Motivation to Push Baby Paula Fast

Here’s the story behind my recent 1:22:57 Half Marathon (7th place female finisher) at Rock ‘n’ Roll Chicago. Currently that is the World’s fastest time a WOMAN has ever run pushing their kid (or someone else’s) for that distance. Once I can gather all the evidence, I will submit my claim to Guinness. This story is all about babies, being creative, taking time to plan and applying determination so mom gets “me time” on the run. If you are a parent (or plan to have kids someday) and reading this, I hope to provide some insight on how to make fitness and fun racing happen! If you aren’t, then watch your back as someday you may get passed by a stroller in an upcoming race near you (ok – this HAS happened to me might I add – a 17:30 5K too… a 40 year old dad pushing a 3 year old flew by me on the home stretch) 😛

To have a successful stroller race it’s a little different than a solo effort- there are a few components to note including…
-No flat tires
-A healthy/happy baby
-Winds preferably under 10-15 mph
-(for the Chicago race) the forecast which called for possible severe storms to hold off
-a race that allows strollers (note Rock ‘n’ Roll bent their rule since I was chasing a record -I started near the front and quickly moved to the far side to avoid the crowd)

I knew given my current abilities this was what it would take to break the standing Half Marathon record (1:27:34). Until the night before race day, I actually thought the record was only 1:30:51 (set 2000 as Guinness states). A pre-race article discussing my record attempt informed me that a mom in Great Britain bettered that mark by 4 minutes only 1 month ago! Not to steal her thunder, my plans were set before I found out that fact.

To run MY ultimate fastest (which I anticipated was anything between 1:21-24) – these were the key factors…
-smooth travel (babies on laps can wreck your body)
-the willingness to endure the 13.1 distance (check)
-some spark in my legs (day off and extra cookies – check)

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I had all the faith in the world in baby P. She had proved time and time again she was a willing and able passenger. Give me some race adrenaline, a little taper going into race day, I’ll be ready to fly. My second child Paula has been a fantastic training partner. We’ve logged over 500 miles and there have been only a few occasions of complaints- (when I slow to a stop or there’s that mandatory diaper change –both easy fixes). Being well fed is a state of being for Paula (that girl can EAT). She’s got the reserves to make it through an hour or so run. But I always pack a “bubba” just in case we’d ever get stranded.

Back in 2013-14, I had been in my groove of saving money on babysitting, boosting quality time exploring the outdoors and racking up the miles in my Mountain Buggy Terrain stroller with baby Joanie (now age 4). She had her moments. From age 3-6 months her stroller attention span was about 30 minutes. Once my running took full flight (6 months postpartum), she quickly took a love for her rides with mommy.

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Loving baby Joanie – 6 months

Then one day, running around Nike campus near my home, Galen Rupp passed by and I unknowingly upped my pace (that sort of thing happens when you are surrounded by elites). It could have been Lopez or Centro or Jordan Hasay – they all had the same effect. Watching fast runners makes you just suddenly want to go… But I definitely remember Galen with Alberto on the bike. Suddenly the 7 miles went by and I averaged just under 7 minute pace, definitely leaving some more effort to be given. It was then the idea of “I wonder if there is a record for stroller running” popped into my head. Sure enough, Google supplied the answers. The then 10K record was surprisingly about the same pace that I had just ran, for a mile less! All I needed to do was race.

I used to be awed back in my pre-baby days watching Dathan Ritzenhein’s wife Kalin pushing around her double stroller, sometimes around the wood chipped trail on the Nike campus, thinking “that mom is a beast”! (Runner-up inspiration definitely my friend from back East – Dorothy Beal – who raced with her triple). Once I had my own baby, with a little experience and practice, the stroller thing became an afterthought. Fellow runners and onlookers assume it is hella-hard and often on my easy days people will cheer me on. It’s all about coordinating baby schedules and putting in a little extra effort (typical weight around 55 lbs with supplies and child, but obviously it has wheels so it’s not like pushing around a cement block).  As long as route doesn’t include extreme hills, altitude or wind, it’s not too tough (plan to add ~20 to 30 secs/mile to your pace). At first I was annoyed by it, but I eventually realized it could be more of an asset as a training weapon to make you stronger (see my previous post STROLLER RUNNING IS MY ALTITUDE).

The only downside- stroller running is tough to balance when you need to be recovering. This past spring I got a little too confident in my abilities, therefore leading me down the run down path (coupled with sleep deprivation).

October 2014, I found a race in town (after many denials to race with a stroller) and broke the 10K Guinness World Record by 5 minutes (a cold, rainy day- my friend’s baby Ruby was nice and cozy as I ran 38:15 for 10K). It still has not been changed (evidence still pending). Trust me GWR, I pushed it and it was a legit race. No drug testing though.. hmmm.

The twist was of course – I borrowed my friend’s lighter baby. My own daughter was going out of town to visit grandparents with my husband- I swear to you I didn’t try to time this. As a mom you NEVER would argue against a much needed break! That actually added more logistical stress. I went on practice runs with the then-7 month old lightweight Ruby. Fast forward 4 months later, another mom Maggie Yount went after it and broke my record by 40 seconds with her then 3 month old (props to her- I definitely was not upset as I know these records are all achievable by MANY moms – I actually only wish we could all come together to have a fun competition!!

When I heard the news, I was pregnant with baby 2, so one of my postpartum goals was to try to better that 10K record.

July 4, 2016. I was in Eugene at the Olympic Trials. I was actually enjoying my time and quite proud of that fact alone. (In 2008 I was livid watching the prelims on TV after I was only 3 people away from qualifying). Prelims for the women’s steeplechase. I had that date marked on my calendar way back in November when I had successfully resumed full-on training and racing. As mentioned I was not on that starting list. Coincidentally there was a 10K that morning – “Strollers are allowed” the Butte to Butte website boasted. What a great day to try to check off a different goal!

The gun blasted and I gave it my best shot. I got off the line hard. A half mile in we faced a brutal 250 foot climb- only to get steeper as you approached the top. My baby Paula also weighed double what  Ruby had (22 vs 11)- even though they were only 2 months apart.

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Butte to Butte Elevation: where I hit the stroller pushing wall and walked (1.25 mile mark)

 

After hitting about 6:05 thru the mile, it turned a little ugly. 100m to the top, I had to walk (it felt like I had just attempted an all out 1500m) and about 50 runners flew by (my next split was 6:36 but included a downhill). One nice man actually started to grab hold the stroller saying “I’ll help!” Only to hear me yell “NO!!!”. Obviously he had no idea I was in the process of attempting a record! I ran up to my friend Crosby and he was content to running in front of me to try to block the wind. My teammate Anna was on her bike with her phone recording the entire race. End of story I averaged once again 6:10 pace (38:16), a second shy of my former stroller PR and no record to claim. Working all week at the Trials had left my legs a little flat; but really I would need a little easier course to conquer the feat.

