Tuesday, July 29, 2008

Habeas Corpus

It's been a long time that my body's been on loan. I love my little peanut ferociously, but that doesn't mean I am always feeling content with this body sharing situation. Like last night when I woke up to pee and was then kept awake because peanut decided to throw a party inside of me for an hour and a half. Of course, I was awake laughing because it felt so deliciously fun, but in the back of my mind I knew I'd be dragging today. And I am.

I have to pat myself on the back a bit. I was so willing to make this sacrifice for peanut, even before he was conceived. I voluntarily cut my running way back, gained the weight, slowed way down, and slept my free time away. I will continue to do all these things and gladly. But sometime last week, probably at the race, I really started to miss the good old days when I got to line up in front and push my body hard.

Today at lunch I went out with my buddies. We ran up from my office (they are so sweet they come and pick me up!) and to the track. D and I were there to keep E company while she did an 800 meter time trial. I ran the opposite direction in the outside pokey lane and watched as the two of them did 200 meter strides in the warm-up. And then I positioned myself at the start/finish to time. E went flying out the gate and looked great. She hauled ass to make the first quarter a hair under 80 and then D joined in to help with the 2nd quarter. She didn't slow down much, coming in to the finish with a 2:41. As I took the splits I felt knots in my stomach. I pictured running that myself. I couldn't fathom it. I questioned if it would ever happen again.

We ran our cool down back to my office (I get drop off service too!) We passed by dark store windows and I saw the lithe bodies of D and then E and then the not so lithe body of me. Twenty-five pounds isn't all belly, despite what the very kind people like to tell me. I know peanut needs it and I need it to weather the near future, but still there is a part of me that hurts and longs for the good old days.

Monday, July 21, 2008

This is Salty Reporting Not Live from the Back of the Pack

Yesterday I ran the Johnnycake Jog 5 mile race for the third year in the row. I was a defending two-time age group champion. I had to give up the crown, after adding more than 12 minutes to last year's time! Every year the local paper prints a big article about the race including photos of the top 5 men and women and the first place winners in each age group. I've had my mug in the paper these past few years. And this year, there's a new angle of me! Not the most flattering angle for a 5 month pregnant woman, but it keeps my streak alive. Oh, that's me in the blue top and black shorts, in case you were wondering.

Of course I had no expectations that I would even contend for an age group or any award! I just wanted to get out to one of my all time favorite races, see some friends, and hang out with mrp doing something we love to do. And peanut and I got a nice run out of the deal. I got to see lots of friends and feel a part of the racing scene that I have so been missing lately.

Mrp also ran a slower than normal time, but we'll chalk that up to sympathy and the fact that it was 80 and ungodly humid. Despite the nasty conditions my pal Evie managed to run a big PR, coming in third overall which came with a cash prize. Score! The usual out-of-town ringers didn't show up so us locals actually had a shot this year (well, not me!) If I wasn't pregnant I might have come really close to finally beating mrp in a race and possible making some cash to boot! Of course next year, all the ungodly fast out-of-towners will be back and mrp will have had a great summer of training under his belt. But really, at that point I'll just be happy to be there at all!

I ended up running a 43:34. That's an 8:43 pace for those math-challenged. That was actually kind of hard! My first mile was an 8:55 or so and then the second mostly uphill mile was 9:12. Even running my turtle pace I still picked it up over my favorite 3 miles in any race. I don't know the exact splits, and really don't care but I must have been in the 8:20 to 8:30 range. The funny thing was I was flying by tons of people! Races are entirely different beasts in the mid to the back of the pack. There were a lot of red-faced heavy breathing older men getting very frustrated in the later miles and lots of sweaty little kids learning the hard way about going out too fast. There are packs of young women in their cute outfits complaining that they still have so far to go and then the gallo-walking middle-aged women just out there to stay fit. A totally different crew of characters from the focused competitive types I'm normally around. But being back there and taking my time to savor one of my favorite courses allowed me to see and enjoy so much more than I normally would have pushing my way dizzily to the finish in search of a fast time.

