March 24, 2016

Newport 10K Training: Week 1 in progress

Is it just me or do treadmill runs seem so difficult that they make the outdoors feel easy. I just hit the pavement for three miles in this gorgeous Spring weather and I felt like I was flying!

Today is day four of my official Newport 10K training. I found this great 8-week training schedule online for advanced beginners and thought, “hey, THAT I can do.” (FYI, I have no idea where this training plan originated and I’d love to give the writer credit where credit is due so feel free to point me in the right direction.) As I complete each day, I’ll be filling in the calendar with images of my workouts, sort of like a visual diary. It’ll be fun to look back to see where these two months will have taken me.
Monday: Rest day so I took Emmett on an hour walk, carrying him in the Ergo most of the way. We walked to a neighborhood farm to hang with some chickens and turkeys, and chatted with the local farmers. 

Tuesday: When my alarm went off at 5 a.m., I actually dragged my butt out of bed and hit the treadmill for my 3 miles. I'm proud of myself for this because after many sleepless nights (a one-year-old with an upper respiratory infection will do that to you), I was so tempted to hit snooze. But I got up, got the miles in, showered and put on real clothing all before 6 a.m. Wooohoo! So from now on, Tuesday runs will either be before Emmett wakes or stroller runs. 

Wednesday: 45 minutes on the elliptical and then 15 minutes of free weights. I love the elliptical. Does that mean I'm crazy or something?

Thursday (TODAY): Schedule called for 2.5 miles but that felt like peanuts and I really wanted to enjoy this beautiful weather so I made it 3. 

Tomorrow is supposed to be a rest day so I’m planning on stretching and enjoying it. It feels good to be training with a schedule again. Since my son was born, I haven’t been very good about sticking to training plans and, as a result, my running and overall fitness have definitely suffered. I think the most important thing is that I picked a realistic plan – one I can make the time to do. Between motherhood and work, it’s been hard making running a priority but I finally realize that I need to find a way to make it one. That’s another post for another day.

And now it’s time to announce the winner of the Newport 10K giveaway {insert drum roll here}. Congrats, Josephine! Please shoot me an email at erica@ericasaradesigns.com so I can send you your race entry and your $40 EricaSara.com gift certificate.

Thanks for stopping by to read about my training. Any thoughts on my schedule? Tips you have or favorite cross training ideas you think I could add in? I’d love to hear them so please leave a comment below!

March 10, 2016

Newport 10K Giveaway and $40 to spend at ESD

Last weekend, Emmett and I cheered on Robert as he ran his 56th marathon in Myrtle Beach, South Carolina. As usual, we had a blast spotting him at several spots on the course, cow-belling, and making new friends with fellow spectators. And as usual, marathon morning got me all nostalgic for the days when I used to wake at the crack of dawn for a chance to race too. It also got me psyched for the Newport 10K in May and logging some beach miles here in South Carolina.
A 3 mile run along Myrtle Beach this week felt great and was a great confidence boost. Thanks for spotting me from our balcony Robert!
On May 14th, I'll be racing the 6.2 miles along the Hudson River Parkway in Jersey City. When I lived in NYC, the Hudson River Parkway paths near my apartment were my favorite long run routes and just thinking about those running with those views again gives me goose bumps. Known as the fastest course in the tristate area, this race might just give me that chance for a post-baby 10K PR if I put in enough work and training. May weather, post race parties with tons of raffles, a fierce elite field, views of the Statue of Liberty, and having my son and husband there to cheer me on. I'm excited! I have the opportunity to give away a free entry to the race as an official blog sponsor and figured I'd throw in an Erica Sara Designs gift certificate too. After all, you'll need a piece of jewelry to celebrate your race, right? Details are below. Good luck and I hope to see you at the race!
What:  Entry to the 13th Annual Newport 10K Race + a $40 Gift Certificate to ericasara.com!

When: Saturday, May 14th, 2016 at 8:30 a.m.

Where:  Newport Town Square, 100 Town Square Pl, Jersey City, NJ 07310

More Background:   
Known as the fastest course in the tristate area, the Newport 10,000 is a 10K road race along the Hudson River waterfront in Jersey City’s community of Newport. Recreational and elite runners will have the opportunity to compete at the highest level for their share of $15,400 in prize money.

The USA Track & Field-certified course is comprised of flat and local roads that interweave along the Hudson River Waterfront Walkway and provide spectacular views of the Manhattan skyline. Racers have access to four water stops during the race, as well as clocks at each mile.

The race will be followed by Newport’s annual Post-Race Party, which is going to feature a live DJ, refreshments and prize drawings. Win NY Mets tickets, NY Red Bulls Tickets, a 1-hour massage or several restaurant gift certificates!

Beneficiary:                    
Proceeds will be donated to the Barnibas Health, Jersey City Medical Center, the area’s newest regional referral teaching hospital, providing the highest level of care for women and infants, and trauma and heart patients.

