Pregnancy…Not My Favorite

I’ve been pretty open about how much I haven’t enjoyed being pregnant. I’ll be 37 weeks on Thursday and it has been a long 37 weeks.

FYI, I’m about to talk about stuff you may not want to read about (like boobs and bowel movements), so feel free to skip this post if that’s not your cup of tea.

First Trimester

Before I knew I was pregnant, I was so exhausted I felt like I could fall asleep anytime. Honestly, I nearly fell asleep in the middle of a baseball game, so we left in the 5th inning.

Sure, this was probably partially the first trimester fatigue most people experience, but mine was likely worsened by my undiagnosed hypothyroidism. I was tired all. the. time.

After we found out we were pregnant, that’s when things got even more fun. I will say, getting pregnant was probably a good thing, because my OB immediately put me on thyroid medicine and by the time I reached the second trimester, I had more energy than I’d probably had in the last year.

Back to the first trimester. The nausea was pretty much constant, but I only ever vomited twice (both times after eating a peach of all things). I basically lived off of chicken nuggets and mac ‘n cheese during this time. Not only was it easier on my stomach, but because I was so exhausted, that was about all I could manage to cook most days.

Another fun thing I experienced during the first trimester? Horrendous breast pain. You know how your breasts feel tender before you start your period? It was like that but about a hundred times worse and it lasted forever.

These were, apparently, growing pains. At least in my case. I went up three cup sizes over the course of my first trimester. I’m already “blessed” with big boobs, and they’ve been a source of frustration for me for years. So the fact that they were rapidly getting bigger was difficult for me (and my wallet).

Eventually, my clothes stopped fitting well enough to hide the weight gain, so I had to buy some new non-maternity clothes because I was still keeping things under wraps at work. Seriously, everyone talks about how expensive it is to have/raise a baby, but no one tells you about how much you’ll spend buying new bras, underwear (yes, those stop fitting/being comfortable, too), and clothes. It’s a lot. Oh, and I needed new shoes eventually, too.

Before we move on to second trimester fun, let’s talk about another fun pregnancy symptom I’ve had pretty much since the beginning: diarrhea. All the pregnancy websites and apps talk about how to relieve constipation because apparently that’s a pretty common symptom. Oh how I’ve longed to be constipated.

I’ve talked to my doctor about it and we can’t figure out what’s causing it. I tried going a few days without my prenatal vitamin to see if that was the culprit. No dice. I tried taking a fiber supplement. That worked for about a day. Then it was back to business as usual.

It doesn’t seem to matter what I eat, how much or little I exercise, or anything else. It’s possible it’s just pregnancy hormones. Or it could be a side effect of my thyroid medicine. I’ve also been diagnosed with IBS (irritable bowel syndrome) in the past, which I think is just a catch-all diagnosis for when doctors can’t figure out what is actually wrong, but that’s just my opinion. So it could be my IBS rearing its ugly head due to all the hormones and stress.

Basically, I’ll have no idea until I’m not pregnant anymore and all the hormones are out of my system. I’m hoping things get back to normal, though. It has caused me to chafe horribly (on vacation, no less) and I’ve had to rush into public restrooms on more than one occasion. Not to mention, I’ve had to deal with all this while at work, too.

Second Trimester

A lot of my symptoms started early and just continued (like the diarrhea). The fatigue fortunately subsided and so did the breast tenderness. With my second trimester came awful pelvic pain. It came and went and didn’t seem to matter if I was sitting down or standing up or even laying down.

I also seemed to gain quite a bit of weight in the first half of my pregnancy. People were kind enough to make comments like “are you sure it’s not twins?!” Let me tell you, nothing makes a woman feel better about her rapidly changing body than comments like that.

On top of all that, after we had our first ultrasound to find out the baby’s sex (it’s a boy! and holy hell those ultrasounds are expensive), we also found out the placenta was low. This meant I was at risk for placenta previa, which is a condition where the placenta is delivered before the baby, which puts him at risk. The solution is to have a c-section rather than deliver vaginally, but that’s not to say he wouldn’t try come early on his own.

We had to have two (maybe three?) more ultrasounds to keep checking the placenta’s location and see if it moved far enough out of the way that I’d be able to have a vaginal delivery. Fortunately, it moved and the baby has been healthy. (Seriously, though, no one talks about how expensive those damn ultrasounds are!)

