Tag Archives: health

Something is Wrong

23 Jun

Good morning, lovelies –

Here’s a recap of our week. The blessing is we met our son, Kobé Bruno Shreeve. He could not be more perfect. Here he is – 20 inches, and 6 pounds and 14 ounces of pure joy.

Monday morning:

6:00a: Unnecessary blood draw. Delayed cesarean by an hour.

9:00a: Resident administered spinal tap under direction of anesthesiologist Dr. T.

Operating room table I immediately told Andy and doctors I had excruciating pain in my right shoulder and behind my neck. The pressure was intense. I was told it was related to gas.

9:40a: We met our son! I heard his cry before I could see him. My eyes flooded with joyous tears. Docs confirmed polyhydramnios. When they broke the sac it sounded like a massive water balloon burst. Everyone had commentary. I was all baby and water. Extra fluid confirmed why I couldn’t feel our little dude towards the end of pregnancy. It wasn’t for lack of fetal movement – it was because he was floating around.

Monday continued:

I felt off but figured it was normal. This is the second time around so I figured it was probably harder. Add that plus lack of sleep, the feeling isn’t unique.

What was concerning was my loss of hearing. I mean I could hear but not well. Everything sounded like I was under water. My ears wouldn’t pop and there was ringing playing on a loop. It also felt like water in my ears but I was in no condition to jump on one leg up and down willing for it to separate. I recall thinking it had something to do with the bathroom. My discomfort would intensify when I would get up to use the bathroom – my clogged ears worsened, the ringing – louder, the dizziness – greater. Was it all the tile? The humidity? The echo? (Looking back it was because I was getting up.)

Monday night they also administered IV fluids at an accelerated rate. Like too much. I was getting pissed. They gave me two back to back. When I asked why they said for precaution. What precaution? Why? I retained water like a champ the first time around with Oriana, and the vanity in me crept in and I honestly admit I didn’t want to do it all over again!

I later complained of headaches. I was told it was because of my lack of sleep with either dehydration or fluid overload. Umm fluid overload? Didn’t you just give me medically unnecessary IVs back to back? And now headaches could be a side effect? Seriously.

Tuesday:

The morning met me with most intense headache ever. Pressure made itself a permanent resident in the front of my head. This is unique to me because I never get headaches. These headaches had me keel over. They were throbbing and pounding harder and more rhythmically than a nightclub promoting EDM.

Symptom check: Headaches, right shoulder pain, neck pain, and hearing issues.

Diagnosis: could be gas, dehydration, over hydration, or anything postpartum related.

Wednesday:

Symptoms remained and intensified.

1:15p: Took pain meds.

1:30p: Discharged.

We made our way home and soaked up the new experience as a family of 4.

Thursday:

3:00a: Intense pain woke me up. I slowly managed to get out of bed and hobbled to the bathroom. I held on to our furniture firmly with each shuffle in an effort not to collapse. I felt like the wife of Frankenstein. My body felt completely torn apart. Beaten and mangled. My c-section cut was roaring mad. My head was throbbing. The pressure debilitating. I was a mess. I told Andy I needed pain meds. I couldn’t go without them as I originally intended.

9:00a: Andy went to try to fill the prescriptions when the pharmacy opened. Come to find out we never received the scripts. He had to go all the way back to hospital to obtain them because they are schedule II drugs and the hospital would not fax the prescription to our local pharmacy. Convenience was not in our vernacular. Andy trekked back to the hospital. Before departing the hospital he noticed he was given only 1 of the 2 prescriptions I was patiently waiting for. He told them about the oversight and they corrected it. But still…another goof...

12:30p: He arrived home! I took the meds nearly 24 hours after my last dose knowing relief was close! I thanked the heavens for a patient husband and a medication remedy of great efficacy.

Friday:

6:00a: I awoke with minor pain but nothing discriminating from my earlier complaints. My headache was a new normal that dissipated to a dull discomfort with medications.

I got ready for the day’s appointments without watching the clock. I leisurely took a shower and put on makeup. I spritzed on rose hair and body oil which left my skin feeling dewy, radiant, and moisturized. The scent – heavenly. Repeat. Heavenly. I felt as pretty as a goddess despite also feeling like an ogre. A big, water-retaining, non-green ogre with radiant skin and angelic scent. Dislike. (Note: Water retention still has me with legs four times their normal size, the cuts, the pains, the things you’ll read in a minute.)

11:20a: We went to Kobé’s first wellness check post birth. He weighed in at 6 pounds 11 ounces. Perfection! Everything with this little stud is 100 percent on target. We are so blessed.

12:00p: We headed home to breastfeed and relax before my 1:45p appointment to remove my staples.

