Sunday, August 28, 2011

I did it!

I ran my first marathon on Saturday. Mesa Falls, in Ashton, Idaho. I did it 15 weeks pregnant, with an injured leg, and with a smile on my face. All 26.2 miles of it.

See that medal around my neck?
I earned it!

(And did you notice my cute baby bump?
)

More details to come, but suffice it to say I feel incredibly blessed that despite a big slow-down because of my right knee and hip, I was able to run! And I loved it! Thank you for all of your support and encouragement.

Wednesday, August 24, 2011

And they're off! (Wordless Wednesday)

One in seventh, one in fifth, one in fourth, two in second (in separate classes this year!), and one seriously jealous almost-five-year-old (not pictured).




Tuesday, August 23, 2011

Worried

My marathon is on Saturday. As in, just four days away! I'm nervous and excited, sure, but mostly worried. My last three long runs have not gone well, and there is something wrong with my knee. On August 13th, I ran the Provo River Trail Half, and at mile three, the knee started to throb again. It felt like a repeat of the Utah Valley Half, as I had to adjust my goals and work on just doing the best I could to manage the throbbing (only this time the pain was in my right knee instead of the left!). I pushed through the pain and finished only five minutes behind my time in June.

(excuse the fuzzy phone picture -- but don't I look great for 14 weeks along?)

I was hoping the knee would heal and I'd be fine for the Hobble Creek Half last week (since I'm tapering for the marathon, I only ran 8 miles of it, then walked the last 5), but right on schedule, at mile three, despite the knee brace I was wearing, I had the same pain. This is not good!

On the bright side, after Saturday's 26.2 miles, I can take a long rest from running and let myself heal. On the down side, that's still 26.2 more miles of running I've got to get through, and I'm worried about handling the pain if/when it happens again. It's so discouraging to feel strong and ready to run, and then be required to take walk breaks not to keep my heart-rate down or my breathing steady, but because of some dumb knee pain!

I saw a physical therapist yesterday who gave me some hope. He worked my knee thoroughly, says the pain is caused by swelling in the joints and the muscles (so nothing's broken, thank goodness!), showed me how my right IT band is much tighter than my left and assured me there is time to work on that before Saturday's run. After twisting my feet and legs this way and that and having me show him when and where it hurt, he said it's likely I'm over-pronating when I run, which means my feet turn to the inside, causing extra stress on the knees and building up as swelling and pain in those muscles. A runner himself who works with runners, he said it's too late to change my stride by Saturday, but that I should consider shoe inserts in the future.

I feel much more hopeful after yesterday's session and I'm working on the stretches he's given me, but still . . . Saturday is only a few days away! Pray for me, okay?

(Another bright note: after Saturday's run, however it goes, I'll have run over 500 miles this year, 250 of which have been since I've been pregnant. I've also completed the equivalent of a half marathon or more ten times, nine of those since I've been pregnant. I'm proud of myself for seeing this through.)

Friday, August 19, 2011

The Decision -- Free Download (Friday Favorites)


It's finished! You may have remembered last fall, I encouraged a $1 donation towards a friend's media project animating a story that teaches children what to do if they come across "adult" material.

Well, the project has been completed and is very well done -- it would make a great teaching tool for your family, AND right now, there is a free download coupon for the first 100 people to download it. Hurry and get your free copy now (coupon code is DECISION-FREE-100 ), and pass the word along.

If you miss the free copy, don't worry. The price to download the video is only $1. I think most budgets can handle that.

Download the video today!

Thursday, August 11, 2011

Q&A Thursday: Baby Questions

Was this a surprise?

Honestly, I really, really felt we'd have a little more time between Katie and her next sibling. Otherwise, I wouldn't have signed up for another half marathon in August and a full marathon October 1st. I thought I'd have plenty of time to finish out my weight loss and fitness goals and figured sometime next summer our next one would be born.

But at the same time, it wasn't a total surprise. At the start of my goals earlier this year, I had prayed sincerely about whether now might be a good time to take a break from child-bearing for a short time and felt the distinct "no" answer. So we weren't doing anything to prevent a baby from coming, and it wasn't a shock when I found those double lines on that pregnancy test.

Were you disappointed at all?

