Monday, September 28, 2015

6 Months Postpartum

This has been my breakthrough month. The month where everything has started to come together. All my postpartum training that has been blah and then so-so and okay and better is now picking up speed. I feel like the effort I'm putting into runs finally matches the pace I'm running, without the double stroller. With the double stroller I'm still working so much harder than what paces indicate but that will always be the case, that thing is a beast! My weight loss is also more in line with how I'm exercising and eating as the pounds are now falling off week by week. I'm now a mere 2 pounds from my pre-pregnancy weight! Sleep has been pretty awesome with Elise going at least a 7 hour stretch at night with a PR just shy of 12 hours!
My sweet, little running buddies!
With running I'm feeling great and cruising to some times and paces that make me so happy! My training is finally coming together and I'm recovering so much quicker from hard efforts. I'm now able to put just 2 days between hard efforts so I can easily get 2 hard workouts in per week. I've been doing speed work again and have had no bleeding so I'd say I'm finally healed from childbirth! One week I'll do speed work and a tempo, the next I'll do speed work and a long run. I've only been back to speed work for a week, but that's the plan at least. Up until I added speed work back in I was doing a tempo run and then a long run per week. But only doing long runs every other week. I think part of the reason for quicker recovery is that my body is healed and another part of the reason is that my Fitbit has encouraged me to be more active on recovery days. Now I walk more the day after a long run or other hard workout which allows my legs to stretch out and loosen up.
What runs look like these days.
I've built my long run up to 12 miles and have come to love the long run. It's typically either the only run or one of 2 runs during the week I do without the stroller. I find myself looking forward to that all week. I revel in the ease that is running without that beast. I enjoy the quiet and calm that comes with running along uninhibited by a fussing toddler or crying baby. It's just me, the pavement, and the sweet feeling of pushing my body. Don't get me wrong, I love running with the kids. It is so much fun to look down and see Carter holding Elise's foot or Elise playing with her toys. I get so excited when we see trains, construction equipment, or animals on our run. When I'm out by myself I catch myself wishing Carter was with me so he could see something cool I ran across. That being said, there's just something about running with no company other than your thoughts. It's freeing and meditative. I've had a string of really strong long runs that have gotten me excited to see what I can do in a half marathon. It started with my first 12 miler that I ran at 8:40 pace. Then I ran 8 miles at 7:53 pace. Then the day before Elise turned 6 months old I ran another 12 miler, this time at 8:01 pace! An awesome pace and a great mental boost as it was my last long run before our October 11th half marathon. After Carter was born my last 12 mile run before my 1:38 half was at 7:55 pace, so I'm not far off! To shed light on how much I've improved the last few months, the last 3 miles of that 12 mile run was at the pace I ran for a 5k just 2 months ago with my last mile split a 7:21!
Checking out a turtle we saw on our run. You can barely see it on the far left of the picture.
I ran a 5k this month and was pleasantly surprised to finish in an average of 7:10 pace which was a 22:15 finishing time. With some of my recent tempo run paces I'm really looking forward to our 5k next weekend to put my training to the test. I hit 7:13 pace for a 5 mile tempo so I'm looking to run an Elise postpartum PR at the race and am thinking a sub-22 may be a possibility. Overall I'm just loving running a lot this month. With harder workouts in my weekly training, my other days I take pretty easy. I talk to Carter as we run and we discuss anything from the life cycle of different animals and how they change as they grow older, to why bag worms aren't caterpillars, to how far we are from the playground. Conversational pace when you have a toddler to chat with is the best!
Carter always wants to get out and run at the end of my runs.
Then there are the days where Elise's schedule is off so I nurse her while pushing the stroller as Carter runs back to the car.

My sweet mom got me a Fitbit Flex when the zip I had stopped working properly. With it I am able to track my sleep and I've really enjoyed looking at my sleep each morning and seeing how much time I actually slept. It always surprises me when I was in bed for 8 hours but got less than 7 hours of sleep or when I was in bed for 7 and a half hours and managed just over 7 hours. I also enjoy seeing how long it took me to fall asleep. I fall to sleep insanely fast. I'm talking under 10 minutes as long as Ty and I don't chat for too long before going to sleep. I think up until this month it would have been slightly depressing to see how little I was sleeping but I'm getting enough sleep now that it is nice to see. It also verified for me that it's nicer for Elise to wake up once at night and then sleep until 7 in the morning rather than sleep for 11 hours and wake at 6 ready for the day. As the night she slept the longest I didn't get as much sleep as other nights. Interesting to say the least. I'm looking forward to another month of faster paces and more sleep!

Thursday, September 24, 2015

Pumpkin Painting

As we entered Carter's first fall when he was around 9 months old I got this idea in my head that I wanted him to paint a pumpkin since he was way too young to carve one. It actually went over really well with him hardly ingesting any paint at all. We thoroughly enjoyed the experience and I felt warm fuzzies every time I looked at his adorable pumpkin. Then last year we did it again. Carter was hardly interested at all. The year before he had loved it. All I could get him to do was run by and stick hand prints on his pumpkin as he ran laps through the yard. I think part of it was the excitement of having both Uncie J and Uncie Taco over to carve pumpkins. 
Posing with their pumpkins before painting, Carter had to point out which one was his!

