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Woman with a Plan

22 Feb

After yesterday’s disappointing news at the doctor’s office I hit the self-tanner pretty hard as a form of self-therapy. Yes, I deal with stress by turning my skin orange. Don’t judge, it certainly isn’t the worst form of stress-management out there. I guess having newly (and artificially)-bronzed skin makes me feel just a tad bit more attractive, which, I firmly believe, is very important during pregnancy.

You gotta do what you gotta do to feel cute, right? After all, a giant belly certainly doesn’t do much for the self-esteem, whether it be from a human baby or a food baby.

I was trying (unsuccessfully) to explain this whole concept to Michael last night while we were out shopping for some last-minute baby-time items… He couldn’t understand why I wanted the cheap neon orange sports bra over the cheap black sports bra to wear under my hospital gown.

Luckily, JCPenney filled that particular void in my life and I walked out of the mall with this fancy little thing (okay, honesty time… pregnancy has affected my body in such a way that the word ‘little’ isn’t super accurate when describing my bras anymore) for only $14:

Cute, no?

A flash of neon under my hospital gown? Don’t mind if I do!
And yes, I’ve already thought about how awesome this
color will look against my (fake) tanned skin.

Sorry, I was just so excited about that cute thing that I couldn’t help but share.

Ps: the reason I’m getting a bra specifically for labor is because my hospital is all about immediate skin-to-skin contact. I’ve read a lot about it and apparently it has all kinds of benefits for the baby. But. Babies are covered in all kinds of nastiness when they are… freshly squeezed… and I don’t want to be wearing a bra that I’ll use ever again. I just don’t want to live in a world where it’s acceptable to wear articles of clothing that have once been covered in blood and slime and baby poop.

Moving on… I have a plan. Forget about my hesitation from yesterday, this little boy is going to be out by midnight tomorrow night. I have all of the necessary protocols in place to make it happen.

Phase 1: These little cuties. No big deal, but I’ve already eaten an entire one. It got kind of brutal toward the end… and my tongue is now covered in tiny little blisters. But hey, if it gets the job done…

Apparently pineapples contain bromelain, an enzyme that can soften the cervix.

Apparently pineapples contain bromelain, an enzyme softens the cervix.

Phase 2: I’ve been walking pretty much all day long. 4 miles, to be exact. And yes, it did take this pregnant chick all day to accomplish this feat because I broke it up into mini sessions. And now my back is killllling me. But it will all be worth it when I’m holding a little baby boy in my arms rather than my uterus at midnight tomorrow.

Phase 3: Evening Primrose Oil. Chalk full of prostaglandins, the stuff that softens the cervix. I’m allll over this stuff.

This 3-phase plan is my Trifecta of Success and will get things going so that my goal is accomplished by midnight. I have never been more determined to make something happen in my entire life, so I know it will happen (do you see how I’m relying on the power of positive thinking to produce a son and heir? If only the European monarchs had as much optimism as I do).

I shall update you when the contractions begin. And they will begin soon.

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Valentine’s Day Fail

16 Feb
Can you appreciate the artistry in this picture? Um, yeah. I'm thinking of becoming a photographer.

Can you appreciate the artistry in this picture? Um, yeah. I’m thinking of becoming a photographer.

When Michael and I were dating, we spent our first Valentine’s Day eating takeout sushi from Happy Sumo in the parking lot of Y mountain. We had been engaged for a few months and were pretty in love with each other, so it was quite a romantic day (as per the fact that I demanded it be so), complete with cards, flowers, presents, music, and musing about our future together.

On our second Valentine’s Day we lived in Wymount Terrace and had been married for almost a year. Because Michael is a financially-minded accountant (and the fact that we were poor college students), we kept the day of love pretty low-key. In addition to being exceptionally frugal, Michael also would never acknowledge Valentine’s Day unless he had a sappy wife (luckily I fill that void in his life), so I planned the day and we ate takeout Happy sumo for a candle-lit picnic in our front room and then watched a chick flick. Such romance.

This year was a little different…

What's more romantic than making flashcards for your husband for Valentine's Day?

I’ve recently become really paranoid that Michael will forget everything he’s learned about labor in the heat of the moment, so I lovingly prepared flashcards for him as a Valentine’s Day present. Thoughtful Vday present, no?

I woke up feeling absolutely terrible because I was having a lot of contractions. At first I thought I might be in labor but after paying closer attention, I realized that the contractions weren’t regular and weren’t getting stronger, so I knew it was just a warm-up. When I went to my doctor’s appointment he told me that I’m a little less than 1 cm dilated and that he was “pretty confident it won’t happen today.”

Honestly, I was okay with that because I think it would be tough to be a boy and have your birthday on the girliest holiday out there. Plus his mom would turn his birthday into a pink and red affair every year… Yeah, I think that worked out for the best 🙂

See? Still there.

