Monday, July 29, 2013

St. George Marathon

(I realized this was in drafts and I had never published it! Since I am feeling pretty out of shape and pregnant right now I want to relive I am finishing it now!)

Dear blog friends, it has been SO LONG since I wrote! Since starting teaching I have been both busy, and slightly terrified that a student or one of their parents would Google my name and find this blog, and why that terrifies me I am not quite sure (at a new teacher meeting they kind of warned us against having a life on the internet because "parents will look you up!!!"). Anyway, I have realized that I need to make time for record keeping, and reading other people's race re-caps has made me want to write about my marathon before I forget details from the whole thing.

The week leading up to the race I was a nervous wreck for two main reasons:

1. I felt horribly under-trained, as starting school had totally overtaken my energies and time in the last month and a half,

2. and, I had a failed attempt at a 20-miler like two weeks before the race, and I was convinced that this was foreshadowing for the event itself.

The 20-miler was a big disappointment, but I foolishly attempted it on a Friday night, which I have learned is definitely not my time to run. I am way, way better in the morning. I only made it 14 miles into it and had to call Dave to pick me up. He found me slumped on the ground, fighting back tears. The week before I had done 18 miles and it had gone fine, on a Saturday morning when my legs were fresh, so I just kept trying to tell myself that the race would follow this pattern, rather than the failed Friday night run.

I got permission to leave school right when the bell rang on Friday, so we hit the road as soon as we could. Even so, it wasn't optimal to spend all evening in the car before the race, but there was nothing else we could really do. We rolled in to St. George around 7:30, and grabbed my race number and shirt, bumping into some friends from Provo (and one of my students, who pretended he didn't see me :) at the Expo. We got to my in-laws and ate some pasta that Dave's mom had kindly left for us.

The funny part about that night was that while we were at Dave's parents' house, they were up in Provo at our apartment. There was a BYU game that night and so they were going to stay, but they ended up driving through the night back to St. George to see the race! It was so sweet of them to do that--and then they had to turn around right after the race and drive back up to Liberty (which is up by Logan) to meet up with some friends that they had plans with. When I woke up at 4:30 to catch the race buses, they were just rollin' in. I have such supportive in-laws!

I had previously made plans to meet up with Dr. Dudley, Dave's Dad's partner who I worked for this summer, and Bethany, who is one of their surgical assistants, who I had gotten to know and trained with a little bit when we were in St. George back in the summer months. We hadn't really planned on running the race together, since we all run at different paces (Bethany is way faster than me!) but it was really nice to have people to hang out with at the start and to ride the hour-long bus ride with. The bus ride was by far the most intimidating part of the marathon! Sitting there in the dark for and hour makes you realize that every minute that you drive is like five minutes that you are  going to have to run  back to civilization! 

The hour of wait time at the start was kind of miserable. I was shaking the whole time, partly from the cold and partly from nerves. It was such a relief when it was time to go and I could finally start running, actually moving towards my goal. The beginning was, for me, actually a little anti-climactic. For one thing, I guess there was a mix-up and they forgot the National Anthem! I thought it was a little weird that they didn't play it, since they usually do at large races, but they sent out an email later apologizing for the oversight. It was also still really dark, and it took so long to get all the runners over the start line that I didn't actually start running for like 9 minutes after the gun went off. I took off on my own, letting Bethany run ahead. Dr. Dudley was right behind me (he actually finished right after me at the finish. I had no idea we were so close the whole time or I would have run with him!) and I saw a few other people that I know along the way. As it got lighter, it was really, really fun to look at the beautiful scenery. You can't really beat St. George for awesome views, and the October weather was perfect. 

I will skip a play-by-play of the middle of the marathon, because no one really wants to read 5 hours worth of commentary. I will say this, though: 

1. If I run it again (which I hope to!) I will walk up the hills. People were walking up the hills and I was running by like "suckers!" but then my legs KILLED on the downhill parts!

