Five months ago, I birthed a beautiful baby girl.  It was magical, painful, heavenly and just plain joy.  I would like to say that was the best day of my life, but every day just keeps getting richer and better.

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Now, back at work and trying to balance it all, I talked with a coworker about how much we ate at a (vegan) work potluck today.  Later that afternoon, I ventured off to my last (breastmilk) pump session of the day.  As the bottles were filling up with “liquid gold,” I thought to myself:

My body is pretty spectacular.  And to think, I once hated it.

I was 200+ pounds, scarred with stretch marks. I would look in the mirror, grabbing the excess fat around my hips, stomach and thighs.  I would think the worst thoughts about my image.

And then there was running.  Running saved my life!  It made me a believer, showed me who I am, and ignited a passion in me for health.  But most of all, running took my attention away from the strive for a perfect image, and put it on celebrating all the glorious things my body could do: run 26 miles, climb stairs, lift heavy couches.

As a new mom, my body has proven yet again it is more than an image to maintain.  It is the sole source of vegan plant-based nutrition for my adorable baby girl.  It is the strength to carry a 20 pound baby in one arm and bags of groceries in the other.  My body is roots grounded in the earth giving new life and energy to the world.

Running is still very much a part of my life, and I hope to continue blogging about my family fitness endeavors.  Because I won’t be running marathons until my nursing relationship is over with my daughter, I have decided to deactivate this blog very soon.  I have been asked to blog about vegan pregnancy and being a vegan mom on PETA’s website, which gave me the idea to start a mommy blog of my own.  As soon as I get that new blog home up and running, I will come back here and share.

Thank you to everyone who has supported me through the years, lifted me up, read my journey and shared yours.

My very best,

Brittny

The last few months have been such a whirlwind!  

In a nutshell, Luke and I got married!!!

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#FOREVERROOMMATE

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My family came to visit us from Texas!

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We had a baby shower…

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and we finished our baby’s nursery! 

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Preparing for the birth of our little one has been the most thrilling, anxiety-inducing, loving, wonderful and enlightening experience.  I have cried good and bad tears and learned so much about myself.  I have gained 26 pounds and have never felt more plump or beautiful.  

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Me at 40 weeks pregnant!!!

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This pregnancy has dug up old wounds and healed them.  It has brought Luke and I so close to one another.  And it has made me so eager to get back to running!  Seriously, I drool when I stare at the jogging stroller.        

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Today (Labor Day!) is our due date, and it has really sunk in that I will be giving birth any day now.  I have done so much to ensure our birth plan goes off without a hitch.  We took an 8 week childbirth education class this summer, which let me know the pains and joys of giving birth without medical drugs and interventions.  It also made me really confident in my body and what it can do.  

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Hard core weeding and gardening at 34 weeks pregnant!

But today as I was driving home from Whole Foods, I was thinking about all the things my body has endured – specifically the long runs and races I have done.  I have never felt more accomplished, empowered or strong as I have at the finish line of every single marathon.  Running is actually very similar, I think, to giving birth.  It leaves you scarred, fatigued, and sore. But at the end of the laboring, I will get to meet the love of my life.  I know for sure that if I can run 26.2 over and over again, I can push this baby out!  I can’t wait to see how it compares to finishing a brutal, challenging, soul-searching marathon.

Cheers to my next blog being one with photos of the baby!!! 

xoxo

Last night, we started our childbirth education classes and it made me think about running marathons.  It has been a while since I’ve ran a marathon (almost two years to be exact!), but I still remember that feeling of being at the starting line!  I trained for months for this race, and I expect there is going to be pain, soreness, aches, stress and possibly scars on my body.  But knowing the struggles ahead, still running is worth it to me.  I stand there excited and ready.  “Bring it,” I think to the road ahead.  I surrender to the road and let it take me where I need to go.

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We are 31 weeks pregnant today!

But in my childbirth education class last night (and in my third trimester class at the birthing center recently), I grew nauseous and had to step out of the room after long talks about pain.  The instructor talked to us about what to expect regarding pain, and it was just too much for me.  I had to tell myself, “Snap out of it!  You act like you’ve never ran 26.2 miles with a bad knee, hurt Achilles tendon and chafed boobs.”  

