Wordless Wendesday

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Ready or Not :: Reece’s Arrival

It’s a boy!
Reece Benton Bedell
July 27, 2012
4 lb 13.6 oz

By now, most of you know that I’M A MOM! But, because I’m still living in the fog of new motherhood, not many people know the whole story behind our little one’s arrival. So, I figured what better to way to re-enter the blogging world than to share it with you — and memorialize it for years to come. 🙂

To say that we weren’t ready is the understatement of the century. I know what you’re thinking, “Who’s really ready to become a parent?” But allow me to put this in perspective: Reece was not due for another 5 weeks. My baby shower was a mere 6 days earlier. Our maternity photo shoot was a mere 3 days earlier. We didn’t have a hospital bag packed. We didn’t have a car seat. We didn’t have a pediatrician; we had several interviews scheduled in the following week. We hadn’t had a birth plan meeting with our doula; it was scheduled for the following Thursday.

For those of you thinking this sounds very out of character, please allow to me explain. For a whole host of reasons I won’t dwell on here, I really wanted to carry Baby B to 39 weeks. Nonetheless, I knew we needed to be ready to go at 36 weeks … just in case. So, Brad and I had planned to spend the weekend finishing up the infamous to-do list. Then, I’d be able to “relax” and enjoy the last few weeks of my pregnancy — or get miserable enough that I was, in fact, done being pregnant and ready to have a baby!

Thursday, July 26th, was a pretty typical day. I went to work and continued my efforts to wrap up or transition all my cases before I went out on leave. Brad and I met for lunch. I argued with opposing counsel. Work day over.

Thursday night, we went to see the new Batman movie, The Dark Knight Rises, with my co-workers as part of a summer associate recruiting event. We had been going to the movies about once a week throughout my pregnancy, so this was pretty typical, too. By the end of the movie, I was incredibly uncomfortable. My legs felt like tree trunks, and I was wishing my ankles had plugs so I could drain them. I chalked it up to a lesson learned: No sitting still for 3+ hours. Next time, I thought, I’ll be sure to stand up in the back for a few minutes every hour or so. (Next time, hah!)

I drove home, got ready for bed, and put on my compression socks to help with the swelling. I finally fell asleep around midnight.

At 1:00 a.m., I woke up with some cramping. I figured maybe I ate too much, maybe it was growing pains, maybe it was just part of what I had to look forward to in the 10th month of pregnancy. Anything but labor pains. It was too early. Brad asked if I was OK, and I assured him I was.

At 2:00 a.m., I woke Brad up. Something wasn’t right. I was Googling things like crazy. Brad was asking if we should pack a bag. I kept saying no.

By 3:00 a.m., the cramps were getting more intense, and I noticed a little bleeding. I figured I needed to wait it out and call my midwife first thing in the morning. But, just to be safe, I texted Delilah (my cousin and doula) to give her a heads up, thinking she would reassure me that I should sit tight until the morning. I didn’t call her because I was still convinced it was too early to be labor.

By 3:30 a.m., the cramps were very intense and getting closer together by the minute. (Notice I’m still not willing to call them contractions at this point.) I printed out the hospital bag list and gave it to Brad, who immediately started scrambling to get a bag packed, set things up for the cats, and probably several other things that I’m not aware of because I was a little – um- preoccupied. The contractions weren’t the worst of it, though. I was totally, completely freaking out. It was way too early, and I couldn’t help but think something was wrong.

At 4:00 a.m., I called my midwife. She also thought it was too early to be labor, but she said that because I was panicked (duh!), we should head to the hospital. With Brad’s help, I willed myself to get into the car and prayed that the drive would be quick.

At 4:15 a.m., we left the house. I’m pretty sure my water broke in the car. Brad got Delilah on the phone to help coach me through the contractions, and I started trying to accept the fact that I was most likely going to have a baby today. Oh, and that quick drive I was praying for? It didn’t happen. Thanks to a bunch of construction around DFW airport, every road we would normally take was closed. I have no recollection whatsoever as to how we got to the hospital, but Brad told me later that it took nearly an hour. It should have been a 25-minute drive at that hour!

At about 5:10 a.m., we arrived at Baylor University Medical Center. Brad met my midwife inside and came back with a wheelchair. She seemed shocked that I couldn’t walk in myself. I was, too.