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Paula goes airborne flying into finish line (Butte to Butte race video)

Thursday, July 14. Weeks passed and I was talking to my husband about the workout I’d be doing the following day, texting my Bowerman teammates to try  to coordinate a meet up. An hour later I was booking my flight to Chicago.  Everything had suddenly fallen into place to make this happen. 

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My former college roommate Bekah and I were texting. We had worked together for Competitor Group. The recent stroller attempt came up and she encouraged me to think about trying the half at Rock ‘n’ Roll San Jose. It wasn’t til October. Wasn’t there an earlier race? I headed onto the Rock ‘n’ Roll website. Yes in fact, Chicago was this upcoming Sunday and the race directors were just about to have their operations meeting to see if it would be safe. I couldn’t pick a better place to do it. Rock ‘n’ Roll knows how to put on a race. The crowds, the energy and the fantastic race organization. Done.

Friday morning I skipped my K repeats. I finished packing and mid morning I was on my way. A day off from running (substitute restraining lap child on long flights as cross training) instead of a workout- I knew I would be ready! My mom was off work all weekend and made the trip up to see me. I ended up having a roommate – Zoila Gomez – and there is no way this was just coincidence. What other elite would be completely cool with a 9 month old sharing a room pre-race (even if I had promised she NEVER wakes up)? God works in mysterious ways. Zoila was more than accommodating (she had 13 siblings growing up!!)Screen Shot 2016-07-23 at 10.31.23 AM

Post Race – I got more than the attention it deserved – with articles from Runners World, Competitor, USA Today and more..

Stroller Record to Be Tested

Julia Webb Breaks Half Marathon Stroller Record

Famous Running Mom and her 9 Month Old Smash Record

Elite U.S. Distance Runner Smashes Record

Meet the Baby Pushing Half Marathon Stroller Record Holder

IMG_6537The above articles give more detail on how it went down, but basically it was a success!  The wind became the only truly challenging factor as my first 3 miles were a fast 6:05 before turning into some decent headwind (~10-15 mph). The crowds were amazing, the other racers were inspiring and kept me going after it. Once I had passed through a couple miles, I set my sights on staying competitive with the top 4-8 women. No complaints – a 6:20 average for 13.1 miles and walking away unharmed – back to training as usual the following day! Neely Spence cruised solo to the win in 1:12. Post race I finally got to meet her and another amazing mom I follow on social media – 3rd place 10K finisher – Katy Hayes.

Rock ‘n’ Roll Chicago Half (Female) Results
1. Neely Spence 1:12:26
2. Chirine Njeim 1:17:00
3. Jessica Watychowicz 1:18:03
4. Loryn Kromrey 1:21:11
5. Kati Snyder 1:21:46
6. Karen Lockyer 1:22:47
7. Julia/Paula Webb 1:22:57
8. Kelley Gallagher 1:24:01

I hope that by running this record, it can inspire moms and dads to see their fitness doesn’t have to suffer just because you have the added responsibility of the baby. It’s still possible to maintain fitness from your pre-parenting days if you find creative ways to involve your kids in your workouts. Stroller running is a safe option (starting as early as 1 week old if you get a car seat attachment) I would recommend the mom waits a full month before she attempts to get back into a running routine. Dads- week 1-5 is your time!Screen Shot 2016-07-23 at 10.43.33 AM

I also like to share that year round weather fluctuations should not hinder your stroller running abilities – it is possible to do it in almost any environment (OK heavy snowfall not the greatest- I’ve tried). But I have run in sub zero degree temps and heavy downpours; as well as high heat. You just come prepared either bundling kids up or bringing ice water to keep them cool or a rain cover to keep them protected. There really is no excuse – the main thing it’s fun to involve your fitness into an activity great for getting your kids outside!

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Moving forward I’m excited to take on more running adventures in the near future.  Next up for me- Bowerman 5K (6 days post half – so we’ll see if I can find any sort of turnover after a long week) with some solid competition of my BowermanTC Elite teammates. Then early August my first (non-pregnant) Spartan Race here in Portland! A mandatory break will be starting in mid-August so I can reset and get ready for Club XC in December. Stay tuned and follow my Instagram for much more frequent updates.  

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Steeplechase Dreams and Jumping at an Opportunity

My blogging has been a little slim the past few months – but I’m back (if you ever miss out just follow my Instagram -I update just about daily). This is basically a personal journal I’m willing to share, so no offense taken if you have zero interest to read a book on my recent training and racing!

This past weekend I got more attention than it deserved – when I set a (pending) Guinness World Record at Rock ‘n’ Roll Chicago half marathon (1:22:57). A last minute decision to race, but really just seizing an opportunity to showcase fitness from months of grinding chasing after fast track goals.Screen Shot 2016-07-22 at 12.06.17 PM

The past year, I set sights on the steeplechase. My hopes were to get a spot on the Olympic Trials starting line (sub 9:52-which is 3.5 seconds faster than my post-Joanie PR from 2013). Unfortunately, no fairytale ending to my track season. I hit some major road blocks starting in mid-March after getting greedy. I raced back to back 10000m track/15K road races in an extremely sleep deprived state, with work and kids hindering my ability to recover. Then (I’m blaming Chuck E Cheese)- catching what would be a string of hard illnesses to break. Why I stayed sick – my stubbornness of insisting to my coach that I was “ok enough” to train. My husband got hit just as hard though, despite not being in training period. It was a nasty bad sickness.

Back in January I ran 9:46 in my first track race (a flat 3K) hopeful with 4 months of training I could possibly run that adding barriers. By mid April, my health had returned, but I felt like I was a shell of my former self.

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Another factor- in April I quit breastfeeding (7.5 months postpartum), only to feel worse and my hormones completely out of whack. It was as if I almost lost my “super-mom post baby powers”. (Note to moms- you CAN still breastfeed and perform well!). Running was not the main reason I stopped, but it was a contributing factor in the decision making, which ended up backfiring.

Early June, training was turning around and workouts looking like low 10’s were possible. On Alan’s college graduation day (June 11), I was planning to race at Portland Track Festival. Days earlier Joanie got sick again and I was feeling stressed out. That morning I woke up feeling like death. Another sickness, not worth being stupid so I didn’t compete. That left one race – Stumptown Twilight. I actually felt phenomenal all week and very hopeful I could run 10:10 (or better). You never know. I entered my 10:21 time into USATF Trials website (the deadline to enter was before the race). It would be a slim slim chance to crack a PR, but how bad would that be to NOT enter if I ended up running out of my mind. When you get it right, steeple is a race you can drop a lot of time. I typically have a 30-45 second swing from my season opener to my final race in just 2-3 months time.