1:45p: We arrived at my doctor’s office, also in Virginia Hospital Center where I had baby. As I checked in my phone rang. It was daycare. I was informed Oriana had a high fever. My heart broke. I advised the lovely Ms. Jessica that we were at my post-op appointment and we would get there as soon as we could.

2:45p: Doc finally came in. I discussed my symptoms. I explained my hearing was getting worse. Case in point: the nurse called for a Colleen to come back and I got up thinking she called my name. I mentioned my husband thinks it’s funny but equally irritating because there have been a lot of disconnects in our communication – presenting itself a challenge with a toddler and a newborn. My headaches were still very strong without medication and I wasn’t sure why – I couldn’t get to the root cause. I was sure to exclaim I was hydrated as well!

Staples came out.

3:00p: Doctor suspected spinal headaches but wanted me to be evaluated by an anesthesiologist. My concern was not about me at this point but Oriana…at daycare….with a fever.

3:30p: The anesthesiologist arrived to assess symptoms. A flurry of questions and answers were exchanged when suddenly a gush of cold, red fluid poured out of my cesarean incision where staples were just removed. Both the anesthesiologist and Andy exhibited looks of horror as they were cataloging what just occurred. Yes, my c-section cut appeared to have split open on my right side. I had major fluid retention – still do – and my lower extremities to include my cesarean incision had been bearing the strain of it. I had a seroma behind my cesarean incision resulting in said bloody show. A freaking seroma!!! The doctor said it occurs in less than 10 percent of patients.

The anesthesiologist maintained his professionalism with some humor. While pointing to my stomach: my sexy, bloated, blood-soaked stomach, adorned in a black tank masking the crimson color of blood, he said, I can’t take care of that but I can fix your other symptoms. He continued. He said I had spinal headaches as a result of spinal tap. My mind wandered – was it because I let a resident do it? Val – not the time! He directed me to go to outpatient surgery for a blood patch once my current situation was managed. He continued stating prep would be an hour and the procedure only 10-20 minutes.

Relief was in sight! But our poor little Ori bug…

Andy looked at me concerned – we came here for staple removal and suddenly we had several obstacles to overcome. A new gapping hole in my lower abdomen. A need for a blood patch. A daughter at daycare with a a fever. A baby boy all of 5 days old who was bound to be hungry at some point without a mama for nutrients if I get the blood patch. Andy and I both agreed he had to leave to go get our first little love. Shoot, it’s past 3:30p and daycare called at 1:45!!! I would be fine.

Andy left.

I waited at my doctor’s office for a resolution concerning this new ailment.

When the doctor came back in she advised us the thing only that could be done regarding the seroma was to put gauze inside the wound every morning and remove it the next day until it’s healed. Healed defined as an approximate 2 week ordeal. What? Yup. Apparently it needs to heal from the inside out. And my goodness is it massive, deep and scary looking.

So the doctor placed the gauze inside me. it looked like a mini-surgery was being performed. She instructed me how to tell Andy to do it since he wasn’t with me. Oh my goodness he is going to freak out. Are you kidding me? The process: Sterilize the gauze. Slowly insert the entire piece of gauze inside my open, puffy, painful wound using a polyester fiber tipped applicator. So basically Andy and I get to role play as Doctor/patient without any of the fun. Every. Single. Day. Until when? I don’t know. Why can’t they just stitch me up? Can I get an infection? You guys – it is so uncomfortable and painful to watch. 6/24/18 at 7:30a: Andy claimed he could see my intestines. WTF for reals!!!

4:00p: I headed to outpatient surgery for my blood patch. I was one step closer to feeling better regardless of my bizarre cesarean troubles. However, my breasts were on fire, my cesarean cut ferocious, my swelling at an epic volume – yet I was patient and counting my blessing for a husband who was managing this freaky Friday with me and for our two beautiful kiddos.

Andy called to tell me he would be at the hospital around 5p. I told him no problem-o, we should be done by then.

I waited.

Waited.

Waited.

I was told there was a glitch in the system followed by, “sorry for the wait.” At this point it’s comedic. The whole day is really.

5:00p: Andy arrived at the hospital. Kids were sleeping so he hung out in the car. Our concern was Kobé needed to eat soon – he last ate at 12:45p. We were growing anxious. But from our last communication around 4:00p I was no closer to getting the needed blood patch.

5:15p: A different anesthesiologist talked to me about the blood patch. He wanted to hook me up to an IV and catheter. What? I was outraged. I said absolutely not! I didn’t need a damn IV – the IV and my fluid retention were probably why I had a freaking Seroma and my cesarean incision exploded like bloody Niagara falls. No! (Note: my anxious, exhausted, opinion only.) He said, you need it for precaution. That word again. Precaution. “Like hell!” I said. “I’m leaving!

