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Tuesday, November 1, 2016

34 Weeks

I've set a new pregnancy PR!  At this 34-week mark three years ago, Logan was born, but Butter is still hanging in there.  I can tell this kid is gonna be a strong and excited little fella, especially by how hard he is kicking the shit out of me right now.

Now, mama on the other hand, is a big ol' lethargic bitch.  Seriously, I admit it.  I'm not a pleasant person to be around for more than, say, 27 minutes.  I'll be totally fine at minute 26, and then BAM, you better get the hell away from me because...BITCH.

Here's why:

*  It's been nine weeks exactly since my last run.  With Logan, I had nine weeks off total including my preggo recovery time.  At this point, even if I were to give birth, say, tomorrow, I'm looking at 15 weeks and one day of no running (not that I'm counting).  I know that in the grand scheme of things, this is nada, but when you're inactive, gaining weight rapidly, and seeing your ass jiggle in places it didn't jiggle before, you realize your goal of qualifying for the Olympic Trials just got that much harder.  Not that I'm not up for the challenge of course, but you get the point.

*  At 28 weeks, bed rest was recommended, as my cervix was already 50% effaced (basically, softened and shortened, which is one of the signs of labor).  Yeah, so, Dear Doc, do you know me?    Mama ain't got the time or patience for bed rest.  I did, however, stop all exercise completely, even suspending my gym membership so I couldn't be enticed to break the rules.  It's crazy how the lack of activity makes me SO tired.  I've seriously put my underwear on inside out a minimum of four times now.  I honestly have no idea what the hell I'm doing anymore.  

*  When I see another pregnant woman running in, say, 80-90 degree weather, I want to tackle them.  Okayyyy, so maybe I'm bitter and jealous.  I always try to do everything right during pregnancy, but my lil' body just really likes making fat babies that need to come out early (Butter was measuring a month ahead and nearly four pounds already at 30 weeks... 98th percentile or something), so I need to be more careful than some others.  I have to admit though, the no exercise thing is undoubtedly what has kept Butter cooking.  Realizing that exercise is actually a negative thing for my pregnant self is just, well, kinda depressing.

*  Okay people, stop telling me I'm cute.  My face feels like a marshmallow speckled with red glitter, i.e. pale and puffy with blisters.  Yeah no, I don't have acne...I have blisters.  WTH?  And when you tell me, "You're all belly!  You've gained no extra weight!"  Really, how do you know this?  Because I could strip down naked right now and show you the extra jiggle shit.  So, seriously, I realize I sound like an ungrateful bitch by saying all of this (but I've already established that I am a bitch, so why are you surprised?), but please stop mocking me.  I feel awful.  I would so much rather you say, "Jen! OMG!  You look like shit!" ...because then this would at least match how I feel, and I can be like, "I know, right?!"  Then we could continue to have a pleasant conversation without me secretly wanting to punch you in the face.

So, you can probably tell that I'm not one of those women that loves the process of being pregnant, but I also know I should shut up (<-- I just kinda suck at that).  I know the end result is 100% worth it, and I'm appreciative that my body allows me to do this at all, as not all women are as fortunate.  I thought about whether or not to even post this blog, as I feel guilty for complaining about something that truly is so wonderful...

Recently, I've had too many friends deal with situations that no one should have to go through:  being diagnosed with cancer for a second time, losing their battle with cancer, and one that sacrificed her own life during childbirth to save that of her unborn daughter.  The latter will stick with me forever, as Mandy would have been the best mom.  Even in pregnancy's toughest moments, she undoubtedly found the bright side in them, as Mandy was certainly a better person than me.  I hope the community continues to support this family.   

I most likely won't blog again until after Butter is here.  What I'm looking forward to most is giving Logan a little brother.  Logan has really enjoyed being the household helper recently, so my first task for him will be all middle of the night wake-ups and feeds (<-- I mean, seriously, how awesome would that be??).   And finally, I of course can't wait to start training again.  Just thinking about it gives me goosebumps, almost like my face is going to explode.  I just have to remember what I try to instill in all my runners...patience.  I have no idea how everything will work/balance yet, but I do know we'll figure it out.

Happy Running!

 30 Weeks?  I've stopped taking bump pics since this one...

Some of my awesome runners threw me an awesome shower with this awesome cake! 

Our little man is growing up.  ...almost three years old! 