Actually, I was, for a few hours. I had worked so hard at getting my fitness in order and was having so much success. I'd run a half marathon and was shooting for a full. It was so satisfying to see my weekly mileage go up while the scale inched down every week. I'd lost 35 lbs and was on track to lose the last 25, and at first, I really thought I'd have to give up the marathon goal for sure. That was disappointing.

But it didn't last long. If ever I wondered if children are a blessing, all I have to do is look at any one of my kids and think about how much I love them. And really, there would be other races and more time later to finish out my weight loss goals, while the time I have for child-bearing is relatively short. As I continued to ponder and pray about the news, I laughed at myself. The whole point of working to get myself in shape was so that I could better handle the challenges of pregnancy and my life as a mother. And I'd been so blessed in those goals! How could I get to the point where I'd think they were more important than the reason I was doing them in the first place? There'd always be another marathon, while THIS was the time for this baby to be born.

And as time passed, I started feeling more blessed in the timing of this. If I had known I would be pregnant, I wouldn't have signed up for those races and would probably have given up running when the morning sickness hit. Something to think about other than the nausea and exhaustion really helped me through my worst weeks, and the looming specter of those upcoming events has forced me out the door when I'd rather roll over and go back to sleep.

And I'm excited to have a baby in February, when life is calmer and not much is happening. We have a six-month time frame from October 30th to April 27th where we've never had a baby. I think something exciting and joyous right in the midst of winter sounds wonderful, and by the time I'm up to getting back into life and running, the weather will be perfect for it. If I had a baby next summer, I probably wouldn't be up for running any races next year. Having one in February means I could sign up for all sorts of things to help me get back into shape.

How far apart will Katie and this baby be?

They'll be 21 months, the same spacing we have between Eliza and Harmony and Harmony and Katie. See this post for the spacing between all of our kids.

Do you feel ready to have another baby?

Of course not. But what does that have to do with it? If we always felt ready for the next challenge, there wouldn't be any need for faith.

I have felt reassurance that this baby is part of God's plan for our family, and knowing that I'm doing His will is enough for me. I trust that He'll give me the strength and help He always has in the past. And really, can nine kids really be much different than eight?

How are you feeling?

Not wonderful. I tend to have a honeymoon period at the beginning of every pregnancy, a few weeks of bliss before the morning sickness hits. Then the morning sickness lasts until around week 18, though I start to feel better around week 15. I felt more tired in June, and a slight bit of nausea, but it was mostly a minor annoyance. Then July came, along with the seven-week mark, and the morning sickness hit me like a truck. There were a couple of horrible weeks in there where I barely held on (I was so miserable I even interrupted my friend’s family vacation asking for a pep talk). I took Zofran for a week and it seemed to help really well for the first few days and then did nothing more than take the edge off (the same thing happened the last pregnancy).

On the brighter side, I haven't found the morning sickness to be as debilitating as in the past (maybe because I'm in better shape?), and after a few miserable weeks, it has gotten better, showing up mostly in the afternoons and evenings. I go to bed early (between 8 and 9), and don't really do much after dinner anymore.


So why didn't you give up the idea of a marathon once you found out you were pregnant? Isn't that pretty risky to keep running at such an extreme level?


I've been willing all the way along to do what I need to do to keep this baby safe. If that meant giving up the marathon for now, I'd do it. However, after praying and seeking a priesthood blessing, I have simply felt that I should continue. I've tried to be very in tune with what my body needs and I have made adaptations to my running and I've been very prayerful all the way along.

One big reason I've continued with the running is that I quickly realized that most of my training for a marathon was behind me. During the first five months of this year, I had gone from running taking everything I had (and being a miserable chore) to being an enjoyable part of my life. I'd gone from being able to run for only about 30 minutes straight to being able to maintain that for three hours. I'd gotten to where I could easily carry on a conversation even throughout a long run. Compared to that, adding some more mileage and a bit more time could hardly be more strenuous.

I've done a lot of reading and research and from what I understand and have talked over with my doctor, the two biggest risks to the baby are dehydration and if my body's core temperature rises too high. I carry water with me even on my short runs and I plan my long runs around places to refill my water bottles.