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Carrie and I in our first water jump in over 2 years. It was a little rough! Video captured for all to see by Runnerspace

Clouds were brewing all day, forecast called for a chance of rain, but when doesn’t it rain in Portland? As I began my warm up with Carrie Dimoff – my favorite person in the entire world to steeple with (she’s literally my good luck charm – her race day demeanor just puts you at ease), it began to drizzle. Then as we headed down to the track, final call..

I grabbed my spikes and it began to dump. Comically raining harder than I’ve EVER seen it in Portland. My race plans basically went out the window- shifting my brain into cross country survival mindset. My body began to cool as I struggled to get my spikes triple tied before I strided off to the start.  30 minutes ago I had been feeling exceptionally awesomeness, now I was just really cold and tight.

The race was a blur. I ran a 10:17 and I was almost giddy I had fought the rain and came out alive (with a season best). Aside from the last lap of getting a little inside my head and stuttering, it wasn’t awful. But I knew it COULD have been better (which is the WORST feeling to end a season).

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Wet and happy- post race with friend (nanny) Jan!

This was the final race (within driving distance) to qualify. Steeplechasing myself to qualifying for my first Olympic Trials were over (for now). Pretty amazing but not surprising, 38 women made the standard (3 heats of prelims!- normally there are only 2) and 2 of the Bowerman Girls made it on the team to Rio!! So much respect to all the athletes who were there competing.

Both 2008 and 2016 I had hopes to get on the Trials starting line (2012 I was giving birth that week). Both years I ran only a 10:17 – far from my original hopes and far north of my PR. Moral of story – don’t consciously attempt to run at anything with the title “Olympic Trials” again – the pressure build up apparently killed me!! I’m sure had this been the calendar year 2017, I would have ran great!

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TrueForm Runner – huge asset in helping me find my stride

2016 Steeplechase Season Progression
April 14 – Oregon Relays – 10:30.12

April 29- OSU High Performance Meet – 10:36.31**

May 19 – UWL Qualifier – 10:21.12 (happy to beat my 10:22 college PR back at my college, then come back to race my little sis in the 400 hurdles!– 69.38 for the win)

June 23 – Stumptown Twilight – 10:17.46

 

**OSU race was a disaster. I thought my Oregon Relays 10:30 was an underperformance. My plan to was to go out relaxed and only focus on closing last 3 laps… I succeeded in going out slow, surged for 200m and ended slow. I was EXTREMELY upset with myself post race and for the first time in (ever?!) I was questioning running- my post on social. A few days later all was well, but just had to reset and look at reality and why I run (because I love it- not to have a result define me as a person)!

 

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Steeplechasing a long long time ago… sights set on the ’08 Trials

The day after my final season’s steeplechase I was featured on the Kaizen Running Podcast– I highly recommend listening. This gives much more than just a race recap- but all the wisdom I wanted to pass along from what I had learned from my failings of the entire season.

Instead of calling it a season to rest and reset, I was not content in stopping, just as I was now feeling healthy, motivated and energized to do something fun with the fitness I had gained. I looked at a different challenge which was picking up other unfinished business after the pregnancy of my 2nd daughter….IMG_6040

That whole “stroller running” record chasing business.

Guinness World Record stroller titles I will have to add – MUCH MUCH simpler tasks for myself than running 5:15 pace over 7 water jumps and 28 stationary barriers for just about 2 miles.

More blogging to come in the very near future (I have ammo ready to post). Thanks for reading, I applaud your attention span …

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Alexi Pappas- Rio bound movie maker and stroller pushing friend

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Setbacks, Blood Tests and a Dose of Optimism

It’s officially outdoor track season for 2016. Admittedly the past 3 weeks have not been the best for me, unfortunately experiencing a few setbacks just when I want to ramp up the training to get after my goals. For a good 5 months, my training and body was feeling pretty amazing. Following my 10,000m track debut and 15K road race in mid March – the entire family picked up a string of illnesses. I was risking it as I was extremely sleep deprived at the starting line of both of these events. I then messed up further by initially not taking the whole being sick thing serious. No more whining, I should know better from past experiences. My Achilles’ heel has always been not recognizing when I’ve pushed to far and accepting that rest is best. I am lucky to stay away from injuries, but I’ve had far too many run ins with lengthy viruses. It had been a couple years since I went through this, so I had forgotten that I am not invincible.

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Spending quality time with the kids WHILE running

My coach quickly recognized this and reminded me it’s ok to stop being super hero mom/runner. No more seeking for short cuts and sneaking back to workouts, it’s time to chill.  This was not what I wanted to blog about but maybe it can help you. Bad mistake. Do not repeat. If you’re sick, count a few days as a loss, take off from work AND running, then move on.  Exact same realization with injuries. This did not happen. So here I am typing. The good news, I do know I have a solid base behind me and all is not lost. I just need to turn this around and get my energy back before I can continue forward. Even if I do face a huge loss in fitness, I will venture on and pick up the pieces from where I left off. I compete for the pure love of it, so I’m not afraid to show my cards in a race, regardless if I’ve taken a few steps back.

A few weeks ago, I  went in to get my blood tested. Getting to know what’s going on the inside of my body is a necessary piece to couple my training. All runners (and athletes) should care. If you don’t know some of your numbers, you could be missing out on a very important piece that training doesn’t exactly state (other than “I’m tired or slow or sick”—which can often creep up at the exact time you want to be feeling your best).

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With my biggest goals just around the corner, it was a good time to check in to see how I was doing.

For my bloodwork I use InsideTracker. The new “High Performance” blood test checks 10 biomarkers – all vital for optimal run performance. This test can be done locally (the company is based in Boston), no fasting required, and costs $250 out of pocket. Not a bad price considering most Vitamin D tests alone are $150+.

These 10 markers include:
Testosterone (sex function/athletic performance)

Cortisol (stress indicator)

Vitamin D (bone health/energy)

Ferritin (iron storage)

Hemoglobin (oxygen transporter)

Vitamin B12 (energy production/muscle repair)

HsCRP (inflammation)

ALT (liver enzyme)

SHBG (sex hormone)

Creatine Kinase (muscle health)

The best part is that the results let you know where you stand – not just as a healthy human but as an ATHLETE. I have heard many stories of iron-poor runners having no idea they are at a severe disadvantage with a Ferritin in the teens. Their doctor returned the test results saying “Yep you’re normal. Great work”. Wrong. Huge red flag. Big time problem for optimal iron storage which is vital for blood to carry oxygen to demanding muscles. An optimal ferritin would be 60 or higher. Anything under 30 and you are not doing yourself any favors when it comes to running well.

