Maternity Belt Quick Facts

Your soon-to-be new bundle of joy will also create many challenges for you months before you even get to see that cute little baby. From the first week of your pregnancy, you will experience condition-related symptoms that may prove to be quite challenging for first a first time. Even if it is your second, third, or even fourth pregnancy, the changes may vary so you may still feel different every time. The changes may not only be visible on your skin, hair, and nails, but you may also feel some unusual pains throughout your pregnancy.

Common Maternity Pains

Maternity Pains

Pregnant moms always complain about a backache and other pains, especially during the latter part of their pregnancy. This happens as the body responds to the growing baby inside the belly. Aside from the usual fatigue that you may feel with the added weight that your developing baby puts inside your body, your expanding belly will become the reason for other pains that you may experience. That is why you need to wear a belly band as it does not only provide adequate support to your belly but to your lower back as well. It also encourages you to maintain a correct body posture. These lessen the strain on your core muscles and will make you feel better. If you feel better, it will be easier to look better.

Here are some of the common pains that expecting moms often complain about.

  1. Lightning crotch. This happens when you feel a sharp, stabbing pain just like when your baby is punching you in your feminine area. This is actually caused by some varicose veins that develop in your labia and in your vagina. The increasing pressure in your uterus makes it difficult for blood to flow properly upwards. The veins expand and dilate causing the tingly pain from time to time.
  2. Lower back pains. Weight shifts caused by your increasing weight modify the shape of the spinal curve. This may cause muscle spasms and frequent lower back pains.
  3. Round ligament pain. The round ligaments are a pair of ligaments located in the pelvic area. These ligaments hold the uterus in place. The round ligaments expand as the uterus enlarges to accommodate the developing baby in it. You experience a stabbing pain when these ligaments get stretched. The location of the pain changes depending on your position.
  4. Accommodation pain. This kind of pain is dull and throbbing. It happens as the uterus expands and does not go away even if you change position.
  5. Leg pains. During pregnancy, there is a lot of blood in your system and much of them end up in the lower part of the body. This causes swelling and creates much pressure in your lower extremities. This causes leg pains.
  6. Braxton Hicks contractions. You may experience Braxton Hicks contractions before real labor happens. This phenomenon is named after John Braxton Hicks, the English doctor who first described it. These intermittent contractions usually happen in the early stage of pregnancy. However, most pregnant moms would easily complain about them in the latter part of their pregnancy, starting about the 37th week of the pregnancy.

Things you need to know when wearing a maternity belt:

  1. Consult your doctor for a more appropriate use of the maternity belt. Most of these pregnancy pains are brought about by the expanding uterus. For an easy and inexpensive way to manage such condition, you may need to wear a pregnancy belt or a belly band. If you experience unusual pains, however, you may need to consult your doctor for further recommendations concerning wearing any maternity support belt.
  2. Find the right size for a better fit. Like any other maternity accessories, maternity belts are available in different sizes and from different brands. Buy premium quality belly bands that are sized to fit or to expand with your growing belly. This will ensure that you can wear it longer without having concerns whether the material will be ripped off or the velcro hooks or fastening system in it get tangled with the thread or the material which the belly band is made of.
  3. Know when and how long you need to wear a maternity belt. You want to wear one while ensuring that your baby inside your tummy is protected. So you also need to know when and how long you need to wear a maternity belt.

wearing a maternity belt

Wearing a belly band, as mentioned earlier, does more than support the expanding baby belly and lower back, but it also strengthens the core muscle, encourages you to maintain a correct posture, and also makes walking about or doing other things easier. As such, you may wear one even as early as during the early part of your pregnancy. Just make sure that you wear the pregnancy belt properly.

Conclusion

As for the length of time that you may wear the belt, you may want to check with your doctor how long will be enough for your condition. Your doctor may limit your use of the belt if you have a special health condition, like when you are experiencing sacroiliac joint pain.

For most people, about 3-4 hours of wearing a maternity belt will be enough for an expecting mother to benefit from it. Although wearing one of these belly bands can do much to relieve pregnancy pains, you need to make sure that you won’t overdo it. Over-dependency will just make it difficult for you to disengage from using it after pregnancy.

Check out Sarah Harris in this snap bearing one of her pregnancy necessities that make her life a whole lot better. She looks gorgeous even with her belly band. Notice how grateful she is to have a handy pregnancy buddy. Sarrah Harris is Studio 10 co-host, journalist, presenter and mum to Paul. She’s shown in this snap displaying her growing baby bump. Like Harris, you may also find wearing a maternity belt quite beneficial.

 

How To Choose The Best Bra For Pregnancy

Pregnancy brings with it a lot of welcoming news and also several unexpected changes. This includes drastic changes in the breasts. This is most especially true during the second and third trimesters of pregnancy. As a matter of fact, many women find it difficult to fit in their pre-pregnancy bras as their breasts become fuller as their pregnancy progresses.

