Injuries: Part of the Marathon Journey?

As some of you who are reading this already know, I was 8 weeks into an 18 week marathon training plan when I got injured. This is my first time with an injury since I began running 10 years ago. I was hopping off of a curb and the drop was a bit more than I anticipated. I landed funny and felt spasms and twinges like fireworks in my back. Then I felt my left hip drop. I hobbled home. I started seizing up and could barely walk. I went to a chiropractor the next morning in tears over what was going on. That week there was a lot of chiro, massage, icing and Epsom salt baths. I noticed small improvements, but was still unable to walk properly and had no idea what was really wrong with me.

I found an amazing physiotherapist who diagnosed me with SI joint dysfunction. My pelvis was maligned and the left side was basically locked in a forward tilted position. The injury was from the incident, but was also part of the fact that I was and currently am breastfeeding a 9 month old baby – my relaxin-filled body = loose ligaments, and I neglected my core and pelvic floor after having two kids and trying to run 100km+ per week on a regular basis. Recovery was almost non-existent between running, taking care of a baby and a toddler and the lack of sleep that comes with all of that.

I was happy to have an answer, and a PT who is also a runner and could relate to me on that level too. I did my stretching and strengthening routines religiously. I didn’t want all of my training to be wasted, but I knew the longer it took to heal, the less likely a marathon would be. I’m so thankful for the team that helped put my body back together again (and for dry needling!). I’m also thankful for the support of friends, family and Oiselle Volee teammates who have been so supportive throughout this journey. It really does take a village!

It’s been two months since the injury happened and I’ve been cleared to run for the past couple of weeks. I’ve been lucky enough to have some pretty solid runs and have made the decision to stick with my plan to run the Ottawa Marathon at the end of May. My goal is to qualify for Boston at the marathon, it always was. Before I got injured, I was running faster than I ever have and was secretly aiming for a 3:05 marathon. I’ve scaled that back and have decided that I will be satisfied with anything that gets me to Boston. I’ll explain the significance of this goal in my next post.

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How I Went from Hating Running to Training for a Marathon

I will never run a marathon, but I’ll train for a 5k – me, 10 years ago.

I wasn’t always a runner. Actually, I’ve only been a runner for almost 1/3 of my life. When I was a kid, I was in swimming and competitive dance. I ended up with a lot of injuries as a dancer – Patella femoral syndrome, pulled hamstrings and more. When I was 10, I remember jamming my knees so badly in tap class that I had to scoot out of the rehearsal room on my bum because I couldn’t stand up on my own.

I did a LOT of physio, like, 2 years a lot. I remember hearing the words “knee replacement” being mumbled. I had a doctors note excusing me from phys ed and stating that I wasn’t to engage in running activities. Every attempt I made at running ended badly, with something else on my body hurting. I remember in the 7th or 8th grade, it was track and field day and it was a requirement that we had to sign up for 3 running events. I chose the 60m, 100m and 200m because they were the shortest. Then we were told you had to pick at least one longer distance race, and that 3 short distances weren’t acceptable. So I signed up for the 800m, which was the shortest of the “long” distances.

I ran for maybe the first 50m and then walked very slowly the rest of the race. I think I may have even cried. Either way, running – it wasn’t my thing. When I turned 19, all of that changed.

I don’t know why, but running didn’t hurt when I gave it a shot. I could barely run 300m continuously, but I was determined to run. I began my journey in April 2006 and my goal was a 5km race on July 1st of that year. I trained and ran the 5k. I stopped during the race to “tie my shoe” – aka, find an excuse to take a break, my shoelace wasn’t undone. I was upset with myself for not running the whole thing. That feeling stuck with me and I wanted to do better. I noticed a lot of benefits from running and it started becoming part of my regular routine. The following spring, I signed up for and ran my first half marathon. That unsatisfied feeling creeped up on me again after that race, because I wanted to do better. I wanted to run faster. From there, I guess that’s when I felt like I became a runner.

