Tag Archives: badass mother runner

What’s Up with Some Women

26 Sep

Good evening, lovelies –

My life between the miles has surely kept me busy. My little lovebug is all of 16 months old and let me tell you that we have a future runner girl in the making. She speeds through every adventure. Just running around, laughing, giggling, and playing. Her disposition is incredibly infectious. She is and will always be a reminder to live life with childlike enthusiasm. She silences the peripheral noise and aggravations of difficult people. These days are gold. 

I’ve been running. Repeat. I have been running. I’m logging 25ish miles a week. Pre-mom Valerie would scoff at that number. Mom-Valerie is like…that’s kind of badass. But just kind of. The trouble is me. I can’t commit to waking up at 4a every day to run. If I did I could squeeze in an extra 6-8 miles per alarm buzz. But that snooze button gets me if I didn’t sell myself on the maybe sweat sesh the night before. I don’t often run after work because of the hour and my incessant desire to spend quality time with Oriana before it’s “night night time.” I am all about being present with my family and I have only 2 hours each evening with my little babe to coordinate/make dinner, enjoy bath time, have a mini playtime session, go for a walk, read a book, and then put her down. When 8:30p rolls around I tease myself with the notion to run. But I’m quickly reminded that late night runs put me in an energizer bunny state, so I opt for a glass of Chardonnay. Not always. But more often than I’d like.

While I have some guilt I am finding peace with the balance I have created. Andy and I have no family out here to help us with the day-to-day and considering, we are rocking this parenthood thing! Can I just pick up an go run the next marathon? No. After my recent 17 miler I was reminded I have FAI. I’m 32 but feel like a geriatric post such long distance. This will be cured when I finally have needed surgery (After baby #2. No. I’m not pregnant.). At any time can I go run a half marathon? Damn skippy – yes! There you have it, that’s my balance. I’m always primed to race 13.1 miles. That is me winning at this motherhood thing!!! I may not PR but I can easily run the distance that once upon a time was a challenge.

Speaking of challenge, let’s talk about people. I often get lost in my mind while running. I work out problems and the idiosyncrasies of individuals. This is how I cope. And it’s often a way I manage stress mid-day by exchanging lunch for a run = runch. It helps to dissolve any conflict or ugly emotion. It resets me. 

But back to challenging people…

Why are some women hell-bent on dishonoring our own gender? I am tired of being exposed to this unavoidable casualty. Wake up ladies, there is a code of ethics amongst women and it appears there is a significant need for a reintroduction. I’ve grown tired of callous comments and negativity by which I don’t understand how I’m on the receiving end. Why can’t we mindfully and/or lovingly disagree? I wish there was a way to change this proclivity of female divide that keeps widening. Some women need continuing education on feminism. I want to throw the book at them (in the most kind way). I want to preach “Read it. Breathe it. Reflect. Turn a new page and stand united.” I want to observe women empowering women. 

What really ruffles me is that I am a mother to a daughter. A beautiful little girl who might be disliked by other girls for being uniquely different and alluring because of her ethnic mix plus her aptitude. What’s more aggravating is the ugly truth that beauty and brains is a lethal combination. And because of this truth I know girls will try to hurt her and cut her down out of envy and admiration. It’s ridiculous. Why does admiration have to come at the cost of jealousy? Why are women compelled to break each other down? Why is there reprisal for being different, intelligent, beautiful in both a conventional and unconventional way? I don’t want my daughter to grow up being chastised for being herself. I want to teach her that women are alliances. Emphasis on alliances. We need to enrich these relationships rather than create conflict. Conflict serves no purpose in this context. 

So here I am. I am facing an opportunity dead set at trying to resolve discord. Discord I assure you as it relates to me being me. I know more than I let on. That’s my superpower. I am quirky but for good graces that doesn’t mean I am dense. Because of my role as woman who is now a mother I am responsible to lead by example more than ever before. I have a mini shadow. If Oriana was older and could understand or witness my conversations and interaction how would I act differently? How could I gain favor? 

There is something inherently wrong when women disrespect women. I can’t run this emotion out of my mind. I have a heightened awareness and sensitivity on this topic because of my daughter. We can break the perpetual fallacy that women are superficial and catty but I can’t do it alone. I’ll raise my daughter to know better, to refrain from repressing the feminist movement and to advocate for women with fervor! 

We need to practice decorum. We should learn and teach this from the very beginning of our lives. We must show love and be nurturing. We are all surrounded by extraordinary women who teach us about quiet strength and dignity. Let’s break the narrative that women tear each other down. I promote that we have an obligation to help one another. How do we get the naysayers on our same sheet of music? 

If there’s one thing I can do right it will be to raise my daughter to be kind, respectful, grateful, warm, generous and mindful… If for any reason she is compelled to be anything otherwise antonymous I will encourage her to take it out on the asphalt. To pound the pavement. 

We women run the world (pun intended). Let’s be each others cheerleaders on the same track (of empowerment) and remind ourselves we are running our own unique race. There’s room for civility on every course. We are an exclusive community – we are a brand. 

To my daughter: One day you may read this and if you do I hope I have lead by example. You inspire me daily to be a better person. To practice compassion. To remain present. I love you.

To women (past and present) and those reading this: You teach me daily how to wear all the colors of our multifaceted roles. I respect you. 

Thanks for stopping by,

XO

Valgal

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“And She’s a Mom!”

3 Aug

Yesterday marked my first run after work postpartum. I set out to sweat but also to quickly return home to be with my babes.