See? Still there.

I got home a little later and promptly went back to bed and spent the rest of the day in a painful haze. When Michael got home we went out for Thai food (no sushi when you’re pregnant, much to Michael’s relief) and frozen yogurt and then went to bed early. I feel really bad that I ruined Valentine’s Day, but I honestly wasn’t up to doing too much.

Don’t worry, Michael. I’ll make sure that next year is twice as romantic to make up for it 🙂

In the meantime, I have started to focus on other things. Like this:

The Bryce Canyon Half Marathon! {source}

The Bryce Canyon Half Marathon!
{source}

I registered for this race a few days after Christmas and then promptly forgot about it with all the preparations for Mr. Baby.

But.

The other day I had a dream that Michael and I were doing a triathlon together (I beat him) and since then I haven’t been able to stop thinking about getting back in shape.

Michael and I did this half marathon a few years ago and it is seriously such a good time.

How can a course with an elevation chart like this NOT be a good time? I mean really.

How can a course with an elevation chart like this NOT be a good time? I mean really.

I am so excited to do it again! Considering that I need to lose quite a bit of weight leading up to this race, I’m thinking that my chances of PR’ing are pretty remote (I ran it the first time in 1:56:04). If anything, this gives me a goal to work toward. And I’ll be able to spend some quality time with my first love: running. I’m thinking that April 1 will be the official start date of my serious weight loss/training program. Is it the worst idea to start on April Fool’s Day? I guess we’ll see!

I kind of can’t wait 🙂

Running & Cocaine

23 Oct

A few weeks ago Michael’s cousin, Melissa, and her husband, Kimball, invited us over to their house for dinner. They live in a little town called Maple Valley, which is a little ways away from the city, and it was so nice to drive through a canyon, see some open land, and spend time in a neighborhood. I forgot they existed! Can you tell that living in the city is killing me a little?

Anyway, Melissa and I were talking about running during pregnancy and she told me something that just blew my mind. During her first pregnancy, her doctor flatly told her that she absolutely should not be running during pregnancy, so she asked about her friend who ran 5 miles a day while she was pregnant. He said: “Well some women use cocaine when they are pregnant and sometimes their babies turn out fine, but that doesn’t mean you should do it too.”

Is that just crazy or what? Running and cocaine? I mean, they’re both pretty addictive, but I really don’t think they have much in common besides that.

Fortunately, we live in a time when doctors (with the exception of Melissa’s OB…) generally agree that exercise is healthy and completely safe during pregnancy. A lot of things have changed over the last several decades, apparently.

Pregnancy in the 1950's

{source}
Anyone else think that “bump” looks a little lumpy and suspect?

Even though we are a few years past the whole be-careful-not-to-break-a-sweat-when-you’re-pregnant mentality, some of it obviously still lingers.

When I found out I was pregnant, I immediately dialed back my running. In fact, I had registered for the Wahsatch Steeplechase (which I hadn’t trained for…) and just skipped it completely after finding out I was pregnant. See, I’ve wanted to run this trail race for years, but after I crossed the finish line of the Ogden Marathon (in late May), I needed a serious break from running. So I took one.

Unfortunately, I had signed up for this beast several months earlier (it took place in late June):

Wahsatch Steeplechase

This race is seriously hardcore.
It gains 4,500 feet of elevation in the first 7 miles.
Someday I’m going to actually do it, but it will be when I want to do it.

Anyway, the day before the race I freaked out. I knew that a positive pregnancy test was the only plausible out, so I took one out of sheer desperation. I knew there was an option it would come back positive, but I didn’t feel any different and was genuinely expecting a negative result. Obviously the positive result was a complete shock. So much of a shock, in fact, that the only emotion I felt for a few days afterward was relief (at not having to run the Wahsatch Steeplechase).

Looking back to that day, I probably could have run it. I might have hated it (okay, let’s get real. I most definitely would have hated it… And there was a pretty high chance I would have come home with the Bloodiest Runner award at the end–yep, they give that out), but I probably could have run it without any harm to my little guy (who is kicking me quite ferociously at the moment).

Pregnancy Exercise

{source}
Yesss. This is EXACTLY what I need for jogging in Seattle. Who doesn’t love a sexy maternity unitard? Oh wait…

Back in the day (think 80’s and even 90’s), doctors thought it was really unsafe for your heart rate to rise above 130 bpm during pregnancy. These days, we know there isn’t much truth to that. In fact, you don’t need to worry too much unless you start getting close to your maximum heart rate, which you usually can’t accomplish without an impressive amount of effort.