This is different though.  When I run races, I have trained and ran hundreds of miles.  I know what to expect, sort of.  When it comes to pushing a love nugget out of my body, I have no clue what to expect.  It’s not that I’m scared of pain, actually.  It’s that I’m afraid of the unknown.

I have been told that all I can do is prepare my mind, body and spirit and train it for birth. And so, I have been doing 30 minutes+ daily of prenatal yoga, walking briskly, gardening, climbing stairs, stretching, eating leafy green vegetables (kale, broccoli, romaine/green leaf/red leaf lettuce, and spinach) at every meal, and drinking red raspberry leaf tea.  Spiritually, I pray and talk to baby all the time.  Of course, my weakness is in preparing my mind.

I find peace in knowing that women have given birth naturally since the beginning of time.  It’s an instinctual, primal gift and blessing.  Le sigh :)

xoxo

All my life I have been running.

And six years ago, running as a sport became my passion and way of dealing with life.  Slowly, but surely, running replaced food as my addiction.  I would run myself ragged by just running and obsessing over mileage, my daily caloric intake, and my body.  This became a way to distract myself from deciding what I wanted to do with my life, not being happy in a relationship, etc.  Everyone around me would comment on how happy I always was.  Essentially, I was always high on endorphins.  You’d be happy too if you were always running and drugging yourself with the happy hormones.

At 24 weeks pregnant, I was having really horrible pains in my pelvic girdle from running 5-10 miles a week.

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Me at 24 weeks pregnant :)

I was told by midwife that if I kept running during pregnancy, I would be incontinent by age 50 and my bladder would never be the same again.  I cried and asked her why are some women able to run up until the very end.  I mean, we have all heard the story of that woman who ran the Chicago Marathon at 9 months pregnant and gave birth right after.  My midwife told me some women have really strong cores and their cores are able to support the uterus without having it bounce constantly on the pelvic girdle.  I never really worked on my core, and now I was living to regret  it.

Of course, I was upset and hurt for days.  I was told I could walk briskly, do the elliptical, bike, swim.  All of those things sounded so lame to me at the time. Why can’t that be me running until 9 months pregnant!  Why can’t my pelvic region comply with the rest of my body that feels no fatigue?  Why is God taking away the one thing that helps me deal with things?

Then I realized that there are issues that I had never really sorted through and running just helped me cope and feel OK about them.  But I never really searched my self and my soul and understood myself when I was so busy focusing on the run.

For the last 6 weeks, I have had several A-HA moments.  Moments where I empathize more, open up more, and love more unconditionally.  Essentially, I have slowed down the thought processes in my head that say “RUN” to everything that scares me.  I realized some of what I do is fear-based – everything from eating healthy to avoiding important discussions – out of fear that maybe I will get hurt or I will fail.

But through meditation, guided imagery, yoga, and yes… even brisk walking, I have learned to feel that fear, experience it, sort through it, and move through it.  Fear and negative feelings make us human and having them is OK.  But for the first time, it has become important to me to understand why those feelings are then when they are.

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28 Weeks Pregnant! :)

What I thought would be torture (pregnancy without running) has turned into one of the best things that could have ever happened to me.  I will be a better person, mother, spouse, and friend because of this experience.

xoxo

I have really been at the will of my baby and limited to what my body feels like doing in the last few months.  Some days I feel so energetic and ready to work out.  And other days, I sleep during my lunch break or take a nap when I get home.  I always thought that I would continue being this bountiful, fit mom when I got pregnant, and able to continue running, lifting, yoga, participate in protests, etc.  Thankfully I’m still able to do those things, just not as often or as long!

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I found out the baby’s gender and then right afterwards, went to a Ringling Brothers protest!

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22 weeks pregnant!

This was my first really sweaty workout in about a month!

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Cravings

I haven’t had the typical outrageous cravings we hear of!  I don’t really eat sweets (maybe once or twice a week I’ll have a small piece of chocolate), which is crazy because I LOVED sweets when I wasn’t pregnant.  I’ve loved vegan sushi (sweet potato rolls), miso soup, popcorn with no butter, jalapeno kettle chips, juicy citrus fruits, kale, Amy’s Organics roasted mushroom/artichoke pizza, and vegan tempeh bacon/lettuce/tomato sandwiches.  And I’ve developed aversions to garbanzo beans and bananas which I loved so much before pregnancy.