Thursday, July 17, 2008

Of Heat and Friends

It's hot, yo! And I am not really digging the treadmill. Yesterday it was sunny and in the 80's so I stayed in and ran on the mill only it was pretty tedious and yucko. I even downloaded Exile on Mainstreet so I could multi-task: get my run in while finally take a really good listen to one of the best rock albums of all time* (I liken it to having read The Grapes of Wrath at age 31). Well, it didn't work. I ended up not being able to focus on the music because I became so preoccupied with how boring it was to be running on the treadmill. Sure, the bluesy awesomeness was not lost on me and it definitely made the run much more pleasant, but I just wasn't into it and no matter what I was listening to I don't think that was going to change.

So, today I am doing something different. Oh yes! I have a new strategy for the heat. I found a pregnant running buddy! The reason I went on the treadmill when it was hot was because the heat really slows me way down and requires me to take breaks when I run. This is a problem during my lunch hour because I really don't feel comfortable running downtown by myself. It never used to bother me, but since I've been charged with protecting and growing a peanut I feel differently about things like that. My running buddies provide much appreciated safety and security. But, I can't ask them to slow down anymore than they normally do and I can't ask them to take breaks the way I need to. They might say differently--they are really the best running buddies a girl, pregnant or otherwise, could ever ask for! I love you guys! But I know me and I know my threshhold and I cannot ask that of them.

And that's where V comes in! I have run with V on several occasions to great effect. But now that she's pregnant, and in the second trimester no less (she's a sly fox, hiding that from me all these weeks!) she is my ideal running companion for these hotter days. We can run slow without guilt! We can walk without guilt! We can cut it short and call it a day without guilt!

And here's the best part! She agreed to be on my relay team and has a pregnant friend who will also likely sign-up! Allright! Now we just need 2 more pregnant ladies! Anyone? Anyone? Buehler? (Sorry. I couldn't resist!)

*I'm taking suggestions for other great albums to listen to when I'm stuck on the treadmill. It just has to be pleasant to listen to without a whole lot of effort--avant garde jazz and the like probably wouldn't work. So far I've listened to the new REM, OK Computer and Kid A by Radiohead, besides Exile on Mainstreet. Maybe next time I should do Exile in Guyville by Liz Phair and then I can write a report comparing and contrasting! I'll need to master Exile on Mainstreet first, though. Anyway, any suggestions along these lines would be greatly appreciated!

Tuesday, July 15, 2008

Like a Brick

Running always had a place in my life. When I was a kid it was my mechanism for proving I could hang with the boys in the neighborhood. When I was a teenager and unaware of the concept of consistent training it was like that boy I so wanted to like me but just didn't. After high school it was that thing I so longed to do but thought I couldn't: time, injuries, etc. After law school at first it was something I decided I would unconditionally love and would accept whatever it gave in return. Later, I became so immersed and so loved by running that it became my sweet escape from all my worries. And now.

With peanut, running has taken on a new place in my life. I cannot escape into it like I once did. Although I do long to let my body prove itself out on the race course or out on the track from time to time, I do not feel on the outside looking in like I did through adolescence and young adulthood. It feels like such an innate part of who I am now. I feel its rich love for me despite it's subordinate place in my life.

No, I cannot escape into it like I once did. But these days as I struggle through the weeks of summer between father's day and my father's birthday this Saturday, running, even the little bit I do, brings me peace. I cannot hide in it and pretend I'm not sad, but I can let it comfort me for a little while. And when I run, I cannot forget I'm sad and miss my dad, but I can feel safe and secure when I do.

And that's one of the great beauties of running. Our relationship with it weathers and matures, yet it always has a place.

