Wednesday, July 30, 2014

No Time For Talky

Holy Mackerel! (I love that saying only because my dad says it all the time so it has started to infiltrate into my own conversations with myself prompting amusing imagery of my dad).

I am insanely busy at work. And then on top of work, there's the kids, and trips to the park, and running, and our primary family car breaking down an hour from home, and a broken kitchen sink which resulted in leaking all over our basement and total replacement of all the pipes (yay for husband and father-in-law who did all the work).

We are also preparing for a road trip to attend a family reunion. I get the feeling I'll be packing one hour before take off.

I guess I have to go now. I have to be up in five hours. Seriously, who even has time to be pregnant? (I haven't remembered to take a prenatal vitamin since I was 10 weeks along...oops).

Sunday, July 27, 2014

Hard Lessons

A week ago, I signed up for my third pregnancy race. I asked Jacob if he wanted to run in the kids' dash and he sounded interested (maybe just in the free t-shirt? ha ha) so I signed him up too.

The race is all he talked about for days. He would tell anyone who would listen that he was going to run in a kids' race. The night before the big day, we picked up our racing packets. As Jacob emptied his packet on the floor, I showed him the wonders of free promotional gear (deck of cards from the local casino, marketing pencils, and chip clips covered in business logos- kinda useless but hey....FREE!).

I also explained the intricacies of racing bibs. You have to crumple them up so that they are aerodynamic. A track/cross country superstition? Perhaps. But that's the rule in our house. (Plus, a crumpled up race bib looks so much more intense than one that looks like it came straight off the printing press).

Jacob was amazed at the racing bib. "Mom look! I'm No. 1!" All the kids' race bibs said No. 1, but I didn't feel the need to tell him that just then.

Ready to race! There is nothing more fun than bonding with your child over a shared love of your favorite activity.

The day of the race, I was up first for my four mile race. I had been very nervous the night before (waking up every two hours to check the clock) and all morning despite the fact that I repeatedly told myself that this was going to be just a "fun run." I wasn't going to try anything crazy. No pressure. I'd be happy if I just crossed the line at 32 minutes. Ha! Yeah right.

When the gun went off, I started off easy and right on pace. But then we came upon our first hill and people started to slow down. I felt so good. Maybe I'll go for it just a little bit? I chugged steadily up the hill passing people left and right. Little did I know, the hill steepened and continued for a full mile! But I kept my pace and kept picking people off. Halfway through the race, I could see the leaders up in front and I realized I was actually in the game! I killed it the last two miles and crossed the line at 29:40- a 7:25 minute mile pace! I later discovered that I had finished 8th out of 185 women. Not too bad for being 27 weeks pregnant (that's officially the third trimester)!

The race was called "Whale of a run." And as one of my FB friends pointed out, that was a very fitting name for me....ha!

After the 4 mile race, the kids' dashes were next. All the kids gathered together according to age group. When Jacob's heat was up, he stepped up to the white line with several other kids. Jacob's face looked stern. My only worry at that moment was, "I hope he's having fun." As it turns out, he just takes racing very seriously.

Racing is serious business.

The announcer yelled "go!" and the kids were off. I cheered and chanted. Such a proud mom. Then a girl with long flowing blond hair and a blindingly-bright pink shirt began weaving in and out of the crowd of kids. She bumped into several kids and sent them off course for a second or two. It all played out in slow motion. The girl darted right in front of Jacob. His foot caught on hers. They both stumbled. But the girl ran off and Jacob fell, knees first on the pavement.

My heart dropped instantly. He put his face on the road and curled up into a ball, clutching his knee. He made a sad and lonely figure on the now-empty course. I approached him and rubbed his back (I was holding Ryan so I couldn't pick him up). He looked up at me and all I saw was disappointment in his eyes.

I felt horrible for him. His excitement sunk. His dreams dashed. His knees scraped up. A week's worth of anticipation, completely destroyed. I was so angry at that little girl. I hate to admit it now, but in my mind I called her several horrible names and the thought of slapping her snotty little face did enter briefly into my thoughts.