This will require them to buy some new sets of bras that they can use throughout their pregnancy, and even after giving birth. This could be rather inconvenient and also quite expensive especially for one who is already working on a tight budget. If you are able to find the best bra for pregnancy, you will have to settle for just a set for the entire period, however. This post will provide you with tips on how to choose the right brassiere that you can use during pregnancy.

How To Choose The Best Bra For Pregnancy

Get the facts right away

Get the facts right away

There is no shortcut to finding the right brassiere for pregnancy. You may hear or read conflicting information about picking the right bra for expecting moms. However, the earlier you get to know the right information, the better you will be at picking the right undergarment to wear. Take note that your bra size may change throughout your pregnancy. It is just right that you know when and how to buy the right bra to accommodate your changing needs.

Some might just consider buying a bra that is a size larger than their pre-pregnancy bras. However, these brassiere do not actually provide the comfort that a maternity bra offers. Your breasts may also be more tender and sensitive most especially during the first four months of pregnancy. Once the breasts are done with its pregnancy expansion, you will note that the breasts changes won’t be as dramatic as it had been during early pregnancy.

It will be a wise decision to pick one or two that you can use during the early phase of your pregnancy. Note that during the latter phase of your condition, the bra size that you have during the first trimester might not be the same as what you will have in the next trimester. It is best to hold off the urge to buy more undergarments as you might not be using them afterward.

Know what fits well

Know what fits well

An ill-fitting brassiere may cause a lot of pain in the neck, shoulder, and back. When looking for the right bra, you need to make sure that they do not just function as expected, but that they fit your breasts well, too. Maternity bras are designed to provide a different level of support. They are also better constructed designed so that they can provide adequate support to the growing pregnant woman’s breasts without constricting or making you feel uncomfortable.

Wearing a bra that is too tight may clog your milk duct and cause some problems later on when you are ready to nurse your baby. Make sure that the bra that you will buy will not only provide adequate coverage but will also fit well. Take note of the band whether it is sitting straight and snugly around the rib cage. The center front of the bra should also sit flat on your chest.

Some women prefer not wearing any brassiere for all. However, for those who are endowed with large breasts, having a support from a well-constructed and well-fitted brassiere will be more comfortable than otherwise.

Look for the most ideal bra type that will suit your needs

Just like any other normal brassiere, there are so many style variations available when it comes to pregnancy bras. Every woman has different requirements and priorities. Needless to say, it is best to pick a maternity brassiere that will give you the freedom to do what you like to do even when you are heavy with a child.

If you would rather stay active and engage in several exercises and activities even later in  your pregnancy, a sports bra-style maternity bra will be your best pick. If you observe more tenderness and sensitivity around your chest area, it is best to look for a maternity bra that provides ample protection yet is totally comfortable for the breasts.

Opt for a brand that offers adequate support and is also highly appealing

While it is essential that you look for a comfortable wear, you should not disregard style, and quality as well. Wearing interestingly designed high-quality brassiere makes one feel more confident about themselves. If ever you are having high sensitivities at the moment, making you feel happy about what you are wearing will lessen any pain that pregnancy may bring.

Look for a comfort bra

Look for a comfort bra

A comfort bra is designed to provide adequate support, lift, and comfort to the breasts as the body changes with pregnancy. It is particularly designed to fit several bra sizes, so it keeps fitted on your breasts even if they grow throughout your pregnancy. Even then, should you consider buying a comfort bra make sure that you opt for one that is a size bigger than your current breast size. This will ensure that your breasts will be given enough room to grow in the coming months ahead.

You may find your pregnancy a lot more bearable if you have put on the right garment to wear in even at the beginning of the day. You will also feel rested when you have to resign for the night as you did not feel constricted with what you were wearing during the day. It will help if you look for the best-fitting bra that will provide the right support but won’t sacrifice quality and appeal as well.

You should also remember that you need to keep watch your weight when you are pregnant. Take note that gaining too much or too little will affect the health of your baby as well. It is just proper that you don’t just consider the size of your chest, but also the size of your waist. These are just a couple of things that you need to take charge when you are pregnant.

Do you have any other thing to say on this matter? Share your thoughts with us in the comments’ section below.

Safe Ways To Treat Acne Effectively During Pregnancy

Your hormones, the potent cocktail of chemicals, behave erratically during pregnancy. These causes constant mood swings, bloating, and several other changes on a pregnant woman’s skin. The fluctuations in hormonal levels can also cause acne during pregnancy. It is nothing really to be worried about as it is just a manifestation of the rampaging hormones inside the body. However, it can be seriously annoying and many will try to use just about anything to treat acne even if these treatments are unsafe. Fortunately, there are safe and effective ways to treat acne during pregnancy. Remember, however, that it will take some time for acne to heal.