Here I am, 10 years later, slated to run my first marathon on May 29th. I said I’d never run one. But I also used to say I’d never be able to run. I’ve learned to “never say never”.

Do you have any tips to share for a first time marathoner? How did you get into running?

Birth Story for Baby #2: Lennon Elizabeth

Back when I was pregnant, I had every intention of documenting my pregnancy on this blog. Those ambitions got derailed pretty quickly. However, I often start writing a post, leave it unfinished, and, well, it stays unfinished. I’d like to blog more regularly, but for now, I’ll do a quick catch up post. Weeks 20-40 of my pregnancy were busy with work and life in general. I took most of July off on vacation to spend some extra time with Odin before his sibling arrived – we didn’t find out the gender until baby was born.

Due date: August 2nd.

On August 2nd, after weeks of our neighbourhood being on baby watch, I started having contractions. We went for a walk around lunch time, and many people stopped us to see how I was holding up. During these conversations I left out the part that I was timing my contractions while we were walking. Around 4:30 that day, my contractions had been getting closer together, and we live half an hour from the hospital, but I didn’t feel like it was time to leave yet.

Fortunately my husband felt it was go time, and called his parents to watch Odin. When they arrived, I was leaning on a chair during a contraction and told them there’s a chance we’d be sent home. His mom looked at me as if to say “yeah, right”.

We got to the hospital and once there was a room for me, I went onto the bed so that they could start the assessment and hook up the monitor to my belly. As soon as the nurse went to buckle the monitor, my water broke – it was 6pm. Roughly 6 contractions later I was pushing, and at 6:47pm Lennon Elizabeth Khan entered the world weighing a whopping 6lbs 10oz and was waving to her momma.

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She was very hungry and wanted to nurse right away. I was so thankful that breastfeeding went well for us as it had with Odin. I didn’t have any stitching that needed to be done and everything went as well as it could. I was so lucky to have such a short and easy labour – I didn’t have drugs for the delivery of either of my children, which was what I had been hoping for each time (and thankful to have been able to follow ‘the plan’).

IMG_0510Around 8-8:30, Ryan’s parents came to the hospital with Odin. Odin was a bit nervous to see me on the hospital bed, but I was able to walk around and carry on as I normally did, so he was fine once he realized I was ok. He loved his sister from the very moment he saw her.

My labour with Odin had been very quick, and all I had been told was that it’s even faster the second time. In my case, they weren’t kidding. 47 minutes after getting into the hospital bed I was holding my little baby girl. The one that would complete our family.

Lennon is now just over one month old and the transition from one to two children has been busy, but honestly not as chaotic as I was expecting. I’ve learned that routines are important, especially for Odin, and that I always need to have a snack or something close by when nursing Lennon – because that’s always the time when Odin decides he is hungry.

Already Thinking About Post-Baby Running

As a runner, I love hearing about other runner’s races, seeing pictures of them showing off their race bling that they worked so hard to achieve, but lately, I’ve been so sad that I am unable to join in on the fun.

It’s been -40C with the windchill where I live for way too many days in a row, so unless someone decided to host a treadmill running race, you won’t find me participating – also of fear of falling on ice. By the time spring rolls around, and the fall, which are my two common racing times, I’ll be nearing the end of my pregnancy, and in the fall, just getting back to running (as long as my doctor clears me as quickly as my first pregnancy).

A lot of people don’t let pregnancy hold them back from racing, but by the time race season rolls in around here, I can’t even guarantee I will be running. With Odin, I ran a charity 5k at 25 weeks pregnant, and the was the last day I ran until being cleared by my doctor one month after he was born. I’m running a charity 5k when I’m 25 weeks again this time around when I’m in San Francisco for work, but I miss half marathons. I actually miss training schedules and long runs. At the same time, after a bumpy road, I’m so thankful to be pregnant, let alone still running as this pregnancy progresses.

My ‘post-baby-exercise-plan’ is to train for my first full marathon. A few weeks before I got pregnant this time around, I ran a 1:34:01 half marathon. It seems silly to already plan out the races I want to do once this baby is born, but if you know me, this probably wouldn’t surprise you. I would like to run the 2016 Nike Womens Half Marathon, plan for a fall marathon or Ottawa Race weekend in spring 2017, which will hopefully lead to a Boston qualifying time.