At that time, my husband arrived. Jacob wouldn't stand up so my husband picked him up and jogged with him across the finish line. Upon inspection, it became apparent that Jacob didn't have any visible injury and was able to walk just fine. That's when I realized he was only suffering emotional hurt and a blow to his confidence. I wasn't satisfied with my husband carrying Jacob across the line. I wanted him to be proud of his own accomplishment. I wanted him to feel that awesome sense of pride that you get in facing and conquering a challenge. That's one of the best parts of racing, after all.

I gave Jacob a hug and walked him back to the start line. Together we looked out towards the finish. "Do you want to try again?" I asked him. He nodded. I lined him up behind the white line. Several parents were staring at us like we were crazy. I ignored them.

"Ready. Set. GO!"

With a look of fierce determination, he took off and didn't look back until he had crossed that white line. So, he didn't break any records for the 50 yard dash. He wasn't even particularly fast. He didn't pass a single soul. But I was so proud of him. He learned the hardest lesson that both life and running have to offer. Sometimes we fall. Sometimes we land short of our own expectations. Sometimes we don't even finish on our own the first time. But we have the power to never fail. As long as we get up try again. Even with hurt knees and a bruised ego.

Later that day, Jacob would tell me several times in a quiet tone, "Mom, my race didn't go so well." (Yes, "well" instead of "good"-- he has awesome grammar and I'm very proud.) Each time he said that my parental heart-wound opened up and ached a little more. I didn't know what to say exactly. That's life, right? All I could muster was, "I'm so proud of you for trying again, even when it was hard. It doesn't matter who wins. What matters is who tries the hardest."

Wednesday, July 23, 2014


Dear FB friends. I'm so happy for you that you chose to have a home birth. However, I do NOT want to see your home birth videos. Or your bloody home birth photos. In fact, I don't want to see any birth photos at all.

And I can assure you, neither does my husband.

Any occasion where something is physically coming out of your lady parts, is probably not meant to be shared. That's a pretty solid rule to live by. I highly recommend that you adopt it.

While we're on the subject, I could also live without pictures of your placenta. Or pictures of you eating your placenta.

Bodily excretions in generally should not be photographed.

I get that birth is a wonderful and beautiful experience. There are just parts of it that do not belong on social media. Like, you know, my entire C-section procedure. So, let's make a deal. I'll spare you photos of my uterus and parts of my intestines being physically removed from my body, if you spare me photos of your home birth.

Pictures of the baby are an entirely different story. Snap and post away please!

Tuesday, July 22, 2014

It's Mine! It's Mine! It's ALL MINE!

I won this item tonight on e-bay. I am INSANELY excited. I have been looking for one ever since Jacob was a baby (five years). Turns out they are not hard to come by. You just have to know what they are actually called. I googled everything without success. Finally, I stumbled upon an image of the item with it's name in big bold letters. SCORE.

You might be scratching your head at what appears to be misplaced excitement over a silly vintage toy. This isn't just a toy. It's THE toy. The ultimate bath toy. Ok, that may be a slight exaggeration. The thing is, when I was young, my siblings and I had one of these. We played with it during every bath time session. We spent hours enjoying this toy.

Also, there is simply nothing like it at the toy store. They just don't make anything that comes remotely close (that I have been able to find). This bath toy floats. It comes with a plane and a boat that actually float (and won't fill with water and sink to the bottom of the bathtub within five minutes). It has a pull out diving board. It has a secret tunnel. It has a garage. It has a dock. I has a boat storage thingy that lowers the toy boat into the water. It has a white-bearded fisherman!

My six year old imagination had so much fun with this thing. I never wanted to get out of the tub. Just seeing this toy again makes me smile. And now I'm so happy that I get to share it with my kids! They better love it. Or else. (Or I'll just lock the bathroom door and play with it myself when no one is looking!).

It's MINE!

Sunday, July 20, 2014

Splashing In Puddles: Why I'm Sobbing My Eyes Out

We had a rough day. Plenty of ups and plenty of downs. The kids were trapped inside most of the day and driving me (and each other) insane. At the height of the chaos, I had had enough. I told the kids to get shoes and coats. We were going outside. NOW.