So I was dealing with daily diarrhea, periodic pelvic pain, and the stress of worrying about whether the placenta would move or not and what that would mean for my delivery.

Because of the placenta’s location, it also meant that while other people I knew who were pregnant were already feeling their baby kick, I felt nothing. Of course, he wiggled around on the ultrasound like he was in a dance competition, so we knew he was fine, but for the longest time, I couldn’t feel him.

Honestly, feeling another human move inside of you is weird (even weirder when you can actually start to see it), so I don’t hate that it took longer for me to feel this. I did hate when people would ask if he was kicking and I had to say I wasn’t feeling anything yet.

I also ended up with a cold not once, but twice, between Thanksgiving and Christmas. I was miserable and–bonus!–you can’t take cold medicine when you’re pregnant. You just have to suffer through it.

When it came time for my glucose test for gestational diabetes, I failed the first test. That meant I had to go back for the three-hour test. The three-hour test was horrible.

Because of my thyroid problem, they draw my blood more often than they do for others. The same nurse always does it and we had never had any issues. Until the day of my three-hour test.

She had a hard time finding my veins that day and my blood was coming out in a trickle. It was painful and frustrating (and totally not her fault!). Not to mention, all the sugar made the baby twitchy and that was just uncomfortable.

Later I found out I “barely failed” the first test, so my doctor wasn’t surprised I passed the three-hour test. Yet another thing I was stressing over that I probably didn’t need to.

Third Trimester

During my third trimester, things have just gotten more and more uncomfortable. My back hurts, my feet and ankles swell up. The pelvic pain continues and is now accompanied by a burning sensation, which my doctor described to me as the ligaments in my groin pulling apart. So that’s fun.

I’m not as tired as I was in the first trimester (despite not sleeping well), so I think I definitely have my thyroid medicine to thank for that.

I have to pee all. the. time. which is super annoying. Basically, at this point, I just can’t wait to have my body back.

And by that, I don’t mean “I can’t wait to be back at my pre-pregnancy weight” (I have no idea how much weight I’ve gained total, and I don’t care–whatever I gained is exactly what my baby needed, so it’s fine). What I mean is I can’t wait for my body to be mine again.

I can’t wait to not deal with swollen fingers and feet/ankles. I miss wearing my wedding rings and I miss wearing my favorite shoes.

I can’t wait to not have to pee every 15 minutes (or more!). I can’t wait to (hopefully) know what it feels like to have a normal bowel movement again.

The third trimester has been what I expected in that I’m constantly uncomfortable. Thanks to the global pandemic, it’s also nothing like what I expected. And my labor and delivery won’t be either.

That’s been the hardest part of my third trimester: grappling with the increased anxiety and worry, well beyond what most women experience. There’s been a lot of disappointment and grieving for all the things I’ll be missing out on.

I’ve had friends and family give me tips that no longer apply because we won’t have visitors and the goal is to spend as little time in the hospital as possible. We won’t have the newborn pictures in the hospital (or even when we get home from the hospital–not professional ones, at least).

Our parents won’t be able to hold their grandson in the hospital and probably not for some time after we get home. We won’t have the support I thought we’d have.

Our son won’t get to meet his cousins or all his aunts and uncles (both biological and our best friends). No one will stop by with food or to hold him while I take a shower or a nap.

For months I’ve dreamed of taking him for walks in his stroller every day. Now, I’m not even sure if we’ll do that.

I never expected to enjoy being pregnant (and I haven’t) and I feel like my expectations for labor and delivery were pretty low (I never had a “birth plan”). But I feel like I’m missing out on all these experiences that most other women have gotten to have, and that’s heartbreaking.

I feel like I’m constantly oscillating between being excited to meet our baby and bring him home and being terrified of all that can go wrong. I’m no longer worried about being induced or needing an emergency c-section (you know, all the horrible things they show on TV).

Instead, now I worry about what will happen if I get the virus and/or my baby gets it. I worry about being separated from him, both of us put in isolation for who knows how long. I worry about not being able to hold him and breastfeed him and bond with him.

I’m so grateful I had friends and family who were kind enough to tell me what labor and delivery is really like rather than sugar-coating it. Despite those stories, nothing could have prepared me for this.