Happy Halloween!  Logan with his girlfriend, Edie. 

Butter wanted to dress up too...

Thursday, September 15, 2016

27 Weeks

Yeah, so, I'm getting big.  While in the gym earlier this week, the front desk lady gasped and exclaimed, "Ohmigod!" as I waddled through the door.  Then some dude thought it was funny to tease me while lifting five pound weights by saying, "Hey there, your sit-ups aren't working!"  It did actually make me chuckle, until I suddenly had the urge to punch him in the face (no worries, I refrained).  In any event, shit is getting real.

Around 18 weeks, my running actually started to pick back up.  I snuck back under 8:00 pace, while still at recovery effort, and felt so thankful that my body was letting me do this.  Then somewhere around 19 weeks, my feet got really fat, and I no longer had sneakers that fit.  So, in my stubborn-ass nature, I put on the one pair in my closet that actually did still fit, full-well knowing that this particular shoe was BAD for my running gait.  "It's just one run," I thought.  "What are the chances that something will go wrong?" I thought.  Yeah, so, about a mile into that run, I pulled my calf.  BAD.  I ended up with about two weeks of no running.  That's when this happened:

What do you get when you cross a pregnant chick with the inability to run or drink wine?  A hole punched through your bathroom wall.

Luckily, we took a really nice trip to Maine right after this happened.  We had some cooler weather, lots of opportunities for cross-training (kayaking, hiking; etc.), and other distractions.  However, on our final night in Maine, I ate a cheeseburger (obviously) ...but then threw the entire thing up a few hours later.  Oh dear lawd, my pregnant ass is revolting against beef!  Therefore, when we got home, this happened:

What do you get when you cross a pregnant chick with the inability to run, drink wine, or eat cheeseburgers?  A hole punched through your other bathroom wall.  
(Hot dayumn I'm strong!)

Luckily after this, I was able to start running again.  Except now, I was around 22 weeks, and my GI system started to perform some really special tricks (which was eventually determined to be from my daily white chocolate mocha), and my uterus was starting to cramp.  Around 20 weeks, I was diagnosed with partial placenta previa, which means my placenta is somewhat covering my cervix.  The risk with this is the placenta tearing, which can send you into pre-term labor.  The doc advised to stop running if I felt any cramping and that if I progressed to complete previa (or if the partial did not clear by 28 weeks), most of my activity would be halted.  So, from that point forward, running became very spotty, and from 25 weeks on, has basically been non-existent.  The cramping and the urge of a baby falling out at any second is, ya know, a tad unsettling.  Now, with less than a week to go until my 28-week mark, the partial previa has yet to clear.  So, that's why this happened:

What do you get when you cross a pregnant chick with the inability to run, drink wine, eat cheeseburgers, or drink white chocolate mochas, topped with the lingering threat of not being able to move at all?  A fully torn off car sun visor, irrationally accomplished while sitting at a red light.
(Do I need anger management??)

I've still been able to ride the recumboring bike and the elliptikillme in the gym, but I'm not gonna lie, that shit blows.  However, I do it because my running goals sit thick in my heart, and I will be thankful I stayed in shape during this pregnancy.  If after next week I'm taken off all activity, I'll probably be somewhat distraught, but hey, it's for a very good cause, and well, we do have a third bathroom...

I find myself cringing now when someone asks me, "Are you still running?"  Many people think your level of activity during pregnancy is a choice.  Maybe for some it is, but for others, you have to listen to your body and doctor and do what's best for your baby.  If it actually was my choice, I'd head out the door for a 20-mile run right now, but unfortunately, that's not in the cards for my body.  I actually had someone call me a wuss (granted, they said it jokingly, but still!) when I mentioned I was going to the gym to ride the recumboring bike.  That was like a knife going through my chest.  At that moment, I wanted to drink six white chocolate mochas and then invite him over to my house, where I'd lock him inside for 24 hours...  

Do you ever drive past a greenway, trail, or other runners and start crying because you want to be running SO BADLY?  That's where I'm at right now.  Here's the thing though... I know this is going to serve me SO WELL.  My desire and drive has never been greater while dealing with the forced rest, and like I've said before, I truly believe this is how some women come back from pregnancy faster than ever.  Screw the hormone levels and blood volumes; it's about heart and guts.  How bad do you want it?  I know I want it more than ever. 