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I woke at 4:30a. Bus to metro to work by 6:45a. Returned home at 6p ish. Showered my baby girl with kisses, squishes, and cuddles (a proven test that my lip stain is indeed a stain as there was no evidence of my smooch fest on her cute little cheekies 💋). Little O fell asleep shortly after so the guilt of leaving her for my needed “mommy time” aka “run” didn’t sting so badly. I returned home around 7:30ish to find my little rosebud giggling with daddy. 

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Seriously peeps, coming home is the sweetest gift ever!

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But let’s get real about some things…

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The Monday-Friday grind, the commute, and wanting to spend every waking minute with little O while also training for a marathon, training to get my body back, and making sure my relationship with my better half continues to thrive is a challenge.

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The transition to motherhood has been blissful. But the transition trying to find the time to connect to my mind, body, and soul as well as trying to connect with my partner is nothing shy of a taxing adventure. It’s an adventure plagued by my own heavy guilt (because of societal standards) coupled with the subtle microaggressions from others and the ubiquitous endorsements, advertisements, and stepford-esque wives evangelizing the glory of motherhood and condemning any other activity that taketh your attention away from it. 

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Not all dialogue centered around motherhood is riddled to make you feel guilty. But my point is, some dialogues about motherhood actually reject mothers carrying other roles; thus, rejecting women and the whole feminist evolution. The content strikes me as callous because the words scream to me that when motherhood “ails” women it deviates women from their previous multifaceted construction to that of a singular dimension. We are not one dimensional! It’s as if having a child suddenly diminishes a woman to carrying one title only – a mother. Is that all that is expected from us? Being a mother? Anything on top of that role is an attaboy moment – “She managed that project, delivered her pitch, ran a marathon, and she’s a mom!” Why is there the qualifier, “and she’s a mom!”? What purpose does it serve? We are whole without it. We should not be typecast as if being a mother abates us of all competencies. (Thanks to Lauren Fleshman for pointing that out in her podcast with Dr. Melody Moore.)

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I’m a mom. A new mom! I was a runner first. And people still don’t understand my desire to run, especially post pregnancy because it means I leave the house and my babes after being away all day for work. I think it makes people uncomfortable because they couldn’t fathom leaving the house and their newborn. Maybe it’s a fear of separation anxiety from their baby (I did experience this). Or maybe it’s their fear of being criticized for putting their own needs first. I don’t feel the need to repent for continuing to put my needs first. I’m on call all day and night – a little time etched out of the day for me is reasonable, not selfish.

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Yet I’m criticized on the daily – I’m sure of it. Some days I feel assaulted by negativity because of the opinions of others about how I “mom.” No one explicitly criticizes me but their comments are back-handed. Do you know what I do? I smile and nod. I play dumb. While it’s hard to ignore the undertones of chastisement, I pretend I’m not competent enough to understand their insults because hey, I’m a mom – remember – all competencies were removed with my placenta – part of the deal.

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Why is there this brazen epidemic to mommy-shame? I question if I’m a bad mother because I’m trying to do it all. Intuitively, I know I’m not a bad mother. But yes, I leave the house after working all day to run. And yes, I’m a breastfeeding mom who drinks wine with dinner. At least it’s not the bottle! I’m not a bad mother.

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But do I need to explain myself so that my actions make others feel comfortable? No.

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I still have a commitment to myself while also holding the torch of motherhood. Becoming a mother doesn’t dissolve me of my identity. Rather, it highlights it. 

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So there you have it. In a culture that pretends there is equality among sexes, why is it that we celebrate motherhood but impose insidious maternity leave policies? Why is there gender inequality in the workplace? Why do we celebrate men who become fathers with a pay raise but women who become mothers don’t see that same jump in income? Why is it that our culture preaches women can do it all but then women are ruthlessly assaulted and shamed when they try to {cough cough} and do so successfully? For a culture that is so politically sensitive about the most paltry of matters, why is it so crass towards women and women’s rights? The whole empowering women movement is just a dog and pony show. The kicker, why are some of the hardest critics of women those that share my gender – women? It’s pitiful. We can’t rise when we are anchored down by our own kind! Come on ladies!!! 

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Years of false paradigms have flooded our minds with what it means to be a woman, a wife and a mother. It’s such a narrow definition of success. We should stop expressing concern about a woman’s (a mother’s) well-being because of a false idea of what she should be. 

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I am a woman. A mother. A daughter. A sister. A granddaughter. A niece. A cousin. A wife (soon). A friend. An employee. A runner. A lover of all (especially my Boston terrier, Mika). A pseudo chef. A wine lover – bring on the Malbec. A tequila nut. A frozen gummy bear spaz. A book worm – I can never have enough books. A terrible singer. A shoe fanatic. A luster of the new Garmin Fenix 3. A woman who loves dressing up my sass but equally loves to be accessorized in sweat. Whether I’m in stilettos or my laces are tied, in conference rooms, or starting lines, or singing lullabies, you can’t define me. I don’t fit in a box. 

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And so, I will continue to defy the norm. I invite you to do so as well. If you’re reading this and you are a mother, I ask that you acknowledge that you are more than just that, albeit being a mother is a privilege and a gift! The only qualifier I want referencing me as a mom is, “and she’a badass motherrunner” – because let’s get one thing straight, I’m am!

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Thanks for stopping by!

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XO

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Valgal, badass motherrunner 

Running and Life

20 Jul

Hello lovelies!!!.

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.My days are numbered being at home with my little babe. The longest I’ve been away from her has been during my runs which is about 1-2.5 hours. So with Monday on the horizon, my heart is sinking. How am I supposed to go back to work? How can I juggle work, be a mother, a wife in training, and a runner? .