Acne Treatment During Pregnancy

Here are several ways that you can manage or cure your acne:

  1. Taking medications. Your primary health provider knows exactly what you need to take for your skin condition. Make sure to take only as recommended. Your doctor will also remind you not to take two medications with the same active ingredients at the same time. It is also best that you avoid any treatment that will cause the skin to peel as this will mean that more of what may be necessary may penetrate the pores of the skin. Take note of the drug ingredients or medications that your doctor will tell you not to take or use.
  2. Try topical treatments. Topical solutions with Glycolic acids and other alpha hydroxy acids  (AHAs) are thought to be safe during pregnancy. Only a small amount of the solution is applied directly to the affected area. This solution can also be in the form of a lotion, cream, and facial wash. However, it is not recommended to take oral acne treatment as they can be hazardous. You will need to consult your health provider if  you think you need to take oral acne treatments instead.
  3. Use topical azelaic acid. Azelaic acid is considered to be a category B treatment for pregnant women under the US FDA. However, there are no studies on human subjects establishing this yet. Only take this medication as prescribed by a specialist.
  4. Apply topical antibacterial solution. Acne appears when dead skin cells and excess oil clog the pores of the skin and attract bacteria. Clindamycin and erythromycin, two of the most common antibacterial solutions, are both considered to be under category B medication for pregnant women. You may need your doctor’s prescription to use this medication, however.
  5. Avoid medication that contains high-risk compounds. Isotretinoin (Accutane), Tretinoin (Retin-A, Renova), adapalene (Differin), Tazorac (tazarotene) and other retinoids are considered high-risk medications as they may cause birth defects or miscarriage. Another drug, Tetracycline, may affect bone and tooth development in the fetus. Lastly, hormonal therapy is also considered a high-risk treatment as it can cause major developmental changes to the unborn child.
  6. Natural acne treatments. There are safer ways to treat acne during pregnancy. You won’t need any prescription for these as health experts agree that they can be used safely and effectively
  7. Keeping your skin clean. Regular washing of your face and body with a gentle soap and water will help remove excess oil and unclog the pores. This will ensure that no acne buildup will be there. Just make sure to wash your skin gently and pat dry. Excessive washing and rubbing will eventually dry out the skin. This will cause the oil glands to produce more oil, which eventually will trigger an acne outbreak. It may also cause irritation and cause other skin problems.
  8. Do not pinch or pop your pimples. This may also cause skin irritation that may trigger an acne breakout. Keep your hands clean and away from your face.
  9. Use makeup products that are non-comedogenic. Not all makeup products may be safe for your skin. Some may even encourage acne breakout. Non-comedogenic products are less likely to clog the pores of the skin.
  10. Eat a healthy and balanced diet. All that your baby needs is a healthy diet that he can absorb so his brain and body will be fully developed. This will also ensure that your immune system will be fully functioning and will help keep any unsightly skin problems away.
  11. Apply natural acne solutions. Though they may not be as effective as prescribed medications, they are less likely create any harm to your baby. There are several ways you can use natural ingredients as a solution for acne. Argan oil, olive, oil, as well as honey and sugar mix can be applied directly on the affected area.
  12. Take oral zinc supplements. Pregnant women are required to have a daily intake of 15 mg of zinc per day. Taking oral zinc supplements (if you are not receiving an adequate amount from the food that you take) is said to help manage acne. However, you will need to stop taking this supplement when you start breastfeeding your baby.
  13. Drink 8-10 glasses of water every day. Keeping your body hydrated is a good way to remove toxins from your body through your sweat, feces, and urine. This also a good way to unclog the pores and keep dead skin and excess oil from accumulating within those areas. Make sure that you drink about 8-10 glasses each day.

It is up to you whether to go with the natural way or those clinically proven methods to treat acne. Whichever treatment method you take, always consider your health provider’s advise. Take note also that you don’t need to worry much about your condition as it may just worsen your condition. Just relax and stick to healthy living to keep your baby safe and enjoying a stress-free pregnancy.

How to Choose the Right Sunscreen for Pregnancy

Protecting the skin from the harmful rays of the sun is extremely important, especially for pregnant women. Choosing the right sunscreen for pregnancy that will not only keep your skin but your baby as well is not as easy as it might seem.

Pigment-producing cells known as melanocytes are active beyond usual during pregnancy. This overproduction makes the skin more susceptible to discoloration. That is how those freckles, melasma, and other skin imperfections start to form when the skin is exposed to UV rays. Pregnancy also affects the immune system which, in turn, makes the skin susceptible to skin cancer. It is, therefore, vital to protect your body’s first line of defense from the harmful rays of the sun.

Choosing The Right Sunscreen For Pregnancy

Though there are clothing options that can help lessen the probability of the rays of the sun directly hitting your skin, it can be quite cumbersome and obtrusive at times. You may put on a hat or wear long-sleeved tops, skirts or pants. They may not be practical all the time, however. Pregnant women feel a lot hotter than normal. Putting on accessories like a hat or wearing something that will cover the skin may not be helpful at all.

Your best option would then be applying some sunscreen to your skin every two to three hours when you have to spend long hours outside of an uncovered space.

But how do you decide which sunscreen would be the best for your skin? Here are some tips you may need to consider when looking for the best sunscreen for pregnancy.