It’s an ambitious goal, but it’s something I’ve dreamed of a lot these past few years. When I thought I was miscarrying again 6 weeks into this pregnancy, I had a total meltdown and started to plan my marathon training, because if I wasn’t having a baby, I was going to be running a marathon. Thankfully after a hospital visit and a lot of tests, I found out everything was fine and that I would be saving my marathon training for a later date – this way I have two little ones to push in the jogger and make me stronger to tackle Heartbreak Hill in a couple of years 😉

Weeks 19 & 20

How far along are you: Almost 20 weeks!

Cravings: Nothing in particular. I really like cereal right now, and mostly fruit. Green grapes and Granny Smith apples are my go to. The occasional scoop of Ben and Jerry’s sneaks into my belly – it would be really awesome if we could get the new Jimmy Fallon flavour, The Tonight Dough, in Canada.

Weight gain: 11-12lbs. I gained 40lbs when pregnant with Odin despite the fact that I exercised regularly and maintained a fairly healthy diet. I started at a lower pre-pregnancy weight this time, but have also been able to exercise more throughout this pregnancy – probably given the shape I was in when I got pregnant (I had just completed a rigorous training cycle for a half marathon I ran at the end of September, got pregnant at the end of October).

Maternity clothes: Not yet. How I still manage to button up my jeans is beyond me (said jeans are not pictured).

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Movement: Yes – finally! I have felt some lovely ‘baby flops’ and can sometimes see my belly move when the baby does. With Odin, my placenta was at the very front, so I barely felt movement (I never even felt Braxton Hicks when pregnant with him either!), so it’s pretty exciting to feel the baby this time around!

Gender: Waiting until delivery to find out. Gut feeling: boy.

Best moment this week: Finally getting to see my OBGYN. I’m seeing the same doctor I had throughout my pregnancy with Odin. I have a crazy attachment to this doctor for some reason. She just gets me, and she is the perfect match for me. I am so fortunate to have found a doctor like her. We booked my next (and likely final) ultrasound and it hit me that this could be the last pregnancy-related ultrasound I ever have, as we are stopping the baby train at two.

Running: This week I had some really good days and a couple of bad ones. I had one run in particular where I felt like I just need to cut back, but then bounced back with a great run the next day – but running is like that; pregnant or not. Between Monday and Friday I managed to run everyday for a total of 48km in 5 days. Not shabby for halfway through my pregnancy. At this point with Odin, I think I was averaging 3 runs and barely 20km a week.

An Odin Update

It’s been awhile since I’ve done a complete update on Odin, who is now 2 years, 3 months old. So here’s what he’s been up to:

Odin’s beloved Patriots won the Superbowl and Odin was very excited about this. It’s amazing how quickly he recognizes the Patriots. There was a sports memorabilia stand set up in Costco in Ottawa, where there was a signed photo of Gronk spiking the football and Odin started cheering and pointing when he saw the picture. Needless to say, the photo is now in our home, and was an early birthday present to Ryan.

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Mom went away for her first business trip alone, and when I got back, Odin and I had a much needed ice cream date together. It’s nice to have someone around who shares my love of ice cream, except when he tries to eat out of my bowl instead of his.

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Odin announced that he is going to be a big brother in July. He waves hi and bye to my belly and gets up close to it and shouts ‘hi’ when he wants to ‘talk to the baby’. It’s adorable.

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We moved to a new house (this was the house as it was being built, right now it’s covered in snow). Odin loves his new house because it’s a few doors down from a huge park and when he first came in, he saw his lime green walls from the old house had followed him to the new house. We painted the interior of our home the exact same as our old house – both houses were custom builds, and we weren’t planning on moving when the first house was built, so we had only lived there for 2.5 years. I’m so glad we made the house seem as familiar to Odin as possible, as it has made the adjustment much easier.

