Thursday, April 30, 2015

Alaska Heart Run recap

My first race of the 2015 running season was the Alaska Heart Run, which took place last Saturday. My sister and her two boys ran too, and our mom came to cheer us on. This was my first time participating in the Heart Run. The first time I registered and planned to run, the race was cancelled because of snow.

This race signals that spring is really here in south-central Alaska and is the 'season-opener' if you will for the summer road-race season. Ever since being on the cross-country running and skiing teams in high school, I've loved to be apart of the running/skiing community. Races are a great way to stay motivated and on a running/training schedule, as well as a great way to stay active in the running community. They are so much fun, and if you've every participated in one, you know that you just can't beat the energy at a community race. 

You don't have to be an elite athlete or even a runner at all to participate, and that's the true beauty of these races. People of all fitness levels can come out and be active together. And even though there can only be one winner, there are many other reasons to feel excited and motivated to do your personal best in a race. Beating a prior PR can feel nearly as exhilarating as winning the entire race (not that I've ever won, haha). 

It was a little chilly as we arrived but it really turned out to be a beautiful day. It was my sisters first race and I was so proud of her and my nephews for how well they did! My oldest nephew even ran the entire 5k, when he had only been planning on running the 3k. I've been back to running three times a week for the last month, and ran with the intention of trying to give the race my all. I finished with a gun time of 25:06 (I was a bit back in the crowd at the start) and a chip time of 24:52, which means I ran at roughly a 8:01 min/mi pace, which I'm really happy with at this point in my 'training'. 

The fastest 5k I ran in high school was 24:36, so I'm looking to beat that time at some point this summer. The older I get the more I love running, and the longer distances I enjoy running. With two kids who don't always nap at the same time, running can be the only time I get to myself during the day to reflect and just sort of zone out. I run 98% of the time with the kids in the stroller, and find myself running longer distances when I'm running with them, mostly because if I'm going to the trouble of loading them up and getting out with them, I want to enjoy my time to myself as much as possible!

I registered for the Her Tern Half Marathon in mid-July, so I'll be running four days a week from here on out and increasing my mileage every week from the 11-12 miles I've been doing a week for the last month. I'll also be doing the Twilight 12k in June, and I'm looking forward to it. I've done it a few times in the past couple of years and should be going into it this year with the most training, so it will be exciting to see if I can increase my pace enough to get a PR. 

Riggs and Noah goofing around at lunch after the race

Wednesday, April 29, 2015

Raina Grace: nine month update

Is there anything sweeter in the world than a nine-month old baby? I just don't think so. They smile, they giggle and play. They eat and crawl and still sleep (hopefully) two times a day. They interact more than ever before and it's just glorious. Raina is all of these things, and I love her so very much. 

This month has been another full of milestones for our little 'chunk of joy' (Steve's favorite name for her haha) including eating solids, pulling up to stand, and sleeping her crib the entire night instead of with us. Each is met with joy and a little sorrow by her mother, whose heart aches to see her baby grow up so fast, yet swells with each new accomplishment she masters. 

She has two bottom teeth and as I type this just shy of her turning ten-months, no new teeth seem eager to make an appearance. She chews on everything in sight and unlike Riggs at the same age, everything goes in her mouth, from grass to rocks to tiny legos.

Luckily for me, Riggs is almost more attentive than I am when it comes to his baby sister and he notices usually right away when she puts something off-limits in her mouth. He's such a great big brother and for the most part is very sweet and kind to Raina.

She really started getting into solids about halfway through her ninth month, and now has worked up to quite a voracious appetite. Her favorite foods are strawberries, avocado, cottage cheese, and egg yolks, although she happily eats anything I've given her so far. She only breastfeeds about three times during the day, sometimes more or even less.

Unfortunately she makes up for it in the night, nursing typically 2-4 times throughout the night. I am totally comfortable with two times during her 12 hour sleep cycle, and if she gets more into a routine of only waking twice I probably won't do anything to night wean for quite a while. But lately it's been three times each night and last night it was four times, which really starts to affect how well I make it through the following day. We did just transition her to sleeping in her crib the entire night, rather than starting the night in there and then ending up in bed with us, so I want to give her a little time to see if her night waking gradually balances out on it's own.

At her nine-month appointment Raina measured 28.5 inches which puts her in the 75th% for length, 20lbs 3oz which is 76th% for weight, and her head measured 47cm which lands about in the 99th%. She wears size 4 diapers and probably will for quite a long time, as she is leaning out and her diapers and clothes are fitting differently with each passing week since she has become mobile. She still fits in many of her 6-12m clothes, but I fear they will have to be put away and replaced with all 12-18m sizes soon.

I am blessed beyond measure to have her in my life and everyday I squeeze her and hug her and kiss her neck until she squirms to get away. I try so hard to savor every moment of her first year and yet find that despite my efforts the time is slipping away more quickly than I even though possible.  The next update I do will be her twelve month update, and she will be moving onto her toddler years, forever leaving her babyhood behind.

These last nine (nearly ten) months have been so full of love and light, and as the days pass I find that I only love you more and more. As my love grows, so does our relationship, and even as I mourn your passing babyhood, I look forward eagerly to all that yet stands before us in our lives together as mother and daughter. You are a precious gift that I cherish dearly and I hope that you always know that.