  • Choose a formula that can effectively guard against both UVA and UVB rays with an SPF of 30 or higher. UVA rays penetrate the skin deeper than UVB and are known to cause significant damage to the outermost skin layer or the epidermis. UVB rays, on the other hand, cause skin reddening and sunburn.
  • Opt for a sunscreen product that does not contain retinyl palmitate. This ingredient is a topical form of vitamin A that the skin changes to retinoids (a compound that is also found in some acne medications). It is said that this ingredient is known to increase the risk of birth defects. Note that retinyl palmitate may also be indicated in product labels as vitamin A palmitate, retinol palmitate, and retinol hexadecanoate.
  • Look for a water-resistant or a sweat-resistant sunscreen for a longer and more effective application of the product.
  • Opt for a sunscreen product that does not contain PABA (a short form of an anti-oxidant known as Para-AminoBenzoic Acid or 4-Aminobenzoic acid). It is sometimes called Vitamin Bx, but it is not actually a true vitamin. It is said that this substance can cause skin allergies, vitiligo, as well as liver toxicity.

It is essential to protect the skin from the damaging foreign elements, including those that are emitted by the sun. Apply the right sunscreen product generously on all parts of the skin that may be exposed to the sun. Make sure also that you re-apply the formula after at least every two hours to ensure that your skin will be well-protected while you are out enjoying the sun.

 

 

10 Benefits Of Yoga During Pregnancy

Your body deals with so many things during pregnancy. However, it is not only the added weight of the developing baby inside your tummy that may make you feel sluggish. The overall hormonal changes within you, as well as outside your body, may take a toll on your physical, mental, and emotional well-being. These changes happen as your body adapts to your condition. As such, adequate rest and the right nutrients are needed to ensure that both you and the baby’s health is taken care of properly.

Even with good food and enough rest, however, you may still need to do some form of exercise to release the toxins from your body and to feel relaxed and rejuvenated. Yoga, combined with other forms of exercise (like walking and running), will provide several benefits that will make your pregnancy.

Yoga in History

Yoga has long been in the history of Indian ancient form of spirituality. In classic Indian texts, the term has been used in a variety of ways and is intended to free the body, soul, and spirit. It is practiced that all three may all be functioning as one unified and contented entity.

This practice caught the attention of the Western World during the middle of the 19th century. However, it was not until the 1980s when yoga became associated with heart health and disconnected to any religious practices (“Yoga” Wikipedia, The Free Encyclopedia). From then on, it has attracted millions of people in the US alone. It has become “a universal language of universal language of spiritual exercise in the United States, crossing many lines of religion and cultures” (ibid).

Yoga and Pregnancy

Yoga and Pregnancy

Yoga is practiced all over the world in the form of postures (a.k.a. asanas). These postures, in general, provide self-care during pregnancy and prepares the expectant mother for labor and delivery. Yoga, when combined with the best skin care products for pregnancy, adequate rest and nutritional intake, will assure that your pregnancy would be the best time for you to be looking great.

There are a number of asanas that can be done during pregnancy. A few of the popular poses are as follows: the cat/cow pose, the child pose, and the triangle pose. As mentioned earlier, there are other exercises that you may consider doing during your pregnancy. However, yoga exercises have become a more favored form of exercise because of the benefits that it provide to the expectant mother.

Here are 10 benefits that you may gain from doing yoga exercises:

  • Relaxes the mind and makes one feel at peace and have a sense of balance.
  • Increases the possibility of having a natural birth as well as an earlier recovery.
  • Helps improve the blood circulation in the body and makes possible an adequate oxygen intake, which is essential for the proper development of the baby in the womb.
  • Eases any back pains (such as lower back pains) that are commonly felt during pregnancy.
  • Certain yoga positions alleviate digestive problems, such as feeling gassy, nauseous, or constipated.
  • It helps removes stress, fatigue, and even anxiety.
  • The different yoga poses work to affect the muscles, joints, and also the various body systems. This makes you more aware of your body and breathing and prepares your mind and body for childbirth.
  • Helps develop the mother’s reproductive system and also strengthens the pelvic muscles.
  • Makes you look healthier and satisfied with your pregnancy.
  • Reduces the occurrence of intrauterine growth restriction as well as pregnancy-induced hypertension.

Yoga can be practiced any time (pre-pregnancy, pregnancy, even after child delivery). As your body changes during these periods, you have to make sure that your exercises will also fit what your body requires. If you have any special concerns during or after your pregnancy, you should always consider your physician’s advice. Always remember to listen to your body. These exercises are intended to help you maintain a balanced body, spirit, and mind. With all the benefits mentioned, yoga can be a vital routine that will make your pregnancy one of the most memorable moments of your life.

Beach Volleyball: Two Blocks Away

Volleyball is my sport. I joined the JV team my freshman year of high school and I was absolutely terrible. I did it because my best friend was on the team and her mom was the coach and I sure as heck wanted to be a part of something when entering the dark ages (aka high school).