You wouldn’t know if you blindly trust your health care provider. InsideTracker is a team of experts specializing in sports medicine, who do the work for you so you don’t have to research what an optimal level is and how to correct any deficiencies.

Along with your results you get easy to follow lifestyle and diet recommendations based on personal preferences (vegan, vegetarian, celiac, etc). A new feature help[s you set goals and give you reminders. So here’s what I discovered in my last test:

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I could use some work. My sickness accurately reflected this. My “at risk” biomarker was my CRP which measures inflammation. My body has been going on 2 weeks of fighting off illness with no success, so this was no surprise. If I want to run well, I can’t keep skimping on sleep. I can’t do it alone. I need to team up with my husband to tackle the sleepless nights. I also need to quit trying to cheat the system. I obviously need to back off in training and there’s no way around it. It doesn’t matter how driven I am, I only have 1 body to work with, and at this point, I have to listen. My goals will have to be altered, knowing it may take another week to fully recover and my race times will reflect this big hiccup in my training.

With my weakened immune system and extra stresses from being a mom that don’t always give me the optimal rest, I need to be on my A-game at all times with eating well. This means real, whole foods over any quick fix sugar cravings. Quality proteins and tons of produce. InsideTracker gave me a ton of ideas that I normally wouldn’t even look for at the grocery store.

InsideTracker was also quick to mention that I could use a consistent dose of Probiotics. Kombucha and a supplement are now back on my daily list of musts. With the lack of sun in Portland- I need to stay on top of making Vitamin D supplementation a priority. Luckily the sun has actually come out the past few weeks- so I have been taking full advantage and getting outside! Staying hydrated is also a big factor with the weather warming up and continuing to provide for my 6 month old. I will now be introducing smoothies back into my routine.

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Iron levels. Less than ideal. Again. Great to know. This has been a lifelong struggle since I first heard that I should get tested as a runner. It is one reason I had my absolute worst years of race results when I was subjected to altitude in my own home (during Alan’s final years as a professional runner 2010-11, our house was set to a high level using altitude machines; a note that the elevation was set to his body’s level of adaptation and not mine). Iron = helping your blood transport oxygen. Low iron =  a big handicap in handling training, and obviously a hinderance living at high altitudes where less oxygen is available.

Screen Shot 2016-04-07 at 11.44.47 AMI know from my past that keeping healthy iron levels while training is a battle. I need to rethink my iron supplements. I do a pretty decent job at getting in the recommended foods. Time to get back to the liquid form (found at most pharmacies over the counter for under $10), which seems to help my teammates greatly. I will trust their success to hopefully boost my ferritin and hemoglobin back to acceptable levels.

Surprise!!! My cortisol level was optimized. My last test during pregnancy at the end of my first trimester, it was through the roof. I would say I am a much more stressed pregnant chick than having the baby on the outside, so that was a positive reflection of reality. Having the outlet of running has helped me tremendously in having a balance in stress levels and being a mom/having a job and training.

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Once again, my test was eye opening and a necessary reality check at a crucial point in my season. I would highly recommend the test! Check out their website if you’re curious at how InsideTracker operates. If you opt to get the test, use the code HPJULIA to get entered to win a free Ultimate Plan (testing 30 biomarkers).

In terms of my season, setbacks happen. I am fortunate that my job doesn’t depend on my athletic performances, but that doesn’t mean I don’t care any less. The last thing I want to do is start having a huge pity party. I’ll admit it’s hard to avoid though, when things take an unexpected turn in the wrong direction. I’m keeping my focus on the many other great things in my life that are unrelated to my running performance. I also know I’m not alone. Just off the top of my head I can think of a dozen other athletes with bigger goals who are also fighting setbacks. It’s all part of the game. It makes the winning moments even sweeter.

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Post-race at Club Nationals back in December (11 weeks postpartum– 21:29 for 6K); pre-race included jogging the course with baby Paula

I do plan to get out and race regardless of if I’m in PR shape or not. The event I’m focusing on is the steeplechase. My A goal would be a sub 9:52 by June to qualify for the Olympic Trials (no I didn’t say anything about the actual Olympics – BIG DIFFERENCE). My B goal – just run the best I can with what I got. This could be a 10:00 or maybe slower. Either way, I am extremely excited to race my favorite event! My first one lined up is looking to be Oregon Relays at Hayward Field. I live for the everyday workouts, race experiences and am not afraid to embarrass myself. Love the process, the outcome will reflect that. A PR is always great, but the real joy is just having the ability to be out there. Every setback gives more appreciation of the good days. I’m confident I’m a few good days away. Thanks for sharing in my journey by reading my blog!!

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Pictured above – a lethal fight against sickness — probiotics, raw garlic, kombucha, vitamin C and a day off

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3 Day Look at one Runner’s Diet

A follow up to my last blog “Can You Be A Skinny Runner and Eat?” – here is Part 2 – My diet for 3 days.

What do I eat? It’s a question I often get asked. If young female distance runners were to shadow me for an entire week, I’m sure they would be surprised. Not saying everyone has a problem, but there are far too many who under-eat. When you don’t eat enough, it leads to some big time problems long term. Some girls just don’t know. Unfortunately some of the top girls on each team are far from role models in terms of nutrition. Teammates start looking at how each other eat. If one girl is extremely restrictive with calories and she happens to be running well (during that season), the others will start measuring up to her diet. Sadly, many girls feel guilty if they are eating just a standard meal. I am blogging to provide a resource so girls can see that to run well (for years), you need to eat A LOT! If you eat by listening to your body’s natural hunger cues, it doesn’t mean you’re going to just automatically gain weight. Instead of seeing food as an enemy you need to outsmart, the mindset needs to change that food = fuel.

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As a college athlete at UW-La Crosse, I was fortunate to have amazing teammates and a healthy atmosphere  (photo from 2005 cross country)

I am completely individual and my calorie requirements could be completely different than another athletes. This isn’t suppose to be a roadmap to “what you should eat”, but more an inside look at how I do things. For that reason I did not add up calories. It would be a tedious process and not exactly worth the time. If you notice – I eat often. As mentioned in blog 1, my stomach is rarely empty. I rarely get to the point where I’m starving. My method is simple- eat a variety and listen to my body’s cravings. Here’s a really cheesy comparison: I eat often so like a car my gas tank is full – ready to speed away and safely make it to my next destination – not risking the “I’m running out of gas” on the side of the road where you embarrassingly have to call AAA.

