Bruised + Dark Blue Mashup

I was listening to Jack’s Mannequin today and thought “Bruised” and “Dark Blue” would make a good mashup. They’re both sort of sad songs, so I enjoyed piecing together a new, wistful story. Plus, bruises are sometimes dark blue.

I’ve got my things, I’m good to go
You met me at the terminal

I don’t, don’t know
What you could possibly expect
Under this condition-so
I’ll wait, I’ll wait

Just one more plane ride and it’s done

Slow down
This night’s a perfect shade of
Dark blue, dark blue

Sometimes perfection can be
It can be perfect hell, perfect, well

Have you ever been alone in a crowded room?

I swear I didn’t mean for it to feel like this
Like every inch of me is bruised, bruised

Well I’m here with you
I said the world could be burning
‘Til there’s nothing but

All I hear is what’s playing through the in-flight radio

Tell me how anybody thinks
Under this condition

And don’t fly fast
Oh pilot, can you help me?
Can you make this last?

And it was me and you

And hours pass, and hours pass, yeah, yeah

There was nothing we could do
It was dark blue

Racehorse Camp

It all started with a quote.

You can’t make a racehorse out of a donkey. But you can make a fast donkey.

Coach Jim Perkins

Inspired by this quote, rising high school junior Jake Smith started a tradition known as Donkey Camp – a few days of camping at Unicoi State Park with lots of miles to contribute to summer training for cross country season.

Coming into the WCHS cross country team as a freshman in the fall of 2004, I was quickly introduced not only to the quote but also to the boys’ team who adopted it as their own.

Not to be outdone, my teammate Bea (a junior) and I wanted to do something similar for the girls’ team the next summer, so we got to planning. And what better name for our rival camp than Racehorse Camp?

Planning a camp as a 15-year old (17 for Bea) did come with some difficulties, though. Neither of us had credit cards, so Bea had to drive to Unicoi and write them a check for the campsite deposit, and I took on the task of calling all of the rising ninth graders who expressed interested at the cross country meeting at the end of the school year. I had more than one interesting conversation with a parent who wanted to know if any adults would be there…to which the answer was…no.

But we made it happen! July 25-27, 2005 was 3 days of camping, running at Unicoi, jumping off the bridge at Bottoms Rd (back when it was well-kept secret), and a drive up to Sliding Rock at Wildcat Creek. Our last day of camp concluded with an out and back run in Panorama, Bea’s subdivision that was insanely hilly, and then kayaking down the Chattahoochee from her backyard. We only had 4 attendees (including me and Bea), but all things considered, it was a success!

Racehorse camp took a hiatus in summer 2006 since we had a team cross country camp organized by our coaches but came back in summer 2007 for June 25-27. Now that I was 17 and could drive, it was much easier. Bea was off in college, but my teammate Brooke ran the camp with me. And we had 6 attendees!

We ran at Unicoi, played in the water at Sliding Rock, and concluded our camp with a long run at the Chattahoochee on Poplar Stump Road.

We also just so happened to have our camp at the same time as Donkey Camp this summer, so one of our activities was a game of Ultimate frisbee in the lake against the boys’ team. We got shirts that said “Water Ultimate Frisbee Champions” on them if that gives you a clue which team won.

And there were absolutely no shenanigans or pranks that we played on their campsite.

Sadly I don’t think Donkey Camp or Racehorse Camp are traditions that lived on for WCXC, but I’m proud of my part in bringing the girls’ team into the fold…kind of like how I designed the She Piece for Wacky Day…but that’s another story.

I Always Wanted to Be Bacon

When I was in college, I worked at a summer camp called Strong Rock Camp & Retreat in my hometown of Cleveland (and it’s one of the first things I blogged about back in 2017). After 2 summers of being a counselor, I returned for a 3rd summer as a Program Director where I helped organize skill classes and camp-wide games rather than being responsible for a specific cabin of girls.