This year rolled around and I was super excited to paint pumpkins rather than just a pumpkin. I got home from my weekly grocery shopping trip pumped to show Carter the big pumpkin I got for him and the little pumpkin I had gotten for Elise. All he talked about for days was his big pumpkin and sissy's baby pumpkin. We started our weekly learning theme on pumpkins the next day and after some activities with the pumpkins we were ready to paint. It was crazy how much Carter loved it this year and how independent he was with it. He would grab the paint, pour it on the pumpkin, and sing his srub a dub song he sings as he washes his hands as he rubbed the paint all over the pumpkin. It was nice he was so independent as I spent the entire time trying to keep Elise from sucking her thumb and therefore getting paint in her mouth, but it also meant he used up almost all of our paint.

Now on to Miss Elise's first experience with pumpkin painting right at 6 months old. My plan was to paint pumpkins right before bedtime so we could go in and immediately take baths to clean up. What I didn't account for was the fact that Elise would be tired. And when Elise is tired she sucks her thumb or any finger(s) she can get in her mouth. Put some paint on said fingers and sis is going to end up with paint in her mouth. It was a mess! I was constantly pulling her hands away from her face and eventually just held both of her hands and lifted her up so she could paint with her feet. The funniest part was right as we started. Carter picked the paint for Elise and poured it on her pumpkin. She looked at her pumpkin, leaned forward, lost her balance, and face planted directly into the puddle of purple paint. The girl was a mess from start to finish.
Carter pouring paint on Elise's pumpkin for her.
Elise right after face planting the pumpkin.

Sneaking her fingers in her mouth as I turned her pumpkin.

She was not happy when I wiped her paint off her mouth.

Moving on to painting with her feet.
More painting with feet.

Ty took Elise in to bathe her as Carter finished up his pumpkin. I didn't want to leave the nice camera outside as I took Carter in so I picked everything up as we prepared to go inside and Carter ran off ahead of me, slapping the side of our van, leaving little hand prints on the door, and then putting a hand print on the front door. Thank goodness we used the non-toxic, washable finger paint! It will be fun to see what pumpkin decorating brings next year. To see Carter's first pumpkin painting experience, click here. To see his experience last year, click here.

Wednesday, September 23, 2015

Wordless Wednesday

Elise hanging out with Aunt Brenda.
Carter modeling his pumpkin hat Oma made for him.
Reading time before bed.

He picked out his outfit complete with rain boots and binoculars.
He walked like this all the way to and from the library.
Stopped on our walk to climb a tree.
Similar jammies, 2 years apart!
Sissapee in her skeleton jammies at almost 6 months, compared to Carter at almost 9 months.

Play Doh has been the big thing around here now that Carter has learned to roll snakes.

Free pizza with a coupon. He ate about 4 bites of pizza but polished off all of his carrots and grapes.
New headband from Oma, she crocheted the flower!

Carter wanted a balloon and insisted sissy get one too.

Carter was quiet while I was putting Elise down for a nap and I found him reading on the futon.
Play Doh time for Elise.

Family walk to the library this past weekend.
I hadn't given Elise a book so Carter was sweet and passed one to her.
Riding a mechanical bull at the Rockin Rib Festival.
We splurged and got Carter some mac and cheese at the festival.
Uncie J, Uncie Taco, and Carter enjoying some food at the festival.

Another new headband from Oma.
Carter pretending to be a worm.
Carter enjoying his buddy Grant's birthday party at Incredible Pizza.

He got to ride some rides.

Elise wasn't so sure of the carousel.

Playing Whack a Mole.
I do this every day, but when Ty does it I totally swoon!
Won a giant ball in the claw machine.
Pigging out on some pizza!

This is how Carter rode home!
Carter brought me the tape measure and told me to take the doggy for a walk.
Then he took off on all fours like this!
Sissy's new black cat outfit from Oma and Opa.
Complete with headband made by Oma.
Kitty booty!

Carter picked his outfit and then insisted on taking Big Al into the aquarium with us.
Aqua Tots storytime at the aquarium.
The highlight of our aquarium trip for Carter was pushing the stroller with Elise actually in it.
Watching the beavers eat.
Elise checking out the clown fish. Her favorite was the anemone.

Playing in Oma's travel crochet basket.

Special time with Oma.
Elise was after Opa's salad at dinner.
Carter wanted to hug Elise while he was eating his corn on he cob.
We forgot to check the slides when we got to the playground. They were wet!
Another outfit he picked out. Penguin stocking cap with rain boots...
Enjoying storytime at the library.

When she brought the toys out Carter wanted to read this book before playing.