To give anything less than your best is to sacrifice the gift.
-Steve Prefontaine
Make it simple, but significant.
- Don Draper

Wednesday, May 10, 2017

Track Town 5K Triumph

Well I couldn't resist. It was maybe less than two weeks before race weekend and I had one of my typical whims that come over me when the weather gets nice and I want to run places. I sent Shawn a text, persuading him to run with me, assuring him it would be a easy race. What do you know, he agreed to do it! So once again I was back in Eugene for Marathon weekend, this time doing the 5K. I actually am not even sure at this point how many times I've participated in this weekend's events. I know I've done the half 3 times, with those containing my fast and 3rd fasted half marathon times. And I've scattered the 5K in a little since baby things came into my life. The point is, I feel very at home at this event and course and was excited to be back, this time with my whole little household family!

Friday after lunch we went up to Eugene for the expo. It was much better than last year it seemed. Last year's felt dark and squished together. The tent almost felt twice as big this year! The expo was at the finish area behind Hayward Field, which is good for getting your amped up to run!! I resisted shopping temptation (those darn compression socks were calling my name!!), but I did leave with TWO new free Steve Prefontaine posters. Now if only I had any remaining wall space in my running room....

We were up nice and early Saturday morning so we could get up to the 5K with time to park and see the kid races. The timing was perfect! My normal parking spot was blocked for construction, but we found one closer to a normal bathroom anyway, so that was quite nice! When we got to the start area we were just in time to see all the children finishing their race. Katura got to watch.... and I ran some numbers trying to decide when she'd be able to participate as well!

It felt like no time at all and we were at the start line. Some people get ready for a race with bananas and healthy stuff. The three of us nibbled on some Elfin cookies and had some sips of water. Oh yeah, we are hard core!! If they played the National Anthem I wouldn't know. The sound system for this race is always so darn quiet, and I wasn't even the back this time. Last year I started in the far back with all of the other strollers and people planning to walk more than run. This year I positioned myself up near the back of the runners, but still in the mix. Sure, I have a stroller, but my plan wasn't to walk or be blocking anyone's path.

Prior to the race I had no game plan other than to just enjoy myself, the scenery and the weather. As I often do, once I started moving I started devising a strategy. Apparently this wasn't going to be a stroller, but it also wasn't going to be a race against anyway. I just wanted to keep moving forward and push myself on the running since this whole stroller running stuff is still something I'm adjusting to. As we started the beginning stretch west into the sun (as seen in the photo above) I was surprised at how well I was able to maneuver my stroller and get clear paths to just enjoy running! We were able to continue going for quite a while. Around the half mile point we rounded the corner to head up the first hill through the neighborhoods. (You can see that on the photo to the right!) I got sort of blocked by a person on their walk break, so we took advantage and enjoyed a rest and looking at all of the big houses!

All of the runners we were by were so pleasant! Sometimes we would talk to them in the middle of all of our non-stop conversations we had. Katura, however, did not talk. That little girl fell asleep so early! Between the 1.5 and 2 mile mark you actually go up a hill... next to a cemetery! Is that what one really wants to see if you're racing up a hill?? Good thing we just did some speed walking to get to the top! ;)

It was around this second hill that I realized I hadn't seen any other strollers. And that's when my competition with myself began. At the start line I saw no strollers ahead of me, which caused me slight apprehension about where I had lined up to start. Not one was in sight, but I know there were stroller runners at the start area behind us. It was on like Donkey Kong. My new goal was nothing to do with pace, splits, time, blah blah blah. My race goal was to be the first person to cross the finish line pushing a stroller!
From that point on I think Shawn and I took turns glancing behind us to see if I needed to up my pace at all to maintain 1st place stroller status. We rounded the next to last major turn and 3 college guys were cheering everyone on. They made a point of commenting on how the fastest baby was so impressive, which only confirmed my suspicion that we were in fact in the baby lead! The final stretch had me really checking myself. I could feel my finish line adrenaline pumping and knew I had to back off if I wanted to pull out my standard finish line sprint.

Before I knew it, it was time. We were at the gates of Hayward Field and about to hit the lovely surface of the track. I absolutely love running on a real track at the end of a race. It always feels so gentle on my legs and I feel like I am flying! And this is when I decided to forget about my taking it easy plan. Typically in the last mile of a race I start to pick off people one by one. Well, in a tiny little 5K (3.1 miles), I don't spend 1/3 of my race passing people. So the final .1 was all about saying Bye-Bye to my fellow racers I had been with for the prior 3 and Hello to the finish line! Many of them stopped to high-five Flap Jack and Flap Jill (running pancakes). I had no time for that. I had a line to cross and a medal to grab!

That race was so much ding-dang fun!! I enjoyed every bit of it. My little team of Tew Legit worked great together, everybody was nice and supportive of each other, the weather was absolutely perfect. It was a great way to start the racing season!! I did check my other post-baby/stroller race times and I got a new PR by 3 minutes without even trying. Hot diggity dog! AND I do proudly proclaim myself as First Place Stroller Runner!