T-Minus 12 weeks and five days (but let's be real, most likely less for me) until we get to meet our new little man!  And T-Minus 18 weeks and five days until I can start training again!  ...not that I'm counting. :)

Happy Running!

Here's a little of what we've been up to these past 10 weeks...

Butter's room is starting to take shape!

We're fortunate to have the new LeBauer Park in Greensboro. 

Fun times with family and friends in Rangeley, Maine

I'm fortunate to have so many beautiful mama friends!

Neighborhood cocktail party (minus the cocktails for me!)
25 weeks along

National Folk Festival in Greensboro

Logan is picking up my carbo-loading slack!

Tuesday, July 5, 2016

17 Weeks

Don't try this at home:  vacationing with a toddler while pregnant and therefore unable to 1) drink wine, and 2) go out for hard runs.  Or, if you do, bring a babysitter.

Mike, Logan, and I ventured to Wrightsville Beach for the Fourth of July weekend.  Totally my idea, which was probably a stupid one.  Don't try this at home:  listening to a pregnancy-brain laden pregnant chick's ideas.  

The weekend was full of toys being thrown off our third floor balcony, crayons being thrown across restaurant booths, blood-curdling screaming for no apparent reason, "no mommy sit" (I'm apparently supposed to stand at all times now), and eating meals realllly fast to ensure we actually got to eat before the tyrant sounded his alarm.  "Tyrant" is now in the running for baby boy #2's name.  "Butter Tyrant Goff" - definitely has a good ring to it.   

Okay, it wasn't really that bad.  It was awesome to see the beach and especially how well Logan does in the water.  Our little dare-devil apparently has no fear diving off a pool ledge and seemed to pick up some basic swim techniques easily.  Logan just may be a triathlete in the making - and I hate to admit this - with running being his weakest link.   NOOOOOOO!

Air Logan!

The highlight of the trip for me, probably to no surprise, was a run on the beach unintended one at that.  Since the Saturday morning temp was already 80 degrees with ridiculous humidity, I didn't set out to run for fear of frying the Butter Tyrant.  Therefore, I planned a leisurely walk on the beach instead.  That afternoon, I threw on my now ill-fitting bikini and headed toward the ocean.  The sand was hot, so I ran down and realized that not only did I feel good, there was an awesome breeze coming at me.  Therefore, I kept running, taking two-minute breaks every ten minutes to douse myself in water.  Lemme tell ya... if you want people to stare at you in shock/horror, go running on the beach pregnant, barefoot, and in a bikini that does not fit properly.  I didn't care though.  I felt so good, almost Baywatch-like, except my new gargantuan, science-experiment-like boobs are actually real, and I have a gut.  I made it about five miles before realizing how blistered my feet were from the rocky beach sediment and called it a day.  Pure bliss.

At 17 weeks along (halfway according to Logan), running has become harder but is still going fairly well.  I'm running three to six miles at a time now, four to five days per week, and have slowed considerably in sticking to recovery pace effort (about 8:30).  I have more occurrences of walk breaks, mostly humidity-driven, but listening to my body is most important right now (although isn't it always!).  All-in-all, I'm 100% content with what my body is allowing me to do at this point.

In the next two weeks, we need to decide if I'm going to start weekly progesterone injections to help stave off pre-term labor.  We would of course prefer to not have another baby in the NICU but also don't like the idea of pumping my ass (literally - the injections are in the ass) with a synthetic hormone.  If we decide to do it, I anticipate running becoming even tougher, as additional hormones are guaranteed to make anyone batshit crazy.  This is NOT part of our decision-making, but I need to be prepared for what the final 20 weeks could bring.  Therefore, if you see me running down the road with a botox-looking ass (maybe I really should be on Baywatch?!) and crying simultaneously, you'll know what we decided.  I just have to keep reminding myself that this is temporary and will ALL be worth it.   

Streaming the 2016 Olympic Track Trials this week has provided me motivation when getting my 12-pounds-and-growing heavier ass out the door to run at 6am feels tough.  It's a wonderful reminder to enjoy and appreciate life in the present but to always keep your eyes on the prize.  I'm coming 2020... 

Happy Running!

obligatory (17 week) bump pic

 Another highlight from Wrightsville was the food (the taste, not the speed at which we ate).  This was a delicious smoothie in a bowl from Sundays Cafe, which followed a massive gouda cheese-baked bean-brown sugar-cole slaw burger from Poe's Tavern (ate it too fast to get a pic).

