Never Have I Ever Missed A Rook Run

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Since the beginning, like way back to the fall of 2014, I have participated in the Rook Run.  This run holds a special place in my heart for many, many reasons.

 

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First, Rook Coffee partners with the Valerie Fund to raise money to support children with cancer and blood disorders. Ugh, that right there is a huge reason to get out and raise awareness. Over the past three years, The Rook Run has grown in numbers from 1,000 participants to over 3,000 and raising nearly half a million dollars for the children of The Valerie Fund. HOW STINKING AMAZING IS THAT?!?!?! Secondly,  The Rook Run was one of my first 5k’s to take part in, in which I didn’t consider myself a runner.  It was just something a bunch of us decided to join in on to help a friend start and team and raise money. Like a finish time of 28 minutes ((which sounds crazy, I know, but thinking of what I have done since then, it makes more sense)), and a lot of I think I am going to throw up, who does this for fun, I am going to die ridiculous thoughts. Anyways, enough rambling on year one.  Another reason I hold this race so near and dear to my heart is that it holds my pre-baby 5k RACE PR. From the girl above to the crazy lady who thought training for a marathon would be cool, I started to become “good” at this running thing.

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I had spent the summer of 2015 busting my butt training for my first marathon.  With that consistency and insane hours spent running, I started to build up some serious speed.  And I loved the first Rook Run so much, I decided it was worth the 1 1/2 hour trip back.  Such a fun time.  And at that moment, I would say it was the BEST Rook Run ever.  I pushed myself to the point of dry heaving after the finish, unable to smile through the finish line.  I wanted it so bad.  It didn’t give me the PR or pace I was able to do on training runs, but it still felt amazing to shave 4 minutes off my time. That’s like a minute per mile and then some, so awesome.  I finished in 24 minutes, brining me into the top ten of my age group.  I was disappointed after this race too, because I didn’t get the 23 minute time I knew I could do, and I worked so hard for the 24 minutes it was disheartening.  BUT then it was brought to my attention how much I earned that in comparison to the year before and I was so proud of myself.  I never wanted to be a runner, or ever even liked running.  In soccer, I would whine and complain about our runs at practice.  It wasn’t my thing.  But that year of marathon training changed me, inside and out, and The Rook Run was a huge part of that.

Enter the third annual Rook Run, and just another reason why this race has my heart.  It was my FIRST stroller race with my little best friend, at just three months postpartum.  It was my slowest Rook Run to date at a whopping 31 minutes.  BUT, I made the mistake every stroller runner makes at their first race, and started in the back of 3,000 people.  It took me the entire first mile just to make it out of the crowd.  None of that mattered though.  I could not wipe the smile off my face.  This run was EVERYTHING! It made me more than just a runner, it made me a mother runner.  A MOTHER FREAKING RUNNER, y’all.  And I’ll never be the same.  This race was the start to many, many stroller races with my boy.  We make a pretty great team, too.  We’ve won some age groups, including first place, and if there was a stroller division, we would have taken them all.  We’ve experienced mommy’s first DNF because he just wasn’t feeling it, and we’ve conquered many, many miles together.  In fact, most of my miles accrued this year have been with him in tow. It is my favorite thing to do and something I look forward to continuing.

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And last but not least, the FINAL reason as to why The Rook Run is my favorite.  This year, I wasn’t sure how this race was going to go.  My postpartum comeback has been nothing short of a hard, harder, and hardest rollercoaster ride I’ve ever experienced.  I struggled in the beginning, totally expected.  I started to get back to myself, only to be sidelined by mole procedures that left me with some nasty stitches that lead to a staph infection.  Then on my comeback round two, with marathon training, I hit the biggest road block of my life.  I was diagnosed with Graves Disease and the affect on my physical stamina was detrimental.  Like everything seemed impossible and it broke me down, so far down that I didn’t think I’d get myself out of it.  But I am a pretty stubborn lady and I fought hard to find answers for myself and did a lot of research after months of no getting better, and here I am today.  Feeling almost 100% back to myself and yet again, making my comeback.  Okay, so that was a lot, and really didn’t explain why or how this is the final reason I LOVE THE ROOK RUN.  But here it is….

Little man and I, despite some seriously nasty weather on the way down to the shore and an unsure mommy on whether or not we should race, achieved our 5k Stroller PR.  FINALLY!! I didn’t think we’d do it, because the race is such a confined space with 3,000 people, and stroller running in crowds is insane, but we did it.  I was the first female stroller runner and second stroller runner to cross the line finish line, and I AM so stinking happy.  The crazy rain and storms that went on all morning long brought about an intense level of humidity that was messing with me ((mostly all in my head, but it was there and creepin and I wanted to punch it in the face)).  But I fought through, literally sprinting through breaks in people, to get myself to the top, and when I finished, Clayton was asleep.  I couldn’t help but laugh, because I was talking to him and cheering saying, “we did it, buddy, we beat our 5k time!” And he was out. EEEEKKKKK, I am still beaming with pride and joy of the things we have accomplished together in the last year.  All starting here, at The Rook Run together, and bringing it all back full circle to snag that pretty PR. I can’t imagine running, and racing without him.  We are a team, a darn cute one, too (I am talking about him here).  And I cannot thank him enough for making the runner I am today.  He is my pride and joy, and sharing this love with him makes my heart go round.