To add to the food I ate, I also included time of day, activities I’ve done and sleep. A side note that I have a 5 month old and still am breastfeeding (not completely exclusive; but a minimum of 5 x per day; average every ~4 hours or pump). This adds another ~500 calories to my deficit.

Breakfast & post run are my critical fueling periods. Another part of my plan – going to bed with a little extra so I don’t wake up famished. I often have a big snack before bed if I know I will be running long/hard that next morning. I realize eating at night is less than ideal, but often I do not get to “relax” and actually enjoy my meals during the day, and 10pm is when I sometimes get to “chill”, so I eat at that time. This also debunks the myth if you eat after 9pm it turns straight to fat. As a busy working mom, I am eating in the car; or other times one hand holding a sandwich, the other holding a baby.
On to the point– My Diet for 3 Days

DAY 1 -Saturday 3.12.2016
PRE RACE DAY

Sleep in. (10:30-1:45; 3-9:30- this here literally saved my race. I had not gotten that long of a stretch the entire month)

Breakfast – 9:45 AM
Water (won’t be listing this, but I drink a lot of this; and many  times add salt to my food to absorb the water)

Apple
¾ cup oatmeal cooked w/ 1 cup milk
blueberries and brown sugar topping
~2 Tbsp. peanut butter for dipping
12 oz coffee 

11:30 AM RUN 3 EASY miles plus 5 x Strides

UCAN (1 scoop)
applesauce
Supplements – B complex liquid, Proferrin iron (while preparing food on semi-empty stomach)

Lunch –  1:30 pm
¾ box of mac n cheese w/ coconut oil and milk and frozen peas
chicken maple sausage
salad w/ greens, zucchini, avocado & poppyseed dressing (full fat version)

Snacks 3:30-5

picky

Always have snacks available in car for post-run or emergency hunger!


Activity – Shopping at Trader Joes

Sweet Potato chips- Food should taste good
Orange
Beef brisket cracker sample
Picky bar

Dinner -6:15 pm
2.5 Egg
½ avocado
Rice w/ olive oil
Brocolli
Greek yogurt

Snack– 9 pm
Red Wine (4oz) and peanut M&Ms (a handful)
Cereal – Trader Joes Fruit Rings, Corn Flakes; 1/2 banana

Bedtime Attempt 10:30 –  baby awake

Snack- 11 pm
Bagel w jelly & butter

Baby duty til 12:00 (lose an hour – daylight savings)

Day 2 — Sunday 3/13
RACE DAY 

Sleep 12:15-4:45 am
4:50 – hop on True Form Runner treadmill for activation .75 miles

Pre-Race Breakfast – 5:15 am
1/2 cup Steel cut oats w milk & peanut butter
Banana
12 oz Americano – black

6:45 – Warm up 2.25 miles; drills/strides
4 oz Gatorade

7:30 AM Shamrock Portland 15K Race– 54:44 (1st female)race_2101_photo_32435953

Gu/water immediately at finish; cool down 1 mile (too cold to run more)
Apple
Kind protein bar

Snack – 10 AM
Starbucks egg & cheese sandwich

walk 1.5 miles to car

Lunch – 11:30
3 pumpkin pancakes (butter, syrup, blueberries)
UCAN (1/2 scoop)

Nap 1:15-2

Snack – 2:15pm
Cereal (cheerios, granola), 2% milk

nap 2:45-4:15 

Snack – 4:30
carrots & hummus
chocolate covered granola bar

General Strength exercises– core/pushups/pullups (25 min)

OJ (Proferrin)

Dinner – 7:30 pm
Roasted red potatoes (~3 medium size w/ sea salt and olive oil)
Mac n cheese (1/2 serving cleaning kid’s plate)
~4 oz chicken breast
Broccoli
big salad (ranch dressing) – tomatoes, spinage, zucchini

Snack –  9pm
TJ morning glory muffin
dark chocolate (2 squares)

Cereal – panda puffs, honey bunches of oats, 1/2 banana, 2% milk

Day 3 -Monday 3/14

Sleep – 10-11; 12:30-8 (saved by my husband)

Breakfast -8:30 AM
Orange
(3/4 c) Oatmeal; cranberries, 1/2 banana, 2 tbsp peanut butter, milk (1 c)

11:00 am – Run w/ stroller (harder than I’d liked)- 62 min (7.5 miles)

UCAN (1/2 scoop)
Kind Bar – dark chocolate cherry
OJ (liquid B complex vitamins, proferrin)

Lunch –  12:45IMG_3042
Cinnamon raisin bagel, slice cheese, egg
Spinach, tomato, zucchini
Kettle chips w/ ketchup

Snack* – 3 PM
Big chocolate chip cookie 
½ caf Americano

*regret* – wanted to nap so badly; no option- still paying for lack of sleep race day. Caved and had more caffeine/junk.  (in hindsight – tea & healthy snack would have been much better)

Snack – 5 PMIMG_3052
Apple

Dinner -6 PM
Rice, chicken breast w/ salt & coconut oil, craisins
Spinach, green beans

Snack – 10 PM
Orange
Cereal – Fruity O’s, Honey Bunches of oats w/ blueberries and 2% milk

 

Next week I will get an even greater look into how my current nutrition is panning out. I have blogged about Inside Tracker in the past, and I’m getting my blood taken  again. It’s been over a year since my last one, so this will give me great insight on important markers of health that help performance including Ferritin, Hemoglobin, Vitamin D, Testosterone, Cortisol and more.

Any deficiencies will point me in the right direction in terms of which foods I could be eating more of, and what to do less of (ahem… cookies, coffee, sleep)! Check it out here –High Performance Test – $249

Use the code HPJULIA and get entered to win a FREE ULTIMATE TEST (winner drawn in 2 weeks)!

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Can you be a “Skinny” Runner and Eat?!

Attention (young) women runners – you don’t EVER have to diet to find your ideal race weight. I would highly encourage you to avoid it at all costs. A simple start of being more restrictive can dangerously ruin your running career and beyond if it were to spiral into a full blown eating disorder. Warning, this blog is a bit of a rant. I don’t care. I have a message to send. 

I wrote this to give insight to women who are looking for some form of role model in terms of nutrition and body composition and cannot seem to find it close to home –whether it be unhealthy teammates or roommates; or just lack of answers when it comes to a Google search! 

This is a 2 part blog. 

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A mini meal at 2pm to hold me over til dinner at 6 

 Part 1 How I personally have found balance and success with nutrition, and how I gauge my level of health as someone with a naturally lean composition.

Part 2-  A completely open honest look at my diet over the course of days – to give a glimpse of just how much food it takes to live sustainably and run well. And what do you know – I never count calories and rarely measure food, but for this I may make an exception. This will be 3 days noting my activity level—and to add more insight this will include a 15K race on day 2.  

