It's been a learning curve the last few months. It wasn't really a hard decision getting pregnant again with our 7th child. We had our concerns since we would need a bigger vehicle and our house seems to be shrinking but Luke and I opened our hearts to a new little one with relative ease. I had some nervousness about telling society we were having yet another baby. I knew the news would be baffling to some since we already had our baby girl. I can't tell you how many times I've been asked "So are you done" in a tone that sounds like I'm finally finishing a prison sentence. I don't really mind the question so much as I just don't really see it that way. I love love love this stage of being a woman. I don't want it to go away, I'm not wanting my kids to grow up too quickly and if I could freeze time along the way here and there I would. So the thought of being "done" doesn't make me feel free... it seems like an inevitable thing that will happen but I don't pine for that end or plan for it with excitement. Feeling peaceful about having another baby made the miscarriage more... confusing. I wasn't mad at God when I miscarried, but I did try to find the meaning in it all. In the end, I feel like I am a more rounded mother now...because I've grieved the loss of a little one and sadly, that is part of being a women for many. It's part of the fabric of this broken universe and I'm not bitter that I had to walk it. Sad-yes, confused-sure, hormonal-definitely, bitter-thankfully no.
One thing I was really missing was being able to show my little one love. I have faith that I will be able to see what the baby looks like some day and I'll know that baby's true name...but I didn't get to love and nurture the baby earth side. I didn't want to see the baby when I miscarried, which later made me feel guilty...like I rejected the child in some way. but in my more sane moments, I know I was just scared and a bit in shock. I also know that it made no difference to my little one and it's really all a head game for me to work through. I still wanted to show my lost child in some way how much I loved him/her though and so I decided to run the Muncie 70.3 again. The year I signed up for it 3 years ago it had been shortened because of crazy extreme heat that day, so it seemed like unfinished business. It seemed like something I could focus on. It seemed like therapy to cross a hard won finish line.
I knew I couldn't get ready in 8 weeks by myself, 16 weeks (or more) would be more typical for a race that long so I called my cousin Brant who is a triathlon coach and told him I needed to train for something to cope with my loss. He was all encouragement and support. Everything I needed, but he must have wondered if I was going to be able to pull it off in such a short time. I set my goal to finish before the cut off (8 hours depending on waves) and got to it. I had a lot of bleeding from the miscarriage (to the point of passing out cold at one point) so I started taking a liquid iron supplement and tried to eat really well and kept taking my vitamins. I was feeling really well during training. Brant started me off slow and built up the distance little by little each week so it seems quite doable.
If you don't want to read about blood loss...skip the next paragraph and my apologies in advance :)
Race weekend was fast approaching and I was getting excited. I even started to think I should set some ambitious time goals for additional motivation - but then.... I started bleeding again. Not "Oh, my body is getting back to normal yay" bleeding...like "what is my body trying to do to me, I'm going to die" bleeding. Obviously my uterine lining was not back to normal after the miscarriage because I had major clotting issues which led to free flowing bleeding Thursday. Then again on the way out to get my race packet, everything broke loose again and I had to stop at a Cluvers to use the bathroom. Only, I didn't make it in before I became indecent for public exposure. I was literally standing in a stream of my own blood in the parking lot with my jeans completely soaked through and down my leg. I kicked off my sandals in shock trying to figure out what to do. I knew I needed to massage my abdomen like they do in the hospital after you have a baby...but it didn't stop the bleeding. I draped a blanket across the door that I had in the truck and using some clean shop clothes of Luke's and some black yoga pants, I finally was able to tie a shirt around my waist and slip inside without looking like I was dying to get things under control in the bathroom. I thought about posting a picture of my pants for you that Luke took (he's an EM doc...so he reflexively takes pictures like that) but you may have a bad dream or something so I'll spare you. Luke estimates I lost at least a pint and a half of blood if not two from Thursday through Saturday when the race was. A human has a pint of blood for every 10-15 lbs of body mass approximately...you can donate a pint of blood and go about your business...but running a race right after may not be the best idea. I didn't change my race plans though and no one seemed willing to tell me to (not that I was really telling too many people how much blood loss I was experiencing). I grew more and more determined as the memories of the miscarriage seems all the more real and relived. I had a heart rate monitor and planned to heavily rely on it to race safely and avoid a black out. But basically my muscles where all built up and primed to go...but now I was running on less juice.