2. I surprised myself by not running with music for the last half of the race. I thought that was when I would need it the most, but actually I really enjoyed listening to the people around me and hearing the encouragement of the race support at all of the aid stations.

3. People who volunteer to man an aid station are angels! This race had TONS of aid stations. One every mile, with Powerade, water, bananas and oranges, Otter Pops, you name it. I see why the St. George Marathon has a great reputation nation-wide now.

4. I think I would run my next marathon with a friend. I usually am fine running alone, but 26.2 miles is a long gets a little boring! And I was worried about holding someone back, but over that length of time there are lots of water breaks, stretch-your-calves-breaks, etc., so for me at least it would be worth the sacrifice of waiting for someone else to have the company. Just a thought.

I remember hitting mile 18 and thinking, "Wow, this is the farthest I have ever run. Whatever happens next is a total crap shoot." I seriously didn't know what to expect. By this time my legs were killing. But I also knew I could keep going. I never had the feeling that I couldn't go on, or that I just wanted to sit down and not run anymore. I definitely knew I would finish, but I wanted to run to the finish, not walk! At this point in the race there were a lot of people just walking, but I am proud to say I never got to that point. I walked through the aid stations but I kept a very slow little shuffle going even at the end.

*One funny side note: This race happens on the first weekend in October every year, aka General Conference weekend. So the Saturday morning session is going on during the race, which I actually felt kinda guilty about even though I watched it later. Some people had set up their car with huge speakers and had Conference blaring through one of the aid stations, which was funny. But at around mile 16 or so I heard this girl tell the guy next to her, "They changed the missionary age for girls!" and when I finished, that was all anyone was talking about at the finish line! I WOULD miss the most exciting announcement of our time the one time I don't watch conference!

Anyway, around mile 23 you dip down into the actual town of St. George, and aren't just on the highway anymore. This was exciting because there were finally spectators! You will notice a lack of pictures on this post up until now, which is due to the fact that the entire race course is blocked off for the runners, but since it's kind of in the middle of nowhere, no one can access it to watch except the farm families that live wayyyyy out there. So it's really fun to finally run along a portion with people cheering! It also motivated me not to stop because I knew a lot of people with family watching and I didn't want anyone I knew to see me walk (my ego is showing, I know. Hey, it worked for me!).

The last mile or two are quite honestly a blur. I will say that I just wanted to finish SO BADLY! I was kind of near tears I think. But I knew Dave would be somewhere close, since we had talked about where he would stake me out and so that kept me distracted looking for him. I turned a corner around mile 26, and all of a sudden I hear a bunch of people calling my name: Dave, and our friends Taylor and Heather (Heather's dad was running the race too) were sitting on the curb and all started waving frantically for me to see them. I later had to apologize to Heather for not being friendlier at the time, because I really loved seeing them but I think I just kind of groaned in their general direction. Taylor has run the race before, though, so she was understanding :)

Dave was so cute because he hopped up (with his parents' snazzy camera) and started running with me in the St. George heat! (wearing jeans and Sperry's and a button-up I might add). He couldn't really run on the course because they were monitoring it, but we was right along the side. He was snapping pics the whole way. I kind of wish I had pictures from the first mile instead of the last, but it's good to remember how thrashed I looked I guess, in case I ever get it in my system to sign up for another marathon:

 Rounding the corner about half a mile from the finish

Trying to look happy and kind of failing. Not sure why the double-peace pose was all I could pull out for these pictures. I think my brain was malfunctioning.

 After crossing the finish line! My official time was 4:56 but the clock is always longer. Not a fast time at all but at least it's under 5:00!

With Bethany and Dr. Dudley, who inspired me to sign up for the race during the summer! Bethany had an awesome finishing time and Dr. D. finished with me. It was the first full marathon for all of us and I must say we rocked it!

*Warning for future runners: Towards the finish, the race has these cool, damp wash clothes they hand out for you to wipe off the trails of salt that dry onto your face while you run (yes, that actually happens when you are sweating for five hours straight), which feel AMAZING! BUT, they will make you look like a drowned rat in all of your post-race pictures if you get your hair wet with them too. Just something I wish I would have known....