At 5:15 a.m., I had changed into a gown, and my midwife told me that I’d be meeting my baby very soon. The nurses were checking vitals and asking me a whole bunch of questions in between contractions. I kept asking myself if this was really happening. I tried to stay calm because I knew the panic wasn’t helping, but all I could think about was whether Baby B would be OK.

At 5:35 a.m., Delilah arrived, and my entire demeanor changed. Really, you can see it on my face. (See.) With her there, I knew that it was real and that I could do it.

At 5:57 a.m., on Friday, July 27, 2012, we were the proud parents of one very impatient little man. I honestly can’t recall a moment in life when I’ve been happier.

After a quick check of his vitals, the nurses said his breathing was heavy. (Among the many things I’ve learned, I now know that respiratory distress is the most common issue that presents in late preterm babies.) They quickly placed him back on my chest to see if he would start nursing and calm his breathing. Three minutes later, he was breathing and breastfeeding like a champ.

Around 6:30 a.m., things were starting to calm down. They let Reece stay with us, instead of whisking him off to the NICU, as I had feared. And we started getting ready to move upstairs to recovery.

By 8:00 a.m., we were upstairs in our recovery room admiring our brand new little man and talking to my very shocked parents.

We waited a good 24 hours before sharing the news with extended family, friends, Facebook, etc. Why, you ask? The hospital is scary place. Nurses and lactation consultants were coming in every 2 hours to check on me and/or Reece. And, quite frankly, they  scared the crap out of me. Although Reece seemed to be doing well, they felt obliged to constantly remind of us all of the potential complications associated with him being a late preterm baby. Don’t get me wrong; I wanted to have Baby B in a hospital, instead of at home or at a birth center, for this very reason — just in case something went wrong. But it was really stressful!

By mid-morning on Saturday, I started getting more comfortable that Reece would be OK. He was still in our room, and the nurses hadn’t mentioned the NICU or extended observation in at least 12 hours.

When the sun came up on Sunday morning, I was on pins and needles wondering if Reece would be released. I knew I would be released, and the thought of going home without him was heart-wrenching. Every nurse and pediatrician who came in was talking about home care and discharge procedure, so then I finally got excited!

At 5:45 p.m. on Sunday, July 29th, Reece came home.

He didn’t have a special outfit (not that anything I would have ordered would have fit him anyway), and the house was far from ready for his arrival. But none of that mattered. Our little man was healthy, and we were back home as a family.

The first few weeks were hard. I mean really, really hard. Breastfeeding is hard. Being sleep-deprived, while also being “on” 24/7 to care for a tiny human who is completely dependent on you for everything, is hard. Trying to be happy when all you want to do is cry is hard.

Everyone who visited made a big deal about how lucky I was — I avoided the last, most awful part of pregnancy; I didn’t have to endure month 10 in the August heat; he was small, which presumably made childbirth easier; and July has a prettier birthstone. But I felt like a failure. Like I had let down our family by not carrying Reece to full term. I over-educated myself about all the potential complications of late preterm babies and, consequently, worried about every single thing for days on end.

Finally, somewhere around week 2 or 3, I accepted that it is what it was meant to be. I had a great, healthy pregnancy. Timing aside, I had the exact birth I wanted.  And Reece was perfect. A little small, but who doesn’t love an itty bitty baby?!

We will never know why he was early. Maybe there were hidden complications from my hand surgery back in December (though I had insisted on no anesthesia or heavy pain meds just in case I was pregnant). Maybe I was more stressed about work and his arrival than I realized. Maybe my super-high metabolism baked him faster than normal. Or maybe – and most likely – he was just ready.

Today, Reece is 8 weeks old. I am overwhelmed with joy and love every time I see his little face; I feel incredibly blessed; and Reece’s impatience and need for speed has become a running a joke in our house.

I am always asking Reece if he’s ready, “Are you ready for our morning walk?” “Are you ready to eat?” “Are you ready for bath time?” “Are you ready for tummy time?”

I’m quite sure that if could answer, he would say “I was born ready, Mama. Let’s go!”

And so we’re off on a new adventure.

I have no idea how I’m going to reconcile the essence of “me” with my new identity as “Reece’s mom.” I have no doubt there will be tears, laughter, frustration, elation, and everything in between. And I’m looking forward to every minute of it.

xoxo ~B

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On this day . . .