The overheating can occur if I push myself too hard with the training or if I run in the heat of the day. I've modified my training so I take more walk breaks and if I ever feel I'm struggling to catch my breath, I slow down. I've seen my runs go from consistently in the 12-minute mile range to inching now toward 14 minute miles. And while I wish I was faster, I'm glad my body can still run while protecting this little one.

As for the heat of the day, I do all my running in the early morning, and one reason I chose the Mesa Falls marathon is that they have an early start option (at 5:00 a.m.!) so I can finish before the day warms up too much. The other reason for the Mesa Falls is that I'll be 15 weeks along for that one instead of 20 weeks for the St. George. My doctor feels much better about that timing, and she's comfortable with the training I'm doing.

Any thoughts on if it's a boy or girl?

Nope. No clue. I'd be happy either way. It would be nice to have a girl to even out our numbers a bit -- I'd rather have six little girls in a row rather than five and always have an odd one out when we pair up -- but it would be nice to have a little boy again after so many years of girls. Lillian wants a boy, as does Michael, but Joey says he'd be happy with either one (though he blames all these babies for the fact that I won't let him have a BB gun -- want to explain to him I wouldn't let him have one anyway?). The rest of the girls are evenly divided or have no clue that anything is happening.

Tuesday, August 09, 2011

An exchange on Facebook

My friend Laura asked me some great questions on Facebook yesterday about how I'm managing my life right now. Here's the conversation:

Laura: How in the heck can you be training for a marathon? When you're 12 weeks?? When you've had 8 kids already??? Seriously, I'm amazed! Aren't you exhausted? Sick? Drowning in laundry? Falling apart physically? So I need you to post me your daily schedule. Cuz there's no way I could keep up with you and all the housework/cooking/shopping you have to do, let alone the time it must take to run 21 miles in a day!

Me: Laura, really, it's not THAT impressive. Yes, I'm exhausted and sick, but keeping up with the running has been really good therapy for handling it, and I haven't been as flattened by this pregnancy as I have been by some of my others. And training for a marathon involves four running days a week -- three days of 40-60 minutes and then one "long" day [I should point out that this is a beginner program; there are lots of marathon programs that are much more intense]. I'm fitting in the three days here and there -- I try to get up at 6 but if I don't, I get out at 7 or 8. The long run either happens on Saturday morning (we moved all our usual Saturday jobs to Friday so I could do that) or another day on weeks when my husband's busy on Saturday. I often get up as early as 4 for those, because I'm SO slow it takes forever to get through those. Luckily, my nausea hits me the hardest in the afternoon and evenings, so I can still function in the mornings, and I have yet to feel any nausea WHILE I'm running (that's a blessing!).

After doing research and talking to my doctor, I HAVE had to adjust my goals with the running. I have to take precautions not to get dehydrated, so I carry water even on my short runs. The other risk is overheating from running in the heat (so I go in the early hours and I chose a marathon that will let me start early) or overheating from training too hard. I thought I was slow before, but I'm WAY slower now and I take walk breaks for a minute twice every mile so that I don't get my heartrate up too high.

When I found out I was pregnant, I was willing to give it up if necessary, but I've just felt like this is something I need to finish out. It has been hard to feel like going out for a run, especially in July when the morning sickness was the worst, but pushing through it has been good for me.

As for daily schedule, we're doing rotating team chores this summer. Myself plus Lillian (12) and Joey (11) each have a partner in Michael (9), Allison or Sarah (7). Each team cleans up after one meal, prepares one meal, has an afternoon zone to clean up, and does one section of the family work day jobs on Fridays (all the bathrooms and the trash, the upstairs jobs, or the downstairs jobs). Everyone pitches in for five minutes after a meal and to clean the downstairs after scriptures in the morning. We also do outside jobs on Mondays and Wednesdays. I still do all the laundry, but I only do that twice a week (wash all one day, fold it the next). As for fun, we try to go swimming on Monday and Wednesday afternoons, do the dollar movies on Tuesday mornings, and have horseback riding on Thursday mornings, so I'm not a TOTAL slave-driver. We also have quiet times most afternoons from 1 to 3, where the little ones and myself nap and everyone else watches a movie.

