24 June 2015

Seattle Rock-n-Roll Half Marathon

The story starts back in February or March when I was talking with the other moms at our weekly mom/baby group about getting back into running. I wondered if anyone else was interested in running the local Mother's Day 5K with me. That's when one of the other ladies, Rachel, said that she was just about to start training for a half marathon in June. I asked if I could tag along on some of her training runs, and she agreed.

At that time, my immediate running goals were to be able to run a 5K with minimal effort in the near term and to consider a half marathon sometime in the calendar year. As I started thinking, though, I wondered if this was my opportunity to do the half marathon. After all, training and running the race would be a lot more fun with a friend. I'd started working with a trainer to help me meet my running and other fitness goals, and she thought the half was achievable as long as I used a walk/run strategy. Within a couple of weeks, I'd signed up for the race.

Throughout the training, I ran only once or twice a week, except when we were traveling and running was my only fitness option. I did most of my short- and middle-distance runs with another mom from our group, Erin, and then did most of my long-distance runs with Rachel (and sometimes her husband, who was also signed up for the race). The rest of the week, my workouts consisted of rowing circuits and strength training. In some ways, I wanted to run more often, but doing it this way kept me from burning out too much and was the only practical option given our schedule.

Then, on June 13th, I did it. I ran my first half marathon. Well, I ran the vast majority of it.

Here we are at the starting line.

The race was huge. We didn't make it to the starting line until more than a half hour past the original start. For the first several miles, maybe six or seven, the course was so congested that I had to really pay attention to make sure that I wasn't tripping on someone else and adjust my pace accordingly.

I was really excited to see my cheering squad near the beginning of the race. 

It was a hot day (ok, for Seattle), and a lot of the course was more exposed than the river trail where I did most of my training. The biggest hill of the race is right after 9 miles, and that's where things got messy. Physically, I was fine. Mentally, the end of 13 miles seemed a lifetime away. From there until mile 12, I took intermittent walking breaks while I waved Rachel and Ryan on. I was disappointed in myself at the time, and I'm disappointed looking back at it. I knew that (the mental aspect) was my weak spot from my long training runs.

From the beginning of mile 12 until the end, I ran with everything I had left in my body. I was really excited to finish sooner than the 2:30 that I had predicted when I signed up. Unfortunately, according to my Garmin, the 13.1 mile course was actually 13.45 miles. I saw George and the kids again around 13.3, and asked where I could find the $&*%-ing finish line!

Up a hill, and there it was. I finished in 2:33.


It wasn't pretty, but I'm glad that I did it. Despite George's sacrifice of the last many weekend mornings, he's already asking when I'm going to run my next half. It won't be particularly soon, but I do think I'll do another one.

Next time, I'm going to do more running and be more familiar with the course so that I can be mentally prepared. What lessons have you taken away from your first competition?

23 June 2015

Elliott - 10 Months Old

The first thing that everyone seems to notice about Elliott is that he is active. This boy likes to move and explore and is never still. He's still army crawling, but I see more use of his legs all the time. He can pull himself up and down a single step and is working on figuring out how to pull himself up multiple steps. Elliott does like to be upright, and he'll hold himself up if put in the standing position. Sometimes, though, he seems to forget that he can't stand alone and will just let go. He rolls constantly and doesn't seem to like to be on his back. He does this funny side lounge position when he needs to reach something, which is usually whatever also interests Madeleine, books from the shelf, or heating/cooling grates.

The other thing that is often mentioned about Elliott is his size. He continues to grow and is now pretty solidly into size 18 months. After a week or so of what felt like non-stop requests for nursing followed by a few days of long naps, I think he may have just gone through a growth spurt. He eats pretty well, doing most of the feeding by himself with his fingers and his well-developed pincher grasp. I'm hesitant to hand over the spoon for messy things because I know just how much mess is possible. He nurses four times a day (wake up, after each nap, and at bedtime), though I think he may be cutting out the feeding after his afternoon nap because he hasn't been interested in it the last two days or so. In general, his nursing is getting a lot faster, like less than five minutes total per feeding.

Elliott does some signing. He opens and closes his fists (the sign for milk) when he wants something, especially milk. We've been consciously working on more and all done, and it's a slow go. I think he's catching on to "more" by doing clapping as the sign, and he will sometimes repeat a noise that sounds like "all done" when I'm signing and saying it. Signs or not, Elliott has a lot to tell us. He babbles most of the time and loves the attention it brings him. I'm not sure that he properly associates the words yet, but he says "dada" and "mama." For the last week or so, "gah gah" has been his chant of choice. He tends to babble "nah nah" when he's unhappy (like at pre-nap diaper changes). I can't wait until I can understand all of his lovely stories and find out what it is that so frequently makes him squeal with delight!

One big change this month is that Elliott's gummy smile now has a couple of pearly whites. Two have poked through (upper lateral incisors, unusual) with four more on their way. Teething has definitely interrupted his sleep, though it has been a little hard to distinguish between teething interruptions and jet lag. It has also interfered with his normally ferocious appetite, and he has been happiest munching on cold melon, cold cucumbers, and peanut butter sandwiches. In general, we've been treating the teething symptoms with the occasional Tylenol and plenty of extra cuddles and naps on the lap.