I once worked with a brilliant lawyer who challenged me to write a brief in which I called attention to important dates in our case by referencing other historical events with similar significance that occurred on the same day. He was convinced that I could find something important for any given date in history. (Like all brilliant people, he also suffers from a little bit whole lot of crazy.) Of course, he was right, and the brief ended up having just the right balance of levity and gravity.

Today is an important date in my little world. Feeling a bit nostalgic, I set out on a mission to come up with other historic events that have occurred on May 17th so that I could write a witty little blog post. Alas, I was sorely disappointed. By my account, no truly “significant” historical events happened on May 17th — unless you consider Congress changing “Porto Rico” to “Puerto Rico,” Mick Jagger punching a restaurant window and getting 20 stitches, or random sports trivia to be earth-shattering news . . . in which case, you should probably be reading something else. 🙂

What does this mean? It means that I don’t have to share this special day with anything or anyone else. Except my dear husband, Brad, of course.

On this day … in 2003 … I married my best friend.

I’ve heard plenty of wedding stories that involved crazy nerves, missing grooms, missing brides, confused ministers, family feuds, and budget-busting parties. Our day had none of these. I used to wonder whether we did it wrong or missed out on something. But, looking back, I think it was perfect.

We were married in the church where I grew up. My choir director and voice instructor  of 10+ years provided the music. My sister sang. We never broke eye contact.

We had our reception at a little-known restaurant tucked behind a cluster of office buildings. Who knew such beauty existed in the telecom corridor?

It was small, just our closest friends and family were there, about 65 people in all. (Some of whom faced a fear of flying to make it happen!) I remember having real, meaningful conversations with everyone there. It was a celebration of family — not a spectacle.

And there were no nerves in sight. We were completely at ease. Against all tradition (a.k.a. true-to-form for us) we woke up together, ate breakfast together, loaded up the car together, rode to the church together, and arrived right on time. Sure, people thought we were crazy, but that’s how we wanted to spend our day.

On this day … in 2012 … we celebrated nine years of marriage.

We woke up together, drove into the ‘big city’ together, ate breakfast together, went to work, met for lunch, and then went back to work to count the hours until our anniversary dinner at one of our favorite ‘special occasion’ places, followed by packing for our traditional anniversary trip. (This year, it’s a combined anniversary/babymoon trip to Boulder, Colorado. If I never return, you’ll know where to find me!)

As young girls and even boys, fairy tales – whether Grimm or Hollywood – lead us to believe that marriage is all about romance and living happily ever after. But, to be successful, it takes so much more.

You must be comfortable with being ordinary together. You must accept that fights will happen. You must respect each other and fight fair when they do. You must be prepared for your spouse to change over the course of several decades. You must be present for those changes and accept them when they do. You must keep your promise to be there for the worst, not just the best.

But you also can’t get so caught up in the ordinary that you forget to keep up the romance. You must make time for each other. You must keep doing the small stuff that you did when you were courting. You must not get so lulled into complacency that you take your spouse for granted.

I’m not saying we always get it right. Far from it.

But we both know that’s what it takes, and we’re prepared to do the work. We want to do the work. Because, at the end of the day, there’s no one else whose arms I can fall into and, without saying a word, instantly feel like all is right in the world.

For that — and so much more

On this day … and every day … I am thankful.

xoxo ~b

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I ordered my first Road ID almost three yeas ago. It was 6 weeks before I ran my first marathon (Chicago 2009). When they gave me the option to have it engraved (typically with a motivational quote, I was told), I quickly picked the following:

Have faith, not fear.

It seemed like the perfect marathon mantra. I was quite proud of the idea that I had adopted such a Zen approach the whole thing. But the more time goes by, the more convinced I am that I’ve never really succeeded in adopting its spirit.

In fact, truth be told, there’s no telling how many things I’ve not tried out of fear — from making a career change to opening up to trust new people and even to starting a family. I’m far too analytical to just take a leap of faith and make it work. And more often than not, by the time I’m finally ready, I sell myself short or I’ve missed a window of opportunity that makes things much more difficult.

