21 Weeks

Baby Size

Baby Mo is the size of carrot – about 10.5 inches long and 11-12.5 ounces. 21 weeks is when they change from “crown to rump” measurements to “head to toe” measurements, so that accounts for the big jump from last week!

Highs

I’m going to keep my office for a couple more months before we turn it into the nursery, but I spent some time this weekend measuring spaces and moving some furniture around upstairs to decide where we’ll put my desk. I do a lot of video calls, so I not only needed an outlet and a decent amount of wall space but also an acceptable background for those calls.

We put some other organization plans in motion as well. I got a new bookshelf to move my books out of the nursery to make way for more baby items, and I’m excited to put that together this weekend.

Other than that I enjoy feeling the occasional jab as he starts moving around more. 🙂

Lows

It.is.so.hot. I know everyone is hot because we are experiencing record temps for this time of year, but my ability to deal with the heat and humidity feels impaired.

After weeks of little to no SI pain, I ran without my support belt this morning (I did last week as well with no troubles) and now the SI irritation is back with a vengeance. I guess I will be keeping the belt on from now on.

Thanks for reading! As a reminder, I’m participating in a 10-week fundraising effort for The Leukemia & Lymphoma Society, and there are only 10 days left! Every donation works toward a cure. Donate HERE.

20 Weeks

Baby Size

Baby Mo is the size of a banana – about 6.5 inches long and 10-11 ounces (although they told me he was 11 ounces at my scan last week!).

Highs

Halfway there! Cue the music.

The anatomy scan went well! All of his organs got a thumbs up which was a huge relief since the anatomy scan is one of the last times you can find out something is wrong developmentally. Baby Mo wasn’t super cooperative at the scan, but I did get to see him suck his thumbs and fingers when he wasn’t completely hiding his face with his feet and hands. So cute!

He continues to be a wiggler as well. I think I don’t feel all of the subtle movements because almost every time I feel him, it’s significant. Josh was even able to feel him last night! I don’t feel him every day yet, though.

We got some fun baby items from garage sales/Facebook Marketplace last week as well! Josh has a coworker who scoped out some yard sales for us and got us a bouncer and a jump station for $10 each.

My biggest win was getting a BOB Revolution Pro stroller from Facebook Marketplace after weeks of searching and messaging various sellers. I don’t get why so many sellers don’t respond to messages, but I was pumped to find a lightly used one within 30 minutes and for a bargain. Having a stroller meant for serious running is important to me, but I really struggled with the $450-500 price tag. Luckily there are plenty of used ones out there, and I even found new ones for as low as $375 on sites like Zulily if you’re opposed to buying used.

Lows

The most important part of the anatomy scan was that he is healthy, but other than that, it was an incredibly frustrating experience.

I get my ultrasounds at a different office than my OB, and last time they saw me almost right at my appointment time. I assumed that would be the case again, so Josh came, hoping to get to see the ultrasound, and ultimately had to leave and go back to work after sitting with me in the waiting room for 45 minutes.

Once I actually went back, the ultrasound took about 40 minutes. It was very fun to see him for that long, but I didn’t realize the cost of that would be how sore I felt the rest of the day and afterward. I felt like I got punched in the lower stomach for a good 2 days.

And the ending was anticlimactic because the printer connected to my ultrasound broke, so I only got one photo (of his feet) to take home and show Josh. They had multiple techs come in to try to fix it, and everyone just kept saying “I’ve never seen this before,” and they said they couldn’t email me any of the photos either. I have a regular OB appointment again next week in the same building, so I am either going to call or stop by ahead of time to see if they can have some printed for me to pick up. It was definitely a bummer to not have anything to bring home to Josh!

Other than that I officially gave up on trying to run 6 days per week as I really tried to force that last week and was miserable by the end of it. And very tired! I need an extra day to have a later alarm as that makes it easier to get up on the other days (especially as it get hot and earlier wakeups become necessary).

Thanks for reading! As a reminder, I’m participating in a 10-week fundraising effort for The Leukemia & Lymphoma Society, and there are only 2 weeks left! Every donation, even just $5, works toward a cure. Donate HERE.

19 Weeks

Baby size

Baby Mo is the size of a large mango and is about 6 inches long, weighing 8-9 ounces.