I’m doing my best to prepare however I can. Making sure my hospital bag is packed. Making sure the baby’s clothes, blankets, etc. are all washed and put away. Cleaning my house for the millionth time. Occasionally, though, the thought crosses my mind that certain things just don’t matter.

It doesn’t matter if I have multiple outfits for the hospital because we won’t be there that long. It doesn’t matter if my house is clean enough for visitors because we won’t be having any. It doesn’t matter if I don’t have something I thought was essential for getting out and about because we won’t be going anywhere once we come home.

Fortunately, I usually snap out of it. I packed my bag with one pair of pants and two nursing tops. I keep cleaning my house because I know it will make me feel better to come home to a clean (ish) house. I ordered items we still needed so that when the time comes and we can leave the house, we’ll be ready.

Overall, my pregnancy has been uncomfortable (even painful at times), weird, scary, disappointing. Maybe if I’d had a better outlook, I would have enjoyed it more. Then again, I might have been setting myself up for even more disappointment.

Regardless of how I’ve felt about being pregnant, I’m glad it’s almost over and that we’ll be meeting our baby soon (about 3 weeks to go).

 

Silver Linings

Last week was an emotional roller coaster. I oscillated frequently between feeling calm (even thinking I was overreacting) and having extreme anxiety about the uncertainty of everything.

This week, fortunately, has been better. That’s not to say I’m not still feeling anxious and worried—I am. But I’m dealing with it a little better this week.

Getting myself off that emotional rollercoaster—if only temporarily—has allowed me to focus a little more on the good things that have come out of this quarantine.

For one, my husband is home much more, which is a treat since he normally travels so much. Not only is he not traveling, but he’s also getting home much earlier every day (sometimes in the afternoon, but at least by 5). Normally, he gets home after 7 most nights, sometimes even later.

So we’re getting to spend more time together. We’re also cooking dinner more. Partly because we have to, but partly because we actually have the energy. Before, he would get home after 8pm and the last thing either of us wanted to do was cook that late in the evening. So we’d go out or he’d pick something up on his way home.

He’s also helping out more—cooking dinner, doing dishes, etc.—because he has the energy (which is great, because at 8 months pregnant, I don’t).

We’ve also started doing our “at-home happy hours” again. We started them last year. We’d sit and have a drink, he’d smoke a cigar, and we’d talk. No phones allowed (except for work stuff).

Obviously, my drinks are non-alcoholic right now. But it’s nice to have the time to sit and talk and just spend some time together.

So while this situation as a whole really just sucks, some good has come out of it for me. My husband and I are getting to spend some much-needed time together, just the two of us, before the baby is due in 5 very short weeks.

Canceled

Today we had to cancel our maternity photo session.

That may not sound like a big deal, but right now, it was one of the only things I had to look forward to.

I’ve been pretty open with people about how much I have not enjoyed being pregnant. But I read that many women who didn’t take maternity photos regretted it.

And although I don’t love being pregnant, I also didn’t want to regret not doing something like this later on.

Plus, doing maternity photos gave me an excuse to buy a new dress and have my sister do my hair and makeup, so I’d feel extra pretty.

Now no one will see that dress. I won’t get my hair and makeup done. I won’t get to smile alongside my husband and feel giddy and excited to meet our baby.

Instead I’ll spend the day sitting on my couch (or laying in bed) in my sweatpants, with unwashed hair, watching TV and scrolling through Facebook and Instagram.

I know bigger events than this are being canceled. I’m out $50 on a dress (a good friend offered to do the photos for us) while other people are losing thousands of dollars after having to cancel their weddings.

I know graduations are being canceled. People are losing their jobs. It’s all heartbreaking.

That doesn’t make having to cancel my maternity photos any less heartbreaking for me, though.

It was one of the last exciting things we had scheduled before our son is born. It was the only exciting thing on my long list of to-dos.

I’m crushed.

I know things will get better. And I know, in the grand scheme of things, the photos aren’t that important. But right now I just need to allow myself to feel sad about the things I’m missing out on.

 

Back for Now

It’s probably been almost a year since I last posted here. Life really changed quite a bit after my half marathon last April. I was dealing with extreme fatigue and exhaustion (which I now know was probably caused by undiagnosed hypothyroidism).

At one point over the spring/summer, I cut out exercise altogether because I was so exhausted. No amount of guac was going to get me to go for a run. Eventually I started doing a little yoga and some strength exercises here and there, but I struggled to be consistent with it.