Take the marathon, for example. First, I didn’t go for it because I convinced myself that I needed to train for a half first. Then, when I finally took the plunge, I was filled with doubt. I’m still not sure I truly believed I could finish. I spent weeks pouring over ever training run to convince myself I was ready, mapping a course strategy, figuring out nutrition, and picking out a race-day outfit. I may not have had much blind faith, but I certainly had a plan. And I executed it perfectly. When I finished that day, I danced across the finish line … until a certain someone pointed out that I had way too much energy left … until another certain someone pointed out that I had missed by Boston qualifying time by mere seconds. Then, I couldn’t help but wonder what I was really capable of. I was still elated, mind you. Just filled questions :: What could I have done if I had truly believed? Why I couldn’t I go all in? Why was I still holding back? What was I afraid of?

Now, let me tell you a story about true faith and fearlessness . . .

After being my #1 fan at the Big Sur Marathon last year, my dear friend (we’ll call her Aunt M) decided to give it a go herself this year. She convinced our friend, Lulu, to join her from London. I planned to run Boston again (though I was secretly hoping to be pregnant), but I wouldn’t dare miss their first marathon. And, so, a plan was hatched :: Girls’ trip to Carmel, San Francisco and Napa with a little marathon thrown in the middle. M and L would run together, and I would meet them around mile 20 to help bring them home.

As the big day approached, Aunt M had every reason to back out. She never did a training run longer than 13.1 miles. Her total mileage was around 100-150. Her average pace put her right on the cusp of the course time limit. Lulu couldn’t make it after all, and I was 5 months pregnant, so she’d have to do it mostly alone. Work was nuts, and the extended 5-day trip we had planned felt almost inconvenient.

Anyone else I know — myself included — would have backed out. But not Aunt M. She was not only determined to try; she was prepared to be satisfied even if she didn’t succeed. She was chipper about it, in fact. And if she was all in, then by golly I was, too!!

On Sunday morning, she set out into the foggy redwood forest of Big Sur, California on a mission. Due to traffic control issues, the race directors were going to shut down the course at Mile 22 at the 5-hour mark. With winds gusting up to 40 mph and a 2.5-mile climb lovingly referred to as Hurricane Point, it was going to be close. I ran the 5k that morning, watched the marathon winners cross the finish line, and then ran back out on course to meet her at the 22-mile cut-off.

Being at Mile 22 was downright humbling. As each runner approached, they were desperate to know the time. They didn’t care how much farther they had to go, they just wanted to know they’d be allowed to keep going.

As the cut-off time grew near, I got really nervous. I began walking farther down course, telling runners they had just 3 minutes … just 2 minutes … just 1 minute … and then I finally saw her. I won’t lie — she didn’t look good. But she was still running. I told her she had to keep going just a little longer and promised her that once we crossed the mat, we could go as slow as she wanted. And we did just that.

The last 4.2 miles were pure heart. I think that’s true in any marathon, which suits M perfectly. She’s got heart running out her ears.

She was the last official finisher to cross the line. Due to some confusion among the officials, they started deflating the finisher’s banner right when she approached. And you know what she did? She ran right over the darn thing.

That, my friends, is how you conquer your fears and show them who’s boss.

Here’s hoping a little bit of it will rub off on me (or at least on my little one) some day.

xoxo ~b

Posted in life, running | 3 Comments

Harried, but Happy, Hiatus

Today, for the first time in 2012, I logged into my blog.

Have you ever put something down for so long that, when the time comes, you don’t know how to pick it back up again? Gotten so busy that you didn’t make time for the things you enjoy and then feared you’d forgotten how to do them? Put something off for so long that you’re embarrassed to admit it?

All those things — and more — are how I feel about this space.

I love to write. I love that thinking up blog ideas helps me appreciate the greatness of life’s smallest little moments. And I love to share my experiences with you. It keeps me honest. It forces me to be an open book. It’s the way I stay connected with so many of you who I don’t have the pleasure of seeing every day or even every year.

As life begins to settle (relatively speaking, at least), I’ve found myself itching to write. I thought about just starting up again. Acting like this little “break” never happened. But it did.

Way too many things have happened for me to just pick where I left off. And some of them are too cool not to share!!

This was our big, naked backyard before we moved in last year.

This is our backyard now.

Why, yes, that is an outdoor kitchen you see in the corner.
(A labor of love – or insanity – that Brad won’t soon forget!)

This was the kitchen before we moved in last year.