For the second year in a row we were given some really nice, heavy medals at the finish line. I never expect that from a 5K, so it was a welcome surprise! Also at the end, we were given reusable tote bags with the Marathon weekend logo on it, green Eugene Marathon water bottles, full of water, a full bag of tortilla chips, bagels and a banana. We made a direct line for the free Krusteaz pancakes in the finishers area. That was just what the tummy wanted! At our table some other runners I remember seeing (and passing) came to sit and enjoy their pancakes. We had really great conversations. When I learned this couple that was new to town didn't know of Steve Prefontaine? Well, it was time for a mini-lesson courtesy of ME! You can't run in Oregon, especially Eugene, and not be familiar with the greatness of Steve Prefontaine!!

Here is the finish area, tables and chairs, free pancakes, vendors giving free samples of their products. And SUNSHINE!!!

So that is that, another race in the books, and another run through Eugene, Oregon! I'm getting kind of twitchy, I think it might be time to stalk race schedules and pick some out between now and the Prefontaine Memorial in Coos Bay!

Tuesday, April 18, 2017

How Do You Even Title a Post About Suicide?

I was walking from my accounting class to government. It was early January and we were bundled in our coats hurrying to get to class. As I did nearly every day, I met up with 1 of my 3 closest friends. Normally we had fun conversations during our walk. This time our pace slowed. He wouldn't speak. His head was hanging down. I tried to ask what was up since this was not at all typical. He just mumbled and wouldn't really say. We parted ways at the Arts building and I never saw him again. If that building still existed I could show you the exact spot I was standing and who was standing by, almost giddy with excitement to see my reaction to the news.... my closest male friend shot himself. It was noisy in that room, but it was like a movie where everything around me went silent. And I felt so mad at those people who were standing there waiting for my reaction. Are you kidding me? I hear something so horrid and you have to be there like a TMZ reporter wanting to get the scoop? Clearly, over 21 years later it still irritates me.

At his funeral I couldn't sit still. My hands and knees wouldn't stop shaking. I remember my program falling to the ground and trying to reach down to pick it up. And I recall looking around at all of the students in attendance. And again I was so mad.

I remembered the conversations we had not long before he took his own life. We were up all night laying on the floor in my grandparent's living room and he was venting about how mean all the "popular" kids were to him. They had gone to school together forever and he was so frustrated with how fake they were to him and how he suddenly didn't exist, yet a while ago they were all friends. I suppose that is normal. In grade school everybody gets along. At our high school? Ugh, the groups.... I totally understood what he was saying. And now the exact names he said to me were there supposedly sad. I say "supposedly" because that's how high school senior Ronda felt... that they were there to be seen versus mourn.

Did I understand how much this bothered him? I guess not. Before we met I thought he was a freak and he called me an ice princess. Our teacher forced us to sit next to each other which was mortifying. Our first assignment was to merge DNA and make a baby. Who knew that this was what would cause us to immediately bond with each other. What if our baby had a mono brow?? No! We can't let that happen. We will change the DNA!! From that project on we were fast friends. We would talk on the phone for hours at a time. School stuff. Crushes. What will we do next weekend. Venting about home life. The norm. Looking back, maybe there were more signs, but it's not like suicide is the standard thing a high school girl things her dear friend would be considering.

* * * * * * *

It was a Saturday that I was on a road trip with my mom and aunt to meet my bridesmaids and buy my wedding dress. I've already written about this in detail, so I'm glossing over it now.

On the way up she told us that directions for her funeral and what she wanted done were on her refrigerator. She told us what she wanted in her casket with her. There were a few other instructions as well. We laughed it off telling her she was being silly and she would be fine if she follows doctor's orders. After all the conversations we had, I remember a few distinct moments where I paused to remember them well because I had a feeling it would never happen again. When she left my house and have me the biggest wave and happiest smile, I memorized it. I had a gut feeling I would never see her again. Tuesday morning, as I followed along on the phone and social media, my aunt took her own life the same way my friend did.

* * * * * * 

I see all this talk about 13 Reasons Why. People for it. People against it. I had already written in my head my response. I decided that nobody will care about my opinion if it is different from theirs. I didn't take the attitude of having a strong opinion against it without ever watching it or reading the book, as I have seen some do. I didn't even watch it for any sort of reason other than interest because it was all over Facebook and I was heading to bed with my laptop and Netflix. It showed up, I recognized the title, the subject matter intrigued me given my experiences, so I watched. And I couldn't stop. I thought it was quite creative how it was done and the small details I would pick up on waiting for them to rear their ugly head later on. I've read that some think this sensationalizes suicide. That if you commit suicide people will glamorize you after. Really? They got that from watching this? I saw it as people hating this girl after she died. Certainly not saying she was a beautiful, wonderful person. And if you make it through the end and episode 13 ... you tell me exactly what you saw that made suicide glamorous, Painful. Lonely. Sad. Deliberate. Cold. None of this seems appealing. I cried. I could barely watch, but I forced myself to so I could live in that moment with the character, and live in that moment with my friend and aunt. I hugged my baby tight. I saw nothing of glamour or sensationalism in this. If anything, maybe this show will help people see that you don't always see someone considering suicide as a person walking around every day looking depressed. They could appear on the outside to be happy and dealing with life. But there might be signs. And MAYBE you can help them or guide them to help. Maybe you can't. Maybe this show will show someone that suicide isn't the best or only answer. Maybe it will show someone considering suicide how much if affects the family and close friends of someone that takes their own life. Does suicide change things in the lives of those closest to the person? Oh heck yes. 

