Wednesday, April 30, 2008

Go Peanut!

* I have so much to write about! One of the nice perks of being a lazy blogger is that so much time passes in between posts that so much happens. It's actually a bit intimidating though: where to start?

Last week I was very much consumed with planning a fabulous Saturday for my mom. The MS Walk turned out great. Nancy's Nomads had 26 people in bright orange t-shirts walking in support of my mom. My mom was totally shocked when she saw the see of tangerine and even more shocked when she saw my New-York-City-livin' sister there! She was good up until that point, but then we got her crying good. It really was just one of those beautiful moments. When I am being less lazy I will post the pictures I took.

I didn't want to overshadow my mom with peanut talk. Yes, we have adopted peanut as the moniker of our fetus (s/he's a fetus now at 10 weeks, yippee!) We had our first ultrasound last Tuesday. Up until that point I had been a very self-absorbed nausea-induced blob of a person. I was so caught up in feeling crappy that I wasn't fully conscious that peanut was really even there. I am so happy about peanut, but in a way there was some denial that peanut existed. But then we saw peanut. We saw the little flicker of a rapid 169 bpm heartbeat and then we saw peanut's little mitty hands and little legs and wow. That did it. Peanut is a peanut. Peanut is our peanut! Go peanut! Now that we've seen him or her, mrp and I talk to peanut and treat peanut like a member of our family. And I blame peanut for just about anything I can. It wasn't me snoring. It was peanut!! Peanut's tired and can't vacuum tonight. Peanut wants that rocky road ice cream. I'm convinced peanut doesn't mind.

So, those are the big things going on. There's so much more I could say, but peanut needs to pee.

* A portrait by cell phone of peanut's first portrait.

Wednesday, April 23, 2008

Nancy's Nomads

Since I am not spending the vast majority of my waking and non-working hours training, I have a lot more free time on my hands and a few extra ounces of creative energy floating around. I decided to use my organizational skills for a good cause.

My mom was diagnosed with multiple sclerosis (MS) a few years ago. She is a very independent woman and still pretty young, just having turned 50 a few months ago. MS is a really weird disease and affects its victims in many different ways. For my mom, it has attacked her vision. For a while she was legally blind. She was forced to quit driving and almost had to quit her job because she couldn't read. Luckily, we live in an area with great health care and she went to the Cleveland Clinic. The clinic's doctors put her on a daily injectible drug that improved her symptoms markedly and has abated any further symptoms from cropping up. But, she's has had to stick herself every day for the last 4 years and will have to continue to do so for the rest of her life until there's a cure.

However, she still can't drive and she still has a lot of trouble reading. To me the saddest part is that she can't read. She was such a voracious reader and taught both my sister and me to read at very young ages: I just turned 4 when I read "Piggy Goes to Market" and my sister was not quite 3 when she started to read "Rikki Tikki Tavi" (showoff). My mom was always sitting on the couch late at night with her feet curled under her with a novel. That's my mom. Now, she listens to books on tape as she cleans or works out or she struggles through large print books taking about 1000% more time to complete them than before her disease wreaked havoc on her life. And of course she can't drive. It makes me sad that it will be even slightly harder for her to see her first grandchild soon.

And you know about my dad, and my mom stayed with him and picked up the pieces after everything. No one deserves to be sacked with a chronic disease, but after everything she's been through it seems so cruel it happened to her. She is such a tough lady who I love more than anything. The least I could do was this.

I saw that the National MS Society was organizing walks all over the country. So, I invited my mom to walk with me. But then I had an even better idea! What if I invite everyone who knows and loves her to form a team to attend the walk and support her! And make it a surprise!! So, that's what I'm doing. I originally had hoped I could get about 10 people wrangled up and raise $500. Well, that turned into almost 30 people and right now almost $1200!! One of my aunt's even paid for our team to get custom t-shirts!



So on Saturday morning my step-dad and I are going to go with my mom to the walk. And we will arrive and she will suddenly realize all the faces in front of her wearing the orange Nancy's Nomads t-shirts are there for her, including her daughter who lives in NYC and is flying in for the occasion (courtesy of my frequent flyer miles!) My mom, who would never ask for help and who never expects anything from anyone is going to be so shocked and amazed. I can't wait!!!

I know there are a million charities asking for your money all the time, and gas prices are outrageous!, and everything, but if you want to donate even just a few dollars to support the great cause of funding research to cure MS, please go to our Nancy's Nomads homepage and click on the link next to the thermometer.

So this two mile walk will not be hard, will not result in a pr, will probably not even make me sweat, but I think it will be the most satisfying 2 miles I have ever traveled. Here's to you mom!