Central staff, as we were called, ate at a table with other staffers and directors (since all of the other tables are organized by cabins and counselors). One morning, the Director of Operations at camp, Bacon, (we all had nicknames) got up in the middle of breakfast. I asked him where he was going, and he replied:

The Sysco truck just pulled up, which means the cook is helping unload, so the toast is probably burning.

And he headed to the kitchen to save the toast which was, in fact, left on the grill.

I knew in that moment that I wanted to be Bacon at my job. I wanted to be so tuned in to the innerworkings of a business that I can see a potential domino effect and stop it ahead of time. And all with a calm, nonchalance presence (still working on that part).

Thoughts on evermore

I like it. It doesn’t have the “I love the new sound” shock factor that folklore had since they sound so similar, but it’s a good continuation of that sound.

willow

The start of the album immediately sounds like folklore.

Predicting it now: we’re going to see “I come back stronger than a 90s trend.” in a bunch of Instagram captions.

champagne problems

Sounds like “New Year’s Day.”

’tis the damn season

This song reminds me so much of a quote from The Shipping Room Podcast where one of the hosts very casually said, “Yeah, it’s like when you come home from college for Thanksgiving, and you sleep with your ex-boyfriend.” I can’t relate to that sentiment, but I can relate to the feelings of nostalgia that happen when I go home for the holidays.

To me this song is that “what if” train of thought you can get lost in when thinking of all the alternative universes of what your life could look like if you had stayed in your hometown.

tolerate it

Track 5 is supposed to be the heavy/meaningful song on TSwift albums according to what I heard on a podcast.

“If it’s all in my head, tell me now” is a relatable line for the desperate feeling of wanting someone else to quash the insecurity you’re feeling.

no body, no crime

This is Taylor’s Goodbye Earl. And if you search “Goodbye Earl” on Twitter, you will find a lot of people saying that!

She’s always been a good storyteller, and this song is a great example of that. A technically dark story that is just ridiculous enough to be funny.

evermore

I really like this song. It’s a solid bookend to the album while also bringing it back to the title.

One Year of Breastfeeding

When I first had Caleb, I committed to 6 months of breastfeeding. If I wanted to go longer, great! But if I was hating it, I wanted to give myself a less intimidating goal than an entire year. After one year + 18 days, my season of breastfeeding came to an end, and it ended up being both longer and shorter than I thought it would be.

There were definitely ups and downs to nursing for a year, so I wanted to reflect on a few of them to close out this season as well as share how I managed weaning.

Highs

The special bonding time and extra cuddles are just the best. Your brain gets a nice dose of oxytocin every time you nurse, and despite the isolation I sometimes felt from nursing, it can occasionally be a welcomed retreat when feeling overwhelmed.

Once your baby starts nursing faster, it’s a breeze. Instead of 20 or 30 minutes of being trapped under the baby, you can do a quick 3-5 minutes on either side and get back to your day. And the baby can get back to playing, which they are typically much more interested in than nursing at some ages.

Finally, it’s just freaking cool that your body can make food for the human you also grew with your body.

Lows

Definitely the biggest low was getting mastitis 6-7 weeks in. I wondered multiple times if I was going to die (dramatic), and had to get a second course of antibiotics when the first round didn’t work.

Breastfeeding can also feel really isolating. Especially when the baby is young and takes 20-30 minutes to eat, you just sit alone in a room with the baby for large parts of your day. Any time we took a trip, the first thing I would need to do upon arrival would be feed the baby, so off I would go to a room by myself where everyone chatted and caught up without me.

Babies can also be super impatient and picky! I never had a full blown nursing strike, but I definitely had segments of time where he would rather scream than nurse, and there was probably an entire month this summer where he wouldn’t nurse in the recliner but would in the bed. The worst was always when slow letdown frustrated him.

Weaning

I started adding a gradually increasing amount of milk to Caleb’s daycare bottles for the 2 weeks leading up to his birthday, and they were still coming home empty, so he didn’t seem to have any trouble with the change to cows milk. My original plan was just to wean him off daytime feedings (no more pumping!) and keep the wake up and bedtime nursing sessions for another month or two, but then I started having trouble with the bedtime session letdown, and I just felt like my body was ready to be done. I wrote out a plan to drop one feeding at a time every 5 days and that was that.