Friday, July 11, 2008

Thanksgiving in July

This afternoon I was kind of bemoaning my treadmill run. I felt sluggish and any time I tried to speed up out of the 10:00/mile pace I usually start at and it just never felt good to do it. I realized this was a sign and bailed at 4 miles of my planned 6 mile run. I was whining about it to mrp who just finished his own treadmill run when the unthinkable happened. We each received a free Chipotle burrito! Yummy! And free! That made my day. Apparently, one of our fitness instructors at the gym has a brother that manages a Chipotle and there you have it. We like him!

Last night we had another surprise. Mrp and I were eating dinner and we saw something stirring in the apple trees. We took a closer look and realized it was a turkey. We don't see turkeys much where we are so it was definitely interesting! But it gets even better. I looked even closer and noticed something small next to the turkey. I thought maybe it was a woodchuck. But no. It was a baby turkey. A turkling! And then we noticed another and then another and then another and then another after that. And then we noticed another adult. We grabbed the camera and headed outside and snuck along the edge of our property parallel to the turkeys' path. They then turned to go up a woody hill so we ran around on the road to watch them come out of the woods on the otherside at the top of the hill. First the big momma. And then the big daddy. And then one by one little turklings popped out of the woods all awkwardly. After the final straggler made it to his family we had counted 15 baby turkeys! It's funny. Peanut's due on Thanksgiving Day. Coincidence?

Wednesday, July 09, 2008

Tossing and Turning and Peanut Stirring

So sleepy... The last three nights I've slept really crappily, partly because I have a lot on my mind and partly because I am a sensitive sleeper and have been bothered by the heat, bizarre body shape, and tiny pressured bladder. Oh and I slept over 30 hours over the three day weekend! So maybe, I'm just all caught up. But, now at work I am like a zombie. I can't concentrate--again lots on my mind besides the sleep deprivation.

So what's all this stuff on my mind? Well, besides the ridiculous--circling over and over about what to put on the baby registry (I know, right. I'm losing sleep over that?!)--half of my rental property will be vacant in a month and I can't afford to be without the income with peanut coming (this I believe is a little more worthy of my brain power). If you know anyone looking for a really nice and reasonably priced place in Lakewood, OH check out my ad on craigs list.

Additionally, I have to file a petition to the United States Tax Court because the guy who was supposed to help me with my audit apparently did nothing and the auditor decided to elevate the matter. The guy was one of mrp's dad's friends who was going to help me for free so I've decided to just suck it up, but it still irks me. At least I know how to handle this myself! It's still stressful though because I can't afford to pay the assessed deficiency nevermind the fact that the auditor's position is dead wrong. Also, I have to travel to Iowa because the state is appealing my winning lower court decision (go me!) in September. Can't wait to deliver my second oral argument ever at 7 months pregnant! Who wouldn't want to do that?! And picking out something to wear will just be a blast! And then of course we're still dealing with insurance companies and car accident fall-out. I had to pay 3 weeks worth of rental car payments out of pocket because the shady insurance company refused to pay beyond two weeks even though we were without our car for 5 weeks! Yeah, we hired a lawyer.

Anyway, you're probably sick of my non-running blabber about all the exciting stuff on my plate! Since the week of the two 5ks I have been maintaining 5 days per week of running with my mileage hovering in the 27-33 miles per week range. I have also made the executive decision to stay indoors when the temps are over 75 so I have been doing quite a bit of running on the treadmill and it really hasn't been awful. I have actually enjoyed it while rediscovering my ipod and my legs really have appreciated the nice soft even surface. I haven't really stretched in about a month and I haven't felt this good legs-wise in years now! It also helps that I run between 9:30 and 10:00 pace and take a water/pee break every 2 miles, but still. I am proud of my adaptible self!

