Sunday, March 27, 2011

she did it!

My sister Jodi ran the National Marathon yesterday in 4:14:47.  She set a new PR by more than 20 minutes!  I am soo proud of her.  I knew she was going to do it - I felt it in my bones.  I am one proud sister and cannot wait to train and race with her again.

Jodi after finishing National Marathon, 3-26-2011
In other news, today I ran for 70 minutes at a 10 minute pace on one of my favorite trails.  The run was a success!  7 miles in the fresh air.  The farthest I have run since my baby boy was born a little over 7 weeks ago.  I am going to be ready to run the 10 mile race on my birthday in 2 weeks!  Little by little my strength is coming back and the aches and pains from pregnancy are dissipating.  My hard work and determination is paying off!

Monday, March 21, 2011

together again

I ran 5 miles yesterday and had company - my sister Jodi!  It was wonderful.  I'm sore, but the kind of sore that lets me know I worked all the right muscles and I will be stronger because of it.  It was SO nice to be out there with my sister.  She has been training hard for National Marathon and is going to ROCK IT on Saturday!!
sisters ready for a run!!

Today I ran 20 minutes on the treadmill - 2 miles.  I felt really great.  I'm taking it easy and finding that the more I run, the better I feel.  Running is HARD.  But the pay off is great.

Saturday, March 19, 2011


This morning I went back to see Dr. Wong and we had a great session.  He is awesome, let me tell you.  Last week (on Wednesday) when I went for my run I felt an awful pain in my pubic bone and an ache in my tailbone.  It freaked me out so I stopped running after just 3 minutes on the treadmill and walked for 20 minutes instead.  It just wasn't the kind of pain I thought I should run through and I was left feeling really sad and scared.  As a runner I am used to running through aches and working kinks out from time to time, but this was different.  I'm cautious when it comes to injury prevention - I try to listen closely to my body to avoid hurting myself and this has worked for me in the past.  Yesterday I eased into a 30 minute run and felt no pain so I kept going.  The longer I moved, the better I felt.  Dr. Wong said I am going to feel aches and pains while getting back into running after having a baby.  This is ok and totally normal.  Running will make me stronger and I will not get injured as long as I am easing into it - building my mileage - and listening to my body.

On my way home this morning I was stopped at a red light behind a car with this license plate: NVR QWT.  I looked at it and thought - Thank you, God. Thank you for this message today.  I love how God speaks to me through little signs like this and I pray that I am always open to seeing them...because I know they are always there.  I am not a quitter and I am not alone.  I will give this the good fight and be stronger because of it!!!  I WILL NEVER QUIT.

Thursday, March 17, 2011

three good things

It's been an emotional week for me, filled with ups (sooo many blessings, so much love) and downs (hormones hormones hormones).  Here are my three things for today.

(1) I am not broken.  This is what Dr. Wong told me yesterday morning at my appointment.  I needed to hear that, because I am feeling really scared about and frustrated with the pain I am having and whether or not it is ever going to go away.  I'm afraid running could make it worse and I don't want to make it any harder for me to heal than it already seems to be.  Dr. Wong is certain I should continue to run.  He does not believe that I am returning to running too soon and thinks it will help, not hinder, my healing.  Easing into my running combined with pelvic floor exercises and work on the Pilates reformer will get me where I need to be with time.  Patience and a positive attitude are necessary here - but I AM NOT BROKEN!

(2) I had reformer sessions at the studio with my sister Jodi both on Tuesday and today. How lucky am I?!  I brought my two boys (Gus is 6 weeks old, Will is almost 4 1/2 years old) and they hung out while Jodi worked me on the equipment.  Will had a snack, ran around like a crazy man and played on my phone.  Gus either laid on the floor or was held by my sister while she worked me through everything.  Seriously...this would not be possible - not any of it - without my sister.  She is there for me in so many ways.  Whether it's encouraging me, believing in me, supporting me, laughing with me, crying with me...she is always there.  I am so grateful for my sister!!!
My amazing sister Jodi with my two boys.