I picked it up. By the next season, I was serving overhand (and in bounds!) without a flinch, could dig rather well, and was working on being an outside hitter. I had found my sport.

I liked that it wasn’t a contact sport, that communication and everyone being a team player was key, and that my right upper trap was a little stronger than my left thanks to finally getting decent at spiking at the net 😉

In college, I played volleyball intramurals and continued to get better, even though it was more just for fun. It was a great way to meet more people, and what else was I going to do a 9pm on a school night, study??

While court volleyball isn’t really an option anymore, I have found a passion for sand volleyball! And the best part… its something my husband enjoys as well. To me, there is nothing better than finding a hobby you and your spouse have fun doing together. Sure I enjoy running solo, as its my personal escape, and hubs has his own things he prefers to do sans wife, but when we come together and are able to release our competitiveness a little, this is a win all around.

There is an adult sports league in our area that offers all sorts of sports for people to play. (Who knew you could still have fun like that after college!?) We previously played on an ultimate Frisbee team when we first got married and looked forward to our once-a-week nightly game. So when one of his coworkers asked if he was interested in getting a team together to play beach volleyball, we were all in.

With its convenient location and fun atmosphere, we had a blast each week hitting the ball around with friends. We signed up in the “recreation” league since the four of us hadn’t played together and we weren’t so sure about the competition. While some of the games were a bit of an easy win, we had some challenges and I think recreation is just where we needed to start 🙂

We played 8 games total, but only 3 of them had our whole team there! It seemed every week one of us had a work obligation to attend to. However, even with a 3-man team we won all games but one.

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In playoffs, we were to play the two hardest teams. If we won the first game, we would make it to the championship, woop! The first team gave us a run for our money but we were able to beat them in 2 games (its best 2 out of 3, playing to 21 points, rally scoring). The championship started 30 minutes later. Our team rested and watched in awe of the team we were to play warming up. Like… we literally stood semi-circle on our side of the net and watched them pepper the ball. Winners.

Don’t ask how it happened. But we beat them in two games. The rules were a lot more strict for the playoffs/championship, and I think that threw off their game a bit. They had 6 players total that they had to rotate in and the ref was calling every little thing you could think of. Somehow this landed to our advantage and before we knew it championship glasses were being forced in our hands and we huddled together to take our winners’ pic.

champs(No, we didn’t wear bikinis. It was freezing almost every game. Oh, and also we would just never do that!)

20140227_180055Parental support at almost every game! Any game that started before 8pm (haha) my parents would make the drive to come watch.

IMG_0440Always a nice view when we played!

These winners can’t get enough. We’ve recruited more people and we plan on playing next season! Stay tuned!

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What sport did you play in high school/college? Do you still play it for fun/for serious??

Tell me one active thing you enjoy doing with your significant other?!

Molly vs Yoga

So I have really fallen for yoga.

I danced competitively as a kid, and gained a lot of flexibility through doing so. I loved the long lines my body could create. Stretching, whether in dance or later on through various sports, was oddly one of my favorite parts of practice. It actually feels good to me (<–this blows many minds) and I like to think of it as the calm before the storm (i.e. before a long run), or a relaxing way to end a hard workout session.

The reason I love yoga is that it incorporates stretching and strengthening through isometric holds, and it is a totally different type of workout; one that reminds me of dance. It’s a good way to mix up your normal workouts, especially if you tend to hone in on one type (i.e. me i.e. running)….

But something about the practice of yoga has bothered me since the beginning: the spiritual aspect. I am not Buddhist. And I know, you don’t have to be, to be a “yogi”, but I have found that many instructors throw in some sort of spiritual aspect to the class that leaves me a bit uncomfortable. I am still pretty new to yoga, and want to learn more, but this part of my journey with the exercise always makes me stop and think.

Now I know what you’re thinking: just ignore that part of the class. Get in the workout and don’t mind the Buddhist conversion 😉  However, I am a Christian, and I will only practice Christian principles, not any other religion.

 

I am the furthest from perfect and I don’t live out the Christian life 100% of the time. But I am 100% Christian. No room for other religions, sorry I’m not sorry!

I believe yoga makes me physically stronger and leaner, it makes me take a deep breath (literally) and remove myself from all the craziness that goes on with life. It gets me to focus on the now, and I find I am able to block out the millions of thoughts that run around in my head all day. I also think I’m kinda good at it, and hey, that helps 😉 … But I don’t believe it can end my suffering or reach nirvana or any of the sort… I believe you can only do things through Christ, not all by your own doing {Phil 4:13}

I use savansana (aka corpse pose, done at the end of the class) as a lil prayer sesh, instead of leaving my mind completely blank and open and vulnerable… I focus my mind on what I want to chat about with the Big Man instead. It’s relaxing, quiet, and kind of a perfect setting for that!

Some may consider a yoga class their home or their church, but I refer to it simply as a studio; one that makes my muscles feel relaxed, strengthens to the core, and leaves me with a positive attitude. Now who doesn’t need more of that in their life?

