Monday, October 26, 2009

Marine Corps Marathon 2009

Imagine, a post on a running blog that actually has something to do with running!

Since I have been out of commission as far as running is concerned, I haven't had much to write about but babies. But while I am taking the year off, my better half is still running up a storm.

The past few months, J has been training for the Marine Corps Marathon. This weekend was the big race and we headed out to DC for a weekend of running fun.

While I was a little sad to be going as a spectator and not actually run it, I had a fantastic time cheering everyone on and enjoying the beautiful fall weekend. It was definitely a great race to spectate.

We stayed in the Hyatt Regency (the official race hotel) and other than the paper-thin walls (the people next door to us the first night we were there must have been filming a porno), it was a great hotel. It was right down the street from the Capitol and a perfect location as far as Metro, sightseeing and dining access.

Saturday morning we ate an amazing (but expensive) breakfast buffet at the hotel and then walked to the metro to get to the expo. The expo was similar to pretty much every other expo I have been to. It was very well organized, which was nice. But for some reason, I thought there would be a bigger selection of vendors. It didn't seem as though there was anything new that I haven't seen before. It also got really crowded pretty quickly due to the large number of runners.

They did have great Brooks Marine Corps gear, which Jeremy loaded up on. He got a new hat, long sleeved tech and one of the nicest looking windbreakers I have ever seen from a race. I treated myself to a new hooded sweatshirt from the Back on my Feet booth and we bought the Bean a cute onesie that will motivate me to get back to running as soon as possible unless I want to look like a big, fat liar.

I must run faster than someone's father, right?

The rest of the afternoon was spent in the hotel as it rained the entire afternoon and I was suddenly feeling REALLY pregnant from my giant breakfast buffet. I just needed to lay down for a bit. We watched a lot of college football and then went for a crappy dinner at Gordon Biersch later on. I usually like their food, but for some reason, we both got a bad meal that night. Not a big deal for me, but not fun for someone's last meal before a marathon.

The next morning we woke up to beautiful weather. It had cooled down to the low 50's and the sun was coming out. We took the metro down the the start which ended up being a total clusterf@%k.

Most cities I have run in will usually throw a bone and give runners a free pass on race day (by showing their bibs). Not DC. To ride the metro in DC you have to insert your prepaid card to get into the station and then again to exit the station. This ended up being a nightmare as 30,000 runners were all trying to get off the same train station at once. We got off the train and were crammed shoulder to shoulder with hundred of other people and were not going anywhere. Then, 15 minutes laster another train came to let people off, but half the people couldn't get off the train because there was no were for them to go.

As a person who hates crowds anyway and add to that the fact that I suddenly have been experiencing a serious case of pregnancy-induced claustrophobia, I was not happy. Of course, none of the anxious marathoners around me were either. It was getting ugly fast. Finally, the metro workers realized there was a serious hazard issue on their hands and just opened the gates to let us all out. Phew. The metro issue (which was no better getting back) was really the only problem with this race from what I could see. But of course, that really has nothing to do with the marathon itself.

We got to the start and I wished J a great race and he headed to his corral.I had my course maps and told him where to look for me. I even made him a bright neon green sign so he could see me.

The other side of the sign was for all the other runners, which I have to say, was quite the big hit.

I stood right past the start holding up this sign as the runners ran by and got a ton of laughs as people started on their way. I even had a few other spectators take a picture of it and one girl actually stopped running (at around mile 16), took out her disposable camera and asked the woman next to me to take a picture of us. It was a great feeling to know that I could do something small to help bring a smile to a runner's face as they were about to embark on their marathon journey.

(If you don't get the Chuck Norris reference, please refer to this website.)

Anyway, the rest of the race was great. I watched the start go off and J run by. Then I scurried off from Arlington Cemetery to behind the Lincoln Memorial (around mile 11) to see everyone run by again. I only saw J here as he ran up to me and gave me a kiss before running off into the distance.

I saw him again at mile 16 and he was right on pace to hit his 3:50 target for a PR so I headed back to mile 25 to watch him come in at the finish. But sadly, I watched the 3:50's run by, then the 4:00 pacers and I knew something had happened. In my pregnant state of mind, I of course started overreacting thinking he had dropped dead on the side of the road somewhere. Just as I was about to start sobbing uncontrollably as I wondered how I was ever going to figure out what hospital he was in, I saw him in the distance.