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THANK YOU to The Rook Run for four years of amazingness and truly memorable moments of my life.  Thank you to the staff and volunteers for a darn good race.  Thank you to my friends for making the trek with me every year to run for 20 minutes.  Thank you to those who actually read this all the way to the end.  Next up for little man and I is a Christmas 5 miler.  I am already scheming costume ideas.  ❤

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Seasons of Change

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I knew going back to work was going to be tough, in many ways, but I did not expect it to be so overwhelming. Change is inevitable. Change is necessary. But working through change can be exhausting. This last week, I experienced many changes, and many emotions, and literally had no time to just sit and breathe. Take it all in. Reflect.

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I’ve experienced the back to work, from stay at home mom thing before, but it still didn’t prepare me for this second round of back to work shenanigans; especially after a long summer together. Clayton is older, wiser, and busier. He is at such a fun stage. Like crack you up till you pee your pants, constant on the go, can’t sit down for a second, curious, outdoor EVERYTHING stage. He is the best. He makes my world go round, and I his. The first couple of days were hard, but different. He enjoyed himself, and didn’t miss me too much. Although, the welcome home hugs were just as strong. But by mid-week, he began to make the connections. He knew if I was dressed, make-up on, ready to go that I was leaving. He started to stop sleeping through the night, after so much work to get him to that point (totally understandable), but it wasn’t just waking up and crying. It was mommy pick me up and I am going to cling to your neck and hug you kind of waking up. It was the mommy don’t put me down kind of mornings. It was the when you get home, I am going to cry kind of changes. This time around was much harder than the last. He is smarter, and makes connections to everything. He knows how to read my body language and when I am trying to play him over (to sneak out and leave). And the transitions are not over for him. This last week, he was at home with my mom, who was kind enough to fly up from Florida to watch him for us, as his nanny’s daycare isn’t open yet. But next week, he transitions back to his home away from home, and yet again learn to adapt to a different environment (a familiar one, but one he has not been to in a while). I’m hoping this transition will be a little easier because he will have his little friends to play with.

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With the change came a week, yes I said an ENTIRE week, of no running/biking, real intense exercise. Instead, it was filled with rainy evenings splashing around, evenings going for walks and doing things Clayton wanted to do. It was filled with grace and patience, family dinners and porch hangs. Travels to PA to see my family, and my brother and his wife visiting, before his big deployment to Afghanistan. We celebrated my birthday a little early together.

We watched Clayton run around the billions of acres my dad has, picking apples and pears, and running until he crashed. We (meaning they, mostly), were open-minded enough to make and eat a vegan meal, including my very yummy, and beautifully made vegan and gluten free birthday cake. The time we had together wasn’t nearly long enough, but it was exactly what I needed to celebrate the BIG 3-0!

So, I went on a little tangent, but the point was that I needed this time of grace and rest to get me through the changes happening at one time. I may not have put on my running shoes once this last week, but I spent it with my favorite people, doing the things that they love.

Anyways, back to changes, because I am not quite finished. Sorry. I know. This is a long one. Going back to school, and leaving my boy and our fun together, wasn’t the only change happening this week. There have been some big changes at my job, my position, my world pretty much. For those of you that have known me for awhile, like the past 6 years of my life, know that I was the Life Skills Program teacher, for Special Education. I created it, I molded it, I transformed it. For four years, that was my baby. My world. My everything. My first and only job as a new teacher. I ate, slept, and breathed that program, the students in it, and their futures. Then I got pregnant, went on maternity leave, and came back to changes. Changes out of my control. Changes without explanation. Changes I didn’t want. Changes that took me out of that program and into a different aspect of special education. This year, I am an English collaborative. Now, don’t get me wrong, it is still a great job to have. I am still changing lives. It’s just different. I am a little out of my element. The change is new. I have a lot to learn. My needs are different. My job is different. And the change into this new me has been overwhelming. It’s not just me and my ideas anymore. It is me and the four other teachers I work with, in four different classes. I went from knowing my same eight students for five years, to learning the names hundreds of students and their needs. I am learning new curriculum. I am learning the teaching styles of others. But I am embracing it. I am working through it. I am learning my new normal. It’s necessary. It’s life.

