Race Schedule and Results

Thursday, January 31, 2013

My January Goal

I'm not a big resolution maker.  I know myself enough and won't stick with them.  It's just kind of how it is.  And really, I try to live every day with a healthy life in mind so resolutions dealing with health and fitness are kind of dumb.  Yes, I could be nicer to people, or more patient, etc, but I think that I should always be working on it, not just starting January 1st each year!

So when the end of the year rolled around and everyone was making their resolutions for 2013, I thought about my year ahead.  What a year it'll be!  I decided to just take it one month at a time and make a goal.  Just one goal that I could stick with. So for January, I set out with the goal of doing something active every day.  Sounds easy enough, right?  But, keep in mind that I'm now 22 weeks pregnant and let's face it, there are days when sitting my big butt on the couch and watching the Real Housewives of Beverly Hills (don't judge) just sounds better.  I'm happy with my results... I had probably one of the most active months that I've had in a long time.

This past month, my bike trainer and I became friends again.  We're not BFF's or anything yet, but we're getting there.  Relationships take time.  I did have to move from my bike shorts to my hubby's a larger pair (and I found that I LOVE LOVE LOVE bib shorts when I'm pregnant... not waist band digging into my big bump as I ride).  I'm still on my tri bike, but I'm not riding aero.  The belly is too big.  And I don't have my magnet on my back wheel - I figure why frustrate myself with my pace.  I take breaks to stretch, give my whooha a rest and to stay hydrated.  This month I hit the bike trainer 12 days for an average of just over 1 hour each time.  My longest ride was only 1:20, but I'm good with that.

Running has become more of a struggle.  I'm getting bigger.  My belly is growing and things are just uncomfortable when I run.  Last week I had a huge breakdown.  Tom and I had gone for a 5 mile run and about 15 minutes into it I had to pee (super common).  Luckily we were on the greenway and right at the 1.5 mile point there is a sports complex with potties.  I stopped, did my business and thanked the front desk person who replied with "enjoy your walk".  Ugh... really?  The first 15 minutes had been a struggle for me as it was, but I was running and I didn't want to turn to walking.  I left the building, walked towards Tom and proceeded to sob.  I wasn't a walker.  I was a runner.  I wanted to run.  But that day, running was H.A.R.D.  As I calmed myself and said that I would try again, I got a searing pain in my left butt cheek that left me in tears again.  Was this the end of my running?  I proceeded to walk for an hour and call it a day.  I was defeated.  But, three days later I gave it another go and although it was slower than ever, I made it through a 45 minute run.  At this point, I haven't resorted for a run/walk program yet (except for maybe up a hill or two when I feel my heart rate spike), but I think it's coming soon.  I'm happy to just be trucking along!  I did buy a pregnancy belt to hold up the baby and it's helped my round ligament pain a lot.  I'm going to give it a lot of work this weekend hopefully when I'm in Ohio and on the treadmill (it's supposed to be a high of like 22 and this momma doesn't have enough warm weather running clothes that fit so the treadmill it is).  I digress... I ended up running 9 times this month (with a possible 10th today) and my longest run was 7.2 miles.

And the rest of the time I've been walking, which honestly wears me out more than anything around here.  It's hilly.  I've talked about that before.  When we run, we tend to hit the greenway so that it's somewhat flatter, but when I walk, I embrace the hills.  I'm usually huffing and puffing by the time I'm done.  It's a great workout and if need be, I'm going to incorporate it more as the pregnancy progresses.  It definitely isn't a little stroll in the park.  I walked 12 days this month and my longest was for over 1:20!  Tom usually comes with me (as does Charlie) and he and I have the absolute best conversations - be it about our little girl, our past, our present, our future, work, racing, training, etc.  I love those times with him so much.

So overall, I did a darn good job in January.  You can see I even doubled up some days if you could up how many workouts I did. :)  Now if only my weight wouldn't keep piling on... oye ve... that's for another post in itself.  I'm healthy.  I'm pregnant.  I get it. No need to remind me of that!!!

So for February - I'm going to keep up this goal (because you know, after doing something for 21 days, it becomes a habit and I like this habit), but I'm going to set a new goal.  Tom and I are going to go out to eat once a week.  We tend to grab a lot of convenience food when we are out and about and I'm limiting that for the next 28 days.  This should help our budget, and help me get the food I need.