He said okay, okay no IV. These a$$holes make money in administering IVs people!! (Note: my opinion only.) I didn’t need one – needless to say a catheter?! For a 10-20 min blood patch? NO!

So guess what – this anesthesiologist left without explanation or expectation when he would return.

I waited.

They closed the curtains and no one checked on me until 5:50p. Andy grew impatient and understandably. He ended up going to the grocery store to buy formula in case baby woke up and I was still being told that I’d be seen in the opaque realm defined as “soon.”

5:55p: Finally – the blood patch! The nurse messed up the first blood draw so a second one was required. 20 ccs of blood were taken from my right arm and placed in back. When they started injecting the blood in my back I nearly passed out. The sensation – eerie; however, within minutes my headache, right shoulder and neck pain dissolved.

6:10p: I slowly walked outside where my favorite person and littles were waiting for me. I hugged my husband so tightly and never wanted to let go. My little Oriana bug seemed in good spirits with her “hi mama, hi mama, hi mama!” cheerleading chants. It felt so good to be united with everyone. And as luck would have it, Kobé didn’t need any formula – that little dude was still sleeping. Andy was happy to report the kiddos were kind to him!

6:15p: Andy asked me how my hearing was. I was astounded that I didn’t even recognize it came back. I could hear! There was no muffled peripheral noises. I couldn’t stop raving about the necessity of the epidural blood patch! Why did I try to tough it out?

7:00p: We finally made it home. Dinner time, play time, and movie time with Oriana. With her being such an awesome big sister, slightly under the weather, and having been kind to Daddy without any tantrums our little bug had permission to stay up passed her 8:30p bedtime.

8:30p: We were watching a movie with Oriana when she fell over.

Seizure. Febrile Seizure.

Andy did everything you’re supposed to with a seizure. I called pediatrician emergency line. No answer. I called 911.

Oriana turned blue. She was shaking. Eyes rolled back. Convulsing. Saliva everywhere. I couldn’t do anything but watch her and watch Daddy handle it with grace. Torrent of tears cascaded down my face while I was holding Kobé.

Paramedics arrived and assessed Oriana with daddy present. I was with Kobé. They didn’t want Kobé exposed to anything so they told me and him to standby. My little girl was out of my sight with strangers but at least also with Daddy. The feeling was too familiar. Too uncomfortable. And too emotional. I was losing my cool. I only wanted to hold my other baby ever so tightly and whisper that it would all be okay. I knew daddy was but still…

My daughter had her second febrile seizure that evening: June 22nd, 2018. Practically 13 months after her first one. Her fever randomly spiked to 103.6 without warning. We were treating it, too. We remain baffled.

After yesterday’s events, then the seizure, I never felt so broken. B.R.O.K.E.N. I would take on all of my family’s pains if I could be promised my babies would never suffer. Oriana is my love – my first little who made me a mom. I would give anything to stop her from experiencing the shock and discomfort of a seizure or anything else that may present itself. I would do the same for Kobé, and the same for Andy.

During a time when our family should be enamored by the newborn bubble, we have been rolling with the punches. I’m not complaining. We are blessed beyond measure but it doesn’t make this week’s events any less biting. I share this with you so that you know behind the smiles, behind the squares on social media, there is substance – all of it is colorful but some of it isn’t my favorite shade.

I also want to share with you that you must be your biggest champion. I ask that you’re never afraid to be your greatest advocate if something feels off. You’re probably right. Speak up!

Every single day Andy and I acknowledge that we are enveloped with unconditional, unyielding love – and with that love comes the sprinkles of fear. It’s the duality of life.

Yesterday sucked. Hard.

But we are not going to be trapped by unhelpful anxieties.

We will continue to look for the good that came out of what we have lived through and treat every day as a do over, as a new day…a new day filled with opportunities to giggle, dream, play, and love without bounds. I mean we have a new baby boy who is a dream – a legit dream!!!! And a precious 2 year old daughter with spunk, sass and personality! We get limitless cuddles and coos galore – life is rich!

Thanks for stopping by.

XO

Valgal

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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

Banana Milk Recipe

21 Jul

Good morning lovelies!!!

I just wanted to share a quick, simple, healthy and delicious recipe I found compliments of Instagram – banana milk!

Blend:

1-2 bananas (I used one)

1-2 dates

Vanilla

Water

*I added 1 cup of Light Vanilla Soymilk – Silk

Pour over your favorite granola and top with your choice of fruit! 

For granola I used Nature’s Valley Oats n’ Honey. 