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During my mini sweat session today (I ran based on how I felt – hello sub 7:00!!! – ran a 7:50 warmup and speedy miles thereafter! I love the way a 6:00 min pace feels- it’s been too long! 🙌🏼) I was thinking about how running is a true euphemism for life – more so today than ever before. What I’m saying is that it takes enormous spiritual strength for me to embrace training for a marathon after 39 weeks of untraining my mind to go hard and push through the pain because of pregnancy. Now I’m trying to build back that grit. But honestly, it takes even more spiritual strength to leave my little on Monday for the first time ever for my workday.

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I’m freaking out that I’m going to miss her more than words. Her little coos, her smiles, the way she cuddles on my chest and grips my hand so tightly. How am I supposed to be away for 9-12 hours without her when she has been all I’ve ever known. “It’s impossible to miss anything before she came into the world.”

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I’m so thankful for running. It has allowed me to run out my emotions. It helps. But I’m still deep in resentment that I can’t have a few more weeks. At least I know what I’m in for. My work day will feel like a bloody marathon – trudging through the pain of her absence – but coming home will feel like crossing the finish line – the reward of embracing my rosebud will be worth it. .

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Shout out to all you badass mother runners, and mamas who must leave the house for work, (because let’s be honest, being a mother alone is WORK), “The world does not benefit from you hiding your bad-assery” so make sure you make it known!  You inspire me!!! XO #badass #motherrunner #runnergirl #sweat #sweatsession

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PS- thanks @nuunhydration for hydrating me!

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Thanks for stopping by!

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XO

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Valgal


A New Affair 

19 Jul

Hello lovelies,

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Notice anything different?!.

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Other than me not having a baby bump?!?

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The shoes!!! Meet Brooks Launch 3!!!

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That’s right friends, #badass #motherrunner was running on clouds today. Clouds of comfort! I literally had an extra spring to my step for push-off and it gave me amazing energy return! For real though!!! Plus, their ultra light and perfect for me (I’m a neutral runner). I’m in love. .

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Newton, we’ve covered a lot of distance over our 4 year courtship, but your discount code for me has since expired and your 5 lugs just don’t comfort me like the 4. You will be my first love, and I will continue to be a fan, and even wear you for feelings of wild-eyed marathon training nostalgia of the past (I have quite the collection)…But let it be known you’ve got some fierce competition these days! And I’m thinking it’s time for a new affair…#runnergirl

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Today marked my marathon training’s request of an easy 3 mile run – which was totally hard to do because I wanted to rocket through my run with these new badass kicks!!! But hey, I’m following protocol – and that’s a first!!!

Thanks for stopping by!

XO

Valgal

Dreams of Boston: From Chasing Boston to Chasing Baby

22 Apr

Today was the 2016 Boston Marathon. I planned on BQing this year to secure my spot for 2017 but life happens – literally. My body is not my own.

I find myself 9 months pregnant and determined to not let my fitness and fitness goals get derailed.

I’ve had a wonderful pregnancy but let me tell you this – pregnancy is hard. I will be honest and say I miss my body. The body that carried me through many races. Fit, trim, lean and light.

To date, I’m sporting extra pounds that have found a new home in my thighs and arms aside from the belly. I’m very accepting of this. Yes. But the change is still challenging.

I don’t want to sound vain – only honest. For those of you pregnant mamas that scroll through feeds that showcase the ✨ glowing claims of how fab it is to be pregnant and you just don’t feel it – I’m telling you that sometimes we filter the ugly (the thoughts, the feelings, the emotions, the symptoms). It is most definitely not all rainbows and butterflies. At times it is a stab to your ego. I’m not trying to undercut the miracle of pregnancy – because I do love it, but with it there are accompanying struggles.

Struggles of self-acceptance. It’s normal.

There’s some boilerplate bullshit out there shaming women who admit to feeling insecure with their pregnant bodies. Don’t listen to them. Embrace the #hormotions. The highs and lows. It is part of the journey. Enjoy the marathon. It might not be Boston, but it is #40weeks of training!

Hopefully in the next few years I’ll look back on today with a BQ under my belt – back to the fit, trim, lean and light #runnergirl I am with Ori and daddy waiting for me at the finish lines!

Thanks for stopping by!

XO

Valgal

The Pitch – My Relentless Pursuit to Run 13.1 Miles for Two

30 Mar

Hello lovelies!!!

 

Happy Badabump [insert Hump if you’re not lucky enough to endure unprecedented weight gain despite workout efforts, heartburn (from water), hunger pangs at 5a that are only satisfied with a slice of toast with a light spread of natural peanut butter and drizzle of honey, kicks and jabs from within that wake you up but melt your heart, the insatiable appetite for an entire bottle of wine – Chardonnay, Prosecco, or Malbec – because close to 9 months of sobriety is a bitch and I’m jonesing for a buzz, oh yeah, and upper/lower back pain] Day to you all!!!

 

Anyway… Let’s get to the content.

 

Well holy guacamole runner friends – this mama-to-be ran a half-marathon pregnant! Yes. Pregnant. All of 31 weeks of me and my little macaroon hit the pavement running. If you’re reading this and you follow me on IG and/or Facebook I’m certain you saw my photo spam that documented this incredible journey. Anyway, I’m here to give you a little glimpse into how I convinced my man to let me run 13.1 miles for two to mark the most epic and total experience ever.