Laura: Um, yeah! Totally impressive! I can't manage now, and I have 1 less kid, and am not all sick and tired. I know you've gotta be busy, but can you give me an even more detailed description of how you manage daily? Including the times you wake up, eat meals, start preparing meals, daily routines/chores, and bedtimes? How do you manage getting all your wash done in one day? I try to do at least 2-3 loads every week day, and another 1-2 on Sat (to make sure we have everything washed in time for church). Do you have 2 washers and dryers?

Me: Laura, you caught me. We do have two sets of washer/dryers. It speeds it up a lot, plus they both have huge capacity. We have a bit of an unusual house -- ALL our bedrooms (including the master) are in our walk-out basement, and our laundry room is down there too.


Laura: Lucky! My laundry room is in the basement, but only 2 bedrooms are down there, and everything I do is on the main level. How I wish I had a laundry room right off my kitchen! And I would LOVE to have 2 sets of washers and dryers. That has to help speed things along! I would LOVE to learn more about how you have your daily life set up. Times for everything, summer and school year, and also how you manage to feed everyone. I'm just so amazed by how well you handle it all!

Me: I hesitate to post our daily schedule because it's going to change again next week when school starts (still working out exactly how), but here's a rough outline:

7ish: wake up, scriptures, 5 minutes of clean-up in our downstairs family room and toy area, then bedrooms cleaned before breakfast (One team is in charge of inspecting)

8ish: breakfast gets finished, everyone is supposed to help clean it for five minutes, then morning chores. Lillian is really good about practicing her violin and piano and I'm not so good at remembering to hound Michael to practice his piano. Monday mornings, we are supposed to weed the garden then work out in our forested backyard for an hour or so. Wednesdays, each team has a weeding zone. Fridays, each team does a section of the house for Family Work Day. The other days, there aren't really any a.m. chores other than practicing. Tuesdays we do the movies in the morning and Thursdays is horseback riding. Otherwise, it's free time until lunch.

11:30ish: One team makes lunch. If it's my team or Joey's team, we have lots of sandwiches and fruit. If it's Lillian's team, she does more elaborate things like pasta. We eat, do five minutes in the kitchen, then one team cleans up the rest of the kitchen.

1-3ish: Most days, this is quiet time. For a good part of the summer, DH worked from home during this time on Mondays and Wednesdays, so I could put the babies down for a nap and then take the others swimming. On days he couldn't be home, I'd take them all a little later in the day.

3-4:30ish: free time again.

4:30-6ish: afternoon zones (one team has mudroom and outside toys clean-up -- otherwise those bikes and racers would be out all the time -- one team has empty dishwashers, set the table and make dinner, and the last team has the great room and the front room clean-up). If it's Joey's team with the dinner, I help a lot. If it's Lillian's team, she loves to cook and does a great job. If it's my team, I scrounge around for something.

6-7ish: 5 minutes in the kitchen after dinner, then one team cleans up the rest. We mostly just hang out in the evenings after this. Wednesdays is Scouts (DH is scoutmaster), Thursdays is YWs, Mondays is FHE.

7-8ish: we put most of the kids to bed. Sometimes we have to sit in the little girls' room so they will actually sleep; other times we give up and let them party until they finally crash.

I'll let you know our school year schedule when I figure it out -- it's always a work in progress.

And while it sounds like our house is regimented, we are really quite flexible. Sometimes we sleep in, sometimes we let the kids pass on the five minutes (particularly after lunch when the kitchen is pretty clean), sometimes we skip swimming, and sometimes I pick up pizza at Little Ceasars because I don't want to deal with dinner. Two things I don't let slide are the afternoon zones (otherwise our house would be a disaster) and the final end-of-the-day kitchen clean.

Laura:
That's awesome! Mine is somewhat similar, but I don't have myself teamed up, or anyone really for that matter. My kids tend to fight too much when teamed. But maybe I'll try it again and see how they do. The inspecting part is the hardest for me to get around to. I like the idea of teams inspecting everything. My biggest problem is getting my kids to actually do their chores. If they woudl just do it, they would have so much free time. But they waste the whole day. I also like the teams for meal times too. So do you team yourself with the youngest helper, or do you match according to ability, or how well they get along? I'm currently trying to put together my school year asd well. Football just started for my 3rd, so from 5:30-8:30 he and Greg are gone every night, that messes up dinner time a lot since greg doesn't always get home early enough to eat with us. I also have to add in piano, car pool every afternoon, and of course scouts, activity days, and mutual. At least mutual and the older scouts meet at 7; the other stuff is later afternoon, and I have a hard time managing meals when those things come up. DO you start dinner early afternoons typically, get it all fixed in the morning? Are do it all right before you eat?

