Friday, February 27, 2015

Race PRs

As a runner when I find another running blog or meet someone who runs I'm always curious about their times and I get excited when I find someone whose times are comparable to mine. I really enjoy pages on blogs where the writer lists out her fastest times. I was recently looking at one such post and felt inclined to write one of my own, listing out PRs overall as well as pregnant and after having children. I feel it will show my progress and change as a runner through huge life events as well as help me track my times. Some of my pre-pregnancy PRs I know I will never touch so it's nice to have post-baby PRs to focus on. Here are my fastest times pre-baby, pregnant, and post-baby listed out by distance.  There's something about the 10k distance.  For some reason I never run it.  I've run so many 5ks and half-marathons I couldn't even guess the number, but I've only ever run maybe five 10k races.  I had a hard time even finding race times for that distance, so I think the time listed is my PR.

Pregnant 1st Trimester:
Pregnant 2nd Trimester:
Pregnant 3rd Trimester:
2007 MSSU Stampede last quarter-mile.
Finishing the 2014 Get Busy Livin 5k.
Finishing the 2014 Jingle Bell 5k pregnant with Elise.
42:something (I haven't run very many 10k's and unfortunately the only ones I've run were small and didn't have online results.  So I'm going off running notes I took years ago that don't have much detail.)
49:52 (2013 Aquarium Run, my 4th race back after Carter was born and the only 10k I've run since)
Posing with Carter after the race.
1:31:35 (2007 Mighty Mo Half)
Pregnant 1st Trimester:
None Completed
Pregnant 2nd Trimester:
Pregnant 3rd Trimester:
1:36:51 (2013 Jenks Half)

Running the 2012 Route 66 Half Marathon pregnant with Carter.
Finishing the 2013 Jenks Half Marathon.
Finishing the 2014 Prairie Fire Half Marathon pregnant with Elise.
3:40:05 (2008 Route 66 Marathon)
Running the 2008 Route 66 Marathon (my first and fastest marathon).
Other Favorite Races

Wedding Day 5k:
My mom came up with the idea of running a 5k the morning of our wedding.  We ran the race out at the trails where Ty proposed to me.  I ran the race with Ty and it was the most time we had alone during the entire day.  The race ended up being one of my favorite memories from the day.

Gorilla Dash:
This was my first obstacle course race.  Ty wanted to sign up for it after running a race that morning.  At first I thought he was crazy, but he talked me into it along with my mom and dad.  We all ran together as a 4 person team and it was a blast!
Tough Mudder
Another race Ty wanted to do that I thought he was crazy for doing!  This one was an 11 mile obstacle course race.  Jeremy and Thomas also ran it and it was a blast running all together!  The most memorable moment for me was making it across the monkey bars!

Thursday, February 26, 2015

Nature's Buddies Winter Session

I signed Carter up for a Nature's Buddies toddler program at the zoo using Christmas money he received from his Oma and Opa.  The program included 4 sessions, each on a different topic and met once a week.  We chose to go on Thursday mornings.  The topics were food, water, shelter, and space.

Our first session was on food and how animals find food in the winter.  They discussed different foods animals might eat and we went on a nature hike searching for foods.  Next we played a game.  Each child was given a wooden ring to use as a pretend squirrel's nest and they tossed pecans all over the ground.  The kids' job was to collect as many nuts in their nest as they could.  It was hilarious to see how different each child was.  During the game Carter very carefully collected his nuts one at a time.  He would pick one nut up, transfer it to his nest, and then head back for another nut.  There was another kid who took off his stocking cap and filled it with nuts, dumping the nuts into his nest.  After Carter had collected 4 nuts he was done and wanted to sit down and wait until the game was over so that was exactly what we did.  I was chuckling as we were putting our nuts in a container and counting to see how many other kids had collected.  Carter just had his 4 nuts while some of the other kids had 20!
Discovering nuts that an animal could eat.
Hiding nuts in his squirrel nest.

After the game we got to see and touch a box turtle.  At first Carter didn't want to touch it but after seeing me feel it's shell, he went for it.  Our teacher then put the turtle on the ground.  It stared Carter down and then started walking directly toward him which elicited tears from little man, so the teacher picked the turtle back up.  Then we walked to the grizzly bear area to watch her eat and searched for different colored items on our way.  Each child was given an ice cube tray with strips of construction paper lining the bottom of each section.  When we found something of a certain color, we picked it up and put it in our tray.  Carter did decently well with the color search and seemed to enjoy it.  While watching the bear he was mesmerized.  Our teacher pulled out a bear pelt so the kids could feel it and Carter wanted no part of it!
Watching the bear eat.
Checking out his tray of items we collected on our walk.

