Exactly As It Should Be

When The Hubs and I decided to start to try for our second baby we knew that more than likely we’d end up back at the reproductive endocrinologist (RE)—actually, I should say I knew we’d end up back there. I just had a feeling that things wouldn’t be as easy as everyone said. If I had a dollar for every comment made to me about how “it will be SO easy for you next time now that the pipes are working” I’d be retired right now.

At our first appointment back at the RE, I didn’t have high hopes. Our doctor, whom we loved with our first go around, didn’t even seem like the same doctor. She told us we’d do everything the same as the last time, only, the treatment she prescribed was totally different. They also had two files on me, and called me by the wrong patient name—not exactly instilling a huge amount of confidence in either of us. We did however decide to stick with it and the practice. I just needed to trust that other than the patient name mix up, they did know what they were doing; they got us pregnant the first time, this time they’d get us pregnant again.

After the same barrage of tests as with my daughter, and after 2 failed IUIs, I had decided I was emotionally taxed and I couldn’t handle what infertility was doing to me and my family anymore. Running was the only thing that I had that helped keep me relatively sane and not freak out on The Hubs or Lil One thanks to the medication they put you on to get your body to respond to the treatments. I was in the midst of marathon training and my long runs were perfect for me to tune the rest of the world out (even though I ran with my running buddies). Speed work and intervals after work on the treadmill helped to push out the mid-week aggression. But, once it came down to the 3rd IUI (intrauterine insemination), I decided that if try #3 didn’t work, we’d take a break and sort out what our next steps were. In all likelihood, our next step was to be nothing. I had a beautiful, healthy daughter maybe that was enough. After many times crying alone, I decided that sure it wasn’t my vision of what my “family” would look like, but maybe that is what was meant to be. I was “lucky” enough that one of my best running-mates, Scary, also suffered through some infertility issues herself so she was very sympathetic to my ordeal and was able to provide me with great insight while we’d go out for training runs (I was training for National Marathon and she was training for Boston).

Enter Marathon Monday (aka Boston Marathon Day). I was to head up to Newton and Chestnut Hill and meet Scary around the base of Heartbreak Hill. The plan was that I was going to jump in and run with her up to Boston College to support her, and attempt to kick her butt a little if she needed it. Turns out plan were about to change. That morning, when I peed on the little OPK stick (ovulation preditctor kit-think pregnancy test only it detects ovulation hormones instead of pregnancy hormones) it came back positive—that would mean a trip to the RE for an IUI. Really??!! I had never spectated at the Boston Marathon before, let alone help a dear friend towards the finish, and today of all days was when the stupid OPK decided to work for me? I was beyond upset. I broke down in hysterics because I had to go for a procedure that I knew wasn’t going to work, and in the process, potentially miss Scary, and if I did manage to see her, not be able to run with her up HBH as planned…and I couldn’t even let her know in advance!!

The IUI went as well as could be expected, and we even had enough time to get to Newton, but running with Scary was out of the question. There we stood me, The Hubs, and Lil One, cheering on runners as we watched the crowd for Scary…if I couldn’t run with her I at least needed for her to know I was there. As I saw her approach, I started jumping up and down screaming my head off. She looked at me, looked down at the flip flops on my feet, hesitated for a second or two with a look of confusion on her face. I hugged her, told her I was proud of her, and told her—“I’ll fill you in later—GO GO GO!” And with that, I sent Scary off to conquer HBH on her own. She had looked amazingly strong for that point in the marathon so I had confidence she could do it on her own.

As it turns out, things happen for a reason. I wasn’t supposed to run HBH with Scary—she KILLED it on her own, and finished Boston in a fantastic time on her own without my assistance. She was running in her dad’s memory for the Dana Farber Cancer team and while she was physically alone, she was running with her dad up that hill and I would have been a 3rd wheel—that was her time with her dad. And for me, as it turns out I think I needed that breakdown that day; I needed to be at one of my lowest points because it was that IUI—what was more than likely my final attempt, which worked. I found out 2-weeks later, the day after I ran a ½ marathon PR, that I was indeed pregnant. For me, Marathon Monday was about a journey more than 26.2 miles long. It was an emotional journey, one that would be with me forever in the face of my son. It’s something I hope to share with him some day—maybe when he is running the Boston Marathon himself…or the Olympic Marathon trials (Scary and I joked that if I had had a boy, I’d have to name him Ryan Hall since Ryan Hall ran Boston that day ha ha). Running would now be a bond that I shared with my son. I can’t wait to run with him!

What’s your thought—do things happen for a reason?  In hindsight have you felt like you needed to be at your lowest in order to have seen the good come out of a situation?  How has running helped your mindset during a difficult ordeal?

Lessons Learned Along the Way

I didn’t consider myself a “runner” for quite some time.  Before I got pregnant with my oldest, Lil One, I would run jog 3-ish miles three to four times a week and toss in the occasional 5k race.  My PR for the 5k prior to Lil One was somewhere in the 31-minute range—and that was pushing hard for me.  But I never considered myself “a runner.”