Despite my 5’10 and 124 lb frame, I DO EAT! I am completely individual and want to encourage YOU READING to drop all comparisons. My body is totally unique, in that most of my height comes from my legs (when I sit I am on the same level as someone 5’3) – last time I checked a torso looks to weigh much more than freakishly long tibias :)  I hate saying this but I constantly have to justify the fact that I don’t have a problem. It’s under the category of “skinny people problems”… hence another reason I’m writing this blog. OK let’s begin Part 1.

3 crucial elements with how food and I work together:

  • Consistency of constant calories in
  • Moderation in balancing “healthy” foods with “junk”
  • Listening to my body’s natural cues

When you see me from a far, you might think, “yeah I’m sure she’s on some restricted diet” or she’s got some issues with eating. Far from the truth. In order to keep up with the training, I need to eat A LOT OF FOOD. Not just the super healthy colorful fruits, vegetables and all, but also the stuff that isn’t always deemed “healthy”. Allowing myself to indulge a little more in “junk” has in fact has helped with a huge turnaround in my running. Balance is of course key. I can’t be eating whole pies, but I sure as heck am worse off when I under-eat.

I admit I can try very hard to do everything to eat right, train right, etc.  I, however have found that when you are trying too hard to be a perfectionist (especially in terms of nutrition) and training at a high level- you fall into trouble with underestimating your needs. Bottom line- no matter who you are – when your calories in consistently fall short of calories out, you run the risk of nutritional deficiencies, injuries, exhaustion and unnecessary weight loss. Eat only good “whole” foods ALL THE TIME, it gets tough to ever read your body’s hunger, as much of it is loaded with fiber.. making you feel full and going immediately through your system.

I have been there, when my iron stores tank and I’m “light” for me. Anytime I get in the sub 120s, my body is on edge and I just don’t recover as well.

Hate me for saying this but I can get skinny fast. It’s a curse and a gift. Thank genetics and probably more genetics (and obviously my lifestyle) along with the what my husband makes fun of me for. “You never eat an entire box of cookies or a whole pizza”. Yes, pretty true, it doesn’t happen. I never get that hungry because I am constantly fueling. I regularly (typically daily) have treats, but I am highly content in limiting it to 1 serving, rather than Alan in whom I’m seen take down an entire box of Entemann’s cookies after a huge meal. We joke about it how I go all out when I finish one of those 2 serving cookies or when having a craving I will say “I can’t wait to have oatmeal”.

I can easily let cookies, cake, donuts, you name it tempt me for weeks and at most I’ll eat ~1 each day, which easily fits into being lost in the caloric deficit running provides. If those same items were in Alan’s sight, there’s no way they would be there for long.

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 “How can you only eat HALF?!” Actually in this case I think I ate the whole thing.. all ~ 1200 calories worth of ice cream and candy goodness

When it comes to meal time though, I’m a plate clearer. I am great about eating often and very particular about ensuring I’m getting calories when my body needs it the most (breakfast, post run). I avoid that “metabolism shut down” which comes from the “I’m so starving I just ate so fast and now feel so sick I can’t move” thing. So yes, I’m blessed, but I also do the right things to keep my fuel in going to good use. My metabolism is cranking which equates for staying lean despite constant food going in.

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Enroute to a new indoor mile PR – 3 months postpartum 

Post baby I have intentionally been keeping an extra 3-5 lbs on – and ensuring I don’t lose it. This is for a number of reasons — one being performance – since I have been feeling AWESOME at my current composition, two- better physical health while feeding baby and the third shouldn’t be but it is – social reasons.

I mentioned the word “curse” because in today’s world it is not always the most popular thing to be the “skinny person”. It’s as if you need to constantly justify at every situation involving food that you do eagerly partake. Skinny shaming is real. Some great worth-while reads:
BridgetMalcolm

Victoria Secret Model is not Anorexic

Steph Rothstein Bruce on Skinny Shaming

 “Losing weight” is on top of many people’s to-do lists. If you don’t have any to lose then you’re almost a freak. It can be extremely awkward in certain situations that I’m sure I can relate to how an obese person feels.

So what if you’re not eating right or could realistically benefit from dropping weight?

The only solution to change is intelligence and patience. Smart habits developed over time that compliment your training will result in the optimal you. View your body as a machine; food as fuel, not an enemy or something you need to outsmart. If you are caught in an eating disorder or feel it’s the only way to change, you are flirting with an extremely dangerous thing that is far from a long-term solution. This blog was extremely powerful in how one woman’s quest to drop weight to run well in college ended up destroying her. MUST READ HERE– My Deal With the Devil

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Looking mean & lean (photo 2014- pre pregnancy #2)

If my outward appearance may not convince you on credibility that YOU NEED TO EAT A LOT and OFTEN just as I DO, then women runners pay attention:

Despite having a BMI that comfortably falls in the “underweight” category, I have yet to lose a period (other than during pregnancy/breastfeeding) for the 16 years I’ve been training. I have also had 2 complication free pregnancies; both in which I got pregnant in the 2 possible times it could have happened. (We did not “try”). If I did some serious intentional dieting to maintain a lean physique – I assure you the period would be the first thing to go.

Secondly I have never had a stress fracture. Those 2 things are the tell tale signs in restrictive eating and running. (Not saying that if both have happened you are guilty of it- but it would be highly unlikely you could avoid both with disordered eating and running 60+ mile weeks with intense training and racing).

That’s my big warning to any readers – Are you missing your period? Have you dealt with constant stress fractures? You likely are not eating NEARLY ENOUGH and your body is shutting down on you. Maybe you will never look like a Kenyan male runner, but maybe your genetic code will physically not allow it!

Screen Shot 2016-03-12 at 3.12.59 PMBesides – Paul Chelimo (2nd place at 3000m USATF indoors this past weekend) was drinking straight up buttermilk the night before his race. You think he counts calories? I think not. He knows a secret – food is fuel. It is the secret to running success –knowing that having a little extra can go great lengths into becoming your race day or workout weapon. You don’t fuel, you run out of gas. You out of gas = looking nice and lean but getting your butt kicked on the track. That is if you’re not injured and can actually even compete.

If you happen to think you can outsmart adequate nutrition in the way many skeletal collegiate champions who come/go like the wind- think again. Disordered/restrictive eating has a short time frame where you can “successfully” run on fumes. You may drop a whole bunch of time short term, but you’re only 1 bone break away from disaster. Long term success is powered by stuff like buttermilk when you’re dropping 80+ mile weeks. You don’t obsess and just listen to your body. Paul’s body was loving that buttermilk. Yours might be craving ice cream. Hard training requires calories. Always a balance, but rarely a specific formula you can plug into, as each person’s unique body burns and fuels at different rates.