Highs

My best friend gave me an entire trash bag full of maternity clothes! It was like Christmas! I am now exclusively wearing maternity shorts/pants and have a great stash of shirts to turn to when I stop fitting into my regular ones.

Josh told me about Predaddit – the reddit community for expecting dads, and it’s the cutest thing ever! I also found the expecting mom community – Baby Bumps – and have enjoyed reading some of the posts there. There can also be stories of loss, but people are good about titling them in a way that it makes clear whether they’re happy or sad.

And the most exciting news – I’m pretty sure I had some movement! On Josh’s birthday I felt three strong pulses in my lower stomach. I pushed back on the spot and then it pulsed back at me! That is nothing like the “butterfly wings” I’ve been reading about, but I have felt some more subtle movements since then.

We have our anatomy scan tomorrow! I’m excited to see Baby Mo looking a little more like a baby and less like a blob now that’s getting bigger.

Lows

I had some bad congestion/sinus infection-type symptoms last week that made me feel awful! Nothing related to pregnancy – just normal person miserable.

Other than that I’ve been struggling with the heat and humidity as summer approaches. I get hot very quickly, and it takes a long time to cool down after. I’m sure part of it is just needing to adjust as all of us do every year, but it does have me a little worried for actual summer!

Thanks for reading! As a reminder, I’m participating in a 10-week fundraising effort for The Leukemia & Lymphoma Society, and there are only 3 weeks left! Every donation, even just $5, works toward a cure. Donate HERE.

18 Weeks (plus Seattle pictures)

Baby size

Baby Mo is the size of a bell pepper and is 5 to 5.5 inches long and is 6-7 ounces in weight. My favorite non-product comparison is that the baby is about the size of a Nintendo NES Classic Controller.

Highs

I was in Seattle visiting Becka for the majority of last week! Seattle is beautiful, and I enjoyed the cool weather and lack of humidity for sure. When it’s clear enough to see Mount Rainier from UW’s campus, it honestly looks fake it’s so pretty.

Also pretty – an alpine lake! We hiked the Bridal Veil Falls trail and the Lake Serene trail on Mount Index in the central Cascades. The map said it was an 8 mile hike, but I am very skeptical since my watch said 9.2, and the “2 miles” from the falls to the lake felt like much more than that. But it was worth it!

We enjoyed some Zebra Cakes on a rock out on the lake before heading back. The total time on the hike was just shy of 5 and a half hours, and I was POOPED when we got done. Even though the downhill headed back was faster and easier, I still took quite a few breaks to just sit and get off my feet.

I got to see some of the city as well. We rode the Seattle Great Wheel on the pier and toured both the Klondike Gold Rush Museum and the Museum of History and Industry. I also saw the Fremont Troll (under the bridge, of course), and the views from Gas Works Park at night are spectacular!

Other than that, I am anxiously awaiting the first movements from Baby Mo! You can expect to feel the baby move anywhere from 16-25 weeks (what a range), and it tends to be later for first-timers since you aren’t familiar with what to expect.

Lows

I had a really vivid nightmare a couple of days ago that made it really hard to calm down enough to go back to sleep. Yay, pregnancy dreams!

My SI joint mainly is doing better but sometimes even if I do all of my stretching/activation techniques, it still is a pain. I took today off from running to help it calm down again (and because I wanted to sleep in…).

Thanks for reading! As a reminder, I’m participating in a 10-week fundraising effort for The Leukemia & Lymphoma Society, and you can help! Every donation, even just $5, works toward a cure. Donate HERE.

More Seattle pics

17 Weeks

Baby size

Baby Mo is the size of a pear and is still 5 to 5.5 inches long but weighs a little more – around 5 ounces.

Highs

I got that 10-mile run in! It was questionably smart to do 10 miles the first time I wore my new support belt, but I felt like time was running out to get this distance in, so I just went for it. It was great! I was quite tired for the rest of the day, but I didn’t flare up my SI joint pain or make anything feel worse, so it was worth it.

Speaking of the SI joint, it has been behaving itself much better lately, so I haven’t been hurting like I was the week before.

I also bought my first maternity clothes! My jeans still fit right now but are getting a bit more uncomfortable, so I wanted to make sure I had something other than sweatpants to wear when the day comes that I can’t button my jeans. Since we are very close to shorts weather for the rest of the pregnancy, I only got one pair of jeans along with some shorts and a couple of shirts. I’m a huge fan of the shorts! Maternity shorts are super comfortable.