 

A little disclaimer: The Rock n’ Roll DC Marathon Series is significant to me. I ran the Rock n’ Roll DC Marathon Series in March 2014 and it marked my first ever participation in the full 26.2-mile trek to the finish line. I trained for months on the unforgiving apparatus – the treadmill – during my first winter in the District classified as “snowmageden.” Despite running on the treadmill with an even incline, I finished the race and with far too much energy left in the tank – after the hills and all. The energy stores left in the reserve triggered my affair to find perfection. I would go on to run more marathons as the ultimate test of my running ability. Fast forward to the Rock n’ Roll DC Marathon Series in March 2015 – this would be the third marathon I would complete. Having just come off the residual high of missing a BQ by 4 minutes (I ran the Marine Corps Marathon October 2014 with bronchitis and stopped several times to hack a lung or two) I was more than ready to race and secure my spot on the Boston Marathon starting line. I was certain I’d qualify and at the very same race only one-year prior that ignited this passion. My legs were light. My body told me I found the balance between training and rest days. I was at my perfect race weight. I was alert. I had no fear that I wouldn’t give 100%. I hadn’t exhausted my limits. I would BQ. I was flying. “Light. Easy. Fly.” was written on my hand for support during the moments when the fun of running manifests itself into drudgery. But BQ I didn’t. The significance of this race was the mounting wave of pain that overtook my right hip . After a failed BQ attempt, an arthrogram (painful) and x-rays I was told surgery would be the placeholder for a BQ (at least for a while) to repair the FAI and large labral tear. I didn’t know what was worse. The constant state of excruciating pain felt on my right hip or the fact that I’d be forced to be immobile for 6-9 months post-surgery. That reality led me down a rabbit hole of emotions and what-ifs. Thoughts of losing all athletic ability, losing muscle and form, endurance capabilities, maximal aerobic capacity/peak VO2, etc. I was devastated. Ugh!!! I was told by the doctors that surgery would help me – it’s the setback for the ultimate comeback. But I didn’t care. I wouldn’t be running. And life without running is not life – at least not for me.  Then through Immaculate Conception (wink wink) my body decided to carry a life – and voila – I found myself 31 weeks pregnant and flirting with my third Rock n’ Roll DC Marathon Series  – but this time I’d only tackle the half-marathon – that is, if everyone cleared me to run because of baby girl and my hip. Talk about the significance of this particular race. Each one marked a pivotal moment for me in my exploration of mind, body, spirit and ability.

 Note: I’ve been running with FAI and a labral tear since diagnosis. The pain is not terribly significant since distance has been minimized. It’s there. But tolerable.

But let’s talk about this third Rock n’ Roll DC race, my being in the third trimester and the arduous pitching I had to conduct to make the sale. Because I was a runner before being pregnant and maintained my activity during pregnancy I was cleared outright by my doctors to participate in the half-marathon. The only convincing, pleading, marketing, selling, and solicitation I had to do was with Andy – the father of our unborn child. His concerns were that of my health (especially my hip) and baby girl. Granted he knows I would never jeopardize the health of our baby he had his worries, despite what the doctors said. Naturally, I petitioned him. Every. Single. Day. 

 

Because his obstinate stance opposing my participation running a half-marathon was met with my obstinate stance for participating, we missed each coupon code and price reduction incentivizing runners to join.

 

Then shit got real. 

 

The last-call for registration was during the Health Expo for package pickup. Hello, this was two days prior to the race. My sales pitch obviously lacking. Andy wasn’t budging. Couple my plea to run with a higher cost to race – I didn’t see a favorable outcome. This wouldn’t be an entry fee paid for in the race with my unrestrained willingness to push myself to collapse and PR. No. This is an entry fee I want to pay so that I could run effortlessly with a moderate heart rate to feed ego and pride – to say I did it. To say I ran for two. (But don’t I most days of the week on the treadmill for $29.99/month?)

 

I channeled my inner teenager. I flooded him with texts. Message after message pinged his phone as if we time traveled back to when we were teenagers and he pulled some dumb shit (okay, me too) and I was appealing his requests.

 

I explained why I had to run. And I am sharing my mini dissertation with you so you can get a glimpse of my conjunction of life and running.

 

“…my being pregnant is really a marvel to me. I haven’t lost the lust to run and it is who I am. I don’t want to be like the norm because of the lack of perfection (my being pregnant, not a race weight, etc.) as a reason not to participate. I have the intuitive and instinctive nature to care for my daughter – unborn or not – and me. If I need to walk I walk. It’s not about racing. It’s about being a part of a community and a tribe that is unlike anything else. It’s about me being out there – moving – slowly – and with the grace of God and my will behind me. It’s about showcasing that you can be fit and active and pregnant at any size and at any stage. It’s my play time. Where I can be interacting freely in an environment that I love – and outside with nature – in my element. It’s liberating. It’s euphoric. And I miss it terribly. It’s so much more than running. It’s my lifestyle. And I know you came back in my world when I was prepping for a surgery – but you don’t know who I am and how liberating and free it makes me. I found myself through running and it’s because of running I’ve found confidence and self-acceptance. It’s gives me so much joy. It fulfills me.”

 

And there you have it. Like an overdramatic 16-year old girl I was committed to convincing the man I love to accept me.

 

So what did he do? He went ghost on me. The sound of silence was loud. Unbearable.  Each passing 45 minutes I glanced at my phone. Nothing. Not even the little dots to indicate he was typing. I was convinced I wouldn’t be running. He won. My determination to run was no match to his contrarious petition.

 

Then I got the call.