All in all, this was a FANTASTIC experience! I would totally do it again. When I finished I just kind of wanted to cry, I am not sure if it was because I was so tired and hungry or grateful for all of the people that came to support me or what, but I think I was also just so amazed to have a physical body that can do such hard things! Training for and completing the race totally strengthened my testimony of bodies and of the creation: the world we live in has so much beauty!

 I think it is funny that our baby girl is due the same weekend as the race this year (well, she's due before but she will probably be late). I will be doing something else very hard and challenging, and I think there are probably a lot of similarities, actually: preparation, endurance, focus, etc. But I definitely didn't get such a sweet reward at the end of the race as I will labor! (Although Dave's parents did give me the sweetest gift bag with a 26.2 car sticker and a Kneader's gift that's pretty much as awesome as a baby, right?). 

Sorry this post was a nightmarish length....I never want to forget this race, though!

Thursday, July 25, 2013

What's in a Name?

The big question now is always, "do you have a name picked out?" I totally admit that I used to ask my pregnant friends this all the time. I know this question is well-meaning and innocent but honestly I HATE it! Here is why:

1) If I say no, we sound like losers who didn't realize we are having a baby. Like the royal baby, people are like, "Seriously? You've had 9 months to think about this and you really just haven't bothered?"

2) If I say no, I am also lying. Which I don't love.

3) If I say, "yeah, we have a few options but we are going to wait until she is born to choose," I am also pretty much lying, and people wait expectantly to hear what the options are, and sometimes weigh in. Which, last time I checked, I didn't ask for, and also it gets awkward when the ones they like are my decoys.

4) If I say, "we have a name, but we aren't announcing it until she is born," I sound smug and obnoxious. Like "you aren't in my inner circle so you don't get to know." Bleh, no thank you.

5) If I just wimp out and tell them, they never react right! I really don't care what people think of the name we have picked, because, quite frankly, it isn't what they named their kids so we obviously have slightly different tastes. That is expected, and fine. But when I tell them the name and they just stare blankly with no reaction, I DO get a little uncomfortable. Like, "really, it's that bad?" So maybe I care a teensy bit. I am in a fragile state right now.

 For the record, we DO have a name picked out, and we have just chosen to keep it a secret until she is born, mostly because I think it kind of takes the fun out of it if everyone knows before she makes her big appearance. I am breeding a future drama queen here, I have to start early. And I also want a town crier at her birth like Princess Kate got.

There are so few things in life (especially in this day and age) that are a surprise or big news, I think it's just more exciting this way! It's like saving your wedding dress for your wedding day instead of posting your bridals to Facebook two weeks before. For the record we don't even refer to her as her name yet. I mostly call her "little one" or "little girl" or, most creatively, "the baby." I feel kind of superstitious about calling her anything else. I recognize that I am sounding high-maintenance about this, whatever.

I will say that she won't have a middle name. Before we even knew the gender we knew that, should she be a girl, we would not be giving her a middle name. Dave was really understanding about this, which I appreciate, because it is a family tradition in my family that females don't have middle names, and it is a family tradition in his family that kids have Japanese middle names.

As a kid, I actually always wanted a middle name (something really fancy like "Anastasia" just to jazz up "Claire" a little) but when I got closer to marriage I realized that I actually LOVE my maiden name and didn't want to lose it totally! It's a part of who I am, my history and heritage, and it's quite sentimental to me now, actually: Claire Hopkin Mizukawa. Not quite as flashy as "Claire Isabella" or something, but it means a lot to me, especially since the other girls in my family have the same naming pattern for the most part. So this little girl will just be _____________ Mizukawa, and when she gets married, and she gets to keep her awesome maiden name. I figure she still gets a Japanese middle name, it's just a surname, and hopefully it will help her feel connected to both sides of her family, since we are trying to incorporate naming traditions from both sides.