I've deleted most of my opinions because I have no desire for debate. I've heard the news of suicide 3 times now. Twice I had to tell my mom. Once, she told me. I know exactly when and where I was for all 3 and the quiet, numb feeling that happens when you hear it. I figure if I go off too long on the subject then I'll be told how wrong I am and blah blah blah. Everyone is entitled to their opinion and feeling. My opinion is that this is a really good show. It gets you thinking. That's a good thing. It is getting people talking. That's a good thing. If it helps anyone decide to get help, or helps someone see that their loved one needs help... this is a good thing. 

Call 1-800-273-8255
Available 24 hours everyday

Sunday, April 2, 2017

My Life With Meniere's

​​Last week someone I talk to all the time saw me for the first time with a cane and was rightfully confused. I figured why not use this as an excuse to wake up my sleepy little blog and share my story of a pesky little sidekick of mine called Meniere's Disease.

I will start by saying it is not contagious. If you stood up too fast and got lightheaded, no, you don't have it. No, laying in some funky contorted manner on my bed with my head hanging off isn't going to cure it. Although it might make me fall off the bed and/or vomit. And everyone that does have it will have a completely different story and experience. It's a charming thing, this Meniere's Disease!

Back in 2003 I was working on a turntable every day. A spinning turntable, navigating myself through tons of guests getting in and out of rafts, and flowing water next to me. This had been my norm for a couple of years and was never an issue, but suddenly it was really throwing me off. I found myself starting to walk a little farther away from the water so I wouldn't accidentally fall in and cause an E-Stop. Guests would be quite angry if their ride experience was halted because some dizzy blond fell into the Chakranadi River! I managed to deal with it, expecting it to just pass, and was soon saying Namaste to my home in Anandapur and moving backstage to the Labor Office at Disney's Animal Kingdom.

Now at a desk, I figured these strange feelings of uneasiness were sure to be gone. I was so wrong. In fact, I think working in a quieter, non-rotating area actually helped me see how much really was going on. I'd get so dizzy I would have to hold onto my desk or chair for support. As the new girl, when coworkers asked me to lunch I accepted the offer and then felt so uncomfortable at the table when I had to use my hand to casually hold my head upright because I felt I was tipping over. I had no idea what the heck was going on. At my desk one time a fellow cast member asked why I was ignoring my phone. What?? My phone was ringing? Sure enough I had a couple of missed calls. I had been sitting there the entire time and couldn't even hear my phone ring. At this point I knew I needed to call the doctor.

First I went to the world's worst family doctor. After this visit I never went there again, thank goodness. He referred me to get a CT scan. Insurance denied that and said I needed to see a neurologist first and get a referral. So back to Celebration Hospital I went, this time to meet with a neurologist that I really liked. He was able to trigger all of my crazy symptoms in no time at all and actually listened to me! Soon I was getting an MRI done on my head. Very strange to me, I had to go actually pick up the results and take them to the doctor. I have them all still. So if you want to see my brain, my eyes, the enlarged part of my brain in the back of my head, come on over and take a gander! From there I was referred to the Ear, Nose and Throat doctor. Those visits stressed me a little more. It wasn't at the nice hospital I like, it was crowded, and the exam itself was ... I don't know. I had to close my eyes and march in place once. Put yourself in a clock... if I started facing 12, by the time I was done I was facing 4 o'clock. The former marching band girl in me was mortified. I was certain I wasn't moving, so to open my eyes and see what happened was a little disconcerting. This doctor had me get some blood work done and a hearing test. Here is my issue with that... my hearing isn't always bad. It never fails, when I have had my hearing tests it is on a good day. Not once have I been having Meniere's issues when a test is done, so still I look like I have great hearing. Oops, I'm jumping ahead....

One of the last major things I had done was in July 2004. My mom and Grandpa came to visit me for my mom's birthday. One of her vacation mornings was spent going with me to downtown Orlando where I had to go through a slew of tests. I had things attached to my face to monitor everything going on with me. I was in a dark room (or was it dark because my eyes were closed. I can't remember!) and put through all sorts of sensory tests. Hot and cold air in my ears. Noises. Moving. It was probably at least an hour long and I wasn't allowed to drive after that. So my mom got to be my chaperone and get me home safely. Who would have expected that her being my driver would become more and more frequent over the years due to this nonsense.

Since all of that went down I have been given a variety of medications. In Florida, the medicine they gave me would make me sleep for almost an entire day. This isn't practical! I did finally get that CT scan done, but because of the hurricanes that kept coming through Orlando I was never able to go pick them up and in September I was moving back to Oregon. My grandpa was a pharmacist and suggested I only take half of the medication, so I could feel relief but not sleep all day. When I returned to my normal family doctor in Oregon he was great and gave me a lower dosage, which I still continued to only take half of. Some medications were good. Some weren't. When we started trying to create Katura I stopped all medications. I've gotten really good at managing Meniere's Disease without any, and I hope to just stay off the medicine as long as I can. I still pass hearing tests, and haven't even gone to the Ear/Nose/Throat doctor in a couple of years. In Vitro Fertilization ate up all of my time and I just decided to take a break from doctors for a while!