He smiled as I called out to him as if to say, "I'm fine, it just wasn't my day."

After I walked about 2 miles (not kidding) to get to the family meet up area, we finally found each other. His official finish was 4:13:23. His second best time, but 20 minutes off of what he was hoping for. He chalked it up to nerves, early hills and the warm morning sun but said it was a great race with a ton of wonderful crowd support. He also said that even though there were double the amount of runners than the races we normally participate in, he never felt crowded. He said he would love to do it again.

Oh, and the medals are beautiful.

All in all, a great race. No PR for J, but he has his 6th marathon under his belt. Quite a huge accomplishment. Besides, he has a chance to redeem himself in less than a month in Philly. I told him to chalk it up as a great training run. :)

We spent the rest of the day wandering around the city a little before enjoying a great dinner at Founding Farmers and calling it a night.

Here are some more pictures from the big day. Hope everyone had a great weekend!

For more pics of the race, take a peek at my flickr album.

Thursday, October 15, 2009

Lock up your sons...

...she's gorgeous.

And perfectly, wonderfully, happily heathy. :)

Tuesday, October 13, 2009

19 Weeks

Today is the last day of my 19th week of pregnancy.

Overall, Im feeling great. I still haven't had any bleeding or other complications in 5 weeks. At this point, all my nausea is pretty much gone and I have a decent amount of energy.

While I haven't been running or really even working out, I have been pretty active, especially on the weekends. Jeremy and I have spent any free time we have either walking around the city or hosting get-togethers at our new place, which leaves me little time to be lazy. This is good since I sit on my butt all day at work.

For the most part, I feel great walking around, but after a few hours I am spent. It's an odd feeling to have to take a nap after walking around for 2-3 hours when a few months ago I could get up at 5am, run that much, then walk another 4-5 hours in the city and feel fine.

I have also noticed that the steep stairs I have to climb to get up to my train after work have been taking their toll on me. I have never actually counted them, but I would guess there are over 40-50 and they are really steep. I used to be able to race up them to catch my train. Now I have to take each step pretty slowly, then spend about 5 minutes catching my breath when I get to the top.

It's odd how this little creature takes over your entire body.

Eating has been fine. I haven't had any weird cravings or anything like that, although I am loving anything salty (soy sauce, green olives, baby dill pickles, etc). I have been trying to eat well, even if tonight I had a croissant with dill dip and some chips and salsa for dinner. Sigh.

I haven't been overeating at all, which is actually a change from when I am not pregnant. I just get so full so fast. But I need to incorporate more veggies into my diet. I have been really good about eating fruits and salads. But with the colder weather coming in, I am craving soups and comfort foods, not salads.

But as of today, I have only gained 10lbs which is right on schedule for my height/weight, so I'm feeling really good about that.

I had another appointment with my midwife last Monday and all was good. We heard a really strong heartbeat this time which was great. J couldn't be there again because he had class, but he stepped out for a few minutes and called us so he could hear the heartbeat on speakerphone while we were listening on the doppler. My midwife gets a kick out of it every time :)

She also told me to just come in every two weeks for appointments for peace of mind. She said she doesn't care how many times she sees me, if I want to come in for a quick checkup and heartbeat check, I can. I think I am gong to take her up on it. With everything we have been through, there is something reassuring about hearing that "woosh, woosh, woosh" every couple of weeks.

So, tomorrow I will officially be 20 weeks pregnant. I know I say this every week, but I seriously never thought I would get this far.

We actually have our 20 week full anatomy scan on Thursday. Since we haven't had any other genetic testing done this time (besides the five ultrasounds in the first trimester) we are anxiously awaiting this day.

I have actually suddenly been overwhelmed with scary thoughts about losing this baby in the past week. I know this is directly due to this ultrasound which just makes me glad I never did any of the testing earlier. I would have been a wreck the entire pregnancy. No matter what happens now, at least we had a few weeks of stress-free happiness. But I am trying not to be negative since I know that is not going to help or change anything. I'm just staying positive and going in with happy thoughts about seeing Butterbean and hopefully finding out we have a perfectly healthy baby boy or girl.