I want to get better and stronger at yoga, and I want to share that with you, too! (Be prepared for posts of me twisting myself all weird) Just wanted you to be clear on where I stand with the practice.

Namaste, (no I’m kidding, I’m kidding, just Sincerely or something),

Molly

Best Damn Race 10k: Jacksonville

First race of the new year: check!

Best Damn Race puts on some really fun races. You can read about my 5k experience in Orlando here. There are different locations of the race in FL throughout the year, and this year they introduced Jacksonville to the race. I am a frequent visitor of Jax, as my father in law lives there, as well as my best friend from college. So when I read that BDR was putting on a race there, I told my friend we were signing up!

Even though we both loved working out in college, neither of us were too into running at that time, so this was going to be our first race together. The race began at 7am and it was 39 degrees out. Not 93. 39. This is very, very cold for these Florida natives 🙂

 

It’s so tough to un-bundle and get out of your warm car to stand in the freezing cold at the start line! It was still very dark out, but the buzzing of runners surrounding us got us hyped up for the 6.2 miles that lay ahead.

 

Matching Brooks Ravennas!

There is a Maxwell House coffee plant along the beginning of this route and MAN did that coffee smell good. The scent in the air made me feel warm and cozy even though I was so cold and my legs so stiff. Cold weather=stiff running limbs. Just me?

Gotta love free race photos, thanks BDR!

We stuck together for the first ~1.5 miles. We parted ways after the first bridge. From there, the course went all through downtown Jax and offered some really great views. Having pretty scenery to look at, particularly in a new-to-me location, helps keep me distracted from the pain of pushing through a race.

Photo courtesy of Lauren 🙂

And then came another (different) bridge. Completely took it out of me! I was exhausted from there on out, which I believe was just before mile 5 if I remember correctly… my brain gets foggy during a race, sometimes 🙂 I had to push myself pretty hard to keep a decent pace to the end.

I shaved 7 whole seconds off my 10k Turkey Trot time, just making out a personal best. WOOP!

I was hoping to finish a whole minute faster than my previous PR, but I am still really happy with how I did. I seem to run well in the cold, so as much as it stinks in the beginning, I’m so thankful for it by the end! PS my friend did A-MAZING; it was her first 10k and she kind of killed it. We have more races scheduled to run together coming up and I simply cannot wait.

 

Tell me….

At what temps do you run best?

If there was a strong smell of coffee in the air during a race would you: a. smile because coffee is heaven. b. stop running and go get you some. or c. need to poop

all I’m saying is I’m glad I completed c before the race start.

I Mustache You Some Questions

So apparently I’m on a fun survey kick! My friend Kristen tagged me to answer a bunch of questions, so here’s my go at it:

 

Four Names That People Call Me, Other Than My Real Name

  1. Babe > Ryan’s way of getting my attention, to which I respond Yeah what it do boo? (complete joke)
  2. Molls Balls > people thought this was a funny nickname when I was in high school and played volleyball. I never knew if I should laugh and go with it, or be weirded out.
  3. Molly Rose-O > this was the title of a song my mom made up the day I was born 🙂
  4. Hey Therapist > staff and/or patients at my work that will never learn my name. Never.

Four Jobs I Have Had

  1. First job > I sold shoes and pretended I thought “J’s” were cool when I worked at Finish Line.
  2. Worked at a gym > free membership and like 10% off smoothies, wins!
  3. Nanny > I’ve babysat a lot in my day, but my job as a nanny right after college to a little girl with Down Syndrome holds the happiest place in my heart.
  4. Physical Therapist Assistant > what I do now, another very rewarding job.

Four Movies I’ve Watched More Than Once

  1. Mean Girls
  2. The Dark Knight
  3. Salt
  4. Black Swan > it concerns my husband that I’ve watched this one more than once.

Four Books I’d Recommend

  1. You Are Special // Max Lucado
  2. Redeeming Love // Francine Rivers
  3. Change Of Heart // Jodi Piccoult
  4. Wild // Cheryl Strayed

Four Places I Have Lived

  1. Florida
  2. Florida
  3. A little higher north in Florida
  4. Back to where I came from, Florida

Four Places I Have Been

  1. Dominican Republic > first time out of the country, and on a mission’s trip with my church
  2. New York City > I can’t handle this town more than 3 days, however I absolutely love it when I’m there.
  3. The Grand Canyon
  4. The Biltmore Estate

398049_10101386627129963_767897759_nHaving camera fun in Central Park

Four Places I’d Rather Be Right Now

  1. Sitting on the deck of a cabin in the mountains
  2. Taking a train ride through the Swiss Alps
  3. Jogging with a friend
  4. In my bed, coffee bedside, watching crap on TV

Four Things I Don’t Eat

  1. strawberry milk
  2. kalamata olives
  3. watermelon > texture issues
  4. an abundance of carbohydrates > this is a new thing in my life, I don’t love it