Exercise during pregnancy isn’t just okay to do, it’s healthy for you and your baby! According to WebMD: “Regular exercise during pregnancy can improve your posture and decrease some common discomforts such as backaches and fatigue. There is evidence that physical activity may prevent gestational diabetes (diabetes that develops during pregnancy), relieve stress, and build more stamina needed for labor and delivery.”

Health benefits aside, exercise makes me feel just a little hotter 🙂 Trust me, that goes a long way when the size of your belly is the most noticeable thing about you… It’s pretty emotionally tough to see your waistline quickly expanding and finding that your clothes don’t come anywhere close to fitting. Let’s not even talk about my arch-nemesis, the bathroom scale. But when I get out and sweat, I feel so much more attractive. I never realized how vain I am! Maybe it’s just me (though I suspect it’s not), but how I look is really important to me. And even though pregnancy has definitely forced me to alter my ideas of what is attractive, running gives me a little boost in the mornings. Shallow? Maybe. Worth it? Definitely.

Ps: If you’re pregnant and have never really been into exercising, you can start today! Seriously. I feel like I’ve heard all my life that you can maintain the intensity of your workouts after you get pregnant, but you certainly can’t start exercising if you haven’t already been doing it. FALSE! Unless your doctor gives you the thumbs down, you can start exercising for the first time when you are pregnant if you start out easy. Make sure to read this for more information if you’re thinking about exercising during pregnancy!

And on that note, I’m going to bed. And I have a doctor’s appointment in the morning! Am I the only one out there who absolutely adores these appointments? I’m just hoping this one doesn’t involve… an exam. You know what kind of exam I’m talking about. Eek.

Superfoods: Condiment Edition

15 Oct

This week, the superfood I will be focusing on is ketchup!

Ketchup

Yes, that’s right. Ketchup.

Made of tomatoes, vinegar, and sugar, ketchup is one of the healthiest foods you can find. It is packed full of vitamins A through Z and… calcium… and… okay, just kidding. Ketchup isn’t a superfood. Turns out it isn’t even good for you.

But.

I need to do some serious catching up this week (get it? Ketchup… Catch-up? I’m so funny).

Pretty much I’m going to go back and do 1 more kale and 1 more carrot recipe because I just didn’t give these superfoods enough love during their respective weeks. Party party!

Carrots + Kale

Carrots + Kale. Maybe combined? Okay, let’s not get too crazy.

Also. I went jogging today! This was quite the event, since I pretty much didn’t move at all last week. At all. But after listening to this talk, I’m determined to love running (and life in general) more. Because it turns out that I’ve been dreading it and hating every step lately. So sad.

Today was better. I was really focused on not checking to see how far I’d gone or how fast I was running and just staying in the moment. All was going well until I slipped on a bridge (dang rain makes everything so slippery), fell, and hurt my shoulder just a tad. I’m going to go ahead and call it a sports-related injury.

Here are some great quotes from that talk that I just love:

“Sometimes in life we become so focused on the finish line that we fail to find joy in the journey.”

“Doesn’t it seem foolish to spoil sweet and joyful experiences because we are constantly anticipating the moment when they will end?”

[ahem… me on every.single.run.]

“We shouldn’t wait to be happy until we reach some future point, only to discover that happiness was already available—all the time! Life is not meant to be appreciated only in retrospect.”

I feel like I’m usually really good about loving life when I’m in the moment–particularly running–but lately, I feel like it’s just another thing to check off of my to-do list. Isn’t that sad? I love running! Unhealthily, even. But I just don’t love it these days, so my goal for this week is to suffer through it less and love it more.

Is anyone else going through the exercise dumps?
How do you stay positive?

When Workouts Really Suck

12 Sep

So remember how yesterday I set the goal to be working out within 15 minutes of publishing my post? Well. Turns out that didn’t happen. But it’s all good because when it comes to exercise you can always make up for skipped workouts.

So today I did my C210K plan as scheduled, but I added a weights session afterward. And now I am exhausted. And sweaty. And Michael just informed my that I’m smelly too. So… ummm… awkward…

Sweaty Betty

See how sweaty? And how blurry?

You know how there are some people who hardly sweat at all and there are others who sweat like it’s going out of style? Well. I am definitely the latter. I read somewhere that people who sweat more when they exercise are healthier… buuut more on that later.

Today I want to talk about a vital part of every good workout: the part that really sucks. You know what I’m talking about. You know how workouts feel awesome for the first little bit, and then it just starts to hurt? And you wish you were doing anything else? Yeah, I know that feeling pretty intimately. It’s on my mind today because I did weights for the first time in like… a half a year. Isn’t that so terrible? Don’t judge.