The emotional process to accept weaning was rough. I kept crying in anticipation of nursing being over and very tearfully explained to Josh that it is time, I am ready, and Caleb will be fine, but it’s still the end of a very specific season of life, and I felt like I needed to mourn that season.

I Googled the phrase “mourning the end of breastfeeding” and found quite a few articles about dealing with the hormonal roller coaster that can accompany such a life change. But then I saw an additional Google question: “how to celebrate the end of breastfeeding?”

That’s what I needed. I needed to flip the script on myself and celebrate the 380+ days that I nursed.

One of the suggestions was to get a tattoo which I was very into for about 10 minutes. Then I fell into the rabbit hole of breastfeeding jewelry before deciding it was quite expensive and carries the risk of yellowing over time not to mention super shy me having to explain what it was to anyone who asked.

From there, I searched pearl rings on Etsy since a lot of the breastfeeding jewelry I looked at sort of resembled a pearl. Opal rings were a recommended suggestion based on pearl rings, and what do you know, opal is the birthstone for October! So now I have an opal ring for my October baby to commemorate the end of this breastfeeding season.

Also, I picked this ring that has Celtic love knots on either side of the opal because Josh gave me a Celtic love knot ring when we were in college, so it seemed like the perfect fit for me. 🙂

Getting myself a present to look forward to really helped with the emotional turmoil I was feeling (which I find hilarious, to be honest). And as I dropped feedings, neither Caleb nor I had meltdowns, which further confirmed that everything was going to be ok.

As for the physical effects of weaning, that was rougher than expected. If I do this again in the future, I will likely wean off the baby first and off the pump second rather than vice versa to have more control of the production slowdown. I also really don’t recommend going on a work retreat at the beginning of the weaning process where you don’t have access to ice packs or the ability to take 45-minute showers.

And now a couple of weeks removed, everyone survived. My baby is a toddler and asserting his independence and growing up!

Breastfeed Like it’s Your Business

I recently changed from feeding my baby every 3 hours to feeding him every 4. It took some trial and error when it came to filling up his bottles for daycare to make sure he was getting enough to eat, but he takes 2 bottles with 7.5ish oz each day, and then I nurse him for his other two feedings.

I originally celebrated dropping a pumping session  from my workday. I have a pretty easy setup: I work from home, use Freemie cups, and usually sit with my laptop and continue to work during pump sessions. Besides doing the dishes, it doesn’t interrupt my work day that much.

But I don’t like it.

I am fully aware formula exists, and no one is forcing me to breastfeed. I like breastfeeding; it’s pumping I’m not a fan of. And since switching to 2 pumps/day from 3, I haven’t been able to keep up.

I didn’t worry about it too much at first since I had so much milk in the freezer. But now that I run a pumping deficit on a daily basis, I had to get organized.

So I made a spreadsheet.

Breastfeeding is like running a business. You want to plot out your cash flow, so you can project your runway. If your burn rate is too high and is shortening your runway, you need to make a change ASAP instead of getting closer and closer to the day you run out of money.

There are two ways to extend your runway – cut expenses and/or increase revenue.

In my case, I can either pump more milk, or Caleb can eat less (Lol – yeah right).

According to my spreadsheet, at my current burn rate, I run out of stored milk in about 5.5 weeks. If I change to 3 pumps/day and change nothing else, that increases to about 8 weeks. If I pump 3 times/day and add a weekend pump or two, I can get up to 13 weeks. And all of this assumes Caleb keeps consuming the same amount.

On average, babies start to decrease their breast milk ounces around 9 months, so I need to try to make it 12-13 more weeks at his current feeding rate.

Other measures could include going to daycare to nurse him and of course just using formula (like getting a loan to continue the analogy), but for now I begrudgingly changed all of my pump times on my calendar back to 3 times/day and will be chugging water like it’s my job. Oh, and updating my forecasting spreadsheet each week. 🙂

Prediction Results!