I ended week 16 with a doctor’s appointment where I got to hear the strong heartbeat (146) which is always nice. 🙂

Lows

I had a bad “pregnancy brain” day last week. I was making a birthday cake for a friend, so I needed to run to the store to grab a few things. In general I prefer Kroger to Publix and had planned on going there. I got in my car and…ended up at Publix. I didn’t even realize I had gone to the wrong store until I parked. It seemed like too much trouble to go over to Kroger when Publix has everything I needed (just in a worse store layout IMO), so I spent twice as long in the store trying to find everything. I also had the fun task of figuring out what the word “softer” meant that I had put on the list (it was powdered sugar, of course).

The only other low of the week is that I found out only 1 pair of my non-athletic shorts fit now. It’s starting to warm up, so I changed into shorts one afternoon only to find that I had extremely limited options. I guess I’ll be wearing those maternity shorts earlier than expected!

Thanks for reading! As a reminder, I’m participating in a 10-week fundraising effort for The Leukemia & Lymphoma Society, and you can help! Every donation, even just $5, works toward a cure. Donate HERE.

16 Weeks

Now that I got my initial post out, I’m more motivated to keep up with ongoings! Also, I found another woman’s blog over the weekend and reading her weekly updates was really helpful to me. Maybe this will help someone else in the future?

Baby size

Baby Mo is the size of an avocado! 5 to 5.5 inches long and about 2.5 oz in weight.

Highs

I got to visit my coworkers in Charleston last week! We ate giant pizza which was my favorite food-related moment of the trip.

I had a great run at the end of last week as well. Friday was plagued with storms, so I kept an eye on the radar and was finally able to get out the door in the late afternoon. I wanted to run my 8-mile route but was open to seeing how I felt. Lately the first mile of most every run has been uncomfortable, and I feel like I have to pee even if I went right before stepping outside. The first couple miles of this run followed this pattern, but then once I started feeling better, I felt so strong for the rest of the run! It was a great end to the week/start to the weekend to finish up feeling like I thrived during a longer run rather than just survived. I have a goal to do a 10-mile run before I get too big, and having a solid run like this made me more confident in my ability to do that.

Then on Saturday I met up with my friend James for a run, and it was so fun to have his company! I found that a lot of the discomforts I have while running alone aren’t there when I have someone there to distract me.

Also on Saturday we got to have lunch with my brother-in-law and sister-in-law! We haven’t seen them since Christmas, so it was nice to get the chance to catch up on life and share more about their nephew-to-be.

Lows

I’m having a LOT of SI pain on my right side. I had some about 6 weeks ago but managed to keep it under control with a few exercises, but this weekend it really flared up. I K-taped my back at the beginning of the week and opted for a pool run yesterday and a short run today, and both of those have helped. I have a pregnancy support belt set to be delivered today as well! I didn’t think I needed a pregnancy support belt this early, but my friend Jenn said she started running in hers at 16 weeks, so I will, too!

If you’d like to know what SI pain feels like, imagine having a stabbing/is-my-back-broken level pain when you randomly make certain movements, but you’re not sure enough which movements bother it to avoid them. Fun times.

The only new symptom to develop is my gag reflex is extremely sensitive, and I’m gagging when I brush my teeth now. :/

My main low is that I just don’t like how I look right now. All of my weight and expansion is right in my stomach, but I always imagined the expansion being a little…firmer. My expanded stomach is soft and flabby, so I’m in that awkward stage of, “Did you eat a big meal, or are you pregnant?”

Something that helped reading the blog I found this weekend is hearing someone else struggle with that and acknowledging that you can feel both unhappy about how your body looks because of the baby AND super excited about the baby growing there. They aren’t mutually exclusive.

Thanks for reading! As a reminder, I’m participating in a 10-week fundraising effort for The Leukemia & Lymphoma Society, and you can help! Every donation, even just $5, works toward a cure. Donate HERE.

We’re having a baby!

Hooray! Baby Morrison will be joining us in October of this year, and we couldn’t be more excited! I’ve been gathering info for this post but putting off writing it. Everyone keeps telling me how quickly the time will pass, and even if it feels slow now, I probably shouldn’t put off writing about it! My memory is already getting bad as it is.