How was your January?  Did you hit your goals or resolutions?

Tuesday, January 22, 2013

An ambassador, a marathon and an award

I recently received an email that I had been nominated for eCollegeFinder's Top Health & Fitness Blogs Award.  That's pretty cool.  Anyway, I accepted my nomination and found out yesterday that I was chosen for the award.  I'm honored to be listed with the others... it's an amazing group of bloggers, that's for sure.  For a complete list of the winners, you can visit  https://www.ecollegefinder.org/health-and-fitness-award.aspx.

So as you know, I decided to "retire" from the Rev3 racing team.  Tri's are kind of of back burner and with the babster coming, I didn't feel like I could give them what they deserved.  But, that didn't mean that I wasn't seeing out other opportunities that would fit me during AND after the pregnancy.  I was happy to be chosen as a BrooksID Ambassador for 2013.  I've always loved Brooks gear... I think everything I've touched from shoes to shirts, bottoms and accessories have been second to none so this was super exciting.  I placed my first order the other day and got this great RUN long sleeve shirt and a pair of the Brooks Pure Connect 2's. 
I've had to order large shirts to accommodate my growing belly and this one fits great and I think I'll be able to get a lot of use out of it even after the belly is gone.  And the shoes... well I haven't taken them off my feet.  They are amazing. :)  I can't wait to outfit myself post baby as I get back into fighting shape.  I think it'll help with the motivation as well.

Speaking of motivation, Brooks is partnering with the Rock'n'Roll Marathon Series and I'm excited that I was selected to run the RnR Savannah race in November.
I'll be honest in that I've not put much on my training/racing schedule for 2013.  There's just too much that's up in the air.  And while I'd ultimately love to just bounce back from the pregnancy in no time flat, that's not a total given.  RnR Savannah is in mid-November and I'm really going to use it as a goal.  For now, I'm planning on doing the full marathon.  That will be a huge accomplishment to be able to run a full marathon five months after delivering, but I think it's doable if I'm smart.  If I find that I'm struggling with things, I can readjust my goals a little.  For me, it won't be a PR race.  It'll be about me getting out there and showing that momma's can do it!  Plus I'll have extra motivation with Tom cheering for me (this will be my first alone marathon), holding our baby girl the entire way.  Savannah is an amazing city and is a special place for Tom and I.

So, do you think a marathon is doable five months after delivering?  Have you ever done one of the RnR races?

Thursday, January 17, 2013

My sister...

**Look at me, two posts in one week.  This is a really important post for me.  I hope you enjoy it and are as inspired as I am**

As most of you know, I have an older sister, Kristen.  She is one of my best friends.  She's an amazing woman, inside and out and I've always known that.  But it wasn't until this last year that I think SHE started to know that.

You see, my sister and I are complete opposites in so many ways (they say opposites attract, right?  Maybe that's why we get along so well!).  She's an English teacher and I'm a math/science person.  She loves her cats one of her cats and I'm not a cat person.  She drinks coffee, I can't stand it.  She reads, listens to all kinds of music, goes to book clubs, gets her hair cut often.  Me, eh, I read trashy magazines while I bike, listen mainly to country music, don't have any clubs that I belong to (unless you count USAT) and well, I can't tell you the last time my hair was styled (ponytails are totally a style).  Physically, we couldn't be more different either... I have dark hair, hers is reddish blond.  I'm nearly 5'8".  She's a little shorter (teehee). She's fair skinned and burns easily and I love my deep tan in the summer.  People see us and many times can't believe we are related.

One thing my sister has struggled with for a long time is her weight.  She's a beautiful woman (I said that already) but she's been on the heavier side for a while (now, hear me out.  That's not me being mean.  Our family struggles with weight.  It's a given fact.  My mom has lost 50+ pounds on Weight Watchers and works hard to maintain her size now.  I have lost 30+ pounds on Weight Watcher.   I work out daily because I love food.  And if I look at a plate of something yummy, a pound or two goes to my thighs.  It's part of the Degnen genes). 