We strolled down to the park. Jacob led the way while Ryan and I jumped over the cracks in the sidewalk. He giggled with delight each time, demanding "jump again!" This was the first time in several hours that there was no whining and no fighting. It was awesome.

It had just rained. The skies were grey, the beautiful, serene grey that I love about the Pacific Northwest. The grass smelled fresh and dewy. The ground made a slopping sound under our feet. There was a freshness everywhere. The smell of seawater floated in the breeze. It was perfect.

We reached the park. The playground was still under construction. Jacob led me around the construction zone and we checked out the beginnings of an exciting new playland.

Then we came upon a parking lot full of puddles. I knew Ryan would make an instant beeline for them. I had five seconds to make a crucial decision: divert the path now or continue towards the puddles. What the heck, I thought, let them splash. I still remember splashing in puddles in our backyard when I was six. It was one of my favorite times.

Jacob rolled up his pant legs. I removed Ryan's pants altogether. And the kids spend a carefree half hour running from puddle to puddle. I put aside all concerns about how oily the parking lot may have been. I put aside all concerns about the extra laundry, the mess that would be dragged into the house, and the fact that the kids would now need baths. I took a page from the kids' book and suspended all worries. It was therapeutic just to watch them. They giggled and screamed. Their eyes lit up with each big splash.

No one was yelling. Or crying. Or whining. Or asking me for anything. Or begging to be held. Everyone was happy. Not just happy. Euphoric. It was perfect. It was better than any day at the playground could have been. The little patter of their feet made me smile. Some day they will have worries. And fears. And responsibilities. But today, right now, they are the freest they will ever be.

The kids splashed and played until they were panting and exhausted. We enjoyed a calm walk home, stopping to see the sights and sounds of our neighborhood. Then I whisked them inside for warm baths and hot cocoa.

Chores are all done and the kids are sleeping now. And I'm laying in my bed, crying. This afternoon was so wonderful and so beautiful. It was one of those picturesque moments of the perfection of life. But thinking about how wonderful it all was made me realize that my trips to the park with the kids are limited. Someday, and someday soon, they won't be little kids who enjoy the playground. They won't want to go with their mom to splash in puddles. One day, I will have no one to take to the park. This wonderful and beautiful time in their lives will end, thus ending this wonderful and beautiful time in MY life.

Saturday, July 19, 2014

Important Things That Happened This Week

I ate an entire box of Honey Nut Cheerios by myself (I'm never letting Jacob beg me into buying cereal ever again).

I used my belly as a table.

There was plenty of bike riding.

And laughing. Apparently I have what it takes to take on toddler stand-up.

Today at the park, Ryan was having a "tea party." This means, he would bring my husband and me imaginary cups of tea, which we would drink. We started to pay him for the tea in imaginary dollars. Jacob was being a stinker and pretended to steal the imaginary money right from Ryan's pocket. Ryan threw a huge fit because Jacob took his imaginary money. Jacob refused to give back the imaginary money. I gave Ryan new imaginary money. Jacob stole that money too. Eventually, I had to demand that Jacob return all the imaginary money he stole. I felt like I was in that scene from Hook where the lost boys are having an imaginary feast. Basically, I felt totally ridiculous. Parents totally live on an odd, foreign plant 75% of the time.

I found my favorite pregnant outfit (yay, almost Seahawks colors!). I got so many compliments, which really makes your day when you are 26 weeks pregnant and feel the opposite of cute/attractive.

On a similar note, after work the other day a guy drove by, slowed down his car and was halfway through catcalling me when I turned around, revealing my big preggo belly. He immediately stopped mid-catcall and looked totally embarrassed (I guess he is not a fan of baby bellies?). It was hilarious. I wanted to yell back, "excuse me, what was that you were saying?"

I had an OB check-up. I was totally freaking out that my hospital was going to become an out-of-network provider and that I would have to change OBs and my hospital (second nearest one is almost an hour away) in my third trimester. I was a total ball of anxiety all week. When I brought this up at my appointment, my doctor assured me it was a DIFFERENT insurance company that was dropping the provider from the network. I totally could have kissed her!

