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

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!

Butte to Butte +1 New Team Member

Every year on the 4th of July people line up in Eugene to run the Butte to Butte. I've done the 10K twice, and let me tell you it is a challenging course! The first mile is uphill. Not just some gradual climb, but one where you'd want hiking gear to help you scale the top of a mountain. There is a 4 mile family walk, as well as a 5K. I decided it was time to come back for the 3rd time, but upon doing my research I saw that the 5K was the only distance that didn't require me getting myself, my baby and my stroller on a shuttle to the start line. So the 5K it was!

Packet pick-up was at the Eugene Hilton, which coincidentally is the location of the Olympic Trials headquarters! That made for some cool moments of "running" into athletes here to compete for their spot on the Olympic team. I fully admit I was star struck and couldn't stop looking at the muscular legs of every person I encountered. It was pretty cool to see a few of the Olympic Team cars, too!

Picking up bibs was easy, but we did have to visit a table to update Katura's age. She is now the default 1, since they didn't have the ability to register as being a 5 month old runner. What?!? It was so fun picking up her very own bib, and our shirts were quite nice as well!  

The night before the race I meticulously put together 3 outfits of red, white and blue .... but I think the tiny outfit is clearly the cutest! On race day she ended up wearing her coat over it, but she was patriotic in spirit!

The morning of the 4th of July, our new team of three loaded up into the mom Jeep and went on a quick drive north back to the Hilton parking lot. Preparing for a race with an infant is quite a different experience, but luckily it doesn't even allow time for me to get my formerly typical pre-race nerves. Yay!

Another stop inside the Hilton for a potty break and do get my hair pulled back. Well, yeah, kinda hard to do some braids when you have ONE hair tie with you and the rest at home on your counter an hour away. Oops! 
The start area was a very short walk from where we parked, and we had plenty of time to hang out and talk with other runners. I was so happy to be back in my element with compression socks, Adidas, a bib, Garmin and runners!!

Our start line was very narrow as we were actually running the reverse way through the finish line. The fast people started in front and we lingered in the back with the other stroller people. Katura was by far the youngest runner in this race. Ha!

I have way more photos than I have things to say about 3.1 miles. Hmm.

After the Star Spangled Banner we were off and running ... running smack dab into a wall of 4 runners walking as slow as can be. Ugh. Quickly I zigged and zagged my way around so I could pick a nice spot on a smooth section of the road so as not to totally annoy my little team mate passenger. She lasted maybe half a mile or so before she was asleep. At least she was bright eyed and bushy tailed before the race!

The course was so flat.  Down a road, a couple turns along Amazon Parkway and back down the same road to the finish. Weather wise is was perfect. Sunny but cool, just like I like it. Although I also like rain. And I like running at 43 degrees. So yeah.

We did zero prep for this race, seeing as I spend my nights pumping milk and tending to an aging dog ... meaning I never sleep and therefore currently have no energy to try to train. That will change soon, I hope!  So the plan was No Plan! We enjoyed time with the fellow stroller people, ran when we wanted, walked when we wanted. I pushed the stroller for the first 2 miles and then handed off duties momentarily to grab some water. Well that moment continued until we were done with the race. Running without a stroller made me feel so light and fast! The pace naturally picked up from that point on. 

As the finish was nearing Shawn (I think I retired "Man Friend", you all know his name by now!) said, "I don't care if we walk or run, but we are not letting that girl beat us!" Game on! So I gradually picked up my pace, as I am prone to do during any race, and made my move to leave her behind us. I always train for a strong finishing kick, and bring it out in every single race. This was no exception. Shawn claims I slowed a bit so he sped up to prompt me to speed up. Well that turned into an insane sprint to the finish ... mom versus baby! I crossed before her, yet somehow she beat me by one one-hundredth of a second. What??? My baby beat me???? Oh well, I'm sure this won't be the first time!

The finish line snacks were AWESOME!! Cookies, chips, drinks, yummy rolls with cinnamon chips in them. I was a happy camper with that feast!  All in all this was a really fun time! I've done my years of competing against myself, and now running has a whole new aspect for me. Kinda nice to not have any pressure! 

Tuesday, June 7, 2016

One, Tew, 3, FOUR!! Four Months Old!

Four months. Wow! Time has flown by so dang fast. It was just a year ago that I had two embryos trying to nestle in and make a cozy home inside of me. And now I spend 20 hours a day with this little girl that is trying to grow up way too quick!

