Running, coffee, and catching up.

Life is busy.

Work is busy.

Free time has been spent taking care of stuff around the house. Much needed deep cleaning, organizing. Making room for a bed in our guest room for our growing-up-way-too-fast niece. Tearing down a planter and repurposing it into a new one.

This means not much time to work out, except for some upper body and core work I do several times a week. But running, sadly has taken a back seat. I need more hours in the day and color weather.

But, this past Sunday, before much of the world was up to celebrate Mother’s Day, I met up with my friend Corinna for a 4 mile run over our favorite causeway. Setting the alarm for 4:40am was a wee bit challenging, but getting out there was worth it. Meeting at 5:30 in our usual spot was reminiscent of all the training we’ve done together.

Running with Corinna is as much about catching up and hanging out as it is for running. Training with someone for 18 weeks for a marathon makes a friendship stronger. There is no end to the subjects you talk about while running endless miles, tackling bridges, and sweating up a storm. Corinna is one of my dearest friends.

 

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It was just nice to get out there with her and run. The time doesn’t matter. Who cares that we didn’t run fast. The bridge was tough and we swore at it together. We stopped to enjoy the waves hitting the beach before the sun came up. And afterwards, we made our usual stop for Starbucks to complete our morning. We joke that the only reason we run is to go to Starbucks after. It’s what we do.

 

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Running, catching up, and Starbucks…. A great combination.

 

 

You Are Not Alone – National Infertility Awareness Week

You are not alone.

This week is National Infertility Awareness Week. I struggled with writing this post because it has been years since our infertility struggles, but I realized it is still very much a part of who I am and I know that I am not alone. So, I am taking part in the Bloggers Unite Challenge.

 

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It is so easy to feel like you are the only one dealing with infertility when you are going through it. It feels like everyone around you is pregnant and having babies. You feel like life is incredibly unfair and you just cannot understand why it’s so easy for others to get pregnant and you cannot. The range of emotions on any given day can knock even the strongest person to their knees.

Back in 2012, I shared a history of our journey in hopes of helping someone. Just to let someone who may read my little blog going through the same thing know that they are not alone. This is still my goal so I will share that history again. Every bit of this was kept in a notebook that I carried everywhere with me, to all my doctor’s appointments, and more.

August 2006 – Went off birth control pill (we were married 5 years by this time and after swearing for years that we weren’t going to have kids, we decided we really wanted to). Since I had been on the pill for years and I was not sure how my cycles would be on their own, I started taking my temps daily from the get-go.)

January 12, 2007 – Positive pregnancy test!!!! So much excitement in our family!!

January 22, 2007 – First OB appointment, in-office pregnancy test confirmed, due date of 09/19/07.

January 25, 2007 – Miscarriage, confirmed by ultrasound. I was just one day away from being 6 weeks. It seemed like days for it to end, and we were told by my doctor to wait two months before trying again. Despite how “early” this was, we were devastated. There are no words to explain how awful it was.

March 2007 – Started trying again, determined to not let the fear stop us.

May 2007 – Started taking progesterone at end of cycles.

June 2007 – Hubby was tested, results came back fine.

August 2007 – Started taking Clomid (3 cycles – days 5-9 of cycle). I really thought this would do the trick, as my mom had to take Clomid (and progesterone) to have all 4 of us kids. Clomid, by far, was the worst thing I took or did out of everything. I had hot flashes, headaches, I easily put on 10 pounds in one month, and it just made me a not-very-nice person. The fact that it did not result in a baby made it even worse.

November 2007 – Started taking Femara instead of Clomid (days 5-9 of cycle). I only took this for one month. Effects not as bad as Clomid, but resulted in a whacky cycle. This month I stopped taking my temps daily. I also had a transvaginal ultrasound which showed a suspicious area. A second ultrasound confirmed it and it was recommended that I have a D&C / Hysteroscopy to remove polyps.

January 2008 – D&C / Hysteroscopy removed polyps and advised to continue trying au natural.

April 2008 – Hubby went for another test, results were again fine. About this time, I had to go on anti-anxiety medicine because of the stress not getting pregnant.

May 2008 – HSG (Hysterosalpingogram) – This is an x-ray with dye to show any blockages, which showed that my tubes were clear. Because there is sometimes a greater chance of getting pregnant immediately after an HSG, I went back on Clomid for 2 more cycles, same as before. It was just as bad as the first time, but I was willing to endure anything at this point.

June 2008 – Started seeing a Reproductive Endocrinologist.