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Odin loves puzzles and books, especially books that make sounds. He also loves to draw, but mostly with markers, and on himself. He is still Lego obsessed and loves music. His current jam is ‘Uptown Funk’. He is a dancing machine when he hears that song. Odin has gotten extremely chatty and is getting away from his shy phase. Every store we visit he says ‘hi’ and ‘bye’ to the cashier, hands over my Starbucks cards thinking he can pay for groceries with it, and loves riding in the shopping cart. As with the Movie ‘Planes’, Odin can’t get enough of Thomas and Friends and Planes: Fire and Rescue. I’ve lost count, but in the past week alone we’ve averaged roughly 5 viewings of that movie each day (he watches intently for a bit, then plays, but don’t think you can change the tv even if he isn’t paying attention, he has a sixth sense). Odin is getting really chatty and it’s not just gibberish anymore. He comes up with the funniest sayings. He is also very good at using his manners – saying ‘please’, ‘thank you’ and ‘you’re welcome’, which is also sometimes ‘I welcome’ instead of thank you.

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Odin is super helpful and loves to ‘be a big boy’ – his words. He loves to vacuum, help bake cookies, put laundry in the wash, ‘fold’ laundry, and loves the broom. He feeds Reese at breakfast and supper and I love the look on his face when he does these things, he is so proud of himself.

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Week 18

I felt like the first trimester was NEVER going to end. I had weekly doctors appointments and blood work, I was extremely sick and keeping the pregnancy a secret over the holidays isn’t an easy task. But we managed, and here we are, two weeks away from being halfway there!

How far along are you: 18 weeks.

Cravings: Billy Miner pie from The Keg. When I get a craving, it’s always very specific.

Weight gain: 7-8lbs, differs based on the day and time.

Maternity clothes: I still can’t believe I’m typing ‘no’ right now. The bump is finally starting to make an appearance though:

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Movement: Not much. The occasional flip or flop, but that’s all. It was the same way with Odin. I rarely ever felt movement or Braxton Hicks, even though both of those things were happening.

Gender: Waiting until delivery to find out.

Best moment this week: Finally getting into a routine. With the move and starting a new job, the last month has been pretty hectic. We also FINALLY got our fridge delivered – it was a very long debacle and I’m so glad it’s over. We also got to visit with Ryan’s grandmother and some of his uncles, and my family got together for dinner at our new home on Sunday. It was nice to have everyone together, and of course, Odin loved showing off his new big boy room.

Running: This week my blood pressure (which is pretty low to begin with) dropped even more, and I’ve developed anemia again with this pregnancy (it’s amazing how the second trimester is a mirror image of my pregnancy with Odin), which had me feeling a bit sluggish for a couple of days. I still managed to run 5 of 7 days for a total of 57km. At this point in my pregnancy with Odin, I think I had dropped down to 5km per run and was maybe running 4 times a week. However, back then it was a really hot summer and I didn’t have a treadmill like I do now. It’s been absolutely freezing here, so my weekly mileage would likely be a big fat zero if it weren’t for my treadmill (too icy and slippery – too afraid of falling).

Week 17

I’m going to do my best to commit to weekly, more likely bi-weekly, pregnancy updates. I did a terrible job documenting my pregnancy with Odin, and haven’t done a great job so far this time around either :/

We finally broke the news around week 13 that I was pregnant:

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How far along are you: 17 weeks with baby #2!!!

Cravings: Chicken Pad Thai…All. The. Time. Apples. Grapes. Really cold fruit in general.

Weight gain: 6-ish pounds. I was really sick for a lot of weeks, and my appetite is finally getting back to normal.

Maternity clothes: Not yet – still able to wear my jeans and regular clothes (I still can’t believe this!).

Movement: None that really sticks out. The occasional flutter, but with Odin, the location of my placenta made it difficult to feel movement, so the same thing could be happening this time too.

Gender: We are waiting until delivery just like we did with Odin. If I had to guess, I’d say boy again, but I really have no clue.