Our 2nd session was focused on shelter and how animals stay warm in the winter.  We went on a nature hike searching for shelters animals might use to stay warm.  Then we went inside and met a screech owl which Carter loved and stared at the entire time.  Our teacher explained that animals shed fur in the summer and grow extra in the winter to stay warm.  To show differences in animal's fur she got out a cheetah pelt and a snow leopard's pelt so we could compare their fur.  Carter loved it and was all about petting the "kitties".  I was surprised because he had been so against touching the bear's fur the week before.  After our inside time each child was given a bird's nest and we went outside to fill our nest with extra items to keep the birds warm: sticks, leaves, grass, etc.  Carter chose to fill his nest with leaves and put it on a log he liked because he had found bugs on it the week before.  Some of the other kids walked around to see where each nest had been placed while others just walked around exploring.  Not Carter man, the nature hike area is built in a circle and he took the opportunity to run hot laps the entire time.  After he placed his nest where he wanted it, he ran laps around the hiking area until it was time to move on.
Checking out the screech owl.
Feeling a cheetah pelt.

From there we walked over to the Arctic area to see Arctic Foxes and feel their pelts.  Then we played a game of mice/snowy owls.  There was a parachute which we pretended was snow.  Some kids were mice and went under the snow while a couple others were owls and stood on top with a pool noodle to bop mice they found.  At first Carter was afraid to go under and just walked laps around the outside of the parachute while we played.  Then he decided he wanted to walk on top, but was very cautious because of the slickness of the parachute.  Eventually he got under the parachute and laughed hysterically with the other children as he crawled around.  Unfortunately he didn't do that until the very end of the game and then it was time to put the parachute away.  The session was over after the game and Carter ran to play with a little boy he'd made friends with.  They were playing in a photo booth pretending it was a school bus and having the best time.  When we got home Carter kept talking about the school bus.  While we ate dinner and I was relaying our day to Ty, Carter was so excited to tell daddy about the school bus.  With everything we learned and did at the zoo, his memorable moment was playing inside a photo booth!  Go figure!
Ready to play with the parachute.
Our 3rd Nature's Buddies session was about space.  I went into it thinking it would somehow relate animals to the universe and felt that was a bit of a difficult concept for children of this age.  It turned out it was about how much space animals need to thrive and why they need that room.  As we geared up to leave for the zoo I checked the weather and it was 19 degrees and felt like 9 degrees with the wind chill.  We bundled up and were not surprised at all to find that many of our friends had chosen to skip out on class.  There were only 5 of us at this session which was quite a few less than usual.  Our day started inside while our teacher read us a book about a ferret and then we got to meet a ferret.  During the book Carter crawled around to other kids and stared at their faces, smiled, and said "hi".  But he was all business once the ferret came out.  He was eager to meet her and loved getting to touch her.  When we went out to the nature trail we played a game of "camouflage" which was basically just hide and seek.  The teacher gave us boundaries and then shrank the boundaries each round to show why animals need space.  There weren't enough hiding places at the end for all of the kids to find one and she said it is important for animals to have lots of space so they can hide from predators.  Carter was cracking me up during the game.  We played 3 rounds and I laughed the whole time.  The first time he went and stood next to an older boy who was hiding.  The second round he hid behind a bench, peering through the slats at me.  The third round he stood next to an older girl who was hiding.  Some of the other kids found decent hiding places on their own while some had parents who hid them in spots.  I let Carter do his own thing and it was hilarious!
Meeting a ferret.
Hiding during our game of hide and seek.

After the game we got to ride a stretch golf cart to the other side of the zoo so we could see the monkeys, flamingos, and sea lions.  While we were walking Carter found a flamingo feather and his teacher said he could keep it.  We played another game where the kids pretended to be bears and had to find food cards for each of the 5 different types of foods bears eat: fruits, insects, meat, nuts, and plants.  Each food was glued to a different color card and Carter actually rocked the game.  Then she moved us into a smaller area with fewer food cards so we could see what happens when animals don't have enough space, they can't all find enough food.  Carter ended up with 4 cards while the oldest girl had all 5 and most other kids just found 3.  At the end of the session they gave us the choice of riding back on the golf cart or walking back so we could look at more animals.  Carter asked for lunch and when I told him our choices, he said he wanted to ride back.  As we were walking back over to the golf cart we got to watch a sea lion learning a new trick where he had to jump over 3 different pool noodles placed on top of the water.  It was awesome and Carter was so into it he leaned up against our teacher's leg, thinking it was mine.  When he turned around and realized it was her, she pointed out where I was due to the panicked look on his face.
Enjoying our ride on the stretch golf cart.
Clutching his flamingo feather during the ride back.
Our last Nature's Buddies session fell on yet another cold day with the temperature below 30 degrees when we headed out to the zoo.  The focus of the session was water.  At our last session one of the older kids found a large hole an animal must have been living in.  The kids were curious what kind of animal would have lived in it so the teachers set up a camera in the area to see what animals were hanging out there.  We watched some video clips at the beginning of our session which revealed an opposum, a cardinal, a skunk, a rabbit, a mouse, and a raccoon all wandering around the area at various times of night.  I joked that it was like the story "The Mitten" with all the animals cramming down into the hole together.  Our teacher suggested that the rabbit was the most likely inhabitant of the hole.  After the videos each child was given a fishing net and a dropper as we headed outside to explore in water.  All the water was frozen so the teachers had used sticks to break ice and leave holes.  The kids' job was to fish down into the water to see if they could find any living organisms down under the ice.  There was a little bit of an incline going down into the water and it was surrounded by snow with a layer of ice on top of it.  Between sliding on the ice and trying to squat down with my giant belly I got a bit frustrated with the activity.  I was worried Carter was going to get wet and would then be miserable for the remainder of our session.  In my head I was listing out all the reasons why playing in water outdoors in sub-30 degree weather with toddlers was a bad idea, but thankfully Carter remained dry.  I eventually gave up attempting to squat and sat down on the ice which meant when we went inside the butt of my jeans were wet.  At that point I wasn't putting too much stock in enjoying the session.
Heading out to explore in the water.
He had a blast digging around, but I was so worried he'd get wet.
Looking through his net to see if he found anything good.