June 2008 – Decided to proceed with IUI (Intrauterine Insemination) with injectables. All of this was out pocket, thanks to lack of coverage on our insurance with Aetna. This cycle failed.

October 2008 – Wrote a letter to my husband’s employer in regards to the lack of infertility coverage on our insurance policy. I provided examples of how 91% of those offering infertility treatment did not experience an increase in medical costs, and that including comprehensive infertility coverage in a health benefit package may actually reduce costs and improve outcomes. Sadly, our concerns did not influence or result in any changes in the policies offered.

December 2008 – Went in for another Hysteroscopy after polyps were found again.

March 2009 – We were told about an infertility study which I inquired about. This study was for IVF (in-vitro fertilization) for a reduced rate. This was a procedure we could not even consider without this study. Again, this was all out of pocket. Once we knew we qualified, we had to make the quick decision to proceed (a stressful, emotional decision because of the costs involved).

April 2009 – Had to immediately go in for another Hysteroscopy to remove polyps yet again that would disqualify me from the study. It’s a miracle that the timing on my cycle was right for this and that I could have the procedure and still start meds as planned. Shortly after the procedure, I went on the pill as the first step of the IVF (the most ironic thing I did throughout all of this…). The end of April, I started injections.

May 2009 – The first two weeks of this month was a blur of doctor’s appointments, ultrasounds, and blood work. Mid-month I had the embryo transfer after 3 days and then started progesterone injections. My mom had to do these for me, in my backside, alternating each side daily. Out of all the injections I had to endure, these were the most painful as they went in the muscle. I was bruised and sore. This IVF cycle had the most riding on it, was the most emotional, and when it resulted in a negative pregnancy test, was the most painful. It was the end of the line for us due to all the money we had spent, and would pay on for years. Not to mention the extra 10 pounds I packed on from the injections. Based on my response to the treatment, it was determined that I basically have bad eggs.

 

Looking back, I don’t know how we endured all of this. It was so hard, which seems like such an understatement. Every month seemed endless, always waiting for the next step in my cycle. What would happen? What would we do if it didn’t work? Could we take yet another negative test?

But, we were not alone in this. We were loved and supported along the way, from near and far. Not everyone knew what we were going through as it happened, but we knew that people knew we were trying and supporting us. And most important of all, hubby and I supported each other every step of the way.

Having a miscarriage, no matter how early on in a pregnancy, is hard. It hurts. And it never goes away. It didn’t matter that I was just shy of 6 weeks when we lost our baby, we were already very attached, and dreaming and planning a life for the little being that would grow in my belly. Despite all our efforts and medical intervention, I would never again have a positive pregnancy test. It was just not meant to be.

I was once told that I was not meant to be a mother. Besides the fact that this is probably the most hurtful thing you could ever say to someone who has lost a baby and cannot get pregnant, it is simply not true. I am positive I would make a wonderful mother if given the chance. Just because I don’t get that chance doesn’t mean I wouldn’t be.

We should have an 8 year old child now. Every January, I think about our loss. It’s hard to not think about the milestones we miss out on as each year passes, but I also don’t focus on it as much as I used to. It was just not meant to be. It sounds harsh – and it is – but coming to that realization has made coping with it easier, so to speak.

Regardless of the fact that I cannot have children, it does not define who I am. It does not make me any less of a woman. It has taken awhile to really believe this, but I do now. I am many things… I am a wife, a daughter, a sister, a niece, an aunt, a cousin, a friend, and yes, even a dog-mom.

 

If you take anything away from this post – whether you have struggled with infertility, or if know someone who has, please know that you are not alone. There are so many resources out there to help you cope. You can visit the National Infertility Association (Resolve.org) for more information.

 

 

Top Ten Lessons I’ve Learned From Running

I kind of stole this topic from Beth at Discombobulated Running. Well, not kind of. I did. But I thought it was such a fun topic I would share my own lessons. What’s fun about this is that it could be – and most likely is – different for every runner.

 

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1. Not every run will be fun. 

I think it’s a pretty big myth to assume that a runner likes to run all the time. There are days you just don’t want to. And even if you are just dying to get out there and run, you can have a really bad run. Not every run will be fun, but you just have to look at it as one run. There are many factors that go into a run – the weather, how you feel, how much sleep you got, what you ate, if you’re hydrated enough, etc… If the stars are aligned properly, you’re likely to have a stellar run. But don’t think about throwing in those running shoes if you don’t.

