Wednesday, August 29, 2012


Right out of the gate, I'm going to set aside the emotional implications of this event and just talk about logistics, at least at first. Registration for the race was from 8-9am with the race starting immediately after. I planned to be out the door at 8am in order for us to arrive by 8:30am, giving us plenty of time to do all that we'd need to do, pre-gun-shot-start. Yeah, that didn't happen. We did make it out the door by 8am but instead, thanks to construction, had a wee bit of a trouble actually locating the lake we were to run around. To make a long (and high anxiety) story short, by the time we found parking, we had to haul buns to the band shell to get registered. Just as we were pinning on our numbers and zip-tying the chips to our shoes (more on that later), the wonderful man with the megaphone was telling us we should be at the starting line. I had not stretched, I had not mentally amped myself up, I had not positioned my iPod and… I had to pee. Immediately, albeit hesitantly, I forgot all that as I hurried myself (and my camo cohorts) to the back of the pack. I'll be damned if I was going to start my very first 5K late. Rules rebel I am not.

In hindsight, and after learning more about these impressive little chips, I realized it didn't really matter when we started. The way they work is, the minute you step on the blue mat at the start, it initiates your electronic chip and starts timing your run. Then when you cross the blue mat at the finish line, it stops it and spits out a recording of your time, your pace, etc. Would have been nice to know, right? The whole time in my head I'm thinking, "I have to start when everyone else starts or I'll finish dead last and everyone will think I'm extremely slow and well, I just have too much pride to endure that AND the run." So on we went to run our race and just as we arrived at the starting line, we were off. I don't really even remember how they started the race, so there probably wasn't an actual gun shot, but you weren't there so I'll just say there was.

Shawn, Maci and I started off together (and a little quicker then I was used to). Instantly, I encouraged Shawn to sashay ahead with the stroller because I could tell this snail's pace was making him antsy. He concurred and quickly bobbed and weaved his way ahead and forged on without me. I was okay with it though because I was actually looking forward to running alone with nothing but my music and the motivational voices in my head. It's how I had trained and it's what I knew. I was good. Then came the hills. I have a little bone to pick with the lovely folks who told me that Lake Harriet is completely flat. It's not. Como Lake is completely flat. Lake Harriet has hills. They probably don't amount to much in terms of elevation, and there were probably a total of two at the very start, but they sure surprised the shit out of me. Like any good cynic, I sputtered a few curse words of shock and awe as I huffed and puffed my way to the top. Ironically, going down was much harder. If there's anything I've learned from training for a 5K it's that pacing yourself is everything and nothing is harder to do then pace yourself down a hill. But I did it. Cause I'm unflappable like that. 

So I'm making my way around this lake and am doing fairly well actually. My breathing is good, my pace is good, my legs feel good, no aches or pains to speak of, mile marker signs are passing. As I'm coming around what looks to be the last turn, I see the 2.5 mile marker sign and in my head, I'm saying, "Hip, hip, hooray! I'm almost there!" Just a little further on, I start to see the band shell come into view. "Sweet, the home stretch!" I kick it up a notch and start to do my version of sprinting at this point. I turn my iPod to Spirit in the Sky and crank it as loud as I can take it. Suddenly, the road turns right. But the band shell is to the left. "Wait. What the… what? Jesus, Joseph and Mary, we're not done?!" Yeah, turns out there's this little oval-shaped outlet you have to follow out and around and then you come back to the damn band shell. De-nied. The race Gods were all like, "Just kidding, HAHA!" To which I was all like, "Bitches." After that nice little surprising kink in the road, I had to take it down a couple of notches back to first gear in order to finish. I was not about to stop or walk so I painfully ran on and when I finally saw the real finish line, I literally gave it everything I had left while I listened to some (Dad-approved) Croce:

"You don't tug on Superman's cape… You don't spit into the wind… You don't pull the mask off that old Lone Ranger… And you don't mess around with Jim" 

It was a hell of way to end a hell of a good race. Although tears managed to prick my eyes several times throughout the run, I did finish the race calm, happy, proud, satisfied and dry-eyed. I did it. I ran a 5K! I had not stopped for 3.2 miles and I was now able to cross a huge accomplishment off my bucket list. Not to mention, I got to do it in memory of one Mark V. Miller, aka Grandpa Miller, aka Dad. I know he was there. I know he was watching. I know he was smiling and beaming with pride. He was present in everything I did and experienced that day, from the sun spirit in the sky to the homemade shirts on our backs. Each training run, as well as the race, was like an extra special little visit I got to share with him. Surprisingly, I miss the anticipation and build up to it all. Not-so-surprisingly, I miss Dad. All the more reason to run on… and dawn the camo!

