Monday, July 14, 2014

Due Date

Dear Baby Girl,

Today is the day you are due to arrive! And we would so love to meet you.

I think I'm done running until you get here. For one thing: knee pain. It kind of snuck up on me. I had noticed that it hurt to kneel, but I hadn't noticed the knot developing below my patella until a few nights ago. I want to give it a chance to heal before throwing myself headlong back into speed work and long runs like I know I will want to once you have joined us.

Another reason: you are sitting so low now that my bladder has no room at all. I love it because it means you're preparing to make your arrival, and because my lungs have more space to expand, but it just doesn't work for running. Sometimes not even for walking.

We have your running stroller ready--did you think you wouldn't be a running baby from the very beginning? Not a chance! Expect to spend plenty of time on the move. We are already planning your first 5k this fall.

I know you're content to hang out for a while longer, happily kicking and packing on the pounds, but we are ready to hold you in our arms. Our hospital doesn't want to let you go past 41 weeks, so we will see you soon. And we can't wait!


Friday, July 11, 2014

Friday Five: What I've Loved About El Paso

We're about to PCS (permanent change of station, Army-speak for move) to Georgia. We will have spent three and a half years in El Paso, Texas, and while I'm ready for a change, I'm also going to be sad to leave.

Sadness would have been last on my list of how I thought I would feel about leaving when we first arrived. El Paso wasn't our first choice, and it was hard to get used to. There are few trees, almost none of them shade trees. Most yards are full of gravel, not grass. For the first several months, I woke up every day with a dry throat and cracked lips. While running, the dry air made me feel like I wasn't getting enough oxygen.

But even as we were learning to drive in dust storms and deal with the fact that travel around the city takes forever due to having to drive around the mountain or Fort Bliss, we were also learning about all the city has to offer. Here are five of my favorite--and it was hard to pick just five!

1. Franklin Mountains State Park. Hands down my absolute favorite thing about El Paso. Much of the land surrounding the rugged Franklins is state park land, filled with trails ranging from wide and flat to steep and arduous. To avoid the daily usage fee, annual passes can be purchased, and they're good at all state parks in Texas!

2. McKelligon Canyon and Scenic Drive. I couldn't pick just one. These two roads are El Paso's most popular for walking, running, and cycling. Scenic Drive is closed to vehicle traffic on Sunday mornings, and McKelligon Canyon doesn't carry heavy traffic unless an event (like the wonderful, free Movies in the Canyon) is happening at the amphitheater.

3. El Paso Public Libraries.  With thirteen locations and two bookmobiles (bookmobiles!), I haven't had trouble finding most books I've wanted. The bookmobile means you can place a hold online on books at any library and designate your library for pickup. When it has been delivered to your location, you receive an email. They also have a large collection of ebooks and audiobooks you can download straight to your phone or computer.

4. Food trucks. This is a recent discovery for me, and I wish I'd learned of it sooner. El Paso boasts a variety of gourmet food trucks, just like other foodie cities across the country! I've sampled some excellent fare, and I'm making it my mission to try the Mini Donut Depot and Holy Cupcake before we leave here. You can find out where they are by following the Food Truck Circus Facebook page.

5. The running community. Though you're more likely to see a group of cyclists working their way up Transmountain Road than a group of runners any given Saturday morning, El Paso has a vibrant running community. The local running store, Up and Running, hosts morning and afternoon group runs at their two locations, as well as fun and informative events. This city also has races you won't find anywhere else--like the World's Fastest 10k, which starts at the top of Transmountain, the highest paved point in the city.

Bonus: First Baptist Church. Our first morning in El Paso, a friend brought us to FBC, saving us the long process of church hunting and plugging us into a place where we have grown, learned, and made the best friends. It's a big-small church: there are lots of people, but everyone is glad to see you and help you find a friendly Sunday school class. If you move to El Paso looking for a church home, I recommend starting here!

More bonuses: The Las Cruces Farmer's Market, Cattleman's Steakhouse, the Lincoln National Forest near Cloudcroft, NM, the El Paso Zoo, the El Paso Museum of Art. There is so much to love about El Paso!

Wednesday, July 9, 2014

Getting A Sister: A Guest Post by Bruno and Howdy


My mom is letting me write on the blog! This is so exciting! She wants me to write about getting a sister. I don't know what a sister is, but I know two things: 1) It's not something I can eat; and 2) It has more toys than I do. I don't like it when someone else has more toys than me, and the sister's toys look so fun. The packages her toys come in are fun too, because I can shred them and leave them all over the floor, but I have to grab them before mom notices. Otherwise she throws them away and perfectly good boxes go to waste!