I decided after the birth of Lil One that I needed a goal, a goal that I alone had control over.  Coming off of about 3-years of infertility where I had zero control, I desperately needed an outlet—an outlet for all of that pent up need to control things.  I needed an outlet to push all of my inner anger towards the past 3 years.  Yes, I had a beautiful healthy little girl, but it still didn’t happen in the time frame, or the manner that I had planned on.  My goal was to become “a runner” and focuse on a half marathon.  The thought of 13.1-mi was daunting and downright frightening to me if I am being perfectly honest.  Here I was, the girl who quit track in high school because they wanted me to try being a hurdler; the girl who was running hard and almost puking after a 5k with a finish time of 31-minutes…I was going to train for 13.1 miles?  Coincidently, an acquaintance started a training group for a ½ marathon.  I decided to join figuring that I at least had someone to hold me accountable—one thing I hate the most in life is failing at something, especially failing at something publically.

With my husband’s support, we bought a treadmill for the basement as our anniversary gift that year.  I’d go down to the basement after Lil One was in bed, and do my training run.  I eventually found some decent speed I didn’t know I had and next thing I knew, I had met my goal of a ½ marathon, alongside my acquaintance friend in a time of 1:57:25.  Never in a million years did I think I’d sub-2 hour my first half marathon. 

From there, I really started to enjoy running.  I started to meet up with Scary (our nickname for my friend in our running group).  Scary was training for her first full marathon and I was planning on another ½ marathon.  Every week, as we’d add another mile to Scary’s training, Scary would drop another thought into my head that I should switch my ½ registration to the full marathon.  If I was already up to 18-miles why on earth would I settle for a ½ when I was clearly training for a full?  

 I realized after thinking about it, I was willing to settle for another ½ distance because I was afraid of failure at the full distance.  But I also realized that that had been what was holding me back my entire life in athletics—fear of failure.  So many things came easy to me that when I faced a real challenge, or a situation where I wouldn’t be the best, I found an excuse as to why I couldn’t or wouldn’t participate.  I was a mom now—what kind of an example would I be to my daughter if I chose the easy way out?  I wanted my daughter to grow up as a strong, confidant woman who was willing to face challenges head on but unless she had a role model that showed her how, she wouldn’t become that.  Nothing worth while in life ever comes easy—my daughter was proof of that to me.  Running, in a way, was no different.  If running a marathon were easy, everyone would do it.  It’s supposed to be hard; it’s supposed to scare you.  It’s a distance to be respected, but it was a distance that I decided I would conquer, no matter how ugly.

So, on a brisk November morning in 2010, I set out to run 26.2 miles through the streets of Philadelphia.  And 26.1 miles later, as I approached the finish line, I saw my best friend’s giant Jackie-O sunglasses, and heard my husband yelling “Go Momma!” as he held our daughter—it was the last push I needed to carry me over that finish line.  It was that moment as I crossed the finish line, in 4:27:54, which I finally called myself “a runner.”  In reality, I think you are a runner the moment you decide you are one.  Whether you run 3-miles, 26.2 miles, or even an ultra, if you say that you are a runner—you are.  I know that now and I want to make sure that my kids know that as they grow up. 

I want my kids to know the following:  Do not limit yourself; do not label yourself because you are so much more.  Believe in yourself and your abilities; realize that nothing comes easy; savor every moment of your journey because you learn so much about who you are in those moments of challenge and doubt.  Most importantly, love yourself no matter what the outcome—as long as you have given 100% the result doesn’t matter. 

The Beginning–For Real

With the first few days of 2012 upon us I have decided that one of my resolutions for this year was to hold myself accountable for all of my crazy ideas and plans through this blog.  I had the best of intentions to start this blog back in April of 2011 when I found out I was pregnant with my second baby so that I could document not only what was likely my last pregnancy, but also to document my journey through an active pregnancy so that my children could look back one day and see the feats that I was able to accomplish while growing a new life.

39 ½-weeks and newborn baby boy later, I have yet to document for my children any of my health and fitness accomplishments.  While I missed documenting my pregnancy as it happened, I hope that I can reflect and share some of my triumphs and defeats while pregnant. 

Since its initial inception, I’ve decided that this blog isn’t intended to solely be a running or fitness blog—though it may turn into that.  “My Mumma’s Shoes” is intended to simply walk along with me—whether it’s in my work shoes (pink Timberland construction boots and high heels), my fitness shoes (Asics Nimbus 12), or my mummy shoes (multiple pairs of tall boots).  I may not post daily, and I may not post about anything that you find particularly interesting, but in the end I’m not writing this for you the reader—I’m writing this for my children.  I hope that they can look back on this one day and really see their mother.

Starting again…

Not the first time i try and start a blog post for this.  I always have the best intentions and even write them in my head as I am walking to a meeting, sitting in traffic, or even am on a run–but when the time comes to actually sit down and write it out I fail miserably and decide that I’d much rather do something else.