I, run, weird.

That's one sexy sweaty Mama.

"Mama you stink. Here, smell this."

Caught Grandpa watching.

Hydrate, hydrate, hydrate!

The infamous band shell.

Aint that the truth.

The results! I believe there were 121 people that ran the race total so not too shabby a showing for my first time I'd say. The columns from left to right are: place, participant's number, name, age group, sex, total time and average mile time. Two things: my photography skills need some work so you'll need to know I averaged around a 10-minute mile and yes, Shawn was in the 20-somethings and I was in the 30-somethings. The bastard reminds me daily. December cannot come soon enough.

Shawn pushed Maci in the stroller.

I pushed… nothing but air.

On a serious note, thank you again to everyone who donated to the cause! Team Camo raised $1,466 to help SAVE's mission. I'm SO done crying for the night so I'll just say that this was WAY beyond my initial $500 goal and the simple gestures, comments and donations touched my very soul as this whole process was one of the single most humbling experiences I've ever had. Coincidentally, donations can be received until Friday, August 31st so feel free to visit the link at the top right of this page if you didn't get a chance to earlier. More importantly, continue the conversation about mental health, depression and suicide. It's time to erase the stigma and help find a solution!

To that end, Team DeBoer is pretty certain this will become a yearly tradition so feel free to join us next time around. It's quite an eventful morning with the race, the walk, free food / balloons / face painting / chair massages, there's inflatables for the kids and games for the adults and then there's the raffle. We lovingly donated 10 bucks each to try and win some Twins tickets. We lost. Oh well, the Twins suck this year. You know who doesn't suck? Us… cause we can run like the wind blows!

Monday, August 20, 2012

Thursday, August 16, 2012


I have yet to document the events or emotions of the day we ran the 5K. It's a lot of mental jargon right now and I tend to want to let that stuff simmer for a while before I bring it to a boil, out in public, so I shall return with a post about it later. In the meantime, however, I need to document another topic near and dear to my heart (near and dear to my boobs actually); I've reached the end of nursing.

(I'll pause so those that are uncomfortable reading about such matters can exit stage left.)

Although the weaning process has been gradual, the official end is just that. The End. Not to be continued. Finito. Done-zo. And basically, it makes me sad.

Breastfeeding is possibly the most personal choice a mother could ever make and for me, it was one of the greatest and most rewarding experiences I've ever endured. I say endured because it was not a task for the faint of heart. In the beginning … oh the beginning … praise Jesus (with both hands straight up to the ceiling and head bowed) the beginning … the beginning is a horse of a completely different color. I think because there are no drugs to numb the pain or dull the slow torture that is that initiation of latching, in my book, the beginning of breastfeeding is right up there with child birth. I vividly remember curling all my toes, tensing every, single muscle in my body and clenching both fists while I closed my eyes and waited for the shear agony to end, only for it to begin again in less then a few hours. The beginning was truly a test of my patience and tolerance. Think nipple clamp + the suction of a Dyson + an unpredictable newborn + an overemotional mother. While I'd like to tell you that once we got the quintessential latch down it was all rainbows and unicorns and lollipops, I can't because that would be a lie. There's also the overall soreness, the bruising, the cracking, the bleeding, the crying (some for Mae Mo, some for Mama), the engorgement, the leaking and the pumping. Sounds Awful with a capitol A, right? Why bother, right? Why put myself through it? My answer would be, why not.

The good news is, everything I've just described was temporary. Can I get an amen?! (No idea where all this religion is coming from except to say that when a woman talks about the workings of her boobs, things can get a little spiritual.) True, it was around for a few excruciating weeks, if not months, but what's that in relation to an entire life span? While it seemed unbearable in the beginning, once I reached the light at the end of the proverbial tunnel, it was truthfully a piece of blissful pie; a piece I wouldn't trade for all the Olive Garden pumpkin cheesecakes in the world. In my case, I'm certain Maci's intuition helped expedite the learning curve. She happened to come out an eager beaver who knew what she was supposed to do, generally speaking. I was able to avoid nipple shields, lactation consultants, mastitis, plugged milk ducts, low milk supply or any other of the countless afflictions that can result from breastfeeding. I hardly had to even use nursing pads and definitely wasn't one of the women that sprang a leak at the sound of a small baby's cry. I know I'm one of the lucky ones. Especially because I had a rock star support system; an all-star-cast-of-The-Expendables-but-for-breastfeeding support system. No one showed greater kindness then my husband, greater experience then my sister, greater encouragement then my mom and greater commiserating then my best friend. Reassurance without judgement from those you love is like a little shot of Bailey's in your hot cocoa. You can probably do without it but why the hell would you want to? And can I just add that breastfeeding is one of the most liberating things I've ever been a part of. I used to be shy and timid about me and my body parts but once Maci entered this world and latched on to one of them, all bets were off. Family and friends knew to brace themselves for the appearance of my milk jugs. To some that may sound appalling but to me, the freedom was appealing.