Congratulations to Lucas for predicting the men’s winner and 4th place finisher as well as only being 8 seconds off of the women’s winning time. His win is especially impressive when you consider he had Amy Cragg in his women’s top 5 (who announced this week she wouldn’t be competing).

Sarah N was a close second, and she not only picked Rupp was the winner of the men’s race but also predicted his time exactly.

For future prediction contests, I’d like to tweak the scoring to award small points to getting someone in the top 5 even if out of order, different point tiers for being close to the time, and a bigger bonus for getting the time exactly.

Full results/predictions below!

Lucas S (135)
First placeJordan Hasay
Second placeMolly Huddle
Third placeDes Linden
Fourth placeAmy Cragg
Fifth placeSara Hall
Winning Time 2:27:15
First placeGalen Rupp
Second placeJared Ward
Third placeJim Walmsley
Fourth placeLeonard Korir
Fifth placeReed Fischer
Winning Time 2:05:27
Taylor G B (115)
First placeDes Linden
Second placeMolly Huddle
Third placeJordan Hasay
Fourth placeSara Hall
Fifth placeEmily Sisson
Winning Time 2:29:34
First placeGalen Rupp
Second placeJared Ward
Third placeTyler Pennel
Fourth placeLeonard Korir
Fifth placeScott Fauble
Winning Time 2:12:58
Ashlea M (115)
First placeMolly Huddle
Second placeJordan Hasay
Third placeEmily Sisson
Fourth placeDesi Linden
Fifth placeSara Hall
Winning Time 2:24:39
First placeGalen Rupp
Second placeJared Ward
Third placeScott Fauble
Fourth placeBernard Lagat
Fifth placeLeonard Korir
Winning Time 2:11:53
Matt K (115)
First placeHuddle
Second placeDes
Third placeTaylor
Fourth placeHall
Fifth placeAlaphine
Winning Time 2:24:36
First placeRupp
Second placeWard
Third placeFauble
Fourth placeKorir
Fifth placeAbdi
Winning Time 2:12:30
Jill B (100)
First placeEmily Sisson
Second placeDes Linden
Third placeKellyn Taylor
Fourth placeSara Hall
Fifth placeEmma Bates
Winning Time 1:25:37
First placeGalen Rupp
Second placeKorir
Third placeWard
Fourth placeSmith
Fifth placeBumby
Winning Time 1:13:01
Me! (100)
First placeJordan Hasay
Second placeSara Hall
Third placeDes Linden
Fourth placeKellyn Taylor
Fifth placeEmily Sisson
Winning Time 2:26:46
First placeGalen Rupp
Second placeJared Ward
Third placeLeonard Korir
Fourth placeScott Fauble
Fifth placeBernard Lagat
Winning Time 2:10:56
Jenn S (100)
First placeJordan Hassay
Second placeDes Linden
Third placeMolly Huddle
Fourth placeEmily Sisson
Fifth placeSara Hall
Winning Time 2:28:18
First placeRupp
Second placeJ ward
Third placeKorir
Fourth placeB Lagat
Fifth placeJ Riley
Winning Time 2:08:19
Brandon D (15)
First placeEmily Sisson
Second placeSara Hall
Third placeDes Linden
Fourth placeMolly Huddle
Fifth placeJordan Hasay
Winning Time 2:28:07
First placeJared Ward
Second placeScott Fauble
Third placeJim Walmsley
Fourth placeLeonard Korir
Fifth placeCJ Albertson
Winning Time 2:13:22
Turd/Bert (0)
First placeSara Hall
Second placeEmily Sisson
Third placeMolly Huddle
Fourth placeJordan Hasay
Fifth placeKellyn Taylor
Winning Time 2:26:51
First placeLeonard Korir
Second placeJared Ward
Third placeGalen Rupp
Fourth placeScott Fauble
Fifth placeJim Walmsley
Winning Time 2:12:51
Cameron S (0)