Monday, April 21, 2008

Mac and Cheese and Me

I am having myself a fine time passing this nausea-filled day away tracking all my friends running Boston. I am so jealous that the weather is picture perfect today, although I knew it would be since I wasn't running it. (In case you haven't heard, Murphy's laws only apply to me.)

Anyway, yesterday watching the trials and today tracking Boston runners, I almost forgot that I can't run like that right now. Actually, I am more comfortable in my pregnant body lately, generally. I am not worried I will mess up the baby every time I eat something or run a step. I am getting more confident, I guess you could say. I wish I could find something to eat that was remotely satisfying, though. That would be a huge breakthrough! Today I had mac and cheese from Trader Joe's. I can't remember the last time I ate 760 calories consisting of so much fat and emptiness, but it's all I could stomach. You'd think o.j. would be appealing with all it's sweetness and vitamins, but actually it's the one thing that consistently makes me want to hurl. Yet, I keep drinking it! Gah! So, today after almost losing my entire breakfast after thinking I could sneak in some o.j. if I mixed it with seltzer, I gave in and ate mac and cheese for lunch. Hopefully, once this morning (misnomer!) sickness subsides in a few weeks I'll be back to my old healthy (well, healthier) eating habits.

I'm getting worried about E. She should have hit the 35k split by now!

Anyway, there's really not much to report around these parts. I've been thoroughly enjoying the beautiful weather we've had, getting in a few miles here and there on my favorite local trails. I have managed to get my pace back down closer to 9:00, which makes running a heck of a lot more pleasant. I just have to be cognizant that my heartrate isn't going bananas.

Ok, there she is. Still on track for a 5:00 pr. Now pick it up like we said! You can still break 3:20!!! Ooo. And there's ET heading for a huge 17+ minute PR! Go ET!

It's crazy that I'm sitting on my (fat for me) ass, eating mac and cheese, while all those people are huffing through Newton as we speak. I wonder if that will ever be me again?

Tuesday, April 15, 2008

Baby's Being Selfish and Won't Let Me

April 15, 2008

Dear Invited Runner:

In recognition of your running talent and hard work, the Awesome Local Marathon is pleased to extend to you a special invitation to run our race. Recognized as one of the “50 Great U.S. Marathons” and annually praised by our runners for flawless organization and execution and the greatest treatment of our runners, the Awesome Local Marathon will be held this year on September x, 2008. We recognize your talents as a runner and would very much like to have you compete in our marathon as an Invited Runner (“IR”).

If you accept our offer and compete in the 2008 Awesome Local Marathon, we will provide you with:

· a complementary, free entry to the marathon;
· a coupon redeemable for a free pair of Brooks running shoes, your choice of Adrenaline,Addiction, Defyance or Axiom (to qualify for the free Brooks shoes you must complete the
full marathon);
· an invitation to (and an introduction at) our Mayor’s Reception party on Friday night of our race weekend;
· a special "IR" bib number and a front position at the starting line;
· a private pre-race "IR" tent and portable restroom separately located on west side of the starting line;
· personal gear bag handling from the start to the finish; and
· special and private "IR" area at the finish line equipped with fluids, food, gear bag delivery, and massage therapists.

We will accept only the first 15 men and 15 women who respond to this special, limited invitation. We have a deadline date for responding of July 31, 2008. We have taken care in directing this letter only to Invited Runners we know will be very competitive in our marathon and one of you is almost certain to win the race. You should finish very well in our marathon if you can equal (or exceed!) your top marathon performance of 2007. In recognition of our offer to you, we ask for your best race day effort to post a great time in our marathon. After you accept our offer, if you are subsequently unable to compete, we request that you inform us as soon as possible. Finally, after our race, we ask you to actively spread the word
about your experience of running the Awesome Local Marathon.

If you would like to accept this offer or simply learn more about our race, please contact me as soon as possible for additional details.

We think that this is a very cool opportunity. Please don’t pass this up!

Thanks,

Mr. Executive Race Director

Saturday, April 12, 2008

(un)G-L-A-M-O-R-O-U-S

It's Saturday, 1:51 PM. I'm sitting in my kitchen in my flannel pj's and my fuzzy pink bath robe. I think I finally made it out of bed around 12:30 only to find myself yet again wondering what the hell I can eat that won't make me feel like hurling. They say morning (misnomer!) sickness is a sign of a healthy pregnancy and that's the only thing that brings me solace as I sit here watching my former up and at 'em lifestyle pass before my eyes.

Now, don't for a second think that I am anything other than elated and overwhelmingly stoked to be able to write from a pregnant chick's perspective! That goes for mrp too. I'm not just saying this is one of those epically awesome times in our life. Feeling sea sick 24 hours a day in the name of creating a hybrid of mrp and salty is rad! My point here is just that pregnancy is anything but glamorous, at least at this stage anyway. This is true with running as well.