So how does Meniere's Disease affect me? If I say I'm having a Meniere's Day what does that mean? Well, it falls under the category of invisible illness, so I'm sure it seems made up. Ugh, if only! The obvious thing is vertigo. It took a long time to let my ego come to terms with the fact that having a cane would be helpful. I almost always have it with me, folded in my bag, so when I do need it I am ready. Mine is blue with flowers! My hearing is so touching. Some times I CAN'T hear. Sometimes tiny little noises that nobody hears feel like they are incredibly loud to me and they hurt. My ears hurt a lot, and I realized I unintentionally pull on them to relieve pressure when it gets bad. Talking will get difficult, sometimes causing me to stutter or even forget what words I'm trying to say. Um, example ... maybe I'll forget "refrigerator" and I end up having to say "that thing, it's big, and cold with food in it". The room spinning thing gets old. I have actually fallen out of bed from that before, thankfully onto carpet! Another thing that causes me so much anxiety is being in a car. If my Meniere's is doing anything at all to me it will throw off my depth perception. Being a passenger absolutely terrifies me. At this point I do hate to travel, unless I'm driving. But I can only drive if I'm having a good day, which means I'm always a passenger on bad days and get so scared I end up crying. I HATE IT!!

I'm sure there are more things, but at this point I am so used to them. Ringing in the ears!!! If the ringing STOPS then I freak out because I think I'm officially 100% deaf. When it is completely quiet in my house I am very away of the ringing, so I almost always have something on to make noise and help me forget about it. It's like the way you feel after a loud concert, but that's pretty much my standard every day.

How do I fix it? I don't. There is no cure. Many people with this end up getting hearing aids. I'm lucky in that my hearing is doing a good job of staying with me. Where some having that as their big issue, the major vertigo is where I have mine. It is something that tends to progress, so in a few years my story could be very different. Hopefully not. For some it kind of goes away I've read, or hibernates as I call it. I've felt that mine has hibernated before. Bring on some major stress or crazy weather, and you'll be sure to see me whipping out my cane. Why am I part time at work? The biggest reason is because of this! Stress at work got to be too much, I was always sick and I just couldn't do it all anymore. But in the end that worked out, and I get more time with my little girl!

And that's all I have to say about that .... for now! Any questions? I'm totally down for answering! I've been dealing with this for 14 years, so it's just normal for me now. I can hardly remember life without it at this point!

Just for fun, here I am PRE-Meniere's Disease standing at Tiger Face Falls before the flume has started to fill with water!

And I feel I should close with this.... Namaste! Welcome to Kali Rapids Expeditions, the number one rafting company in Anandapur where you WILL get wet and possibly SOAKED!

Tuesday, October 11, 2016

Umpqua Strong 5K, "Not a Race" Report

I’ve been procrastinating on this race report because the Umpqua Strong 5K was NOT a race. This was a community event put together to honor and remember the victims of 2015’s school shooting at Umpqua Community College. I have my rule of no local races because I don’t want to spend money to run where I run all of the time for free. For this I did make an exception …. To make a long story short, Shawn’s friend was going to be doing the 9K carrying 230 pounds, the weight of Treven, one of the victims. *There was a 5K and a 9K, I did the 5K since the 9 went off path and I had to manage a stroller. Shawn was going to be in full military uniform helping him out. Their day started before the sun came up and they were the very last to cross the finish line. I figured if they were doing that, the least I could do was participate with our little girl (and my mom) and join the community in showing our support.

Naturally I couldn’t just show up in any old attire. Since Shawn had his uniform on I donned my running skirt that matched and Katura got her very own matching onesie at the military surplus store! We became the matchy-matchy family for the day. I’m confident this won’t be the last time.

It was a little after 5am that I was woken up by the rain. Katura and I kept snuggling, but eventually gave up and started our day with milk and cartoons – and constant checks of the weather. Meanwhile Shawn was already out there getting ready. Eek! By the time my mom arrived we were good to go in the weather department, Katura was bundled, the GoPro was attached and we were ready to head to town. I wanted to get there early since it was sure to be a popular event and parking was limited. Once I had my parking spot I could finally relax. Phew!

We weren’t at the park very long before I looked over and saw Shawn and the gang doing their walk. I ran over to say Hi and see how it was going, and this was the first time I got to see Shawn in full uniform. He cleans up quite well!