Event Website: newport10k.com


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February 11, 2016

Emmett's Birth Story & Finding Me Again

2015 was a big year for me. It was the year I learned how to be a mother. It feels funny writing that because I never expected to have to "learn." I've always wanted children and at some point in my life, I thought I wanted as many as six. I always thought motherhood would come naturally to me. What's there to learn right? So when I had Emmett, I was in for quite a shocker.

Emmett was born 2 weeks past his due date and by that time, I was so ready to give birth. I had a detailed birth plan, I was practicing my birth yoga religiously, the nursery was ready, I was ingesting red leaf tea and primrose oil to encourage labor, I had my hospital bag packed, and Robert and I had even picked out what we wanted Emmett's first song to be. Ha! Was I na├»ve. Emmett refused to come and I had to be induced. I was in labor for 25 hours, 5 of which I pushed with everything I had, but Emmett was completely stuck and at 5:45pm on November 25th, 2014, our son was born via C-section. My birth plan had failed and I felt I had failed. While I lay on the operating table with my insides exposed, Robert, who had promised me he would not leave our son alone for even a second and would try to do skin to skin as best as he could, left with Emmett to the nursery. In the nursery was where Emmett would hear his first song, All About The Bass. UGH. That wasn't what we'd picked for him! How could his first song be so out of our control?!? As it turned out, we should've realized at that point that Emmett's first song would be similar to many of our parenting experiences- out of our control no matter what we did.
Robert promised me he'd do skin to skin but the hospital wouldn't let him so he insisted on holding Emmett's hand and never let go.
Ten days after Emmett was born, my family was at our home to meet our newest member and I wasn't feeling too hot. While everyone was sitting at the dining table enjoying lunch, I was upstairs in my bathroom watching pus & blood pour from my C-section incision. I took a deep breath, tried not to pass out, and grabbed my phone to call my doctor. Minutes later, half my family left while my parents, Robert & Emmett piled into our car and headed to the hospital. Once again, I felt like I was letting my son down. Not only wasn't I able to give him the birth I so desperately wanted, at 10 days old I'd now be subjecting him to all the gross germs of a hospital emergency room. Why did we bring him? Because I was breastfeeding and he couldn't be away from me for more than two hours at a time. Hours, tests, an MRI and an ultrasound later, my doctor confirmed that I had an infection and at 2am I was rushed to surgery.
My dad caring for Emmett in the emergency room while I underwent testing.
It turns out that when an old incision is opened, it can't be closed. After surgery I was left with an open wound that would have to be closed with a special portable vacuum. I was put on strong antibiotics to continue fighting the infection and so I wasn't allowed to breastfeed. I had to pump and dump. My parents rushed to the store to buy Emmett 5 different kinds of bottles and formula for sensitive stomachs to be safe. Again, I felt like I failure. I couldn't breastfeed my son and because I had an open wound, I wasn't allowed to even lift him. Robert and my parents took turns sleeping at the hospital so that I could keep Emmett there with me. I remember Robert sleeping on the floor of my hospital room, waking up and going to his first day back at work after paternity leave. He didn't tell anyone what was going on because we wanted our privacy and sometimes having lots of people asking questions just makes it all more difficult. After work that day, he came right back and I remember thinking he looked so tired and sad that Emmett & I had to be there. My heart hurt.
After Robert's first day back at work, he came straight to the hospital to be with me and Emmett.
Five days later I was allowed to go home, attached to a vacuum, with instructions not to climb stairs, clean, lift my son, shower or leave my home. A nurse would come to my home every other day to change my bandages and clean out my vacuum. Publicly I was a happy new mother, juggling my new responsibilities with keeping my business going strong through the holiday season. In private, I was a mess. I was in pain, sleeping tons and unable to move around my own home, this wasn't how it was supposed to be. I went off the antibiotics and struggled to transition Emmett back to breastfeeding. The ESD Love Note necklace was featured in Better Home & Gardens and I had orders to fill, customers to make happy, a business to run. I have no idea what I was thinking when I decided I didn't need to take maternity leave. Next time, I'm taking leave for sure. Thankfully, I have an amazing mother who took an additional month off of work to stay and take care of us. I don't know what we would've done had she not been there and I know I'm so lucky that Emmett got to spend that time with his grandma. But part of me is still so sad that I didn't get to be his mother 100% of that time. I've spent so much of my energy since then trying to make it up to him, making sure he knows how much I love him.
Finally home but attached to a vacuum. You can see the hose coming out of my shirt in the picture. Excuse the wrong date stamp on my mom's camera!
We were so lucky to have my mom taking care of us for all of those weeks.
It may seem weird that I'm writing all of this now, almost 15 months after Emmett was born. But without putting it out there, it feels that a piece of me is missing in this puzzle and it's hard to move forward with writing my story. Every time I sit down to write, I feel tangled in this story and don't know where to start. So maybe now that I've shared it, I can move forward.  Once my wound closed, I was able to take on mothering full time and holy sh*t it's been a wild ride. Like I wrote in the beginning of this post, 2015 has been the year of learning how to be a mother. Learning how to read my son, to understand why he won't sleep through the night, why he won't eat this or will eat that. How to handle his temper tantrums, to teach him new words or how to express himself. And I'm learning who I am now. Before we had Emmett, I was Erica the runner, designer, business owner, artist, music lover, dance party starter, shower singing wife to Robert. But since Emmett, I am a mom first and there have been moments when that's been difficult to navigate. There are times when being a mom has felt second nature but so often it's been a struggle. I used to wake in the morning, grab a cup of coffee, and start my day by answering ESD emails. But I can't do that when Emmett wakes me at 4am and demands my attention. Now my dance parties are with my son and to be honest, they're amazing. Watching him clap, stomp his feet and try to raise the roof is often the best part of my day. And watching my son grow is helping me accept that I haven't been a failure, I just don't have the control I once had and that's normal.