Then I got pregnant (which is how I also found out about my hypothyroidism). That slowed me down even more. I think I’ve run a total of 3 times since I got pregnant. I did eventually start walking on a fairly regular basis. And doing some prenatal yoga (not consistently).

Our baby boy is due April 30 and is healthy and active, even if I’m not being as active as I’d like to be.

Which brings me to today. I’ve been working home all week due to the pandemic (and will be staying put for the next couple weeks at least).

Since I’m working from home, I have a little more time to do things like write a blog post. I also have more time to worry and feel anxious about everything. Being pregnant makes a lot of that worse, I think.

Yes, I’d be worried even if I wasn’t pregnant, but it’s much more than whether we’ll get our delivery of dog food on time or whether my job will survive a recession (my job is stable currently, but who knows where the economy will take us over the next several months).

But now I have to worry about whether we’ll be able to provide for our baby. Will we have enough diapers for when he comes home? (We were gifted a couple boxes, but I’m worried it’s not enough. I also feel bad about buying more since we don’t need them yet and others need them now.)

I’m worried about what might happen if I get sick. Yes, I’m young and healthy, but I do have asthma, which does put me at a slightly higher risk. And there are so many unknowns about if or how this disease affects unborn/newborn babies.

I’m also feeling angry and disappointed because I feel like this pandemic is stealing some of the joy I should have with this experience (although this pregnancy has been far from enjoyable—but that’s a whole other post). This will be my parents’ first grandchild, my grandma’s first great grandchild.

If things continue the way they’ve been, it’s possible they won’t get to see him in the hospital or even hold him for who knows how long.

Not to mention my husband and I will be completely on our own when we bring him home. No one to come hold the baby so we can get some sleep or any in-person help/support from anyone.

Of course I know my family and friends will be there for me over the phone/FaceTime/whatever, but as a new mom, it’s scary to think I won’t have the kind of support some of my other friends have had.

I know we’ll get through this and things will work out and our baby will be healthy and loved and that’s all that really matters. But it’s hard right now. It’s hard to not worry or feel scared or angry or anxious or depressed.

Also, because my energy/mental capacity is limited and I also have work to do, I’m not wasting my time trying to find the perfect pictures for my blog posts. This (and any others I might post in the near future) will be sans pictures because searching for/sizing pictures takes a lot of energy, and I don’t have a lot to spare right now. Hope you enjoy these posts anyway.

Thanks for reading. Stay safe and healthy.

 

 

My Biggest Regret as a Runner

As I sit here contemplating whether or not to end my run streak (more on that in a later post), knowing it’s not helping me recover properly and I’m on the cusp of injury, I have other things on my mind.

Whether I stuck it out or gave it up, it wouldn’t come close to my biggest regret as a runner. My biggest regret isn’t my failure to rest and recover properly (although it’s a problem). And it certainly isn’t a race I missed out on or a PR I didn’t achieve.

No. My biggest regret as a runner took place long before I even considered myself a “runner.” (Let’s be clear, though—if you run in any capacity, you are a runner.)

What I regret most is laughing as the trash guy I was dating at the time made fun of a woman while she was running.

He was what I considered a “real runner.” He ran track and/or cross country (I don’t remember which) in high school. He and his mom were training for the upcoming Chicago Marathon (I didn’t even know what a marathon was or understand why someone would want to run one).

I was in college and running regularly, usually as a way to blow off steam, but also in an attempt to stay slim, because, let’s face it, I used to eat a lot of junk and drink a lot of beer.

I didn’t consider myself a “real runner.” I never ran more than a couple miles. I had run a 5k (or was planning to—I can’t remember), but I wasn’t fast, and I hadn’t been an athlete of any kind in high school like so many other people. Somehow I thought all these things disqualified me from calling myself a “runner.”

One hot summer day in 2009, I was driving us to one of the public pools in my hometown. On our way, we passed a woman (she could have been my age, younger, older—I have no idea) running down the street.

He commented something along the lines of “She must be really out of shape—look at how hard she’s pumping her arms. Haha.” As a “non-runner” who desperately wanted to be seen as one by a “real runner,” I laughed and agreed.