Since the cramping scare, I haven't had any issues at all. In fact, about two days after my semi-emergency visit to the midwife's office I started to really feel peanut moving! And in the past week or so he's been going crazy!! It's such an amazing and cool feeling and it really helps easy my worries. He is definitely more active at night, but also usually around 30 minutes to an hour after my lunch time run I feel him stirring. I really think he sleeps when I run--I bet the motion is like a baby swing or the motion of a car. Once I stop and settle back into my office, he probably wakes up wondering what happened to the soothing rhythmic motion! Or maybe he's kicking me because he hates my running and he knows I wouldn't be able to feel it as well while I'm actually running. I like to believe the former is true!

Anyway, so despite some big plate issues with accompanying insomnia with accompanying zombiness, things are good. Sure, I have a few things to worry about, but that's life in the big city. I got my mrp and my feisty peanut and my happy legs so I'm happy!

Monday, July 07, 2008

9 to 5

So much going on! Aaaaahhhh! I'll get back to talking about running soon, I swear. Strangely it's taken a back seat to other aspects of my life. I'm still running 5 days a week (or more on occasion), but it's complimenting me not defining me at the moment. Novel concept!

Anyway, besides preparing for peanut, I've been busy working on my career. If you recall, I briefly flirted with the idea of changing jobs back in the winter. I decided against aggressively pursuing the job when the head of the governmental agency I applied to was ousted in an ugly scandal, and of course taking a huge cut in pay and potentially having to relocate were not high up on my list of want-to-do's once I learned peanut was on his way.

Anyway, I've more or less decided for now to stay put in the land of corporate drones. For a law job I have a sane schedule, good pay, and I genuinely like the people I work with and the work I do (usually!). I could easily coast here for 20+ years if I wanted to. But I can't do that. No, if I'm going to stay here I am going to try to advance myself. In the upper tier of the corporate food chain real advancement happens slowly. I used to think this was a problem, but now I realize this is good. Any chance of a big career move here will occur when peanut is well into elementary school at the earliest! Plus, in the meantime, I have a lot to do!

I am a tax lawyer. I am a lawyery tax lawyer and not a taxy tax lawyer. I am good with big broad legal concepts and stuff like litigation and contract interpretation, but I am no accountant and I struggle with accounting principals. Yeah, if I want to go anywhere here I need to put in some hours studying accounting and (*gasp*) sit for the CPA at some point. Yucko! Actually, I am kind of excited about it. I swore off ever going back to school, but to sit for the CPA I only need 30 hours and if I start by taking a class here or there now, I should be good to go in 5-6 years! I feel totally fine committing to something that far in the future. Heh. But, seriously, accounting is such my nemesis here at work now I am really excited to get on top of it and slay the beast.

Parallely (not a word, but the concept I'm looking for), I am pursuing another avenue of career advancement. I've been in talks with my alma mater law school to teach a tax law class as an adjunct professor. I loved law school. I mean, LOVED it! I am freak that way I think. In law school I thought my dream job was to be a tenure track law professor. I thought my only barrier to that was pedigree. Well, now I still feel being a professor would be pretty rad, I'm not sure I'm cut from that cloth. As much as I would love to sit down and research some esoteric tax law concept and write a blockbuster article, I just don't have it in me now. Sadly, it's not my lack of pedigree in the way of a tenure-track position, but my lack of motivation. I think I may just be content with moving up the corporate ladder and busting through the glass ceiling here. Oh, and dabbling in teaching on the side for a lot of fun and resume boosting hijinks. The adjunct position will help boost my credibility as an expert in my field when promo time comes. And yes, I am super stoked and looking forward to imparting knowledge on young minds. Can't wait!

Now why all this? Well, with peanut coming and my need to earn a living I feel like I need to make my career worthwhile if I'm going to leave my precious little one in someone else's care 5 days a week. I feel like I owe it to peanut to do my best here. I want our little boy to be proud of his mom and dad and to have good examples to impart a strong work ethic among other values. I want to feel satisfied (as often as possible, I'm realistic and not psychotic enough to think corporate america could possibly leave anyone satisfied all the time!) when I come home to my nut and not resent my job for stealing my precious time away from him. I do believe that's possible.

Oh yeah. Peanut's a boy.