Me: My kids waste their time too, and sometimes spend HOURS in their room "cleaning" it. But they do pretty well. The teams rotated every month, then had different assignments every week. So one month, I was with Michael, then with Allison and now with Sarah. It's been good because I know the jobs will be done thoroughly (by me!) at least once every three weeks, and I've had the concentrated time with each of my younger team members to actually teach them how to do all of the jobs.

Laura: I am trying to adjust to no big chores on Sat too. Especially hard when we have team games. It seems there's almost always someone playing something sometime. Growing up we always spent all day doing chores: weeding, laundry, bathrooms, dusting, etc. I'm realizing my fam wont be able to follow the fam model I had growing up since my fam wasn't as involved in sports and such. I love how you do fun things with your kids a couple of times a week. I need to do that more. Maybe they'd have more of an incentive to get their work done?

Me: We don't play a lot of sports, so I'm sure that cuts down on some of the stress here. And during the school year, we don't do as many fun events together, though we do try to get away on a trip for fall break and then again in January or February to escape the winter for a week.

And I think this fall we'll have to move back to having our main chores on Saturday mornings again, though I might have them do a few extra chores on Friday afternoons to make it go faster.

Laura:
So when you talk about an afternoon zone, is that a specific area or just you do the same area again in the afternoon? Are you getting up earlier than 7 so that you're already showered and dressed? Do you include bedrooms in the team zones? When you do your zones every day, do you add a little extra deep cleaning job (like windows one day, get fingerprints off the walls the next day, dusting the next, etc), or do you save those for your deep cleaning day? Do you include different areas like the garage, laundry room, storage areas in your regular zones? How do you group each area together to make a zone?

Me: The zones are a specific area: one team has had great room and front room, another preps dinner, empties dishwashers, and sets the table and the last team straightens the mudroom and puts away the outside toys. We do that every afternoon. During the school year, we usually have had just one kid assigned to a single zone. The twins emptied the dishwashers -- we have two of those too --, Michael did the mudroom, Joey did the great room and Lillian did the family office this past year.

The bedrooms are not team jobs except that Joey and Michael share and we have four little girls in one large room, so they all work together to clean up their own rooms (though mostly it's Allison and Sarah with a bit of Eliza's help).

Mostly the daily stuff is just picking up. I mop once a week and clean the kitchen every day after kids leave for school during the school year, but all the major cleaning gets done on Family Work Day (Saturdays until this summer, Fridays this summer).

I don't get up before the kids unless I'm running. Usually, I'll shower while the kids are cleaning their bedrooms. Once the bedrooms are done and they're heading upstairs for breakfast, I'll do the little girls' hair and then head up and eat breakfast myself.

Sunday, August 07, 2011

My next long run . . .

has been in progress all summer long:

Lilypie Pregnancy tickers

I even designed a race shirt around it (though the price to order the shirt was so expensive, I think I'll be pulling out the Sharpies instead):

We're excited.

And yes, I am still hoping to successfully complete THIS long run as well:



I WAS excited about that one too, at least until my 21-miler on Friday. Now, I'm wondering whose brilliant idea it was to make marathons 26.2 miles? And whose brilliant idea was it to sign up for one?

Wednesday, August 03, 2011

Daddy Trip Highlights (Wordless Wednesday)
















Daddy Trip this year included Joey, Michael, Allison, Sarah, Eliza, and their dad, of course. Ten days of adventure including plenty of camping, bug-hunting, cave-exploring, and scenery-enjoying. They traveled through Reno, Nevada, into California where they saw Lassen Volcanic National Park, Lava Beds National Monument, and Mount Shasta. The trip then took them through Oregon to Crater Lake, Eugene, then over to the coast for Sea Lion Cave and beach-combing. Final loop went down through northern California again, the Redwoods, and Sacramento.

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