Sweet Baby Jane

I was sitting in a summer training session at at school on August 21st when my phone rang. It was the adoption agency. I ran out of the room to the playground. “Hi, this is Mia with AdoptHelp. I’m calling with good news. You’ve been selected by a birth mother in Florida who is giving birth to a baby girl in December.” So much to process in that loaded sentence. Someone picked our profile? A girl? But I always thought of myself as a boy mom. December? I’ll be a Mama before the end of the year?! This is the best early birthday present ever. Mia gave me a few more details, none of which I remember. I was just anxious to get Brent on the phone. We officially accepted the placement and scheduled a call with the birth Mom.

Let’s flashback to January 2018. After an informational meeting with AdoptHelp, Brent and I decided our philosophy aligned perfectly with the agency. On January 15, 2018 we officially joined the AdoptHelp family. This is something we’ve talked about since before we were married. It was hard to believe it was actually happening. We were sent a THICK packet of paperwork. Applications. Home Visits. Profiles. Family photos. SO MUCH PAPERWORK. With the stress of school, it felt like a second job. We could have been a bit more urgent about finishing everything, but didn’t finalize all the work until the end of May. Brent was a bit of a perfectionist with the profile 🙂 After submitting all of our paperwork we were told to expect a 9-12 month wait. It was up to a birth mother to select us. To celebrate being done with all the initial work we went on the most amazing trip to Namibia and lived a “yes” lifestyle. This translated to running too. Run Cross Country for the first time since high school? Why not? Chicago Marathon with the American Development Program? Yes! Day trip in Sacramento to watch Ellen crush the California International Marathon? Absolutely!

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It was all well and good, but does not compare to the fun of being Jane’s mother. My whole world changed when Jane was born on December 30, 2018. Not having experienced pregnancy, I wondered if I’d feel like Jane’s mom. I wondered if she would bond with me. I worried that my mother instincts wouldn’t kick in. It didn’t feel real until I held her in my arms.

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I feel so blessed to have been there for Jane’s birth and to be the first to hold her after she was born. It was an honor to hold Jane’s birth mother’s hand through labor. We’ve built a strong relationship with her, and I know we’re going to be a part of each other’s lives forever. I love Jane more and more every day. Nothing beats the feeling when she laughs and smiles at me. I absolutely am Jane’s Mama, and those mother instincts definitely kicked in. It’s Mama and Jane all day everyday until April 1st. Oh and side note, yes, I’m a proud Jane, but Jane was not named after my running group. Jane met the name requirements for both Brent and I. I wanted a timeless family name (my Grandma and I both have the middle name Jane) and Brent wanted a female scientist. I love that she is named after a scientist who worked in Africa 🙂 For these next few weeks I am soaking it all in and taking advantage of every moment. Oh, and it turns out I love being a girl Mama too 😉

 

 

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Random Racing + Pacing

My running life post Chicago Marathon has been glorious. Low mileage, BoxUnion and Barry’s with Marta, occasional racing, and a bit of pacing. The other day I ran past an empty soccer field mid-run was in the mood to run fast, so I did 10 sprints. Why not? It’s been a nice break from the super structure of marathon training.

Brent and I stayed in LA this year for Thanksgiving Ashley and Chad’s Wedding. We celebrated at a golf club in the mountains in Burbank. It was perfect. I have the best of friends. I’m still on a high from that day!

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Despite getting home at midnight, the next day I work up early to run the Grand Prix Turkey Trot in Dana Point. Considering my mileage has been lower, I thought I might be able to run a PR. Marathon training exhausts my legs, so I’d been feeling a little more pep in my step. The gun went off and I tried to keep my teammates Julia and Rachel in my sight. First mile, 5:57. Oops! This is gonna hurt. I tried to slow it down a bit, but kept running sub 6:10. I thought to myself, “It’s a 10K. I’ll just let myself crash and burn. No biggie.” But I never crashed. I hit mile 5, and looked down at my watch and did a bit of math and thought “If I can run a final mile in 6:05ish I’ll run in the 37s.” I felt strong and confident, and was so excited to see a 37 on the race clock.Screen Shot 2018-12-02 at 3.40.55 PM.pngScreen Shot 2018-12-02 at 3.42.17 PM.png
The weekend before Thanksgiving I ran my first cross-country 6K with the Janes at the USATF SoCal Cross Country Championships. My goal was not to be the slowest Jane. We’re openly competitive 🙂 The course was tough, but I managed not to trip or fall. Oh, and I finished smack in the middle for our team.

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These days I’m loving the shorter stuff. I feel like I have a lot more to give in the 5K/10K. I love racing, and I can do it more often with shorter distances. I’ve also managed to run exactly 18:28 in the 5K THREE TIMES so I’m looking for a 5K to add to the schedule and lower that number. I’m hoping working on speed will help me in future marathons. I think I’ve got the endurance down; my legs just don’t love running fast.

The real highlight since Boston was TODAY at the California International Marathon. Ellen ABSOLUTELY KILLED IT! I last minute decided to head up there to spectate and pace for the final few miles. Spectating is no joke. Thank you to anyone who has ever cheered for me. It’s a different kind of stress! Sprinting to the car, avoiding road closures, looking out for your runner, praying they’re feeling good. Oh it was so amazing to watch years of hard work pay off today. When I first met Ellen she had never run a marathon, she ran her debut at LA in 4:02 and today she joined the sub-3:10 club running a 3:08. Sub-3, we’re coming for you! I am so so so so proud. It was so amazing to see her execute what I know she has had inside her for a very long time. And to think, this is only the beginning.

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Huge thank you to the Mulholland family for their hospitality. I always love spending time with them 🙂 Now I’m off to celebrate the Brent. Happiest of birthdays to my 35 year old partner-in-life.