Before the race began there was a moment of silence followed immediately by a prayer. The National Guard came out for the Star Spangled Banner, then promptly at 10am we were off! That sounds like we actually started. It took us over 2 minutes to get to the start line, which I didn’t realize was being time…. The only timing mat was at the finish line, but like I said, this was not a race. If I was writing this as a runner I’d probably complain that the course was too narrow for the amount of people, and that it was an out and back which means it felt even more congested after making the turn and having to dodge even more people. Most of the event was filled with people walking together, many holding hands, kind of wandering and spread sometimes 6 across. The runner in me would have gotten twitchy. And at first I could tell this would be the most difficult 5K of my life. Quickly I changed my mind-set to being that of just there for the comradery, great weather, and a goal of being done with my 3.1 miles in time to see Shawn finish his 5.6. As I understand it, the original desire for the race was to have it in a neighborhood area, which then this congestion wouldn’t have been an issue. Maybe next year?

So the “race”…. It started on a normal street in the park, but quickly condensed to the bike path. I know this path well, as it is where I have done the majority of my training for long races … and I knew that it is narrow and bumpy… so to the side of the path it was. I was actually able to run with the stroller easier there than be forced to slowly walk on the less than ideal bike path. My mom and I basically played a real life game of Frogger. At times I felt like I was on the freeway, trying to pass on the left, or on a highway wanting to pass, but watching for oncoming traffic. There was a moment where I was playing Chicken with a stroller that looked exactly like mine. No crash happened, so we were all winners! Each kilometer marker had the name of a different shooting victim (hence the 9K race/9 victims). Many people were wearing shirts in honor of someone. Team Becka had the biggest turn out it seemed. I was looking at her shirt non-stop! It was really nice to see everyone out together. As crowded as the path was, there was never any sort of negativity amongst the participants. Everyone seemed to be cheering each other on and saying Hi to friends as paths crossed.

I worked my mom harder than I have on any of our other races together, yet because of the weaving and crowd this ended up our slowest race together. That means it was even longer time I was keeping her running! She did leave me in the dust on the first of two steep hills. We ran up the first hill in the race with no problem, but pushing the stroller up two that are steep without a stroller? Yikes!

The last mile of the course was really nice. It was finally open enough that we actually could run and not have to swerve. The park was lively as we ran along the golf course, by the train and through the finish line. Music was playing and there were oodles of bananas, apples and water bottles. We grabbed some snacks, then began the rest of our race day … cheering on Shawn and his friend as they worked to complete the 5.6 miles while carrying 230 pounds. It was quite impressive to watch. Greg, the one carrying the weight, is a machine I tell you! I don’t know anyone else that could have the mental or physical stamina to pull this off!

All in all it was a really nice event. Next year, knowing what I know now about the crowded course, (and if it doesn’t get altered) … I’ll probably leave Katura and my mom to do the 5K together and I’ll run the 9K and be at the front so I can actually run it. I’ve yet to do that distance, so now it’s on the radar!

Oh, so I used the GoPro on this race as well. It was VERY bumpy, but speeding it up to 4x speed and just taking snippets, it actually doesn’t look as crazy as it was. I made this video just to share my own experience with the race and cheering on Greg & Shawn. I’m pretty happy with the result considering it was my first attempt at something like this and I put it all together with a busy little climbing all over me! Photos, GoPro footage, video from my iPhone, music … Who knew I could be so fancy as to merge these things?!?!

Thursday, September 22, 2016

Prefontaine Memorial, This Time with Video. Ooh Ahh

Since I began running I have never missed a Prefontaine Memorial race. I always said I would do it even if I had a broken leg or was pregnant. Well, last year I did it pregnant so naturally this year I did it with my baby! We have season tickets for the OSU football games, and wouldn't you know it, the game was at 2pm in Corvallis, while my race was a 10am start in Coos Bay over on the coast. Some might choose to skip the race and go straight to football and tailgating, but I am not "some." There was no hesitation in signing up for what would be my 7th time at the Prefontaine start line. Last year I was only allowed to do the 2 mile walk due to being pregnant and my doctors' orders to NOT run, so this year since we had time constraints we did the 2 miler again.

We left the house around 6:30am to make it to Coos Bay in time to get our bibs, shirts and get parked at Marshfield High School before the spots by the track were all taken. The plan was to park as close to the finish as possible so we could run, finish, get photos, get in the car and get to Corvallis (which is about 2 hours and 45 minutes away). While checking in, Katura was already hit and getting congratulations on being sure to be an age group winner since she was the youngest person there. How cute! And as per usual the volunteers were so friendly and talkative. For seven years in a row now I have left packet pick-up feeling happy and ready to run.

I was shocked at how easy it was to get everything together and wander to the start area. This time the only challenge we had was making sure our new GoPro was secure and aimed how we wanted it. Yep, we recorded the entire race all from Katura's point of view, and you can view it (at double speed) below! I slipped into the museum area before the race to see Steve Prefontaine's things again before starting to run. It has sort of become a tradition for me, and who am I to break tradition?

The race was delayed to let the high school racers and wheelchair racer get a little farther in the course before the 10K runners started chasing them down. After a few words to the crowd, Linda Prefontaine (Steve's sister) counted us down, shot the gun and off we were!

The race we did may have been only 2 miles, but the hills were right on par with the normal 10K course, and I think the second one might even be steeper than Agony Hill! We ran most of it, choosing to walk up the hills because really, we had a freaking stroller and those hills are insane. We had nothing to prove, so we just enjoyed our time and took in the views. The views would consist of coastal homes, Marshfield High School and a cemetery.