Again, sorry for the super long post! I am journaling today, I guess. And if you ask me if we have a name picked out, sorry if you get an awkward pause and a lack of eye-contact when I make some excuse. You have been warned.

Finding out Baby Miz was a GIRL

Warning: super long, text-heavy post ahead. This one is really more of a journal entry. But read if you would like!

I felt like for little one's sake I should write down what it was like and my feelings surrounding finding out she was a she. Now, I will start by saying that age-old-smug-pregnant adage, "all we cared about was that the baby was healthy, we would have loved a girl or a boy equally." It's really true, though, we obviously would love either gender! Going into it though, I kept saying that I thought and hoped it was a boy, and Dave kept saying that he thought and hoped it was a girl, but we later revealed that we were doing that because we thought that was what the other person really wanted, haha. Your classic Gift of the Magi type thing (don't think about that too hard, it's really not that much like the Gift of the Magi...).

In all seriousness, I was a little scared of the thought of having a boy, just because obviously with all sisters I am more used to girls. I totally would have loved a boy, but it just seemed natural to me to have a little girl. I kind of thought of the baby as a girl and had to remind myself that it could be a boy. I wouldn't go so far as to say I was hoping for a girl, but I just felt like a girl would help ease me into this whole motherhood thing.

Like I mentioned in one of my previous posts, I am participating in the NuMom2B study at UVRMC (they obviously didn't consult me when picking the terrible cutesy name because I would have advised them not to) which is AWESOME and if any of you reading this are getting pregnant with your first baby in the next few months, you should totally check it out! They do it at the major hospitals all up and down the valley. You get three extra ultrasounds with the study, way more than the typically-insurance-covered ONE you get at an OB's office. So we knew we would have a few shots and finding out the gender since we would get one from the study and then another ultrasound a few weeks later at my doctor's office. So off we went one April evening to the hospital hoping that the first shot would be fruitful.

Sure enough, the little punk had the cord between (at that point) his/her legs. She was moving around but not in the way that would move that cord! Because she was so active the tech couldn't get a good shot even when she kind of got her to move the cord a little. This is where faith came in because I was seriously PRAYING so hard that we could find out because I wanted to know so bad! Later I found out Dave was too, haha. Heavenly Father heard our prayers because the technician finally got a good shot and was like "I wouldn't paint anything yet, but I think that's a girl." I was stunned! I really thought it was going to be a boy just because I had jinxed it or something by kind of secretly hoping it might be a girl :)

I looked back at Dave and he just looked stunned, haha. He later revealed that his first thought was just "I have no idea about teenage girls or what to do with them. (remember, I have all sisters, he has four older brothers and just one sister, and she was out of the house when he was pretty little)" I reassured him that he still has like 13 years before he has to really worry about that. Little girls are easy, they love their dads no matter what!

We were so excited, but we decided not to tell anyone besides family until the official gender ultrasound at my doctor's office a few weeks later, just to be safe. We wanted to tell my sister Anne, who was in the MTC at the time, in a fun way though, so our first stop was to the grocery store to buy some pink candy to send her in a package. We made a little card that said "it's a girl!" and sent it off the next day (I was glad it was pink candy, it would be way harder to find enough blue stuff and I am very particular about candy). Oh, and I forgot, I actually told my students right away too because somehow they found out that I would know the next day and they freaked out. I had them all vote on what they thought it would be and I bought candy for the winners (although I am a pushover and ended up giving some to everyone). Our families were way excited, although they all thought it would be a boy, too!

Since then, we have had two more ultrasounds and both (with different technicians) have said it is definitely a little lady in there. I feel like, since I am a girl (obviously), I have had a really easy time sort of "bonding" with her because she's just my little friend in there. But maybe it would be the same with a boy? I have no idea. I really hope we do get a boy someday so I can experience what that is like, and if it is any different. And we want at least two of each gender so they can have little playmates--like it's in our control, ha! I will admit that shopping for a little girl is pretty fun :)

Sorry this post was so long and boring. I just wanted to remember what it was like finding out. We love our little one already and can't wait to see HER!