I am caught up on her baby book, now just adding in firsts as they occur. She's had her first bout rolling over lately, and even her first real laughs! She discovered her feet and ever since can't stop grabbing them with both hands.

Toys are taking over my home! With our Babies R Us registry rewards we had an insane amount of money on an e-gift card to use at Babies R Us. **here is my tip.... Register for things you want, even if you buy them yourself. We would register for items as we put them in our cart, have our registry updated, then pay. We did it for everything including furniture like her crib, dresser and bassinet. After the registry is closed you get rewards back in the form of a gift card. Uh yeah, I'm set now! A potty of her own, her own sofa, scooter, activity table/bench, movies, books, toys.... We loaded up! She even has her own "iPhone" now! So future parents, register!!!!

She is a complete jabber jaws. Non-stop "talking" when we are home. In public, around new people, she is a little shy, but if she is anything like her father that won't last long at all! I love it when she uses her soft, sweet voice. It is adorable! But more often she is letting us know just how loud she can be. It's possible she's caused an animal or two to leave the room because they weren't interested in her conversations.

Back to the toys, she can pick them up now if they are in front of her. Just the other day she grabbed her entire steering wheel toy with both hands and was holding it. This is not small, I was quite impressed! And it is so cute when she drives. She keeps one hand on the wheel and the other reaches around hitting buttons, the key or the shifter. Before I know it she'll be driving her own Jeep. 

This is all over the place and random. I feel my traditional 4 hours of sleep give me the right to be scatterbrained in my own blog! The photo above with the little OSU stuffed animal... that was a baby shower gift from Dixie. Dixie gave the suggestion to take Katura's photo every month with it to show her growth. This is the first month using it, so expect to see that animal popping up regulary in these posts!

I bet there are important things I should note. But again, 4 hours of sleep a night. My little sleep is not even because of Katura. She sleeps through the night because she is a good girl and loves me. My dog wakes me up for potty trips. When a 14/15 year old dog asks to go potty, you don't say no. You happily get up and appreciate her going outside to potty and not on the carpet!! If I get up with the dog I usually just end up in my chair pumping milk. So on any given night there is a good chance I am up for a hour while the rest of the world is sleeping. Another reason I don't sleep I guess is because of the baby.... the baby and my perhaps over-paranoia of SIDS. If she is quiet too long, day or night, I HAVE to check on her. The other day I didn't see her breathing so of course I gave her a good poke. Oops! So much for that nap she was taking!

She's trying to put her feet in her mouth right now!! But she keeps distracting herself by insisting on watching me write. It is quite an ego booster when you can walk into a room or talk and end up having the undivided attention of an adorable little girl! She's quite a Mommy's Girl, but she always loves play time with her daddy!

Last week I was curious about Disney Springs in Walt Disney World and how it compares to the former Downtown Disney. I was googling images and found a video of people checking it out. Well that one video turned into my new obsession with these vloggers on YouTube. Katura and I were alone watching their fun videos going around Disney, Universal, their normal lives .... and we decided it was time for a vacation. But where to? 

We never had a honeymoon. We wanted Hawaii, but since we were married in Vegas we thought we would delay it so it wasn't like 2 back to back trips. For our anniversary the trip was delayed due to buying a new house, Man Friend's mom passing away and doing a Ragnar Relay. The next anniversary we were secretly going through IVF so vacation wasn't really even a thought. Well now I have my baby, we are living a normal life, and it feels like it is time. Man Friend made the mistake of agreeing with me and he barely said the word Hawaii and I was set! 

Soooooo, vacation prep is on! I'll have a birthday and Katura will turn 9 months old while we are relaxing on the beach in Honolulu! I used to fly maybe 3 times a year, so I am very comfortable with airplanes, packing and TSA screenings. Bringing a little girl is a whole new ballgame, and I'm quite excited! I've got a notebook where I'm writing down any ideas I have about packing and what kinds of things we could do in Hawaii. My little girl already has two new bikinis and some outfits for her time in The Aloha State! I knew I had to shop now because by the time we go I would have no luck finding her some warm weather attire. You can see one of her new hats in the photo to the left, it has a matching outfit (not the pajamas she's wearing)! Since it was watching a couple going to Disneyland that motivated me to plan a vacation, it feels fitting that for my birthday we are going to Aulani (Disney's new resort) for a character breakfast. I am excited to see Katura meet Minnie and Mickey for the first time. She watches them every morning, so maybe she'll recognize them?!? We'll see! And to top it all off, her Grandparents are coming along! 