Seeing as we were well ahead of the 10K runners and most of the walkers, we had the track to ourselves at the end. That was pretty awesome! And my teammates were nice enough to let me run in the finish on my own as I picked up the pace like I do every single time. Watching it back on the GoPro... oh my gosh, just not a flattering view for anyone. I look like a freaking waddling penguin! 

All in all it was a wonderful time and I am excited to return next year! *And we also made it to Corvallis on time, only missing the first couple of minutes of the game, which OSU went on to win!

Thursday, August 25, 2016

This is NOT About a Baby! Me Me ME!!!

I had a lot of this written on my phone while pumping milk for the little girl squealing and rolling all over my floor ... then I fed her, she hit the phone and bye bye went the blog. Well shoot!

I had a 20 year high school reunion that I skipped except for the tour.
Band geeks reunited!!
So this blog is all about ME!! My life as a mom, what's changed, what's going on and what nobody ever talks about.

Currently I have my unofficial babysitters working at entertaining Katura. When I was on maternity leave I googled Disney Springs and stumbled upon this cool vlog. Ever since, Katura and I watch Tim and Jenn every day. She hears their voices say "Hello!" and always turns and smiles at them. She even mimicked Tim during a live vlog once and we were able to chat online and let them know about her imitation! I really like them, and I love that their blog is fun and family friendly, so there is never any concern that maybe I shouldn't watch it with her in the room. She might be their biggest, youngest fan... and I'm a huge fan because they keep her entertained when I have to do mom things!

So, me me me.....

First up, the thing nobody talks about. When you're pregnant in 2015 I imagine most of us future moms are busy reading up on everything. What to expect when pregnant, what to expect after, what to do, what not to do... and then there are things people sort of skip over with barely more than a mere mention. One friend was awesome and tipped me off that a few days after having your baby your hormones go nuts and night sweats happen. Thanks to her advice I went to bed with a towel handy and sure enough just as she told me I was in bed in February sweating my ass off!  Another thing that is very troubling to me and even caused me to talk to my doctor about is the dreaded horror of ..... postpartum hair loss.  Your hair gets awesome when pregnant and then you lose some a few months after having the baby. Well, mine is out of control. My best friend already agreed to help me shop for head scarves if I end up bald because of this. I'm taking Biotin now to hopefully regrow hair or at least minimize my obscene amount of shedding. My obgyn reassured me that this is in fact normal and once I stop breastfeeding I should become normal again. She told me that nursing my baby essentially has me in a minor form of menopause, resulting in hair loss and no periods. Oh yeah, that's right! I haven't had a normal period since March of 2015. That's March two-thousand FIFTEEN! Boom!

Also not normal is my relationship with Victoria's Secret.  Her undies fit me fine, but that lovely array of brassieres I have organized in my closet are sitting dormant. Clearly I have gone up AT LEAST a cup size and they won't contain the girls anymore. Damn. Shopping is very hard for me now, since I have no idea my sizes on anything. None of my shirts fit normal anymore since I feel like Dolly Parton when I put them on. Can I just live in pajamas? And I still wear my hospital birthing gown to bed all the time. That was the best preparing for the hospital purchase ever!

So to help me get back to my old habits and maybe help the boobies eventually shrink, I'm back to running when I can. Sleep deprivation and crazy heat doesn't make running the most appealing thing, but it sure does feel good when I am able to get out there. My BFF and I have discussed setting a schedule for regular running sessions once his school year starts, since at the moment we are just squeezing it in when our schedules allow.  His youth gives him that nice gift of speed, which I am trying to regain. My years of running longer distance are still with me and I feel better the longer I keep running. He's new to the sport, so he's not yet going long. In the end I think we are a good balance and able to help motivate and push each other in our own ways. Katura comes along for maybe half of our runs, so it's not like I'm abandoning my baby. I can't. I get twitchy without her.

What else... I'm still mega paranoid of SIDS, so I pretty much never sleep so that I can monitor breathing and movement from my 3 pets, husband and baby. Yeah, I check all 3. Really the youngest cat is the one I don't get worried about. But if the rest are too quiet I have to stare at them until I see them clearly breathing. This death paranoia has also made me constantly work on my will. I think about it every morning in the shower and need to just write it down. I feel like mine is pretty simple, I just have to go through the process of writing If this then This, but If this then That stuff. Don't hold your breath, the odds are you're not getting anything unless you're my baby or a couple of other unexpected people! ;)

Jessica and I went to Pride
Because my life is all about Katura I can't even remember the other things I wanted to write about. I didn't jot them down like I always do, so now my mind is blank.

Katura uses my huge bathtub now, so I have created a routine that benefits us both. She has to be cleaned first, then she gets to play. While she plays with toys I lean back and hold her and relax to give myself my own little bubble bath time.

Ooh, I think her new stroller for Hawaii just got delivered! (It did!!) See?? A blog about ME and I still make it all about her!!

I think my feet got bigger. Like for real.