Friday, June 3, 2016

Running for Two

If competitive eating were an Olympic sport, I definitely would have secured an OTQ (Olympic Trials Qualifier) by now...

But unfortunately, it's not.  However, on December 13th, I'm set to reach the finish line of my ninth "marathon", where Logan will be awaiting the arrival of Butter, his new baby lion.  Yes, Logan thinks there's a lion in my tummy, which he proudly named after watching me eat wayyy too much of a certain something recently.

In actuality, Logan will be greeted by his new baby BROTHER, which means, yes, I will forever be surrounded by men.  Ladies, I'm currently planning my 2017 girls' night calendar, so let me know when you're free.  And to anyone that's tempted to ask if we plan to have a third to try for a girl?  Two words:  HEYULL NO.

First Trimester Pregnancy Stats:

Weight Gain:  Nine pounds.  Recommended?  Five.  I know, I know, I'm such an overachiever.  Given that the lion is only about the size of a goldfish right now, I'm pretty sure my ass just grew its own ass...

Cold Sore Count:  Seven in 13 weeks.  WTF.

Cravings:   Pizza and spaghetti with a side of tortellini, a family sized bag of Smartfood popcorn, wheat rolls lathered in BUTTER, and Skittles, preferably all served together.

Aversions:  Wine.  The lion is truly f'ing with me.    

Since I'm "high-risk" due to previous miscarriages and pre-term labor, I've cut my mileage by more than half.  However, as long as I keep it easy, my doctor encourages me to continue, stating that it would be a bigger shock for my body to stop doing what it's used to.  So, I'm getting out four to five times per week for four to seven miles, all at recovery effort (which is ~7:45-8:00 pace right now).  I also make sure not to run in temperatures above 69 degrees, as overheating is a pregnancy no-no.  On the other days, I supplement with light weights and the recumboringent bike.  I may or may not have eaten a snack bag of Doritos while pedaling the other day...  

    Three Months Along

The 2020 OTQ Plan:
While it's hard to plan too much around pregnancy (eh hem, not mentioning any names, but I know a boy that surprised his parents by arriving six weeks early), the tentative plan is to resume training in February 2017.  The qualification period for the 2020 Olympic Marathon Trials should open in summer or fall of that year and remain open until at least the end of 2019.  I will use a 2017 fall marathon as my first marathon back and plan spring and fall races accordingly from there.  

I realize the challenges that raising a toddler and a newborn while coaching full-time will pose on my OTQ dream, but I'm ready and willing to tackle them.  I've already fielded some warnings, some wanted and some not, about how bouncing back after the second is harder than the first and how having two is more like caring for a gaggle of inconsiderate, poop-exploding geese.  When someone pokes about my age (I just turned 36), I respond with stories of Meb and, more recently, Heidy.  I use all of this as fuel for the fire, as everyones' experiences and how we choose to respond to them are very different.

Furthermore, and more so than in my first pregnancy, I miss training TERRIBLY.  Many wonder how women can possibly get faster after pregnancy.  Personally, I don't think it has as much to do with the physical changes our bodies experience as much as the emotional.  We're forced to take that ever-so-crucial break from training, and we therefore come back fresh, more motivated, and simply wanting it more.  I'm already pumped to take my training to the next level; having always been a low-mileage runner, there's still a lot more in these legs.

To aid in my comeback, I'm considering having my tonsils removed at the tail-end of my pregnancy recovery and immediately before I resume training.  I experienced seven bouts of tonsil infections/antibiotics in the two years after Logan was born, which I know were caused by a lack of sleep while working my body hard in so many ways.  Of course, I need to speak to my doctor about whether this is medically smart/safe, but I'm willing to do whatever it takes to achieve my dream while also being the best wife, mom, and coach I can be.   

Keep dreaming, and
Happy Running!  

Thursday, February 25, 2016


Four years ago, I was in Houston to watch the 2012 Olympic Marathon Trials, in awe of the women that achieved the qualifying standard of 2:46:00 and the honor of being on the start line with America's best.  I remember thinking how insanely impossible it would be to reach that mark, that I was okay with just being "good" because these women obviously had some sort of talent that I was never blessed with.