My hometown is hilly. You can’t get too far in any one direction without going up or down a hill. In fact, the race I ran last October had a Snapchat filter that said, “I conquered the hills of Old Town.” So yeah, it’s not flat.

So pumping her arms probably had less to do with what kind of shape she was in and more to do with running uphill. And it probably wasn’t the first hill of her run.

Why did I make fun of a woman who was out there running, giving it—and those hills—her all? If I had to guess, I’d say I laughed along because I was insecure.

There are so many things I could have—should have—said in response to his comment. Maybe she was new to running. Or maybe she was working really hard because she’s training for a race. Maybe she’s not used to running on hills like that.

I wish I would have stood up for her and told the guy he was a jerk for laughing at her. It would have meant standing up for myself, too.

Fortunately, our “relationship” ended a few short weeks later, but it took me a long, long time to call myself a runner.

I’ve never forgotten that moment and how I laughed at someone who was out there giving it her all.

Now when I see someone running, I applaud them (silently) for getting out there and running and working hard. It’s not easy to get out there knowing someone driving by might criticize you, or worse, actually say something rude to you.

I hate that I was ever that person because I know how hard it is. And I never want to be anything but supportive of people who are trying to lose weight or hit a new PR or whatever other goal they may have.

My biggest regret was also a great lesson, and I believe it’s made me a better runner and a better person.

You don’t need anyone else to call you a runner to be a runner. If you run, you’re a runner. That’s all the validation you—and I—need.

 

Run Streak 2019

I wanted to be better about posting on here more regularly this year, but I haven’t been great about that so far. Life has been a little hectic lately, and oh yeah, I’ve been RUNNING!

2019 Run Streak: Day 60

You read that right. After MONTHS of being sick or injured and being unable to run more than a mile or two (if I’m lucky) since my 10k, I’ve finally got a streak going. Not only that, but I’m also getting some distance PRs!

Today marks day 60 of my 2019 Run Streak! Two whole months of running at least a mile (or more) a day. Things got off to a rough (and slow) start. I was still getting over being sick and, thanks to those illnesses and the cold weather, my asthma was the worst it’s been in a couple years.

I’m slowly seeing improvements though. I’m not doubled over trying to breathe in the middle of a run (mostly thanks to my expensive inhaler, but partly just to exercising regularly again). My pace is starting to get better, too.

At the beginning of 2019, I was running 13-minute+ miles. Now my average pace is in the 12-minute range. Oh, and I recently had a distance PR. I ran my longest run last Sunday: 9 miles in the cold and 25-mile-per-hour winds. A couple weeks before that, when the weather was cold and icy, I had another PR: Longest treadmill run–7 whole miles on the treadmill!

I’ve been frustrated at times with the slow progress, and I’ve been dealing with a lot of muscle soreness lately. In spite of that, I’m proud of myself for sticking with it, especially through all the bad weather.

New Year, New Me, New Watch

I treated myself to a new Garmin watch this month. I previously had an old Garmin Forerunner, which took forever to connect to GPS and had limited functionality. I tried out an Apple Watch for a few weeks, but its limited functionality and inaccuracy was frustrating.

Running with my Garmin Vivoactive 3After a lot of research, I knew I wanted to get the Garmin Vivoactive 3, and, as luck would have it, they had a sale around Valentine’s Day. So I took advantage of it and used my Christmas money to buy it.

I’m so happy with my purchase. It connects so much faster than my old Forerunner and it has more functionality, like the ability to set intervals and create workouts. Plus, it’s beautiful! I had someone from work ask me if it was a Kate Spade watch the other day!

Hydrating with Nuun

Nuun Hydration PromoAs a 2019 Team Nuun Ambassador, I’ve been hydrating almost daily with Nuun. Being an ambassador has its perks, like getting a discount on all my favorite flavors! Now through March 6, you can enjoy some of those perks, too!

Head to nuunlife.com and use the code hydratefriends25 to get 25% off your order! If you aren’t sure what to try, I recommend Nuun Sport Lemon-Lime or Strawberry Lemonade. Those two are my favorites. I also love the Cherry Limeade and Lime flavors with caffeine and the Blueberry Tangerine Immunity if you need a boost as flu season drags on and on.

Running for Guac & Girls on the Run

It feels good to be running every day again. It makes me happier and stronger. And now that I’m starting to add miles onto my long runs, I’m getting more and more excited (and a little nervous) for my half marathon in April.