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I am finding I cannot eat as much as I’m used to in one sitting, and that really helps me cut down on eating a lot of vegan junk food.  Once I get stuffed from a handful of popcorn or chips and can’t eat anymore for an hour or two, the craving has already passed and my mind has moved on!  Not to mention I want baby to be happy and healthy and eating the best of the best food!

Workouts

Right now, I am active 3-5 days of the week – running, doing yoga, mowing the lawn, or going to the gym.  Now that I’m feeling more energized than ever in my pregnancy, I am making a set schedule for myself so that I have something to stick to.  I may not be perfect at it, but at least it gives me some sort of regimen and reason to go to sleep early and get out of bed in the morning!

Monday – 30-45 mins of prenatal yoga DVD

Tuesday – 30 mins morning walk or run + 30 mins walk during lunch break

Wednesday – rest

Thursday – 20-30 mins elliptical at the gym + 10 mins of lifting weights

Friday – 30 mins morning walk or run or 30-45 mins of yoga

Saturday – 1 hour of hiking/running/walking at the state park trails

Sunday – garden and/or mow the lawn

The baby’s gender!

And last but not least, we found out a couple of weeks ago what we are having!

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The next day we had a gender reveal party at our house and invited family and friends.

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I had never cooked for that many people, so it was a little disastrous in the beginning!  But we all had a great time and the best part was the cupcakes made by My Vegan Sweet Tooth!

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She put either pink or blue icing in the middle and everyone was able to bite into the cupcake and find out at the same time.  So cute!

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We’re having a little girl!!!!

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Luke and I could not be more thrilled about our sweet girl.  She’s all we can think and talk about and sing about.  The next thing on our list of to-do’s is searching for a doula and attending childbirth education classes!  I’m looking for a doula who either understands what it’s like to be a pregnant runner or a pregnant vegan (both, ideally).  Fingers crossed!

xoxo

 

I cannot believe we are already 19 weeks pregnant!  

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I have been really absent from my blog because I’ve been so TIRED, but I plan on blogging much more!  Everything changed the day I found out there was a little human inside of my belly and I feel like I’m still adjusting to that!  Every day I wake up, I am amazed and filled with joy at this little bundle.  I thought I was living, and maybe I was.  But now everything makes sense, or it’s starting to.  I see God’s hands on everything, from the flowers behind me in the picture to the animals on the street to my precious nephew who is like my own first born.  I’ve become kinder, more empathetic, and definitely more gentle on my body.

Not being able to fit into my regular clothes was really hard for me (I gained 11 pounds by my 16 week appointment), because I haven’t weighed this much or been this round in years.  But once I got some really cute maternity clothes around week 16, I felt more beautiful and began to definitely embrace the journey my body is taking me on.  Then came the hurdle of not being able to run as long or as fast as I once did. My Type A personality was shut down, and I began to really enjoy the 11 minute/mile pace for 2-3 miles only twice a week.  My love for the run really grew as the world slowed down at this pace, and I smelled the clean air and felt very blessed that my baby could run with me before he/she was even born!  I’m feeling more energetic than I was during my first trimester, and most days I either run, walk, or do yoga for 30 minutes.

We find out the gender on Friday, and then we are having a gender reveal party with close friends and family on Saturday!  Luke and I are genuinely not putting our vegan eggs in either of the gender baskets.  We will be so thrilled with a healthy boy or girl!

I can’t wait to do more posts about what I’ve been eating, maternity workout gear, how I get through the work day, and all kinds of baby stuff.  Lots of love,

xoxo

Running during my first trimester has not been an easy challenge. In fact, I have not had a solid run of more than 2 miles since January 6. Lethargy and nausea left me wanting to do nothing at all but lay in bed. For a couple of weeks I was barely able to eat anything, and then this week the nausea went away and I feel back to normal (sans the little bit of belly weight gain).

It recently snowed more than 10 inches in Virginia Beach so the neighborhood roads are still packed with snow and ice.

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Although very boring, the safest choice was to go to the gym and run on the dread mill. And I’m so excited because I was able to run 30 minutes without stopping! I finally feel back to my old running self. I’m hoping to be able to run 3-5 miles three days a week. And maybe build up my mileage some, comfortably.

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Xoxo

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