 

The call of calls. My florid of texts worked. He granted my request!

 

I was in shock. Giddy. Childlike enthusiasm came over me. You couldn’t wipe the grin from off my face. I was smiling ear to ear. Big. Wide. Showing all my teeth! I giggled. I shrieked. I jumped up and down. No kidding. I was time warped  back to being 16 when he asked me to prom – I couldn’t wait to announce the news but more importantly, dress for the occasion! Except this time I wouldn’t need long preparation, a fancy dress, my hair all done up, or makeup – only the essentials – colorful compression socks, a matching headband, sunglasses, my Garmin (I’m eyeballing the new Garmin Fenix Sapphire 3  but it’s totally unnecessary as I’m 8 1/2 months pregnant), iPod, a hair tie and my Newtons.

Fenix Sapphire 3

 

So there you have it. I signed up…

 

Not to race. Not to smash a PR. But to simply run.

 

And run I did.

Thanks for stopping by!!!

 

XO

 

Valgal

 

PS – My experience running for two covering the distance of a half marathon at 31 weeks pregnant will be posted shortly. I’ve had the case of pregnant brain and speaking let alone writing complete sentences has presented me with a great challenge – that and maintaining a focus without being distracted “Squirrel!” Ha.

Marathon Training – Running for Two

29 Dec

Good afternoon lovelies! I hope you’re having a wondrous Monday so far! I always love Mondays. I believe Mondays set the mood for the week – therefore, if your Monday starts off right, well then I only see smooth sailing, even if the sea gets a little rough. And what work week isn’t a little rough? What after-work hours aren’t a little rough?

 

Discussing rough, I’ll tell you what’s rough – let me introduce you to marathon training. I’ve trained for three marathons and I’ve discovered what it is about them that is rough. It’s not the aches and pains. Nah, those are manageable and kind of dull. It is the patience. There is a whole palette of patience that paints your body and mind with the dramatic hues of hope, despair, rejection, and anticipation that make the journey of the marathon rough.

 

It’s true love though.

 

Anything worth doing is going to be difficult. If it were easy it would lack the artistry of hope and the intensity of the colors of fire. The mental strength to run forward, through the hurt, through your minds rejection, through the lies, through the life you left you behind is the sum of strength that beckons anything is possible.

 

And anything is possible: Having the patience to complete a marathon has nothing on having the patience to accept your changing body so that soon you get to meet your little one.

 

What I have learned training for a marathon has inadvertently carried over to my life between the miles. But most importantly, it has found its way to help soothe me during pregnancy and its encompassing unknowns.

 

I’m quickly learning that marathon training isn’t as rough as pregnancy. What is rough during pregnancy is acceptance of your changing, growing body. I won’t lie – I have cried a few times about my body morphing into something I don’t recognize. I hate to sound vain but I’m here to be honest. I’m hypersensitive to the changes happening to my body because I’ve been training for marathon after marathon keeping my form, abs, ass, legs and arms tone. Now, well now it doesn’t matter. Baby is coming! And I wouldn’t dare do anything to harm my little one with strict eating, new eating regiments, dehydration tactics, hardcore training followed by more training. No. My abs, ass, legs and arms are getting a little less tone regardless because I’m creating a life. My waist is slowly giving way to the growing bump – this I’m excited about! But to say I accept all, emphasis on all, the changes with the gracious glow of pregnancy would be a farce because I don’t. For me, pregnancy is as beautiful and magical as it is a mental minefield. Honestly.

 

I blame the self-absorbed and self-centered culture that poisons the internet stating that basketball bellies for pregnant women, although not the norm, is what should be sought after. Seriously?  How can I control how my baby grows? I would love to have a basketball belly! But I stand all of 5’2”. That’s right a full 60 inches. Baby girl can only grow so far with my short stature and torso thus she will cause me to grow a little wide. This is the problem. Not that I’ll grow wide, but that I’m fed, like other pregnant mamas all this bullshit that if you’re short, you’ll get fat. If you’re carrying a girl, you’ll grow wide and better plan to carry an extra few lbs. Seriously. The internet feeds you bullshit and isn’t even gracious enough to offer up a glass of merlot to wash it down. Gosh I miss wine. Troll the internet and you’ll see copious amounts of literature warning pregnant moms-to-be “How to avoid gaining too much pregnancy weight”, “The skinny pregnancy”, and this should make you chuckle, “How to avoid weight gain during pregnancy.” Yes. These are real taglines. How to avoid weight gain during pregnancy…ya…that’s a winner. What the eff?

 

Anyway, what I was saying is that acceptance is rough. I don’t mind in the least bit my growing bump. I am the most ecstatic about that! To put it simply I feel sandwiched in the nonsense that comes from so many articles about pregnancy and what not to eat, what not to do, what workouts to avoid, what not to drink, etc. The nonsense paralyzes me. And consequently, I become nonsensical – like I have this innate fear that I’ll end up taking on a new shape with similarities to George Costanza – short and stumpy but with hair. I know. I know. I sound foolish but I’m being candid about my illogical concerns.

 

It is because of my illogical concerns that I take to running. Well, it’s not the only reason but running does help to silence the bullshit. Running also helps to make sure George Costanza never appears looking back at me in the mirror…hehe.

 

Anyway, let’s talk about From Chasing Boston to Chasing Baby and running for two in the second trimester.