Speaking of my half marathon, I’m running the Go! St. Louis Half Marathon as a Girls on the Run SoleMate. Throughout my training, I’m raising money for Girls on the Run St. Louis.

Girls on the Run St. LouisGirls on the Run is an empowerment program for girls in grades 3 through 8. The program gives them skills and experiences to navigate their world with confidence and joy.

Through engaging lessons and movement activities, the curriculum helps each girl understand and celebrate herself, value healthy relationships and realize her power to impact the world. At the end of the program, girls complete a celebratory 5k that underscores these lessons with a lifelong memory of accomplishment.

My goal is to raise $1200 for this incredible organization before my half marathon on April 7. If you’d like to make a donation to help me reach my goal and to empower young girls, you can do so here: https://www.raceplanner.com/donate/Amanda-Brown-Girls-on-the-Run-St-Louis-SoleMates-2018-19-48294

I appreciate any financial support you can give–even just $5 can make a difference in a young girl’s life!

 

 

 

30 Before 30 Progress

How my 30 before 30 list is going.

It’s a new year and I made some progress on my 30 before 30 list! Here’s what I’ve accomplished so far, what I’m working on currently, and what I still need to do:

  1. Run a 10k: DONE!
  2. Run a half marathon: Starting training SOON!
  3. Run a marathon (I know it’s unlikely I’ll run all 3 of these in the span of a year, but I’d at least like to start my marathon training before I turn 30 next year)
  4. *private*
  5. Read 30 books: In progress–I’ve read 5 books so far and I’m in the middle of my 6th. Only 24 more to go!
  6. Take a solo trip
  7. Go for a hike
  8. Learn another language: This was in progress, but I slacked off quite a bit at the end of last year. Need to get back to it.
  9. Begin yoga teacher training: Hoping to start this soon!
  10. Visit my cousin Jen
  11. Take a spontaneous road trip
  12. Visit a national park
  13. Go camping
  14. Ride a bike
  15. Have a “yes” day
  16. Have a “treat yo’self” day
  17. Take a cooking or knife skills class
  18. *private*
  19. Create a Sunday ritual/tradition
  20. Get an essay or article published: DONE! (Hoping to get some more bylines in 2019, though!)
  21. Travel to a new city: DONE! We flew to Tampa in December to see Anberlin, drink lots of coffee and beer, and smoke cigars–it was an incredible weekend!
  22. Run in Bellefountaine Cemetery: Not yet, but hoping to do a 5k there in March.
  23. Start writing my memoir: Started and stopped. Need to pick it back up.
  24. Write poetry again: YES! I finished 2018 strong by doing a “poetry prompt advent calendar.”
  25. Learn a new instrument
  26. Attend a yoga retreat
  27. Learn to make Mom’s chicken and dumplings: Happening soon.
  28. Do a handstand
  29. Start a garden
  30. Reduce single-use plastics in my home: Still (and probably always will be) a work in progress.

Lots more to do and see, but I’m kind of amazed by what I’ve managed to accomplish in such a short amount of time.

2019: The Year of Total Domination

My word of the year, goals for 2019, and more.

D O M I N A T E

That’s my word, my goal, for 2019. My word/theme for 2018 was flourish, and I think I did, both personally and professionally. I did fall short in a few areas, though.

So this year, the plan is to just dominate everything. My career, my goal of running a half marathon, my plans to start yoga teacher training.

I’m coming into 2019 at full speed (I’m finally feeling better, after all). I’m going to do my best to crush it and be the best version of myself.

That means reading more, but allowing myself to set aside books that aren’t keeping my interest.

That means writing more–blog posts, poetry, journaling, and maybe even working on my memoir.

That means taking care of my body by moving it every day. I’m hoping to start and maintain a new run streak, but I also want to do a lot more yoga this year.

Taking care of my body also means eating foods that make me feel good. Sometimes that might be a treat like pizza or ice cream, but mostly, it will be foods I know my body thrives on, like protein and vegetables and gluten-free grains.

(I’m not doing the January Whole30 this year, but I do plan to use what I’ve learned in the past to make my Food Freedom really work for me this year.)

I want to go on more adventures, take more risks. I turn 30 in July and I want to enjoy every second of the last 7 months of my 20s and the first 5 months of my 30s (and beyond, of course).