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It’s for this booger right here. And the new hundreds of students who need me. It’s for our community. It’s for the future. I may not understand why it happened, but I understand the importance of working through change, and making it the best it can be.

So this week, running/riding, and getting strength workouts in just wasn’t what I needed. This week I needed family. I needed rest. I needed stress free evenings, going to bed early. I gave myself the grace it needed to adapt to so many new changes. And now, heading into the new week, I have a sense of my new normal. I have a better understanding of when and how I am going to focus on some ME TIME. I still have a lot to adapt to, a lot to learn, and a lot to practice before I get my new schedule under wraps. But I am ready to tackle it all, and become that super hero mom, teacher, wife, daughter, athlete that everyone needs me to be.

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If you’ve made it this far, thanks for being such a supportive and caring part of my life. Cheers to the long weekend. ❤

Currently….

 

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When Angela (@Runlikekale) posted a fun blog about her currents, I was excited to play along.  She always has awesome, informational posts that you should all follow. It will definitely make you smile and laugh out loud. Plus, who wouldn’t want to see ridiculously cute pictures of G?  🙂  So currently, I am….

Loving: Watching CT explore the world on his own now that he can crawl, stand, sit, and walk with assistance. He is loving this new freedom, and it makes me smile from ear to ear.  Overnight, he has become fearless, independent, and so grown up. Gahhhh! ❤

Working On: Finding some kind of summer job, something that includes Clayton.  It’s almost I M P O S S I B L E! 

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Inspired By: The fierce mom club we have established on IG. 


Thinking About: S U M M E R break, and starting new traditions with our family of three. Day trips, hiking, teaching Clayton to swim, the beach, and oh so much more.

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Watching: The Leftovers, and driving my husband crazy, because I ask a million and one questions. Even after watching it over and over. It’s so confusing, but it hooks you.


Reading: Hands Free Mama…..Hands Free Mama is the digital society’s answer to finding balance in a media-saturated, perfection-obsessed world. It doesn’t mean giving up all technology forever. It doesn’t mean forgoing our jobs and responsibilities. What it does mean is seizing the little moments that life offers us to engage in real and meaningful interaction. It means looking our loved ones in the eye and giving them the gift of our undivided attention, leaving the laundry till later to dance with our kids in the rain, and living a present, authentic, and intentional life despite a world full of distractions.

Eating/Drinking: I’ve been on a mission to go more wholly with my foods and eating habits. So, I started Whole30, cheated once and it went downhill from there. But in the first week with no cheating, I lost 7lbs and learned a lot about how food makes me feel. So now I am starting over, and really trying to stick to it for the 30 days. #noms


Learning: To read braille. One of my students is partially blind and to help her become more independent we thought it would be a good idea to learn it.  And it grabbed me in, so now I want learn too


Dreaming of: Being a stay at home mommy. I miss it. I need it. I want it so bad. 


Trying: To juggle everything that goes with being a working mom, and finding time for myself, while still getting all the chores and daily house hold shenanigans done.

Missing: My little peanut.  Is it 3:00 yet?

 

Planning: Clayton’s FIRST birthday!!  Say what?!?!?  It came way too fast.  Like seriously, I get so emotional thinking about the last year and how far he’s come.  Why can’t they stay little forever? 


Needing: To get a hair cut desperately. And maybe going back to blonde……

Screenshot_20170417-161828-01.jpgExcited About: All the stroller races Clayton and I have, and the fact that some of them are letting me run with the stroller ((as they haven’t in years past).

 

Want to play along? Copy and past this in the comments and let me know what you’re currently up to.

Loving:
Working On:
Inspired By:
Thinking About:
Watching:
Reading:
Listening To:
Learning:
Dreaming of:
Trying:
Missing:
Planning:
Wearing:
Needing:
Excited About:

Future Marathoner in the Making

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I don’t even know where to begin with this post.  I guess I should apologize for being MIA for a month.  It was just too hard to blog and post things, without mentioning the B I G  news!  So i just avoided it completely.  I wanted to post my 2016 goals, but couldn’t, as that would give away the secret.  I wanted to post about my struggles with working out and experiencing the first trimester woes, but couldn’t.  I JUST WANTED TO SHARE THE BIG NEWS; talk about it freely, and share my excitement with the world!


 

So here we are.  I finally get a chance to blog about the second best day of my life.  The best news anyone could ever receive.  The most life changing, exciting news.  Here I am, carrying the most precious gift of life.  Me.  I feel so honored and blessed to be given such a beautiful gift.  It is all I have ever wanted in life.  ❤

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So let’s get to it then.  With all the hussle and bussle with marathon training and accomplishing a very big feat, I blamed many of my symptoms on the marathon.   I was tired, like exhausted, bone-deep, must sleep tired.  ALL OF THE TIME!  I just thought, “Wow!  That marathon took more out of me then I expected.”  So let’s just put it out there, because it still boggles my mind….. I ran my marathon pregnant.  SAY WHAT?  I’m glad I did not know at the time though, because I think it would have affected me, and made me scared and worried.  BUT YES!  I ran my first marathon with my little peanut.  It makes me feel so much better about my performance.  There was a reason for the complete exhaustion that hit me in the middle of the race.  It actually affected my running through present day, as we speak.