And with that I already have airline tickets and our hotel booked, so it is time to finalize our rental car so I can relax and maybe whip out a boobie and feed a baby!

Sunday, May 22, 2016

A Little Update on a Little Girl

Here I am, finally with a moment to write this blog post that I've written in my head many times, and I suddenly have writer's block. Of course! I'd say I blame the baby, but really I should blame the dog that wakes me up every hour to potty at night and my boobs that wake me up feeling like solid boulders desperate to be pumped.

So a baby update! 

<-- Our hand prints, part of our Mother's Day gift to my mommy!

At the last appointment we were at, days before my return to work, we were given permission to let Katura sleep through the night. Finally an end to having to feed her every two to three hours! And what a gift it was that Katura went along with it and has no problem sleeping through the night. She and I are pretty much on the same schedule in the morning, with her waking up after I finish my final pre-work pumping. But still I sleep maybe 4 hours a night, thanks to my old dog and pumping milk whenever I wake up feeling like I'm about to explode. My alarm used to go off at 6:20am before becoming pregnant. I switched it to 6am once pregnant because I had to allot some time for my daily bout of morning sickness. Now my alarm goes off at 5am, but usually I am awake before it. And I use every single minute to get myself ready, feed Katura and get all of my gear ready for work. 

Work ... first off, the "gear"... I go every morning with a big cup for my ice water and my bag that contains my breast pump and small cooler. Farewell to the days of just walking out the door! I was up and down about my feelings on returning to work after maternity leave, but I must say I was pleasantly surprised! It was great to be back with the girls again. Shortly after my return I had my annual evaluation, which was the best one I've ever received. It was such a relief and really helped me transition back to working every day. I only work 4 hours each morning, Monday through Friday, which I imagine also helps me transition. If I had an 8 hour work day, ugh, that would be too hard to be away from her that long!

With work I have a whole new outlook. If we back up, a few years ago we had a different roster of people working in our department. Work was awful. I chose to go part time to at least maintain some sanity and minimize my time around the incredibly hostile environment. Things have improved with people leaving and the addition of two new faces. Those faces have really turned the atmosphere around. Now I go to work and it is almost as if it's my social hour. My four hours a day to visit with friends while having fun organizing things and playing around with numbers. After my daily free time (i.e. work) I then go home to what is now my real job, my job as a mom!

Child care is pretty awesome in our family. We are fortunate to never have to have anyone babysit Katura. Between my mom, husband and myself we have her covered thanks to our variety of work schedules. My mom and Katura have fun enjoying the outdoors, Uncle Buddy (my "brother", and mom's lab puppy), and reading books together. I suspect Katura will be bossing Buddy around in no time at all! 

My time with Katura is always busy and an adventure! She still loves bath time and floating around in the big sink. Now that she's holding herself up better she's been really into sitting up and watching anything that is happening around her. The cats and dog catch her attention often at home, and we've recently had the discovery of Disney Junior cartoons when I'm getting ready for work. Another discovery... her voice. This girl is a "talker"! I've been getting ready for work listening to her carry on conversations with herself. So adorable!

Everything is going in her mouth now.... burp cloths, blankets, Sofie the giraffe, and mostly Mickey Mouse. Often I grab things and find them to be all slimy from being in a little girl's mouth. She doesn't really take her pacifier as often now because she realized she has little fingers and hands and they are sure tasty and always available! I was a thumb sucker myself, so I understand the appeal!

I keep expecting people to unfriend me on social media because I'm that annoying mom that always shares photos of a happy baby doing things. I imagine everyone must be hiding me instead because seriously, how do you put up with me?? Instead I've done unfriending actually. When people start getting a little too creepy and sharing my posts all the time and just giving off a vibe, well, it's time to go. Or those that I used to be very close with now absolutely have nothing to do with me once I announced I was pregnant and can't even say a quick hello ... good bye. My life is so dang happy right now that I just don't even bother to let in anything or anyone that is a downer. So if that means shifting my friends and my relationships with them, so be it.

I'll wrap it up now. Last thing, I'm finally physically able to run again, so I'm gradually working it back into my life. Katura loves her stroller, so I imagine she and I will be spending a lot of time in the great outdoors together. I've also been inspired to start doing the whole Zumba thing again in my basement. I just need to keep figuring out what works for Katura and myself so then I can work in these things and not just always be a zombie after my four hours of work. Oh yeah, by the end of my 4 I'm pretty much walking around with glazed eyes and ready to feed and snuggle with a little girl! Feeding ... uh, it's possible she and I have both fallen asleep while she was nursing more than one time. Just a couple days ago I woke up and my husband had loaded garbage, gone to the dump, and come home and I didn't even know because she and I had fallen asleep together. Oops!