Of course, I’ve got my 30 Before 30 List to help keep me on track (which I’ll post an update on soon). I also decided to make the switch back to a Passion Planner for 2019.

I used a Passion Planner the year we got married and it was perfect for helping me keep track of all the wedding to-do’s, workouts, meal plans, and more.

If it can help keep me sane during wedding planning, I think it’s the perfect companion to keep me on track to achieve all my goals for this year.

I’m setting my sights high this year. Despite how awful 2018 was at times (especially the last 2 months I spent sick), I’m feeling so energized and ready to take on 2019.

As my dear friend, Angi, said, “Fucking dominate in your career so hard they offer you the world to hire you and you generally win at life.” Let’s do this, 2019.

2018 Reflections

Reflections on a long year, the goals I did (and didn’t achieve), & more.

I had great intentions of writing more as 2018 came to a close. I also intended to run a lot more than I have.

Unfortunately, I’ve been sick on and off for almost two full months now and that has made it hard to do anything but survive. (I did finally give in and go to Urgent Care, though, and I’m finally starting to feel better.)

I ran two to three times total in the last two months, and I’ve done yoga a handful times. That’s it. All of my energy has gone into work and trying to stay afloat at home.

While I’m dreaming and hoping for a much healthier 2019, I thought I’d take a look back at my 2018 goals and reflect on how I did.

My one word for 2018 was Flourish, and I think I did in more ways than one. I grew both personally and professionally. I took some risks that paid off. I think that was the perfect word for me this year.

I’ve decided on my word/theme for 2019, which I’ll do a separate post on (I really am going to write more!).

As far as my 2018 goals, I didn’t do as well as I’d hoped for so many reasons. I wanted to continue my run streak, which I did until my chiropractor had me stop. I did, however, train for and run my first 10k.

I was hoping to start up my run streak again shortly after my 10k in preparation for my half marathon training I plan to start in January, but because I’ve been sick, that hasn’t happened.

I ran the Turkey Trot on Thanksgiving day and ran two straight days after and then was too sick again to run. It’s been a frustrating fall season, to say the least.

Some of my other goals included reading and journaling every day. I did okay with this goal. They didn’t always happen every day, but they happened most days for several months this year.

Then I got sick and stopped, but I ended up finishing three books in the last two months, so I’ll call that a win.

I also wanted to meditate every day and that just did. not. happen. It’s been hard to make the time to meditate, especially since it’s not something I enjoy. I did it on and off for a while, but again, once I got sick, I stopped altogether.

I thought these goals would be fairly easy to accomplish when I made them, but life (and illness) got in the way. This year has had a lot of ups and downs, high highs and really low lows. But here were some of the highlights:

  • I ran 200+ days in a row. I wanted my run streak to last much longer than that, but I’m still proud of what I accomplished.
  • I traveled so much more this year, which made me really happy. We went to Indiana a couple times, to Kansas City a couple times, to Chicago for my birthday, and we just went to Tampa (which means I can cross “Travel to a new city” off my 30 Before 30 list!
  • I started working as a digital content writer for Purina and as scary as it was to take a short-term contract position, it’s one of the best career decisions I’ve ever made. I’m learning so much and growing so much as a writer and SEO and it’s one of the best companies I’ve ever worked for.
  • I started writing poetry again, which was another item on my 30 Before 30 list! I’m doing a poetry advent calendar that gives you a different poetry prompt for each day in December. It was difficult to catch up because I was too sick to even think about writing when I initially signed up, but now I’m all caught up and it’s a great feeling to be writing again. It’s far from my best work, but it’s a start!
  • I got a treadmill! I’ve only used it a couple times since I got it because I’ve been too sick to run, but I’m so happy to have it and can’t wait until I’m well enough to use it almost every day. I am itching to feel well enough to start my run streak again, and having the treadmill will make it so much easier–I can squeeze in a mile or two, regardless of whether it’s dark outside (and I don’t have to drive to the gym!).

I’m sure there were many, many more highlights from 2018 I’m forgetting (it’s been a long year, guys), but these ones really stand out.

If I’m not too sick, I plan to do a full update on my 30 Before 30 list, announce my word/theme for 2019, and set some new goals (like running a half marathon!). How was your year? Did you achieve the goals you set for yourself or did you experience some setbacks like me?