Katura has two birthmarks on her head. We thought she got a rash and worried she inherited my bad, dry skin, but no. Our doctor laughed at us and said she's fine, she just has birthmarks. I've taken photos so when she's old she can see them since they will soon be covered by her hair.

I do have hair growing back. And a little girl can see it and grabs it. I swear she either wants it for her own head or she wants my hair style to match hers.

Oh, feeding. I feel like I'm actually doing a good job of tuning out comments or people telling me things on how to be a mom. As we all know very well, I hate unsolicited advice. There is one thing that does irk me, and I don't understand why anybody cares. And that is regarding feeding. I never discuss exactly what we do because it is really only the business of Katura and myself, and sometimes her dad and Grandma. Obviously I have to pump milk since I go to work every day. And I've shared that she has tried vegetables now. That's all I ever say. But wow, you sure do get opinions from people with lots of judgement. I've been judged negatively for giving her my breast milk because apparently it isn't "real"? And I've been judged for not whipping out my boobs in public to feed my girl. Then there is mega judgement if you ever use formula. Basically sometimes it feels you're never doing what others perceive to be the "right" thing. And others don't seem to have a hard time keep their comments and opinions to themselves. Is my girl happy and healthy and fed? Yes. So that's all that needs to be said!

We had a parent date night to see
Steve Martin and Martin Short
I worry all the time, but perhaps shockingly I'm not the mom that freaks out when things happen. Katura just tipped over and her toy fell on her. No biggie. I just keep my cool and let her know it is okay, and the tiny tear that was forming stopped. My aunt was one of those that freaked out over nothing, resulting in a baby freaking out over nothing. Not my style. She rolled herself off the couch again yesterday, again no biggie. If I stay calm, she stays calm. All good! Incidentally, if she does cry, the youngest cat that claimed ownership of my pregnant belly comes running to check on her. It is so sweet.

Speaking of animals, another reason I don't sleep... I have a 16 year old cat with kidneys that are not working as they should anymore, and hypothyroidism. I have to give her medicine twice a day and she is constantly wanting more pate, because Heaven forbid my little sidekick eat crunchy cat food? She declared this to be the new rule a couple of months ago. Meanwhile my dog is probably about 14 or 15 years old and having a hard time. She is up a lot, wanting to go potty. Potty trips are harder because stairs are hard. My poor girls. Getting old sucks.

And now I must go. I have to cheer on my dear husband and step-dad while they golf on the surface of the sun.

Friday, August 19, 2016

She Is Already One Half!

​Remember when you were little and time seemed to go so slow? The school year was so long. Vacations were always so far away. A Christmas countdown on an Advent calendar still seemed to equal months. How is it that now time foes flying by way too fast? How can my perfect little daughter already be over 6 months old?

I've been slacking on monthly reports since I've been keeping very busy with the girl I should be writing about. So here's just a six month review of what's going on and what she has been up to during her busy little life!

As of now she is 15 pounds and 1 ounce, and over two feet tall at 25 inches! At her 4 month appointment she was just over 11 pounds, so I've done a good job of helping her grow to fit into the swim diapers I have for her Hawaiian vacation coming up. Yep, she's going to Hawaii and already has a compete wardrobe with outfits themed to different things she'll be doing. She's my baby, would you expect anything less?

She isn't teething yet, but the drool is increasing and her love of chewing on things is more and more noticeable. Soon enough, I'm in no rush for all of these growing milestones. She doesn't talk, but she sure loves to make all sorts of silly noises. Her current favorite is her sound like she's revving an engine. Clearly she learned this from her father. Crawling feels just around the corner. Our doctor said 8 months is the normal time, but she sure seems like she's wanting to do it before then. But man can she roll! Just last week she was on the floor on her blanket and then we looked up and she was nowhere to be seen. She had literally rolled away! Oh, she's already rolled herself off of the couch once, too. Good thing we still have carpet!

A favorite thing of hers is standing. When she gets fussy we just hold her up to stand and she gets happier. She loves trying to be a big girl it seems. She sits up pretty well now, although occasionally there will be a tip, but every day she's getting stronger with it. And she is strong!! Its amazing how much power a little thing like that can have!

Katura is quite the water baby. From the very beginning she has enjoyed bath time but now it's even more fun because she and I jump into our jumbo tub together and out come all of her toys. She's got tug boats, pirates, a pirate ship, some ducks, a book and some Mickey Mouse Clubhouse toys. My rule is that we have to bathe first, THEN she can swim and play. Speaking of swimming, since we have our pool outside she naturally has to go in. We haven't tested the diving board or slide yet, but she's very happy floating around in her very own toy or being held and kicking her little legs all over. We've been watching the Olympics together every night, so maybe it has rubbed off and she's getting her training going now. Let's remember this post when they do a feature story on her during the Olympics!

During her 6 months of life she has done a lot of traveling. We never shy away from going places just because we have a baby, so she's been all over and in a variety of settings. Some of those include: 3 different races that she was a participant in, crashing a high school reunion, visiting her future high school during my reunion weekend, multiple visits to the Country Club (including the biggest tournament of the season), mingling with Olympic hopefuls during the Trials in Eugene, shopping malls, Enchanted Forest and many visits to the Wildlife Safari. She's a regular in restaurants and stores. Anywhere I go, she's there! I've started running again, so she comes along for those when the weather isn't too hot. The stroller seems to put her to sleep in no time at all!