My husband found our boys sleeping like this on Thursday morning. Jacob is cuddling Ryan. And there are train tracks all over the floor that were not there when I put them to bed.

Jacob's cousins spent the night tonight. Before they came, all on his own initiative, Jacob organized and set in motion a big treasure hunt. Jacob drew each cousin a treasure map. Then he put together a box of treasures which he hid in the backyard. This kid is so imaginative and such a leader. He amazes me almost everyday.

I forgot to snap a picture of the treasure map, but I did snap a picture of the back of one. He wrote the word "outside" to let his cousins know where the hunt would take place.

Ryan's new favorite phrases: "What the hell!" and "I'm TALKING to you" (when no one answers him).

I had a photo session for the boys this morning. So of course, I woke to find them both covered in self-made marker tattoos. Luckily, a bath took care of most of the damage. When we arrived at the photo session, Ryan cooperated through two quick snap shots and thereafter erupted into a complete meltdown. The next 30 shots were a complete disaster. Fortunately, the first two shots are perfect! Phew.

We got donuts at the grocery store after the photo shoot. My husband ran off to order a breakfast sandwich while I supervised the kids eating their donuts. Jacob started to whine that he was thirsty, really laying on the dramatics. I couldn't find a drinking fountain anywhere and couldn't leave the kids and all our groceries to track down a water. A complete stranger, who had been watching the entire thing but never said a single word, went to the local Starbucks and brought back a cup of water. I completely melted at that act of kindness. I love when strangers don't judge you during a tough parent moment and instead, try to make your life easier.

Monday, July 14, 2014

I Suck At Blog Post Titles

Friday was a big holiday in our house. July 11th...(7/11)....Free Slurpee Day down at the 7-11! Unfortunately, free slurpees ended at 7pm and we did not arrive until 7:14pm. And despite the fact that I was obviously pregnant (sympathy card!) and toting a stroller full of expectant children looking eagerly forward to enjoying a free slurpee, the stingy 7-11 man refused to bend the rules by a lousy 15 minutes. And I had to pay for three slurpees. On free slurpee day. I was not very happy. It kind of killed the mood.

The only reason I actually like 7-11's are because they remind me of my favorite law school professor. He came to America as a dirt poor adult and worked at a 7-11. Can't remember the vital part of his history regarding how he made the jump to a Contracts Professor, but I remember it was impressive. As a professor, he would shape his fingers into fake guns and pretended to shoot his students when they answered incorrectly. That was before the administration made him stop. He explained the concept of consideration to his students through a popular Janet Jackson son ("What have you done for me lately.") I miss that guy.

Anyway, the kids enjoyed their NOT-FREE SLURPEES.

On Saturday I ran another 5K. There was a walk and a run. There wasn't a gigantic number of participants (nowhere near the 700 people who ran in my last race) but it was a beautiful and fun course. At the start line, I picked out a girl in a fancy running shirt as a potential challenger. At the start of the race she took off at a really fast pace and I let her get ahead of me. I'm pretty good about running a consistent pace and not giving into the urge to go all out at the beginning when things still seem easy.
Racing belly
Less than a mile into the race, I easily passed the girl. I looked at the runners ahead of me and realized that none of them were women. It immediately became my goal to hold out in this spot and finish first for women. As the race progressed, it became clear that there was very little chance of any other women catching me.
Luckily there was a high school boy not too far ahead of me. If he hadn't been there, always just within reach egging me on, I would have been tempted to ease up and wouldn't have had such a great run. My goal going into the race had been to finish at 22-something minutes. I was blown away when I crossed the finish line at 21:39 (as the first woman finisher too)! That was like a 7:20 minute pace! This race totally jazzed me up and put me in an amazing mood for the rest of the day. And gave me a valid excuse to eat a donut for breakfast.
Happy and exhausted and enjoying a much-deserved runner's high
After the race, we dropped the kids off at my husband's parents' house and enjoyed a local beer festival. Obviously, I was limited to just sneaking sips of my husband's beer samplers. Oh, and being gawked at everywhere I went. Is my belly that weird-looking?
25 weeks
It was insanely hot (90 degrees) and I was pretty miserable. The folds under my butt cheeks were dripping sweat. And I was so paranoid about having butt-sweat marks on my dress. We eventually escaped the heat by walking down to the new restaurant that opened up two blocks from our house. The food was great, the air was cool, it overlooked our local waterfront park, and we are big fans of the short two-block walk.
Date night
Sunday we went to a family reunion for my husband's side of the family. They are so amazing and I love them so much. I'm so lucky to have married into such a wonderful family.
Obligatory family photo