 

Today I am 20 weeks and 1 day pregnant.  I ran 5 miles today at an 8:11/pace per mile. This is slower than norm for me but hey, baby is growing! It’s beginning to feel that running for two parallels a lot with marathon training. I am forced to go slower and breathe consciously with intent. I have to focus and exercise patience for a slower than normal cadence for hours which leaves me vulnerable to boredom. I am in each moment recognizing each little twitch or discomfort and making a friend with it rather than speeding up and playing with intervals to mask the pain.

 

Little baby girl is teaching me how to run comfortably at a slower than average pace with a whole lot of added weight and pressure in my front section. I used to be able to run 26.2 miles without ever having to take a bathroom break. Running in the second trimester has me desperately seeking a bathroom after only 2.5 miles. The pressure on my bladder from running is unlike anything I’ve ever felt before. I have to always make a mad dash to the bathroom every 2.5 or 3 miles for relief and then the cycle starts again.

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In addition, the weight of my breasts is getting quite uncomfortable. I know I’m kind of an anomaly – having a breast augmentation or two performed while also trying to run competitively – but again, back to their weight – oy vey! During my runs I find that I’m squeezing my shoulder blades together to ensure I have proper form. It may look as if I’m running with my chest intentionally out to make them all perky  and guess what, I am – so enjoy the view (just don’t jump on the treadmill next to me or I’ll give you a caviling grimace). If I didn’t do this my shoulders would roll forward and my lower back would hurt more than it does.

 

Running in the second trimester has been an easier goal to achieve in comparison to the first trimester. I’m able to fight through the fatigue and make it to the gym. When I get into my rhythmic cadence, I find a source of great strength that helps counter the obstruction of said fatigue and twinges of dull pain.

 

The colorful palette for running for two makes me feels beautiful. It has me marvel at our bodies capabilities to do hard, rough but equally miraculous things. Running for two teaches me to have more patience than I ever knew possible despite marathon training. Running for two gives me hope that I will continue to grow as a person, and with this body and baby, into a person I want to be – a mom. I turn to running because I it helps me become a person who is better, accepting, peaceful and happy.

 

Running was never stale. Running for two proves it never will be. Running for two paints me in a florid of colors I’ve never seen before. The palette of patience paints my body and mind teaching me to love myself unconditionally while I grow this miracle within – just the thought sends an electrical current through my body. The emotional hues of hope, love, and anticipation to meet this little one paint me with naked delight.

 

Running for two is the only journey I know now.

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Thanks for stopping by.

 

XO

 

Valgal and Baby Girl – aka Baby Macaroon

The Anatomy Scan & Baby’s Little Runners Foot

16 Dec

Hello lovelies,

I hope this post finds you feeling as radiant today as I feel! Who knew a little weight gain and a growing belly would have me all jolly and dazzling to match the season! I’m loving these days. But I did not love last Friday afternoon.

Last Friday Afternoon – The Level 2 Ultrasound:  – The Anatomy Scan

I was counting down to December 11, 2015 at 2:30p for weeks. This was going to be the big reveal of little baby macaroon’s gender. Boy. Girl. Either one, it was another day to celebrate! December 11th was going to mark the day where daddy and I get to bond a little bit more to our growing baby *cough cough* my growing belly.

But God had other plans like he often does. And hey, I’m okay with that. But what I’m not okay with is the lack of courtesy and bedside manner that I’ve quickly become aware of from other “first-time mamas” that is the apparent norm for ultrasound techs. (I know this is a huge typecast and I know there are several ultrasound techs that are darling – my first one was! Anyway, I’m sorry if you’re in the profession – I’m sure you’re the exception to the rule. I do not mean to put you in such a box…I’m only speaking from experience.) Newsflash Tech: This is my first pregnancy – could you meet me with some grace?

The Anatomy Scan: Part I

The appointment was at 2:30p. I drank 32 + ounces of water between 2:00p and 2:30p to make sure my belly was nice and full for the ultrasound. 3:00p and we were still in the waiting room. 3:15ish – yup, an “ish” we were walked to room number 2. I desperately had to pee. I was uncomfortable.

We were greeted by the tech. “Hello, so you’re here for the first trimester scan?” Me: “I sure hope I’m not in the first trimester! We’re here for the anatomy scan!” Tech: “When are you due?” Me: “May 15th!” Tech: “You’re two days too early. You’ll have to come back.” The tech lacked any empathy in her tone. She was cold. As cold as the room. Me: “I’m sorry but my doctor advised me I could’ve come as early as Monday. I chose today because today’s my day off. I don’t get maternity leave so I’m being as conscientious with time off as possible. Today fit my schedule otherwise I would’ve been here Monday had I not wanted to be so conservative with time off.” Tech: “I’m sorry, you’re too early.” Me: “No. I’m sorry. We’re here because the doctor said we could be here.” Turn on waterworks. Streams of tears rolled down my face. I wasn’t making a sound but the tears were loud enough for her to hear my disappointment. Tech: “I’ll go check with Dr. Rafael if I can do the scan. I hope you know we probably won’t see gender parts. You’re too early. I’ll be back.”

Me: I thought to myself, homegirl is a bitch. Capital B. Who the f*ck is Dr. Rafael. I glanced at Andy. I could tell he was just as put-off. 5 minutes later the tech returned. Tech: “Okay, lay down. We will do the scan. But again, we probably won’t see anything.” Me: “Okay!” Then I thought to myself that it would be okay if we don’t get to know the gender, at least I get to see baby! Tech: Didn’t even look at Andy who was standing near me and with a dictator tone instructed him to take a seat at the back of the room. Me: I was unable to even see Andy at that point. I thought this tech was a passive-aggressive bitch. Capital B x B. Power tripping fool.