This is our kitchen now.
(Still some paint work to be done, but I find the cat to be an excellent addition. In case you’re wondering, that’s cork flooring and it’s pretty much the bee’s knees.)

Let’s not forget the finger fiasco that left me in a cast thru Christmas
and in physical therapy until March.

I finally settled a logo design for my recipes, letterhead, and other personal ventures.
Because everyone needs a brand, right? What do you think?

We are now the proud owners of four cats. Yes, four.
One boy – Marbles.
Three girls – Savannah (who’s still going strong), Zoe and Bella.
That’s a whole lotta estrogen in the house! No one is safe!

And then there’s this . . .

Yes, friends. Sometime around the end of August, we will have 4 cats and a baby. It’s pretty much the coolest thing ever.  😀

Throw in way too many long days at work, trips to the bathroom and restless hours of attempted sleep, and you get the last four months of my life.

With that, consider yourself all caught up.

I hope you’ll accept my apologies for the radio silence and come back soon for more.

~your busy little b

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R.I.P. Run Streak

In case you didn’t notice, I was pretty psyched about Runners World’s Inaugural Holiday Running Streak.

Before I took the plunge to join the Run Streak, the most consecutive days I’d ever run was 5 or 6 days, but I’ve read stories about people who have been streaking for years and always thought it sounded really cool. Plus, the goal of streaking until New Years was exactly what I needed to boost my fleeting motivation.

So, rather than taking a few rest days, like I normally would after finishing the White Rock half marathon, I kept the streak alive with daily easy runs. By the weekend, I was itching for a good trail run — a luxury I can’t enjoy in the darkness of my pre- and post-work hours.

On Sunday, I set out from our backyard for a solitary trail run at Northshore Trail. I didn’t feel so hot when I left, and I hoped the run would help. By 2 miles in, it was definitely working. My pace was good, my heart rate was happy, and I decided to take the long way home, making it at least a 5-mile run.

Half a mile later, I was on the ground. The surface had changed from hard, packed dirt to rocky sand, but I didn’t adjust my leg pick-up accordingly and tripped. Instinctively, I put my hands out in front of me as I was falling, thinking I could catch myself. When it became clear that I was going down, I realized I needed to get my hands out the way as fast as possible. (The only thing worse than falling is landing on your hands!)

Unfortunately, I didn’t act fast enough and landed on the side of my left hand. I looked down to find my pinky finger pointing in a direction that was definitely not normal. I channeled my best Macgyver, moved the finger back into place, held it in place with my other fingers, and took a shortcut off the trail to get home via the road. I walked about half a mile back home, holding my fingers together like a splint and praying it wasn’t broken. Of course, it was.

Two days later, my entire hand started turning this lovely shade of purple, and I got the bad news that I would need surgery.

I was in and out of splints and casts all week until I had surgery on Friday. I’m now the proud owner of two metal pins that are holding my “5th digit” in place. In case you’re wondering, waking up after having nails driven through your hand isn’t as painful as it sounds. It’s much worse.

My doctor ordered only brisk walks for 2-3 weeks while the pain and swelling go down. I balked at first, quipping “We don’t need to talk about my running. My legs are fine!” Sadly, given how nauseous I get with my pain meds (even at 1/2 strength), she may be on to something.

So, after 18 days and 60 miles, my running streak came to an abrupt halt.

In lieu of flowers and other condolences, please just take a moment to appreciate your hands and fingers. Like many things, we are quick to take them for granted . . . until they’re gone.

~your broken little B

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Race Report :: White Rock Half 2011

Anyone who ran, volunteered, spectated, cursed us for screwing up traffic, or was otherwise present in Dallas, Texas for the 2011 White Rock Marathon (DWRM) may find this statement astonishing :: This was one of the most fun races EVER!

It was about 42 degrees. It ranged from a total downpour to a steady drizzle of frigid rain. It was the longest and fastest I had run in nearly six months. But none of these ‘cons’ can outweigh the joy of spending a few hours volunteering and running with good friends.

I can’t brag enough about Run On! They do great things for the running community, and this race was no exception. DWRM starts and finishes at Fair Park, and Run On! arranged to have a special VIP area in the Museum of Natural History. Apparently, this was such a big hit last year that the event quickly filled up this year, and I didn’t get on the bandwagon soon enough. But as a Run On! Racing Team member, I had the good fortunate of securing a volunteer spot. Sure, it meant that I had to arrive at Fair Park before 6:00 a.m. and that I’d be crazy busy leading up to the 8:00 a.m. start … but it also meant that I had warm place to hang out, a secure area for my bag, and a warm, dry, private area to change after race. I think Run On! charged $15 for a VIP ticket, but I would gladly pay twice that for these conveniences, especially on a day like Sunday.