Jacob was one of the oldest grandkids and was so very sweet and gentle with the younger kids. He made sure no one jumped too high near the little ones on the trampoline. He helped the babies make baskets in the little basketball hoop. In general, he watched out for them and it made my heart melt.
My favorite Jacob story from the day was when someone asked Jacob what he wants to be when he grows up. He quickly responded, "I want to be a policeman. I'm going to find all the drunk people, ask them where their homes are, and drive them home." Everyone cracked up and I did too. I knew exactly where this is coming from. On Thursday, we came home to find a man passed out drunk on the curb in front of our house. I called the police because I was worried he'd get hit by a car. Jacob was very concerned and watched intently as the police man showed up, got some information from me, and then escorted the man home. I love that he looks up to police men. Police men are the closest thing there is to real-life superheroes. And they look damn sexy in those uniforms.....

Sunday, July 13, 2014

Grumblings Of An Overheated, Insomiatic Pregnant Woman

It's 1:29 am. I'm so tired. My eyelids are so heavy. But I cannot sleep.

It's 82 degrees inside our house. So, if you are pregnant, it feels like 115. No AC. We leave the windows open but the hot air is stagnant. There is not a single room in our house that has more than one window which opens. chance catching a cross breeze. Our fan is doing nothing.

I feel like I'm living in a sauna! Damn you, 100 year old house!

Also, I saw an add on Facebook for Season Two of True Detectives. And now I keep thinking about Season One (which was SO creepy!). Every time I close my eyes, creepy visions from past episodes flood to the front of my mind, making sleep even more elusive. What the heck. Who would have thought an innocuous ad would cause me so much misery. Stupid over-active imagination.

I keep staring at the thermostat, willing the digital numbers to drop even just 5 degrees.

I'm eating popcorn. Because at nearly 2am when you're out-of-your-mind tired but cannot sleep and it's too hot to have a rational thought, eating popcorn seems like the natural thing to do, right?


Thursday, July 10, 2014

Fourth Of July Photo Dump

I can't believe the Fourth of July is already gone. It makes me sad. Summer is going by way too fast. I keep kicking myself that I wasn't able to plan a maternity leave for over the summer. Ryan was born in April and I took four months off. It was a glorious, glorious summer, reminiscent of carefree childhood days (I had to go back super far to remember a summer where I did not work- I've worked regular hours (M-F) every summer since I was 13!).

Our Fourth of July this year lasted nearly three days. On Thursday, I took the kids to my parents' house to spend the night. This is the house where I spent half my childhood. I love descending the stairs to the basement and taking that first step onto the cool, orange shag carpet. It smells exactly the same as it did when I lived there. Walking into the family room, I am always hit by the strong memory of me and my siblings staying up late on warm summer nights, watching Star Wars for the 100th time as the Indian Reserve across the water shot off fireworks all night long (from May through August, every year!).

On Thursday night, my mom and I began cooking for the Fourth. We set all the ingredients in the crockpot for Cooking Light's peach bourbon pulled pork (which was totally amazing).

The next morning, I got up early for my run and returned to a home full of excited kids. I grabbed a quick shower and forced the kids to join me for an impromptu photo session, to the annoyance of my sister who was forced to play photographer (I'm very picky- how come no one can take photos the right way, seriously?! Every time I ask a family member to take a photo, we look like specs on a horizon or the picture is super close-up and cropped in a way that makes my eyes twitch in discomfort. Also, if my hair is completely covering a child's face, can you please tell me?!- sorry, rant over).