Yes, as long as the Bean cooperates, we will be finding out the sex. I have no real feelings one way or the other about which one it might be. At first I was thinking girl, but since seeing the Bean on the ultrasounds, I have been slightly leaning towards feeling it's a boy. All my friends and family are split 50/50 with their thoughts. Jeremy and Dakota both said if they "had to chose" they would probably want a girl, which totally shocked me about Dakota. I thought he wanted a brother for sure, so that was a nice surprise.

Every random online quiz or old-wives gender test I have taken have literally come up 50/50 as well, so I guess we will just have to wait and see in a day and a half!!!!

Anyone want to place any bets???

Thursday, October 01, 2009

18 Weeks and Counting...

...better weeks than kids, I suppose.

Things have been good around here. Good and uneventful, just the way I like them nowadays.

I haven't been having any more bleeding or spotting (knock on wood) for about 3.5 weeks. I know it could come back at any time and I still have my moments of panic when I am sure I am suddenly bleeding, only to find out everything is fine. But those moments only happen a few times a week now, instead of a few times an hour, like they did a few weeks ago. I think my paranoia is starting to fade a bit.

It's really no wonder all mothers end up crazy.

But I am finally settling into this whole pregnancy thing and even possibly thinking it may really happen for us this time. I will definitely feel better after our 20 week ultrasound that we have on the 15th. Even though we had five ultrasounds early on, we decided this time to forgo all genetic testing and just take things as they come. I'm terrified of going in because of what they might find, but I'm trying t stay positive and just focus on seeing Butterbean again.

We're also hoping The Bean isn't shy so we can find out the sex. We thought about waiting, but I think for us, finding out the sex will be a great way to help us bond to a pregnancy we have been to wary of attaching ourselves too. The Bean a girl or a boy?!?!? Honestly, I have been going back an forth. Lately, I keep calling it a boy on accident, but my first instinct was a girl. And even though J will never admit it, I think he is secretly hoping for a little girl :)

At this point they could tell me there is a chimpanzee in there. As long as it's healthy, I am totally cool with it.

Speaking of my little monkey, I think (but am not sure) that I may have been feeling it move now for the past week. It started last Thursday as I laid on the couch after dinner. I felt the little "flutter" or "bubble popping" as so many people call it. Actually, it felt exactly like gas, except there was no actual "passing of gas" to go along with it.

I have been feeling it at least once a day since then. Sometimes harder than others. A poke here or a light rumble there. It's like as soon as you realize what you may be feeling it's gone. Just like when you see a shooting star or something. It's still very light and honestly, it could just be gas (unfortunately for everyone else, my most intense pregnancy symptom at this point). Since I have never felt a baby move before and seem to have gas constantly now, I really have no way of knowing. But it does feel just a tiny bit different...I can't really explain why.

Also, the past few days, after some serious round ligament pains that scared the shit out of me, my stomach completely popped out. I have noticed it getting a little bigger over the weeks, but last Saturday I woke up and was like "WOW!" Then Monday I walked by a mirror at work and was even bigger! As you can see in the second picture below, I can't even suck it in anymore without there still being a big bump on the bottom. It's exciting to finally have a visual symbol of this kid inside of me, although most of the time, when I am wearing my everyday clothes, I still just look like I finished off a pizza and a six-pack. Oh well.

Other than baby stuff, things are great. Work is good and keeping me busy, the house is great (we are having our first get together this weekend), I'm feeling great right now and I am LOVING the cool fall weather. Although I have to say, it does make me a little sad not to be out there. It's PREFECT running weather!!! I'm so sad to be missing it and was SO bummed to miss my favorite race last week, the Philly Distance Run.

I even had a dream a few nights ago that there was a 10 mile race by my house and J wasn't around and I kept telling myself that even though I haven't run in ELEVEN weeks now, I could just sign up and run it and be fine. In my dream, I kept running around the parking lot to see how I felt and was like, "Yeah, this is no problem, I feel great. I can sneak in the race and he will never know!"

For some reason, I didn't end up doing it in my dream although I can't remember why. But I do remember that those few moments I was running around the parking lot, felt amazing.

You know you haven't run in forever when you are dreaming about sneaking in road races.

Oh well. I hope you like jogging strollers, Butterbean.

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