Four Of My Favorite Foods

  1. pizza!!!!
  2. Sushi
  3. My mom’s salads
  4. Bang bang shrimp

Four TV Shows That I Watch

  1. Breaking Bad > We just finished the series. Ermergerd
  2. So You Think You Can Dance > Fave show to watch every summer
  3. Amazing Race > I want to be on this so bad one day. Anyone want to partner up and be “the bloggers” ??
  4. Game of Thrones > we just started this one

Four Things That I Am Looking Forward To This (Coming) Year

  1. A new year
  2. Races with friends
  3. Considering attending some blogger’s retreat (suggestions?!)
  4. Another year of annoying and begging my husband for a dog

Four Things I’m Always Saying

  1. Get it girl > to any female friend that’s doing anything I approve of
  2. Love It > I text it more than I say it, but texting is the same as talking these days
  3. Am I supposed to cook again tonight? > me to my husband. Every night.
  4. Seriously?

Instead of tagging 4 people, YOU tell me these 4 things!: where you’re sitting right this second, what you ate last, the first thing that comes to mind when I say the word “ridiculous”, and a stocking stuffer you plan to stuff in your significant other’s stocking🙂 🙂 🙂

I hope you all had a happy Thanksgiving and were able to spend some time with those you love! I am thankful for you readers!

Halloween Halfathon Recap

This past weekend I ran the Halloween Halfathon in Fort de Soto, FL, making this my second half marathon and first time EVER having a time goal.

The Day Before

Saturday my goal was to do nothing. Goal achieved. I laid around all day, took a nap, held some Downward Dogs (those are my fave) and made sure to stay off my feet for the majority of the day. It’s probably the laziest I’ve been in years and I love-hated it.

For my pre-race dinner, I chose Jimmy Johns! I got the Turkey Tom on their whole wheat bread, with a huge pickle on the side. Carbs, sodium, greatness.

I made sure to drink a lot of water throughout the day, too.

I read through all my weekly training recaps for this race that I’ve posted on here, to remind myself that I did work really hard, kept up with my plan, and regardless of the following day’s results, I should be proud of myself.

Finished off my killer playlist…

 

Laid out my race outfit, so that morning-of could move along quicker (& also for a typical runner blog pic) …

 

I got about 7 hours of sleep that night, not too bad for me, and I wasn’t up all night stressing about the race (like I sometimes am!)- so this was good!

Race Morning

5:05am alarm. Brutal. Went straight to the kitch where I had a few sips of coffee and a blueberry mini-bagel with peanut butter. I’m not a fan of eating before running, but since I was about 2 hours out from running AND it was a long-distance race, I knew it was the smarter thing to do.

5:20 Hubs wakes up and gets ready in 10 minutes, so we are both out the door by 5:30!

We parked at Fort De Soto park about 20 minutes before the start… I am usually at races long before this, however getting there close to game-time, I wasn’t as stressed just standing around like usual. So it was kind of a good thing to get out of the car, walk up to the start line, and get ready to run in a short bit.

 

THE RACE

The early start (7:05) allowed for coolness and darkness. Both of which I love. I did a few training runs in the dark (no headphones!) and it definitely keeps you more alert. But things are quieter and calmer it seems … okay, maybe not true for a race, though 🙂

 

The race course started with a 5k loop, followed by a 10 mile out-n-back route.

I had my usual pep talk with myself about not starting out too fast and I am proud to say: I did not start out too fast.YAY! Then again, I didn’t wear my Garmin so I’m not sure of my pace, however people were passing me hardcore right and left, so I knew I was playing slowsky. Right on, Molly.

Got to see Ryan after 3.1 since the quick loop ended at the start/finish.

Just chasing ambulances.

I thought, okay not bad at all…. But now I’ve got 10 miles ahead! I’m bad about that. Running can definitely be a mental game, and I knew I needed to think of it one mile at a time, instead of x amount left to do.

Around mile 4.5, I thought one of the runners nearby looked a bit familiar… I caught up, and sure enough it was one of my Clinical Instructors from when I was in school. We hadn’t seen each other in a few years, so we did about a 20 second catch-up before both admitting we don’t talk when we run … we’re not those kind of runners, especially in a race. I casually asked what pace she was trying to maintain (I noticed earlier she kept looking at her watch) and she wanted to run a sub 1:59. SWEET. I let her go ahead of me a bit and I tried to keep her in sight for the whole race.

Running through a state park, you never know what you might run into… like multiple troops of Boy Scouts. It was still pretty early morning but there were plenty of kids out all cheering and wanting high-5s.

Mile 6.5ish I ate my Gu. But Molly, you never mentioned training with Gu. You are correct, friend. I did what no runner should do at a race. Try something for the first time. I had tried Gu before a short run during my training but hadn’t tried eating while running. I got it all over myself. End of story.

I hit up nearly every aid station and alternated between water and Gatorade. Supposedly there was Vaseline at each station, and I was interested to see how they were dispersing it, but I never saw any!

At the turnaround, with 5 miles left to truck, I could feel myself getting a little tired. For the first time during the race, I wanted to take a quick lil walking break. But I didn’t!