Ryan likes to adopt new "special animals" everywhere we go. I think his actual Special Doggie is going to have a complex from Ryan's apparent lack of loyalty.

Happy Fourth! Coordinated and festive Old Navy shirts.

Dear Baby Jesus, can you please give me new hair? Because Photoshop hasn't invented a "tame hair" function yet. Thanks.

My kids got to love on their newest little cousin. They totally shocked me with their love for babies. Both Ryan and Jacob kept asking to hold her. They were so sweet and gentle. This gives me so much hope that Baby No. 3 is going to be extremely loved and completely welcomed into the group of siblings. Jacob is so into Baby No. 3 already. He is very concerned that we don't have a name yet and keeps making his own suggestions (like Madison or Kevin or, no but thank you). He frequently rubs my belly and waits patiently to feel a baby kick. So far he hasn't had much luck. But he keeps trying.

Ryan is enamored with babies.
By the end of our visit, Ryan was cradling and cuddling one of my old baby dolls. My mom let him take it home and he's been carrying it around ever since. It totally makes me melt.
He's gonna be an awesome big brother!
After a delicious dinner of peach bourbon pulled pork sandwiches, we headed outside to play on the beach.
Ryan with his grandma.

Thumbs up!

Then we did some fireworks. My kids turn into pumpkins after nine, so we decided to do our fireworks early. The night before we found a fireworks stand and I let Jacob pick out a handful of kid-friendly fireworks. He was insanely excited all day. Everything was perfect. The kids had a blast with the lamey safe fireworks and didn't mind one bit that it was still really light out. I love this age, where they are so easy to please.

Stomping pop-its.

Running through smoke bombs!

Watching snakes. Everyone is so enthralled.

Apparently I bought too many snakes. By the end of the snakes, everyone was sitting.

Then it was sparkler time!

Ryan was hesitant at first. But eventually caught on.

Grumpy time for Ryan.
We came inside and the little kids decided to use Jacob as a drum.

Jacob has become amazingly mature over the past couple months. He plays so nicely with Ryan and other little kids. He has so much patience with them and is always looking out for them. I'm blown away by his caring. He has developed quite the respect for laws, authority, as responsibility as well. My husband took Jacob to the theaters last weekend and he refused to eat any of the contraband snacks my husband brought in. Even though I totally encouraged him to eat the snacks, he kept saying that he didn't want to go to jail or brake the rules. It was totally adorable.

Then the other day I promised to let Jacob play at the park after grocery shopping. I warned him we could only play for a little bit because I didn't want my groceries to go bad. At the end of our shopping trip he insisted that we go straight home and skip the park. He was genuinely worried about my groceries!

Anyway, to wrap up July Fourth, we made s'mores on grandpa's grill! The kids were more excited about the sticks and the fire than the actual s'mores. But I'm not worried- someday soon they will appreciate the value of a perfectly toasted s'more.

So proud!

Then we all passed out at nine and slept through the entire Indian Reservation fireworks show. And I didn't mind a single bit. I was exhausted. I was satisfied with our smoke bombs and sparklers. And I was dead tired from the morning's race.

We saved some fireworks for July Fifth because my husband was not able to join us for the Fourth. Ryan unfortunately fell asleep right before firework time, but it was nice to see the "big kids" bond over flammable explosives and the small hint of danger.

Jacob's race car firework.

Best reaction ever :)

Sparkler fight!

Jacob, the firework conductor.

I'd say this year was a success. And yay for keeing the bar super low!

Monday, July 7, 2014

Baby's First Race: 24 Weeks

If I have to be pregnant and I have to get a million sideways glances and full-on stares everyday (the part of pregnant I hate the most), I might as well be oogled for doing something unexpected.

I woke up bright and early on the Fourth of July and registered for a fun run in my hometown. I had only been running for two weeks since my knee/hip injury which caused me to miss my much-anticipated half marathon. I was really nervous that my hip pain would flare up halfway through the race and force me to walk.

I was also bracing myself for intense discomfort. For the past two weeks that I have been able to start running again, running has been a bit of a chore. Seven weeks of elliptical workouts does nothing for the lungs. And thanks to the growing human wedged in my lung cavity, running consecutive miles at an 8 minute pace had me constantly winded.