For approximately 45 minutes there was silence. The one question I asked was interrupted by a snarky remark. I figured I’d mirror her lead so I kept my mouth shut. That’s right – Valerie kept her mouth S.H.U.T. The tech didn’t tell us anything. She didn’t say what she was doing, what she was looking at – absolutely nothing. It wasn’t until we were nearing the end of what was the first part of the session when she said, “This is the baby’s brain. This is the baby’s foot.” The tone of her voice was detached and unfriendly.

I thought silently but my face probably gave away my annoyance, “Thanks for the excitement lady! I mean shoot, it’s every day I get to see pictures of my growing baby – thanks for making this moment so remarkable!”

Ugh. Her lack of enthusiasm wanted me to slap some sunshine on her cold ass face and then top it off with glitter and more sunshine. I wanted to triple layer it on. Frostbite doesn’t hit as hard when it has to work through layers. I mean, her cold shell would be bound to emit destruction and I only wanted to slow down the freeze of her glance and bitter tone.

Break

The tech instructed me to pee. FINALLY! Dear god I was holding it like a champ. I wanted out of that cold room and her frosty presence. She also told me to walk around a bit to see if I could get the baby to open its legs.

Whaaaaaaat?

I didn’t know she even saw the legs!!! Why didn’t she tell me? She toggled through screens at such a rapid speed I had missed it.

I returned from peeing and it felt glorious! I then proceeded to dance like a fool for 10 minutes willing baby to wake up and to spread open those little leggies!

The tech came in.

Anatomy Scan: Cold Encounters Session 2

Baby didn’t open legs.

The tech wrapped things up and told us that we would have to come back because she didn’t get images of the heart chambers. She then advised us that perhaps during the next visit they could determine baby’s sex. I asked, “Is baby measuring okay? Like average for gestational age?” Tech: “Yes. The doctor will give you a report later.” She printed off pictures and handed them to us and walked us out.

The End with the Ice Queen

Post-Anatomy Scan

Andy and I walked out. We were slightly disappointed about not knowing the gender but more upset about the ice queen. I left feeling anxious and scared. To not even be spoken to had me miffed. To not be given any peace of mind like, “Baby’s brain is measuring average” etc. I know there are liability issues but there are also medical charts that spell forth what is average. From speaking with other moms I am told that techs can speak a little about measurements especially when they fall in the average range. I was so uneasy and shaken up. The day I was looking forward to with such elation ended up enveloping me with uncertainty. I remember thinking, is she avoiding telling us things because honesty is tough? Oh my gosh, honesty is tough – it’s a difficult pill to swallow. Shoot. Something’s wrong. Something’s wrong because there’s news we may be uncomfortable with.

I took to Google.

Shit! Never take to Google. Google is bad. Bad. So. Very. Bad.

I had a whole lot of feeling and I had no clue what to do with it. I crammed a bunch of heavy, ugly news in my mind. Not good.

We called our family to report the news. Gosh were they worried because they expected our phones calls so much earlier. Remember the 45 minute delay and a pregnant girl’s super full bladder who desperately had to pee? Oh yea, I was so doing the pee-pee dance in the waiting room. Did I unintentionally omit that? Anyway, we gave family peace of mind and informed them that we would know the gender soon. I felt like a liar. How could I be giving peace of mind to others when my mind was distressed?

I planned to call my doctor Monday to make a follow-up appointment. Monday couldn’t come fast enough.

Monday

When Monday came around there was another blow. The ice queen said the anatomy scan report was complete. No redo would be ordered. You can’t have an anatomy scan for gender only. I was astounded by the size of this woman’s balls. What a liar! Yes, she was an ice queen but a liar too? I talked to the nurse about my issue with the news. She apologized and said she’d discuss it with the doctor and that they’d call me by close of business. She then proceeded to tell me the results of the scan – Good! No anomalies. Everything is measuring and looking good! Oh thank gosh!!!

I hung up the phone both frazzled and delighted.

Delighted: First thing I thought: Baby is okay!!! What a relief. My heart warmed.

Frazzled: I was frazzled because most importantly, how do the doctors know baby’s heart is okay when there are no images of the heart?  Not knowing the gender wasn’t as pressing.

Monday: Close of Business

5 o’clock took forever but there she was. My doctor was calling me. To save you time the news – we get a redo!!! Commence happy dance. I haaaaaaappppyyyyy daaaaaaanced allllll theeeee wayyyyy hooommmmme!!! I had the sunniest disposition coming home I could’ve melted the ice queen if she took one glance at me. 

Baby Macaroon: Pictures

Until our next appointment I stare at these pictures daily. I haven’t met baby macaroon yet but my how attached I am to this little love nugget. I can’t get over the experience of this little babe growing inside me. I am changing every day. I am appreciative of the things I never knew my body capable of. I never knew I could find peace with growing in size. I’m enchanted by my abilities (and women’s really) to create life.

And this little life, just look!!!  Baby macaroon clearly wants to showcase that s/he will be a runner just like mama! Look at that runner’s foot (Dubbed by my good friend, Bryant )!!! I can’t get enough. These pictures keep my heart at peace.

Wishing your heart at peace, too. Today and every day.

Do you have any pregnancy stories? Do share!

Thanks for stopping by!

XO

Valgal and baby macaroon

Running (Sleeping) in the First Trimester – 

11 Dec

Good morning, lovelies –

I’m over here feeling fabulous – FINALLY! The trials of the first trimester are past me. I’m currently 17 weeks and 5 days pregnant and *gasp* feeling like my energy has come back, at least in the morning. Come 8pm it’s time for shuteye. The bed always wins. The bed + Netflix. (Who am I!?)