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That first run, post marathon, felt great.  I maintained a nice pace, I wasn’t too tired and my breathing was okay.  BUT every run after that got harder and harder; mentally, physically, and emotionally. I would have these crazy thoughts and questions, “Why can’t I run fast anymore?  Why is it so hard to breath?”  I blamed it on tired legs and colder weather.  But then it got to the point where running anything more than a mile was too much.  I would have to stop and walk, sometimes stopping completely, just to catch my breath.  To this day, running has remained difficult.  I went from running a 7:30 pace for short runs, to barely keeping my pace below 10 minutes.  I used to get really upset.  I started asking fellow IG momma’s if this struggle was normal.  It was a unanimous YES! That was when I started taking my running day by day.  If I couldn’t run, I would ride or use the elliptical.  If running felt good, I would run as far as I could, and if I had to walk, I walked.  I was just happy that I was able to continue to exercise.

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Enter finding out we we’re expecting.  It was the weekend after Thanksgiving.  I was four days late, but wasn’t thinking anything of it.  I’ve been late many days more before.  But for laughs and ease of mind we took a test.  Chris was eating pizza rolls, and we both just said I couldn’t be, and I probably wasn’t.  But then that little stick said the words, “pregnant”, and I didn’t really know how to feel.  I wasn’t expecting it.  I was so happy, but completely terrified.  I just kept saying, “Oh my goodness!”  Chris just continued to eat his pizza rolls, like it was no big deal and said, “I knew it!”  I immediately wanted to call my mom, but also wanted to surprise her somehow, so I texted a friend.  From there, it was the hardest secret to keep.  I wanted to talk to colleagues, friends, family.  I wanted to ask questions, and advice.  I needed someone to calm me down.  I know everything there is to taking care of a child, but carrying one inside me was all new.  “What do I do?  What do I eat?  Can I exercise?  If I sneeze, is it going to hurt the baby? When do you go to the doctor?  What doctor should I use?  Is it going to hurt?”  I literally became obsessed with curiosity and needing answers.

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Each week, I would spill the beans to another person.  Not on purpose.  It was just too hard.  We told Chris’ parents right away, because they were leaving the country for a few months, and we didn’t want them to find out through a phone call.  We told my mommy for Christmas, and it was the coolest thing ever.  I wish we video taped her reaction, but it was priceless.  Made me cry, she cried, we all cried.

2bg55_1000x1000_wsWe surprised her with this bracelet, because she has been talking for years about how she wants to be a memaw!  🙂  From there, we told pretty much all of our family.

The first appointment was scary and exciting all at the same time.  And then you see the baby. where it is supposed to be, and hear that crazy little heart beat, and everything in the world is right. Being pregnant is scary, there’s no doubt about it.  The doctors throw anything and everything at you, because they have to.  The hardest part is remaining happy and excited and enjoy being pregnant through all of the negative stuff they must share.  I’ve had my ups and downs, but at the end of the day, I pray to God for this little bundle of joy, and for giving me one more day with them.

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The first trimester was a roller coaster ride.  The first 6 weeks were easy for me.  Yes I struggled through the workouts, and I ate everything in sight, but in terms of being sick, I was pretty lucky.  I had occasional morning nausea, but would wake up and eat, and that took care of that.  BUT by week 7, I was pretty miserable.  I couldn’t eat, I could barely perform any sort of physical activity on a daily basis, and all I wanted to do was sleep.  Week 8 was the worst.  Granted I have no right to complain, because some women suffer so bad that they end up in the hospital, but I had my days where I was ready to go to the doctor too.  I never physically got sick, but how I felt was just as bad.  By week 10, everything was going back to being pretty normal.  I could eat normal foods again, and walk without wanting to cry.  My energy levels were picking back up, and I almost didn’t feel pregnant anymore.   It’s amazing what the body goes through when preparing for a baby.  It is incredible.

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So here we are, about to enter our second trimester, and I seriously couldn’t be happier.  I am so in love.  I cannot wait to hold that little peanut or kiss their chubby cheeks, but my love for them still grows and grows.  God is truly amazing, and being a mommy is a feeling that cannot be described.  August 3rd cannot come soon enough!  I just want this little one to be here already.  ❤

Thanks for following my happiest story and sharing your love for Baby C!

imagesTanya and the little Peanut ❤