January 2019

Since my running had been going terribly, I decided to get my ferritin level tested to see if I was anemic. I hate going to the doctor, so I ordered a CBC+Ferritin test online and presented it to LabCorp without having to go through a doctor! I got the results back, and there were a few concerning things. First of all, my ferritin level was 215. To put that into perspective, my level has never been above 50, and the normal range ends at 150, so that was absolutely bonkers. I also had some indicators of hypothyroidism, so I scheduled a doctor’s appointment to talk to someone about my results.

January 28th

I had a doctor’s appointment that afternoon, and I assumed they would ask me to take a pregnancy test since we were trying to have a baby. I really didn’t want to find out I was pregnancy in a doctor’s office, so I took a test that morning even though it was pretty much the earliest possible day I could find out (roughly 5 days before my period was due). I braced myself for a negative (which due to the early nature could have been a false negative) and was seriously shocked it was positive. I got to tell Josh he was going to be a dad and we took this photo at 5:56am. #wewokeuplikethis

My doctor said all of my abnormal tests were likely due to the very early stage pregnancy and ordered another test for me, just to double check everything, mainly the thyroid issue. She was wonderful, and I’m happy to have found a doctor I like!

Things I learned about pregnancy

  1. You count weeks from your last period, not from ovulation. This makes perfect sense since most women can remember their last period and likely don’t track ovulation, but it felt like cheating to me when I was extremely early. 4 weeks pregnant means you’ve only actually been pregnant for 2! Half the time!
  2. Your OB-Gyn doesn’t see you until you’re 6-8 weeks pregnant. If you find out as early as I did, that is a LOT of time to freak out and worry about all the things that could go wrong and wonder if you’re really pregnant.

February 2019

I spent the first week of February in Charleston with the Praxis team and it was SO HARD not to say anything. My notes from that trip say, “Keeping this secret is exhausting!”

I did take a sneaky picture when we took a trip to the beach. I was about 5 weeks pregnant, so Baby Mo as we were calling the baby was the size of an apple seed, so I could send it to Josh.

A couple of weeks later I finally had my first doctor’s appointment! Apparently my insurance at the time required a “confirmation of pregnancy” appointment before you have your “initial OB” appointment, so my visit was very quick. We did get to see the tiny baby (1/3 of a cm) and the movement of a heartbeat, so that was cool! It made it real that there was actually something there even if it was very small. I also got put on levothyroxine for my thyroid.

I eagerly called Becka on the way home from the doctor, and we got to share the news with Josh’s parents later that day, too. We were seeing my parents the next week for my birthday, so they were the first ones we got to tell in person! I’m pretty proud of my delivery as well. Their 40th wedding anniversary is coming up in October, so I asked if they new what the gift was for the 40th. Dad sarcastically guessed paper, and then I said, “Oh, I thought it was that you got your first grandchild?” 😉

“Morning” Sickness

I’m sure most people have heard that morning sickness is poorly named, and that is the TRUTH. My notes for February 19th are, “Been a rough nausea day. I made ramen at 9am.”

Luckily weeks 7 and 9 were the worst for me, and I was almost fully past morning sickness by week 10-11.

March 2019

I went back to the doctor and had my “first OB” appointment which was much more informative than my first one! I got a goodie bag and a packet of information and instructions not to type my questions into Google but instead to ask the doctor. I got to see the baby again who was actually visible this time. I still hadn’t heard the heartbeat, but my doctor showed me the wiggly heart and measured the rate.

More pregnancy fun

Pregnancy nausea is a fine balance where you try not to get hungry but you also try not to eat too much. You essentially snack all day or do the “six small meals a day” plan. I get no joy from constant snacking or small meals! But being hungry was terrifying, and eating too much was horrible too, so snack all the time it was. At my second doctor’s appointment they made a comment about how I had already gained some weight – well that’s what happens when you eat constantly!

Most common acne products aren’t pregnancy approved, so I had to switch to something that was. My skin has been on a rollercoaster of breaking out badly all over, clearing up, and then having spotty breakouts, and also clearing up. It’s definitely been tough from a self-confidence standpoint.

