Tuesday, April 23, 2019

Journey To (2) PRs

The weekend before Easter was a signifiant one in my life. No, I didn't accomplish anything great in terms of the world's standards (like finding a cure for cancer or winning a Nobel Peace Prize), but something seemingly small to others yet incredibly significant to me took place. Somehow, someway, I managed to PR in both the 5K and 10K distance in the same weekend.

Why is this so significant, you might be asking? It is just a couple of PR's after all...

Well, it's significant to me for several reasons (hear me out here).

For starters, these PR's were both at least 4 to 5 years old. Those original PR's were obtained back in 2014 and 2015 when I was at the height of my personal running "career". I'd also managed to break 2 hours in the half marathon during that time frame. 

Then, time simply.....happened. I slacked off from running as much. I got pregnant and had a forced break from running. I had a baby. Childbirth took its toll on my body. I had a newborn. I had post-baby weight. You get the picture.

Something I've never shared here are the struggles I faced post-childbirth. I haven't opened up about  them because I was waiting on the right time to do so and I honestly didn't know how to talk about it. Having these recent PR's is a huge part of the "whole" picture and since this blog is a story of the every day struggles and victories in life, I am sharing it with you today. 

Without going into significant detail (as I'm sure you can put the picture together), things didn't just....well, go back into place like they should have after delivering Brayden. He was born in April of 2016.  By fall of 2016, I knew something wasn't right. I spoke with my OB who confirmed that something was indeed wrong but she reassured me that a LOT of women experience the same issues after childbirth. My problem revolved around the fact that my child was born posterior instead of anterior (meaning he was face up instead of face down). Thanks, son. Little known fact - only 4-10% of babies born vaginally are born posterior! Interesting!

Was there much I could do? Well, yes and no. My options to "help" things along (notice I didn't say "fix") were surgery (no thank you) or physical therapy by a specialist trained in pelvic floor issues. 

Also to complicate things is the fact that I'm a runner. Running puts pressure on the pelvic floor and can worsen the issues I was having if not properly treated. I was instructed specifically to not (ever) lift more than 50 pounds at a time or do crossfit. Period. 

Although the options to help these issues along are there, they are not a permanent fix and this is something I will deal with for the rest of my life. I'm also incredibly thankful that mine is not on the severe end of things!

So, in the spring of 2018, off I went to my second bout of physical therapy (the first being for IT Band issues way back in the day). Why did I wait so long? Honestly, I was scared. What did pelvic floor physical therapy entail? I had no clue and was beyond scared to find out. 

Much to my surprise, I had nothing to be scared of. My physical therapist was incredible, y'all. She seriously made me feel SO comfortable and helped correct the "whole" person, not just my one main issue. She taught me so much about proper form, alignment, breathing techniques, and stretching, all while treating my pelvic floor issues. In total, I spent two and a half months with my physical therapist and I know I made a life long friend because of it! 

Side note: If you ever have to go through pelvic floor physical therapy I'm here to tell you there's nothing to be scared of. After attempting to research online (without any luck because there's VERY little out there) and speaking with several PT friends, I was amazed at how easy it all was. Seriously. 

Around this time, our Orangetheory was about to open and I was super scared for that as well. Should I try it? How about the weight floor and lifting? Would I even be able to do it? Prior to joining, I spoke with several OTF friends who encouraged me to try it out and I'm so glad I did! One of the best parts about Orangetheory is the ability to work at your own pace and use weights to your own specifications aka - I can lift as much or as little as I need! 

Over time, I can tell that my post-childbirth issues have gotten better thanks to the information I learned from PT. This past fall, I saw my OB for my annual checkup and she again confirmed the way I was feeling - things had improved significantly. Her words were had she not known of my "issue" before, she wouldn't have even been able to tell that there was a problem at all!

I definitely call that a win-win for sure! 

Since that appointment, I've been able to dial the intensity up a bit in both running and Orangetheory while still being careful to not overdo it. I've noticed that my speed has also increased with better weight training at Orangetheory and weight loss thanks to the FASTer Way (more on that in another post). 

Prior to running the 5K two weekends ago, I didn't even check my previous PR. I just knew it wasn't a goal I could ever obtain again and honestly, I didn't even realize I achieved a PR until after we were leaving the race venue!

On the morning of the 10K, I did check my previous 10K PR and told Jason in the car that there was no way I could accomplish that one again. 

Imagine my complete and utter surprise that both PR's were obtained in one weekend, the 5K PR by 14 seconds and the 10K PR by 1 minute and 16 seconds! 

It's been a long and tough road getting back to this place again. Was it worth it? Absolutely. Our lives would not be what they are without the peaks and the valleys. Those tough patches we face are what make us stronger and those peaks all the more sweet!

If you've made it all the way through this, thank you for sticking with me. I love the running community and sharing in the struggles and accomplishments this journey can bring!

What's been the biggest struggle you've had to overcome as a runner?

Today, I'm also linking up with KookyRunner and Zenaida for Tuesday Topics!

Monday, April 22, 2019

Easter 2019 Festivities

Easter weekend has come and gone and just like Christmas, I'm sad it's over. Easter is my second favorite holiday (apart from Christmas, of course). I've mentioned in before, but back in 2006, Jason and I were engaged over Easter, married the following Easter, had Brayden around Easter time in 2016, and I just love the overall special time this year brings, not to mention the significance of our risen Savior. The promise of spring, the colors and blooms, new life, new possibilities...it's all just so exciting!

We had so much fun during this Easter holiday and I hope you did as well!

It all began with our church's annual Easter Egg hunt last weekend. We had a "practice" run of hiding eggs in our living room the night before and lemme just say, it was a disaster. Brayden was throwing his basket, throwing the eggs...he just didn't want to "hunt eggs" the way we wanted him to hunt eggs and it was quite comical. I decided that I was just going to let him go to the egg hunt, have fun, and see what happened because...toddlers!

So, imagine my surprise when they called "GO" at the Easter egg hunt and he began running to the eggs and putting them in his basket!

 He racked up with quite a few....then he wanted to eat all of the candy inside, of course!

They also had horses and a train at the egg hunt and Brayden loved them both!

He had a chance to ride the horses twice and the train three times! So much fun!

Over Good Friday and this weekend, we spent a little time dyeing eggs. We had fun choosing colors and placing stickers all over the eggs!

After a birthday party for a nephew on Saturday, we decided to try the Easter bunny at the mall one more time. Remember the Santa incident from Christmas where it took three tries and we finally got a picture? Well, the bunny took two. I didn't warm him up enough on Thursday after picking him up from school and needless to say, he wanted nothing to do with the Easter bunny!

On Saturday though, it all came together and he was totally ok with seeing the Easter Bunny! Toddlers are funny creatures.

We also spent time at my parent's house on Saturday afternoon for a crawfish boil! My dad also set up Brayden's new swing set in the back yard and he had a blast playing on it!

On Easter Sunday, the Easter Bunny visited us and left a fun Easter basket as well as a few "hidden" eggs. Brayden also enjoyed a leftover breakfast of bunny cinnamon rolls!

So yummy!

We attended church on Easter Sunday morning followed by dinner at Jason's Aunt & Uncle's house.

The kids loved having an Easter egg hunt and checking out all of their goodies!

Brayden also had fun playing with his BFF, Brody. He LOVES this dog!

I hope you all had a blessed Easter and enjoyed your weekend! He is risen, risen indeed!

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