(3) I have two really sweet boys who hang out with me all day long and I'm so lucky to get to spend so much time with them.  I love you, little buddies...thank you for being you!!

me with my dreamy boys

Monday, March 14, 2011

Go Girl

I did it.  I ran for 40 minutes yesterday morning.  After feeding baby Gus I walked to the trail head near my house and began to put one foot in front of the other.  I ran and I felt good.  The pace was comfortable and easy for me.  I was not pushing myself.  The weather was nice - sun shining, skies blue, the air crisp and cool.  I was wearing my Garmin but didn't look at it for a while (until a bit after mile 1) because my plan was to run east for 20 minutes and then turn around to head home, not worrying about my pace but instead just focusing on being positive, listening to my body, enjoying the moment and running for time not distance.  I was surprised that when all was said and done I ran a 10:18 average pace per mile.  Considering this is where I am starting on my road back to fitness after childbirth - that things are sure to get better from here - I am really pleased that that was my "easy" pace.  I am encouraged.

About halfway through my run I had to make a pit stop. So I pulled off into the woods to take care of business.  Near where I stopped along the trail there was a little gazebo with benches and as I was passing through it I noticed that carved into one of the posts was a graffiti message that said "YOU GO GIRL."  Seriously?!  Thank you.  I needed that.  Seeing this message brought a huge smile to my face and assured me that I am going to be ok.  This message carried me through the rest of my run and reminded me that I am strong and that I am not alone.  It's funny...I wonder if the person who did that had any intention of motivating someone like me?  I love the way the world works...

My body is different.  Things are not as they once were, it's true.  I hurt and I feel out of whack.  This 4 mile run did a number on me.  But I will get there.  I will regain my strength and in the end it is all so worth it, there is no question.  I am the mother to three beautiful children and I would not trade a thing for that!!  In my experience the best, most wonderful things in life don't ever seem to come without hard work.  A little (ok sometimes a lot) of pain.  Sacrifice.  So I will hold my head up high, not give up not ever and I will believe in myself.  I will trust that there is a reason for the struggle and that it will all be worth it.  I am a girl and I will GO.

** Side note: You may have noticed that I changed my blog title/address.  The gist behind this is that when I started blogging last year I came up with "One Happy Runner" having no clue about "The Happy Runner" and as soon as I discovered her blog I felt like a big dummy!  How could I not have been aware of this great running momma blog?  Ooops. I have wanted to change my blog for a while and finally came up with something that suits me and that isn't taken by someone else in this awesome community (as far as I know!).  So that is the reason for the change! **

Sunday, March 13, 2011

a plan

I gained over 40 pounds when I was pregnant.  I delivered a 9 pound baby (more than a pound bigger than my other two children).  I was active during my pregnancy - running strong for much of it and walking when that didn't feel right.  My hope was that I would "bounce back" after the baby was born and return to my fitness pretty quickly and without much trouble.

About 3 weeks before Gus was born my SI (sacroiliac) joint on the right side started to REALLY hurt me.  At times so much that I just had to lay in bed.  The SI joint is in your lower back/hip area where your sacrum meets your ilium.  The pressure and the weight of the baby on my pelvis was too much and with the increased levels of the hormone relaxin surging through me in preparation for childbirth all of my ligaments were loosy-goosy and this was causing pain in my SI joint.  I talked to my doctor and to the chiropractor - both of them suggested rest and patience until baby was born.  After delivery we would see where I was at with it.  Well, I was ok after delivery.  Until I started running.  Now I have pain in my right hip and it is unsettling.  I feel off.  My core feels ridiculously weakened.  My spirits are low - I want to run so badly right now!  To feel fit and STRONG and to SWEAT.  To release all that needs to be released emotionally right now.  I miss my outlet.  I miss running.

Yesterday I went to see Dr. Wong.  He is a chiropractor at United Wellness Center which is a great little place not far from where I live.  He has worked on my sister Jodi (who had back surgery several years ago and now runs marathons) and on many people I know who run.  He runs.  He is amazing and he gets me.