Preeeetty

Someday I’ll be a rich parent and let my poor daughter use my amazing/expensive weights when she comes to visit. My parents had better keep an eye on them… I just might take them back to Seattle with me…

I just hate weights! I really, really do. I have a goal stored away somewhere to start to like weights some day, but today is not that day. When I do my workout, I go through all 8 exercises and then go all the way through 3 more times. Well somewhere between my first set of crunches and my second set of squats I really, really wanting to be done. But out of principle (or plain old stubbornness), I finished the workout. There weren’t very many moments that I genuinely enjoyed, but I loved being done. I think that’s why I stick with the hard workouts… just for that feeling of accomplishment when you get done. The sucky workouts are always worth enduring for the feeling of triumph at the end. In fact, the harder the workout, the greater the accomplishment.

The thing is, exercise is so much more mental than physical. Once you believe that, you can finish any workout you want (aside from CrossFit workouts… I’m not even going to touch those). If you can use the sucky moments of your workout to strengthen your mind, you have that much more of an advantage over the competition. It’s pretty awesome how it works.

The human body is absolutely incredible in what it can endure, but the mind is so sneaky! It wants you to stop and will even scream at you to stop and make you think you’re going to die if you take another step. So tricky. Even though the mind starts out as the weakest link in your workout, you can train it to become your strongest ally. Just like you condition your body, you also condition your mind. As incredible as the human body is, the mind is even more impressive. Eventually you can get to the point where your body is exhausted but your mind refuses to give in. It’s pretty awesome.

In honor of sucky workouts, here are some quotes by some insanely fast runners to send you on your way:

“A lot of people run a race to see who is fastest. I run to see who has the most guts, who can punish himself into exhausting pace, and then at the end, punish himself even more.”
-Steve Prefontaine

“I never feel more alive than when I’m in great pain, struggling against insurmountable odds and untold adversity. Hardship? Suffering? Bring it!”
-Dean Karnazes

“Learn to run when feeling the pain: then push harder.”
-William Sigei

These guys are such freaks.

One of Those (Lazy) Days

11 Sep

Just like the Joshua Radin song, it’s just been one of those days in my neck of the woods. Not a depressing day like Josh’s, but one of those lazy days nonetheless.

I am at my parents’ house and have spent all day in my pj’s. Yep, it rocks. And is slightly shameful. I have, however, brushed my teeth and taken my prenatal vitamins (2 points for me!). I had a lot of work to get done today, so I haven’t actually done my workout of yet and I’m still trying to talk myself into getting it done.

Lucy & Tag

Instead of working out, I’ve been hanging out with these two, who are just like Pinkie and the Brain but hungrier.

Here’s my goal: 15 minutes after I press “Publish” I will be in my workout clothes pumping iron. Yeah!

One of the things I struggle with most is getting to the gym or getting out and sweating when I am just having one of those days.

Along with that, wanna know what’s on my mind today? (aside from heartburn…) GOAL MOTIVATION. I realized the other day that making sure you are properly motivated is the only way you will ever accomplish a goal. Ps: thanks for the pep talk, husband!

The Why Behind the Goal

Kara Goucher

{source}
Wanna look like Kara Goucher? I definitely do! She’s so awesome! Not only is she a marathoner and Olympian, she’s also a mom, writer, and probably the cutest girl ever. Oh, and she has a killer bod. Having a picture like this posted somewhere prominent is a great reminder of the WHY behind my goals.

Before you set the goal to go to the gym every day, it’s important to sit down and figure out WHY you want to go to the gym every day. Do you want to lose weight? Feel better about yourself? Have more energy? De-stress? Whatever your motivation, figure out exactly why you want to go to the gym each day.

One you have figured out the WHY, be a little more specific. If you want to lose weight, how much weight do you want to lose? Exercise will definitely help you feel better about yourself, but what exactly are you looking for? Do you want to feel more confident in your appearance or in your ability to do hard things? If you want to have more energy, what do you want to do with that extra energy? Run a marathon? Be able to play with your kids for longer? If you want to de-stress, what is that you need a mental break from specifically? Are you looking for peace of mind away from sticky family relationships or a bad job?

See, that wasn’t too hard. A billion questions later and you should have the very specific WHY behind your goal to exercise. Now for another question: Why is it important to find the WHY behind your goals? Easy! Because they help keep you motivated when you reeeeaally don’t want to work out.

Use the WHY as Motivation

If you want to exercise to lose weight, find an old picture of you at an ideal weight and put it in a prominent place. If you have never really been in shape, print out a picture of a celebrity or an athletic ad that gives you a reference of what you want to look like. When you see this picture, it will remind you that heading to the gym–hard as it may be–will be worth it… eventually 🙂 Use this strategy to remind you of the specific reason that you want to exercise. Eventually you will develop a routine of working out and you won’t need to be reminded of why you’re doing it. It will just become intuitive!