must come down,” was playing on repeat in my head as I chugged along.  Finishing this run with a 13:48 average, I was pleased.  Trails runs are always slower.  I was only pricked by one cactus, I had not fallen or even stumbled, and I got a little color on my sun-starved skin.

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My trail Tuesday recap of our vacation is something I feel so fortunate to be able to do.  I can’t believe all the we experienced in 10 short days. I am so grateful that I am healthy during this pregnancy so that I could experience it all.  I keep looking back at our photos, and though it makes me a little tired…I’d do it all over again if I could!

my 9 Monday Runday rules for running while pregnant

At 24 weeks, I am visibly pregnant.  For Monday Runday, I thought I’d share my own 9 rules for running with pregnant.

This Monday, I’m linking-up with Sarah, Jenn, Rachel, and Tauna for the Mom 2 Mom Monday Link-up.

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I am no longer the nauseous, overly exhausted runner that I was in September.  I no longer feel like I am simply getting over the flu.  Rather, I’ve gained a healthy amount of weight, I have girth, and I am often lulled to sleep at night by the tiny thuds of a kicking baby girl.

As for running with this newfound girth…it’s different. My tummy can sometimes get in my way, and now I find my upper legs getting very tired very quickly.  It’s interesting because sometimes running actually makes my minor discomforts go away…but 4 miles feel like 15 miles and I eat like a garbage disposal for the rest of the day.

Seeking advice from the blogs of a few runners that I admire, I set these 9 rules for myself that I wanted to share. Keep in mind that, just because these work for me, they will never work for every woman.  You should ask you doctor about running every time that you have any questions, like I do.  

  1. If anything ever feels even remotely painful, I stop.  No questions.  Now is not the time to be a hero.
  2. I give myself little breaks during my run, either through walking or stopping all-together.
  3. I never go more than 25 miles a week, no more than 6 miles a run….and lately, I have been between 18-20 per week.
  4. After I finish running, I chug my entire 33 oz water bottle.  Coconut water also proved to be AMAZINGLY HELPFUL to combat nausea during my first-trimester runs.
  5. Unless the weather is too good to pass up, I run indoors.  I am pretty clumsy (even when I’m not pregnant), and I don’t need any help from wet leaves and ice patches.
  6. I find time after my runs to works my arms, back, and legs so that my whole body stays strong and ready for labor. I also try to squeeze in yoga, and cross-training is a priority.
  7. I work to find other ways to stay fit during the day, so I don’t rely on running so much.  I stand at work for at least an hour a day (I have a desk that rises up), I take the stairs.
  8. If I wake up and I can’t do it, I don’t push it.  It’s not worth it.  Sleep is more valuable.
  9. I work-out as early as I can, preferably before my body knows I am awake.  That way, I have less time to feel pregnant and tired.

 

Trail Running at 23 weeks at Pinnacle Peak in AZ
Trail Running at 23 weeks at Pinnacle Peak in AZ

Today, these rules are my guide. Tomorrow, they may be replaced by one simple rule: don’t run.  I don’t know for sure.  However, I do know when to run, I know when to walk, and I know when it sit.

I read somewhere pregnancy is like I’m “in training” for my due date. Whatever it takes to get there healthy and strong is what I should do. As for now, I plan to keep taking things one slower, more wobbly step at a time.

 

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i run this bump.

Somewhere between September and December, I took a hiatus from blogging about anything really personal. This is because I found out at the end of August that I was pregnant again. From the moment I found got those 2 pink lines, being pregnant again consumed my thoughts: I felt sick and then I felt better; I felt huge and then healthy; I am on a constant rollercoaster of emotion, and I can’t get off!  It was hard to really get around all of this, so I blogged about a few delicious soups and our Halloween costumes.  I wasn’t ready to give our secret away.  That changed, mid-November.

This isn’t my first time being pregnant, and it really wasn’t that long ago that I was pregnant for the first time.  As some of you may know, and some may not we lost our first daughter on 12/1/13 at 30 weeks due to a variety of complications, including a diaphragmatic hernia.  Her story can be found here.

After losing my daughter, I found some solace in running.  Running didn’t make everything better all of the time, but it helped…sometimes.  About a month after Darla passed, I signed up for my first full marathon.  I did this in hopes of having something to focus on and help me heal.  Training helped, but healing took more than just running.

After running my first marathon on 5/18/14, my love for running peaked.  I was in the best shape of my life.   I couldn’t believe how quickly 13 or 14 miles would fly by on a Saturday run.  It wasn’t until the end of July after some intense fartlek runs that I realized the pain in my right hip/buttocks was not a normal pain.  I found myself suffering my first major injury.  I spent about 6 weeks strengthening my hamstrings and cross training.  Just as I was beginning to feel healed…I found out that I was pregnant.

During my first pregnancy in 2013, I stopped running at about 9 weeks.  Never having been pregnant before, I wasn’t sure how to keep running.  I stopped running out of fear, and I spent most of my time on the elliptical.

In hindsight, I am proud of this decision.  It was smart.   It was the best decision because it made me feel comfortable.  Being comfortable and happy during pregnancy is far more important than keeping up any pre-pregnancy healthy habits.  The number one goal is always, always, always your growing bambino.

However, knowing more about pregnancy and my body this time around, I thought I’d try to keep running as long as I can.

In the beginning, I ran in the morning…when I didn’t feel to nauseous.  When I did feel a little queasy, I drank coconut water on the treadmill, and it turned out to be my cure-all!  Coconut water: write that down.

I kept the same speed as pre-pregnancy until about 14 weeks. After my first trimester, I have found myself getting a little more winded and a tiny bit bumpier with each run.

 

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I was still fortunate enough to run a 5-mile race on the morning of Thanksgiving.   I had a blast!  It was my first race pregnant, and probably my only race this time around.  I started out strong, but after about 4 miles, I was ready to be D-O-N-E.  I was pleasantly surprised by my pace, but afterwards, I ate a ton and slept for hours.  I felt like a did after a long summer marathon training run…the good ol’ days.

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All smiles, and surprised by a 37:56 5-miler.

In order to keep going, I have been relying heavily on my doctor’s approval.  At every appointment, I say “I’m still running…” and every time, she says “Why wouldn’t you be?”  That makes me feel good.

I also have been relying heavily on some of my favorite running blogs, including:

  1. Runfargirl.com: Sarah has awesome information about running while pregnant, and she also shares workouts that are safe for expectant mommies.  Sarah also happens to be pregnant again herself, and I enjoy following her journey.  Be sure to check out her Run Far Gear shop…my “Embrace the Hill” t-shirt has been accommodating my bump perfectly.

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Also, if you are pregnant and staying fit, she has an awesome contest going on right now!  Click here to enter to win a $50 gift card to For Two Fitness.

  1. Running Bump: Karen ran throughout her second pregnancy, and shares helpful advice and stories.
  1. Fit Bump: This blog is amazing for all-things healthy…before, during, and after pregnancy.  They have delicious and light recipes, great tips, and prego-safe workouts to help encourage a healthy and happy 9 months.  They also have a great line of workout clothes that compliment a growing bump.

In conclusion, this week I am running, but next week I may not be.  I am 20 weeks now, and I would guess that I’ll stop completely at 30 weeks.  However,  I really don’t know for sure, and I really don’t care.  I’m focusing on staying as fit as a can, because healthy mom means healthy baby…but strong doesn’t mean fast.

To me, being “fit” is relative.  Fit is strong, and includes more than just my body.  True fitness is keeping my mind and spirit healthy and strong.  I have a long way to go, but I’m also halfway there.

My body is changing, and it’s a beautiful thing.