Also, the sister will get to ride in a stroller when we walk. I didn't even know strollers existed, and now I'm wondering why I don't have one. That's the perfect way to go for a walk: all of the nature, none of the exercise! Mom, if you're reading this, I want a stroller for my birthday. Or I can just share the one you got for the sister. She won't mind, right?


Oh, Bruno. A sister is a noisy, attention-hogging miniature human who will replace us in the hearts of our humans. In fact, I think she already has. And because of the sister, they won't take us for as many walks or runs or pet us as much. I bet they'll even forget to feed us.

Thanks, humans. I can't believe you're doing this to us.

Monday, July 7, 2014

Running at 39 Weeks

Some honesty: I'd hoped I would have delivered this baby by now.

I think most women hope that, especially by this point. And especially in the summer. You're large, uncomfortable, sweating like crazy, constantly hungry, and plagued with heartburn. You're tired of wearing maternity clothes, and probably down to fewer outfits. And since babies are considered full-term by this point, you'd love it if the baby would go ahead and get here.

But since I'm still pregnant, I'm making the most of it. For me, that means continuing to run and go for long walks in the desert with my husband and the dogs--walks we won't be able to take when the baby arrives because mesquite thorns would instantly puncture the tires of our jogging stroller. And it also means spending a good amount of time on the couch with my feet propped up, making excellent progress on my reading list.

The belly just keeps growing.

Running at this point is slow, so very slow. But I almost (almost!) don't mind, because it feels like such an accomplishment. I didn't think I would still be running at this point. Or, at least, I was afraid to hope I would.

The maternity support belt is still my best friend, and I'm glad I bought the medium instead of the small, because it almost doesn't fit anymore, though I haven't really gained any extra weight. Round ligament pain is something I'm still dealing with, but (during the run, at least) it goes away after the first few minutes. It reappears later in the day, however, especially if I don't cool down properly or I forget to stretch afterward.

Tips for running late in the third trimester:

  • Take your phone. For your own peace of mind, and for that of your loved ones. Especially if any of them are skeptical about your running.
  • Be flexible. Some runs are going to be great. Some are going to be uncomfortable. And some are going to come with pain that means you should stop. So stop. Walk. Try again. If it hasn't improved, be content with walking that day, or spend some time on a stationary bike.
  • Stay close to home. You never know when you'll have to interrupt a run or cut it short due to discomfort or the urgent need for a restroom.
  • Be terrain-aware. Even if you're used to running on rugged trails, you might want to stick to the pavement at this point, or at least be very careful of your footing. I didn't believe all the warnings about how your balance changes until I felt it happen to me. Go slowly and watch your step.
  • Be proud of yourself! Running this late in the pregnancy game (or getting any kind of exercise) is an achievement, and one that you'll thank yourself for after the baby arrives and it's time to build up your fitness again.

Friday, July 4, 2014

Friday Five: Scripture for the What-Ifs

Running is full of the exhilarating unknown. Hanging over every race are questions of whether we trained enough, fueled correctly, rested adequately. And each time we step up to the starting line, we have the chance to outdo our expectations, to run a personal record, to place in our age group.

The unknowns of everyday life are somewhat harder for me to handle, and nothing has made me more aware of this than jumping into motherhood. If I let it, worry over all the things I can't know and can't control about my pregnancy and delivery will cripple me. And pregnancy worries are just the tip of the iceberg when it comes to the unknown, uncontrollable, and unexpected in parenting.

A Facebook friend linked to this blog post last week. It was just what I needed to read, a reminder of truth I know but all too often cast aside in fear.

And it reminded me God's word is overflowing with promises and reminders to combat every kind of fear and worry. Here are five of my favorite:

1. Philippians 4:6-7
Do not be anxious about anything, but in every situation, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.
My absolute favorite; the words I repeat when I catch myself caught up in worry. Every time, I am astounded anew by the phrase "in every situation." That means even the small things, and to me, that means so much.

2. Philippians 4:19
And my God will meet all your needs according to the riches of his glory in Christ Jesus.

3. Psalm 91
The entire Psalm describes the Lord's protection, but my favorite verses are 11 and 12: For he will command his angels concerning you to guard you in all your ways; they will lift you up in their hands, so that you will not strike your foot against a stone.

4. Jeremiah 29:11-12
For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the Lord, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future. Then you will call on me and come and pray to me, and I will listen to you.

5. Matthew 6: 25-27
“Therefore I tell you, do not worry about your life, what you will eat or drink; or about your body, what you will wear. Is not life more than food, and the body more than clothes? Look at the birds of the air; they do not sow or reap or store away in barns, and yet your heavenly Father feeds them. Are you not much more valuable than they? Can any one of you by worrying add a single hour to your life?

Share your favorite scriptures for dealing with worry in the comments!