I think going to see him yesterday was a really good decision.  The first thing he said to me after we discussed everything that is going on with me was "LET GO OF THE NEGATIVITY."  Let it go.  I am stronger than I am giving myself credit for and I am smart.  My hips are out of whack because I just gave birth 5 1/2 weeks ago and my pelvic floor was traumatized and weakened by my big baby and all the weight I was carrying.  Dr. Wong did a light adjustment and discussed with me a plan to get myself running and ready for the 10 miler in 4 weeks as well as ready to begin training for MCM this spring.  I am going to work on the reformer at the studio with my sister, rather than doing the mat exercises I have been doing.  My core needs to be strengthened - especially my pelvic floor - and working on the reformer will be much safer, smarter and effective as I will have the guidance and assistance from the equipment.  Pilates mat is the toughest way to do the exercises because it is up to you to make sure you are doing it right - the apparatus really makes sure you are doing it properly and with my weakened muscles this is a much smarter place to begin.  I am going to go back to the basics, start from square one, with my training.  I am going to be POSITIVE and believe in myself and be patient on this journey.  This experience will make me stronger in more ways than one.  I am going to reclaim my body - my strength - my fitness.

Dr. Wong and I talked about my running plan.  We decided that I should approach my training for the 10 miler by focusing on minutes run, not miles.  This will allow me to just think about my endurance rather than getting all caught up in how many miles I can run.  Sounds good to me.  So today I am going to head out for a 40 minute run.  I will wear my Garmin so I can see how much distance I'm covering, but I'm not going to let it concern me.  I will enjoy the weather, the nature all around me, the strength that lies within me.  My plan is to build on the time and get myself up to running for 100 minutes by 3 weeks from now (adding 20 minutes to the long run each weekend) with shorter runs 3 days during the week. I'm going to go back to see Dr. Wong on Wednesday and we'll see how I'm doing.  In addition, my sister Jodi is going to have me into the studio 2-3 times a week to work on the reformer.  I am so lucky....and so grateful she is going to do that with me. 

That's it.  That's the plan and that is what is going on with me.  I'm going to go feed my adorable little baby and then lace up my shoes for the 40 minute run.  Heading out on the trails on this gorgeous morning filled with hope, gratitude and a hefty dose of positive thinking.

Thursday, March 10, 2011

three things

1. Exactly one month from today is my 35th birthday and I will be celebrating by starting the day off with the GW Parkway Classic 10 Miler.  That means I have one month to prepare for this race.  The furthest I've run since giving birth was close to three miles and that was almost 2 weeks ago.  My hips have felt tight and a bit off kilter so I've been nervous to do too much too soon which has led to me backing off and really just doing a mile or two at a time on the treadmill.  I'm excited about the race nonetheless - even if it means a run/walk combo to get to the finish line.

2. Because my hips have felt out of whack I am going to see a chiropractor on Saturday morning.  I have heard amazing things about this particular doctor and am excited to see him.  I feel like getting adjusted and realigned will be really helpful postpartum and as I return to running.

3. I still have 10 pounds to lose.  I am really looking forward to getting rid of these extra pounds and to fitting into my pre-pregnancy clothes again!  I know I need to be patient and for the most part I am ok with it, but trust me I have my moments!!

Wednesday, March 9, 2011


My baby boy is 5 weeks old today and full of smiles.  Every time I look at him I'm reminded of life's miracles and blessings.  I can't imagine my world without this little guy!!!

Tuesday, March 8, 2011

All in a Day

I love children's books.  One of my very favorite authors is Cynthia Rylant.  There is not a single book by her that I don't love.  Her book All in a Day is at the top of my favorites list.  The poem is beautiful - the message so true and important for a person of any age or faith.  The artwork by Nikki McClure is fantastic (incredibly intricate paper cutouts).  I wanted to share this with you in hopes that it will inspire and remind you to make this day count.  To live in the moment and to embrace the simple joys of life.  Often times I find myself thinking ahead or looking back and this book is a sweet reminder that today is where it's at.  I hope you will enjoy it as much as I do...

A day is a perfect piece of time
to live a life,
to plant a seed,
to watch the sun go by.

A day starts early,
work to do,
beneath a brand-new sky.

A day brings hope
and kindness, too...
a day is all its own.

You can make a wish,
and start again,
you can find your way back home.

Every bird and every tree
and every living thing
loves the promise in a day,
loves what it can bring.

There is a faith in morningtime,
there is belief in noon.
Evening will come whispering
and shine a bright round moon.

A day can change just everything,
given half a chance.

Rain could show up at your door
and teach you how to dance.

The past is sailing off to sea,
the future's fast asleep.

A day is all you have to be,
it's all you get to keep.

Underneath that great big sky
the earth is all a-spin.

This day will soon be over
and it won't come back again.