We all knew she had to make a change.  We wanted her live a healthy life without complication.  I have a husband who lives each day with Type 1 Diabetes - a disease that he didn't bring on.  He can't change that but my sister had a choice to change and instead, was going down a path of Type 2 Diabetes, Heart Disease, High Blood Pressure and so many other things.  They were going to cut her life short if she didn't make a change.  I wanted that for her.  My parents wanted that for her.  Her husband, her friends, her coworkers wanted that for her.  But she needed to want that for herself.  That's the key to any one's success, right?  She's given one opportunity to live her life, one body to live it in and it was up to her how to do that.
I have tried to never judge my sister on any of her choices in life.  But I always quietly wondered, "why isn't she willing to change?". It's not always easy, but I've seen people do it time and time again.  We would talk to her about it, I would try to get her to sign up for races (um... that's my love, not hers), but inevitably, it ended with someone in tears and all of us feeling horrible.  My sister has tried so many things to lose the weight, but it seems that for years, her weight would win. She wasn't ready for whatever reason.  And it made us sad.  All of us.  She just didn't seem like a happy person... I mean, she wasn't happy with herself.  She had an amazing life on the outside, but her inner sassy, healthy, self was being hidden by excess weight, aching knees, and frumpy clothes.  And all too often a very sad face.

Something happened last year that flipped the switch.  Although she says that it was one instance (it's kinda of personal so I won't go into that, but isn't every one's reason personal?), I think it was more that that.  A year ago, she decided to join Weight Watchers.  Now, my sister had done weight watchers a millions times and swore it didn't work. "But this time is different", she said.  I wanted to believer her so bad.  And I knew that I would support her in hopes that she realized this journey, even if she'd started it many times before, wouldn't be one that she was on alone.  She was determined not to be the person that she hated anymore. 

And let me just tell you - she took control.  Slowly the weight started to come off.  She reformed the way she saw food.  This lead to a difference in the way that she saw herself.  The little things made her smile again, something that we hadn't seen in many many years.  I would get calls (and still do) once a week on Tuesdays with her checking in, telling me how her weigh in went, how her meeting went, what new recipe she was trying.  When we were together, she had a glow about her.  She was on a path of happiness.  I could see it.  This time was THE time.

And what a year it's been.  This week marks the 1 year anniversary of my sister changing her life forever.  There have been so many milestones along the way.  I remember her calling and telling me that her husband could touch his hands together when he hugged her for the first time.  I remember when he picked her up and swung her around for the first time.  I remember seeing her in July, when she was down 30 pounds and not recognizing her.  I remember the call of her sobbing as she bought size 18 pants, then 16's, then 14's and now her 12's are big.  She was shopping in what she calls "normal people stores".  I remember encouraging her to leave Kohl's and try a place like Ann Taylor Loft... a store she had never stepped foot into.  I would get photos of her in the dressing room in like red pants (something she would never buy), but tried on just to see if they fit (and they did!)  I remember the day she called to tell me she bought a super expensive bra at Victoria Secret just because she had never been able to shop there before.  Of the time when she was beaming because she weighed less than Tom!  Every time I talk to her, it's a new "thing" in her life that brings her joy.

I haven't seen my sister since September.  I'm going to visit her in 16 days and I can't wait.  I'm going to sob like a baby when I see the new her.  The sister that I don't even recognize.  I was sent a picture on Christmas day and this just explains it all.
Look at that sass. I FREAKING LOVE IT.  The picture of her in a green shirt was taken back in 2009 I think.  That's how I remember my sister.  Look at her now... I told you, she's a beautiful person inside and out, and now she just exudes happiness, something that's been trapped inside of her for so long.

When you ask my sister how far she's come, there aren't words to describe the conversation.  On the physical/health side, she has lost 71 pounds.  Her knees don't creek and lock when she goes up the stairs.  Her blood pressure is normal.  She's seen differences in her menstrual cycles (for the good!).  But on the emotional side... I don't even know if she knows how far she's come.  She loves life.  That's all there is to it.  She's happy, and fun, and sassy.  She smiles and jokes and has a confidence about her that is unlike anything I've ever seen from her.  She's living the life that she deserves.

And her journey isn't done.  And my hopes her her aren't either.  I'm hoping that now that spring's around the corner, she'll start incorporating more exercise into her plan.  I'm hoping that she continues to learn about healthy eating and sticks to what she knows.  I hope she continues to lose until she's at a place where SHE can look at herself and say "damn, I'm hot".  I hope that she gets the call that the baby she's patiently waiting to adopt is waiting for her, knowing that she now has the energy to keep up with a little one.
But most importantly I hope she knows how incredibly proud of her I am, and that she realizes that she's given herself the greatest gift of all... saving her own life.