 

Race Recaps

I haven’t been running much lately (and it’s been even longer since I posted here). I completed my first 10k back in October and then ran a 5k a week later. I’ve only run once or twice since then. But I’ll get back to that. First, Here’s how my races went: 

My 10k training went okay. I wasn’t expecting to run with the 5:1 pace group, but I eventually accepted it (and I think it ended up being better than trying to push myself to run at a faster pace). 

Over the course of my training I dealt with chronic fatigue (possibly due to my seriously low vitamin D levels). I had some SI pain, which my chiropractor eventually began treating me for. I tripped and fell twice less than a month apart. 

Eventually, I started taking more days off to focus more on getting enough sleep. I was worried I would be undertrained come race day, but then I saw someone’s post online about how it’s better to be undertrained than even a mile overtrained, and that made me feel better about my decision to back off. 

10k Race: Flat as a Pancake

Race day was chilly and rainy. I got there early to get my bib and t-shirt, and got to use an indoor bathroom before the race started! (It’s the little things.) The race was in Tower Grove Park, so the 10k was two loops around the park. 

The first mile or so felt really hard. Even though I had warmed up thoroughly prior to the start, I still felt stiff. Not to mention, my fall allergies were in full swing at that point, making it hard to breathe. 

MaPq2hjtxcCkF2DogkFapLZUMfXN9NlMY_hSUthSStwpX92IBFortunately, one person from my pace group was also running the race, so we ran it together and that made things a lot easier. I dealt with a lot of side cramping during the first half of the race as well, which was frustrating. 

Our pace at the 5k mark was 12:24, and we managed to maintain that pace throughout the rest of the race. I took my nutrition after finishing that first loop and started to feel a little better. 

I was tempted to try to run the entire race instead of doing my 5:1 intervals, but my running partner reminded me to stick to my training. I think that was the right choice. Our final time was 1:17:01 with an average pace of 12:24. 

Overall, I was happy with my time and what I accomplished. This was the first race I ever ran with someone (and without headphones/music!) and I think that made a big difference. I also realized I need to invest in a proper hand-held water bottle. 

5k Race: Race to the Shrine

I pretty much took the entire week after my 10k off to rest. I was tired and sore and focused again on sleep (and foam rolling). I ran a 5k the next weekend. 

The weather was pretty great for that race, but it was super windy. I stuck with my 5:1 training plan again, mostly because I didn’t feel like I had the energy to try to do more. 

This run was pretty uneventful, but also hilly. One of my favorite moments of the race was passing a young girl with a sign that said “I don’t know you, but I’m proud of you.” That gave me all the feels. 

Race to the Shrine 5k
Post-Race Selfie with the Shrine!

Despite running into a headwind for the last quarter mile of the race, I finished strong. My final time was 36:01 with an average pace of 11:36. Not a PR by any stretch, but given that I had run a 10k the weekend prior, I was happy with it. 

In fact, I came in 3rd (out of 7) in my division. That’s not something I had ever really paid attention to before, but it was kind of exciting to see I wasn’t dead last!

Future Running Goals

My next race is the Turkey Trot this Thursday for Thanksgiving. Since completing the Race to the Shrine a month ago, I have only run once (that I can remember). I had been extremely tired and then I got sick. 

I’ve been sick for about a week now and am just now starting to feel a little better. Hopefully I can get a couple short runs in between now and Thursday and not feel terrible for this race. 

After that, I think I might try to start my run streak back up again. The “official” Runner’s World run streak goes from Thanksgiving Day to New Year’s Day (41 days total). 

All I know is that I felt strong and in shape and healthy when I was streaking before, so maybe I can get back to that. Plus, I have a new (used) treadmill (thanks to my in-laws), so I don’t have to run outside in the dark and risk more injuries. 

Then my plan is to start training for a half marathon. I’m looking to do one in the spring. I probably won’t meet my 30 Before 30 goal of running a half marathon and a marathon before I turn 30, but I will at least be able to cross the 10k and 13.1 off my list. 

I’m hoping to have more time (and energy) to do some more writing. If that’s the case, I’ll do a “year in review” post to see how I did with my goals for the year and my thoughts on 2018 overall. 

I’ll try to get my Turkey Trot race recap up sooner than a month later, too 😉

What are your plans for the rest of 2018? Do you have any more races coming up? Let me know!