April 2019

I reallllly wanted to announce publicly on April 1st as a not-joke, but I had my 12-week appointment on April 2nd, and I just wanted to make sure everything was still good. This marked the first of my double appointments where I see my doctor quickly (weight check, blood pressure check, doppler to hear the heartbeat) and then go to another office to see a specialist. The specialist office had a much fancier ultrasound, and Baby Mo was nearly 10 cm long at this point! Still looks a bit like a blob with a big head but more like a baby than a month ago.

I got my blood drawn for the cell free test that checks for Trisomy 13, 18, and 21 as well as the sex of the baby. They told me they would call me with the results but wouldn’t leave the sex on voicemail, so I’d have to call them back for that. Because of this, we knew there wasn’t a way for Josh and I to find out together as I’d find out before him, so he asked me to surprise him with a cookie cake.

Just a week later, I got the call! She told me the results were negative for all of the trisomy tests and asked if I wanted to know the sex. I said yes, and she replied, “You’re having a baby boy.”

A boy! I was so excited to know…and a bit shocking! I made a cookie cake for Josh just like he asked and sent him a photo of the blank cake before I decorated it. Then it was just the wait for him to come home from work!

15 weeks down, 25 to go!

Guest Post: My Dad’s Final 100-Mile Race

I come from a running family. A number of years ago, my dad decided that marathons were “too short” and embarked on ultra marathons. Ultras are technically anything longer than a marathon, so they range from 50k (31 miles) to 100+ miles, usually on trails. In fact, they usually call races 100-milers even if the courses run a bit long. What’s an extra mile or 3 when you’re already going that far?

Last weekend was my dad’s final 100-miler as the opportunity cost of training for them has gotten too high (his words as a fellow econ nerd). It was a 103.7 mile course on a mountain trail in the George Washington National Forest in Virginia’s Shenandoah Valley with over 18,000 feet of climbing. If that doesn’t sound like enough of a party, it also rained the entire week leading up to the race and during the race (as you’ll read).

Please enjoy the race recap below, written by Michael Walcott. 103 miles for his 103rd marathon/ultra marathon.

Massanutten Mountain Trail 100 (really 103.7 miles)

Executive Summary:  I finished. Placed 98th out of 128 finishers.  190 started the race which means 62 dropped. Total time was 34:25, far beyond my expected time of 28-30 hours, but given the entirety of the event, I’ll take it.

The gory details:  In Sunday school we used to sing, “The rains came down and the floods came up, the rains came down and the floods came up…..”  It should have been the theme song for this year’s MMT.

Before I describe the race, let me thank Jim Perkins for his outstanding support.  He met me at every crew accessible aid station, had the gear laid out, and did everything he could to keep me moving.  He was out there the entire 35 hours making sure I had everything I needed. I could not have done it without him.

It rained a lot in the days leading up to Saturday morning.  We went to get my race packet on Friday afternoon and the parking area was off limits due to standing water.  Given a 4 am Saturday start we intended to camp at the starting line Friday night. I checked the forecast and it was supposed to start raining in the early evening and rain solid all night and into the next morning.  I found a hotel room. It was a dump, but it was the best $100 I spent on the trip.

When the alarm went off at 2am I checked outside and it was pouring down rain.  We packed up and set off for the start. They wouldn’t let Jim park so I jumped out of the van and walked the road to the starting line and big tent.  The rain had quit and everyone was milling around waiting for the start. A few minutes before 4 a light rain started. One minute before 4 we get called out of the tent to the starting line, and at 4 we started.  So did a steady rain.

We began by running across a water-soaked field to get to the road.  Feet wet. They wouldn’t be dry again until I finished. Understand, I’m not wearing cotton socks and canvas tennis shoes.  My trail shoes drain well and my socks are a high quality merino wool that do very well in wet conditions, but it was wet feet nonetheless.

The first 4 miles were slightly uphill on a paved road that turned to high quality dirt after a mile.  There were two bridges on this road that were designed for water to run over the bridge if the creek was too high.  Both bridges had fast running water over the road. After four miles we turned on to the first trail, and I got my first look at what I was facing for the day.  They did not lie about the rocks. There were big rocks, little rocks, round rocks, flat rocks, sharp rocks, angled rocks, embedded rocks and loose rocks, every kind of rock.  Not always, there were sections pretty much clear of rocks, but those sections were full of mud and running water.