So live it well, make it count,
fill it up with you.
The day's all yours, it's waiting now...
See what you can do.

Monday, March 7, 2011

2 miles and a green light

My life is all about strategy right now.  From the moment I wake up I am moving and taking a million steps toward getting us ready to head out the door for school, whether to just bring Abby to Kindergarten (5 mornings a week) or to take her there plus Will to preschool (3 mornings a week).  No matter who is getting dropped off though all 4 of us have to be ready to head out the door by 8:25.   I have to feed them, dress them, give them their medications (asthma, allergies and right now antibiotics for ear infections), clean up after them, be the peacemaker during their inevitable arguments, have backpacks with lunch and snacks ready and because I am anal I do all this without letting my house turn into a disaster zone (no dirty dishes left in the sink, beds must be made, etc).  Oh and I also have to get myself dressed and somehow presentable for the day.  I'm working on getting it down to a science, but the truth is when you're dealing with three kids under the age of five sometimes things are just NOT so totally predictable.  Like today when I thought we were all set to go and making great time Mr. Gus blows a poop out the backside of his clothes and spits up all over himself as I am buckling him into his car seat and needs a wardrobe change.  Oops!  Somehow though we were still on time for school.
all three...
It is a balancing act and a crazy circus - there is truly never a dull moment.  Every morning after I give my two big kids hugs and kisses and send them off to school I get back in my car and there is silence (unless the baby is crying!)...and I feel a sense of relief.  I have two hours...what am I going to do with it?  Since Gus was born I usually just head home and feed him then maybe shower.  Maybe do some laundry.  Maybe rest a little or catch up on email.  But this past week I have been using some of this treasured time to get on my treadmill and try running.  Gus is just over 4 weeks old and he does not sleep with any real predictability and pretty much only wants to sleep when he is being held or worn by me.  So this does not give me much time on the treadmill.  On Friday morning I came home from taking the kids to school and put him in the swing thinking this might be something he would like.  I put him in and hopped on the treadmill.  Three minutes later he was crying so I picked him up and soothed him back to sleep then put him back in the swing and jumped back on the mill.  I was able to run for a total of 18 minutes - 2 miles.  Yay!  That is the most I have run on my treadmill since he was born.  I broke a sweat and it felt SO GOOD.  It wasn't much but it was just what I needed and I am so grateful.

Today during my "free time" I went to the doctor for my postpartum check up.  My doctor and all the nurses could not have been sweeter to or more encouraging of me.  He gave me the green light to run and exercise - no restrictions whatsoever.  At 4 1/2 weeks after delivery I am happy.  I still have 10-15 pounds to lose (ARGH!!) and my hip joints feel a little weird (hormones!?!) ... but I am feeling good about easing back into my running and getting some sort of routine established.  I'm excited about the 10 miler on my birthday (April 10) and I also signed up for a 10k on May 28.  I'm also considering a local 5k in mid-May but we'll see.
baby Gus is one month old!!
It's cold outside and I have a newborn baby.  His erratic sleep schedule means I don't get on the treadmill for very big chunks of time.  But that's ok - it will force me to ease back into my running and not do too much too soon.  Maybe help ensure I don't get injured as I regain my fitness and strength.  Once the weather warms up though I plan to pop him into the running stroller and bring him along for the ride.  I can't wait.  In the meantime though I'm thankful for my little spurts of time on the treadmill and for the green light to do more as I feel ready.

Tuesday, March 1, 2011

ABCs of Me

Over the past few days I've enjoyed reading some of your "ABCs of Me" posts and I thought I would play along.  Here we go...