Best moment this week: I’m going to say still being able to run and still being pregnant. It was such a rocky road to get here, and I’m so thankful for it everyday. I am also happy that IPS tests came back clear and I am off of weekly doctors and blood work appointments (I was closely monitored for 13 weeks based on my miscarriage history).

Running: I’m going to add this in each week since running is still an option for me 🙂 I had a lot of great runs, but one on Friday that just didn’t feel right so I stopped. Also, fellow Oiselle Flock Member Emily Hess over at Pages of Miles posted an Instagram photo of a shirt she had gotten that was a pair of running shoes made to look like a set of lungs. IT was super cool and I needed to know the meaning behind it. In a nutshell, it’s in support of the Let’s Rock CF campaign to raise funds and awareness for Cystic Fibrosis Research. You bet I ordered one immediately!

Worst moment: I think I’m going to leave this out in the future. I find it hard to come up with something for this – and I don’t really like thinking about these types of things.

We are finally getting settled into our new home, and I’m adjusting to my new job where I am fortunate to be able to work from home now. These two things make life so much easier now and we’re so blessed with the opportunities 2015 has given us – and it’s only February!

I wish I had done a better job at documenting running through pregnancy #1 to compare to pregnancy #2. I feel a lot better running through this pregnancy, and last time I stopped running around the 6 month mark. I think the fact that it’s winter and I have a treadmill in my house have made this easier, as when I was pregnant with Odin, I was pregnant throughout the summer months. It would just be nice to compare the two experiences since running is a huge part of who I am.

Third Time is a Charm?!

To say we’ve had a lot going on lately would be an understatement. One thing that seems to be a common trend though is that the third time seems to be a charm. We listed our house three separate times and on the third time it sold. Also, I suffered two miscarriages in 2014, only to find out the day before Odin’s second birthday that I was pregnant – the third time in 2014. The difference? I am still pregnant.

Seeing a + on the pregnancy test evoked a lot of emotions – I was too scared to get excited, because I had miscarried twice between 5.5 and 6 weeks pregnant. Once week 5 day 4 rolled around, I found myself holding my breath. This would be a trend for almost everyday until I hit 8 weeks pregnant. Except for the time I started bleeding at 6 weeks pregnant, the bleeding stopped after a few hours and I rushed to the hospital to learn (to my surprise) I didn’t miscarry – I was still pregnant! Now, shy of 17 weeks, I find myself still holding my breathe, but beginning to breathe a bit easier each day.

As soon as I got a positive test, I went straight to my doctor. He had told me after miscarriage #2 that he wanted to do some blood work the day I got a positive test. So I did. Then, it was weekly blood work, appointments and the occasional ultrasound. It was very different than when I was pregnant with Odin. With Odin, I got pregnant on our first attempt and had a super smooth pregnancy and delivery. I felt reassured with the additional doctor’s appointments, but it was so hard to not get too far ahead of myself – which honestly, is kind of sad, but that was my headspace. I knew all to well what could happen, and my bubble had already been burst a few times within the year.

Now, my perspective has become brighter and I worry less about what could happen and simply enjoy being pregnant and getting through each milestone. I’m so, so excited for Odin to become a big brother!

From this point out, I’ll be sharing weekly pregnancy updates and am also willing to answer questions anyone has. Dealing with conception can be frustrating, but no one needs to go through it on their own 🙂

Odin Turns 2!

Like most parents, I’m in denial about my son getting Older. Today, November 29th, Odin turns two. A lot has changed over the past two years, and I wouldn’t trade any of it. Odin has brought so much excitement and laughter to our lives and is the sweetest little boy I know. Before I know it, he will be off to school, moving out, getting married and having kids of his own. But for now, he is still my sweet little boy who gives the best hugs and puts a smile on my face on the toughest of days.

Odin has made me learn a lot about myself. I am a stronger person because of him, and he has taught me that nothing is impossible. I doubt myself less and I feel like a stronger person – all because of a little human I helped create. Watching him discover the world has taught me to slow down and appreciate the small things.

Happy 2nd birthday Odin!