But the stars must have aligned perfectly that morning. I felt amazing during the entire race (despite my burning calf muscles- another area the elliptical just doesn't target). And, oddly enough, I barely felt pregnant at all during my run. The baby didn't feel wedged under my ribs, I could breathe pretty well, and I didn't feel any heavier. My goal (which I had assumed was a reach for the stars) was to finish the 3.1 mile course at 8:00 mile pace. And even though 3/4 of the course was either an incline or full-on uphill, I shocked myself when I crossed the finish line in 23:34. That was 7:40 pace!

For the race, I decided to embrace the ridicule and place my racing bib right onto my belly. The old ladies especially got a huge kick out of that.

Does this racing bib make my belly look big?

24 weeks: baby's first race.
At the start line, I lined up near the front, not wanting to get pushed back in a slow wave. The ladies who lined up next to me had on fancy-pants running gear. High end running clothes. Fancy garmin watches. Special racing sunglasses. Arm bands full of energy goo. They were talking about their weekly running clubs. And how they had run the course several times and had strategies for all the hills. (Hills? My ears perked up. This was the first time I was hearing about hills.) One lady laughed casually at the other, "this is definitely not a PR course, with the first 2.5 miles entirely hills and inclines."

And here I was. In my stretched out Target tank. With my running shorts bunched awkwardly below my large belly. Not a single piece of technology on me. Having never run the course before and having absolutely no idea what to expect. With only two weeks of training under my belt. I suddenly questioned my decision to start out in the front with this group of women (and insanely fit teenage crossfit boys).

The start line. Don't be fooled. There was a sea of people behind me.

The gun went off and that wonderful yet intensely scary pump of adrenaline coursed through my body. Oh god. I had so missed that rush. It's terrifying and wonderful at the same time. For the first half mile, I was trying to catch my breath just from that adrenaline rush alone. Best/Worst. Feeling. Ever. I think this is something only a masochist can understand.

Boy, those ladies weren't kidding. The course was intense. The first 1.5 miles was a gradual incline, which may not seem much when you are a car but is killer when you are racing on foot. There was no time to catch a breath because the gradual inclined ended at the base of an intense, mile-long uphill stretch. It was so insane that I (who LOVES hills) had to stop and walk for 30 seconds. My calves killed. I was certain I would keel over any minute. But I pushed through. Almost there. I kept chanting.

I didn't have anyway to track my timing or my pace but I was sure my goal was shot. My new goal was just to fast as my body physically could go. But I felt strong. My lungs were holding up. No hint of hip or knee pain. And I marveled at the fact that, for the first time in two months, I didn't feel pregnant at all. I couldn't even tell there was a soccer ball sized bump around my waist. So I pounded on.

We finally crested the hill and had a little more than half a mile to go. That's when I saw them. The two ladies in fancy running gear who had casually chatted up the challenges of the course at the start of the race. I knew I could do it. I had to do it. They were so close. I pumped my arms back and forth more quickly to force my legs to pick up pace (a trick my college cross country coach had taught me). They were struggling and I glided (painfully) past. Me and my stretched out Target tank....kicking the butts of the Under Armor-adorned running club ladies. It felt so good, so validating. Or maybe that was the runner's high talking.

The last half mile was all down hill but we runners were exhausted and done in. I gathered whatever strength was left in my reserves and pumped my way to the finish line. When I approached the line and saw the time displayed on the large clock overhead, I was shocked to realize that I still had a chance to meet my goal of 8:00 miles. I gained a mini second wind and powered through the home stretch in time to blow my goal completely away! In the process of finishing, I passed a fit young man just feet from the finish line. It was well worth the price of admission to see the look on his face when I turned around and he realized that he was passed by a pregnant lady. Oh, priceless!

All done!

The rest of the Fourth of July was fantastic (and will be given it's proper space on this blog later this week). But my accomplishment on the road that morning outshined the rest of the day's activities. I was elated for the remainder of the day. Drunk on runner's high and the after-effects of an adrenaline rush, the only adequately strong substitute for alcohol.