(A) Age: I'm 34 but am getting ready to turn the big 3-5 on April 10th!  I love birthdays.  This year I'm celebrating my birthday with my first race postpartum - the GW Parkway Classic 10 Miler.  I'm running it with two of my sisters and a few good friends.  I can't wait.
(B) Bed Size: King...and it is divine. I love my bed!
(C) Chore You Hate: I despise cleaning bathrooms - toilets especially but also tubs, showers, floors, sinks...anything in the bathroom.  I pay to have my house cleaned every other week.  I feel like I am constantly cleaning anyway but I do not ever clean the bathrooms other than occasionally wiping toothpaste out of the sink and cleaning up after my 4 year old son's misses on the potty.  It is worth the money just to avoid scrubbing the bathrooms!
(D) Dogs? I love dogs but am kind of grossed out by them these days.  We have a small dog named Riley who I love very much.  She is my first baby...but now that I have three humans to care for Riley has been demoted to DOG.  She is still not used to the idea and at 10 years old I'm not sure she ever will be.  I do not let her on the beds or furniture anymore...it grosses me out to think I would rest my head on a pillow she laid on.  
(E) Essential Start Your Day Item: I don't drink much of it, but I **need** my morning coffee.  Also I am noticeably much happier and balanced once I make the beds in the morning.
(F) Favorite Color: I love so many colors, it would be hard for me to pick just one.  My top faves would be white, blue, orange, green, pink, purple...yellow...ok maybe pretty much all of them.
(G) Gold or Silver?  Do I have to pick?  Sterling silver is my least favorite I would say (mostly because I don't like when it tarnishes and I have to polish it!).  I love platinum and white gold.  I also love yellow gold.  I worked for Tiffany & Co. for several years and I learned a lot and came to appreciate a lot about precious metals and stones.... I love jewelry.  ALL kinds. I should note that just because I learned to love it all at Tiffany, that doesn't mean I am dripping in jewels! I just developed an appreciation for it all while working there :o)
(H) Height: somewhere between 5'8" and 5'9" .... I actually have no idea exactly how tall I am.
(I) Instruments You Play: I sadly cannot play any instruments.  I think I piqued in 4th grade with "Hot Cross Buns" on the recorder...but I do love music and hope my kids will learn to play.  My husband plays the guitar and it is fun to see my kids so interested in learning from him.  They are already more musically talented than I ever was!
(J) Job Title: Mamma, mommy.  Also recently I have been called "Coach" (yay!) and also "designer mom" by one of our retailers since starting Sugar Cone (http://www.sugarconecompany.blogspot.com)
(K) Kids: I have three amazing, beautiful children.  Abby is 5 1/2 (going on 13!), Will is 4 and Gus is almost 4 weeks old.
(L) Live: Reston, VA.  I love living here.
(M) Mom's Name: Carole.
(N) Nicknames: Jess, J Bird, J...my dad (and only my dad!) sometimes calls me "Jessie" and when I was a kid he would call me "Tiger"
(O) Overnight Hospital Stays? When I was in the second grade I spent 2 weeks in the hospital for my asthma.  Other than that the only times I have stayed overnight in the hospital have been when my babies were born.
(P) Pet Peeve: One of my biggest pet peeves is people who are late but don't admit to it or let you know when they are running late.  Drives me bonkers.
(Q) Quote from a Movie: oh jeesh, this is a hard one for me.  One of my favorite movies is "The Shawshank Redemption" and there is a beautiful quote about missing someone you love: I have to remind myself that some birds aren't meant to be caged. Their feathers are just too bright. And when they fly away, the part of you that knows it was a sin to lock them up DOES rejoice. But still, the place you live in is that much more drab and empty that they're gone. I guess I just miss my friend. 
(R) Right or Left Handed? Right.
(S) Siblings: I have three sisters - 2 older and 1 younger.  A few years ago my mom remarried and her husband has 2 daughters so now I have two more sisters!  I don't know what I would do without my sisters.
(T) Time You Wake Up? My house is full of early birds.  We have a rule though that the day is not going to officially start before 6:00AM so my kids have to wait for us until then.
(U) Underwear: I like all kinds.
(V) Vegetable You Dislike: I cannot stand green peppers.  I love red, orange and yellow but will not go near a green one.  Yuck.
(W) What Makes You Run Late: when it happens it is because of my little people...but it doesn't happen much.
(X) X-Rays You've Had Done: my jaw was x-rayed when it got banged up during a soccer match in high school (I was ok although ever since then I have awful TMJ)...knock on wood I have not ever broken a bone in my life!
(Y) Yummy Food You Make: my husband would say my oatmeal chocolate chip cookies...but I am partial to my chocolate cupcakes.  I am a master of vegan baking and love it so much.  I love baking and I love eating what I bake.  I have a serious sweet tooth.
(Z) Zoo, Favorite Animal: Zoos make me feel sad.  Especially the gorillas and the elephants...they just look so sad there.  I do love seeing how excited my kids are when we go to the zoo though.

So, that is the ABCs of me.
Happy Tuesday!

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