Giddy spectators at the 2012 Olympic Trials in Houston

Knowing what I know and feeling what I feel now, man was I a naive jackass back then.  I wish I had been wiser, more confident, more apt to say f*ck it; I can do that! ...and then actually believing in myself to go for it.  Unfortunately, in 2012, I just was not there yet.

So now here we are in 2016, another Olympic year.  While watching the Marathon Trials two weeks ago, my mindset was different.  I was no longer watching in awe but instead with a burning desire to be there.  I have to be there.  I cry thinking about being there.  There is this deep, impatient passion within now to be there.  And you know what?  I'm finally at the point in which I believe it can happen.  It's fascinating, almost life changing, when you make the transition from saying you believe in yourself to actually believing in yourself.  This truly is the meat and potatoes (or better yet, the wine and cheese) of making it happen.

This belief developed slowly over the past four years.  In 2013, I lowered my marathon PR from 3:06:35 to 3:02:59 right before becoming pregnant with Logan.  I remember feeling scared that my running would forever take a nosedive from that point forward, letting negative feedback seep into my preggo-fragile brain're not going to have time, your body will never bounce back, you'll be too tired to do anything else, you're getting older, it's not about you anymore, yadda yadda.  And you know what?  Much of this is true.  I see it in the bags under my eyes, feel it in the spaciness of my brain, and feel it in the pain of my diastasis recti that I'm not sure will ever go away.  However, I learned that with passion, patience, attitude (whether of the "positive" or the "get-the-hell-out-of-my-way" variety), good health, and wine, no woman (or man!) should ever lose sight of their individual goals.  We're in control of making them happen if we truly want them to.  Eleven months after Logan was born, I broke three hours for the first time (2:58:31).  A year later, I dropped that to 2:54:58 in a race that saw temps climb to a sunny 75 degrees.  Sure, I was happy and proud of the PR and runner-up finish, but I knew I could do better.  My confidence was suddenly at an all-time high, and the thought of an OTQ came to light.  Why not me? 

So now here I am.  I'm not scared of putting this enormous goal out there because as long as I'm doing everything in my power to achieve it, I will have given it my best shot.  I already well up with emotion when someone asks me, "what are you training for next?" and I respond with "to qualify for the 2020 Olympic Trials."

Subject to change, the current OTQ standard is 2:45:00, and the qualification period should open by the end of 2017.  I've spent some time stalking researching the backgrounds and training of women that qualified for 2016.  The stories of sacrifice are plentiful, from the 80-90-100+ mile training weeks, to the 42-year old mom of three that trained at high altitude in Kenya for six weeks, to the numerous women that put off family plans to go for this dream first, to the giving up of sugar and alcohol in the six weeks before their qualifying attempt (<-- um, say whaaa?).  As for me, I plan to add more miles to my weeks, hoping to grow from the 60-65 I ran before Kiawah to 70-75.  At some point, I guess I should maybe probably sorta give more attention to nutrition, as my burger-wine-dorito-burger-wine diet may need a little fine-tuning.  I'd also like to incorporate yoga for recovery/strength and to focus on weight-training, which is something I let slip a bit last year.

One thing I have in which I know not all women are as fortunate is an incredibly supportive husband.  While talking about our personal goals last night, the first one Mike stated for himself was to make sure I reached mine.  He understands how much this means to me, almost as if he is training for the race himself.  We've also had lots of conversations about our joint goals, the biggest being to expand our family.  Given that I'll be 36 in two months, we realize this window doesn't open any wider in the coming years.  Sometimes in my weaker moments, I feel resentful that pregnancy and hard training individually require 100% of my body, which then leads me into an extra bottle of wine extreme guilt for feeling this way.  I have to remind myself that while qualifying for the Olympic Trials is a race against the clock, life itself is not.  Whether attempting to expand our family or qualify comes first, I want to smell the roses and fully enjoy the process of both.  And heck, if I crushed my PRs once after giving birth, I fully believe I can do it again.  ...even if I am a few years older.  Just ask Meb.

Never give up on your dreams. 

A little of what we've been up to...
Family trip to Wilmington, where we watched the 2016 Olympic Trials on live television.  Logan was inspired and challenged us to a running race.

 Logan is digging his new school.  When did he get so tall?

 Epic southern snowstorm of 2016.  Yes, you can still see the grass...

Date night.  Uber selfie because we thought we were uber badasses.  

Brownie cupcakes with peanut butter oreo buttercream
About that nutrition...