First placeSARA HALL
Second placeEMILY SISSON
Third placeJORDAN HASAY
Fourth placeEMMA BATES
Fifth placeSALLY KIPYEGO
Winning Time 2:21:30
First placeLEONARD KORIR
Second placeGALEN RUPP
Third placeSCOTT FAUBLE
Fourth placeJERRELL MOCK
Fifth placeMATT McDONALD
Winning Time 2:07:25
Sarah N (120)
First placeEmily Sisson
Second placeJordan Hasay
Third placeDes Linden
Fourth placeMolly Huddle
Fifth placeSara Hall
Winning Time 2:26:22
First placeGalen Rupp
Second placeLeornard Korir
Third placeJared Ward
Fourth placeScott Fauble
Fifth placeLuke Puskedra
Winning Time 2:09:20
Thomas C (115)
First placeEmily Sisson
Second placeSara Hall
Third placeJordan Hassay
Fourth placeDessy Linden
Fifth placeMolly Huddle
Winning Time 2:27:00
First placeGalen Rupp
Second placeJared Ward
Third placeScott Fauble
Fourth placeAndrew Bumbalough
Fifth placeParker Stinson
Winning Time 2:11:00
Josh M (115)
First placeJordan Hasay
Second placeEmily Sisson
Third placeSara Hall
Fourth placeDes Linden
Fifth placeMolly Huddle
Winning Time 2:28:43
First placeGalen Rupp
Second placeLeonard Korir
Third placeJared Ward
Fourth placeJacob Riley
Fifth placeScott Fauble
Winning Time 2:10:25
Keri M (100)
First placeKellyn Taylor
Second placeDes linden
Third placeJordan hasay
Fourth placeSara hall
Fifth placeMolly huddle
Winning Time 2:24:27
First placeGalen Rupp
Second placeLeonard korrir
Third placeJared Ward
Fourth placeJim Walmsley
Fifth placeBernard Lagat
Winning Time 2:09:22
Michael S (100)
First placeHuddle
Second placeLinden
Third placeHasay
Fourth placeBruce
Fifth placeSisson
Winning Time 2:24:00
First placeRupp
Second placeWard
Third placeKorir
Fourth placeLagat
Fifth placeFauble
Winning Time 2:11:30
Jacque C (100)
First placeDesi linden
Second placeSara Hall
Third placeJordan Hasay
Fourth placeMolly Huddle
Fifth placeEmma bates
Winning Time 2:22:33
First placeGalen Rupp
Second placeBernard Lagat
Third placeJared Ward
Fourth placeDathan Ritzenhein
Fifth placeScott Fauble
Winning Time 2:07:45
Lynn P (60)
First placeSara Hall
Second placeJordan Hasay
Third placeSally Kipyego
Fourth placeKelly’s Taylor
Fifth placeDesiree Linden
Winning Time 2:24:37
First placeLeonard korir
Second placeGalen rupp
Third placeAbdi adirahman
Fourth placeJared ward
Fifth placeJerrell mock
Winning Time 2:09:09
Alice S (0)
First placeMolly Huddle
Second placeDesi Linden
Third placeSteph Bruce
Fourth placeKellyn Taylor
Fifth placeSara Hall
Winning Time 2:25:30
First placeJared Ward
Second placeScott Fauble
Third placeScott Smith
Fourth placeAndrew Bumbalough
Fifth placeAndrew Colley
Winning Time 2:11:45
Sarah R (0)
First placeHasay
Second placeDes
Third placeSisson
Fourth placeBruce
Fifth placeHuddle
Winning Time 2:27:00
First placeKorir
Second placeFauble
Third placeRupp
Fourth placeWard
Fifth placeLagat
Winning Time 2:15:00

My Marathon Olympic Team Picks

It’s finally here! The Marathon Olympic Trials are tomorrow, so it’s time to finally make my picks. Want to enter your picks? Join my prediction contest here.

Women

First place: Jordan Hasay

If Jordan is healthy, I don’t see how she doesn’t win. She has the fastest PR, had the fastest marathon debut, and has experience in major marathons. Plus, she’ll be in the shoes.