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Doubtful these 2 guys “try” hard to look like this.  TWO words- GENETICS & RUNNING  (Chelimo on left) photo by Fox Sports Arizona

Bottom line, this first blog post was meant to give insight on how my personal physique is completely unique. This should help build credibility, so you know I practice what I preach. It should also give you assurance that not every “skinny” person you see is hiding an eating disorder. I eat, run, repeat; and my body has become very efficient in both disciplines. It is possible to look the part as a runner and fit into society without living on salad alone. You will see that when I give you an accurate picture of my diet in part 2.

I got some eating to do….. tune in soon!

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An old pic but always a favorite — Cafe Yumm bowls are the BOMB

 

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New Year, New Me

Since the family upgrade from 1-2 kids, my blogging has suffered. I’m going to make an honest attempt to come back. What I can promise- I won’t blog as LONG, which might be a good thing:) It might not look as pretty, but I want to get back on it. So here’s a start…

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It’s been over 4.5 months since Paula came into the world, and I am still wondering how this many humans have come to exist. Props to big families, you stun and amaze me. It’s been fun, but it’s been a grind. A worth while grind. What that all translates to is: I really miss my sleep. Yes a bit selfish, but that’s on the basic level of Maslow’s Hierarchy of Needs Pyramid.

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Aside from a lucky 5-6 hour stretch from time to time, it’s been a solid 4.5 months since I can confidently put my head on the pillow and know I will not be disturbed until I either see the sun or hear an alarm. In recent weeks, 90 minute interruptions have been the reg. “Finally she’s sleeping” – a quote I just heard from 3 year old Joanie as I’m blogging now.

Unfortunately she’s not that easy baby. When she cries it’s often and rarely anything with an easy fix (food, sleep, love). It’s all related to her underdeveloped sensitive digestive system; which would place her in the category of  “colic” -according to wikipedia –  defining it perfectly:

A form of pain that starts and stops abruptly. It occurs due to muscular contractions of a hollow tube (colon, etc.) in an attempt to relieve an obstruction by forcing content out. It may be accompanied by vomiting and sweating. Types include:

  • Baby colic, a condition, usually in infants, characterized by incessant crying

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St Elmo- You have been summoned. (He is the patron saint of Colic)

When people see her smiling and think back to their own kids, many say “Awww I miss this age so much, they are so great”.. well your kid may have been super great, but in all honesty, the struggle with Paula is real. When she’s not cramping up, she’s unbelievable and happy. But more often than not, she’s hurting. (However it is IMPROVING which is very exciting).

It’s tough but much easier to handle after going through it once before. I know she’ll be better once she can FINALLY handle digestion, but until then, it’s enjoy the good moments, pull out all stops to distract her from the pain, or feed her til it works itself out. Joanie had this same problem, which was exceptionally tough from 3-7 months. It was only then Joanie could start to handle solid foods. Paula has been dealing with this at a high level from 2 days on.

The only way moms can get through this must be the extra HGH you get from the pregnancy, which accelerates my ability to use sleep to its ultimate advantage. This obviously which can help in the running department, but most benefits are canceled out when the “Physiological” need of sleep is unavailable. Why dad’s get hit even harder. They don’t get these magical hormones.

Blog 1 of 2016 complete! My next one is all about how I’m balancing training, work and family while still going after some big goals.. I’m extremely optimistic and beyond thankful for the progress I’ve had since resuming running at 4 weeks postpartum. More to come soon!

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My Home Birth Experience – Paula Vivienne Webb

About midway through this pregnancy we made the decision to have a home birth. It ended up being an awesome choice – no regrets and feel it was the best decision that matched exactly what we wanted. Thankful to have a very low risk pregnancy and a successful labor/delivery in a birthing center with Joanie in Virginia (outside the hospital), I knew that I could handle another drug-free, natural birth. 

A home birth did not mean Alan would be the one delivering. I had a midwife and 2 doulas with a back up plan to head to St Vincent hospital in case of any emergency (a 5 min drive). It also did not mean I would be having my baby in my bathtub. Ha. (Those are the 2 most frequently asked questions). I had the option to get a birthing tub brought into our house, but based on my experience chilling in the water during labor #1 (and bringing minimal relief); I opted to just save the bath for some other time.

 It also meant that I had no plans to “induce” even if I had gone past the 42 week mark. I trusted my body knew when the timing would be right when baby wanted to arrive. (A healthy pregnancy range is between 38-43 weeks; yet most Drs/women get extremely anxious at any point after 40 weeks and most babies are planned to be induced before 41 weeks; which in my opinion leads to more c-sections and less than fully cooked babies coming into the world). Either way, I’ll hold off on sharing any more opinions and get to the point of this blog – – the day I went into labor and how another human is now part of our family!!

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I woke up on Thursday, September 24 feeling ready to take on the world. The day before I had a dramatic drop in energy, and huge increase in appetite. With work responsibilities slowing down and the obvious fact that any day would be the DAY this baby would be here, I happily listened to my body.. sleep, eat, repeat and took a nice fat day off from exercise. It was one of those extremely rare days I had little desire/urge to work out. I took that as sign number 1 the end of pregnancy 2 was near.

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This day however, my energy was sky high! At 11:30 a.m. I headed to the backyard to get in a little mix of cardio and weights. My number one cardio activity of choice had recently become the jump rope, which surprised a lot of people thinking about a 40 week pregnant woman “jumping” around. A typical session – jump up to 10 min in a row, do 3-4 other weight activities or a set of a minute burpees; cut down the next interval to 8 min- 6 min-4 min-2 min; varying from 2 styles of jumps- double leg and “running” – sometimes actually going forward and running (went up to the half mile mark and back at Leif a week prior). My body would get a huge cardio workout and the equivalent of the “running” portion was as if I was going 12 min miles with the added challenge on my arms from turning the rope. The double leg jumps then made it more plyometric and giving my calves a good burn.

4 hours before I went into labor, my workout looked like this–workoutlaborDuring the jump rope portion I was feeling VERY crampy and was pretty excited/confident these cramps were basically the start of the real thing. I only did a total of 10 minutes jump rope broken up as 4 min/2 min intervals in between weights. I had plenty of energy for more, but told myself to chill out knowing I need to “save my energy”. The entire session took me 35 minutes.

A little TMI but labor as you know entitles a baby coming out of your body, so if you’re reading this hopefully you likely have some maturity to know the steps that typically happen before the baby comes out.. Right after the workout headed into the bathroom and happily saw the mucus plug – thank you jump rope -(yes there’s the TMI part and grossest thing I’ll ever say on this blog; well no promises I’m talking about a birth here) but I was like, YEP this is FINALLY happening!!!  Stronger Braxton Hicks (pre-labor cramps) were occurring, but nothing that I considered “labor” as I showered and headed out for a massage with my amazing friend Karlee Coffey (highly recommended for athletes in Portland area!)