It was a Thursday, the 20th of March actually. I met a now former teammate, ET (not the alien!) for a run up at the park by my house. We met at club nationals and although she now lives 2 hours away, her parents live very close to me so we made it a point to get together when she was in town. She wanted to run 7, I said I was game for 6. Off we went. We could have only been running 8:00 pace but I noticed immediately I was sucking wind. Not sucking wind like I was out of shape though (not that that wasn't true), but in a way I never experienced before. It wasn't a big deal except it made it hard for me to talk. I managed of course and we had a nice time. But I knew something was up.

When my period was late a couple of days later I started to get the itch to peek inside and see what was going on so after a omnicient coin toss, I peed on the stick and sure enough, two pink lines: a fitting discovery for an Easter morning.

The next day two of my running buddies from work invited me out at lunch. I figured I'd be all right since we usually run high 7's, low 8's. I just wouldn't talk much. Well, what a difference a few days made! I was left in the dust within 2 miles. I claimed illness and headed back to my office realizing this pregnancy thing was some powerful stuff! I realize this more and more every day as I plod through my 10:40 paced runs now. Running that slow is not as bad as I would have thought. I'm hoping once my hormones even out and I make it into the 2nd trimester that I can get the pace under 10:00, but if I can't, so what.

And on another running related note, I just wanted to tell all my serious running friends that I really don't think it's a coincidence that within one week of knocking my mileage down to < 30 that I got pregnant. Someone told me that until your body is convinced you can make the sacrifices necessary to be a good parent that it won't let you become a parent. I know there are thousands of counter-examples, but for me I believe this to be true. Thanks everyone for your kind support! It means so much to me. And if you want, I'm taking suggestions for blog-names for "Peanut," because Peanut, whether or not supplemented with Grover and Cleveland is just not going to cut it.

Wednesday, April 09, 2008

Where's Salty?

How lame was Where's Waldo? I mean seriously. So late 80's. Speaking of the late 80s, remember magic eyes? Those stupid fractalish posters that hid 3-D images of exciting things like sailboats and dinasours for those who crossed their eyes just the right way. And Kirk Cameron. I always associate the late-80's with Kirk Cameron and his french cuff pleated acid-washed jeans.

Dear readers, I am still alive. Just busy and tired and feeling blah. Despite what conventional wisdom dictates I am about to tell you, with no fanfare whasoever because I am too tired to muster any, that I'm pregnant. I'm just 7 weeks, so we are far from out of the woods. But, it's the truth. It's me. And the only reason you don't tell people is that you might miscarry and I'd probably tell you that anyway, because frankly that would suck and I'd need your support. Plus, I just found out everyone in my office has already started speculating because apparently when you're small you start showing really early. I knew that, but I thought I was hiding it. Woops!

So there you have it. I'm in the bathroom heaving up my lunch, if you've been wondering.

Tuesday, April 01, 2008

Bye Bye Team

It's the end of an era. Tim, the fearless founder and leader of Team Good River has decided to call it quits. It's actually amazing that he pushed on managing a team of runners in Northeast and Central Ohio as long as he did after moving to North Carolina a year or so ago. That's dedication. I'm sure he heard about my time off of training and knew without me, the team was nothing. (Um, that was a joke.) But, it is kind of sad. TGR was Ohio's only USATF elite development team in Ohio and only one of a handful nationwide. In the end, besides the logistics of running the team from afar, we had trouble gaining sponsorship for such a big team. The shoe companies didn't want to have to deal with over 100 runners and the local running shops are competing against each other.

It will be interesting to see what happens now. I suspect everyone will go back to competing for their local stores. I would like to see Northeast Ohio wield a few teams that compete against each other in local races. That could be fun. At least for us competitive/recreational types. Team Good River's standards were pretty high (I actually never met one), so a lot of locally competitive runners were shut out of the only game in town. It will be nice for those folks to get a piece of the team running pie. On the other hand, those standards motivated many runners to pick up their game and gave them something tangible to shoot for. Here were the latest entry standards for open men and women, in case anyone's interested (If you're wondering how the hell I got on the team, I was only 8 seconds off the old half-marathon standard. The standards were lowered for the new year at least in part in hopes of attracting reliable sponsorship).



I hope those runners that are competitive outside of the area find something else to offer the support they need to maximize their seemingly unlimited potential. There were some amazingly talented runners on the team! All I know is that I really appreciated my short time as a TGR member. I met some really great people on the team that I hope to stay friends with for a long time to come who taught me lots about running, racing and life. You can't ask for more than that!

For posterity's sake, I copied my roster entry off the website (which should disappear any minute now) and posted it here. I still love how that picture says buttpaste over there.