Enjoy!!! (Sorry there’s no picture – I devoured this before I had a chance to snap it!)

Thanks for stopping by!

XO

Valgal 

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

First Week of Marathon Training Postpartum

16 Jul

Hello lovelies!!!

Happy Saturday – woot woot! Today marked my longest run postpartum – 8 miles at an easy pace – averaging 7:52/min. My lungs and legs felt fresh. Granted, I could have definitely welcomed speed, but for first time ever, I’m following a marathon training schedule and it told me to go easy. Yup! This mama is ready to BQ!!! And with training I hope to shed the baby weight too. ..

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The hardest part of marathon training post baby so far has been to be patient with miles and time because let’s face it, during pregnancy we’re told not to: run for too long, not to elevate our heart rate, not to exert too much energy etc…Therefore, running for long periods of time is new again – my mental training to tackle distance is lacking. The second challenge is running in between feeding sessions – I’m always racing against my milk coming in 😂. .

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Anyway, I really wanted to go faster and/or longer today but I took a step back and told myself that I am committed to embracing the marathon program that promises speed. If I could run a Mary before (or 3), then I can definitely run one again 🙌🏼!!! I mean shoot, I only missed Boston by 4 minutes before while having bronchitis – perhaps I’m closer after baby? Either way I’m loving the journey! First week of 12 ✔️ done and done! .

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Hello, #Boston! I’m coming for you!!! 💙💛 #bq

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Thanks for stopping by! XO.

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Valgal 


Runnergirls’s Postpartum Update

13 Jul

Hello lovelies!

Today’s been a really hard and emotional day for me. The ugliness of these feelings crept in my mind last night and I was surprised they were still present this morning. I’m not sure why I’m feeling blue – but I’m crying for no apparent reason. I’m thinking it’s related to postpartum hormones and the unwelcoming truth that I return to work soon.

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To shake these feelings I went for an hour run and covered 7.6 miles – my longest run PP!!! My average time was 7:53. These miles includes a mix of #fartleks and #tempo pace for #marathon #training. I had a few fast miles disguised in my overall pace and that, as well as the sweat, helped clear my mind – but not enough. I finished today’s workout feeling both badass and disengaged with my mind…

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You see, this quote puts it perfectly – “Running is alone time that lets me unspool the tangles that build up over days. I run, pound it out on the pavement, channel that energy into my legs, and when I’m done with my run, I’m done with it.” This may not be the case today, but I’m sure it helped me run some of the funk out.

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Hey postpartum hormones, you’re a bitch! Hopefully, I get back to me STAT. Until then, I’ll be running it out but most importantly, loving on my little rosebud. #postpartumsucks #truth #justbeinghonest

Thanks for stopping by!

XO

Valgal

A Walk/Run Sequence- Who Am I?

22 Apr

Fitness for two:
This Garmin snapshot of a walk/run sequence may not make me look like a Boston bound runner – but training 20lbs more than my race weight has surely got to give me some kind of advantage. Riiiiight?! Post-Partum Expectations – compliments of Runner’s World.

Excerpt:

There’s a theory as to why some runners have a good post-partum running experience – it’s called the “remodeled” heart. “During pregnancy, the heart actually changes to accommodate for a higher level of blood circulation,” Mottolla said… The result? The heart likely doesn’t have to work as hard at any level of exertion following the process of giving birth. It’s something akin to the benefit some runners might experience from training at a low heart rate—eventually the heart adapts and helps move runners forward at less effort.

***Less effort -💪🏼😜✌🏼️ helllstotheyes!!!

Many runners speculate that their increase in oxygen-rich red blood cells helps boost post-partum performance. This is true, but only for a short period.

***💪🏼😜✌🏼️ I’ll take it!!!

James Pivarnik, Ph.D., professor of kinesiology and epidemiology at Michigan State University said there is the possibility that the hormone relaxin, which helps prep a woman’s body for delivery, might play a role. “If relaxin makes a woman more flexible and that increases her stride length by even a small bit, she might benefit,” he said.

***💪🏼😜✌🏼 I’ll take this too!!!

New moms might also experience a psychological boost from the delivery process. “There are women who might realize that if they can give birth, they can tough it out in a race, too,” Pivarnik said.

***Oh my gosh, I don’t know if I’m ready for this. I can finish a marathon no problem regardless of pain, fatigue, exhaustion, legs heavy with lactic acid, but birth? Epidural please!!! ✔️ Anyway, with relentless focus, hard work, and baby in tote (we got the BOB stroller!!!) my dream will come! Boston will happen!

How are you managing your goals during pregnancy?! Let me know by leaving me a comment!

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.

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