My first cousin Brant... aka Coach
gathering all the gear the day before...
The night before the race, our babysitter we've had for years came with me to spend the night at a rather seedy hotel that still had a room when I tried to find one late in the game. I later regretted booking it after reading a review about a guest getting bed bug bites, but they wouldn't allow a cancelation on the race weekend bookings. So I checked the mattress from top to bottom and it looked new. So we decided a "how bad can it be" attitude would get us through the night and started to settle in (which included bringing my road bike into the room and setting up a blender... :). Later when I tried to hook up the phone jack behind the bed for a 4:30 am wake up call, I found a bug on the wall. A bed bug...on the wall. We left to stay at the friend's house where Luke was with all the kids in a hurry (30 minute drive). On a positive note, I got my money back for the reservation. ;) I was on a couch trying to sleep by 12:30...but laid there awake until about 3am worrying about surviving the race. I was mentally plotting survival strategies involving water bottle wash downs and port-o-let stations along the bike and run routes...I couldn't sleep. I dozed for an hour before getting up at 4am to make a shake and head to the race site. I felt awake, I felt like I was okay to race... but knew I was running on adernaline. It was becoming more and more of a mountain to climb...I grew more and more determined to finish. I stuffed an ultrasound picture into my race jersey pocket and mentally pictured taking it out once I got to the finish and got into the truck to head to the reservoir.
This is after the race...but it's kind of the face I made when I saw the bed bug too so...
swim time: my watch split said 42 minutes, official time said: 46:34
swim distance 1.2 miles
I had trained on the bike up to 40 miles and the bike course is 56 miles. So I paced myself and tried not to burn out my legs saving some for the run. At around mile 40, my bike chain dropped off the ring while shifting...this has never happened to me before during a race or training and I've never put the chain back on myself. I didn't do the best job of it...I tried to get it back on without flipping the bike over, got it jammed...got it unstuck and took a deep breath-remembered to turn the crank shaft backward instead of forward from some youtube movie I watched on greasing a chain...got it back on but was leery of changing to the big ring for the rest of the bike course. All my gatorade had dumped out of my tank when I flipped the bike. I decided my bottle with plain water was enough for the last part of the bike leg. Only...I dropped it when I tried to take a drink and I had already passed up the aid station bottles of gatorade because I felt kind of queazy and just wanted water and salt stick tablets. Now I had nothing for about 50 minutes. I got a little nervous when my vision seemed like things were brighter. I didn't know if it was just getting more sunny or if I wasn't seeing normally. I'm still not sure because there was a lot of cloud cover early on. I saw everyone along the side of the road when I came in on the bike finish, Scott, Gigi, Luke, the kiddos and our babysitter and close friend Rebekah...they had planted folding chairs out along the road and were cheering for me. I got really chocked up and emotional. Got to love those hormones...
bike time: 3:47:10
bike distance 56 miles
The only thing that worked for the run-Honey packets...
run time: 3:11:39
run distance: 13 miles
Rob telling me he was proud of me and that "it will be different next time"...so so sweet... :) Rob says not to say "hope" it will be...just say "it will be" and leave it at that. :) When you survive brain cancer twice...you can say whatever you want pretty much and it sounds like a great motivational speech. ;)
I got the ultrasound picture over the finish line picture :D I didn't die or pass out smile! :D
Rob's finished the race face... he asked if it was okay to do his "face" for the picture ;) haha People are great...I love people like him.
I made the cut to be in the video at second 33-standing in the water looking pretty freaked out about swimming :D