Now let's have a little talk about me and my Medela. I had a relationship with my pump. For one entire year, I not only nursed my daughter, but pumped at least twice a day, every day, so that she could consume beast milk exclusively. I did the math, that's at least 730 times. Take every sappy thing I mentioned in the last paragraph, turn it around and give it a swift kick in the ass and you'll start to understand my feelings about pumping. In the beginning, it was a way to help start and increase my milk supply. In the middle, it was a way to stock up for daycare and vacations and most importantly, Mama's nights out. In the end, it was a way to be able to read some (more) good books. Meaning, it felt absolutely futile at the finale but it helped continue the flow of FREE liquid gold so I couldn't refuse. My Medela accompanied me to work every single day, to Iowa, to Chicago and even to New York. If there's one saving grace about pumping, it was that I even had a Medela to begin with. Expecting mothers who want to breastfeed: find a Medela (they say not to use someone else's but I felt completely comfortable using my sisters and just bought all new attachment parts – which is the only thing that actually touches the breast or the milk anyway – and sanitized them sporadically). Better yet, register for it and let a group of others pool together and buy it for you. Either way, I 100% guarantee you will never regret this investment.

Alas I was able to part with the pump and slowly started to wean Maci. My personal goal was to nurse for an entire year. Basically, it was what I was familiar with. Because I indeed made it one, full year, Maci was able to go straight from boob milk to whole milk. We started by replacing her two daycare daytime boob milk bottles (uh-huh) with a "half-and-half" bottle to introduce her to something new by pairing it with something old (as in familiar, not expired). Slowly the bottles became more whole milk, less boob milk until they converted completely. At this point I nursed her at night and in the mornings. Mae Mo was never one who had to nurse at night. She didn't need it to sleep and truthfully, she was far too busy or wired or occupied with Dad to make it a priority so this feeding easily slipped by next. We had been down to our morning feedings for quite a while when just this week, she decided she was going to start sleeping in a little later then usual (growth spurt?) which meant I was already up and showered for the day and instead of laying back down in bed with her when she woke up, Shawn or I went to the fridge for her sippy cup of milk and that was that. Clearly I was more distraught at this revelation then she was because she hasn't looked back since. Along with bottles, my boobs have been discarded. Little pieces of useless equipment (sniff)… past their prime (sniff)… that have been littered (sniff)… and left on the side of a very lonely road (sobbing).

Bring on the BEER!


1. Assemble your support team. If you don't have one, call me.
2. Buy a Medela breast pump. Pumping is not a place to pinch pennies. (Ask to use the hospital's Medela while you're there and then take the attachment parts home with you. As my nurse put it, it's built into your bill anyway.)
3. Worry not the first few days, your baby is indeed getting enough. Their stomachs are the size of hazelnuts, they truly do not need more then your colostrum.
4. Start by giving yourself just one week. Work in successful week increments until you make it a month. Once you make it a month, shoot for two, then three and so on.
5. Drink ridiculous amounts of water.
6. Lend your vanity to someone else for awhile. If you're comfortable, forget the hooter hiders and you nurse your baby where ever you need or want to. If someone asks you to stop, call me.
7. Have faith in your body.
8. As soon as you can, give nursing while laying down a try. It's the most relaxing 500 calories you'll ever burn.
9. Don't worry, you don't have to pump and dump. Alcohol metabolizes in your breast milk just like in your blood stream. Give yourself a couple hours and a couple glasses of water and you're golden.
10. Buy or borrow a boppy.
11. The most healing product for your nipples is truly your own breast milk.
12. Learn how to spell Lansinoh.
13. Relax.

Saturday, August 11, 2012

Team Camo

Team Camo's 5K is complete! There are no words (yet), but luckily, for now, there are at least photos. It was a perfect day…

Crossing the finish line after 32:48 minutes!



Moments to remember…

My two favorite (adorable) people.

My matching lady!

The greatest reward.

Wheeerrrreee's Maci?

There she is!


Grandpa's view.

Dimple worthy.


What?! A balloon!

Ladies looking on.

We did it! For Dad, for Mark, for G'pa!


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