The course is a big figure 8.  About a 70 mile upper loop, clockwise, with a crossover at Gap Creek to make a smaller counterclockwise 30 mile loop back to Gap Creek.  We would ascend to the ridge line, run along it, descend to an aid station and do it again. 11 major climbs plus lots of smaller ones. It became clear the lower sections would be ridiculously wet and muddy, but the higher one got on the trail, the dryer it got and the ridge trails were in pretty good shape and fairly runnable at times with minimal rocks.

All went well early on.  The rain quit by 9 or so and it wouldn’t rain again for the remainder of the race.  It stayed cloudy and foggy almost all day Saturday which ruined the views off the ridges, but kept it pretty cool.  I had fallen pretty far back on the first climb, but now I was moving up playing leapfrog with a number of runners but eventually leaving them behind.  The only incident was a creek crossing that was raging. I misstepped and lost my balance and started getting dragged downstream only my head above water.  Fortunately I was crossing with a few others, and two grabbed me before I ended up in the Shenandoah River 20 miles downstream.

Sidebar – Here’s a story that epitomizes what I love about the ultra community.  When I was rescued from the raging creek, my right shoulder got wrenched. Once out of the creek I was rotating my arm to check the damage and Alexandre Benoit, a runner from Canada, asked if I was ok.  I had been playing leapfrog with Alexandre for a couple of hours. Earlier in the day he had done a face plant into a rock. His face was bloody and his upper lip was held together with a bandage. He offered me Biofreeze for my shoulder.  I declined, but I was struck by his kindness. He was willing to stop, remove his pack and get me, a total stranger, some Biofreeze. When I’m not running I’m cycling. Cyclists are not like runners. A fellow cyclist’s goal is to inflict pain and drop you. Ultrarunners care for one another.

Ok, back to our exciting story.  Around 30 miles the stomach decided to go south, and I got sick.  For the next 3 hours I fought the nausea and other problems, but I’m no longer eating or drinking enough.  The battle of the mind and body begins.

By mile 54 I’m 3 hours behind my target time and only 90 minutes in front of the cutoff.  I gear up for the night, and I’m not feeling good. It doesn’t get better. The next section was 10 miles, and it took me 3.5 hours.  I stopped several times and turned off my headlamp and did a 360. Nothing but pitch blackness. I didn’t know where I was, and there was no one else around.  I couldn’t even run the downhills, and my stomach was a mess. I finally get to Camp Roosevelt at 64 miles.

I had read and been told that the section from Roosevelt to Gap Creek was the wettest part of the course.  I wondered how much wetter could it get? Turns out, a lot. A runner earlier in the day told me the first 2 miles out of Roosevelt was in a creek bed.  The trail is a creek, and it would be wet. She did not lie. I’m climbing a creek with 6 inches of running water coming down. It wasn’t steep, but it was wet.  What she forgot to tell me was the wall I had to climb after the creek bed, and the nasty descent after the climb. At 1:30 AM I staggered into Gap Creek. I was beat both physically and mentally.

Perkins meets me and sort of catches me as I wobble to one side.  An aid station worker holds me up from the other side as they discuss whether I should sit.  I don’t want to sit. Then God sent Heather. I’m standing in a daze, the other two are discussing what to do with me, and Heather appears with energy that belies the time of day (1:30am) and a smile on her face she asks, “Do you want a pacer?”  Addled brain or not, I know a good deal when I see one. If a pretty, 30-something wants to pace me, there is only one correct answer, and I reply, “Yes I do.” Certain logistics are discussed (like how to get her back to her car), the deal is made. I had a pacer.

While I was still suffering physically, having Heather as pacer made huge difference in my mental state.  After a tough climb, we got to the first runnable section and like a good pacer Heather suggested we run a little.  I tell her I can’t run, but I can shuffle fast. So she said, “Let’s shuffle.” So we did. Turns out Heather is from Michigan, so am I.  Heather is an alumna of University of Michigan and a fan of the Wolverines, so am I (a fan of the Wolverines – Go Blue!). Heather has only sisters, I only have brothers, well you get the picture.  Words cannot adequately express what an important role she played in getting me to the finish. If she’s not at Gap Creek, I don’t make it. Perkins told me on the way home he thought I would quit at Gap Creek.  I looked that bad.