 

Chicago Marathon Race Review 2018

2:55.09. But a number doesn’t tell a story, and Chicago was quite the story. I wouldn’t change the experience, but my 26.2 journey was far from perfect. IMG_0491.jpeg

Let me rewind to Saturday. Brent, Ellen, and I stayed in Ukrainian Village with Erica (former EQ3 teacher) and woke up to some crazy thunder/lightening. I was worried about the race getting cancelled on Sunday, so I was hoping we’d get the storm out of the way in time for the marathon. After our morning coffee, we hit up the expo. It was so well organized, had plenty of freebies, and didn’t get too crowded.

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3rd marathon major. 3 to go.

After splurging on a Myo Buddy Pro, we went to meet my parents at their hotel. They drove down from Michigan for the weekend. They went off to wander on Michigan Avenue, and Brent and Ellen went off to run/rock climb. I took full advantage of their hotel, ordering room service, taking a bath, and watching trash on TLC. We had a super early dinner at Mart Anthony’s, recommended by Alison (current EQ3 teacher). It was authentic and perfect pre-race food.  Because we ate so early, we decided to go get dessert after. I’m thinking this may have not been the best idea before the race, but I honestly think they were worth it. These donuts were deliciously greasy. I have a stomach of steel, and the race isn’t for another 11 hours. I’ll digest all this in time. IMG_0483.jpeg

I actually slept well Saturday night. The more marathons I do, the more relaxed I feel going into the race. I had my usual bagel PB&J, some coffee. Brent and Ellen drove me to the start. Considering I usually run Boston as my annual marathon, the American Development Tent felt heavenly. Right next to the start, your own porta potties, no gear check (you just leave your stuff at a table) AND we were warming up with the elites. It was such a cool experience. They announced that we’d be walking over to the start, and I had my fuel ready and felt surprisingly calm.

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Walking to the American Development Tent

Starting right next to the elites was a surreal experience. They’re announcing Gwen Jorgensen, Mo Farah, Galen Rupp, all RIGHT next to me. I was tempted to jump up and wave at the camera. I felt a bit like a poser. Cristina Lowry shouldn’t be allowed this close to professional runners. Next thing I knew, everyone started running. I don’t remember a count down or a gun. We were off. It startled me!

Chicago satellites are off, so I ran based on feel for the first 5k. I probably averaged about a 6:35 pace. After 5K I locked in at a 6:35-6:40 pace and it just felt so good. I felt like I could run forever. I was pumped, excited to be running with a bunch of guys, felt confident, was repeating my mantras in my mind. I actually never hit a wall during this race. For that I am grateful. I took my first gel at mile 4, and the second at mile 9. At mile 13 right after I saw my parents, I noticed my stomach felt crampy, but I used my mind strategies and focused on how amazing my legs felt. I stayed on pace, running under 6:40 for every mile up until mile 20. I’d dry heave every few minutes, but forced myself to take my mind off my stomach and focus on how lucky I was to be in Chicago, and how hard I’d trained. GROSS DETAILS ALERT. At mile 20 I threw up a little in my mouth and spit it out. As I was spitting it out my watch dinged. 6:43. Damn, if I can run a 6:43 while throwing up, there is no stopping me. Plus, Ellen was out on the course popping out everywhere cheering and screaming like crazy. I know this is stupid, but I wanted to make her proud. She is such a great friend and had come all the way to Chicago to support me. I did wonder if she noticed I wasn’t my usual smiley self. The photo below is a forced smile!

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I hit 6:45 or faster from 21-25 (dry heaving every few minutes), then hit the final mile to go and started sprinting. My legs still felt amazing at this point, but I then threw up AGAIN and thought I can’t ruin this now. My last mile was 6:52 which annoyed me. I’m the queen of the negative split!

I turned left towards the finish line and started to tear up. I couldn’t believe I had managed to hit my 2:55 goal on a wonky stomach. I felt so grateful, so proud, and so relieved. Maybe a tad bit annoyed that 2:54 was 9 seconds away, but mostly proud 🙂

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Don’t throw up. Don’t throw up. Don’t throw up.

After I crossed the finish line, whatever sugar was left in my stomach came out. I apologized to the people around me who had to witness it while they were trying to celebrate their finishes. One guy gave me a pat on the back and said “Way to put it all out there.” I didn’t care. 2 fricken 55. I’m inching my way closer to cutting 2 hours off my marathon debut of 4:48. I made my way back to the American Development Tent, saw all the amazing text messages of support. I rushed to meet my parents, Brent, and Ellen.

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Training buddy Min. He ran a 3:07!

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Seeing Mama and Papa at the family reunion site. I love my parents so much 🙂

I’m not sure how to feel about the race. On the one hand, I hit my goal, but I didn’t have the race of my life. Maybe this is all part of the plan? Boston conditions were meh last year. Stomach issues in Chicago. I’ve run marathons in heat. Maybe this is all to teach me grit? One of these days all the stars will align. One day my marathon experience will be magical.

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Post Race at Revolution Brewery

Other random things to share…

  • Apparently it rained a lot during the race. I was in a trance. I don’t really remember.
  • I do remember it being quite windy the final 5K, but nothing like Boston.
  • I warmed up with Mo Farah. His warm up shuffle was probably faster than my race pace.
  • Ellen is the BEST CHEERLEADER EVER. Her support was so so helpful in 20s. I can’t wait to see what she accomplishes at CIM. Brent, don’t you want to spend your bday weekend in Sacramento cheering her on 😉 OK. Maybe she’s tied for best with Alaina.
  • Papa is my original coach. He’s the best coach. We’re already scheming for future goals.
  • Brent and I are trying to figure out how we can afford a Normatec.
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