Meeting people has been something she is a pro at, and she doesn't hesitate to flash her smile. She might hesitate when being held by stranger and usually wants to come back to me, but then that smile returns just as quick as it left! My mom takes care of her all the time, so she knows Grandma very well ... and with that comes Uncle Buddy, the dog I'm sure she will be bossing around in no time at all. My dad was here from Ohio for a couple of weeks, so she got in a lot of good Grandpa time as well. We were able to visit her great-grandpa with my dad, and she took an instant liking to him, which was so sweet! I'm pretty sure she's stealing my best friend away from me, as now they do their own selfie photo shoots and forget that I am even there. Hmph. At my high school tour during our reunion she was able to meet Ela, who is about 2 weeks younger than her. Seeing these little girls meet was absolutely adorable, and they already have plans to meet up again next month at a football game! 

Speaking of dogs, she has a dog and two cats and is fascinated by them. They interrupt meals all the time because once she seems them she doesn't care about eating. We are teaching her how to nicely pet the cats, and those girls are saints for putting up with her clumsy, gripping little hands! This leads me to food ... she uses a spoon! And she loves to try to use it all by herself. Katura has now had peas!! My favorite vegetable was her first! We are going to start introducing new veggies now, one at a time.

I'm sure there is more I wanted to write about, but this is already long and I haven't even added photos. OMG don't even try to guess how many I've taken. I think there might be only one day in her life that I didn't get a photo of her. And when I take 1 I take 20. And then videos. But she's just so darn sweet. These have, without a doubt, been the best 6 months ever. I'm never letting her go. She can stay with her mommy forever and ever. That's not creepy, right?!?

Saturday, July 9, 2016

Run Like A Cheetah 5K

I don't do local races. After all the training I have done for 2 marathons and tons of half marathons, I've pretty much covered all of the good parts of town during training, for free. So why would I pay to run those same paths? I won't. But when this particular race come up on my Facebook news feed I thought this was ok to do.... Never before have I trained where cheetahs live!

The Run Like A Cheetah 5K (although actually shy of being a legit 5K) took place at the Wildlife Safari, one of my favorite places to visit when I need my wild animal fix. It was the first time they've done it, and you could tell, but that's okay. The point of the race was to raise funds for the cheetahs so I totally didn't care that it wasn't something fancy. We had no race bibs, time clock or start and finish lines, but we had t-shirts, a water stop, cookies and a fun time!

My mom, daughter and I got up early (which is my normal) and made our way to Winston, Oregon with no idea of what to expect. After parking the mom Jeep and getting the stroller set, we made our way to the park entrance and saw a cheetah on a leash! Inside the gift shop we handed them our tickets saying we registered and were handed our t-shirts. Quite simple! Another cheetah was brought out and we heard some cheetah facts before informally starting our run.

For the first part I had the added challenge of navigating a stroller on a rough road. It was fun to run alongside Dayo, the dog that lives with the cheetah ambassador. It didn't take long for the dog to leave us behind! Being a runner with a stroller it seems I'm always starting at the back and passing people. This time nobody was brave enough to start so we went and ended up near the front of the pack. Only a few runners passed us in the initial flat area before we all settled into our places. The first long bit was all downhill. Again, another stroller challenge since my sleeping baby was ready to ditch us and go flying down on her own!

This was purely a fun run and we treated it that way with no strategy or desire to be the fastest. We just went along our way walking and running whenever we felt like it. I tried to get in as much running as we could in the beginning 2 miles because the last one was a killer! All uphill!

As we got closer to the parking lot it seemed like I was going to collapse on the deceptively steep road. But we made it. And then had no idea where to go. They said to follow the arrows, except they had no arrows! A volunteer directed us toward our next turn which was still unclear. Then it was the part I was most looking forward to and the reason I registered.... We got to run through the cheetah enclosure that is part of the drive-through section of the park! Back in the day the cheetahs could roam free and come up to you car. *It is entirely possible in high school one came close enough that I put my hand out to pet it. I took the opportunity to get near to the fence and get some up close cheetah photos because why not?

The tigers are also part of the cheetah area, but sadly none were visible at the time. I had to take the opportunity to get a photo of Katura with their habitat behind her since normally this would only be accessible by car. In no time at all we were exiting the cheetah area and I saw a little 8x11 paper that said Finish Line. Oh, well, okay. We are done! Give me some cookies!!

The Wildlife Safari Village was opening so Katura and I were happy to take my mom through it for her first time in decades. The lions were busy roaring and putting on quite the show! Best part of my visit? Hearing the White Cheeked Gibbons in the distance doing some morning vocalizations that I used to hear every day at Disney's Animal Kingdom! And my baby? Yeah she slept through the entire thing! It's her 3rd race (first in the rain!), so I guess it's no big deal now. She's a pro!

Next year, if we do it again, we are going to actually prepare for it so maybe the insane hill won't kill us!