So I spent 2015 learning how to be mother and I'm going to spend 2016 finding me again, in my new context, my new world. I'm trying to teach myself how to do it all, but I find that I no longer believe in balance. Instead, I'm learning to let each part of my life take over fully when it demands my attention. When Emmett is with me, I'm 100% mom. When he's with Robert, or at daycare where he spends two days a week, napping or sleeping, I get to be a business owner and part time mom (let's be honest, moms never really turn that part of them off). That means I may not get to add that new style to my website the moment I think of it, or email that customer back five seconds after I get their message, but it lets me divide my time so I feel more in control. Like I said, I'm still figuring it all out. I don't have all the answers yet.

November 18, 2015

Healthy"ish" Banana Loaves

I cannot believe Thanksgiving is a week from tomorrow. Even more so, I can't believe that Emmett turns one a week from today. To celebrate, we'll be hosting a joint Birthday/Thanksgiving feast for my family and I'm pretty excited. In fact, I've been planning the menu for months. You'd think I would've nailed it down by now but I keep changing my mind, or thinking of new recipes.

My folks are flying in for the occasion and my younger brother, with his wife and two sons, will be joining us. The only folks missing are my big brother, his wife, and their five daughters but I hope we'll get to skype them in from Israel! Everyone will be showing up in the morning so I'm planning a birthday brunch for Emmett, and then we'll all hang until Thanksgiving dinner. I know it would be easier to combine the two but I want the kiddo to know he's special and that his birthday deserves it's own celebration. So, I'm working on menus for 2 meals for the day. Yay! 

For brunch, I'm thinking something super easy. A crustless quiche packed with veggies, banana bread with pumpkin butter, and some fresh fruit. Oh, and of course I'll bake a mini cake for Emmett and a cupcake for each of his cousins. This morning, I tested out a new banana bread recipe and I can't believe it, but it came out perfect on the first try. Absolutely perfect. I call it healthy"ish" because the ingredients all sound pretty healthy. But let's be honest, even fruit or "naturally sweetened baked goods are baked goods, with plenty of sugar & calories. Lucky for us, I believe in indulging as often as possible.
Healthy"ish" Banana Loaves
Makes 5 loaves, or 9 Muffins

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Prepare a mini loaf pan, or muffin tin, with non stick spray.

In a large bowl, beat together:
2 eggs
1 cup of mashed very ripe banana (about 1 1/2-2 bananas)
1/4 cup melted coconut oil
1/3 cup maple syrup
1/4 cup milk or your favorite subsitute
1 tsp vanilla extract

In a separate bowl, sift together:
1 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp salt
1/2 tsp cinnamon
1/4 tsp cloves
1/2 tsp ground ginger
1 3/4 cup brown rice flour
1/2 cup old fashion oats, plus a bit more for sprinkling on top

Add the dry ingredients to the wet, mix until combined. Divide evenly between the mini loaves or the muffin cups.  Bake for 25-30 minutes. Let cool a bit before popping out. Enjoy!

We ate some while they were still hot this morning, mine with a little slice of butter which melted and tasted like heaven. Sooooo goooood

Now that my family is fed, Robert is almost off to work, and Emmett is playing happily in his playroom, I can work on day 3 of 8 days of gifts! For day 3, I've picked the custom engraved nameplate necklaces since they're one of my favorite pieces and would make a pretty awesome gift.
You can get just about anything engraved on them. Your name, your favorite mantra, a monogram, or favorite race distance. Just click on the picture above to find the sale & use code DAY3 at checkout for 20% off! (not valid on previous purchases. today only). Now I have to think of 5 more discounts for 5 more days. What would you like to see included? Leave a comment below & let me know!

November 16, 2015

8 Days of Gifts!

Since Hanukkah is starting in 19 days (what?!?) and the Christmas countdown is well under way, I thought it would be fun to give 8 days of ESD gifts. Each day, I'll be offering a different piece on my website at a great gift giving price. So, let's get started, shall we?