Because I arrived at 5:45 a.m., I had no trouble finding a parking spot right behind the museum. I scurried in to the building and put on my happy face to start greeting nervous runners. And, oh boy, was it a blast!

I helped put wrist bands on everyone — a very important task, considering they had to wear the thing for their race entire to ensure that they could get back into the museum after they finished. “Which wrist do you want to wear it on?” “Do you want it tight or loose?” “Do you want to slip it under or over your gloves/watch?” The considerations go on and on and on.

I gave people directions to all the key places. “Coffee and snacks are up the stairs to your left.” “Restrooms are upstairs on the right and downstairs on the left.” “The raffle will be upstairs at 7:15.” “Bag check is behind the dinosaur.” (Never thought I’d be saying that!)

At 7:30, I scarfed down a mini clif bar, shed my warm-up suit, and ran out the door to meet my friends and walk to the start line.

I had resigned myself to the fact that it was going to be a wet race. All I wanted was for it to be dry at the start. Getting wet once you’ve already started is one thing, but standing in a corral for 30 minutes in a downpour is something else entirely. If it could just stay dry until after we got going, I’d be fine. And it did!

A lot of people have asked me what I wore, so here it is :: Shorts, a two-layer tank top (the first layer was a Nike tank with built-in sports bra and pockets and the top layer was my Run On! team tank), arm warmers (a.k.a. spunky knee-high socks with the toes cut out), gloves, and a hat (a must in the rain). I had no less than 5 people ask me — during the run — whether I was cold. The answer is No. In fact, I actually got a little hot, but my arm warmers were so wet that I couldn’t push them down!

Now for the really fun part . . . I typically travel for big races, so it’s easy to forget how great it is to run at home. I saw tons of familiar faces among the runners at the start line and the spectators on the sidelines. I got to run with a great group of people, most of whom I trained with for Boston. They had continued training for Fall races, but I hadn’t run with them since May so this was a huge treat for me.

The goal was simple :: Take it easy and have fun. We walked through every water station; we hopped, skipped, jumped over and ran around every puddle that we could; we stopped at the first relay exchange point to wait for two runners who were running the first leg for relay teams; we cheered for other friends who were racing and spectating; we constantly reminded each other to keep the pace easy; and we even stopped to have our picture taken.

It may be blurry, but I think it captures the day perfectly!

To some, this laid-back approach may sound like no big deal, but for a group of people who typically take racing very seriously (I’m talking, don’t stop to go to the bathroom seriously) this was HUGE. With each mile, at least one person commented on how fun it was to run this way.

It pained me when we reached mile 8 because I knew it was almost time for me to split off for the half-marathon course while they continued on to complete the full. Every beat of my heart wanted to join them, but every muscle in my body was telling me I couldn’t.

I wished them all luck, thanked them for the miles, and stuck with the plan. Thankfully, one friend was also running the half, and we stayed together for the rest of the run.

At mile 10, my dear friend Meagan was waiting, bundled up like a homesick Eskimo, and dolling out encouragement to runners. Hearing her say “I’ll see you soon for pancakes” was just what I needed to push through the last 5k.

Exactly 1 hour and 55 minutes after I started, I crossed the finish line. My 10th half marathon was officially complete!

I didn’t realize how wet I was until I stopped moving. I quickly got my medal, got my shirt, and made a bee-line for the Run On! VIP area to change. It took me nearly 30 minutes to peel myself out of my wet running clothes and get into my dry clothes. (Sidenote: Packing for this run was a massive undertaking! I had a complete set of clothes, shoes, and socks; a towel to dry off; plastic bags for my wet clothes and shoes; and newspaper to stuff in my wet shoes.)

After refueling with my favorite pumpkin pancakes, I spent the rest of the day on the sofa, in front of the fireplace, wearing my compression tights, and covered in cats.

That, my friends, is a pretty darn good day in my book.

xoxo ~your busy little B

Posted in running, RWRunStreak | 2 Comments