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Early in labor , handling this stage just fine

At 3:00 I drove to the high school xc practice and immediately got the suspicion that labor had started. By 3:30 I started my watch to time these “light/semi uncomfortable” but regular contractions and found they were coming between 5-6 minutes. Head coach Rebecca laughed as she found out I was timing what I thought was the start of labor and was like “Go home!” I didn’t argue and headed out. My last minute nesting instincts must have kicked in (which I felt were really lacking the last few months with the amount of other activities/distractions going on) – that I stopped at a grocery store to pick up some last minute items, and by 4:30 as I was checking out – with the intensity amplifying – knew I was going to have a baby by my 41 week date (Friday September 25) – which happened to be within the same day of when I had Joanie! I only underestimated how much faster this labor would progress. My first one lasted 16 hours; I figured it I was lucky I’d go no less than 10.

Once home I was craving a bowl of cereal, so I dominated some Frosted Mini Wheats mixed with Trader Joe’s version of Froot Loops (all natural people!) and a banana. 5:30 Alan returned from practice after picking up Joanie at daycare. I made Joanie some chicken and mac n cheese with peas for dinner and then went on to vacuum the entire house. The timing had increased to less than 3 minutes between contractions, and the pain factor up to a 6 of 10. I basically wasn’t hungry for dinner now and figured I’d have plenty of time for that later to give me energy for the anticipated long night ahead of me. 6 hours into my other labor I remember eating a bagel with peanut butter and jelly, an energy drink and chips.

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Last only child hug from JoJo definitely scared because I was in labor

by 7:30 I was hoping Alan could hustle up with helping me get Joanie to bed as the intensity went from a 6 to an 8 when the contractions hit; to the point I had to hide in the other room so Joanie wouldn’t freak out as I braced myself for the 60 seconds of intense pain. I then opted for eating my dinner; and managed to eat a bowl of that mac n cheese and a coconut water in between the contractions.  I told Joanie we all had to go to bed early because “mommy needs to get a lot of rest because her tummy hurts and the baby is going to come out by morning”. I got my supplies set and texted the midwife that my contractions were now coming every 2 minutes.

8:00 I was then on the 9 of 10 for pain/twisting a knife in me as I braced myself on the yoga ball/ hurt zone. Alan finished up baths and began books. I told him make sure they were short books because I needed him!!! I called the midwife and told her she should DEFINITELY come now. Joanie was scared as she caught sight of me during the start of a contraction as she wanted a hug and story from me. Wasn’t gonna happen, so Alan knew she needed to be in bed/door closed now. She missed her nap at daycare that day, so was pretty wiped and didn’t argue that it was bed time. Head coach Rebecca had offered to come get Joanie but with this labor conveniently progressing as Joanie was about to crash for 10+ hours, we opted to keep her home.

By 8:30 the team had arrived, Joanie’s door was shut with white noise makers blasting in her room and outside of her door. The pain factor 10 of 10; calling on God to have mercy on all women in labor and forgive my lack of effort for being a slacking Christian. Now with my support team here and Alan ready to give me all the attention needed, I was so in-comprehensive I couldn’t even tell who was who. Last labor, I had been able to listen to music, go for walks, try some squatting, bouncing on the birth ball and just being present with Alan cheering me on. Now less than a minute between intervals, the only thing that I could do was bend over gripping a pillow face down trying not to scream or curse. I was successful on that until about 9:30; then it was just a world of pain and intensity of my body shaking, no “break” between the contractions.

My doula Amanda was able to successfully get the baby’s heart rate ONE time; it would have been virtually impossible for me to be still to get checked on how dilated I was at any point after their late arrival. 9:45 I started to have the strong feeling that I had to go to the bathroom (not number 1)…. I finally got myself to sit on the toilet between contractions, tried to “push”; and instead of going to the bathroom — it was then when my water that broke – which happened to be so convenient! While in the bathroom I took a GU ready to get onto the final stage of labor. 10:16 I headed back to my room- this was it; go time- time to push this baby out. On hands and knees, during next strong contractions I pushed with all of my strength… thinking the sooner you get this over with, the sooner the absolute most uncomfortable/painful part will happen – having a baby pass thru your you-know-what. I had heard in a hypnobirthing class, that some women actually found pleasure when the baby was passing thru. WHAT?! How big was their you-know- what?! It was by far the most unnatural/intensely painful things I have ever experienced on both occasions. In 14 minutes of pushing (10:31), she was here. She looks a lot like Joanie did in her first week (a little old man)😉

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Official Stats:
Name: Paula Vivienne (yes some influence from Paula Radcliffe; middle name Alan’s dad’s grandma)
Date: September 24, 2015 (40 weeks, 6 days)
Time of birth: 10:31 p.m. (labor 7 hours)
Weight: 8 lbs, 14 oz (90%)
Height: 21.5 inches (95%)
Head: 14.5 inches (90%)- thanks Alan😉
*Joanie – 7 lbs 15, 20.5 inches, head 13.5; 41 weeks; labor 16 hours

Pregnancy Weight gain: 25 lbs
Weight loss as of September 25, 2015 (8 hour post labor): 14 lbs
Belly measurement 2 days prior to labor: 35 centimeters (interesting because usually this equals the weeks you are pregnant); both Joanie and her relatively same measurement.

 

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30 minutes after Paula’s birth


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Paula 2 days old


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Joanie 2 days old


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Joanie meets Paula!

Most surprising for me was how fast I bounced back and lack of wear and tear compared to the first labor experience. I was WRECKED after Joanie’s birth. Hip pain (6 months limiting running) and pubic bone pain (over a year). I could barely walk for up to a week.  Immediately after delivering, I could walk around, like nothing had happened. 5 days postpartum I definitely don’t feel like I’m up for running, but doing functional strength exercises and walking I am having no problems! The hardest challenge now has not been my recovery, but baby Paula’s digestive system. Long story short, she has been constantly struggling to digest after every single meal, so its been a long long 3 days since my milk supply has changed and she has been coping to handle it. Any time she is not in an upright/pressed against you position within 3 hours of eating (even then) it is almost guaranteed cramping and crying. Prayers definitely appreciated as it has been painful to watch her struggle. I’ve been looking at diet, and so far going on day 2 of no dairy, no beans (including soy), limited acidic foods, and definitely nothing spicy. The sacrifice of that feels like nothing compared to hearing her cry. On to round 2 of parenting.. wish us luck!

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