We get to the next aid station, and Heather asks if I want her to keep pacing.  I tell her she can take me all the way to finish if she wants, but I’m grateful for what she’s done.  She decides to keep going. We climb Bird Knob and get there at sunrise. We take a moment to appreciate the view, it was spectacular (it’s not like I was going to win).  We head for the Picnic Area aid station, the next to last one, but it’s a haul. We were on that one section for as far as we could see, and we could see pretty far down the trail, it was a muddy river.  Heather said, “They should call this the 100-mile river trail.” We stop on a downhill section to let a couple runners by. I tell Heather I don’t think I can go much farther. I’m falling asleep standing up, and I can feel my stomach is totally empty.  I’m moving on fumes. We keep thinking the aid station has to be close. I’m hallucinating. I see the fence line, a road and a picnic shelter around every corner only it’s just more woods when we get there. Even Heather is hallucinating the aid station.  Eventually, it is the aid station and not a hallucination.

Picnic Aid is the breakfast station.  The staff recognized my plight, sat me down and force-fed me pancakes, bacon and Coke.  Force-fed might be a bit strong, but they were insistent on getting some calories into me before they kicked me out.  It made the difference. With some calories and Heather’s part command, part question, “Time to shuffle?” we made the 9-mile trek (with a 4-mile nasty climb) back to Gap Creek in under 3 hours.  Heather didn’t need a ride back to her car, she ran back.

Sidebar – About 2 miles out of Picnic the trail crosses a main highway.  As we approached it, I noticed someone sitting by the trailhead. It was Perkins.  He said he thought I might want my sunglasses – I did. That’s an example of the kind of great support Jim provided all during the race.

When we hit the road leading into Gap Creek I finally knew I was going to make it.  I had 4 hours to cover less than 9 miles and over 5 miles of that was on a gravel road going downhill.  Short of breaking a bone I was going to finish. I said goodbye to Heather and started off on the last section.  I passed 8 runners coming home and even ran, not shuffled, a good bit of the last road.

So ends the rambling tale of the MMT 100.  Thanks to all for your supportive comments before and after the race.  If you ever want to try the race, let me know. I’ll gladly be your crew.

Becka’s Birthday Blog Post

My sister turned 30 this week. The milestone birthday plus the overall impressiveness that embodies who she is warrants an entire post dedicated to some of my favorite memories.

Growing up, I always wanted to be just like Becka. I mirrored my interests after hers from loving to read to wanting to take music lessons to sports. We had active imaginations and spent countless hours creating lives for our Barbies and other toys. I learned later in life that Becka played Barbies much later than the “expected age” and probably past her interest simply because I wanted to, and I’m thankful for that.

When I played rec league basketball, Becka taught me how to post up and drop step to the basket. (Side note: I used to be tall and play down low. This is now laughable as I haven’t grown since middle school.)

Becka and I would jam out to the Moulin Rouge soundtrack while driving to church on Wednesday nights, attempting to harmonize and hit the high notes.

Sometime in late middle school or early high school, Becka and I started a Thanksgiving tradition where we run through the neighborhood in Christmas clothes and decorations. I think we have only missed 2 years in the last 13.

Becka introduced me to Ender’s Game which is still one of my favorite books today.

When I was a senior in high school, Becka took me on a road trip to see one of her friends who lived in Canada. She had the 7th Harry Potter book with her (neither of us had read it yet) and whoever was the passenger had the task of reading out loud to the driver.

Becka is my best cheerleader. She’s made me smile during painful races with her shouts of, “Be the cheetah!” and “That’s my sister!”

Becka is the best person to visit or accompany a trip. She spent the summer in Ecuador a couple of years ago, and I got to experience so much of the country thanks to her planning. She is a bus navigation expert and will find the best hikes or adventurous excursions in the area.

She is a great dance partner, especially when your husband is less than fond of weddings. And dancing.

Just a few months ago when I got sick on a family trip near Christmas, Becka literally picked me up off of the bathroom floor and let my feverish head lay in her lap on the plane ride home.

She’s a beast! Becka’s goal was to do 5 pull ups in a row (actual pull ups – not chin ups and not only going down to when your elbows are 90 degree angles – all the way down), and I was able to witness her meeting this goal for the first time a couple of months ago.

Those are just a few memories of many. I am very blessed, and Becka being my sister is certainly one reason why.