*** Kristen reads this blog and I told her to keep checking back because I have the most amazing followers.  If you would, leave a comment with some words of wisdom, your thoughts or something that will help keep her moving forward.  I'd love her to know how amazing she's doing from someone other than me***

Wednesday, January 16, 2013

Finally a running skirt I love!

Many of you have heard my rants about running skirts - seems everyone makes them but so many companies haven't grasped that I want to wear a running skirt because I a) like to channel my inner girlie girl some days and b) can't wear regular shorts because I get thigh rubbage (sorry if that's TMI, but it's true... momma's got some legs). I've converted to only wearing compression shorts when I run.  But even those need to be long... think 5" inseam and not booty shorts. I have strong legs.  Soccer legs.  Biking legs.  And that means that when I run in normal running shorts and running skirts with tiny little compression shorts that ride up, especially when it's warm, it's not comfortable.  So, I've struggled with the perfect running skirt - one that's cute and fashionable, but also functional.  Aka long underneath short that doesn't ride up.  Is that too much to ask for?

Back in December, Running Skirts sent me one of their newest skirts from their collection, along with a sports bra and compression socks.  I had been putting off reviewing it until I could get a good warm day to wear it and get the full effect.  It fit me back when I got it and I'll be a little honest when I say that I was worried it wouldn't fit this past weekend with my growing belly.  But alas... it did!!!

So I took the skirt out of the package and immediately noticed the long under short. Score one for Running Skirts!  I noted that this was from the "athletic line".  Their Athletic Skirts are made from a really light fabric which is quick drying and are a little roomier than the Running Skirt line.  They all come with compression shorts starting at 5" inseam and two side pockets that velcro close. The waist band is wide and comfortable.  So far so good.  I put it on and even 19 weeks pregnant, the skirt fit great.  Off for a run I went.
At first the legs rode up a bit and I was worried, but that lasted about a minute and a half and after I adjusted them to where I wanted them to sit, they stayed in place for the remainder of my five mile run. 

I'm in love.  With a skirt.  That a I can run in.  Finally!

I'm super pleased.  I've washed the skirt and it came out great.  I've worn it around just as a kick around and it's super comfy.  I'm worried that as I get bigger, this one is going to seem smaller, but Running Skirts used to have a maternity line and I anxious to see what those skirts are all about if they still have them.  Hello, maternity running skirts?  I'm all over that.  I will hopefully be able to get my hands on one to review for you because we know how hard good maternity clothes, let alone good maternity running clothes are!

Yesterday I wore the compression socks around all day and then on my bike.  I love me some compression socks!  These were awesome... soft, long enough to cover my entire bottom leg, tight enough to feel the compression, and super cute with the pink heart on the side.

The sports bra is a little small.  Okay, a lot small, but that's mainly because I'm pregnant.  It would have fit me 20 weeks ago.  I'm going to hold onto it and wear it when I'm back down to a normal human size chest.

Overall, I'm loving the Running Skirt line.  I finally found a skirt that I love.  They have a ton of cute colors and styles.  And their customer service is awesome (if you get a skirt and aren't 100% satisfied, they will refund you or exchange it for 30 days!)  Oh... and they are offering my readers 15% off at their website by using the code "sharethelove13".  Trust me, you will be happy in this skirt and these socks.  Really, really happy. :)  Thank you Running Skirts - you have a lifelong fan!