I could still see my friend and I worked on getting a little closer to her and the people around her.

Mile 10 I am able to catch up with her, and stay with her for a bit before running ahead around mile 11.

I finally start to pass a few people (up to this point I only got passed 🙂 ) However, I can tell I am losing form. I can just feel my upper body slouching a bit and my legs aren’t lifting up as much. Hang in there, Molly.

I notice whenever I look down at the ground I feel a tad nauseous (oh hey Gu) so I keep telling my self to keep my head up.

We pass through the troops again, I consider joining.

Definitely losing form, definitely want to lay down in the grass. All I want is to stop and catch my breath and recover, but I just know that crazy sub-2 is doable and I am so close!

A guy that was running with my friend comes beside me and says good pace good pace, we’re almost there, before passing me by to the finish.

 

I see Ryan cheering and waving me on, I know I must be cutting it close for this dang sub-2.

 

 

I round a corner, Ryan runs to the finish line stop, I can barely make out the time clock but I know it starts with 1:58:xx so I know for sure I will hit my goal.

 

Is that not the ugliest face of exhaustion you’ve ever seen.

I am smiling, fighting back some tears, I can hear Ryan cheering, I can hear them call out my name as I cross the line, I grab my medal and find a nice patch of grass to basically pass out on.

 

 

I did it. Unofficial chip time: 1:58:25.

Post-Race

I know reading that recap makes you want to sign up for one asap, right?!! 😉 While it was so exhausting, especially those last 3 or 4 miles, it was so worth it. I gave my ALL throughout the race, and I know I couldn’t have finished one second faster if I tried. I am incredibly happy that what I thought was awfully slow training, ended up getting me to my goal. After I published my last post, something switched in my noggin’ and I thought you know if you stay positive and really push yourself, you may just get your goal.

Ryan was very happy for me, but probably happier I met my goal so he doesn’t have more of these 5am wake-up calls. 😉 As always, he did an excellent job taking photos and being a cheerleader (<– he’s going to kill me for writing that)

I am feeling really grateful for what my body allowed me to do, and that I worked hard toward achieving a physical goal. It didn’t come easy to me, I don’t believe I am a natural runner. So it feels good knowing I did something I didn’t think I could do.

A fine mixture of coke, chocolate milk, and beer. Tasty combo, if I do say so. Also, not sure why this picture is blue.

Weener weener chicken deener. Okay fine, just a winner in my book. And my mom’s. Thanks mom.

Next Days

Thankfully no knee pain! I am always worried about this, as my left knee has gone through 2 surgeries, and I really don’t want to irritate it (sometimes long distance running aggravates it). But nope! Just incredible soreness, which I sorta weirdly LOVE. Huge appetite going on, as if I am still logging miles. I have exercised exactly once since Sunday. I plan on running 4 or 5 miles at some point this weekend then after that…. We shall see! I want to run when I want and just for fun. For a little while at least… I’m sure the competitive bug will bite me soon enough. There are other aspects of my physical well-being that I want to focus on next, so I will see where that takes me!

Other Stuff I Want to Blab About

If you’re still reading, congrats, I owe you a coffee.

No Garmin… I am very happy I decided on this. During my training, I would glance at G, see a 9:30 pace or slower, get frustrated, and end up taking a walking break. Seriously. Childish, but yeah. When running gets frustrating, I have to re-evaluate some things.

Almost no race…Did you know I almost wussed out of this race?! I will be in Ohio this weekend and found a half mare 15 mins from where I am staying and I really considered running that one instead. My rationale: my last half I ran in 40 degree weather and it felt awesome. Here=HOT and slow. So I figured I would just run better in the one in Ohio. But I decided to stick out the one I already signed up for, and I am really glad I did.

Wearing new pants…along with giving Gu a go, I wore running tights that I had never worn before! 0 for 2! They were really comfy, however, and provided 2 pockets on either leg.. one for my iPod, the other for my Gu.

Following a plan…Having structure was key for me this go-around. Especially since I had a time goal I wanted to meet, it kept me focused on following a guide to get there. Not just winging it, which is my norm. There are plenty of plans out there for all different distances, so if you’re interested, just google away. I used Hal Higdon’s Half Marathon Novice 1.

Mindset…the mental game is a big part of running. Not only do you need to keep from psyching yourself out when it comes to numbers (pace per mile, how many miles to go, etc) but also I found you need to have the right mindset. The right attitude. I wish I could say I only think happy thoughts while running, but that’s not always true. I allow myself to become negative sometimes and I see how this directly affects my running. I think being aware of that helps, and re-focusing your mind towards something positive can really turn a run around. I struggled a lot with this during my training, but am happy to report that only positive thoughts were thunk during the race 😉 Except towards the end when I wanted to pass out and lay wherever for the rest of my life.

Tell me…

Why in the world is your “official time” the gun time … you would think that your individual chip time would be considered more accurate, therefore “official”. Am I right or am I right?

Do you have pep talks with yourself? Please say yes and make me feel half normal.