All of her social media posts have been positive regarding her training, and she’s certainly putting it out there that her hamstring is fully recovered after pulling out of Chicago back in October. I think she distanced herself well from all of the Salazar drama in the fall, and she didn’t attend the pre-race press conference yesterday, so there was no opportunity for anyone to ask her about it again to try to rile her up.

Second place: Sara Hall

Sara Hall’s 2:22 breakthrough in Berlin was a long time coming. She’s a consistent high-performer, and I think now is her time.

Third place: Des Linden

Des is the only returning marathon Olympian, and she’s an absolute beast. I cried when she won Boston in 2018. With the challenging course and stacked field, I see Des being able to weather any storm the course or conditions throw at her as well as cover any moves made by the competition.

Des will be celebrating with whiskey on Saturday night after making her 3rd Olympic team.

Other Contenders

In no particular order because this field is just too deep.

The NAZ Elite Trio

If there was an award for the coolest contender, Kellyn Taylor would win hands down. In addition to being a runner and a mom, Taylor is a firefighter and foster parent. I also recently learned on a podcast interview that her husband was deployed when she gave birth to her daughter, which further adds to her being a total badass.

Stephanie Bruce and Aliphine Tuliamuk round out the NAZ Elite training group. They all ran smoking fast half marathons in January to tune up for the trial, and I imagine they’ll be working together during the race.

The New Balance and Saucony Training Partners

Molly Huddle and Emily Sisson are two serious contenders with many considering Sisson the favorite for the race. I just don’t know enough about Sisson to put her in my top 3. Her 2:23:08 debut was the fastest by an American woman on a record-eligible course, but the Trials will be her second marathon on a vastly different course.

Huddle is a more experienced marathoner, excellent road racer, and led the American charge on the track at the 2016 Olympics. Her PR isn’t as fast as Sisson’s or others in the field, but her experience performing well in a high-stakes event makes her seriously dangerous.

And a couple more…

Sally Kipyego is another front-runner that I don’t know too much about, but 2:25 puts her in serious contention. Finally, Emma Bates came roaring into the marathon scene when she won CIM in 2018 and then lowered her PR to 2:25 at Chicago in the fall. I learned in my research that she lives off the grid, so she certainly has some grit!

Men

Disclaimer: I know a lot less about the men’s field.

First place: Galen Rupp

After Rupp’s 61 tune up half marathon, he seems a lock for the team.

Second place: Jared Ward

Ward literally wrote his dissertation on marathon pacing. He and his mustache will be representing the US again this year in the marathon.

Third place: Leonard Korir

Korir had the fastest debut of an American marathoner. He’s a bit of a wild card since it will only be his second marathon, but a sub-2:08 is hard to discount.

Fourth place: Scott Fauble

I really want Scott Fauble to make the team. The top 4 are so tight, but I’m not sure he’s in the top 3 of those 4.

Fifth place: Bernard Lagat

Lagat is not ranked in the top 10, but he has #oldmanstrength. Plus he just finished up a training stint in Kenya where he ran with Kipchoge. I’m not counting him out.

Olympic Trials Tracker

The Olympic Trials is coming to Atlanta next week! I’ve been excited to watch this race for over a year, and I can’t believe it’s almost here. Atlanta Track Club has done a fantastic job putting together the race and communicating spectator information, and tonight I started working on spectating plan, so I made a tracker!

Since the course has an 8-mile loop the runners will complete 3 times, I wanted to see roughly where the leaders would be at what time. I made a simple Sheet where you can update the expected finish time (and the start time if the races don’t start as scheduled) to see where your runner will be at what mile mark.

It’s not perfect since it assumes even splits, but if you’re planning to MARTA around to different spots on the course, it should be close enough that you don’t miss your runner if you give yourself some cushion time!

If you want to use it for yourself, you can access it here. Remember to make a copy for your own Google Drive first! Since this is a public link, multiple people could change the sheet at the same time, which could create some confusion on race day. 😉