Elliott continues to have two naps, one is usually an hour and the other 2+ hours. He sleeps about 11 hours at night. As soon as I lay him in his crib, he rolls onto his side or sometimes his belly. Even if he falls asleep right away, he seems to always end up with his head in one of the corners - silly boy. He still sucks his left thumb to put himself to sleep and sometimes while he's sleeping. I introduced a lovey this month to give him something to chew on when his teeth are sore, and he seems to notice it about half of the time. After I saw him pull himself to sitting and pull himself to nearly standing once on the crib, we lowered the mattress to its lowest setting. That was a sad moment to realize that my baby is growing up...and that the crib skirt no longer works for the bed height. It's a toss up as to whether Elliott is going to wake up screaming or happily babbling, and he frequently wakes up with bedhead now that his hair is starting to grow a little bit.

I'm so excited to see Elliott's personality develop. He is incredibly determined and persistent. He's also insanely sweet. I just love when I hold him and he gives me gentle, loving pats on the shoulder. He's generous with his infectious smile and loves to wave at people. He can be really goofy and loves playing games. I'm not very fond of the one where he grabs my glasses and laughs, shaking his head side to side while I sternly tell him "no" or the one where he pulls his sun hat off of his head as fast as I can put it on him again. Nonetheless, it's fun to see him anticipate the next thing that is going to happen or laugh at his sister playing peek-a-boo.

Apologies for this month's blurry photo. It was the only one where he was actually on his back. Every other time that I picked up the camera, he'd roll over and take off. See what I mean about the games?


22 June 2015

Visit to Ohio

It's hard for me to believe that it has already been more than two weeks since we traveled to Ohio to visit my family. This was our final family trip of the spring/early summer, and Elliott started teething just before the trip started. Our recovery has been a bit slow and very light on sleep, but getting to make memories with family is always worth it. 

Speaking of memories, let's have a quick look back at some of my favorite shots from the trip: 

Madeleine loved playing with the vintage 1980s toys from my childhood.


Elliott helped himself, too.

Grandma and Papa gave Madeleine her birthday presents, which she loved using all at the same time.

Elliott enjoyed the swing Papa installed for him. 

The kids enjoyed the wagon that was mine as a child.

Madeleine loved following Grandma to the clothes line each morning to "help."

She was very excited about their little cart...

...until Grandma started it, and Madeleine decided that it was too loud.

In her rain boots, Madeleine acted like she owned the woods. She loved going for walks, spotting the creatures Papa has put throughout, and splashing in all the puddles. 

One morning, I took Madeleine to the playground - indeed the very equipment - where I played when I was her age.

Each night, Madeleine curled up on Grandma's lap for stories. It's unclear who enjoyed it more.

When we got together with extended family, Madeleine's cousin drove her around in his little jeep.

And he nearly flipped himself off the slide.

On the way home, Bear was granted Junior Officer status by the TSA. 

It was a really fun visit, and we're super excited to welcome some of our family to our home later this summer! 

19 June 2015

Friday I'm in Love

Friday already?! This month is flying! Nonetheless, I want to stop by with a few things that have caught my eyes over the last week or so.

ONE: Golden Honeydew



Our family has grown rather fond of this subtle, soft, delicious melon. In fact, Madeleine and Elliott literally fight over who is going to get the last of it when supplies run low. With Elliott working on six teeth, he wins. Cold melon is a lifesaver for a teething baby!

TWO: Nate Berkus Office Supplies at Target

Have you guys seen the Nate Berkus line of office supplies? I spotted it this week and could not help but stop and lust after several items, including these folders and this stapler. So fun!

THREE: Denaye's Take on Motherhood

My friend, Denaye, wrote another outstanding post for Dallas Moms Blog. She eloquently summarized many of my own motherhood aspirations.

FOUR: Personal Shopping

The intersection between working toward my fitness goals and rethinking my wardrobe is the need for some new clothes. I decided to take Nordstrom's personal shopping for a spin. It's a free service with no obligation to purchase, but my successful experience resulted in the backbones for a small but extremely functional wardrobe. I'm thrilled about getting clothes that fit me well and are a little outside of my normal comfort zone. What's even better is that I spent less than two hours of my time and didn't have to visit the post office for a single return shipment. I'm convinced that this is way more efficient than online shopping and not necessarily much more expensive (quality versus quantity). Give it a try!

Check out what the other gals (MishaKendraMary BethLauraAileen, and Jessica) are loving today and then tell me what you're loving! Happy Friday!

10 June 2015

Visit to Dallas

A few weeks ago, we all headed to Dallas to visit with Denaye, David, and Nico (and Lucy). I've visited a couple of times, and I was really excited to take George this time and to introduce Elliott to our dear friends. 


I had two requests: lots of time hanging out and good food. We ate very well. When we were at their house, the kids all loved using the Montessori table and chairs. 


Hanging out in the yard, we were excited to see Nicolas get acquainted with his new bike and see how much he has grown up since he visited us the week before Elliott was born.


Madeleine was more than happy to borrow his bike and hat.  


Meanwhile, Elliott enjoyed the swing. 


And I had to capture his photo on the same blanket, in the same yard, at roughly the same age as his sister first crawled. Elliott crawled off the blanket in about 30 seconds, though.


The guys (sans Nico) did some bonding over the grill.


While the kids were napping or after they went to bed, the grown ups enjoyed chatting over games of Settlers of Catan


The BBQ place where we had our final meal together gave us the perfect backdrop for a photo of these ol' high school (junior high?) friends and off-spring. Nearly twenty years since its inception, I'm grateful for our friendship.


We were so glad to get lots of time to catch up with our friends (young and less young) and enjoy the local cuisine. Success.

What do you like to do when you visit friends in a new town?