Oh... and because I'm pregnant - here's a little teeny tiny baby update.
  • How far along? 20 weeks, 1 day
  • Total weight gain: Just about 10 pounds total (I think I'm up exactly 10 pounds according to the doctor's scale)! :)
  • Maternity clothes? Yes.  They are glorious. :)  I'm still wearing some of my own stuff though.  And luckily I work from home and the office attire is yoga pants and tee shirts.  Again, I'm hoping to try out one of those glorious maternity Running Skirts!
  • Stretch marks? Nope.  I slather myself in cocoa-butter every chance I get.  I know that hasn't been proven to stop stretch marks, but it can't hurt. 
  • Sleep:  Sleep is getting a little difficult.  Part of it has to do with Charlie who, God love her, is a cuddler.  And by cuddler I mean she's a "I-have-to-be-touching-you-at-all-times-and-preferable-in-the-smallest-crevice-I-can-find" kind of way.  And she doesn't do it with Tom.  So he's sprawled and I'm in the shape of a pretzel.  Also, I have heard that around this time I shouldn't be sleeping on my back and I'm naturally a back sleeper.  So I go to sleep on my side, wake up freaked out that I'm on my back and go to my side.  This cycle repeats often throughout the night.
  • Best moment this week: At my 20 week appointment this week, seeing our little girl moving like crazy.  I haven't felt her move yet so this was pretty awesome.
  • Miss Anything? Someone asked me that this weekend and really, I don't.  I wasn't much of a drinker so I don't miss the alcohol.  And really, that's all that I absolutely gave up.
  • Movement:  No.  Which is bothersome to me some days and I'm totally fine with it others. I have felt some bubbling feelings a time or two and I'm *thinking* that might be her moving, but I don't know.
  • Food cravings:  I'm not really craving anything, but I can't get enough of a snack consisting of an apple, 2% cheddar cheese and some pretzels.  Seriously a great combo.
  • Anything making you queasy or sick: Nope... am I jinxing myself or what?
  • Gender: Girl... thankfully they confirmed that today or else we would have been returning a lot of girl stuff and repainting some walls!
  • Labor Signs: Nope
  • Symptoms: Um, I feel like a hippo.  I have a giant belly.  I have gone up two bra sizes.  I eat anything that's not nailed to the table.  Are those symptoms enough?
  • Belly Button in or out? It's in, but I can tell it's changing and that makes me laugh.
  • Wedding rings on or off?  On... no swelling yet.
  • Happy or Moody most of the time: I feel like I'm happy, but I guess the person to answer this would be Tom.  If I get snappy with him, I usually cry and apologize because he's been so amazing to me that I feel bad.
  • Looking forward to: Hanging her name on the wall above her crib now that we know for sure that she is a she.

Monday, January 7, 2013

Running for two

I've always found running to be a stress reliever, even on the days when I don't want to get out there.  And there are a lot of those, but I always tell myself to put on my big girl panties and take that first step.  If it's miserable, I'll turn around and go home.  I never do.  Running is a way of clearing my mind.  I take in the sights (like the 5 deer we saw today).  I take in the sounds (there are many babbling brooks that we pass on our daily runs).  I think about how blessed my life is (I live in an amazing home, with my best friend. I have a supportive family and the best friends a girl could ask for.  We have jobs, we have love.)

These days I'm not fluid when I run.  Tom often smiles at the top of the hills (he's always there about a minute before me) and tells me that I look like a steam engine, just chugging away.  I used to get mad about things like that.  But not these days.  I do look like a steam engine.  Or a hippo.  I'm slow, and methodical.  I'm not a smooth runner.  I am working.  At a slow pace.  And I love every step of it.

I saw this picture on line today (Run The Edge posted it on facebook) and it totally made me smile for so many reason.

These days I'm running for so much more than just myself.  Yes, it still keeps me sane and there is no better feeling than that of finishing a run.  But now I am running for my baby girl AND me. (Yes, you caught that right... it's a girl!)  There are two of us chugging up those hills.  Two hearts getting stronger.  And what better gift can I give us both than the gift of good health - for me through the pregnancy and for her as she starts her life.

There are so many benefits to running for two:
  • Various problems related to pregnancy such as nausea, fatigue and constipation can be reduced by running while pregnant. 
  • The expectant mothers who have a habit of running during pregnancy may not experience the problem of excessive weight gain. They also have a better posture.
  • Running also helps in reducing and preventing gestational diabetes and in lowering back pain. 
  • Expecting mothers who follow fitness regime during pregnancy have less swelling of extremities.
  • Delivery complications and labor pain as well as how long delivery takes can be reduced to a great extent by running during pregnancy. It also reduces the chances of c-section.
  • Pregnancy running not only makes the expecting mothers feel good, but it also leads to increased flow of energy.  It's also been shown to reduce postpartum depression.
  • Pregnancy running helps in reducing baby fat of the unborn child without affecting the normal body weight.
  • Pregnancy fitness also leads to better blood circulation and placental efficiency.
  • Running is one of the best cardio exercises that increases blood circulation and thus supplies oxygen and necessary nutrients to the fetus. Better blood flow = better skin!
  • Continued exercise during pregnancy helps mom's get back into pre-pregnancy shape quicker.
I'll keep running for two as long as I can.  And when she's here, we'll run together.  It's just how life goes.