Once inside they gave time for restroom breaks and exploring in some of the mud that was gathered.  Carter thoroughly enjoyed sifting through the mud looking for animals.  Then the teacher used a special microscope that attached to the computer to show the kids close-ups of the animals they had found.  A couple of the older kids had scooped up little tiny clams.  Carter was intrigued watching the computer screen and seeing the animal poke it's leg out of it's shell.  Then they brought out a chinchilla for the kids to see and touch while talking about how they live in a cold desert and how they deal with water.  I found it interesting that chinchillas don't actually drink water, they get all the water they need from plants they eat.  Carter liked the back of the chinchilla but wasn't so sure when he could see her face.  It was pretty cute.
Petting the chinchilla.
Shocked by the chinchilla's face.

Our next adventure took us out onto the zoo grounds where Carter asked for a snack so I pulled an orange out of my purse and passed him segments as we walked.  The plan had been to walk back to the penguin exhibit, but our teacher decided to stop at the chimpanzees instead since it was so cold and there was a decent amount of ice covering the sidewalks.  At first I was a little bit disappointed, but then I read a zookeeper note on the glass to find out there was a 2.5 month old baby chimpanzee.  I quickly spotted it toward the back of the enclosure and the mom slowly worked her way up to the glass with the baby dangling from her stomach.  Our teacher told us the mom is very friendly and likes people which was immediately apparent as she remained at the glass, watching the kids, and showing off her baby.  Carter was mesmerized.  He loved the baby and at one point the baby even stared at Carter.  After a while the mom wandered off behind a rock and the entire time Carter said, "Mommy baby go?"  Our teacher even pulled out penguin eggs and feathers for the kids to look at and feel, but Carter wasn't interested in leaving the baby chimpanzee.
Carter watching the baby chimp as it approached us with it's mom.
The baby chimp staring at Carter while right up against the glass.

While we were all oohing and ahhing over the baby the primate keeper came in and was excited to see the mom up so close to the glass with the baby.  She started talking with us and sharing all kinds of interesting facts.  She said chimpanzees actually nurse for 4 years and the mom will typically start introducing foods at around 6 months.  At the zoo they follow the mom's lead and once she starts offering food to the baby then they start giving really small pieces in the enclosure for the baby.  It was really interesting to me as I was just reading in Ina May's Guide to Childbirth one of her tips which was "Let Your Monkey Do It" meaning let your instincts guide you through childbirth and positioning.  One of the chimpanzees came over and was rubbing the baby's leg and grabbing onto it, really watching it closely.  The zookeeper said he was the father.  It was all very sweet to see and got my pregnant hormones going!  Then the mom started to walk away and put her knuckles up on the glass right by Carter's face.  The zookeeper got all sappy about it and said that the mom was greeting Carter and wished she could've gotten a picture of it.  The whole experience was absolutely amazing and as we left I was very excited and uplifted from it all.  I even stepped out of my comfort zone and gave my number to the little boy's mom who Carter really clicked with and enjoyed playing with so we can do a playdate sometime.  The Nature's Buddies Program was a huge success for us and we look forward to doing one again in the summer.    

Wednesday, February 25, 2015

Wordless Wednesday

Coloring at the desk in his room.
Walking on the train tracks at the zoo.
Holding a penguin egg at the zoo.
Playing at Great Uncle Marty and Great Aunt Brenda's house.
Enjoying some scrambled eggs!
A treat while out shopping for Auntie Erin's shower gift.
Watching it snow with his buddy, Harper.
Ty cuddling his babies.
Finally after a winter of shivering due to her hair loss we bought Harper a sweater at Wal-Mart.  She loves it!
Carter woke up from his nap asking for a sandwich for snack.
Snuggled up in her dog bed on a cold night.  She might still be a little spoiled, even with Carter around.
Showing off his new shoes.  One morning he told me his "feet stuck" as a way to let me know his shoes were too small.  We pulled out these hand-me-downs from Ty's boss and he was so excited!
Picked up a stick on our walk to the library.
Using his walking stick just like daddy.
We showed him how to take pictures with my phone.
Looking at me because I was laughing at how many pictures he took.
This was a bad idea as I had over 20 pictures like this and couldn't decide which was cutest.
Enjoying a beautiful, sunny, almost 50 degree day at the park!
"Mommy runeet.  Shallow (shadow) runeet too!"
He was so excited about a new book Oma and Opa sent him in the mail he wanted to sleep with it at naptime.
Carter took this picture of Harper.
All bundled up!