Ugh....Long Overdue Baby Update!!!

When I got pregnant, I thought it would magically turn me into a picture taking, journaling, great-at-documenting-every-little-thing kind of person. But alas, there have been no cute, Pinteresty-like pictures with fruit or in front of chalkboard and heck to the no have there been any black and white bare belly pics on a sumptuous-looking down comforter.

 I tried taking belly pics right from the get-go, but I didn't really look pregnant, I just felt chubby (which made me less motivated to take more) and then no one tells you how awkward it is to just stand sideways and have someone take a picture of just you! For those of you who have yet to do it, it's really super uncomfortable, even for a camera lover like me!

And with the blogging. Ugh. I really have no excuse for that one. But I really want to have some small semblance of a record of my pregnancy, so I am just going to start from where I am, which is awesomely quite further along than the last time I blogged! So here we go:

How far along? 31 weeks tomorrow

How big is baby? The size of head of lettuce, and somewhere around 3.5 pounds I think...

Total weight gain/loss: Uhhhh, at 31 weeks pregnant I have gained weight. Let's leave it at that. (But for prideful purposes I mention that for the last few weeks I have hovered just right under Dave's weight. Little babe is trying to help a mama out I think.) I joke, honestly I am grateful I have been growing because that means the baby is thriving!

Maternity clothes? Oh for sure. I don't understand how people can wear their normal clothes the entire pregnancy, mine would not even begin to suffice. I am SO SICK of the stuff that fits me now, though! My awesome friend Kait lent me some of her maternity clothes to add to my little selection which has been a lifesaver!

Sleep: Not great....I usually take a nap to supplement my so-so night's sleep. I LOVE waking up to the baby kicking though. That doesn't bother me at all :)

Best moment this week: The little one woke me up around five in the morning on Tuesday morning and my stomach looked like it was made from Silly Putty it was being shoved around so much! I just started laughing out loud because she was going so crazy! 

Movement: Yes. Lots. Sometimes it makes me a little queasy honestly because it feels like a spastic alien is trying to get out.

Food cravings: Not really. This has actually been disappointing to both Dave and me because it's like the "fun" part of pregnancy. But if something does sound good you can bet I'm getting it :)

Food Aversions: Not anything consistently. Unfortunately it will just kind of be the whole "nothing sounds good, I am hungry but can't think of anything I want," etc.

Gender: GIRL! Finding that out was really fun. I will do a post about that too.

Labor Signs: I had a few weeks around like 21-23 weeks where I was feeling a lot of Braxton Hicks which freaked me out since it was kind of early for those. I took a week off of exercise and they just kind of stopped. I get one a week maybe now? But no actual labor-like contractions yet (which I am fine with!). 

Pregnancy Symptoms:  Lately the new, shiny symptom is rib cage pain. There's not too much I can do for it except I heat up this rice bag thingy my mom made me (thanks Mom!) and laying on that helps. But it makes car trips very unpleasant! But again, I am thankful the baby is getting bigger and that is why she is pushing everything up into my "poor broken floaters" as Dave calls them, haha. 

Belly Button in or out? Poking out, bleh. Duck Tape couldn't cover that thing at this point.

What I miss: Running and being able to bend over easily. Dave said he will miss when I am not pregnant anymore and he can't tell where I am in the house based on the little involuntary grunts I give every time I get up or bend over. I reminded him that this is just one of many blissful pregnancies he gets to go through with me :) I also miss eating raw cookie dough, embarrassingly enough.

What I am looking forward to: Getting our car seat and stroller in the mail and setting those up. They should come next week. 

Milestones: Passing my gestational diabetes test (thank you Pancreas!) and hitting the 7-month mark was fun. On Saturday it is officially only two months until my due date! Oh and we started our prenatal classes which made this all feel very real, too.

Bump Picture: 

What I look like now, at almost 31 weeks

Back at 24 weeks

Back when I thought I look really pregnant (ha!) at twenty weeks. The awkwardness of this picture is why I only will do selfies now.