That's it. Done. If I remember what I had actually meant to write about I'll be back!

Sunday, May 1, 2016

Track Town 5K, With a Twist

Here's a first.... The first race report I have written on my phone while a baby sleeps on my lap!

In 2010 I ran the 5k from Eugene Marathon weekend for the first time. I was immediately sucked into that race weekend, only missing 2013 due to my wedding reception. There is something about running in Eugene that just makes you run better .... probably all of those crazy fast people you're surrounded by! The next 3 times I raced that weekend it was for the half marathon. Last year I planed to do the half and set a new goal for myself, but life had other plans. I ended up with doctor's orders to not do 13.1, but I could do 3.1 if I ran easy and took walk breaks. All of this was to keep my body in a safe and happy state since I was recovering from egg retrieval and preparing for my embryos to be implanted. It was a very worthy reason to run a 5k versus a half marathon! 

This year I had a pretty good reason again! I finally felt able to resume running after having my precious little baby, but that was only a week before the race. I want to start early being a good example to Katura and showing her how fun it is to be active, and prove that if you want to do something, you can. So I decided that less than 3 months after giving birth I was going to "race" again! I asked my mom to join me as I entered the Track Town 5K as one of those stroller people pushing a baby. I was prepared to be a stroller person!?!

Friday we ladies went up to Eugene for the expo, and frankly it was rather blah for all the hype of it being the 10th year. I maybe had too high of expo expectations. Getting our packets was a breeze though and we even won some free boxes of pancake mix! Most of our day was spent shopping, and I did find Katura her first race day outfit pants and a onesie that says "Team Mommy", which is very fitting since she was with her mommy and I was with mine!

Race day started extra early for me since now I have to be prepared with a diaper bag and milk for my girl, as well as my regular race gear. Around 6am we were on the road and heading to my usual parking spot a few blocks from the start line.

It was pretty chilly at first, so Operation Baby Bundle was in effect! No way would she be cold during this race! After her breakfast we made our way to the start area for last minute potty trips, start line photos and bonding with the other stroller people. We are certainly the minority, but didn't mind all mingling with each other at the very back of the pack. 

Once we hit the start line, however, we began running and set ourselves apart from the slow walkers and hand holders. That is a big race pet peeve of mine. Hold hands on a walk in the park, but don't get all cozy and attached during a race when inevitably you end up being a sort of wall that people have to weave around. So my pet peeve helped us get moving and in a safe pocket of fast walkers. 

The plan was basically to quickly walk and then run once we hit the track. Plans change. My legs feel better running, so any time they got cranky we would do a light run. Going down hills with a stroller is a totally new thing for me, and I learned it is easier to run that as well since the stroller is already wanting to go faster. Oh man, my arms! My legs felt it a little bit, but my arms are what got the real workout on that course. I had to do a lot of diverting around potholes and nasty parts of the street. Plus I had a death grip on it because that was my sleeping baby in it after all!

Coming up to the Hayward Field entrance we were cheered on by spectators rooting for those of us pushing our babies. That was fun and obviously very new to me! We hit the track and I told my mom we were running it in to the end. What I neglected to tell her was I always practice a finishing kick and use it in every race. Those people we were back and forth with during the race now became targets for me to pick off one by one. And I did. And then the real sprint happened and I confess I did ditch my mom in the last 10 or so yards. I always have to give my all at the end!

I was completely stunned when we were given medals! (They've never done this before!) And not a rubber cartoon-like medal like at a Disney race, but real, super nice medals! As we exited the race area we were given reusable water bottles with the race logo on them, already filed with water. Plus we got reusable tote bags, also with the logo, filled with snacks. Nice work, Eugene!! For the first time in all of my Eugene races I actually took advantage of the free pancakes. It was kind of fun to sit and have breakfast outside in the grass with my mom and daughter! Heck the whole weekend was fun!

On the way to the car we had to get some post race photos by Steve Prefontaine, as per usual. It felt great! I am so glad I signed up on a whim and that my mom joined me. So now I am looking forward to more training runs and building back up to my happy 13.1 distance, picking out some half marathons, and many more shorter races with my little girl and her stroller!