 

2. Running is less about your legs and more about your mind.

Seriously. The hardest thing to do sometimes is get out the door. I know that I can really psych myself out about running and that makes it much harder than it needs to be. If I’m not quite feeling it when I first head out, I’m usually good after the first mile. I always remind myself that I can do it and I am much stronger than I think I am.

 

3.  Shoes are the most important investment you can make.

The right running shoes are key. If you are in the wrong shoe you will be highly uncomfortable and will likely injury yourself. My first year of running, I had constant foot pain. I hurt after every run. Then I went for a gait analysis and found out I was in the wrong shoe (oops, I just bought what was on sale…). I found out I am a neutral runner and spent the most I’ve ever spent on running shoes in my whole life. But I felt like I was running on clouds and I had no pain at all. Buying the right shoes is probably the best thing I did for running. It’s worth the money to buy the right shoes. Most running shoes will last 300 – 400 miles (yes, I keep track) and you can feel when they start to wear down and you need new ones.

 

4. The right sports bra helps immensely.

All joking aside here, when you are well-endowed, you have to have the right sports bra. If you don’t have enough support, it can be painful. Anything you can do to keep from hurting while running is important. You may go though several sports bras until you find the right one, but you’ll know when you do.

 

5. Set goals.

I do best when I have a goal set. In 2013, my goal was to set a new half marathon PR. I trained for 12 weeks and I did it. Two more PR’s followed after. In 2014, I decided to run a full marathon. I trained for 18 weeks for it and I did it. After setting a half marathon PR I will likely never beat again, and having completed a full marathon, I’ve decided that next I want to get to a sub-30 5K. Like all other running goals I’ve set, it will take time but I will get there. 

 

6. Rest when you need to.

Your body will tell you when it needs a break. As stubborn as us runners are, we have to suck it up and rest when that happens. You don’t want to risk injury or just wearing yourself down and end up hating running instead of loving it. 

 

7. Running partners rock.

Sometimes it’s fun to run alone and I did it for a very long time. But when you start training and have long runs, it’s even more fun to have someone with you. I was very thankful to have hubby with me on most of my marathon training runs. He would get up with me at the crack of dawn and run with me just so I had company and wasn’t alone in the dark. It’s also a wonderful thing to have company on long runs. Those miles can go on forever but if you are running with someone it makes it go by so much quicker. I have enjoyed the company of several friends and hubby on long runs, and it’s one of my favorite things. 

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8. Don’t sweat the small stuff.

If you miss a run or have to cut a run short, don’t stress. It’s okay to have a plan in place, but it’s not the end of the world if it doesn’t always work. Life happens and things happen. Beating yourself up over missing a run doesn’t help anything. Just brush it off and move on.

 

9. To run with or without music?

The first couple of years of running, I listened to music. I had to. I would see people running without music and wonder how the heck they can get through a run without it. In early 2014, I started running without simply because I was running really early in the morning, in the dark, and I wanted to be able to hear and be aware of my surroundings (especially after that one time a coyote ran past me in the dark!). My safety was more important than the distraction of music, and a funny thing happened. I liked it! I haven’t gone back to listening to music since then. I feel more present in my running without the music and I enjoy it more. This is all personal preference of course, but if you currently run with music, I suggest trying it without and see what happens. You might be surprised.

 

10. Run the mile you’re in.

When you’re headed out on a long run, it’s really easy to focus on all the miles you have ahead of you. You can really miss out doing this. Run – and enjoy – the mile you’re in and don’t worry about the rest. It’s easier to do this if you enjoy where you are running. I love to run on Clearwater Beach and the bridges, it never gets old to me, and the sunrises are amazing. This all helps me enjoy being out there and not worrying about how much farther I have to go.

 

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What is one thing you’ve learned from running?

Finally found my groove again!

One thing that is so frustrating about weight loss is sticking with it. You can be going along so well, sticking to your plan, staying on point, and then something happens and you have a little setback and that’s it. You’re in a rut, you can’t find that willpower you had before. I know I’m not the only one who deals with this. 

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It’s no secret that ever since marathon training, I lost that willpower and the fight to keep it up. I continued to eat like I was marathon training after the marathon was over. It’s not easy to stop and because of that, I’ve gained weight, Just keeping it real.

 

 

 

But after completing the 3-Day Refresh last week with great results, I’ve found my groove again. I have that urge in the morning to plan for the day, take snacks with me, drink water all day long, skip the sodas, and forgo the ice cream for dessert. I’ve even run twice this week and roller skated my butt off for two hours one night. Those 3 days reminded me that I have it in me to do this, and I feel better when I eat better. Plain and simple.