Anyway, I told you I was going to blog about running for two. I wanted to document my experience “From Chasing Boston to Chasing Baby.” I was adamant that I’d be maintaining my pre-pregnant running schedule but that goal made a liar out of me. Let me give you the details of the challenge “Coming home from work: Newtons v. Big Comfy Bed.”

Note: I’m going to be honest about my experience here with pregnancy. I’ve noticed there is a tendency to shut out the details that aren’t synonymous to the pregnancy glow. People are too afraid to talk about the downside to this fairytalesque miracle. Yes, it’s a miracle but holy heck there are bouts of misery. There are countless bouts of vomiting, nausea, anxiety, hormonal dragonesque fiery outbursts followed by waves of crying over the most idiosyncratic concerns. There are high and there are lows that are inexplicable.

To begin, I’d like to give myself a SHOUTOUT…I graduated with a Master in Public Administration December 2nd, 2015! Upon finding out I was pregnant I was beginning my last class with this program. The class was arduous. It took all of my concentration at a time when my body was crafting the fetus. This is the most crucial development! I wasn’t showing but my body and all of its major body organs and systems for the fetus were forming wiping me out. I’m someone who functions with 4 or 5 hours of sleep and suddenly I needed 8+ hours and ironically I could barely keep my eyes open come 2 o’clock. I was working, wrapping up school writing endless tedious papers on case studies on Regulations and Policy, making a baby, all while thinking I would have the energy to run 50+ miles a week.

Let’s get real.



I managed to do it all minus the running distance. My schoolwork took a considerable amount of my free time leaving me anxious to fit in running as well as mentally drained. I was feeling selfish because I had to run. If you want me around being all jolly and happy, you let me run…Plus the added bonus of running is that it is healthy for me and baby.

But if I wanted to fit in running it meant I would have to cut out any time I tried to carve out for social gatherings and date nights with my main squeeze. The main squeeze was flexible. Shoot, I conjure that he liked my busy schedule because that only meant more NFL, NBA and hitting the courts himself – uninterrupted from my incessant online searches of nursery ideas, cute onesies, baby essentials and the countless “isn’t this super cute!” Poor guy. What a trooper. It helped us maintain the peace and coincidently helped him dodge my emotional breakdowns. Case in point: The first time I heard the song ‘Hello’ from Adele. ‘Hello’ waterworks. I left him a voicemail about it laughing and crying, if you could distinguish the difference, saying it was a good thing he was playing ball because he’s missing an epic meltdown without warning. It’s quiet hilarious now that I’m sober from the hormones…  

So with that being my schedule – running was bound to take a backseat. Newtons 0. Big Comfy Bed 1. I couldn’t let my grades slip and hey, I have to go to work – Mama’s got to make that cash!!! But because running is an indispensable part of my life I fought the fatigue demons when I could and hit the treadmill. Newtons 1. Big Comfy Bed 3 (pretty accurate ratio). I always felt so esteemed afterwards. I would think those damn little demons were illusions and deceptive little devils casting spells of trickery. I wasn’t as tired as I thought…until the next day and the day after that.

That was really the case of running in my first trimester. When I felt well enough to run, I ran. I ran middle distance at a moderate pace. I monitored my heart and my breathing never felt labored. I didn’t “feel” pregnant. Only my mind was. I could run 10 miles on a Monday at a 7:45 pace followed by 6 miles on Wednesday at a 7:40 pace. The every other day routine was working for me when I wasn’t faced with incendiary fatigue or homework. The running was sporadic but I ran nonetheless.

Running/Working Out in the First Trimester:

Running: Weekly average 25 miles a week – A significant deviation from pre-pregnancy running.

Stairmaster: Aside from running I would hit the Stairmaster. If I ran prior to the Stairmaster I would do the Stairmaster for 15-20 minutes at level 7 – A nice moderate pace. If running wasn’t in the cards I would do 30-60 minutes on the Stairmaster at level 7.

Pushups: Approximately 3 x week 3 sets of 10.

Running Recap: I was told to run at a pace that the baby would allow. Baby allowed me to run as far as I could at a pace that was fast enough to keep my form tight and efficient. If I were to go any slower my hips would get a little loose and my right femoroacetabular impingement (FAI) and labral tear would threaten to immobilize me with perpetual pain. It felt refreshing to finish up a run while being pregnant! I would feel slightly challenged but ultimately badass because I was running with my little partner. Having always been a stubborn runner, intentionally dehydrated at times to ensure I was able to train in tough conditions to make race days more effective, running on empty, running with an injury (still am) I’m suddenly intentionally conscientious of this little marvel inside me growing. I’m no longer running to qualify for Boston tomorrow, or to burn off that delectable sugar cookie laden with butter and topped with sprinkles! No. Running for two has me in a new frame of mind and a much deeper place of understanding, acceptance and intimacy with myself. I’m running for the health of my unborn baby and me. I’m running to work towards peace and calm in the midst of the all-present unknowns of pregnancy and its affiliated imminent distractions and annoyances like fatigue, nausea, vomiting, exhaustion, need for sleep, ravenous hunger followed by violent vomiting…etc. This is no easy feat. But I’m doing it. And I’m doing it as best I can.

Stayed tuned for Running in the Second Trimester – HOLY HECK!!! What a difference!

Thanks for stopping by and reading my adventure “From Chasing Boston to Chasing Baby!”

 

XO

Valgal & baby macaroon

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