 

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Weight loss is such a struggle. And I know that I will fight it my whole life. I am still working towards my goal and when I reach it, I will work towards staying there. I know what I need to eat and what I shouldn’t eat. And I am fortunate to love a wide variety of foods and enjoy fruits and veggies and healthy options. Now that I’ve found my way out of that rut I was in, I feel like my desire to get to my goal has been renewed again and it is very empowering. I find myself planning ahead for meals and even making better choices when we go out. 

 

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I will keep taking it day by day and make the best choices I can when I can. I will not deprive myself of foods that I love for a treat or special occasion, but the healthy options will far outweigh the splurges. For me, that is what works. Getting back to that place and having the strength to do it is a pretty fabulous thing.  I just have to remember… Progress, no perfection.

 

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What do you do when you’ve lose your willpower?

 

3-Day Refresh Awesomeness!

For the second time, I completed the 3-Day Refresh and had great results. I had fallen back into some bad eating habits and was feeling so bloated and I knew I needed a reset. The 3-Day Refresh does just that. One of the things that works best for me that this offers is structure. It tells you what you can have and when you should have it. Other than the initial planning ahead for it, you are ready to go. For someone as busy as me, this is very important.

 

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The basic structure of the 3-Day Refresh is:

  • Water all day long.
  • Shakeology for breakfast with fruit
  • Mid-morning Fiber Sweep
  • Vanilla Fresh shake for lunch with fruit, veggie, and healthy fat
  • Afternoon snack of fruit, veggie, or juice
  • Vanilla Fresh Shake for dinner plus a meal from the 3-Day Refresh recipe list
  • Drink green tea throughout the day – I aimed for twice a day

 

The day before I started, I stocked up on fresh fruits and veggies to have available, quick and easy. Celery, carrots, cucumbers, and hummus, as well as bananas and pineapple. I made a large batch of iced green tea that would last the whole 3 days. I also made a very specific list of what I would have and when based on the plan.

 

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I took everything with me on all 3 days so I didn’t leave anything to chance. Day 2 was the trickiest day simply because I was going to be on the road all day long. I packed everything, including ice, and it worked out perfectly. For me, being on the road is when I’m most likely to make bad choices like fast food because it’s easy to do. This made it easy. I knew what I was going to have and when. 

 

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Day 3 had a challenge of it’s own, with a family lunch at Red Robin. But I had a salad and a side of steamed broccoli and it all worked out. It can be very empowering to make healthy choices.

The hardest part of the 3-Day for me, more than anything, was probably the no coffee in the morning. And it’s not that you can’t have coffee, you just can’t have all the extra such as creamer and sweeteners, and that is how I love my coffee. Other than that, I was fine and didn’t feel like I was missing out on much. I was never hungry, I felt full and satisfied.

Here are photos of my dinner options. The cucumber and tomato salad was from the 3-Day Refresh recipes. The squash and cucumbers I just through together for dinner on the last day because I was craving it. It is not hard for me to eat like this because I love these foods!

 

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I took a photo, did my measurements, and weighed myself the morning of Day 1. I did the same thing again on Day 4, the morning after completing it. I knew I was down, I could feel it in how my clothes fit. And I was right… I lost a total of 6.75 pounds and almost 5 inches (waist and hips together). I like to say that I was feeling extra fluffy before I did the 3-Day, I was so bloated, and that is obvious in my before picture. I am much happier with my after photo, feeling confident again in my favorite jeans.

 

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Since completing the 3-Day, I’ve been keeping up with several aspects of it. Water all day long, green tea twice a day, fruit and veggies for snacks, and whole foods. I’ve tried to limit the processed foods. And while I did have fast food once, I kept it to a small, and it was just one day, not every other day as it had been for awhile. 

I mentioned this was my second time to do the 3-Day Refresh. The first time I did it seemed harder for me, and I’m sure it was because I was in the midst of marathon training and running ALOT. I was hungrier throughout. This time around, it was much easier and I feel like I got more out of it. 

I will definitely do the 3-Day Refresh again as needed. I think it is a great way to reset your body and get rid of those pesky bad habits that have a way of creeping back in. I believe in all things in moderation but over time, for me, the bad foods have a way of outweighing the good foods. After the 3 days of healthy choices, it’s easier to stick with it. 

 

3 DAY REFRESH LOSE WEIGHT AND FEEL GREAT!

 

Questions? I’m happy to answer them if you do… Leave a comment below!